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

February 13: Dialogue Mini-Workshop

Rome Area Writers is offering another mini-workshop at our next meeting, Thursday, Feb. 13, that will focus on dialogue and giving characters distinct voices.

As usual, Rome Area Writers will meet at 6 p.m. at the Sarah Hightower Library in Rome in the Etowah Room. Our dialogue mini-workshop will involve a 20-minute writing exercise, so anyone who wants to participate is asked to bring their preferred writing devices. After the exercise anyone who wishes to read their response to the prompt is welcome to do so, but it isn’t required.

When the mini-workshop concludes, we will hand out a prompt for the March meeting. In addition, there will be a special project for those members who are actively working on a book for publication. We hope this monthly prompt, and the project, will help writers improve their skills and think about how their work fits within the larger publishing world.

All Rome Area Writers meetings are open to the public and we’re happy to welcome new visitors. If you have any questions about the group, or would like more information, please contact us.

Upcoming Meeting: March 14th

Rome Area Writers’ next meeting is Thursday, March 14 at the Sarah Hightower Library in Rome. Our meeting starts at 6 p.m in the Etowah Room. and ends either at 8 or when we’ve heard all our readings for the month, whichever comes first.

There are two prompts for March: “lucky” and “green.” Members can choose to write about either one or any combination of those two words.

March’s meeting also sees the return of the book swap! A table will be in the back of the meeting room and members are encouraged to bring books they’d like others to read. As always, the book swap is free. We ask that members bring books they enjoyed and think others should read. Any books not taken home at the end of the meeting will be donated to the library’s book store.

Malone speaks on marketing

Malone presentation 2-14For our February meeting, Rome Area Writers welcomed local author Deborah Malone back for a talk on marketing your book. Although aimed primarily at self published authors, Malone had multiple tips and pointers that work for any author regardless of how they’re published.

The first tip is, in some ways, the hardest: have a finished book. Publishers aren’t interested in ideas, Malone said, so you need to have a book to show publishers and agents. If you’re self published, you need to have a book that’s been thoroughly beta read and edited (preferably by a paid editor) before selling it to the public.

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