Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Print Cartridge - April 2nd

Thanks to Dixie for alerting us to this gem:

For one day only, April 2, Walgreens is giving away free ink cartridges (not available for Canon or Epson printers); when you present the free coupon at

Author Spotlight Schedule

Just a reminder of upcoming Spotlight Authors:

April 19 - Tom
May 3 - Ron
May 17 - Dixie
June 7 - Dan
June 21 - Mike

"Read Across America" Authors Celebration

We've been invited to "Read Across America" Authors Celebration 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 20, under the Oshkosh Public Library Dome. Winners will read their short stories and refreshments will be served. It would be nice if a few of the judges can attend!

Please RSVP by calling 233-5955 by April 14th and leave your name and the number of people attending.

Also, the organization wishes to thank Ruth, Jessica, Bob, Joyce, Jane, Mike, Hope and Dorothy for being the final judges in the create-a-book contest.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

We're sad to note the passing of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke.

I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.

~ Arthur C. Clarke, Address to US Congress, 1975

Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition

Writer's Digest is currently accepting submissions for their Annual Writing Competition.

Entry Fee: $10-$15

Deadline: May 15, 2008. There will be 1,001 winners and more than $30,000 in cash and prizes. Top winners will be listed in the December 2008 issue of Writer's Digest.

Grand Prize:
$3,000 cash and a trip to New York City to meet with editors and agents. Second Place: The Second Place Winner in each category receives $500 cash, plus $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books. The Third Place Winner in each category receives $250 cash, plus $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books. The Fourth Place Winner in each category receives $100 cash. The Fifth-Place Winner in each category receives $50 cash. The Sixth- through Tenth-Place winners in each category receive $25 cash.

Flash Prose Contest

Writer Advice is sponsoring the 3rd annual Flash Prose Contest.

Submissions can for flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction that grabs, surprises, and mesmerizes readers in fewer than 750 words. First Place earns $75, Second Place earns $50, Third Place earns $35, and Fourth Place earns $20. Honorable Mentions will also be published. A list of all winners will be posted in the June - July issue of WriterAdvice. Deadline April 10, 2008; $10 entry fee.

Strongest Start Novel Writing Competition

The Next Big Writer is sponsoring the Strongest Start Novel Writing Competition (you need to be a member of the The Next Big Writer to enter).

Run by the TheNextBigWriter online community, the competition provides a $2,000 professional editing package for the writer who submits the most compelling starting three chapters. The judges include a NY Times Best-Selling author, a former literary agent and publisher from HarperSanFrancisco, and the previous year's winner. Writers
may submit as many novels as they like and will receive feedback on every entry. Deadline April 16, 2008.

Prizes: 1st Prize $2,000 Professional Editorial Package and $100, 2nd prize $50, 3rd prize $25.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Online Writing Courses

Become a better writer, get organized, and get published with a growing collection of online, non-credit writing courses taught by experienced professionals through the University of Wisconsin.

All courses are taught for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end, for a total of eight weeks. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

Each class is offered four times this spring: March 19, April 16, May 21 and June 18. Cost is $89 per class. For more information and/or to register, click here.

Class offerings include:

Writeriffic: Creativity Training for Writers

Who doesn't know the fear of the blank page? How can we transform our visions into the written word? Is it really possible to become a terrific writer? You'll find the answer to these and more of your questions in Writeriffic. In this high-energy class you'll learn lots of tricks from the published writer's toolbox. Whether you're at work now or hoping to write a novel, a nonfiction book, a memoir, short stories or articles, Writerific liberates the imaginative, inventive bolts of genius that are inside everyone.If you've ever dreamed of hearing your writer's voice and writing what's in your heart and head, this class will make it happen.

Write Fiction Like a Pro

What’s the single biggest difference between professional authors and novices? Professionals know how to structure novels and stories for maximum dramatic effect. This course helps you develop the same story structuring skills the pros use. You'll understand how your passion, theme, premise, and characters help you create the structure of your story, and you'll discover how viewpoint, dialogue, pacing, and many other techniques are used to build scenes and move your story from beginning to end.

Each assignment in this course helps you develop your own original novel or story. As you apply each technique, your story will take shape, with a clear path from beginning to end. And whenever you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in the Discussion Area for some interactive brainstorming! Before you know it, you’ll be prepared to ...write fiction like a pro.

Romance Writing Secrets

Learn the secrets of writing romance novels that get publishers excited. Facilitated by a bestselling, multi-published romance author, this course will guide you on your road to writing your first romance and getting it published.

Romance writing is the hottest fiction genre going. From Nora Roberts to Jayne Ann Krentz to Linda Howard, readers gobble up romance novels to the tune of $1.2 billion a year. This course starts with the fundamentals of organizing your book, beginning with the overarching theme, and moves on to the basic elements of good storytelling—character development, structuring your plot, internal and external conflict, and point of view. The class then proceeds to the specifics of romance—the importance of writing emotions, love scenes, witty banter, and romantic imagery. The course concludes with hints and tips on getting published within the romance market.

Students will be exposed to real-life examples from popular romance novels and from the instructor’s 12 years of experience as a published author of 39 romance novels.

Pleasures of Poetry

If you want to write poetry, this course will help you to create your best possible work. You'll learn the formal elements of the craft, become aware of how particular forms work, and explore many avenues for possible poetry topics. Interactive exercises will help you to create at least one poem with formal elements, and you'll receive instruction and commentary in a constructive and nurturing environment. If you're serious about becoming a published poet, you'll also learn how to prepare a manuscript for publication and where to send it for the best possible results.

Creating a Sense of Place

You may live among the prickly pears, dust devils, and intense sun of the desert. Or you may reside in a small town nestled alongside cornfields. Or perhaps you live in the big city and take a train in to work every day.

No matter where you live, your surroundings have special physical, historical, and spiritual characteristics that you can--and should--rely on to breathe life into any work of fiction or nonfiction.

During this course, you'll learn to tap into the world you know in order to establish a realistic sense of place in your writing. You'll develop your eye for detail, and you'll find out how to collect the information you'll need to infuse your works with believable characters, memorable settings, and detailed descriptions.

This hands-on course is filled with a variety of valuable exercises that will help you hone your skills of observation, interviewing, collecting oral histories, remembering details and descriptions, reproducing dialogue and diction, using figurative language, developing realistic characters, and more.

By the time you finish this course, you'll be well-prepared to create truly unique works filled with vivid and meaningful observations of the people, places, foods, customs, and events in not only your local community, but also in places that exist only in your memory.

Write Your Life Story

Have you thought about writing your story, sharing life-altering events? Does your family really know about their heritage? If you've ever thought about writing your life story, now is the time. You will have the satisfaction of telling history your way. You may even find a lucrative market for your story, just like the authors of the bestselling Rocket Boys and Angela's Ashes. This course walks you step-by-step through the process of writing your life story. It's fun. It's exciting. It's a story only you can tell.

Writing for Children

Join a published children's author and discover how you can touch the hearts of children by creating books for them. If you're a beginning writer, this course will help you transform a book idea into a finished product that you'll be proud to place into the hands of potential publisher. And if you're already a successful writer, this course will help you explore new opportunities and markets for your work.

In this highly interactive, hands-on course, you'll take pen to paper and begin work on your very first fiction or nonfiction manuscript. In the process, you'll explore the changing world of children's literature and understand the various formats--from baby's first books to novels for young adults. You'll get insights from guest authors and editors to gain a better understanding of the needs of today's market. By researching the genre and recognizing niche players, you'll open doors of opportunity, many of which you may not have previously considered. By the time you finish this course, you'll have all the tools and resources you'll need to continue to grow as a writer for children.

Mystery Writing

What makes a mystery?

If you consider the books you've read most recently, you may be surprised to discover that many--if not all--are mysteries. From Dan Brown to Dennis Lehane, mysteries are hot items on today's best-seller lists.

This course will teach you the techniques you need to know if you want to become a best-selling mystery author.

Mystery Writing begins by introducing the four story types and then explains how they relate to mysteries. It then reveals the three-act story structure, which is any story's key to success. Next, it shows you how to propel the action forward to a climax, followed by a catharsis in which your readers feel the release of tension that accompanies a great finish.

The difference between story and plot is one of the most important distinctions in fiction writing--and one that many professional authors don't fully understand. But you will have mastered it by the end of this course. You'll also get a chance to experiment with viewpoints and see which one works best for your mystery. And you'll write a complete scene from your story and learn the internal structure that makes every scene feel right.

Finally, you'll delve into the special techniques that apply to mysteries, including crime scene description, MacGuffins, and the use of red herrings to misdirect your readers and create suspense.

Examples from real mystery novels will show these techniques in action. Then, following each lesson, you'll get to practice on your own story. And when you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in a dynamic, interactive discussion area.

This information-packed online course combines the best advice of many writing professionals, tempered with the instructor's own experiences as a mystery writer. Follow the guidelines taught in this course, and you'll be well on your way to writing a successful mystery of your very own!