Friday, July 29, 2005

August Meeting Schedule

The Oshkosh Area Writers Club will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 for a writing critique session and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 for a discussion on "Character Development." Another critique session will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.

Meetings are held in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library. They are free and open to anyone age 17 or older.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wisconsin Book Festival

The Wisconsin Book Festival will be held Oct. 13 - 17th, 2005, in downtown Madison. Designed to delight booklovers of all walks, tastes, and ages, the Festival features readings, lectures, book discussions, writing workshops, live interviews, children's events, and more. For more information, visit The Wisconsin Book Festival.

Fiction Writing Class

Fox Valley Technical College is offering a fiction writing class from 9 a.m to noon, Saturdays, Sept. 17 through Nov. 19 at the Valley Fair Mall. The instructor is Timothy Meier; class number is 24269. To register, phone 920-720-6800; toll-free 1-877-515-5151 or visit their website at Fox Valley Technical College.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

John Saul

In the early 1970s, John Saul lived in Oshkosh, where he worked on his first horror novel, "Suffer the Children." Here's what he had to say:

When you're as suggestible as I am, it's probably smarter to sit in a
closed and locked room with bright lights and no windows, than in an airy room on Bayshore overlooking a broad expanse of lawn and the shores of Lake Winnebago. I can say this from bitter experience, given that I was happily writing one of the more frightening scenes of "Suffer The Children" in that airy room, and doing my best to convince myself that the dire events of which I was writing existed only in my imagination, when suddenly a very real and terrifying animal leaped at the window, sending me out of the room and into the safety of the hall in less than a second.

When I finally regained my wits and courage (both often sadly lacking in me) I realized that the fearsome beast that had nearly caused me to go into cardiac arrest was nothing more than a squirrel looking for his daily handout of peanuts. Feeling utterly foolish, I found his rations, returned to my desk, opened the window, and offered the little fellow the treat for which he'd come.

He took it.

Then he bit me.

I should have stayed in the hall, but of course if I had, "Suffer The
Children" would never have been finished....

Saul writes like Stephen King, minus the first 100 pages. His official web site is here and he has two books out this year: Black Creek Crossing (June) and Perfect Nightmare (Sept.) Enjoy!

The Clearing

The Clearing, a "folk school" in Ellison Bay (WI), offers a variety of creative workshops throughout the year. Upcoming workshops of interest to writers are:

  • Writing from Your Life
    August 14 - 20
    Instructor Jerry Apps

  • Making Good Writing Great
    August 28 - September 3
    Instructor: John Lehman

  • Writers' Wellspring
    September 11 - September 17
    Instructor: Judy Bridges

  • For course descriptions, fees and other information, please visit their website at The Clearing,

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    July 05 Meeting Schedule

    OAWC meetings for July are:

  • “Writing Research,” discussion workshop, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14.

  • Writing Critique, 10 a.m. Saturday, July 16.

  • Meetings are held in the lower level conference room of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. Meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 or older.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Carl Sandburg lived in Oshkosh

    Yep. American poet Carl Sandburg lived on Wisconsin Street in 1908 while working as a labor organizer. The house has since been razed but it was said to be located near the present day location of Kelly's Bar.

    Sandburg wrote of Oshkosh in a letter dated 1908,
    “Once in my callow days I thot Oshkosh was like Heaven, Nirvana, Sheol, The North Pole; mythical, imaginary, fictive and hopeless of attainment – but here it is!”

    Source: Sandburg, Carl. The Letters of Carl Sandburg. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968, pp. 58-59.

    Workshop Calendar

    The Oshkosh Area Writers Club sponsors discussion workshops at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. The meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 or older.

    Each workshop has a discussion topic. The calendar of topics are below:

    1. July 14: How to Do Research

    2. August 11: Character Development

    3. September 8: Plot Development

    4. October 13: Grammar Tips

    5. November 10: Creating Dialogue

    6. December 8: Changing Point of View

    2005 Aestival Festival

    Last year, about a dozen club members attended the Aestival Festival at Menasha Public Library. The event is sponsored by the Menasha Senior Center and Menasha Public Library, and is open to any high school student or adult interested in the craft of writing.

    Everyone agreed the event was worth a whole Saturday. The workshop choices were varied and interesting, the catered lunch was delicious, and one of our members won first place in the fiction contest.

    For those who are interested in attending this year, the 2005 Aestival Festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Menasha Public Library.

    Keynote speaker is James Campbell, author of “The Final Frontiersman: Heimo Korth and His Family, Alone in Alaska’s Arctic Wilderness.” Other speakers include Fred Gaines, Director of Theater at Lawrence University, Appleton; Grace Lim, a professional journalist (and member of the OAWC); Mike Cowling, associate professor in journalism at UW-Oshkosh; Randy Hanson, a Six Traits of Writing Trainer; Eden Foord, author of spiritual books for young adults; Karla Huston, published poet; and R.L Edinger, mystery writer and winner of the Independent Publisher’s Association award of merit.

    Through August 17, the registration fee is $30 per participant and $20 for senior citizens; after August 17, the fees increase to $35 and $25 respectively. The fee includes conference, continental breakfast, lunch, and afternoon refreshments. Door prizes will be awarded as well as the announcement of contest winners. No walk-ins will be admitted.

    There is no extra fee to enter the writing contest, which has three categories, nonfiction, fiction and poetry, and two divisions: high school student and adult. The deadline to submit contest entries is July 30.

    To register for the conference and/or get contest rules, please call Joanne Flemming at (920) 427-2241 or Sylvia Bull, phone (920) 967-5173; or e-mail Sylvia Bull.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Local Author Visit

    Todd Misler, a native of Antigo, Wis., will promote his latest book, "Baseball in Beertown: America's Pastime in Milwaukee," from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16 at The Paper Tiger bookstore, located at the City Center, downtown Oshkosh.

    Misler graduated from UW-Oshkosh and currently lives with his family in Janesville. A former feature writer for a daily newspaper, his previous books include "Great Moments in Wisconsin Sports" (2004) and "Cold Wars-Revised: 40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry" (2002).

    Phone The Paper Tiger at (920) 231-0800 for more information.

    Welcome to the Oshkosh Area Writers Club!

    In 2003, after weeks struggling to write a novel, I realized I needed help. I needed someone who understood how frustrating writing is; a place where I felt safe and free to express myself creatively. Specifically, I needed to be with other writers.

    So I announced an organizational meeting for a local writers club. From my research, I knew that most clubs only have six to 12 members. I was hoping for at least eight but I set up chairs for 25, feeling optimistic. Image my surprise when 44 people showed up!

    Some were professional writers; one gentleman said his only experience was "writing a check." We had poets and playwrights, children's writers and columnists. Some people were writing their memoirs, others were into fiction; many were not writing at all. Different ages, interests and life experiences - a great mix that blended very nicely into what is now the Oshkosh Area Writers Club.

    Of course, nothing good happens without the help of others and I would like to publicly thank Bethany Warner, my club co-pilot, and Stacie Penney, author of the blog Raspberry Latte, who organizes the workshops.

    So what do we do?

    Critique sessions are held at 10 a.m. the first and third Saturday of each month; writing workshops are held at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of each month. All meetings are held in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Ave. From time to time, we hold open mic poetry readings, have guest speakers and carpool to area writing conferences.

    Meetings are free and open to anyone 17 years old or older.

    If you would like something critiqued, please bring eight copies of your work and limit yourself to five pages at a time. If you have a longer piece, bring copies and ask for volunteers to review it at home at their leisure.

    Each writing workshop has a theme that serves as the topic of discussion. They will be posted ahead of time in case there is a handout, article or something else you want to share on that particular topic.

    For more information about the club or its activities, please e-mail Oshkosh Area Writers Club.

    Thank you for your interest!

    - Ruth Percey