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 jpaxman@swantonartscouncil.org

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.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Meeting Minutes January 31st 2019

Attendees: Don LeFebvre, Nancy Fuller, Joy Choquette, Richard Jervis, Annie Matthieu, Emmet Matthieu, Gerhard Andres, Scott Martell, Kylie Fauth, Judy Paxman, Becky Rupp (Minutes taken by Beck)

Upcoming items of interest:

Friday, February 1
Vermont Writes Day Seven minutes of writing on one of seven topics; all ages can participate. For topics list, see https://youngwritersproject.org/node/26496.

February is National Letter Writing Month
See International Correspondence Month (InCoWriMo) HERE or Letter Month HERE. The challenge: write a letter or card a day for 28 days. Options for artwork and penpals.

April is National Poetry Writing Month
We'll be doing the Great Poetry Read again at the Swanton Library, to be filmed by NW Access TV in March and shown on Channel 15 during April.
Everybody welcome - can read your own poetry or that of a favorite poet. Get in touch with me if you're interested in participating.

Burlington Writers Workshop (see the link on the right side of the blog)
Free workshops in poetry, songwriting, creative nonfiction, and fiction, plus book discussion groups. Ongoing - see their winter calendar online. Burlington EVENTS. There are workshops and retreats in Montpelier and Middlebury, as well.

League of Vermont Writers
Next program slated for April 13; no info published yet.

Interest in another author's panel?
Sounds like a yes. Possible participants include Bill Schubart, Stephen Payne, Chris Bojahlian, Chloe Viner, Joy Choquette, Jo Knowles. Send suggestions and I'll sent requests.

Who's interested in a book-to-movie discussion group at the library? The plan would be to choose a couple of possibilities in advance, such that participants would have time to read/watch before meetings.

Meeting structure:

It was suggested that it's best to send out announcements/items of interest in a pre-meeting email, rather than present during the meeting. Becky will do her best.

It was also re-affirmed that we'll try to keep readings to 1000 words or so (about four double-spaced pages, with waffle room).

We discussed the fact that simply reading, without comment or input, doesn't help anyone hone their work - but it's difficult to come up with helpful comments off-the-cuff after hearing a single reading. For those who are comfortable - if you send me a copy of a work you plan to read in advance of the meeting, I'll forward to all SWG members so that they can put together some thoughts in advance.

Readings this meeting: Annie Matthieu, Emmet Matthieu, Nancy Fuller, Scott Martell, Richard Jervis, Kylie Fauth.

WRITING PROMPTS for next meeting, should you decide to accept them: see below. (Scientific discovery and skunks. I'm sure you can do something with that.)

Next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, 6 PM, at the Swanton Library.

There's been interest in having a meeting every two weeks - what do you think? Vote!

And, if you haven't already, please like our Facebook PAGE

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Meeting Minutes December 27th 2018

Our last meeting of 2018 commenced at 6:05.  We shared some refreshments and then welcomed some potential new members by going around the table and introducing ourselves.

Several possibilities for keeping our writing group fresh were discussed. Regular writing prompts, (there is one for January posted below) and a group writing project: story, play or screenplay were suggested as possible genres.  We discussed upcoming workshops and events, which are listed below, and Becky reminded us of National Poetry Month, which is April.

Writing Trivia: Merriam Webster's top words for 2018.  And some of the newest words added to the dictionary including: airplane mode, hangry, bougie and adorbs


Don't forget Hunger Mountain. Five contests to appeal to a variety of writers. Deadline for all entries is March 1st. Information can be found HERE. Get writing folks!

Resources and Workshops

Young Writer's Project offers a variety of workshops geared to youth.  There is a list of writing prompts on the site to get the creative juices flowing.  They are sponsors of the annual Vermont Writer's Day. Find more information HERE

Burlington Writer's Workshops: Monthly meetings on a variety of topics.  More information HERE

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, August 14-24, 2019  "founded in 1926 and boasting a rich literary and intellectual tradition, gathers together emerging writers to work closely with a diverse and talented faculty. For 10 days in August, conference attendees experience the intensity—and challenge—of working under the guidance of notable writers, including MacArthur Fellows, U.S. poets laureate, and recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award". More information about the conference's itinerary, cost and scholarships can be found HERE  Application deadline is February 15, 2019

Anne and Michelle read short pieces: Anne a nonfiction memory of childhood. Michelle a fluffy Christmas piece.

January writing prompt if you wish to participate. The challenge is to write a short work using either the phrase or picture shown here, or a combination of the two.

Phrase: "The day the clock stopped"

The meeting adjourned at 7:35. Our next meeting is January 24th at 6 pm at the Swanton Library.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Meeting Minutes November 15, 2018

Our meeting commenced at 6 pm. Three of our members attended Joy Choquette's workshops on November 7th and 14th. Unfortunately, Joy could not be with us for this meeting.  Judy asked on her behalf if anyone would be interested in a blogging workshop.  Several members expressed interest.  There will be more information in the future if Joy decides to hold the workshop.

2 group members are attempting NaNoWrimo. Alternatives to a full novel were proposed for those interested in participating in the remainder of NaNo. Members could write: a blog a day, article a day, short story a day, book proposal or query letters.

Becky proposed a couple of ideas for future group activities
1. The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection by Colby Sharp Combines art and writing
2. A writing prompt box.  2 prompts are pulled each month and the entire group attempts a piece (poem, short story, essay, memoir) based on one of the prompts. Becky will bring in a prompt box for December's meeting.


Hunger Mountain: Reminder to all.  There are 5 contests/categories.  Submission of original, previously unpublished work is from October 1-March 1. Find all of the information HERE and happy writing!

Burlington Writer's Workshop offers several workshops monthly on a variety of topics.  The next submission period for their "Mud Season Review" begins December 1st. Find all of the information HERE


Literary North " Read author interviews, discussions about our favorite books, tips about literary resources, and news and notes about northern New England books and authors." Please find more information HERE. Among the listings is a book event featuring local author Stephen Payne and his latest work "Life on a Cliff" Saturday, December 1, 2018 10:00 AM  2:00 PM Bridgeside Books
29 Stowe Street Waterbury, VT


Corrina Thurston is having a book launch and event on December 5th at the New Moon Cafe in Burlington. Her newest book is "Disappearing Act" You can find more details HERE.

Michelle discussed her experiences with NaNo up to this point in the month. Annie read her short story. It was compared to the short story "The Shack" by William Young. Scott read 2 of his song lyrics, including "Pretty Push". Don read his entry for the Emotion Speaks "Anxiety" exhibit. The meeting concluded at 7:30.

Our next meeting is Thursday December 27th.  To celebrate the festive season, please bring something light to share (cookies, bread etc)

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...