Thursday, November 21, 2019

Meeting Minutes November 14th 2019

Meeting commenced at 6:05. We had a lively discussion about writing perspectives: can an author effectively write the POV of a character from a different ethnicity, gender, age than themselves?

Judy offered a writing prompt in the form of porcelain dolls representing the original 13 colonies.  Participants are asked to write an obituary or short article (3 or 4 paragraphs) about their chosen doll.  The dolls will be placed in an empty card catalogue at the Swanton library.  Give kids something 'unusual' to find and read.  Anyone interested in a doll can contact Judy HERE

Michelle suggested Jason Brick and Chuck Wendig as possible sources of information and inspiration for writers. Read more about Chuck HERE and on Amazon  More about Jason HERE and his group on Facebook The Iron Writer's Challenge  

Ev mentioned a talk given by poet Michael Czarnecki at the Rouse's Point Library.  He wrote a book about traveling route 11. Other works include "Twenty Days on Route 20"  The group expressed interest in attending a future talk.  Please check the Rouse's Point Dodge Memorial Library website for more information.

Four of our members read their work.  Richard read a reflective Halloween poem. Kylie read a portion of her novel. Scott read a journal entry (gave us the skinny on Mangoes!) Don read his piece "Intermission"

Our next meeting is December 12th. If you are so inclined please bring something small to share: cookies, fudge etc. See you all at 6 pm at the Swanton Public Library!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Meeting Minutes October 10, 2019

First meeting on our official day (second Thursday of each month) Meeting commenced at 6:05.  Small but lively group this evening! 


The Swanton Arts Council's next installment of "Emotion Speaks." will be held in early 2020.  8 x 8 canvases will be available in November. The cost is $10, entry forms and canvases will be available at the Swanton Library. Keep an eye on the SAC website for more details.  The word for this exhibition is "Bliss"

Due to funding cutbacks, Northwest Access TV is no longer available to film many community events - which may put the kibosh on the Ghost Read. Becky is investigating alternatives.

Writing tips 

1. Keep a parallel document open when writing/revising your work.  Keep cut prose/dialogue etc on this document.  It might be useful later in the work or in another work.

2. Keep a research document containing character points, settings, plot points for your own purposes.  As the author you will always know more and need to know more than your reader about your work/characters. 


The group's lively discussion about writers/books that have influenced us as writers was great - covering everyone from James Thurber to T.E. Lawrence, Nora Roberts, Walter Farley, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, Bob Dylan, and Virginia Woolf.  Several books were recommended by members both for pleasure and instruction purposes. Scott also recommended 2 podcasts pertaining to the life of Bob Dylan.  "Bob Dylan Primer" and "Is it Rolling Bob". Check spotify among other sources. 

Book Reccs:

"Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T. E. Lawrence. 
"The Art of Fiction" by John Gardner
"How Rory Thorn Destroyed the Multiverse" by K Eason. YA fiction. Book One in The Thorn Chronicles.
"This is Not a Novel" by David Markson
"To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf
"The Black Stallion" series by Walter Farley YA fiction
"The Dragonriders of Pern" series by Anne McCaffrey

Next meeting: November 14th, 6 pm, Swanton Public Library

Friday, September 27, 2019

Meeting Minutes September 26th 2019

The meeting commenced at 6:05 in the King's Daughters room at the Swanton library.  Future meetings will likely be held there due to the expanding size of our group!  Please note: future meetings of our group will be held on the second Thursday of every month unless otherwise posted.  Below are a compilation of notes assembled by Becky and myself.

Judy spoke about the Edwin M Church Award.  The 15 entries were well received by a panel of 3 judges.  2 book stores owners/managers and an editor.  Congratulations to group member Ev Larson on taking first place!  The benefactors of the award have decided to extend the number of years the contest will run due to the quality of work which has been submitted over the last 2 years.  In future there will only be one cash prize and one contest, which will include HS seniors. It was proposed that a list of publications which might accept these stories should be made available to contest participants. 

2 possibilities: Green Mountain Trading Post (Don has been published multiple times) The Mud Season Review.


The League of Vermont Writers  is meeting Saturday September 28th from 8:30 – 3:15) in the Bliss Room at the St. Albans Historical Society. Various presentations; theme is the Art of Writing. Registration and fee required.

The Eloquent Page on Main Street in St. Albans, will host an open mic for writers from 3:30-4:30. (Immediately following the League meeting)

The St. Albans Art Walk and Sidewalk Sale will occur on Saturday, October 5th from 10 – 2. Writers wanted! To participate, simply pick a site on Main Street and contact the business you will be in front of to make sure they’re okay with you being there – then bring your own table, chair, and books to sell.


The Swanton Library is looking for book reviews. Each review should be about a paragraph long. Pitch your favorite books! EMAIL to Caleb Rupp, Swanton Library Director.

Monster Prompts.  In early October the Swanton Library will host an event for area children.  The activity will have them designing a monster (Halloween is around the corner!) and writing a short story about it.  It was proposed that writer's group members read these stories and elaborate on them.  Possibly a flashfiction piece of 500 words or less. More discussion at our next meeting.

 The Great Ghost Read is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, October 8, 10 AM – noon, at the Swanton library.  Come read your favorite Halloween/ghost/spooky story – either one of your own or a favorite by another author.

Many thanks to the group members who chose to share their ongoing projects with the group.  We had an hour of stimulating discussion about various topics and genres!

Meeting adjourned at 7:30.

Next meeting: Thursday October 10th, 6 pm at the Swanton Public Library.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Meeting Minutes August 22nd 2019

Here is a compilation of notes created by Becky and myself.  Our group has really grown in the last few months. Wonderful to see so many new and enthusiastic faces.

Events and workshops

Brattleboro Literary Festival 
October 17-20 "The 18th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival will take place October 17-20. The theme of the 2019 festival is Identity: personal identity, cultural identity and our identity as a country. Free and open to the public." Find more information HERE

League of VT Writers
St. Albans Historical Museum
Saturday, September 28, 8:30 AM - 3 PM
Theme: The Art of Writing.  Find more information HERE

Swanton Arts Spectacular
Saturday, September 7 Swanton park We'll have a local authors' tent starting at 10 AM. Come talk to us!


Swanton Arts Council presents "The Year of the Salmon"

"Join us on Monday, September 16th at 6PM sharp at the Welden Theater for the Premiere of "The Year of the Salmon". Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased by contacting

And don't miss the After-party and Salmmy Awards Presentation to be held at Mill River Brewing directly after the showing!"

Still looking for participants for the Great Ghost Read, to air on NW Access TV in October - Halloween-themed stories either of your own or by your favorite authors. Contact Becky if you're interested in reading.

Becky reiterated the idea of "Mailboxes for kids"  A program where children could write to their favorite fictional character and group members could write back in the voice of the character. Several members signed up for this program.  Everyone is welcome to participate.

Several members new and old read their work before our meeting adjourned at 7:35.  Next meeting is September 26th at the Swanton library. One of the items to be discussed is setting a firm day for our monthly meetings. Please bring your calendars.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Meeting Minutes March 21st 2019

Only a few members attended the meeting which commenced at 6 pm.  Several upcoming events and workshops were discussed and proposed.

April is National Poetry Month.  In preparation there will be a film/recording session at the Swanton Library on Wednesday March 27. Interested parties are asked to read favorite poems written by themselves or others.  Scott Martel may attend and perform a musical composition based on the Anxiety poem written by Don L. Drop in anytime between 5-7 pm.  Session will be held upstairs in the King's Daughters room.

Scott Martel performs every other Saturday at the Traveled Cup in St. Albans from 2-4. Next performance March 23rd.

SAC "Year of the Salmon" writing slam Saturday March 30thJoin the Swanton Arts Council at the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge on March 30th to create the original screenplay "The Year of the Salmon" with writing lead Tom Benton. Writing starts at 9AM. Full script to be completed by 6PM! Details and contact info found HERE

Proposed Author Panel Saturday June 29th.  More details in the coming weeks/months.

A proposed activity linked to July's children book camp was presented.  Children would choose favorite fictional characters and write them letters. "Mailed" to writer group members, who would then respond 'in character'.  The group consensus was that this project would be a fun challenge.  More details to come.

SAC September 7th Swanton Arts Spectacular.  More details to follow. Check HERE for updates in the coming months.

Becky proposed a workshop for non-fiction writing.  She created a class for Bennington college in the past and would like to share it with residents at the Swanton Library or possibly through CCV.  Details to be worked out in the coming months depending on interest.  Topics would include research, writing techniques and marketing.

Scott read two short pieces he composed.  One of them has been set to music, the other might be soon. "Never Felt the Same" and "untitled" 

Meeting adjourned at 7 pm.

Our next meeting will be on a Tuesday due to scheduling issues and Easter. Tuesday April 16th at 6 pm at the Swant Library.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Some notes on Editing

If you're looking for real help on a completed manuscript, you most likely need someone with actual editing experience. This isn't to say that friend readers can't give useful input - but effective editing is a real professional skill and not everybody does it well. It can be especially hard for writers, since editing is not the same as re-writing, which - for writers - is always a temptation. Critique is not the same as fix. You don't need to know how another writer would write your book; you need to know what you should do to write it better.

A trusted reader is important and it's wonderful to have one - but a rule of thumb is that the trusted reader should not be a family member or a buddy unless (1) you can absolutely count on them to give you an honest and possibly unpalatable critique which (2) won't destroy your relationship forever, and (3) you have good intellectual reasons to respect their advice. Not all opinions are created equal.

The other thing to think about is that asking somebody to read/edit/comment upon a manuscript is a huge deal -  it's a request for a major time commitment. At publishing companies, your editor is paid to do this (yes, they're PAID to make hateful comments). (Usual practice: they send one paragraph about how much they loved your book, followed by four single-spaced pages of everything that was wrong with it.) 

Not-yet-published authors have the option to send their manuscripts to a professional editor - if you check online, there are manuscript editing services all over the place. These do, however, cost, and obviously that's an issue. But if you're serious about your book, might be worth the investment.

A good editor can make a huge difference.

Rebecca Rupp

Friday, February 22, 2019

Meeting Minutes February 21 2019

Meeting commenced at 6 pm.  There were 9 members present. Becky was absent so Michelle led the meeting.  We had a brief discussion of upcoming writing contests and events.


Open mic night NorthWest Access TV February 22, 2019. 6:30-9. "Join Northwest Access TV and Lesley Nase for our first ever Storytelling Open Mic."

Scott's regular bimonthly performance at the Traveled Cup in St. Albans Vt. Next performance February 23.

April is National Poetry Month: The possibility of poetry readings at the Swanton library or possibly recorded at NorthWest Access TV was discussed.


Reminder: ONE week left to enter Hunger Mountain Contests.  Information found HERE

Booksie First Chapter contest.  Deadline June 14th.  Information found HERE


Judy announced the limited publication of a booklet containing the winners of the 2018 Edwin M. Church Award as well as several of the contest entries. More details to follow.  Announcement for the 2019 adult contest should come in May. The deadline for the youth contest is April 1st.  Find the application HERE

Michelle mentioned the Itty Bitty Writing Space Anthology she will be published in.  The book is slated for a June release.

New member Harry G shared some of his past and present projects.  He has 2 Indie films on Amazon Prime: "Bridges" and "The Nightingale Chronicles". Both are filmed in Vermont. He is independently publishing a novel: 2 linked novellas. "The Green Mountain Sap Suckers". Currently creating a graphic novel/comic book based on the novel and adapting the text to a play manuscript.

Two requests for editing help were put forth by group members.  The first by new member Mike B for helping with his steamboat manuscript.  The second by Don on Becky's behalf.  A friend seeking help with editing/reviewing his 62,000 word manuscript on Street Rodding. Nancy and Kylie both offered to read portions of the latter. Nancy will read Mike's manuscript.

There was a discussion about meeting structure. Emmet suggested shorter opening remarks, announcements etc in order to leave more time for those who wished to read their work and receive feedback. Announcements, contests etc could be emailed separately. Kylie suggested sending work to group members in advance.  Giving them a chance to read and bring prepared feedback to the meetings. There was some conversation about interested group members holding meetings in between our regular monthly sessions.  Time, place TBD.

Writing prompts for March if you are interested. Phrase: "I lost sight of it two or three times." and/or the photo below.

The meeting concluded with readings by 4 group members. Nancy read her short memoir piece "The Disconnect and Long Way Home". Kylie read part of her novel "Homebound" Scott read a proposed memoir style piece which he might elaborate on. Emmet read part of one of his Dystopia novels in progress.

Next meeting is Thursday, March 21st. 6 pm at the Swanton Public Library.

Meeting Minutes November 14th 2019

Meeting commenced at 6:05. We had a lively discussion about writing perspectives: can an author effectively write the POV of a character fro...