Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Pilcrow & Dagger Literary Journal

Pilcrow & DaggerWhat’s hot? Pilcrow & Dagger is! And we are ready to inform and entertain you. Our goal is to provide writers, and readers, entertainment and a break from “the block,” allowing your muse to reignite.

The Pilcrow & Dagger Literary Journal features original and creative short stories, essays, and poetry from writers from all walks-of-life.

We will publish 8 issues per year with our first issue premiering January 15, 2015. It will be available on our website as a PDF.  It will also be available for download through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

We are now accepting submissions for the January and March 2015 issues. We are not accepting submissions for any other issue at this time. Each issue will be assigned a theme.  Assigned themes for January and March are here.

FINDING THE RIGHT WRITER’S GROUP

Fred Rayworth by Una LakeFINDING THE RIGHT WRITER’S GROUP

I know I’ve talked about this subject until I’m blue in the face, but after a recent meeting, it really struck home. You see, as a writer I’m also an observer and a listener. Okay, certain family members would say a selective listener, but let’s not pick at straws here, and I don’t care if it’s a cliché. The point is that when I listen, I pick up on things, like subjects for my articles! Collectively, even though I’ve covered it before, I’ve gathered another head of steam about writer’s groups because I’ve been hearing stuff, inspiring stuff, not in any spiritual sense, but in it’s time to discuss it with my readers inspiring stuff.

First let’s define what I mean by a writer’s group.

THE GOOD

A writer’s group to me is one where you can read your work and have it critiqued. In other words, it’s a critiquing writer’s group. That, to me, is what I consider a good writer’s group. It’s one where you get your hands dirty, where you actually dive in, present your work, get it critiqued by your peers and also critique others. In this way, you actually learn the craft of writing and practice it.

THE BAD

A writer’s group that is basically just a club that talks about writing, maybe has speakers that come in a talk about writing is to me, something that barely touches the surface. You can listen to people until you’re blue in the face (and once again, I don’t care if it’s a cliché). You’ll end up with a whole lot of knowledge, but if you try to put it into practice, if you don’t have a support system and second sets of eyes to look it over, you could still be writing crap. There will be nobody to see the forest through the trees, no matter how many talks you attend, how many books you read and how many discussions you have. After all, do you take a course in writing, just listen to the instructor and never turn in any work to be graded?

A club is a club. Just because the subject and interest matter happens to be about writing doesn’t make it effective or beneficial to you unless there is a way for you to present your work. Someone, in fact many people should see it!

However, I want to make it clear that I’m not condemning writer’s clubs. They do serve a purpose, for general knowledge. They’re a great way to supplement your understanding of writing. However, they should not be your sole way of gaining your chops. If you had a choice between a good critique group and a writing club, chose the critique group. If you can dedicate the time to both, go for it. If it’s your only choice, take what you can get, but consider starting your own critique group.

THE UGLY

The writer’s group from hell is out there. There are many faces to this type organization in all of their mean facets. They have agendas, allow blood on the floor, and when you leave a meeting, often you’re either pissed off, embarrassed, or depressed.

Sorry folks. That’s not productive!

Vibe is everything!

As an adult instructor with an education background, I can tell you that a hostile learning environment is counterproductive. Not only that, as a writer chasing his muse, inspiration and joy can be sucked right out of your life in a hostile and intimidating environment.

When you engage in a group that gives you this feeling, I don’t care the circumstances, run, don’t walk away! If that means seeking out a new group, starting your own, or just having to go solo, it’s better than putting up with that kind of bull.

GAINING YOUR CHOPS

Practical experience is the only way to gain your chops. With a critique group, you read samples of your work and people tell you what they think. You get a broad spectrum. This not only gives you different viewpoints, but it toughens you up to be able to take criticism. Keep in mind that this should be about the work and not you. It should be constructive and positive.

If you want to be a writer, don’t be a wallflower.

There will often be conflicting views of what you should do. Then, you need to take what the most experienced voices say, look it up, or go with your gut. As you gain experience, you will learn which way to go.

I’ve covered much of this several times in the past but the subject keeps coming up in my encounters, so I know it’s always a hot topic amongst writers.

WHAT I HEAR

We had a new person show up. He went to an alternative group (a writer’s club) in town. They told him that if he wanted a serious writer’s group, he needed to contact our group.

A member came back from a trip to another state and he visited a writer’s group there. He noticed an instant vibe the moment he walked through the door. Hostility. The room was filled with people with agendas, cliques and factions. They grouped into hostile camps. He couldn’t believe it.

At the conference last year, I talked to several people from out of town. I do a poll every year. Some were in writer’s groups similar to ours, while others were from small towns where they had nobody with which to form a group. Some were in clubs instead of critique groups and wished they had critique groups. Others were in hostile critique groups. One quit his group because he was in a writer’s group from hell.

A few weeks ago I talked to one of our members who used to be in the same writer’s group from hell I was in here in Las Vegas when I first arrived in 2002. He said it was still going until the Borders store closed a few years ago. I’m surprised it lasted so long. He still doesn’t know why he stayed as long as he did. He didn’t say how much he got out of it, but he was relieved to learn of our group.

I’ll probably continue to redo this same article in various forms because I’m a strong advocate for writer’s critique groups. Mine has helped me so much I can’t begin to say, and I know it’s helped many of our other writers.

Happy writing!

Story Bundle

Welcome to StoryBundle! The NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle is a very special bundle we’ve put together just for National Novel Writing Month. It has 12 books by award-winning and best-selling authors who can help you not only put together a novel in a month, but help guide you into a career as a writer. Our curator Kevin J. Anderson explains more here about the award-winning and best-selling authors that want to pass their collective expertise on to you.

Guess Who Wrote This?

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Bowling Challenges

I’ve been bowling since I was a little girl. Both my parents bowled so I guess people could say I grew up around it. The sport of bowling is a challenge all on its own, it isn’t as easy as it seems, like most people think. Some believe it’s just a game, where they throw a ball down the lane. It’s much more than that. It’s a competitive sport.

While walking into the bowling alley, I can smell the fresh oil on the lanes and the aroma of food from the snack bar. Pins shine under the luminous lights almost as if they were glowing before one’s very eyes. The approach is like runway, only without the models.

Picking up my green and silver Spit Fire bowling ball, waiting until total focus sets in. It’s game of strategy, a waiting game. Just don’t wait too long. Walking down the approach feels like gliding, describing it any other way is an injustice depending on whose speaking of their experiences.

Throwing the Spit Fire down the second arrow, curving a sharp left, it happens so fast, most of the time. The ball strikes, striking hard can help in the long run. Achieving a good pin count on every frame is of the upmost importance. Having fun is fun and all but if one’s truly serious about it. That’s only a fragment of the entirety of the matter when it comes down to it.

Been bowling since I was four years of age, so taking this seriously is no problem when I think about it, sure I want to have fun and all but it’s a competitive sport, winning can be fun as well. Keep in mind though, winning isn’t everything but it’s still great when it happens. My favorite part of bowling is when I can bowl in a league whether for summer or winter seasons and bowl alongside a team.

It’s not just my score anymore, three others scores are taken into account in a total series and total pin count, depicting one’s standing. Over the years I’ve heard some pretty quirky names for team but that’s part of the fun and joy it brings. Matches can be intense, when they must come together in a unified group to try and overcome the opposing team.

Sometimes all the fall down, those are the best, strikes they’re called. Spares however are just as important. And if one throws certain games, such as an all strike and spare every other frame it’s called a Dutch Game and a prize is won aside from having a clean game. Lucky breaks leaves pins scattered and if one’s truly has luck and the bowling gods on their side, the pins will fall into each other like dominoes.

On a team if they’re close enough, teammates can be like a second family to one another. Bowling can be an exciting sport to play. One thing I can’t stand is when people go on the approach and fool around, that’s a challenge all on its own. Especially when they bowl right next to a more serious bowler who actually gives a darn, frustrating as heck.

There are many things to consider when bowling: where your mark is, adjusting if you miss the mark or the oil patterns don’t help your shot, spares whether they are single pin or multiple shots, how to make them, good sportsmanship, common courtesy… I could go on.  Some don’t care how they bowl, throwing the ball anywhere. Like they are throwing it away, who does that, none that I know. They strive to get better not get worse.

Bowling is a sport people, believe it or not. For those who do take it seriously, when they have an off day, they get frustrated. It affects their attempts of getting a good pin count most of the time however in some cases it can help depending on lane conditions, though bowling with a level head is better.

Cheering helps too, just not too much where one cannot focus on the frame they’re on, show common courtesy and honor good sportsmanship. I’ve learned about teamwork, focus, determination, and to have a great time while bowling. When I step into a bowling alley, bowling in the next match and spending time with some good friends, is something to look forward to.

 

Spooky Story

Spooky Story Night

October 24, 2014

Tina’s House  6 pm

Submit your story to be read.
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Flash Fiction rules

Contestants must attend Spooky Story Night event in order to be entered. (If you plan to attend, but do not wish to personally read in front of the audience, a HWG officer will gladly read for you…but you must be in attendance at event).

Entries cannot exceed 500 words.

Only one entry per person.

All entries must be e-mailed to Alba at aarango@cox.net, with SPOOKY STORY NIGHT as the subject heading, no later than Wednesday, October 15.

Entries limited to first 20 stories submitted. (first come, first serve)

But wait…there’s more. (Didn’t think we’d make it that easy, did you?) To be considered, each piece MUST contain the following fifteen words somewhere in the story. Let’s see how creative you can be.

 

spooky                                 haunted               severed                               zombie                                 potion

black cat              cemetery            goblin                   skeleton              clown

eyeballs               fangs                     tutu                       pumpkin              Henderson Writers’ Group

 

Spooky Story Night attendees will vote on their favorite story. Winner will receive tickets for two to a fabulous Las Vegas area attraction.