October at MWAA: Develop Driving Dialogue

Good dialogue is the key to so much in fiction: it drives action, it reveals character, it makes a story live and breathe with immediacy and intimacy. For many writers, though, capturing realistic dialogue–the cadence, the word-choice, the tone that distinguishes each character–presents a significant challenge. Join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17th when award-winning author and writing teacher/coach Mary Kay Zuravleff discusses these challenges and helps us to exercise our dialogue chops through writing prompts and exercises. Bring your preferred writing materials: laptop, tablet, or pencil and paper. This is sure to be a fun and engaging session.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 10.15.10 PMAbout the Speaker: Mary Kay Zuravleff is the author of Man Alive!, a Washington Post Notable Book, as well as The Bowl Is Already Broken and The Frequency of Souls. She is a founder of NoveltyDC, which offers manuscript consultations and private coaching. Among the honors she has received are numerous Artist Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts, American Academy’s Rosenthal Award, and the James Jones First Novel Award. Mary Kay has taught writing at American University, Johns Hopkins University, and George Mason University, and she has written and edited extensively for the Smithsonian Institution. She is a cofounder of the DMV Women Writers and lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. Unless otherwise noted, we meet the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. For more information, visit: www.marylandwriters.org.

 

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MWAA Calendar of Events

Annapolis MWA logoBe sure to mark your calendar with all the great presentations and writing workshops that MWA Annapolis has lined up in the coming months. We meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, unless otherwise noted. Get out and mingle with your fellow writers to listen, learn, and discuss all things writing-related!

18 September 2018: Writing for Social Awareness, Jade Dee and Wilnona Marie [note this is a Tuesday]

17 October 2018: Driving Dialogue Writing Workshop, Mary Kay Zuravleff

14 November 2018: To Be Announced [note this is the second Wednesday]

19 December 2018: The Importance of Character Names, Andrew McDowell

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All meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

November at MWAA: Writing Effective Query Letters

Please note that this meeting is on the second Wednesday of the month, a week earlier than we normally meet.

You’ve finally gotten your manuscript into ready-for-prime-time shape. Now you want it (and you) to catch the attention of an agent or publisher. How do you do that? Two words: query letter. Writing an effective query letter is both and art and a science, and Mary Stojak joins MWAA on Wednesday, November 14th at 7 p.m. to discuss the ins and outs of developing the very best query letter to pique the interest of that agent or publisher of your dreams.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 9.08.58 PMAbout the Speaker:  After receiving a Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University, Mary Stojak has published short stories in a variety of journals and anthologies including Spectrum, Mystery Weekly, and a Sherlockian publication, The Letters. She taught fiction at Anne Arundel Community College.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. Unless otherwise noted, we meet the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. For more information about MWA, visit: www.marylandwriters.org.

September at MWAA: Writing for Social Awareness, *Note Meeting Day*

Please note that this meeting is on Tuesday, September 18th, the day before our normal meeting day.

The And I Thought Ladies are responsible for bringing us a series of collected works from women using writing to heal from abuse: And I Thought Divorce was Bad, And I Thought Being a Grown-up was Easy, And I Thought I Could Juggle it All, and And I Thought I Did My Journey Alone. Their message, which they have taken both nationally and internationally, is that there is a support system for all women who need it.

 

Join us on Tuesday, September 18th starting at 7 p.m. as we welcome Wilnona Marie and Jade Dee of the And I Thought Ladies, to discuss what it means to write for social awareness, and how to get attention for your message.

All meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

December at MWAA: The Importance of Names

How much thought do you give the names of your fictional characters? Names of characters and places evoke feelings and images, and help to set time period, locale,  ethnicity, even genre.

Make plans to join us on Wednesday, December 19th at 7 p.m. when debut author Andrew McDowell discusses the importance of selecting (or creating) names for characters, as well as fictional settings and and other elements of your stories. He’ll walk through key factors to consider, including genre, setting, and character profiling such as ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as ways to make sure names are easy to pronounce and easily distinguishable from one another to avoid character confusion.

Andrew 2About the Speaker: Andrew McDowell is the author of the YA fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood. He also writes poetry and creative nonfiction. He won second place in the 2014 MWA literary contest for his essay on his experiences with Asperger syndrome, and is an associate nonfiction editor for the literary magazine JMWW. To learn more about Andrew and his writing, visit his website and blog at andrewmcdowellauthor.com.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWAA meets the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

August at MWAA: Write off the Map

Where will your writing go if you let it go off the map? Join us Wednesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. for this generative workshop, in which participants will write from a timed prompt and then share for positive constructive feedback. This session allows writers to shake off bad habits and let the images and characters flow without barriers. If you are feeling stuck, trapped in an overworked plot, this is a chance to open your heart. Find new ideas, and new approaches to your writing. Prompts will be drawn from classic sorts including What if, Three AM Epiphanies, and other sources. Participants will have generated three new story ideas by the end of the session.

Julie Wakeman-LinnAbout the Speaker: Julie Wakeman-Linn edited the Potomac Review for a dozen years. Her short stories have appeared in over twenty literary magazines. Her novel, Chasing the Leopard, Finding the Lion, a finalist for Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize, was published by Mkuki Na Nyota in 2012. Her short story collection was a finalist for the WWPH 2014 Fiction prize.

Julie created the “speed dating with an editor” feature of the popular “Conversations and Connections: Practical advice on getting published” conference, co-sponsored by Barrelhouse Mag and Potomac Review. She has given panel presentations at the national AWP conference multiple times and at The Yale Conference for Writers. She regularly consults with local MWA chapters and also the New Directions Writing program.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. Unless otherwise noted, MWA meetings meet the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

July at MWAA: Get Creative with Nonfiction

Our initial plan to have Barbara join us in March for this workshop was snowed out (on the first day of spring!), so we’ve rescheduled it for warmer weather–make plans to be there!

Some of the best writing today falls within the realm of creative nonfiction. Lee Gutkind defines this popular genre, which includes memoir and literary journalism, as “true stories well told.” Join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18th, when popular workshop leader Barbara Morrison will discuss what sets creative nonfiction apart from the familiar fiction and nonfiction categories, and cover the basics to get you started writing your own creative nonfiction piece.

b-morrisonAbout the speaker: Writing under the name B. Morrison, Barbara is the author of a memoir, Innocent: Confessions of a Welfare Mother, and two poetry collections, Terrarium and Here at Least. Barbara’s award-winning work has been published in anthologies and magazines. She provides editing services and conducts writing workshops. For more information, visit her website and blog at http://www.bmorrison.com.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWAA meets the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

June at MWAA: Chapter Elections, Open Mic Night, & Cake!

Please plan to attend MWA Annapolis on Wednesday, June 20th at 7 p.m. to participate in the annual chapter elections, in which members elect the chapter president, secretary, treasurer, and program director. In advance of that, please consider becoming a candidate for one of those positions; it’s a great way to participate in your writing community!

We’re also planning to have a small celebration to mark the Maryland Writers Association’s 30th anniversary! MWA’s first chapter was in Annapolis, so we are the founding chapter. That deserves cake!

After elections, stick around for our perennial favorite activity, Open Mic night. (Well, technically, we don’t have a microphone, so you’ll need to bring your big, room-filling speaking voice). This is your chance to read from your published or unpublished, finished or in-progress work in front of a friendly group of supportive people. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for you to bring a friend or two along for that extra measure of camaraderie.

 

How to prepare:
Pick a passage that you feel represents your work well.
— Make sure that your reading is no more than five minutes. You’ll be surprised at how short the passage is on the page!
— Plan to spend a little of your time putting the reading in context for your audience. Briefly explain what your listeners need to know to understand what you’re reading.
— Practice–with a timer! Get to the point where you can look up and make eye-contact with your audience, and make sure you’re reading clearly and with feeling.
— Let me know that you’d like to participate by sending email to jenny@jbyacovissi.com. You can change your mind later to join in or opt out. There will also be an opportunity to sign up at the meeting.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWA meetings meet the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

May at MWAA: Mack & McIntire on Mystery

Want to try your hand at writing a mystery, but the whole thing is just a little too mysterious? Mystery is one of the best-loved and most enduring genres in fiction, but it takes a deft touch to plot a good whodunit. If you’re looking for advice for how to lay out a great mystery, then you’ll absolutely want to join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16th to hear from two of our favorite local mystery authors, Millie Mack and Eileen McIntire.

About the speakers:

Millie Mack_BJ on hand (A)Millie Mack writes the Faraday Murder Series featuring amateur sleuths Carrie and Charles Faraday. She also just completed her first culinary mystery for her new Irish Bistro Murder Series. In addition to her books, Millie writes a blog all about mysteries at https://www.milliemack.com. The blog features mystery authors, detectives, and techniques. To challenge the reader’s mystery knowledge, there is an assortment of mystery puzzles. Millie lives in the Baltimore area where she is working on the next book for her mystery series.

McIntire FinalEileen Haavik McIntire writes the 90s Club mystery series–featuring the 90-year-olds at Whisperwood Retirement Village–as well as an historical mystery series. She is currently president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and enthusiastic member of Sisters in Crime. She travels for research and has ridden a camel in the Moroccan Sahara, fished for piranhas in the Amazon, sailed in a felucca on the Nile, and lived on a motorsailer for three years. She and her husband live in Columbia, MD, with their little dog José.

April at MWAA: Developing Believable Characters

We are looking forward to welcoming acclaimed author and writing instructor Barbara Esstman to MWA Annapolis on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m., who will lead a workshop on character development. As Barbara describes, “The most important element of serious fiction and memoir is a true and believable protagonist surrounded by other true and believable characters. How to get that to happen in your writing is easier when you know how to create the optimum conditions for character development and what to avoid at all costs. I’ll give you tips on how to get good characters up and walking around and some simple exercises to use when you’re writing.”

About the presenter: Barbara Esstman is the author of The Other Anna and Night Ride HomeScreen Shot 2018-03-31 at 9.45.43 AM, both published in the United States by Harcourt Brace and Harper Perennial, as well as in numerous translations by Bertelsmann and twelve other foreign presses. Both novels were adapted for film by Hallmark Productions.

Barbara’s short stories and essays have appeared in both mainstream and literary publications, from Lear’s Magazine to Confrontation, and have earned the Redbook Fiction Award and two honorable mentions from the Pushcart Prize. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and she writes travel copy for Biotrek Adventure Travels. She has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Maryland Commission for the Arts. She does private editing for clients writing fiction and memoir, and teaches creative writing at universities in the Washington, DC area, as well as at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWA Annapolis meets the third Wednesday of every month at 7 pm in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.