Writers:

As I pen this it’s been raining for 32 hours straight. Perhaps we should be crafting arks and not novels. Of course, there’s at least a few of us working on ARCs right now. hehe.
Hey, if we’re not trying to laugh at this point in the winter/spring of never-ending rain…you know what they say, “Tears in the rain….”
Last week I told you I was trying desperately to find someone to sub for our April 15 workshop; however, I have not been successful as of yet. Worse case scenario, the time and space will be there for those who are not attending NorWesCon to have some quiet heads-down writing time in a different space. Sometimes moving locations helps spur creativity. But, once again, I will continue to find a solution. I heard from a couple of you that you decided to attend this convention and I’m thrilled to hear that. Again, it’s local, very affordable for the whole weekend and chock-full of writing panels and inspirational programming. So that is still very much an option for anyone not already attending.
Regardless, there is much work to still be done on our track of Level Up Your Writing! So far you’ve looked at lots of mechanical things — description, dialogue, lay out. Now we’re going to start looking at themes in the story and the tools used to reveal them. So take your chosen text and re-read as necessary, making note of themes. Maybe take a few minutes and journal out thoughts about what you think the themes are in the novel you’ve chosen. The biggest thing I want you doing is thinking about the text and deeply considering it. Next week there will be more definitive exercises, but thinking is part of the creative and learning process. We’re at that stage in this examination, so give yourself permission to just think.
Want to also tell you all about an event that’s headed our way on April 27:  Wine & Words at the Black Dog. So pencil in that early evening for a literary event that I hope will become a regular one. More details next week. Just mark your calendar today.
Also, I was trying to update the blogs on both my personal site as well as SnoValley Writes! some of them are linking to blogs that have disappeared. Please take one minute and respond to me with the link to your most current or “main” blog. Thanks.
Don’t forget our weekly writing cafes Tonight at Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m. and Friday morning at The Black Dog Arts Cafe at 9:30 a.m.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ~Mark Twain

What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — March 22, 2017 Edition.

Writers:

We have a really great opportunity being provided to us by a former member and successfully published author, Ruthanne Reid.

She just launched her book last Tuesday, and it’s doing really well – as of today, it’s the #15 bestseller in contemporary fantasy. To celebrate the success and give a nod to a group for which she has fond memories (she doesn’t live in the valley any more). She offering a bonus for writers: a 28-minute video crash-course on world-building: http://ruthannereid.com/bonuses She said, “I loved SnoValleyWrites – to this day, it’s the only in-person writing group I attended – and I’d love to offer them this resource. Normally, I’d ask that they buy the .99 book first, but you guys really meant a lot to me at a time I needed the support, so I’m willing to just share the video.” The particular video link is here:  https://vimeo.com/ruthannereid/worldbuilding2017

Do PM me for the password to get in so you can use it. If you’re interested, please act fast. But do work with me — Casz — to troubleshoot any issues. It’s a really great video chock full of great information and brings a bit of a tear to my eye so that one of our authors is kicking so much publishing booty!

Next, don’t forget the writing cafes…tonight at Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m.. in North Bend and at The Black Dog in Snoqualmie on Friday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m.

One note about our upcoming April workshop before I get into the follow-on from last Saturday’s workshop — most of those in the class, as well as myself, will be at NorWesCon on that Saturday. When I booked my pass for the Con, I thought it was the week prior. Oopps! I’m trying to come up with a special guest speaker for that day, so stay tuned. If anyone knows of someone who might want to take the class period and speak, that would be great. But for those not going to the convention, my goal is to have some writing programming regardless.

Alright, to the workshop and homework. Below is what we covered in the workshop on Saturday. It was a really great workshop and I know that everyone really got lots out of it. If you missed, please see the worksheet (both attached and below my signature line for your convenience) and work through it. Feel free to email me with questions. That’s your prompt this week — do the attached homework and maybe send me leads for a substitute for April 15th’s workshop.

Now your moment of Writing Zen: “There are 30,000 days in your life. When I was 24, I realized I’m almost 9,000 days down. There are no warm-ups, no practice rounds, no reset buttons. Your biggest risk isn’t failing, it’s getting too comfortable. Every day, we’re writing a few more words of a story. I wanted my story to be an adventure and that’s made all the difference.”~ Drew Houston


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

SnoValley Writes!

March 18, 2017

Level Up Your Writing (Class 3)

 

Continuing the DeConstruction Process — Reading Like a Writer

 

  1. Time to clear the cobwebs. Writing warm-up (Casz will provide prompt)

 

  1. Discuss last month’s homework. What did you learn? Where did you struggle?
  2. Share the one most interesting line from your conversation observation.
  3. Read your piece.

 

  1. Time to think about the book your dissecting.

 

  1. Now think about the description in the story. Where is it best to you? Pick out one scene and share with the group.
  2. Where does the description struggle? Discuss.

 

  1. How do we make our description better?
  2. Know the key 5 components:  Sensory Details, Figurative Language, dominant impression, precise language, and Careful Organization

*Sensory Details

*Figurative Language

*Dominant impression

*Precise language

*Careful Organization (sentence structure to chapter structure)

 

  1. Homework: Creating your own description worksheet. Get your chosen work text and find a section of descriptive writing. Retype it or rewrite it on a document that you may mark up (track changes in word or a red pen on paper). Highlight which key component was used in the description, or find five different places where the key components are used in your text.

 

  1. Rewrite those sentences in your own voice or find five key components in your own work and compare them to the author of the text you’ve chosen.

 

  1. Find a place in one of your own stories or the story of your text and rewrite it with your new knowledge.

 

Weekly Writing Prompt — March 15, 2017 Edition

Writers:

The rain has my brain a bit of a soggy mess, so we’re in bullet point mode again….
1. This months’ workshop is this Saturday (3/18) at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library’s Meeting Room. Bring your books. Bring your homework. Something to write on (lappie, pen/paper). Bring your own coffee and munchies, if you like. RSVP, please, so I can print off worksheets/agendas appropriately.
2. Tomorrow evening is a spoken word event at The Black Dog. I’d love to see the writers come out in droves. It begins at 7 p.m., but feel free to come out earlier and have dinner before the event.
3. Don’t forget writers cafes tonight at Little Si (6 p.m.) and at The Black Dog on Friday morning (9:30 a.m.)
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
‘The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.” ~Eminem


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — March 8, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Writing one-handed is fun. Actually, not really. But, I’m bringing you your weekly cheerleading and information all the same.
We have about 10 days until our next workshop:  March 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library. I certainly hope that we’ll have good attendance. As our community has grown, meeting space is at a premium and the library readily offers space to us, but we must be active to maintain that space. Also, writing! Right? Give yourself permission to carve out just 90 minutes once a month to be pushed to level up your craft.
Your prompt is to continue to work on the homework from Feb. 18 workshop and keep deconstructing your chosen text.
If you want to zing out a short story (no more than 1500 words about International Women’s Day and a story of a strong woman in your life, I’d love to see that, too.
Don’t forget about the weekly writing cafes — tonight at Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m. and Friday at The Black Dog at 9:30 a.m. Hope to see you.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“Your personal life, your professional life, and your creative life are all intertwined. I went through a few very difficult years where I felt like a failure. But it was actually really important for me to go through that. Struggle, for me, is the most inspirational thing in the world at the end of the day – as long as you treat it that way.” ~ Skylar Grey


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 22, 2017 Edition

Writers:

I can see that the “homework” is making our very robust class kind of peter out. So, I wanted to take a moment and let you all know that there is no wrong answer in the homework and it’s more about exercising your writing muscles. You learn what works for you and what you need to learn through those exercises.

Since 2008 when I began SnoValley Writes! I have always contended that you get out of it what you put into it. I try hard to make sure that there’s not more than about two hours of work outside the workshop each week — and I would guess that’s the high end of it.

You want to level up? You need to put in some time. I’ve tried hard to design this learning track for 2017 in a manner that you can learn; but, you can also juggle all that you need to juggle.

As always I’m open to suggestions if you have ideas on how to make the work and lessons more digestible and equitable.

For those who were blocked for other reasons other than desire, there is a download of the worksheet we went over and the homework to bring for the March 18 worksheet attached to this email and included in the body below my signature. However, the worksheet doesn’t include the warm up prompt or the lecture that I gave. You’ll have to do your own cobweb cleaning, which I highly encourage, and do your own research on what makes dialogue good and bad. Give yourself the :90 you would have spent in the workshop doing that, of course.

There you have it. That’s your prompt. Do the worksheet, catch up, do the exercises. Level Up Your Writing.

Now your moment of Writing Zen:

“The only way to learn and hone your craft is by working hard and writing regularly.” ~ Darren Shan


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

SnoValley Writes!

February 18, 2017

Workshop – Level Up Your Writing (Class 2)

 

Continuing the DeConstruction Process — Reading Like a Writer

 

  1. Time to clear the cobwebs. Writing warm-up (Casz will provide prompt)

 

  1. Discuss last month’s homework. What did you learn? Where did you struggle?
  2. Reading of step 4?
  3. Reading of Step 5?

 

  1. Put your hand on the book you’re working with all year. Think about the story. Just sit there thinking about it for a minute.

 

Now think about the dialogue in the story. Dialogue instantly reveals your skill as a writer. Bad dialogue signals the work of an amateur who has failed to grasp the mechanics of speech. Good dialogue illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships.

  1. Find some dialogue that really pulls you in, illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships. The section you find may not do all of these things, but it should do at least one.
  2. Is there anywhere in the book where the dialogue struggled?

e.g. “I can’t go on,” Mary said tearfully

  1. “Mary wiped a tear from her cheek. “I’m not sure I can go on,” she said. (body language…description, as well as words)
  2. Now think about where you struggle with dialogue. How do you become batter at it? Find all the places where it serves no purpose — cut that from your text

e.g. “I saw Mark in the park the other day,” I said.

“How is he,” Mary said.  (Unless your purpose is to show how boring and awkward the conversation is between Mark and Mary — cut this out.)

 

  1. Homework — 30 Minutes in Public/Student of Conversation:. Go to a coffee shop, a busy bus stop, a bar, a hotel lobby, sit anywhere there are people. Bring a notebook and pen. Just write down everything you hear, see, watch body language, expressions. Actually write down conversations. don’t think, don’t worry about punctuation, just write it all down.

 

  1. When you get home or get writing time next, construct a short story from what you wrote down.

 

  1. Read it out loud to yourself. Revise quickly (I don’t want you spending hours and hours on this project; it’s just supposed to be an exercise, not a dissertation.)

 

  1. Bring your notes from your Conversation Observation and your story to the next workshop March 18.

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 15, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Happy Writing Day! Since every rainy day is a good writing day!
Don’t forget our monthly workshop is this Saturday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Meeting Room. Be sure to bring the book you’ll be working with to Level Up Your Writing. Be sure you’ve done the Jan. 21st worksheet (can be found on our blog here). Be ready to write. Be ready to share. Be ready to step it up.
Don’t forget there’s a writers cafe tonight at Little Si Cafe at 6 p.m. Also, Friday at The Black Dog at 9:30 a.m.
Hope to see you!
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.” ~Jane Goodall


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 8, 2017

Writers:

I received some feed back from everyone about the latest “homework.” I wanted to clarify that it is not required that you do that before our next workshop on February 18. The first assignment to pick out the book, read it, and do the initial worksheet, however, should be completed. It only takes a short while. I provided the next  assignment bit for those who wanted to work ahead. I encourage you to work ahead, since other parts of our lives sometimes steals from our writing time; but, it’s not necessary.
Do, however, note your calendars and be at our workshop Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library meeting room. Do have the first assignment done:  pick a book to work with all year, read it, complete the first worksheet. Come to the workshop. Be ready to write at the workshop, too.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share my own literary milestone — especially given that I am always excited to announce all of yours (just need to read me in and I can share wider with the group). This Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at The Black Dog in historic downtown Snoqualmie, I’ll be having my book launch for Wilderness Rim. I would love if all of you joined in the celebration. There is a no-host bar and dinner special and I will be providing bigfoot-themed dessert for everyone. Wear your best Sasquatch garb (optional) and I’ll see you there!
And now your moment of Writing Zen:
“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” ~ Misty Copeland


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Writing Prompt — February 1, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Hopefully you’ve picked out your book for your Level Up Your Writing track for 2017, have read it, and done the first work sheet. I understand how January kind of snuck up on folks, many of us sidelined for too long with the flu, including yours truly. So you have one more week to get the book, read it, and do the first exercise.
However, I don’t want to discourage those who are motivated and want to work ahead, so you can do a couple of things in preparation for lessons ahead.
1. Pick out your favorite scene of dialogue
2. Pick out your favorite section that has fantastic description
3. Pick out a moment where something is revealed about the protagonist.
4. Pick out a moment where something is revealed about the antagonist.
Meanwhile, I hope many of you are planning on making the writers cafes — either the one tonight or the one on Friday morning.
And now your moment of Writing Zen:
“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” ~Tom Stoppard

What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — January 25, 2017 Edition

Writers:

What a great first workshop to kick off 2017! A great way to Level Up Your Writing!

Lori A. May was a great guest speaker and gave us some new tips and reiterated things we already knew.  Lots of great resources. We also had a few moments to pass out homework, which I’ll include below for those that missed. Next week’s writing prompt will work off of this homework, too. So you have a few more days to get involved. Yes, it’s some serious work and you’ll need to dedicate time to getting it done. Anything worth having is worth working towards, busting out of your comfort level and growing. So come join us as we Level Up!

The Writers Cafes are a great time to do your Level Up Workshop homework, so maybe go out this evening to Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m. or The Black Dog on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.

The homework is below my signature line, so take a look. In the meantime, here’s your moment of Writing Zen:

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Sno Valley Writes!

January 21, 2017

Workshop – Level Up Your Writing (Class I)

 

Beginning the DeConstruction Process – Reading Like A Writer

 

  1. Pick out a book that is in your “favorites” list. It should be a book by an author whose prose makes you want to Level Up Your Writing. You should own this book because you will be using it for your homework the entire year.

 

  1. Begin with the jacket copy. This is what enticed you to pick up the book in the first place. When you go beyond your emotional reaction to the copy and look at it with your analytical brain, notice what jumps out at you and what excited you about the story and the characters. Take a few moments and answer these questions:
  2. What enticed you to pick up this book?
  3. If the book was recommended, what appeals to you about the cover?
  4. What part of the book’s jacket copy appeals to you. Are there specific words that pull you in? What devices does the author employ to pull you in via the jacket?
  5. Before reading the book, what part of the story piqued your interest the most within what’s included in the text of the book jacket.

 

  1. Now think about your own writing. If you have a particular body of work, say a novel, or a collection of poems, or even writings on one non-fiction subject, how would you do the same?
  2. How would you model the book copy to draw in your audience?
  3. What would your  jacket copy say?
  4. What kind of devices — metaphors, repetition, etc. would you employ to hook your readers?

 

 

  1. Take a few moments and write a short piece as your homework book as the focal point. Two friends arguing over it, or someone just finds the book along a trail, at a bus stop, a book sale, a gift, what have you. What impact does that book have on them.

 

  1. Now take a few moments and write a short piece on how your work (novel, poems, etc.) has impact on someone in another unusual surrounding (the mailman just drops it in a stranger’s mailbox one day, a jilted lover leaves it in her ex’s apartment).

 

  1. Bring both of those short pieces to the next workshop on Feb. 18.

Weekly Writing Prompt — January 18, 2107 Edition

Writers:

Huzzah! We have a name for our special guest speaker on Saturday! Lori A. May. If you haven’t been to one of our workshops in a while, I would highly encourage you to attend this Saturday (Jan. 21) at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library’s meeting room. Ms. May will be talking about pitching, getting an agent, and other writerly questions you scribes have for her. I’m hoping to continue having guest speakers as often as possible, and our reception with Ms. May will determine how often other visiting panelists would like to visit us.
Following Ms. May’s presentation, we’ll have a very short assignment to get us going on our year-long track of Level Up Your Writing. Bring the book that you plan to use throughout the year. Should be an author whose work you admire and writing style you would like to reach for (understanding, of course, that you will not BE that writer, but you can learn from them).
Then every week leading up to the next workshop there will be mini assignments in this weekly email (we will discuss further on Saturday).
Hope to see you all on Saturday and represent what a great organization Sno Valley Writes! is.
And now your moment of Writing Zen:

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg