Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September Writers Coffeehouse

By Dawn Byrne

I counted thirty attendees at the Philly Liars Club Writers Coffeehouse in Willow Grove, PA on Sunday September 27th. Jessica Hunter and I represented the SJWG at this meeting, in the rear of Barnes & Noble on Park Ave.

The Coffeehouse began with a two-sentence bio of each person in our group. I'd gotten to know faces and names of those who sat with me, since I'm a regular Coffeehouse addict, and easily joined in the applause and enthusiasm when a person in our midst mentioned a forward step in their creative endeavor.

Janice Gable Bashman, Bram Stoker nominated author, publisher of The Big Thrill, and the International Thriller Writers' Vice President, invited our group to add its wealth of knowledge to her orchestration of discussions. She encouraged us to ask questions too.

One of the topics? Patterns in the way people speak to show a character to the reader. So much about a character's physical appearance, personality and background can be relayed to the reader through dialogue in a way that is showing, not telling. This is true for characters who aren't native to the setting of the story as well as those who are. Also, what the character doesn't say, and what another character's internal dialogue says in response to their dialogue, keys the reader into creating in their head who the character is, even if physically different from the author's vision. Only aspects of a character that's important to the story must be picked up correctly by the reader.

Janice touched on how to present a character's ethnicity without hitting the reader over the head. The meeting ended after a writing exercise on dialogue, with volunteers sharing their results.

Janice urged us to read Publisher's Weekly's newsletter. She explained that if we didn't want to subscribe, some articles are free, and to check out their Twitter.

Other valuable information: Oyster, a subscription service for books, is going out of business; ebook sales have dropped some and print is making a comeback with increased sales at Barnes & Noble; book scans only pick up 75% of your book's sales; If an editor shows interest in your book, you should still get an agent - when you email the prospective agent, type "Have Editor, Need Representation," in the subject line to get quick attention.

The Coffeehouse in Willow Grove won't meet in November or December, so make sure you don't miss the October 25th meeting from 12 noon to 2 PM, plus another hour for networking. But before that, go north on October 10th to the Palmer Branch of the Easton Area Public Library for their YA Fest 2015. Janice will be signing books and speaking as part of their authors' panel.

I've benefitted many times from listening to Janice share information on various facets of the writing world. I appreciate the time she gives for free and freely to the Coffeehouse.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this, Dawn. I really need to find time to attend one of these meetings. Thanks for keeping me up to date with it.


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