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 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 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.

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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.

 

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.

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.

photo/video from “An Evening with Rafael Alvarez”

Many thanks to Rafael Alvarez for the great talk!

Some photos:

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Video, part 1/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 1/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.

Video, part 2/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 2/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.

Video, part 3/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 3/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.

 

 

September at MWAA: Rafael Alvarez Returns!

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.14.40 PMMWA Annapolis is honored once again to welcome acclaimed storyteller Rafael Alvarez, who’ll be visiting us at the Maryland Hall on Wednesday, September 20th, at 7:00 p.m. This Baltimore legend — veteran Baltimore Sun City Desk reporter, author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, screenwriter on the acclaimed HBO series The Wire — will be joining us just two days after the release of his most recent book, Basilio Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of Highlandtown. This also marks twenty years since the release of his debut story collection, The Fountain of Highlandtown.

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.13.53 PMRafael will be talking with us about why we write, what we write, and how we need to keep writing. He’ll read from Boullosa to illustrate idea development and execution. Rafael’s visits with MWA are always a crowd favorite–come ready to think and discuss.

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This and all meetings of the Annapolis chapter of the Maryland Writers Association is held the third Wednesday of the month starting at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 (for August, Room 117B) of the Maryland Hall, 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD. Meetings are free to MWA members and all first-time attendees; all others may pay $5. To find out more about MWA, visit the website at: http://marylandwriters.org/index.php?bypassCookie=1

October at MWAA: Hometown Boy Rafael Alvarez Talks About His Writing Life

MWAA is proud to welcome Rafael Alvarez on Wednesday, October 19th at 6:30 p.m.

rafael-alvarezJournalist, author, screenwriter, member of the Seafarers International Union of North America: Rafael Alvarez has done it all, and he’ll be sharing some of those experiences with us.

Alvarez is a tireless chronicler of the under-represented, roving the streets of Baltimore with a disposable camera to collect faces and stories that emerge unpredictably throughout his work.

Come hear one of Baltimore’s favorite sons talk about working the city desk for the Baltimore Sun back in its heyday; writing his memoirs (Hometown Boy and Storyteller), short story collections (The Fountain of Highlandtown, Orlo and Leini, Tales from the Holy Land), and essays (Crabtown); and dealing with the unique–and often maddening–demands placed on Hollywood’s writers for large and small screens.

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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 6:30 p.m. in Room 205 of the Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

March 2016 at MWAA: James Gossard discusses his graphic novel MOBTOWN

In 1817, German Romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffman (1776 – 1822) wrote the short story “The Sandman”. Hoffman was in the vanguard of the short story movement. He did not anticipate that nearly two hundred years later his work would be the inspiration for a 1959 mobster graphic novel, Mobtown. On the eve of the release of Issue One, James will discuss the journey of his short story “The Enchantress” as it transformed from a pastiche into the graphic novel Mobtown, which also paused briefly in an adaptation as a screenplay. James will peel away the layers of the creative process and venture (the good, the bad, and the ug… er, beautiful). He’ll share the business model that has wrapped itself around what can loosely be labeled as a collaborative, creative franchise property. If you’ve ever wanted to create a graphic novel or wondered just what that beast is, James offers a lively presentation. And he’ll take all questions!

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 5.15.29 PMAbout the Speaker: James Gossard was just on location in the Central Valley of California working as the Script and Continuity Supervisor for the indie film The Drama Club, which wrapped principal photography in September 2015. More recently, he’s co-authored a sci-fi short film, Apocalypse in 9-8, which will be produced in 2016.

Besides penning graphic novels and screenplays, James owns a company that consults and writes for businesses and provides business advice to artists. He created and hosts the web series Writer, write thyself!, which explores topics of interest in the writer’s life. He regularly leads screenwriting workshops that focus on building a screenwriter’s toolbox and understanding the elements that create a rich story in film. His workshops have been held locally at Balticon and for Women in Film & Video in Washington DC. He has also served as a screenplay judge.

Other projects include a rewrite of his Cory McCabe young adult novels, beginning with Grizzly Heart. He is also developing a volume of poetry, James Leslie on James Leslie. James also writes for stage. As a playwright, his plays have been produced and have received multiple awards, including the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award.

James studied creative writing at the University of Montana and received his M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of Women in Film & Video, Maryland Film Festival, and The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. James lives with his wife Ann in Ellicott City, 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. 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.