Monday, April 21, 2008

COWG April-May 2008 Newsletter

APRIL - MAY 2008
Central Oregon Writers Guild's mission is to support, encourage and assist writers of all genres throughout the Central Oregon Community. For COWG information, contact Cindy Prescher by e-mail or phone 541.388.0836


April 24, 2008 Central Oregon Writers Guild Meeting--Ali McCart, Founder and Editor of Indigo Editing will speak on the topic, "The Other Side of the Red Pen: How Editing Can Help an Author Catch a Publisher's Attention."

Ali McCart's presentation will focus on how editing can help an author achieve publication, plus the ways in which a good editor can take a seemingly perfect book and make it even better. Ali will give participants insight into what an editor looks for when reviewing an author's manuscript, and she will also talk about what writers need to know when seeking editorial assistance.

Ali McCart is the founder and senior editor of Indigo Editing, located in Portland, Oregon, where she brings nine years of writing, editing and bookselling experience to the company. With a master's degree in writing, emphasizing publishing, Ali has edited books, newspapers, magazines and literary journals for independent authors, small presses and large publishing companies. Ali focuses on nonfiction, while other editors at Indigo specialize in fiction and children's books. She teaches a quarterly class on becoming a professional editor and has been a featured speaker for Ooligan Press's 2007 fundraising brunch and Portland State University's editing class. Ali also tutors grammar through BrainChild Education Centers and is a member of Women in Portland Publishing. You can learn more about Ali and Indigo Editing at

Central Oregon Writers Guild meets the fourth Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m. at the Redmond Library, 827 SW Deschutes Ave., Redmond. The meeting is free and the public is invited. A critique session follows the program, and is limited to three readers. Attendees who would like to read and receive feedback should bring 20 copies of their written work. For further information, call 388-0836 or e-mail. The COWG blog site is:

May 22 Meeting--Award-winning author Eric Witchey will speak on the topic, "Mythic Power from Your Life." He will focus on how an author can find the hundreds of heroic journeys in their own lives and learn to mine them for emotional content that will make characters seem more real to the reader. Eric M. Witchey's fiction has sold nationally and internationally in multiple genres under several names. His how-to articles have appeared in The Writer and Writer's Digest as well as other print and on-line magazines. He has taught at two universities. Be sure to attend the May 22 meeting where Eric will tell us how to write compelling stories gleaned from our real-life experiences.

Upcoming Meetings:
June 26--Dwight Newton, Bend author who has been writing western novels for sixty years.

August 28--Bill and Mary Lewis will present "Interviewing--Mining for the Story's Golden Nugget.

September 25--Cameron Prow, poet, writer and owner of Type-Write II in Bend will present a coaching workshop for authors/writers on the art of public presentations.

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, May 17, 2008--Oregon Christian Writers Conference
Northwest Christian College, Eugene, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
COWG member Carol Brian will conduct the workshop, "Real Poetry for Real People" during the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in Eugene. To learn more about the OCW conference and how to participate in Carol's workshop, go to Conference keynote speakers are authors and relationship experts Bill and Nancie Carmichel.

Friday, October 17, 2008--Fall Literary Harvest
COWG is once again sponsoring the Fall Literary Harvest on Friday, October 17 at the Comfort Suites in Redmond from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Writers interested in reading at the event will submit their work for consideration by an editorial board who are not COWG members and who will determine the ten winning entries. The submission guidelines and entry details will be posted on the COWG blog. There will be a fee of $5.00 for each entry, with submissions accepted from May 22 until August 15, 2008. Mark your calendars now for the Fall Literary Harvest!

November 5 - 9, 2008--The Nature of Words, Central Oregon's premier literary event. Information about the 2008 program will be announced as plans take place. Go to for updates.


COWG's March program featured Rod Morris, senior editor of Harvest House Publishers, who talked about "Dialogue Dos and Don’t's". Rod, who has over 30 years of experience as an editor for several publishers, told us good dialogue is essential to a writer's stories, and the author can be taught to write better dialogue. Some book editors begin their evaluation of a manuscript by looking at the quality of the dialogue. Dialogue is an effective way for the writer to show, not tell the story. Writing dialogue is giving voice to the story's characters that live inside us. Dialogue also gives the reader "white space," breaking up text as the story moves forward, keeping the readers' interest. Rod gave examples of good dialogue/bad dialogue, and said the writer should bear in mind that dialogue is an approximation of real speech, seldom reflecting ordinary conversations. Rod also pointed out that listening is an often-neglected skill but if writers tune in to the words around them, whole stories are waiting to be written.

Rod shared specific techniques designed to create good dialogue, including reading your words out loud or into a tape recorder to give a sense of how the reader will react. Rod described it as bringing your own ear into play. Rod also gave tips on how to avoid bad dialogue and how to make your dialogue less formal. Rod recommended several resources: "Dialogue: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Effective Dialogue" by Gloria Kempton, "Writing Dialogue" by Tom Chiarella and "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King.

COWG April 5 DVD workshop, "The Hero's Two Journeys", featured screenwriters Chris Vogler and Michael Hauge. They presented an in-depth look at the stages of plot structure paralleling the characters' inner and outer journeys and tying the story together from beginning to end. Each participant came away with insights and specific guidelines on how to write a story, fiction or non-fiction, in which the characters ring true as they face and overcome challenges to achieve their goals, bringing their stories to a satisfactory conclusion. We thank COWG program chair Paty Jager for coordinating and facilitating this presentation, giving us the opportunity to gain valuable information that will assist us in pursuing our own writers' journeys.

COWG Critique Groups
Recently, new critique groups are meeting in response to interest by COWG's members and visitors. There is a newly formed Bend group and Redmond group. Both groups meet in the evenings and have space for another member or two. For details about how to participate in the critique sessions, contact Cindy Prescher at


Nature of Words Third Annual Rising Star Competition
This competition is awarded in fiction, literary nonfiction and poetry in two age categories, 15-18 and 19-25. Winning writers will receive a cash prize, recognition at an awards ceremony during the Nature of Words festival in November, and a scholarship to one of the event's workshops. Entry deadline is May 10, 2008. Competition details:

77th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition
The deadline for entries in this prestigious contest is May 15, 2008. For details about the categories, rules, entry forms and requirements, go to their website, 2008 Spring Fiction Contest is looking for high-quality, well-written short stories for their Spring Fiction Writing Contest. All entries must be original unpublished stories, word limit 5,000, with a first place prize of $1,000. Go to for details. Deadline for this contest is April 30, 2008.

Cool Stuff 4 Writers
Not only does Cool Stuff 4 Writers offer a monthly contest challenge, each issue is chock-full of great information for writers of all genres and features interviews with successful authors, writing tips, articles, announcements and links to other writer-related websites. Check it out at April's challenge is. "Word Count: 13 Sentences – Letters A-M". Prize is $25, deadline April 30, 2008. The recent Cool Stuff newsletter (anyone can subscribe) features an article about Amazon Books' recent announcement that any small press or print-on-demand publisher doing business with them would need to use their publishing arm, BookSurge. There is speculation that this action will have far-reaching implications and negative consequences for both authors and publishers. Cool Stuff's interview with Jerry D. Simmons has more details about Amazon's decision.

Powell's Books Poetry Contest: Write a Poem about Portland
It's National Poetry Month, and there is still time to help celebrate the occasion by writing a poem of your very own to submit to Powell's poetry contest before midnight, April 30, 2008. The poem must be original, under 20 lines and in some way about Portland, Oregon. Submit your entry to: for a chance to win 26 books of poetry (from small press poets to contemporary prizewinners to classics) and a handy Powell's rucksack. Go to for full rules and regulations.

Kay Snow Writing Contest
Willamette Writers 2008 Kay Snow Writing Contest deadline is Wednesday April 23, 2008. Category Guidelines, rules and entry form can be found at Willamette Writers' website and newsletter also has updates about writing conferences, workshops, meetings and other activities, including writers' markets and opportunities to enter writing competitions.


Executive Director: Cindy Prescher
Membership & Finance Chairperson: Elsie Rochna
Membership & Finance Assistant Chairperson: Carol Brian,
Publicity Chairperson: Anita Lanning
Program Chairperson: Paty Jager
CO Writers Report Editor: Anita Lanning
Refreshment Chairperson: Lindy Jacobs
Photographer: Jo Ann Senior
Blog Chairperson: Tia Linschied

Be sure to check out COWG's blog for updated information about what's happening in the Central Oregon Writers community.

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