Tennessee Mountain Writers, Inc. Newsletter
What’s the difference between a shopper in a supermarket and a writer? The answer is, less than you might think.
A trip to the supermarket usually entails collecting a regular supply of staples, potatoes and pasta, eggs and bread. From time to time, and depending on the type of food store, more exiting fare comes to notice among the packed shelves. Treats that will earn plaudits from family members, such as smoked mackerel, or thick cut marmalade. Some pleasures are seasonal, though global ever-occurring springs and summers have defused the delight of sampling the first strawberries or peaches. Nevertheless, pumpkin pies and their ingredients still only occur in the autumn and fresh cranberries are more freely available as winter approaches.
Writers are much like supermarket customers. When we approach a piece of work, a poem, an article or a story, we collect our basic words, the ones we know we will use because we always do. We fill our word baskets with handfuls of common nouns and verbs, though we try to cut down on the verb to be. We toss in packets of prepositions, conjunctions, definite and indefinite articles, barely thinking about them. Just as the supermarket is piled with items that aren’t good for us, word markets are stacked with the equivalents of cans of salty, fatty corned beef, or even Spam. Words that are over-used, promote laziness, and result in bloated offerings not worth reading. These junk words often come in the form of adverbs, slyly tempting us with their cunningly simple, easy-to-use appearance. Like food, words can be seasonal too, such as hearts, bunnies and reindeer.
Just as goods from the grocery store must be taken home and put to work in the kitchen, words must be processed too. The trick to using words is like knowing flour, eggs and milk can become batter for fish, a crepe, or a cake, (even Yorkshire Pudding), depending on proportions and methods of cooking. Creativity turns the basics into a feast. Beaten eggs and sugar can be transformed with a little baking, or some microwaves, to a Pavlova cake, a grand confection of meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruit. Adding some rich words to the simple essentials can change a bland article to a lyrical piece of prose, like this example, plucked from an article by Tim Radford, about science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke, in The Guardian, March 4, 2011.
“Clarke was a blooming marvel: his ideas seemed to flower, to colour and scent our lives, to disperse the seeds of invention that would take root and hybridise.”
In just a few weeks from the time of writing, writers will gather, from March 24th to March 26th, at the DoubleTree Inn, in Oak Ridge, for Tennessee Mountain Writers Conference 2011. At registration, they will be presented with a tote bag, no doubt containing items that many writers still love, despite the age of computers; pencils (very sharp), pens of all shapes and sizes and pads of paper. During following days, conference attendees will make use of all these items, collecting ideas and jotting down lines of poetry or prose inspired by workshop exercises, but what to do with the bag afterwards? It could be taken shopping.
If TMW conference attendees decide to take their bags to Krogers, Food Lion or Earthfare, they will be doing two good things. They will be saving energy and resources that go towards the infamous choice of paper or plastic, and by laying the bags in the shopping cart, they will be drawing attention to TMW, whose name will be emblazoned on outside. Alternatively, they could donate the bag at the end of the conference to the worthy cause described by Ruth Ann Maddox below.
Either way, and whether or not you can come to the TMW conference, keep collecting new words and imaginative ways to use them in your metaphorical word shopping-bag. For more conference details, go to http://tmwi.org/events.html, but please note an important change to the schedule below.
It’s hard to believe, but our annual conference is now just weeks away! Your TMW Board has been hard at work on 2011 conference plans and arrangements since last year, and is now in the process of nailing down the details. We have another great lineup of presenters this year and are excited about kicking things off at the opening reception March 24.
If you haven’t already sent in your registration form, don’t delayit must be postmarked by March 17 to qualify for the reduced rate for full participant or one-day fees. If you didn’t get a conference brochure, or if you’ve misplaced yours, all the details plus registration form are on our web site, www.tmwi.org. I hope you’re following us on Facebook as well!
We had a very successful January Jumpstart XI, with Pamela Duncan leading the Fiction track and Steve Holt leading Poetry. Special thanks go to Special Events Chair Sue Orr and her committeeVicki Brumback, Joyce McDonald, and Bryan Robertsonfor their hard work in keeping up with all the details that make an event run smoothly. Jumpstart XI was barely over when they began laying the groundwork for the coming year’s events. For our Fall Workshop, humor writer Judy DiGregorio will lead a half-day session October 29 on “Finding Your Funny Bone.” Our Jumpstart XII fiction leader will be novelist and University of Memphis associate professor Carey Holladay; Marianne Worthington, associate professor at University of the Cumberlands, will be back to lead the poetry track. Jumpstart XII is set for January 13-15, 2012.
I hope you’ll all be joining us at the conference, from the opening reception to the Saturday evening banquetbut if you can’t spare the entire weekend, we’ll still be glad to have you with us at whichever sessions you can attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
Tennessee Mountain Writers 23rd Annual Conference will be held March 24th to March 26th, at the DoubleTree Inn, in Oak Ridge, Tennesseee. The conference begins with a reception on Thursday evening and ends with the awards banquet on Saturday evening, with Susan Gregg Gilmore as the speaker. In between, sessions will be led by the following: Darnell Arnoult , Fiction & General Session Speaker, Jim Minick, Nonfiction, Bill Brown, Poetry, Evelyn Coleman, Writing for Young People, Chris Roerden, Editing.
Special Sessions: Kevin Watson, Building an Internet Presence, Beverly Connor, Internet Research, Lisa Soland, Playwriting, Gloria Ballard, Travel Writing, Judy DiGregorio, Jim Johnston & Paul Jones, From Book to CD.
Winners of our 2010 contests are invited to read their winning entries at this year's conference -- 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the Writer's Block.
IMPORTANT CHANGE: PLEASE NOTE that one change has been made in our conference schedule for Friday, March 25: Lisa Soland's Playwriting workshop will be held at 10:30 a.m., rather than at 1 p.m. Beverly Connor's Internet Research workshop will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday.
For more information go to http://tmwi.org/
As suggested above, there are several ways to make use of a TMW bag. Ruth Ann Maddux supplied this one. There will be opportunities at the conference to recycle bags for this cause, or donations may be made to the office of Realty Executives on N. Purdue Avenue, attention Lisa Boone for Altrusa.
Altrusa International of Oak Ridge, a community service based organization with a focus on literacy, launched a new program in January 2011. The Tote-A-Book program combines books with small entertainment items like stuffed animals and hand toys for young children visiting the Children’s Room outside the surgery center waiting room at Methodist Medical Center. Tote bags have been donated by various organizations and individuals interested in the program. Items to fill the bags have been purchased locally at the library, book stores and donated from individuals. Adult books such as Readers Digest, current paperbacks and mystery books will be available upon request by adults. Magazines such as Southern Living, Golf Digest, World News and cookbooks have also been offered for adult reading.
Contributions of tote bags, small new stuffed animals, hand toys such as puzzles with large pieces, yoyos, small tea sets, cars or animals are also welcome. Monetary gifts need to be made to the Altrusa Foundation specifying this project.
The goal is to fill 1000 of these bags, roughly the equivalent of the number of children who visit this waiting room every year, according to hospital records. Hospital Volunteers will distribute the tote bags, books and magazines; we will keep inventory and supply as needed. By giving the tote bags, books and magazines to whomever requests them, recipients will take home with them a part of our mission. Our hope is that at any age we will have touched a life and spark a desire to read! It will be a lifetime investment that pays extraordinary dividends!
donations may be made to the office of Realty Executives on N. Purdue Avenue. Put to the attention
of Lisa Boone for Altrusa.
The University of Tennessee
in association with the Better English
Fund, Writers in the Library, Ready
for the World, the Fern and Manfred
Steinfeld Judaic Studies Program, and
the Commission for Women
The UT Creative Writing series
Bobby Caudle Rogers, Paper
Anniversary - Poetry
Undergraduate creative writing
Graduate creative writing award
Hodges Library Auditorium
For more information
Marilyn Kallet, Director
Creative Writing Program
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is an EEO/AA/
Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution.
R01-1032-001-001-11. Revisions: 9798
Learning Events presents
Darnell Arnoult’s Extended Novel Course
A Novel Process: Six Weekends to a First Draft
Okay, that title is a little misleading! Learning Events, in conjunction with novelist, poet, and long-time writing coach and instructor Darnell Arnoult, has put together an 18-month course based on the Arnoult Method and her Sublime Fiction Triangle. The course is made up of six two day weekend workshops spread out over 18 months. Each workshop will focus on key steps from character development to scene construction to divining a plot, a structure, and identifying themes organically present in the characters’ experience. Each workshop will be hands on. Participants will receive method materials, instruction, and will also be asked to write and read and perform creative and evaluative assignments regarding their work and the writing process. Each weekend, participants will be sent home with assignments and resources to use between workshops to take the manuscript from inception to a finished draft. The instructor will be available for encouragement and questions in the interim. Manuscript critique will be confined to discussion of process and discovery on the part of the writer and the limited laboratory and workshop readings during the six weekends. The instructor will not read manuscripts as part of the course. The goal is for participants to have a completed “learning draft” or first draft by the end of 18 months, or be well on the way to such a draft. However, reaching this goal will be dependent on the students’ attendance at the workshops coupled with their follow through in the intervening weeks! Students will not be allowed to come into the course series after the first weekend, so we ask that those participants who wish to give this method a go make an informal but genuine commitment to the course for the long haul for their benefit and that of the other participants. The course is limited to 14 participants. It’s like signing on for a cruise around the Cape of Good Hope. You won’t reach home if you get off early!
Darnell Arnoult is the author of the award-winning poetry collection What Travels With Us, published by LSU Press, and Sufficient Grace, a novel published in hardcover and paperback by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Sufficient Grace is also available in unabridged audio from Recorded Books. Her short works have appeared in a variety of literary journals. She has been teaching writing for over 18 years at workshops and conferences including the Duke Writers Workshop and Duke Short Course Program. She teaches workshops and coaches students from all over the Southeast. Many students have written novel drafts based on her process, and some have gone on to attend the prestigious Sewanee Writers Workshop, been accepted to MFA programs, and began careers as published writers.
Each workshop listed below will be conducted with the three legs of the Sublime Fiction Triangle in mind: character, action, language.
Weekend #1: WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE? This weekend we use photographs and questions as well as some short assignments to develop characters and get at their experience. Participants learn how to build a character from scratch or take a real person across the bridge to fictional character. Participants come to a better understanding of the artist’s need to collect and to contain for later use, how to manipulate real events to shape art, how to give away pieces of experience and observation to generate a new world, and the use of “quick writes” to find the path to a larger story. We also cover the concept of writing toward a novel or story under the rubric of a “learning draft” and the role research plays in this process.
Weekend #2: WHERE THE HECK ARE WE? This weekend is a level two character development workshop, with the focus on characters and place, characters and community, and what impact place has on character and story. As we come to further understand our characters and discover new ones, we also define the space the character moves out from and the environment of the possible story. We examine the roll of dialogue and setting as a means to create an illusion of existenceverisimilitude.
Weekend #3: WARNING! SCENE STORM APPROACHING! This weekend we will hammer home the philosophies already articulated in previous workshops in this series: 1) You must write badly to write well. 2) The value of and commitment to short assignments and ugly first drafts (paraphrased from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird) is crucial. 3) Writing is an act of faith. 4) No part of this process is a waste of time, whether it ends up in your book or not.
Weekend #4: CORRAL CRITICAL MASS (OR MESS)! This weekend will be about evaluating your collected scenes and the tools related to this process. Using a mapping system to identify and organize elements within the body of the work to-date, we look for the best possible plot points, structures, and themes organically present in the work. We employ a piece of the method to identify scene purpose, value, and strength. We explore possible revelations and epiphanies. Whose story is it, really? Who should tell it, or how should it be told? Why is it important? Why does the story need to be told now? Why do the characters do what they do? We identify holes that need filling and fat and suckers that need to be cut away. In essence, we will be searching for the beating heart of a book in a partially written, very rough semblance of a novel manuscript. At this point we will also discuss the individual writers’ needs regarding linier and global mapping.
Weekend #5: SUPER CHARGE YOUR MUSCLE CAR. This weekend’s focus is revision at a deep level. This is not correction, but rather it is further development, deeper writing, layering of experience, adding new elements to take the work to a richer place. We are not looking under the hood to repair so much as to increase power and performance of character, action, language, plot, structure, voice, story, beginnings, endings, middles and so on.
Weekend #6: CIRCLE UP IN THE LOCKER ROOM. This weekend focuses on what is required of a writer who wants to be published, on what to do now that you have a novel draft, or are close to a novel draft. What does it mean to say you are a writer? What place does publication have in the life of a writer, if any? What is the role of rejection and revision for the writer who wants to be published? How must a writer think of revision and multiple revisions? How do you get helpful feedback? When do you know it’s time to try for a public life for your work? What is a synopsis? How should it appear on the page? What should a cover letter say? How do you find an agent or an editor/publisher? What is the agent’s role? Why do you need one? What can you do to collect a few planks for your platform? How does publication affect your work? How can you best approach working with an editor who has paid you for your book and now wants you to change it? How will the possible market place affect your book and your life as a writeror just your life in general? What does it mean to be a writer as opposed to an “author”? What is a writing life, really? What happens if this novel doesn’t get an agent or doesn’t get published? What happens if it does get published but doesn’t sell? In this final workshop, we talk about what to embrace, what to steer clear of, what to let roll off your back, and how to happily let an advanced manuscript do its job while you get back to yours.
THIS WILL BE THE FIFTH SERIES OF THE EXTENDED NOVEL WORKSHOPS.
WORKSHOP DATES FOR “NOVEL FIVE” HAVE BEEN SET APPROXIMATELY THREE MONTHS APART. DATES MAY CHANGE WITH THE CONSENSUS OF THE GROUP.
April 30 May 1, 2011 Weekend #1: WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE?
Aug 27 28, 2011 Weekend #2: WHERE THE HECK ARE WE?
Nov 19 20, 2011 Weekend #3: WARNING! SCENE STORM APPROACHING!
Feb 25 26, 2012 Weekend #4: CORRAL CRITICAL MASS (OR MESS)!
May 19 20, 2012 Weekend #5: SUPER CHARGE YOUR MUSCLE CAR.
Aug 25 26, 2012 Weekend #6: CIRCLE UP IN THE LOCKER ROOM.
The cost of the workshop will be $225.00 per weekend due two weeks before each workshop. All workshops will be held in the former Orr Mountain Winery building between Sweetwater and Madisonville, Tenn. Sessions will run 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 3:30 Sunday, Eastern Time. Morning snacks, coffee, hot tea, etc., will be available. We will break for lunch from 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 12:30 Sunday. Soft drinks, water and lunch will be provided both days. Saturday night dinner will be on your own, with a suggested restaurant of the day for those who want to eat with group members.
The Magnuson Hotel, exit 60 off I-75, is offering a special rate of $58.00 per night for 1 2 people for course participants. Extra people are $8.00 each. Rooms at the Magnuson are equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, and wireless internet. There is an indoor pool, a hot tub, free breakfast bar and free dinner buffet. Mention Learning Events/Sue Richardson Orr when making reservations. Phone number is 423-337-3541.
Attendees will be asked to purchase The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction.
Learning Events will work to have copies available for purchase at the first session if participants need them.
** Please e-mail Sue at email@example.com or call 423-420-1152 if you want to register. **
Workshop group is limited to 16.
COMMITMENT FOR PAYMENT OF
$1350.00 FOR ALL 6 WEEKENDS IS REQUIRED
REGISTRATION FORM for Extended Novel Workshop 6 week-end series
Cost $225.00 per week-end
Check to Sue Richardson Orr enclosed for _____________
Sue Richardson Orr
359 Pumpkin Hollow Rd
Madisonville, TN 37354
Learning Events presents
Darnell Arnoult’s Memoir THREE Workshop Series
“Taking Measure: A Course in Memoir”
What is memory? How many stories does it take to tell a life? Who wants to hear it? In four weekend
sessions over twelve months, participants will explore the possibilities and limitations of memory, the exponential power of deliberate recall and the variety of forms memoir may take.
Oct 29 30, 2011 Weekend #2
Jan 28 29, 2012 Weekend #3
April 28 29, 2012 Weekend#4
DATES MAY CHANGE WITH THE CONSENSUS OF THE GROUP
The cost of the workshop will be $225.00 per weekend, due two weeks before each workshop. All workshops will be held in the former Orr Mountain Winery building between Sweetwater and Madisonville, Tenn. Sessions will run 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 3:30 Sunday. Morning snacks, coffee, hot tea, soft drinks, water and lunch will be provided both days. Lunch will be from 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 12:30 Sunday. Saturday night dinner will be on your own, with a suggested restaurant of the day for those who want to eat with group members.
The Magnuson Hotel, exit 60 off I-75, is offering a special rate of $58.00 per night for 1 2 people for course participants. Extra people are $8.00 each. Rooms at the Magnuson are
equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, and wireless internet. There is an indoor pool, a hot
tub, free dinner buffet and free breakfast bar. Mention Learning Events/Sue Richardson Orr when making reservations. Phone number is 423-337-3541.
** Please e-mail Sue Richardson Orr at “firstname.lastname@example.org” or call 423-420-1152
if you need more information or want to register. **
Workshop group is limited to 16.
COMMITMENT FOR PAYMENT OF $900.00
FOR ALL 4 WEEKENDS IS REQUIRED
REGISTRATION FORM for Memoir THREE Workshop Series
Cost $225.00 per week-end
Check to Sue Richardson Orr enclosed for _____________
Mail to: Sue Richardson Orr
359 Pumpkin Hollow Rd
Madisonville, TN 37354
Learning Events for 2011
NOTE-New this year
Sat, May 14 Paste Paper and Maze Books Rajeania Snider
The class will cover making beautiful decorative papers using colored paste. It is finger-painting for grown-ups. The resulting papers can be augmented with other decorative techniques to create at least three different maze books. Maze books are made from a single sheet of paper. They fold and turn revealing hidden text and images perfect for haiku and other short poems. Students will need to bring a pair of scissors, a pencil, and a ruler. All other materials and supplies will be provided. Making paste paper can get messy, so please dress appropriately.
Cost $75.00 (Includes $5.00 equipment fee) Class limited to 12 participants
Sat, July 16 Poetry 102/ More Connie Jordan Green
In Poetry 102 we will briefly refresh our knowledge of poetic terms and fixed forms, and will then concentrate on poetic technique: line breaks, figurative speech, use of sound, imagery, and a consideration of the withheld image. We will also do writing exercises to emphasize form (fixed and free) and technique.
Sat, Aug 13 Poetry/Prompts and Challenges Bill Brown
Once more Bill will fill your day with prompts, challenges and writing opportunities. Participants will receive positive critiques and comments, peer reaction and enough started, partial, or “nearly finished” poems to keep you busy for weeks. (This class is full. You may join the waiting list.)
All workshops will be held in the former Orr Mountain Winery building between
Sweetwater and Madisonville, Tennessee, 1.3 miles off Hwy 68.
Coffee, hot tea, soft drinks, water will be available. Workshops run 9:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m..
Registration form at the end of this notice
For the writing workshops come with pens, pencils, and lots of paper!
** Please e-mail Sue at email@example.com or call 423-420-1152 if you plan to attend.**
REGISTRATION FORM FOR
_________________ WORKSHOP _________ DATE _____________ WORKSHOP _________ DATE
_________________ WORKSHOP _________ DATE
Mail to: Sue Richardson Orr
359 Pumpkin Hollow Rd
Madisonville, TN 37354
Writing Class with Don Williams
Don Williams, columnist, blogger, writer and founding editor of New Millennium Writings, will teach a six-week course open to all writers and aspiring writers and poets. About half of those taking the course, on average, have been published in print media. The course begins 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church at 2931, Kingston Pike, near Cumberland Avenue, UT and Fort Sanders. The course lasts six weeks and meets for just under 2 hours most weeks, with a short break toward the middle. Cost is $150. (Take the first night on me and then decide--DW). Sliding scale rates are available, so don't be shy to ask. For more information, phone 428-0389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send complete details. ALSO, if you know you'll be missing several Tuesdays and would like to spread attendance over two six-week class cycles, contact me.
Classes meet two hours each Tuesday for six weeks in March and April. NOTE: We will skip Tuesday, March 22, to accommodate the TVUUC annual rummage sale, a great place to pick up bargains, by the way, from an eclectic and interesting group of people.
Participants engage in writing exercises, critique one another’s works and take a look at examples of effective word-craft. Among topics we'll discuss are "Rules of writing, and knowing when to break them," "Drawing on family history, imagination, and the subconscious," "Writing compelling dialogue," "Striking the right tone," "Great opening lines," "The art of the interview," "The nexus of poetry, fiction and nonfiction," "Communicating with editors and agents," "Formatting the manuscript," "Building a writing community," "The future of publishing" and "Writing opportunities online and off." Discussions and exercises depend on how much material is turned in for round-robin critiquing, which is at the heart of the course, although submitting is not mandatory. $150 price includes instructional materials, which will be provided. To enroll, bring payment, pen and paper and a page or two of something you’ve written (optional, and just to get acquainted) to the first meeting. For more information, email email@example.com, phone 865-428-0389.
MotesNotes will present A Retreat of One’s Own: The Gathering of Writers and Songwriters, at the Grailville Retreat Center, Southern Ohio, April 8-10, 2011. Former TMW conference poetry speaker, Dana Wildsmith, is among the staff. For more information, go to www.motesbooks.com.
Call for Manuscripts
Calling all writers!
We are currently accepting suggestions / submissions for short articles (150-350 words) for consideration in the Country Roads department of upcoming issues of Blue Ridge Country magazine.
Sample topics covered in this department include (but are not limited to):
• Exciting and noteworthy happenings around the region
• Grand openings and new additions
• Noteworthy discoveries
• Profiles of interesting people
• Brief book reviews (75-100 words) for recent works about the region or by local authors
All story suggestions should be focused on the mountains of the nine states we cover: Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and Maryland (for a more detailed breakdown of the coverage area please visit http://www.blueridgecountry.
If you have ideas you would like to submit, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your ideas and suggestions!
Jeffrey K. Wood
Leisure Publishing / Blue Ridge Country
3424 Brambleton Ave.
Roanoke, VA 24018
Beverly Conner received this exciting message from the publisher of RT Book Reviews.
“We have selected the winners for our 2010 RT BOOK REVIEWS Reviewers‘ Choice Awards and you have won for Best Suspense for One Grave Less.
A heartfelt congratulations from RT BOOK REVIEWS and all of our reviewers. All the winners will be announced in our May issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS magazine #327.
Our Awards Ceremony will be held in Los Angeles, Thursday, April 7, 2011
TMW also congratulates Beverly on this achievement.
Connie Green’s latest chapbook Regret Comes to Tea is now available through Finishing Line Press www.finishinglinepress.com or Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/
Connie will present a reading in the Mary Greer Room at Hodges Library on the UT campus at 7 pm Monday, March 21st. Jane Sasser will read at the Hodges Library Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11 as part of the Writers in the Library series. For more information go to http://www.lib.utk.edu/wil/
Judy DiGregorio sent this message.
“Most of you came to my ten-minute play, LET THERE BE LIGHT, last year at PSCC. And I really appreciated it. Just wanted to let you know I've been entering the play in competitions. Just got word yesterday that the play was one of only seven chosen by Dezart Performs, a theatre in Palm Springs, CA, to be part of their spring play-reading festival. The audience votes on their favorite ten-minute play during the festival. If mine wins, it will be given a full production in the fall. Click on the link below for more info. And thanks for always supporting my efforts!”
Sad news about one of TMW former presenters, Becky Lee Weyrich, also known as The Queen of the Supernatural Romance, died peacefully at her home in Florida last month. She was known to a number of TMW members and provided encouragement to many.