Saturday, March 01, 2008

Failing Well

Hello Again,

I've been ignoring the call of my computer all too well recently. Life takes my attention elsewhere, but that's not really a valid excuse. So why exactly am I failing to make my own deadlines? Linda Formichelli at The Renegade Writer's Blog asks us how well we are failing, and chimes in with another inspirational post encouraging us to fail as well as we possibly can. Must fail better.

Also, here's an unusual contest tip from Poets and Writers for the next couple of weeks:

Symphony Space
Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize

A prize of $1,000 will be given annually for a short story on a theme. The theme for this year's contest is "Are We There Yet?" The winning story will be read by an actor as part of Selected Shorts, a literary performance series at Symphony Space in New York City. Amy Hempel will judge. Submit a story of up to four pages by March 14. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.

Symphony Space, Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, Selected Shorts, 2537
Broadway, New York, NY 10025. Mac Barrett, Contact.

Over at the Writer's Resource Center, the last several short story posts have been questioning some of the conventions of the the form and I'd love to know what some of you think -- particularly about the Twilight Zone ending.

That's all I have for now. If anyone has any tips or questions, let me have 'em.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Writing Group this week and a couple of links

My writing group is this week and I'm debating what to bring. I'm often shy about bringing work to the group. The irony here is gross -- I lead the group most of the time and try to put other people at ease to read their materials on a monthly basis and yet I find it really intimidating to bring my own writing to workshop. Theirs is truly okay, but mine is truly crap. It's a mental trap that I have to work myself out of. Certainly I have brought work in the past and all was fine, and it will be fine again. I'm just nervous. [Addendum: I took in 6 pages of Shelter and it went just fine. They didn't laugh me out of the room after all.]

Given the recent Cassie Edwards scandal, we all need to know what is and isn't plagiarism, but we also need to know about copyrights.
Here's a link from with several articles dealing with different aspects of the matter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A few links for today

Hello again,

Today I have a couple of recommendations of useful links.

The first comes from a colleague from my writers group, Lee Lyons. Here's what she wrote to me:
"Take advantage of this website and writing guru, John Clausen, who runs it. (Clausen wrote the book "Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal" about freelance writing several years ago) Helpful tips and intros to different forms of freelancing are available always. A very nominal membership fee ($7.95) enables writers to post their own Portfolios to attract freelance work. It's a great site and I highly recommend it!"
I'd also like to plug a contest for our local Romance Writers of America chapter, so here are the details straight from the chapter president:

"February 14th is the deadline for NW Indiana Chapter 89 Romance Writers of America's annual Grand Beginnings Contest for unpublished authors. Trained judges will critique the first five pages of a participants manuscript. Entrants need not be RWA members, but submissions must be women's fiction with romantic elements. Entry fee is $20 and we accept electronic submissions as well as hard copy. All entries are critiqued by two judges and will be returned, along with those judges' comments, by April 30th.

The top 5 finalists will be ranked by published author and Wild Rose Press editor, Michelle Witvliet.

For more information and a look at the score sheet, go to our website at

Joanna Waugh
NW Indiana Chapter 89 RWA"

Finally, as promised, the Indiana Writers Consortium Yahoo group is now up and ready for business. If you're interested in joining this group, head over to

That's enough for one day I think. Happy hunting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm back

Hello again.

It's been a long seven months or so. What have I been doing? All sorts of things, but not a lot of writing. Only in the last couple of weeks have I been cracking open Word again. There are lots of reasons, most of them inadequate, but sometimes we just need a break, and a few months ago I decided to stop beating myself up about it and just take my rest. I had faith that the urge to write would come back and slowly it is.

Among the other things I've been up to, I've been involved in the creation of the Indiana Writers Consortium -- a sort of umbrella group spanning seven counties which hopes to act as a resource for writers to network and support one another. There will eventually be themes and programs but for now we're just working out the details. I'm on the web committee, and we're just putting together a Yahoo group for now. As soon as that's set up, I'll post the link. Shouldn't be but a few days.

One other midwest resource I wanted to mention is the 14th annual Poetry Center Juried Reading and Awards out of the Poetry Center of Chicago. There are some lovely prizes and there were only 266 entries last year -- so there's relatively low competition.

I'm hoping to post once a week or so again, but bear with me if that's a bit out of reach right now. I'll do my best to ferret out some useful and interesting writing links for you every week. If anyone has any tips they'd like to pass along, I'd love to have them, so feel free to email me or post them in a reply.

Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm Not Sleeping

I'm just resting my eyes.

Thrown for a loop by a death in the family and an illness, I've been more or less away from my writing for a couple of months. I'm slowly getting it back together, but honestly the blog is (gasp) low on my list of priorities. So I do hope to be back at this eventually, but for now, I don't expect to update any time soon. I'll leave it up for the list of links. Happy writing everyone!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What are you doing this summer?

Got summer plans yet? Any of them writerly? I am taking a trip to Zion National Park in June to celebrate my brother & sister-in-law's marriage. Never been to Las Vegas (where we're flying into) or Utah. I shall do my best to gather inspiration.

For those of you without plans, here's a link to the Writers Conferences and Centers' list of writing conferences and retreats. If you've never attended a writers conference, I completely recommend one. Of course the quality varies from program to program, but the ability to immerse oneself entirely in writing for a whole day or week or month... it's fantastic. I attended the Washington University Summer Writer's Camp in 2000 and I loved it. I met lovely people and was so grateful just to talk so much about poetry for two whole weeks! (I just pulled up the program's home page and was amused to find a quote from me on their sidebar. Name's misspelled though.) One of my favorite poems was written during this conference. I can't wait to attend another.

Maybe I'll round up some mountain lions in Zion and we'll compose sonnets to the arches.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tom's naming question

One of the men from my writing group posed the following question to me via e-mail. Naming techniques are always a hot topic. Anyone have any feedback for poor Tom?


I need some help. I'm looking for names for some of my characters. Mainly; Lois Lane, Mary Jane Simpson (MJ) and the protagonist, Darryl Mark Steele, in my stories - Do you have any good and/or bad ideas? (In the best tradition of brain-storming; Even seemingly bad ideas can sometimes spark something that might workout.)

Perhaps you could pass this along to the members on the e-mail list and they might have some ideas too. It might be nice to get some discussions going between members through e-mail. What do you think?

I named Steele's secretary Lois Lane and had a little joke with that in the first novel, but the consensus now seems to be that the people who hold the copyrights to Superman will not look kindly on me using that name. Even if I add an “e” (Loise) to her name, as someone suggested at the last meeting, I think it may cause copyright problems. The joke, with her name and the reference to Superman, was funny at the time, in the first book, but doesn't seem worthwhile if the name is going to cause problems now .... Got any brilliant ideas? I'm very open to suggestions.

Ha - Ha ... Just had a funny thought ... how about I name her “Darlene Cohn”?

[There you go again, assuming I won't sue you!]

As for "MJ" - You yourself pointed this out last year when I first read parts of the first book at a Blank Slate meeting. (I'm sorry ... you read it for me - and I thanks you!) Anyway, your comments then are still valid now, especially with the release of the latest Spiderman movie upon-us. I took your advise and re-named this character in the new book ... her new name is Penelope Anastasia Simpson. She goes by the name of "Poppy", still just to annoy her snobbish mother. It's a little joke that I really haven't had time to develop yet - perhaps in the third novel.

Anyway after reading through my current work the nick name of Poppy seems a
little to modern (Remember the story takes place in 1954) Now, I'm looking for something a little more traditional. I still want to develop the thing between her and her mother further, so I want her to have a name that will lend itself to some sort of nick name . The more traditional being: "Sam" for Samantha or "Charlie" for Christine or even Cathrine. In V. I. Woochcoski (I don't think that's spelled correctly, but I hope you get the idea) the author used “Cat”, for Cathrine, as one of the leading characters.

I have also had some misgivings about the detectives name. I am considering changing it from Darryl Mark Steele (The Steele part of which I must say, I appropriated from the TV show Remington Steele. Also a detective – which may also cause copyright problems later on) and replace it with “Darryl Mark Falcon”.

So if you have any suggestions I am completely open to any ideas you might have. Even if you don't have any input, Thanks for listening in any event.