Great kick-off meeting – January 23, 2016

With many thanks to Patti Naisbitt, Public Relations and Program Coordinator at Woodridge Public Library, the Writing Journey held its first meeting of 2016 in the beautifully renovated upstairs meeting room at the Woodridge Public Library. Twenty one people showed up and participated in the round table introduction and information sharing that took a bit more than the first hour.

I led, with help from Sam M. (samcadams), Sarah (anobi), Awnna (AwnnaMarie), Catherine (Cee-Bee), Ed (Fred Duck), and Jenny (Uniasus), the first workshop that defined the Journey, how it operated via member-led Paths, our shared internet resources, and the known Paths for 2016. These include:

  • a Writer’s Voice workshop, June 4th, at Woodridge Public Library
  • our 2016 short story and poetry anthology, themed to classic tales reimagined (edited by Awnna Marie Evans and Ellie Roth)
  • our fun-filled Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre event, March 5th, at Glen Ellyn Public Library’s beautiful upstairs space
  • monthly MiniWriMo events (write 10K words in 7 days), complete with small prizes (led by Sarah (anobi))
  • book swaps, led by Sarah (anobi)
  • Ed’s Japanesey and Asian paths that explore fine food and introduction to the cultures of Japan and Asia at unique restaurants, shops and other destinations around the area
  • an outing to go see Heathers the Musical
  • a writers workshop group, led by Catherine (Cee-Bee) (in-person critiquing of stories)
  • the return of the popular Accountability Path, led by Todd (writertodd07)
  • the 2016 Editing Path to help people edit a novel in a month (and perhaps beyond), led by Sam M.
  • monthly Story Walls
  • the Book-A-Month club, a book discussion Path led by Katherine (squiddish)

Thanks to our sponsors Woodridge Public Library and Glen Ellyn Public Library, all of our activities are free (beyond any costs people might incur themselves for meals or shows), as is membership in the Journey.

After this introductory presentation, Sam M. led a nice workshop on novel editing.

Afterwards, Sam M. went through his novel in the Story Wall process. Our talented Sam Brown illustrated this on the beautiful whiteboard:

Next month (February 27, 11:30 AM-3:30 PM at the Glen Ellyn Public Library), Jenny (Uniasus) will lead a workshop on querying and submitting work to magazines; and Sarah (anobi) will lead a workshop on character personalities (an aid to developing better characters). Sam B. and Ellie have volunteered for Story Walls (and we have room for 1-2 more).

January 2014 Journey Meeting

Saturday (January 11th) was our kick-off meeting for the 2014 edition of the Journey.  We met in the Lunch Room of the Naperville Municipal Center, a very nice space but with one fault–the wi-fi signals here are spotty. Fortunately, we had prepared for this contingency and had local copies of all presentations.

After our group’s normal round table discussion, Peter and I gave an overview of the Journey websites and how to use them. Peter, who is preparing a graduate course on Cloud and Virtualization Security, suggested we create a Technology Path; and many of those present agreed wholeheartedly, particularly after hearing about how Ann lost her 2013 novel from an attack of file encrypting ransomware.

Following that, Frank and I engaged in Story Wall exercises. These are short (envisioned to be 15-20 minutes long, but we took longer and went more in depth at this meeting), highly interactive sessions where an author gives an overview of their work and solicits specific feedback in known problem areas. Frank proclaimed his session extremely useful; I know that the members in my session, who gave me feedback on my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, gave me invaluable help in improving the story and its implementation, identifying gaps and proposing excellent ways to fix them. Roger and Diana volunteered to use the Story Wall in February; and Roger also volunteered to organize the February workshop.

We have several Paths planned for 2014, including an Editing Path that begins this coming week and at least three short story anthologies (encompassing horror, twisted westerns, and stories-related-to-cookbook-recipes).

Happy New Year, everyone!