August 13: Prompt readings and responses

Rome Area Writers is holding its monthly meeting Thursday, August 13, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will feature readings and responses to this month’s prompts.

Our first prompt came from BookBaby Blog: Writing Phone Conversations to Forward Your Plot and Draw Your Characters. The blog post has tips on how to write engaging dialogue from one side of a phone conversation. At 15 minutes it’s a quick and fun writing challenge!

A second prompt came from Ursula K. Le Guin’s book on writing, Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story. The exercise is called “A Terrible Thing to Do” and it goes like this:

“Take one of the longer narrative exercises you wrote — any one that went over 400 words — and cut it by half. If none of the exercises is suitable, take any piece of narrative prose you have ever written, 400-1000 words, and do this terrible thing to it. This doesn’t mean just cutting a bit here and there, snipping and pruning — though that’s part of it. It means counting the words and reducing them to half that many while keeping the narrative clear and the sensory impact vivid, not replacing specifics, and never using the word somehow. If there’s dialogue in your piece, cut any long speech or long conversation in half just as implacably.”

The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you’re interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please contact us to request the link. We’d be happy to have you!

May 14: Worldbuilding mini-workshop

Rome Area Writers is holding its monthly meeting Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The meeting will feature a mini- workshop on worldbuilding, and how it can be applied to all genres of fiction.

The meeting link will be emailed to current members. If you are interested in attending the meeting and are not yet a RAW member, please contact us to request the link. We would be happy to have you! The mini-workshop will involve a 15 to 20 minute writing period, with attendees having the option of sharing their responses to the prompt.

Our June 11 meeting will be a discussion on how to craft an engaging opening for your book, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. Members will share their favorite opening lines and paragraphs from books they’ve read and examine what makes those beginnings so effective.

July will be the deadline for the Lavender Mountain Anthology, an annual anthology RAW has published now for 20 years. This year has the distinction of being the 20th edition and we’re thrilled to have reached that number.

Writing is still important

As COVID-19 has spread throughout our local community, and the nation at large, we’ve all had to severely change our daily habits. We haven’t seen our family, our friends, and our coworkers as much as we once did. We’ve sheltered in place, socially distanced ourselves, and become more physically isolated than we have at any point in our lives. 

I have seen a few people on Twitter and elsewhere drawing attention to an important fact: during this time most people are turning to the arts. People are streaming films and TV shows with such hunger it’s straining the Internet’s infrastructure in Europe and elsewhere. Musicians are performing in-home streaming concerts. Painters and illustrators are posting and selling their works online. 

When things are dire, we turn to the arts. We turn to the things that help us stay connected with each other even if it’s through ink on a page or pixels on a screen. The arts help us handle — or escape — everything happening right now. 

This means your writing is still important. 

Whether you’re writing for publication or just for yourself, those words, phrases, and paragraphs are still so, so important. If you’re working on a fantasy story it could take someone off into another world for a little while. If it’s a mystery, then you’re presenting the reader with a problem they know will get solved. If it’s a memoir, then the reader will gain an understanding about someone else’s life and perhaps know they aren’t alone. If it’s poetry, you’re demonstrating the beauty language can obtain in a perfect jewel on the page. 

It all helps. Writing can help people heal in so many ways, whether it’s the author expressing themselves or the reader finding an escape or new perspective. 

Now please don’t take this to mean “You. Must. Write. Now.” This isn’t intended to browbeat people into working on their project or serve as a subtle guilt trip. I have seen the tweet about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under quarantine. If that encourages you to produce your magnum opus, go for it! But we’re not all Shakespeare. I’m certainly not. I haven’t written anything in three weeks, and I just now feel that I can get back to my in-progress draft. 

This is intended to provide a bit of perspective. Even though things are changing day by day, and we don’t really know what comes next when all this abates, one thing is certain: your writing is still important. 

Your work is still important. 

You as a writer are still important. 

Rome Area Writers is working on ways to keep our community connected for the duration of this crisis. We’re going to acquire a Zoom account and hold both our monthly meetings and beta group meetings online. The officers and I are going to discuss what we can do going forward during these meetings, but one thing I do expect is that we’ll have a couple of online mini-workshops like what we’ve had recently.

RAW’s motto is “Writers helping writers.” We’re taking that motto to heart, and rising to this occasion, because you’re important to us.

-Jason Lowrey

2020 President

Ernie Bowling

We had the pleasure of having Ernie Bowling as our guest speaker tonight. His humor-filled delivery was effective and enlightening. He gave us a genuine account of a self-published writer who writes to tell the story. Check out his profile and buy his debut novel “Coal Blooded.” You can purchase it via Amazon. Be sure to thank the Culottas for inviting him.

June 14 is our next scheduled meeting. We are going to have Charlene Ball & Libby Ware, Atlanta. They are speaking on collaboration. Our writing prompts include:

  • Great balls of fire
  • The shortest line beckoned me

Have a great month and keep writing.

April Meeting – David Trawinski

We are welcoming David Trawinski as a featured speaker for our April meeting. Meet us at the Rome/Floyd Library 6-8:00 PM, April 12, 2018.

Mr. Trawinski is a writer of historical fiction. He has published two books in the last two years, “The Willow’s Bend” and “Chasing the Winter’s Wind.” Due to release in May of this year is “War of Nocturne’s Widow.” Check out his website and get a jump-start on his work. Then come to the meeting on April 12th to meet him in person.