Analyzing Effective Writing

Analysis is the process of breaking something down into its component parts so as to study it in detail. How do we break down our writing? What makes writing effective? We will explore some answers to these questions by analyzing some specifically selected writing samples.

Thursday, September 21, 2017
7:00 – 9:00
 
Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

About the Speaker

36033_1142201571091_6776510_nDonald McLean has been working as a software developer for almost thirty years, but has been reading almost since he was born. For many years he wanted to write, but never managed more than a few pages. One day a story idea appeared in his head, and wouldn’t let go until he wrote it down. He writes stories that are science fiction and/or fantasy but is, as yet, unpublished.

He has been happily married for thirty years; he and his wife have three grown children.

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

Getting Those Fight Scenes Right

Keith R.A. DeCandido, who is both a veteran writer of genre fiction and a second-degree black belt in karate, discusses the ins and outs of writing action scenes, from accurately portraying hand-to-hand combat to describing it in such a way that still furthers character and plot and keeps the reader interested. Attendees may feel free to bring in examples of their own fight scenes that they wish DeCandido to critique, though there’s no guarantee he will get to all of them over the course of the talk.

Thursday, August 17, 2017
7:00 – 9:00
 
Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

About the Speaker

KRADbio1Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s lengthy fiction career includes stories featuring superheroes (two Spider-Man novels, the Marvel’s Tales of Asgard trilogy, several short stories), Klingons (half a dozen Star Trek novels and short fiction focusing on members of that warrior species), strong fighters (novels featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Executioner), and the military (novels based on Command & Conquer and StarCraft). He has been a student of karate since 2004, achieving his black belt in 2009, and since then he has also taught regularly, including two afterschool programs in New York City as well as a weekly kids sparring class. All told, he’s written more than fifty novels, as well as seventy short stories, a score of novellas, more than sixty comic books, five reference books, a metric butt load of essays and reviews and articles, and one role-playing game adventure. In addition, he’s a longtime editor for clients both professional and personal, having edited a line of prose fiction based on Marvel Comics, the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers monthly eBook series, and a dozen anthologies. In 2009, he earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, which means he never needs to achieve anything ever again. Find out less at Keith’s web site at DeCandido.net.

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

Building a World: The Genre Fiction Workshop

Working on a sci-fi novel? Fantasy? Horror? Mystery? Thriller? Want to be sure you’re on the right track? Led by developmental fiction editor and literary horror/dystopian novelist Harrison Demchick (The Listeners), Building a World: The Genre Fiction Workshop is an opportunity to sit down with your fellow MWA members to analyze, critique, and improve those crucial first 4,000 words of your novel-in-progress. If you’re serious about making sure that the early chapters of your novel engage your readers–if you want your characters clear, your story engaging, and your world compelling and tangible–then this is the workshop for you.

 

Registration is required for this workshop. Space is limited.

Deadline for registration is July 4, 2017The deadline has been extended to July 9, 2017

Submission requirements for participation:

To register, Email the first 4000 words of your novel by July 4, 2017 to: HoCoPresident@marylandwriters.org

The submissions will be distributed to Harrison Demchick and the other registered participants to read before the workshop

Unregistered members can still come to the meeting.

Thursday, July 20, 2017
7:00 – 9:00

 

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

 

About the Speaker

Harrison DemchickHarrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than sixty published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. An expert in manuscripts as diverse as science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, literary fiction, women’s fiction, young adult, middle grade, memoir, and everything in-between, Harrison is known for quite possibly the most detailed and informative editorial letters in the industry—if not the entire universe. Harrison is also an award-winning, twice-optioned screenwriter, an inaugural fellow of the Johns Hopkins University Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund, and the author of literary horror novel The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012). His first film, Ape Canyon, is currently in production. He’s accepting new clients in fiction and memoir at the Writer’s Ally (http://thewritersally.com).

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

OPEN MIC. NIGHT and CHAPTER ELECTIONS

Here’s your chance to read to a live audience. Come share your literary creations or sit back and enjoy your fellow writers as they recite their work.

Please limit your readings to fewer than five minutes per item.
(About 3-4 pages double spaced or 2-3 poems)


We’ll also hold our annual elections.

     President: Nancy Alexander
     Vice President: Rissa Miller
     Secretary: Donald McLean
     Treasurer: Steve Lubs

Thursday, June 15, 2017
7:00 – 9:00
 

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

MAD LIBS FUN

Need a laugh?
Want to get those creative juices flowing?
We have just the thing.

Help us create a wacky story in this Mad Libs workshop.

Thursday, May 18, 2017
7:00 – 9:00

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

How to Make Editors Want Your Book: A Look from Both Sides of the Slush Pile

Toby Devens was a Senior Editor at Harcourt Brace in NYC before moving to Baltimore. She gets what catches an editor’s eye. After publishing four books, she’s learned, sometimes the hard way, what it takes to land an agent and lure an editor.

Come learn what works and what doesn’t. We’ll discuss all kinds of editing tips and explore the editing process from delicate pruning to slash-and-burn. Toby loves a line she first heard at an MWA Conference, “Drown the little darlings.” Find out what it means and why it should be a writer’s mantra at this meeting.

Thursday, April 20, 2016
7:00 – 9:00

About the Speaker

Toby Devens Cover portraitToby Devens is the award-winning author of novels Barefoot Beach, released this summer, and Happy Any Day Now, both published by Penguin Random House. Booklist said Toby’s writing was “a pleasure to read” and Publishers Weekly praised her debut novel My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet) as “wise and witty.” Mercy, Lord, My Husband’s in the Kitchen, her collection of prayer-poems published by Doubleday, was called “beguiling” by PEOPLE magazine.

Toby was senior editor at Harcourt Brace publications and New York editor of Where magazine. Her short fiction, poetry and articles have appeared in Readers’ Digest and Parents, among other national magazines. Her career in media/public relations culminated with her work as senior vice president of an international nonprofit. She currently lives in Columbia, Maryland where she’s working on a new novel. Barefoot Beach cover blurb

 

 

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

Everything You Need To Know About Writing Science Fiction

Join us as Catherine Asaro leads us in a discussion about writing science fiction and fantasy.

 
Thursday, March 16, 2016
7:00 – 9:00

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

About the Speaker

catherine asaroCatherine Asaro is the author of more than twenty-five books, including thrillers, SF, and fantasy. Her novel The Quantum Rose and her novella “The Spacetime Pool” both won the Nebula® Award. Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the Reader’s Choice Award from Analog magazine and a three time recipient of the RT BOOK Club Award for “Best Science Fiction Novel.”

Catherine is also the Director of the Chesapeake Math Program and teaches math, physics, and chemistry. She has coached various nationally ranked school teams, in particular the Howard Area Homeschoolers and the Chesapeake team for national tournaments. She has been a speaker at various institutions, including Georgetown University, Harvard, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia, and the US Naval Academy, and others. As a member of SIGMA, a think tank of futurists, she advises the government and business sector as to future trends affecting national security.

A former dancer, Catherine founded and served as artistic director and a principal dancer for two dance groups at Harvard: The Mainly Jazz Dance Company and the Harvard University Ballet. She has also completed two terms as SFWA president and during her tenure established the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

ACT IT OUT

Come continue our exploration of dialogue development with Nancy Alexander. She will facilitate a ‘dialogue in action’ exercise, which will provide an in-depth, experiential understanding of how we write, read and understand dialogue.

We will see how interpretation is affected by context and scene setting, and notice what happens when they are absent.

Audience participation will be encouraged as we ‘Act It Out’ and learn more about how to create natural, believable and realistic dialogue that conveys the author’s message.

Join us for this fun, interactional, educational evening.

Thursday, February 16, 2017
7:00 – 9:00
 

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

About the Speaker
Nancy Alexander devoted her professional life to helping those in need through her psychotherapy practice, providing intensive reconstructive services to adult survivors of childhood trauma. She has also presented her work at numerous conferences, developed mental health training programs and advocated socially constructive legislation.

Since she Nancy Alexander (2)retired, she has focused on her writing. Nancy’s writing seamlessly integrates her in-depth knowledge of the human mind and her keen sensitivity to interpersonal and moral dilemmas.

After publishing several short stories, her ‘Elisabeth Reinhardt’ series launched Relentless, which concretized her love of psycho-thrillers and interest in trauma recovery. With Seeing Double, she addressed conflicts swirling through the Middle East, its complex history and enduring multi-cultural dilemmas. Her ‘Olive Branch’ series mirrors the global political struggles of our time.

Follow her online at www.nancyjalexander.com

Fine Tune Your Dialogue Writing Workshop

Start your new year right with a
Dialogue Workshop lead by Peter Pollak.

We’ll dissect examples of good and not-so-good dialogues and you’ll come away with keys to writing dialogue that keeps your readers engaged.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
7:00 – 9:00

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

About the Speaker

Peter Pollak

Peter Pollak is the author of five novels, including House Divided, rated 4.5 stars by Amazon readers. Prior to retiring to write fiction, he was a journalist, educator and entrepreneur.

 

 

 

 

 

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.

OPEN MIC. NIGHT

mic 2Here’s your chance to practice with a live audience. Come read your literary creations or sit back and enjoy your fellow writers as they recite their work.

Please limit your readings to fewer than five minutes per item. (About 3-4 pages double spaced)
 
Join us
7:00 – 9:00
Thursday, October 20, 2016
 

Owen Brown Community Center
6800 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

HoCo continues to collect new or gently-used books for HopeWorks. (The Howard County Domestic Violence Center.) All genres and age groups are needed, but due to the nature of their services, they request that the books contain no mention of violence against women or children.