Friday, September 24, 2010

Westside Writers Schmooze Talks Writing Tips, Tricks and Techniques

On Wednesday Sept 15, 2010, 40 of us gathered in a giant circle in Santa Monica's Fairview Branch Library Community Room to share our best writing advice. There was so much good stuff, including:

respect your own creative process (whether you think best in the shower, or walking the dog, or doing a jigsaw puzzle!)

writing down your ideas right away because "the creative mind has no memory,"

"don't be afraid of using technology,"

read authors you love to get inspired,

three senses make a scene come alive,

give yourself a deadline,

eavesdrop to improve your dialog,

failure is an option - that's how great strides are made,

record yourself reading your work out loud,

and perhaps most importantly...

Hope to see you at our next schmooze which is going to be about VOICE. And maybe we'll even come up with a definition!

Happy Writing,

Lee and Rita
Your Westside Schmooze Coordinators

Monday, September 20, 2010

OC/Riverside Schmooze, 9/13, Katie Wheeler Library: WRITING IS REWRITING

THANK YOU to the amazing group of writers who schmoozed it up in Irvine on Sept. 13th. Even with our big circle--we were able to discuss queries, upcoming events, and brainstorm individual revision concerns. Here is what we came up with:

Hemmingway was said to have revised For Whom the Bell Tolls 40 times. Janet Fitch reworked White Oleander almost fifty times. So don’t feel bad if you’ve rewritten your manuscript more times than you can count on your fingers (or toes, for that matter.)

In her book Pen on Fire, local author Barbara DeMarco-Barrett says that “writing is rewriting.” She also says that rewriting is “where the craft works its magic. Things slip into their slots.” DeMarco-Barrett helps us remember this truth. Revising is where we become extraordinary writers.

But face it, revising is overwhelming. Painstaking. And seems downright impossible at times. That is why revision should be taken in steps—layer by layer. In the same fashion as YA author, John H. Ritter’s Seven Layers of Revision, we brainstormed our own list of “layers” to focus on in our rewrites. Take highlighters, post-it notes, whatever works, and go through your manuscript looking for one element at a time.

The OC/Riverside Schmoozer’s Layers of Revision List:

1.) humor

2.) clich├ęs (cut them, or twist them into something interesting)

3.) clarity of voice/POV

4.) passive writing

5.) dialogue (and tags as well)

6.) word searches (look for words you over used)

7.) show not tell

8.) density

9.) clarity of plot, pacing, balance between dialogue/action/narration—do all your scenes move your plot forward?

10.) tone

Take it slow, Pace yourself…and then jump! You can do it!

Schmoozer’s recommendations:

Books on craft:

*The Fire in Your Fiction, by Donald Maass

*Self Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King

Website resources: &

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome back Westside Illustrators!


We're off and running for another great year!

SCBWI Westside Illustrators Schmooze
Monday Evening, September 20, 2010
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm[Image] 11624 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

Dummy Review 101'
or 'Back to work, Dummies!'

1) Demos of 2 great ways to build a dummy book...
Start off the schmooze year with a brand new dummy.
Resolve to have it finished by our May meeting.

2) BRING your existing children's book dummy,
if you have one or many... in any stage of development.
We want to 'begin with the end in mind'

'Summer Conference Review

1) Reporting about the summer conference.

2) Bring your notes & experiences if you were an attendee
We'll listen and learn and discuss.

Come prepared to participate, ask questions and be inspired!
Let's enjoy a fun creative evening together & move forward in our common pursuit
of making a contribution to the world of children's illustration and literature!

RSVP???... YES...if you can...

WHERE???... 11624 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064
This is a large gray building with ivy & bamboo on the facade.
The sign near the door reads - "Alliance Francaise."


... Street parking only. You don't have to feed meters after 6pm. Do NOT park in the electrical warehouse parking lot next door OR the parking lot behind the building on the corner of Federal Ave. You will be towed...FAST.

Looking forward to seeing you all!
cell... 818 389 1950

come visit me at...