Littleton Writers Critique Group

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The Littleton Writers is a critique group that meets each Tuesday and Thursday evening at  Panera Bread of Aspen Grove shopping center in Littleton, Colorado.  If you are a current member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers seeking a critique group to share your writing and grow your skills, check us out.  We think this vibrant collection of authors and authors-to-be have a lot to offer the serious aspirant of writing novel-length commercial fiction.  Please use the contact us page to let us know your interest and we’ll look forward to having you join us.

Put Littleton Writers on Your New Year’s Resolutions List

This is that special time of year when we look around and ask ourselves if our lives are going in the best direction for us.  Maybe we resolve to lose those five pounds or we promise ourselves that the garage will not get so dirty any more.

Maybe this is the year that the ol’ Writer’s Platform is going to get some real attention. Or that we WILL send more stories out to the publishing world.

This is also that time of year when you receive enough “begging letters” to make you feel like Scrooge no matter how much you give.  Well, let’s add Littleton Writers to the list. But I’m not asking for your money.  I’m asking for your time.

This website is easy to “maintain,” but is becoming quite dated over all.  Our writing group also deserves a “social” person to help us put together a few events for our group–meetings without critiques but with discussions on growing our careers, parties in the summer and winter, etc.

If part of your New Years’ Resolutions include becoming more involved with your communities, perhaps you can contact me (Liesa) and let me know what you might be interested in helping with.  Here are some specific tasks that could use your creative helping hands:

  • 2nd Thursday Moderator — Yep, I skip out once a month to go to the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America meeting.  I would like to hand off the 2nd Thursday moderator position to someone who will either moderate or convince some other lucky soul to do this job.
  • Website Warrier — This task master needs to be able to find people to update pages or do it him/herself.  I’ll be happy to share my limited knowledge on how to get things done here, but the site can only stay up-to-date with group input.
  • Social Coordinator — This is someone who is outgoing enough to say “Hey, it’s been a while.  How ’bout we get together at –“
  • Tuesday/Thursday Liaison — This is a job for someone with a foot in each door.  He/she should like working with MailChimp and Yahoo loops in order to keep everyone updated on Tuesday/Thursday news and needs.

That’s it for now. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season, and a brilliant New Year.

Great Times at the Holiday Party

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to Michele Winkler and her husband, Dave Madorsky.  This past Sunday they hosted our annual Littleton Writers’ Holiday Party.  While a small group, we made up for it with great good cheer all around.

Littleton Writers Holiday Party 2014 (2)

Daven and his entourage of Vanna White imitators

There was, as always, plenty of good food and drink and each time we visit the Winkler-Madorsky home, it’s easier to find, and boasts a warmer welcome.  It’s a great way to put a period to another writing year, and set new hopes for the future.  Here are a few pictures (thanks, ZJ) we hope  you’ll enjoy.    See you next time!

Littleton Writers Holiday Party 2014

Some of the writers who attended this year’ holiday party: Michele, Liesa, ZJ, Mindy and Daven

Littleton Writers Holiday Party 2014 (3)

Great food, great conversations, great times for all who attended

Littleton Writers Holiday Party 2014 (4)

Marta, Dave & Michele enjoy the spirit of the holidays together

Five Lessons Learned: Colorado Writing Workshop – by Charles Senseman

Writer’s Digest sponsored a writing workshop in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, November 15th, 2014.  Presentations focused on a series of lectures by writing instructor, freelance editor, and author, Chuck Sambuchino, and an agent panel called Writers’ Got Talent.  During the panel, Mr. Sambuchino read anonymous first pages of work submitted by attendees, and agents provided feedback.

Mr. Sambuchino and the agents provided numerous tools and best practices.  Some of the most valuable insights related to opening pages and query letters.  Here are five lessons learned from the Colorado Writing Workshop:

Regarding opening pages-

1. Eliminate backstory
The reason that most often caused agents to have Mr. Sambuchino stop reading a submission had to do with this bad habit.  Agents challenged us to attempt to get through the first forty pages of our novels with no backstory.  They recognized the difficulty in doing so, but added that telling most often takes the reader out of a story.

2. Make description precise and concise  
Lengthy or vague imagery distracts the reader.  Agents lost interest in a work when description went on too long or when it did not vividly portray characters, settings, and situations.

3. Prologues are a taboo 
If the information in a prologue does not fit into the manuscript chapters, then it is unnecessary.  Some agents were more lenient than others regarding a hard and fast rule.  However, one made a good point.  She said, “Given that many agents won’t consider a piece that includes a prologue, why risk including one?”

Regarding queries-

4. Do not pitch a first novel as a series
Pitch it as a standalone with series potential.  Pitching a series requires a greater investment than an agent might be willing to make on a new author.

5. Do not include rhetorical questions 
This was stated as a rule.

A last bit of advice one agent stressed repeatedly is something most of us have heard before but either fail to do or ignore. She stated resolutely, “read best sellers, in your genre, published within the last two years.”

About Charles Senseman:
By age eight, Charles lived in five different towns. Imagination was a reliable and steady companion. Reading began with Dr. Seuss and together with The Phantom Tollbooth, Treasure Island, and Gulliver’s Travels led him down the road to the fantasy genre. Charles lives in Colorado with his wife and their Australian Shepherd.

11.10.14 Update

CALL FOR WINTER PARTY HOSTS

Hi Everyone,

It’s that time of year again.  Get out your Santa hats and your candles, your appetites and the box that hides your scales.  Let’s party!

If you’d like to host the Littleton Writer’s party this year, please let me (Liesa) know.  We’re looking for a place that can comfortably hold 40 to 50 people, and a host who can say “we already have 3,000 desserts, can you bring a veggie tray?”  This party is for both the Tuesday and the Thursday groups, so anyone reading this who’s a member of either group is encouraged to let me know about it.

IF YOU MISSED KATHY HOUSE’S PRESENTATION, YOU MAY WANT TO CONNECT WITH HER!

picture of Kathy House 2014

Kathy discussing Innies and Outies with an RMFW member at Standley Lake Library

Saturday, our own Kathy House did RMFW’s monthly continuing education course on introverts versus extroverts in writing.  What a terrific presentation, Kathy!

We learned that there isn’t such a thing as totally introverted or totally extroverted, but rather a range of emotions and modes of operations in a spectrum, and that these ranges we fall in are not an indication of anti-social or unhealthy emotions that profile serious emotional health issues.

And when we were playing with introversion versus extroversion it became increasingly easy to find ways to make our characters uncomfortable in our stories.  What a terrific eye-opener.

Kathy has masters degrees in both English and psychology, and her expertise was delivered with humor, and gracious style.  Well done, Kathy, and thanks!

DO YOU KNOW YOUR CHARACTER’S WEIGHT?

If you’re like me, you may never have won at the “guess my weight” side shows and carnivals.  This isn’t usually a big deal unless you’re trying to create a character.  In my second book, I wanted a character who was significantly over-weight, but couldn’t go up to people with similar body structures and ask them what the scales would read.  Curiosity won out and I found a great website that lets you put in height and weight of a character, then draws the final figure for you.  Talk about a great character building tool!  Plus its fun. So if you’re struggling to figure out how to visualize your next hero or heroine, check out http://bmijs.is.tuebingen.mpg.de.  Just be careful!  This “toy” is addictive (and no checking out your writing colleagues’ weight!)