November at MWAA: The Importance of Names — *Note Non-Standard Meeting Day*

PLEASE NOTE: This meeting is one week earlier than normal.

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, November 14th at 7 p.m. — note this is the second Wednesday of November — 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


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 typically meets the third Wednesday of every month–though we’re meeting on the second Wednesday in November–at 6:30pm in Room 205 at Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.


Special Event, 12/16: Bullet Journaling

There will be no meeting on Wednesday, 20 December.

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 6.38.16 PM
Laura Shovan leads a “Bullet Journaling” workshop on 12/16.

In place of our normal monthly meeting, we’ll instead be visiting the Eastport-Annapolis Neck library on Saturday, 16 December from 2:00-4:00 p.m. to participate in a Bullet Journaling workshop with Laura Shovan. Laura is the Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence in Poetry, the author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House), and the host of the popular Howard County-based Wilde Readings reading series.

Here’s how she describes the workshop: “First draft finished but struggling to stay on track with revisions? Heard about bullet journaling but a little overwhelmed? Come learn how to use bullet journal techniques to help organize your revision notebook. I’ll share different methods I’ve used to organize my revisions and give you the tools to set up your own revision journal for your work in progress. This is a free hands-on workshop. Please bring a notebook and pens/pencils/markers. Be ready to brainstorm!”

Address: Eastport-Annapolis Neck Library, 269 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403
Phone: 410-222-1770

December 2015 at MWAA: Polishing Your Work for Publication

Be sure to mark Wednesday, December 16th on your busy calendar! For MWAA’s last meeting of the year, we’ll be joined again by always-popular speaker Ally Machate, whose humorous, practical, and realistic writing advice helps us all to up our game.

Polishing Your Work for Publication

Each year, more than a million new titles are published by traditional and self-publishers. Every writer knows—or soon learns—that it takes multiple revisions to create a piece ready to compete for book buyers’ attention. This talk will introduce you to the most common problems that plague written works and offer simple ways to identify and resolve them in your own novel, short story, or memoir. You’ll receive tips on improving your work to keep readers’ attention, polishing your manuscript at the technical level, and getting objective feedback before you submit or go to press.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.39.57 PMAbout the Speaker: Ally E. Machate is a bestselling book collaborator, award-winning editor, and expert publishing consultant who loves using her insider knowledge of the publishing industry and wealth of experience to help others reach their publishing goals, whether it’s showing a writer how to improve a manuscript, get an agent, or self-publish, or ghostwriting a book to help an entrepreneur skyrocket her business platform to new levels. Since 1999, she has assisted, guided, and supported would-be authors on their publishing journey and takes pride in serving as their books’ best ally. Grab Ally’s free gifts and learn more at and


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. The MWA Annapolis chapter meets the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

December 2014 Annapolis MWA Meeting With Kat Spitzer

Kat Spitzer will be speaking December 17 at the Annapolis Chapter Meeting of the Maryland Writer’s Association on the topic of “Making a Book Trailer on a Budget”. She will discuss different avenues for doing a book trailer, the pros and cons of going with a professional company versus creating one on your own, and her own experiences with making a book trailer for her books.

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. The Annapolis MWA chapter typically meets the third Wednesday of every month in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. However, for October, we meet in room 307. For more information visit:


Kat Spitzer is the author of The Happy Hypochondriac and the newly released The Happy Hypochondriac Survives World Travel. She also writes the humor blog by the same name, which you can find at her website, She contributes nonfiction freelance pieces to magazines and blogs and writes a weekly sports column for The Capital Gazette. While the Happy Hypochondriac series of books is published by Apprentice House, she is also self publishing a compilation of Happy Hypochondriac “Musings” books of her most popular blog posts. The first of these, Musings on Family Life was released this summer. She is now working on a novel. Kat has a law degree, runs a small non-profit, and is the mother of two, wife of one. The word “hypochondriac” appears on all of her medical records.

Here is the book trailer forThe Happy Hypochondriac Survives World Travel:

December 2013 speaker at the Annapolis MWA – Phil Burgess

Local writer, Dr. Phil Burgess, will present a two-hour workshop on how to develop a multi-media platform to market your book entitled “Creating a Multi-Media Platform to Market Your Book”. Phil is the author of nine books, one of which – and his most recent – is a self-published title, Reboot! What to do when your career is over but your life isn’t (FriesenPress, 2011). For details, see Phil says, “Even with a contract with a mainline publisher, the chances are slim to none that they will invest in the kind of marketing that is required to get maximum payoff from writing and publishing a book. Those days are long gone.”

burgess_Pic-Reboot! cover

His talk will be on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in room 205 at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
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 6:30pm in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. For more information visit:

In this workshop, Phil will walk through the wide range of do-it-yourself strategies to maximize the marketing, distribution and sales of your book, self-published or not. You will leave with a clear understanding of how to create a “platform document” that contains a communications, marketing and sales plan, including strategies for employing social media. “Writing a book is just the beginning,” says Phil. “The challenge is to get people to read it – to make them aware of and interested in what you have written. It is from the reaction of readers and reviewers that most of us find the most satisfaction.”

Author biography: Phil Burgess is an award-winning educator, businessman, and writer who has worked and lectured world-wide – in North America, Europe, and Australia, as well as Japan, China, India, and Vietnam. He received the “Corporate Communicator of the Year” award for 2008 from Telecom Magazine of Australia. He has appeared on PBS, NPR, CNN, and CNBC, and his views have been reported in national and regional media – including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Investors Daily, Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, The Economist, and Vital Speeches. His weekly commentaries on American politics, policy, and culture appeared in the Denver-based Rocky Mountain News from 1990-2001 and were nationally distributed to more than 140 newspapers by Scripps Howard News Service. He currently writes a weekly column called “Bonus Years” – found in the Lifestyle section of the Sunday Annapolis Capital. A former Fulbright Scholar and former university professor at The Ohio State University, the University of Colorado, UCLA and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), he received his BA from Knox College and his Ph.D. from The American University. Phil and Mary Sue, his wife of 31 years, live in Annapolis, Maryland, and can be reached at

December 21, 2011 Meeting With Screenwriter Khris Baxter

The Annapolis/Anne Arundel County Chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) will host Screenwriter Khris Baxter on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Title: Screenwriting – Soup to Nuts.

Khris Baxter is a screenwriter, producer, and script consultant. He teaches screenwriting at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda in MD, Gettysburg College in PA, and the low-residency M.F.A. at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. His body of work includes many optioned screenplays and one produced film. He is a member of the Virginia Film Office where he is a judge for the annual Screenwriting Competition.


Khris Baxter provided the following handouts during his talk:

Screenwriting Resources (pdf)

3 Act Structure (pdf)