Meeting Next Week!

Our next meeting is Thursday, February 18, 7-8pm EST.

During this meeting we will be reading the final version of our group short story. Come listen to the story and stay as long as you can. We’ll see how long it takes to get through.
If you’re not able to join us this week, I will send out information about the assignment.

We will not have Open Mic for this meeting.

Have you donated any books or volunteered to read to anyone yet for our service project? Don’t forget to REPORT what you’ve done so we can keep track!

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope to see you soon!

Service Project!

The Creative Writing Club will be organizing a service project this year. Our goal is to collect 60 books to donate to different organizations and to volunteer to collectively read for 60 minutes.

  • Our project will run now through March 31.
  • Two Options
    • Collect books to donate to a library, school, or organization.
    • Read to someone at a school, library, nursing home, or organization.
  • There will be a google form on the website to submit when you have donated books or read to someone.
  • Send in pictures of the books you’re donating or of you reading! (Only send in pictures if you’re ok with sharing them on the blog and in meetings. You do not have to be in the picture.)
  • Below is a list of resources to help get you started.

Click HERE to report how many books you’ve donated or how many minutes you’ve read.
Check out the sidebar to see our progress!

Service Project Resources
Donating Books:
Better World Books – this is a website who gives used books to kids in need. The cool thing about them is that they will let you ship books to them for free, and they’ll pay for shipping, so it’s no hassle really when it comes to costs.
DonationTown – this website is a donation wonderland! It will pair up a person with a charity based on what they’d like to donate. It’s a very wide search engine, and book donations are a part of the many things they do.

The Friends of the Palm Beach County Library System
https://www.pbclibrary.org/using-the-library/get-involved/donate-books

Salvation Army and Goodwill in Palm Beach for donating books
http://www.salvationarmyflorida.org/westpalmbeach/

http://www.gulfstreamgoodwill.com/

http://www.pascolibraries.org/supporters/friends-of-the-library/
You can do a book drive at your own school, a local school, youth group, sports teams, and other groups you are involved in, and donate them to these organizations.

Several programs at the Literacy Coalition have a need for new and used books for preschool and elementary school age children.
I did a little research, and in Orlando, Tampa, and Winter Park I found some locations that I do believe would accept gently used books. I use to go to the library in Altamonte Springs all the time when it was younger, and also as a bonus, they accept used DVDs and CDs in some locations.
Winter Park – 460 E New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 Orlando – 281 Maitland Ave, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Tampa- 900 N. Ashley Dr., Tampa, Florida 33602-3704

Reading:
St. Johns County Public Library Storytimes and Website
http://www.sjcpls.org/  OR  http://www.sjcpls.org/event-directory/storytimes/

Programs and Events Calendar for Marion County Public Library in Ocala, Florida
http://www.marioncountyfl.org/departments-agencies/departments-o-z/public-library-system/programs-and-events/programs-and-events-calendar

Palm Beach County
https://www.pbclibrary.org/using-the-library/get-involved/volunteer Become a Library volunteer; VolunTeens, 12-18 years of age, assist with the summer reading program. Call the locations listed below for further information. Space is limited. Look for other areas that allow volunteer reading now.

Watch the meeting recording from February 4th to learn more about the service project.
View the Blackboard Collaborate recording

Writing Prompt!

From Natalie: Your character is inserted into the Star Wars universe, what happens?

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.

My Nonfictional Experience – February Is Gettin’ Real…. by Rosalind

…. literally! If there is one thing I never thought I would be doing – that’s nonfictional writing. I have always appreciated the world of fiction, that being for reasons that make complete sense. Anything can happen, anyone can be made; my fiction is like a child, I raise and nurture it myself, and I work hard in shaping it into anything I wish it to be so it may succeed. I love fiction – but I’m beginning to realize – I don’t mind nonfiction, as long as it’s about something I like. I think it’s a normal thing for us to read what interests us, and vice-versa when it comes it our writing, and that rule of habit has applied itself greatly to my newest ideas – you all know I’m a reptile enthusiast – yes – of course you do.

Breeding season has started, I’ve got three girls on the road to motherhood; this being I’ll have a lot of articles and updates to write for my FB page. I also have a deeper interest that stretches beyond articles and the media posts – over this year my reading with stretch across over 10 books on Leopard Geckos, and after building my knowledge, I plan to write my own. This month has been a lot of reading (and a little bit of fictional writing, just to stay in my zone ;-) and I’ll be putting all of that gained information to use throughout this month AND throughout this year.

Of course I will remain in my comfort zone on weekend and rainy days, writing my creations and raising the children that I create in a realm that only exists in my mind, yet seems to show up in a nonfictional sense in my every day life. I’m at a point in my writing life where I’m finding the perfect balance. It’s certainly a good feeling, something I can feel proud of. It’s wonderful to come so far, to learn so much, and to develop so well as a writer – as an artist.

Writing Prompt!

From Cheyenne: You are a tree undergoing a thunderstorm for the first time. Write an inner monologue about your experience.

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.

Mere Serenity by Savannah

Serenity, she is called. Her hands are small and her fingers nimble. Her touch is gentle and faintly brushes against one’s skin. Her hair is a blanket of tumbling silky waves, a thick, yellow shawl draped around her shoulders. Her slim body is clothed with pearl white attire; only a thin, simple dress with the twisted ends twirling and floating in the breeze at her bare feet. Her reflective eyes are calm, crystal blue pools, unstirred and round as moons. Her skin is a pale color, almost white, and her round face is tilted slightly to the left side, her mind subdued in deep thought. She moves with a swift grace, her dress seeming to be gliding through the air, her toes almost hidden by the silken material. When she speaks, she speaks in a soft tone barely above a whisper. Her lips move in a slow, thoughtful way, her gaze directed at something far in the distance, something human eyes can’t see. Her figure holds a peaceful emanation, her body radiating waves which wash over the human mind, leaving behind tranquility and quietude. She is a thoughtful soul, her mind constructed of heedful ponderings. She never cries out in a rash manner, never rebukes other mortals in a strident form, and would rather keep her placid  musings to herself than to share them with the beings which surround her. She is a wandering soul, a composed mind, and a serene realm of thought. For she is mere Serenity, and nothing more.

Writing Prompt!

From Rosalind: Your character is having the worst morning of their life, until, all the sudden….

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments!

Show and Tell by Cheyenne

It is possible that the only thing harder than mastering perfect descriptions is mastering the perfect skills at showing them. Telling a story is a lot like reciting a grocery list or a to-do list to your listener. “I need to buy eggs, so I will go to the dairy section. Then, I will make Jennifer’s cake.” “I am so stressed out. I have to make a presentation for my boss. I have to pay my taxes.” It’s generic and uneventful. However, showing a story is much more insightful and thought-provoking. “Without eggs, I can’t make the cake for Jennifer’s party; everyone is depending on me for this.” “I was beyond my breaking point; first I got yelled at to make a presentation I had no idea about, and now I find out that I’m behind in my tax payments!”
It’s easier said than done though, which is why so many writers get caught in the web of telling a story instead of showing it. Sometimes, it may feel like less of a hassle to just tell how a character is doing something rather than taking the time to think of a way to describe the actions. This is lazy writing, which we are all guilty of doing. You do not have to pour your soul into every sentence you make to believe that it is a worthwhile sentence. In fact, some of the best “showing” sentences are short, and follow a “less is more” route.
One of the best pieces of advice I received on this topic was from an author who told me to avoid using “I” statements as much as possible in my stories. “I” statements include basic starts to first-person point of views such as “I stood”, “I laugh”, “I walk”, and so on. If you take a second to think of a different path to take in terms of starting a good sentence, it could be the difference between telling your viewer versus showing your viewer. For example, instead of writing: “I walked over to her table, my hand twitching nervously as I approached,” write something along the lines of: “The corner of her mouth tugged up into a calculated grin that sent my heart racing as I approached her table.”
Another way to avoid telling a story is to stray from reciting a strict sequence of events. The reader does not need to know every single detail of your character’s morning routine, or all the motions they go through when they leave their house, drive to work, enter the building, punch in their card, say hi to a fellow coworker, and so on. It gets tiring and draws on the story for the sake of having words. This is where “less is more” comes in handy. The reader is not dumb, so they’ll be able to put two and two together and understand that your character got up and got ready for work, and then arrived at the building for the day. You can skip as many unnecessary steps as possible to get to the important points.
Like all things, showing a story will take plenty of practice. Putting in a few extra moments of thought can make a sentence stand out above the rest, and when it comes to a long string of events, just remember that less is always more. Have fun and keep writing!

Writing Prompt!

From Caitlyn: Your character is in the middle of a coffee shop and time grinds to a halt. What happens?

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments!

Short Story Workshop

What is a workshop?

A workshop focuses on building a strong, complete short story for each participant. Over the course of the two months, we will discuss revising each other’s work, considering aspects of the craft of writing, such as character, point of view, description, language, and style. Participants will become acquainted with the logistics of writing a short story, and will learn how to accurately express a creative vision through their words. This workshop is intended to provide an enriching and valuable learning experience for both new and experienced writers. As a group, we will analyze and provide feedback on each others’ work through the workshop format, with participation and constructive feedback contributing to our creative growth.

-There is room available for 10 participants.
You will submit a rough draft for the application, and then write a final draft during the workshop.

-Meeting times: February 16th, March 1st, March 10th, March 24th 7-8pm EST .
To participate you must be able to make 3 out of the 4 meetings.
-Feb 16: Discuss rough drafts 1-5
-March 1: Discuss rough drafts 6-10
-March 10: Discuss final drafts 1-5
-March 24: Discuss final drafts 6-10

-Each participant will read all 10 stories. Each participant will provide comments and feedback on each story in the document provided. During each meeting, each participant will receive verbal feedback from all the other participants. Stories/feedback will not be anonymous.

-Participants must have a mic.

Should you apply?

Do you have time?
The workshop is meant to be intensive. It’s ok to recognize now is not a good time to commit to a large project.
Can you make all the meetings?
We will be going until 8pm. You must be there the full hour.
Are you ok with different material?
All stories will be school appropriate, however if you often choose not to read something based on content, a workshop might not be a good fit.

Your Short Story
The topic: Your choice
Must be school appropriate
1,000-5,000 words

How to Apply

  • Please watch the recording from the last meeting for information on how the workshop will work.
  • Click here to submit the application. To apply, you must fill out the application and email Mrs. Emery the story you would like to use for the workshop.
  • You can read the stories from last year’s workshop on the blog.
  • Stories can be any topic, but should be school appropriate. Stories should be 1,000-5,000 words.
  • Applications are due February 5th.
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