In 12-11- 1999 he received honorable mention. 2002 recognition for 2nd place for how to Article. On January 2001 the contest awards luncheon newsletter shows " Henry Reed receives one of many awards...we all thank Henry for his service as 2000 EPWL Contest Director... Great job!. Received awards by Patsy C. King.
Grilled Salmon with a honey lime glaze, and charbroiled chicken with a dijon cream sauce, 3 salads (baby mixed greens with assorted dressings; fruit salad and marinated basil, pasta & sun dried tomato salad), wild rice blend, red potato mashers, steamed vegetables, fresh baked rolls & butter, with desserts of cheese cake, carrot cake and chocolate cake includes iced tea, coffee & decaf.
$16.50 per person (including taxes & tip)
YOU CAN BUY YOUR TICKETS SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10. DURING OUR MEETING
El Paso Writers’ League (EPWL) November 10 meeting will feature a hands-on “Musical
Chair Writing Workshop” to introduce participants to the various categories of
the EPWL annual writing contest.
board members Janice Brooks and Sally Spener, past winners in the annual
contest, will give brief writing assignments to workshop participants in a
variety of literary genres.Working in
small groups, the writers will then have the opportunity to share what they’ve
written and receive feedback.
writing assignments will include a series of prompts designed to stimulate
creativity and give writers the opportunity to try different genres, including
mystery, personal essay, poetry, short short, and children’s/young adult.
For more information:915-581-1080,
Just a quick reminder that EPWL will have a table at the MonteVista 23. annual holiday bazaar Thursday evening and all day Friday...if you want your books included or have a few hours to help out please contact Janice Brooks:
President Bob Sanchez called the board to order at 1:00. Officers and Board members present: T. Dwyer, S. Spener, I. Barrett, S. Purcell, B Sanchez, R. Schwein.
President Sanchez presented the slate of officers for 2013:
President: Dick Schwein
Vice President Donna Helmling
Secretary Jan Brooks
Treasurer Bob Sanchez
The president suggested and the board concurred nominations from the floor will be accepted at the November meeting prior to the election.
2013 chair people:
Blog and Facebook Tina Dwyer
Border Tapestry Sulta Bonner
Contest Sarah Purcell
Inkslinger Mike Grunsten
The November meeting, 11/10 will consist of the election, and Jan and Sally conducting a “Musical chairs “ writing exercise.
December meeting, awards banquet and installation of officers will take place at Sunland Park Casino. $17,00 per meal.
Other: The board approved a gift certificate for our presenter Lucia Zimmitti. Update pages are needed on the blog. A program committee will be formed and include people from our general membership. A standard audit will be conducted as we transition to a new year and new officers.
The following are the notes Lucia Zimmitti promised us at our October meeting.
The Ten Most Common
Problems in Fiction Manuscripts
Lucia Zimmitti speaks at our October 13, 2012 meeting
Fiction teaches. Story teaches. Humans have always learned
from storytelling; not only the facts of history, but how to connect with
others, how to empathize, how to relate to each other. We cannot overestimate
the power and the importance of story to our brains and psyches. And whether or
not you are seeking traditional publication, you write because you want someone
else to be moved by your work (even one person). You want someone to connect with
you through your work, to validate you by loving what you’ve written, what
you’ve created (and this may be a subconscious desire at this point). And
that’s why it pays to know what readers want, and to learn how to craft
fiction, whether your target audience is a group of ten or ten thousand.
Often learning what not
to do gets us to where we want to be more quickly than learning what to do. You must read copious amounts
(this can’t be stressed enough…some experts say reading is more important to
improving your writing than writing is) and you must write, write, write. And
when you revise, it’s helpful to know
where many writers fall down so you can avoid those pitfalls and potholes at
your own desk. Don’t worry about “mistakes” or “problems” while you’re writing
your first draft. You must allow your right brain (the creative side) free rein
while you’re getting the early bones of the story on paper. Banish the very
idea of “correction” while you’re breathing life into those first attempts at
telling the story. Only use the following guide to identify potential
problem-spots in your manuscript after the first draft has been born.
The Ten Most Common
Problems in Fiction Manuscripts
(in no particular
order) occurring in the manuscripts that cross my desk:
1) Breaking the promise to the reader. The first chapter
holds out a promise to the reader (in tone or content or theme), and when
writers break that promise by revealing a very different story somewhere
mid-way into the manuscript, readers tend to feel mislead. This doesn’t mean
you shouldn’t surprise your reader: you
should. But you should surprise them within the framework of the story,
within the story you’ve implied that you’re setting out to tell.
2) Agenda-driven/didactic/obvious lesson or moral. Story
must be king! Stories certainly do teach, but they teach subtly or
peripherally, not directly. When readers feel the author has an agenda and is
trying to persuade the reader s/he should see things the author’s way, the
reader tends to put the book down. Readers don’t pick up fiction to get
preached at or to have their opinions manipulated (again: their opinions might
change after reading a story, but that has to happen naturally, through the
story itself, not because the author is clearly trying to convince readers of a
3) Imbalanced in terms of head-talk and action/dialogue, as
well as in description and story movement. In other words, the character thinks
too much and acts too little. Or the author spends too much time on static
description and not enough on dynamic, interpersonal interaction between
characters. Also, there is too much exposition/backstory (and that slows the story’s
pacing and often bores the reader).
4) Not enough tension/conflict/struggle. The characters are
coddled. Things come too easily for the characters. Put your characters in a
proverbial tree and throw rocks at them until the end. Don’t save them with a
doorbell, either! (I see this quite often when there’s a scene that’s promising
to be emotional and deliciously tense: authors will have the doorbell ring at a
crucial moment, thereby tamping down the tension, just when readers hoped it
would be ramped up.) Characters need obstacles, antagonists, something to push
against, something to challenge them and force them to grow (or to show that
they can’t grow). Characters need messy situations to prove their mettle. Don’t
clean things up so tidily that they can’t ever engage in meaningful struggle.
5) MC’s <MC = Main Character> goals are too big/too
small/too muddy/feel unattainable. Goals focus the story. What’s at stake for
the MC? Don’t let readers ask themselves, “So what?” as they read. (And that’s
the reader’s default setting, so you must work against it.) The MC must want something,
and something else or someone else must be standing in the way (or perhaps
something within the MC stands in the way). And that thing the MC wants must be
achievable, yet not so small that it feels insignificant.
6) Unlikeable MC, or one that is too perfect (and becomes
unlikable that way). You need to create relatable, flawed MCs with
situation-specific motivations that readers understand (even if they wouldn’t
necessarily undertake the same behaviors themselves). Readers need to relate to/identify
with the protagonist (or need to fear the MC’s circumstances). ALSO: Beware of
secondary characters that outshine the MC! It’s so easy to fall into this trap
because the secondary characters are typically fun to write; it’s the MC that
has the storyline issue, the throughline resting on his/her shoulders, and so
when you write him/her, you may be feeling that weight on your shoulders, too.
But when you write the secondary characters, you find yourself having fun,
giving them quirks that really make them pop. You don’t need to have boring
secondary characters, of course: just work hard to make the MC the most
compelling, interesting character of all.
(Read the following Raymond Carver poem, “Late Fragment.”)
And did you get what
you wanted from this
life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself
beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
<Now, using that poem as a starting point, write from the
point-of-view of a character…a new one or one you’re already working with.
Either extend the poem and see where it leads, or put your character in the
position of questioner or answerer. Let yourself go, without judgment or
self-editing or self-censoring, and see what bubbles to the surface. You may be
able to use some of what you’ve written in your work-in-progress...a new idea may
shine brightly from it, or perhaps even a chunk of narrative. But even if that
doesn’t occur, you will have worked your writing muscle in a meaningful way and
pushed yourself to see your character through new eyes and in a new framework.>
7) Voice problems/POV (point-of-view) problems (i.e., a kid
that sounds adult as a voice problem; head-hopping as a POV problem). Typically, you should choose one
point-of-view and stick to that POV throughout (or at least for a whole
chapter). That means you shouldn’t be able to get the direct thoughts of other
characters—you should only be able to get inside the head of your MC. There are
exceptions, but those are infrequent and usually are made for bestselling
authors. Readers like connecting with one character (or, if you switch POVs,
then only switch at the character break). Readers want to get immersed in one
character in a way they can’t with the others. This is why first-person or
third-person limited POV (not
omniscient) are the typical options for today’s readers.
8) Dialogue used as filler: it doesn’t move the story along,
doesn’t reveal character. It breaks the cardinal rule of dialogue (letting one
character tell another something s/he already knows). Readers love dialogue:
not only does it give them a chance to experience the characters in an
immediate way, but it allows for lots of white space on the page, thereby
letting their eyes “breathe.” So be sure to use healthy doses of dialogue, even
if you’re not a fan of writing it. But never let one character tell another
something s/he already knows (that’s not authentic), and don’t fill up the page
with filler phrases like “um” or “dunno” or chit-chat about the weather (unless
that’s important to character development by revealing something about
situation or character reaction).
9) Unnecessary scenes and/or chapters. If the scene/chapter
doesn’t reveal something new about character or propel the story forward, it
should be cut (no matter how much you like it…actually, if you like it too
much, it might be one of those ‘darlings’ we’re supposed to kill; when you love
one isolated piece of the whole too much, you are probably blinded to the fact
that it may not be working for the good of the entire work). Otherwise, that’s
the place where the reader is likely to disconnect. Each scene must work for
the advancement of the whole. (Never delete anything permanently, though: put
the scenes/chapters you think may not be necessary into a graveyard document…keep
them safe. That way, if you realize you want to use all/parts of them, you
won’t have to re-create them.)
10) No surprise in the story. The events are totally
predictable. Readers (and moviegoers and TV watchers) crave surprise. When
books don’t give us that surprise, we tend to feel letdown, tend to feel like
we invested our time and energy and didn’t really get something that we
couldn’t have dreamed up ourselves. Whether you’re an OP (and outline person)
or a NOP (a no-outline person…see James Scott Bell’s book that I mention below
for further discussion of those terms), you want to leave the story open to
elements of surprise as you write. Hemingway said he never knew the end of the
story while he was still writing it, or else the reader would, too. Jane Yolen
said she treats writing like driving: she only looks at what she can see in her
headlights, even though she knows where she wants to go (but she doesn’t know
everything she’ll see along the way).
Exercise for infusing
surprise into your work:
When you’re working
on your story and feel bored/stuck/uninspired, stop writing. Flip open an
encyclopedia or pick up a newspaper (something away from the computer is best).
Or open a book of poetry to a random page. Commit to the first thing you see
(don’t ‘cherry-pick’ for something that interests you). Now think about it from
the framework of your story and see if it can inject surprise, if it can be
worked into the story
For instance, free-write for fifteen minutes (more if you’re
moved to) on the following line:
“Whoops...there seem to be triplets here...,” the
Another example, a line loosely adapted from a Philip Larkin
Most things will never happen; this one will.
Write with that in mind for fifteen minutes, without judging
or trying to “steer” the output in any way. This exercise can help you discover
something new about your story, something you had hidden in your subconscious
because you were only looking at the story in a linear way, or in some cases,
it can even trigger a whole new story.
NOTE: The above common problems in fiction manuscripts are
all discussions of craft in the department of story. It should go without
saying that poor writing in general will hobble even a great story idea.
However, “bad” writing in people actively pursing the craft is less common than
you might think. Usually when adults voluntarily pick up a pen to write, it’s
because they want to write, which means they’ve had positive reinforcement over
the years (school, friends, etc.), and writing, at least at the level of
putting sentences together, comes relatively easily to them. But here are some
things to watch out for in your own mss all the same (again, only at the
revision stage): Monotonous sentences (all are the same in structure/length);
inadvertent repetition (the echo effect); prose that is overly simplistic (too
spare) or overly ornate (over-dressed to the point of distraction, it asks the
reader to admire the sentences, rather than the story); accidentally switching
verb tenses (there isn’t a “right” verb tense—past and present are both fine.
You just must choose one and be consistent with it throughout [with the
exception of flashbacks, of course, where you’d deliberately switch]).
Often the quickest and most effective route to learning how to do something well is learning what not to do. In my years of working with novelists and short story writers, I’ve noticed a pattern of mistakes in the manuscripts that have crossed my desk. Once you become aware of them, you’re that much closer to avoiding these easy-to-slip-into traps in your own writing, and therefore well on your way to crafting engaging pieces of fiction. We’ll discuss these common trouble spots in detail, as well as how to avoid them and how to make your work stronger in their absence. We’ll also tackle some writing exercises that can you can use time and time again at your desk.
Did you win a second or third prize in last year's El Paso Writers' League contest? Then we want you to come to the September 8 meeting and read one of your entries. We know you put a lot of hard work into your writing, and you deserve the public kudos.
Of course, the 8th is also this year's contest deadline. Note that there has always been a rule against resubmitting work that's won any prize in the past. This year we'll be enforcing that rule. So if you did win 2nd or 3rd place, by all means use the judge's comments to improve it, but please don't submit it again. Submit something new.
Finally, make sure you don't confuse your stuff with anyone else's. There's so much we all download from the Internet that we can forget whose work belongs to whom. So, just as a general precaution we'll ask you to confirm that you're submitting fresh, new material.
El Paso Writers' League September Meeting - Saturday, September 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Dorris Van Doren Library, 551 Redd Road.
During contest package turn-in: All of you who won second or third place with one or more entries in the 2011contest will have the opportunity to read one of those entries to the membership. If you won a number of 2nd and 3rd places, please pick out your favorite and bring it to read. Also, if you felt that the judge's comments were helpful, you may share those with everyone.
Albuquerque Convention Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 10-12, 2013
The Southwest Book Fiesta will bring together authors, publishers and the reading public in a family-friendly community event at the
Albuquerque Convention Center on May 10-12, 2013. The Book Fiesta focuses on both nationally-recognized as well as local Southwest
authors. The mission is to recognize and encourage the literary accomplishments all across the Southwest, especially of authors in New
Mexico and Arizona. The show is being organized by Sunbelt Shows, producer of the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, with
support from the largest book publishers in New Mexico and the New Mexico Book Co-op. In addition to over 200 vendors, readings
and special author events will feature some of the best books and authors from the region.
Proceeds of the Book Fiesta will be donated to the New Mexico Library Foundation, the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy, and a yet-
to-be-named organization in Arizona and will be used to promote literacy and reading programs in the region.
Importance of books
• over $16 billion are spent on books every year in the U.S.
• at least 35% of the U.S. population visits a bookstore at least once a
month. In fact, Americans visit bookstores more often than any
other type of store, except for the mass market chains such as
Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart.
• According to a Gallup poll, during any given week, 22% of Ameri-
can adults bought at least one book.
• e-book sales have been growing exponentially by as much as 177%
• 53% of e-book readers say they now read more books than before.
• Based on Census data, almost 50% of New Mexicans and Arizo-
nans could benefit from literacy programs.
• Usage of libraries in Arizona and New Mexico has been increasing
by as much as 10% per year.
• Patrons of the Albuquerque Public Library checked out over 4.5
million books and magazines last year.
• Libraries in Tucson, Phoenix, and Albuquerque were visited over
21.6 million times last year!
Other Book Festivals
Baltimore Book Festival — 40,000 attendees, 100 exhibitors
Texas Book Festival — 40,000 attendees, 200 author events
Tucson Book estival — 100,000 attendees, 250 exhibitors
Los Angeles Book Festival — 140,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors
Miami Book Festival — 200,000 attendees, 200 exhibitors
Be a Part of History...Be a Part of the
First Annual Southwest Book Fiesta
Though Albuquerque has had book fairs before, this is the first
time publishers, authors, book printers and producers, libraries,
literacy groups, and other companies have banded together to
support literacy, books, and reading. Regional books need to be
noticed as much as national ones, and we will celebrate the many
wonderful authors that have chosen to call the Southwest home.
The First Annual Southwest Book Fiesta will be in the Albuquer-
que Convention Center on Mother’s Day weekend, May 10-12,
2013. Here are just a few of the highlights we have planned, in
addition to the trade area of booths and tables:
• Author and publisher vendors
• Food vendors
• Cooking demonstration stage
• A performance stage, with readings of poetry and children’s
books • Five individual rooms for workshops
• A Mother’s Day Brunch
• A publisher’s panel discussion and other industry talks
Planned presentations inclued talks by WordHarvest, Southwest
Writers, and the New Mexico Book Co-op, featuring such topics
as ebooks, marketing, Centennial Authors, writing, children’s
books, poetry, and a publishers’ panel. Celebrity authors from the
Southwest and across the country will also speak.
This will be a true family activity to celebrate books and reading.
Show management is handled by Sunbelt Shows, the producer of
the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, the largest show in
New Mexico for 24 years. The Southwest Book Fiesta will bring
together authors, publishers, and the reading public in a family-
friendly community event at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Net proceeds from the event will be donated
to local literacy and library groups.
May 10-12, 2013
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Reserve Your Spot in New Mexico’s
Largest Annual Literacy Event Today! www.SWBookFiesta.com Booth and Table Fees
Show off your books or products at the Annual Southwest Book
Fiesta! Now is the perfect time to make a reservation for a booth.
You can select a great spot on the show floor and save 10% if you
sign up now. Tables start at $150 for authors and booths start
at $400. Space sharing is permitted. 50% Deposit for booths or
full payment for tables required with all reservations. Balance on
booth spaces is due on or before March 15, 2013. Table or booth
sharing is allowed; a maximum of three people allowed at tables.
Only one person or organization will be included on the list of
Table (6’) - $150
Undraped, with two chairs
For authors, publishers, companies, other groups (non-profit
literacy and library groups are eligible for a $50 discount; contact
show organizers for approval)
Booth (10’x10’) - $400
Draped, with two chairs
(Corner booths $50 additional)
Reservations can be made easily using the automated process on
the website at www.SWBookFiesta.com Booth and Table Sharing
Sharing of space is permitted, under the following guidelines:
Tables are for authors and organizations only. Sharing is
limited to three at each six foot table.
Company booths may be shared by no more than two
Organization booths may not contain companies, but any