Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Meeting Minutes for April 22, 2021

 A bit of a whoops for us all.  Four people attended this one week delayed meeting via zoom.  We are all hoping July will see us in person once again. Ev, Nancy, Becky and Michelle met for an hour.  Our discussion was a bit random but did include some book recommendations and local writing/contest/zine news.

The Hate U Give art and essay response zine is now available at the Swanton Library for anyone who is interested.

April 28th is the deadline for submitting to the poetry zine

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. The deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Proposed Workshops/Panels

Becky proposed approaching regional authors who specialize in Memoir Writing. An in person panel which would be held later this year.  The focus: the process and the research involved in writing a memoir.

Book Recommendations

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. Fantastical anthology of written and visual art edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. 

Amber and Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz. Young Adult historical fiction/fantasy

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

Mayflower, Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick

Not Quite What I was Planning. Six Word Memoirs. 

Our next meeting is via Zoom on May 20, 2021 at 6 pm.  Click on this LINK and use the passcode 289902 when prompted. Hope to see you there!


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Meeting Minutes March 18, 2021

 There were five members in attendance via zoom.  We are all hopeful in person meetings will resume in early summer.  The attendees agreed zoom meetings might be more practical for winter meetings.   

Contests

April is National Poetry Month.  The Swanton Arts Council is sponsoring a poetry compilation contest. The prompt is "Kindness".  There will be adult and youth categories judged professionally. First and second prizes in each category: $50 and $25 respectively. The deadline for submissions is April 16th. Entrants will be published in a zine, which will be available at the Swanton Library.  There will be an online poetry reading, or possibly recorded at NW Television on April 30th.  Please contact Judy P with questions EMAIL

The artist response to "The Hate U Give" is due by April 1st, 2021.  Written responses must be 1,500 words or less.  The responses will be published in a zine available at the Swanton Library.  There will be a random drawing of all entries for a cash prize.   On April 8th, there will be an online zoom discussion of the book. Contact Judy Paxham with questions and log in information  EMAIL  

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Exhibitions/Performances

Vermont Libraries summer reading 2021 - TAILS & TALES. If anyone would like to read a favorite story about animals or their own work of the same vain, the Swanton Arts Council is planning a recording session for late April or early May. If interested in participating please contact the Swanton Public Library.   

Group members discussed the idea of offering book reviews as a service to Swanton library patrons.  As well as offering monthly recommendations to each other during our meetings.

We had a 20 minute writing prompt session during our meeting.  Members offered the following prompts for consideration: Sunshine, Lemony, How to Express Happiness, Is she lost? and Frankenswan. It was an enjoyable exercise which we will continue for the foreseeable future.

The next meeting is April 15th 2021 at 6 pm via zoom.  Login via this LINK and enter password: 289902 Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Meeting minute for February 18, 2021

 We had six members who met via zoom. After about 30 minutes of catching up and news, we launched into a new format.  Writing to a word prompt for 20 minutes and then sharing the result.  For this meeting, we knew the prompt in advance.  Starting in March we will all bring a random prompt to the meeting and people can choose to use one or all of the prompts in a 20 minute free writing session, excluding their personal prompt.  

Becky reminded everyone to check the Facebook page for contest and resource ideas.  She posts them as she finds them.  

Book Recommendations

For those interested in books for middle grade readers (reccs courtesy of Becky)

"They Threw Us Away" by Daniel Kraus.

"Scary Stories for Young Foxes" by Christian McKay Heidicker

"Trigger Warning" by Neil Gaiman (recc courtesy of Renee)

Contests/Community Events

The artist response to "The Hate U Give" is due by April 1st, 2021.  Written responses must be 1,500 words or less.  The responses will be published in a zine available at the Swanton Library.  There will be a random drawing of all entries for a cash prize.   Contact Judy Paxham with questions EMAIL Get reading and get writing!

Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

Writing Prompts

This month "Lust", one of the seven deadly sins, was our writing prompt.  Judy floated the idea of publishing a monthly zine with our prompt responses.  A deadline would be imposed for authors to polish their free writing responses and submit.  Ev suggested we move to the surprise format as outlined above.  After 20 minutes all members shared their responses to Lust.  Ev shared a poem by another member, Becky shared her writing diagram/brain storming tool.  George, Judy, Renee and Michelle read their short pieces. 

Our next meeting via zoom is Thursday, March 18th at 6 pm.  All are welcome.  Follow the link below and enter the code when prompted.  Happy writing!

ZOOM LINK Code:  289902 




Saturday, January 23, 2021

Meeting Minutes January 21, 2021

Six members participated via Zoom: Becky, Judy, George, Ev, Renee, Michelle.  Discussion included writing contests, prompts, and a revamping of our meeting format. Three people read short pieces of poetry/prose. 


Writing Contests


Vocal: “a platform for creators.” They sponsor periodic challenges with cash prizes – a number of these are currently open. “Hometown Feature,” for example, is looking for stories with original photos about what your hometown means to you; “Little Black Book” – which comes with a $20,000 grand prize – is looking for fiction stories about someone who unexpectedly comes into a large sum of money involving a mysterious little black book.

 

Fractured Lit Publishes flash fiction – open year round. Current contest on fractured ghost, fable, and fairy tales, with prize of $3000. Entry fee of $20. Deadline February 16.


Don't forget the 2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

 

Exhibitions/Community Events


The Swanton Public Library is sponsoring a Writers’ Response to "The Hate U Give" this year’s Vermont Reads book, Angie Thomas.  Art or written entries are welcome; written entries can be up to 1500 words. Deadline April 1.  A cash prize picked randomly from all entries may be offered.  The book is available to buy, there is also an audio version and a movie available to stream on various platforms. To borrow a copy contact the Swanton Public Library and for more information contact Judy Paxman: Email1 Email2 


Resources:


Iron Writer Challenge: Facebook group.  Jason Brick is the owner/moderator.  He has been pretty active in the past and is very accessible via messenger.  Been 'in the biz' for quite some time.



Readings:

 

Renee Willard on a broken coffeemaker; Ev Larson – “Air Dry” – involving an ex-husband and a disastrous shower; and George Connelly read “Rain Shine High,” a poem loosely based on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

 

Upcoming:

 

Per the suggestion of Ev and after much discussion, we have decided to change up our meeting format for the foreseeable future. The plan is to have our usual period of social gossip and discussion followed by 20 minutes of writing and a post-sharing/discussion. Writers will finish their pieces offline for possible inclusion in a zine. Details at a later date.  Our first series of proposed prompts: the Seven Deadly Sins, starting at the February 18 meeting with LUST.

 

And for those who don’t remember the Seven Deadly Sins, they are: Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth.


Our next meeting via zoom will be February 18 at 6 pm.  Follow this LINK and use the passcode:  289902 Hope to see you all there!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Meeting Minutes November 19, 2020

6 members met over zoom from 6-7:40

Our discussion was dominated by upcoming local events.

Swanton Arts Council (SAC) is going ahead with plans for the second "Emotion Speaks" arts display. The hope is to have an in person reception to launch the display. The cost to enter is $10. Partipants will receive an 8x8 canvas. Their display, writing, art, etc must fit on this canvas. The new director of the project is Hilarie Santiago. Direct question to her at swantonartscouncil@gmail.com .

Future theme for "Emotion Speaks" might be Solitude.

Proposal for our group. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas is a topical novel focused on systemic racism in the US. Would members be interested in writing a response to this novel? Possible prompt might be a quote from the book. Our responses might tie in with the Swanton Book group or possibly a community event in the future. The book and movie are available on Amazon/Prime Video. You can also borrow a copy through the Swanton library. Paramters for this project will be discussed at future SWG meetings. Tentative deadline for a response would be April or early May 2021. Please visit the Swanton Public Library website HERE for help gettting a copy of the book or accessing the Green Mountain Consortium for a copy. The members who met this evening seemed interested in the project but we really need wider support for this important conversation.

2021 Edwin M. Church Award. Entries must contain a train element. The expected length is 1,500-3,000 words. Proposed deadline is August 1, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Swanton Arts Spectacular, which is traditionally the second Saturday in September.

We discussed the idea of an annual membership fee to the Swanton Writer's Group. $10-$20. Proposed benefits of membersship: early access to writing events/workshops, subscription to the email list, entrance to an annual writing contest sponsored by the group. Possible long term goal of a contest would be an anthology. It was agreed that further discussion should be undertaken when more members can attend, hopefully in person. Please keep the idea in mind and direct comments to Becky or Michelle.

Three members read their work: Ev, Judy and George (new member who enjoys writng poetry)

The next meeting via zoom will be Thursday December 17, 2020 from 6-7:30. Becky will send a link to all members.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Meeting Minutes October 15, 2020

Seven group members met over zoom from 6-7:15 pm.

Contests and Challenges

Something or Other Publishing Short Story Contest. Link found HERE Decription: Short stories, short non-fiction, and flash fiction all eligible. First prize $250. Qualified stories will be included in an anthology. Qualification involves votes by readers - when you submit, they’ll send you a voting page link so that you can shamelessly solicit votes. (So if you enter, be sure to let us all know.) The deadline is midnight on October 31, but looks like the sooner, the better, for vote-gathering purposes. They’ll announce the winners on November 3. At the website, also check under “Publish” for info on submitting a book, story, or anthology idea.

Nanowrimo Info found HERE Begins again this year on November 1. The challenge is to write a novel in a month, with lots of encouraging backup at the website. There’s also a Young Writers version of Nanowrimo that requires less writing – could be a fun project to share with kids.

Workshops

League of Vermont Writers
They don’t have much going on right now, but if you go to “Gatherings” and check under “Workshops,” they’re open for suggestions for workshops. So if you’d like to host a workshop or know someone who might, take a look. Could be a virtual program.

Articles

“How Can We Pay for Creativity in the Digital Age?” For artists, writers, and musicians - how to make a living? Link found HERE

Readers:

Ev Larson read “Albany,” a deadpan, but hilarious, account of attempting to renew a driver’s license in the age of Covid-19.

Michelle Willard read her now titled horror short story "The Breeze of Autumn" which ended in a cemetery. She has been recruited to enter the Swanton Library’s Scary Stories project.

Emmet Matthieu has finished the first draft of his sci-fi novel; read the opening paragraphs of his untitled new project, in which main character Benito Alvarez is about to be framed for murder and will end up fighting for his life.

Discussion:

We’ve got a member hip of 25 or so, of whom very few routinely join the current Zoom meetings. These really are fun and effective - and it’s very simple to join in. If anybody needs help, just contact Becky. She will talk you through the process.

We kicked around possibilities of partial in-person/Zoom meetings at the Swanton Public Library. Due to safety and social distancing requirements, we’d have to limit attendance. Judy suggested charging a minimal fee for in-person slots, Michelle suggested the money be used to fund a prize for a Writers Group contest. (What does everybody think?)

Meetings have moved to the third Thursday of the month starting in November. Meeting date over zoom will be Thursday, November 19th at 6 pm. Becky will email the link a couple days in advance.

Meeting notes September 10, 2020

Notes taken by Becky, Remember to check the Swanton Writing Group FB page for info on contests, events, general chat and more - and our blog, faithfully maintained and updated by Michelle. Upcoming: Scary Story Contest and Zine Due date: October 1 Submit to: circulation@swantonlibrary.com Short piece of original fiction with a focus on the scary or the horrific. Maximum word count: 1500 words. Include your name and contact info on your document. See our FB page for scary story starters! Edwin M. Church Award Due date: October 1 Open to ages 17 up who live, work, or are otherwise involved in Swanton, Submit to jpaxmax@swantonartscouncil.org. Original short story of 1500-3000 words maximum; MUST include a railroad or train mention or reference. Prize of $500 Booksie 2020 Poetry Contest https://www.booksie.com/contest/the-booksie-2020-poetry-contest-20 Due date: November 7 Any type, length, or content of poetry; can submit as many entries as you like. Prize of $1000 National Poetry Competition https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/national-poetry-competition/ Due date: October 31 Submit an unpublished poem of up to 40 lines; open to anyone 18 and over. Ten cash prizes. Boulevard Nonfiction Contest for Emerging Writers https://boulevardmagazine.org/nonfiction-contest Due date: September 30 Entry fee: $16 Open to writers who have not been published with a nationally distributed press. Essays of up to 8000 words. Winning essay gets $1000 and publication in the magazine. Boulevard Short Fiction Contest https://boulevardmagazine.org/short-fiction-contest Due date: December 31 Entry fee: $16 Open to writers who have not been published in a nationally distributed press. Fiction pieces of up to 8000 words. Winner gets $1500 and publication in the magazine. Recommended by SWG members: Masterclass Online Classes https://www.masterclass.com/ For $15/month or $180/year, access to unlimited online video classes. These are available in a number of categories - writing classes are variously taught by Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Brown, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy Collins, and more. Window Swap https://window-swap.com/ Open a new window somewhere in the world. Participants can post short videos or still shots from their windows. The Museum of Four in the Morning https://www.ted.com/talks/rives_the_museum_of_four_in_the_morning Just why is four in the morning so ubiquitous? Find out with this TED talk by poet/storyteller Rives. Mondegreens and the Science of Misheard Lyrics https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/science-misheard-lyrics-mondegreens From tonight's discussion - check this out from the New Yorker. Obit https://www.amazon.com/Obit-Bruce-Weber/dp/B071FN1YW3 A great documentary on the small staff at the NY Times who are responsible for writing the obituaries. Fascinating. (Nancy! Thinking of you!) Who Read What: Emmet read the first part of a piece - possibly a submission for the Scary Stories Zine - involving a kidnapped princess, a fashion-challenged prince, a fearsome blind fairy, and a corset. (By next meeting, Emmet's daughter Ella will have arrived - the SWG's first baby!) Ev read "Mood Swings with Pear" causing the entire group to obsess about paintings of pears. Renee read a piece about an interaction with an infernal fire alarm (at four in the morning; see above) and a poem about a friend's ex-boyfriend titled "Dead Fish." Next meeting: Thursday, October 8, 6-7 PM. Please join in - with recommendations, good books, suggestions, and news - and please bring something to read!

Meeting Minutes for April 22, 2021

 A bit of a whoops for us all.  Four people attended this one week delayed meeting via zoom.  We are all hoping July will see us in person o...