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.


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.


Gary Garth McCann will be the April 2015 speaker at the Annapolis MWA

Local writer Gary Garth McCann has agreed to speak April 2015. The title of his talk is “Why I Write” Gary says this about his talk:

I’ve collected enough rejections to paper my house. Only a crazy man would keep writing. Or an addict. “Don’t write unless you can’t not write,” said Elie Wiesel.
As drunk as I get on the process of writing, often the result has been like a bad hangover. What can we do to get our stories and novels publsihed? How can we get strangers to read them?


Naval Academy Emeritus Prof. Philip K. Jason recently reviewed Gary’s latest book, The Man Who Asked to Be Killed, for the Washington Independent Review of Books. Quoting briefly from Jason’s review:

In one scene, in which Buddy is held at gunpoint, he encounters a gray-haired man “as suave as a fundraiser.” Such small tough-guy delights pierce the brooding atmosphere of The Man Who Asked to Be Killed, establishing McCann as the innovator of what someday might be known as Maryland Noir.

Gary Garth McCann is the author of the crime noir novel The Man Who Asked to Be Killed, as well as four published short stories, the most recent The Yearbook in Mobius. He has been honored with the Maryland Writers’ Association first prize for suspense/mystery/thriller and first prize for short fiction.

April 2014 speaker at the Annapolis MWA – John DeDakis

Local author, journalist, editor and writing coach John DeDakis will speak at the Maryland Writers Association Annapolis Chapter meeting on Wednesday April 16, 2014. DeDakis, the author of three mystery-suspense novels, will speak on the topic “From Journalist to Novelist (Or How I Learned to Start Making it Up).” He’ll trace is nearly 45-year journalism career – from getting tear gassed covering an anti-Vietnam War riot to his job as an editor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” – and how it eventually led to becoming an author and writing coach. He’ll also share his advice on how to get an agent and get your writing noticed.

The meeting is 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 6:30 p.m. in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall, 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. For more information visit: http://www.marylandwriters.org.

About the speaker: Journalist and novelist John DeDakis (pronounced Deh-DAY-kiss) is a former editor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” DeDakis is the author of two mystery-suspense novels, Fast Track and Bluff. Troubled Water, the third novel in his Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series, will be published in February 2014. In his novels, DeDakis writes from the point of view of a twenty-something young woman. Journalist, author and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond writes about DeDakis, “[H]ow he can write so convincingly about a woman in the field [of journalism] is astounding!” DeDakis is a manuscript editor and writing workshop leader. During his nearly 45-year, award-winning career in journalism (25 years at CNN), DeDakis has been a White House Correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. He lives in Washington, D.C. and teaches journalism at The University of Maryland – College Park. John’s website: http://www.johndedakis.com

His handout
Getting an Agent and Getting Noticed (pdf) is also available.

announcement for April 17 Annapolis MWA talk

Title: Turning Rejections Into Acceptances: Breaking Into Literary Journals to Build a Publishing History.
Speaker: Sherry Audette Morrow
Time+place: April 17 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in room 205 at Maryland Hall.

Sherry Audette Morrow, founding editor of Scribble magazine, will share the editor’s perspective on the submission process and answers your questions about how an editor decides between sending the rejection or the coveted acceptance letter: What can I do to improve my chances of being published in a small journal? What do editors love, and what do they hate? How can I turn a rejection into an acceptance — do they really mean it when they say “try again”?

The meeting is open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. The Annapolis MWA chapter typically meets the third Wednesday of every month in room 205 at Maryland Hall. For more information visit: annapolismwa.wordpress.com and http://www.marylandwriters.org.

About the author:
In addition to publishing Scribble, Sherry is a writer and freelance editor and publication designer. She holds degrees in English and Publication Design from Temple University and University of Baltimore. She is a firm believer in the Oxford comma. Like many fiction writers, she can be found working on a novel or two. Scribble magazine, a print publication, debuted at a Maryland Writers’ Association meeting in 1997. It is published two to three times per year, and features poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction by authors from around the globe at http://www.scribblemagazine.us.