June 5th WORKSHOP: “Setting that Works” with John Byrne Barry

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The best setting is more than a pretty, or gritty description. It’s lean and strong, because it’s working two or more jobs—pushing your story along, helping us get to know your protagonist better. Join us for Setting That Works on June 5th at WeWork (1111 Broadway in Oakland).

In this hands-on workshop, John Byrne Barry, author of Wasted: Murder in the Recycle Berkeley Yard, and Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher, will review the different ways setting can strengthen your story, and lead a writing exercise putting what we learn into action.

Topics Covered at June 5th Workshop

  • Studying the different ways setting can strengthen your story.
  • Do writing exercises putting what we learned into action.
  • Capturing the essence of a place in a few short sentences—a strategic snapshot, not a wikipedia entry.
  • Drip-feeding description into your story so it doesn’t slow the momentum.

Get Your Tickets Now

Workshop Led by John Byrne Barry

John Byrne Barry
John Byrne Barry

John Byrne Barry writes novels, designs websites and book covers, and leads bicycle tours in San Francisco. He is author of two “page-turners with a conscience”—Wasted: Murder in the Recycle Berkeley Yard, and Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher, which won the 2015 Best Book award from the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA). His third novel, coming in 2019, is an assisted-suicide family thriller, tentatively titled Why I Killed My Father. Learn more at johnbyrnebarry.com.

Ticket Info for this Workshop

Advance tickets $30; $40 at door.

CWC Members (50% discount): Advance tickets $15; $20 at door

There will be a member list at the door. Information about membership benefits and costs can be found at cwc-berkeley.org/about/join-us. 

Reservations are required!

GET TICKETS NOW

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Planning your Novel: an Interview with Beth Barany

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Today we have an interview with our April Keynote Speaker, Beth Barany.

An award-winning novelist, Master NLP Practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany specializes in helping genre fiction writers experience clarity so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers. Her courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. She runs Barany School of Fiction, an online school for fiction writers, which includes a 12-month group coaching program to help you get published. Beth is also the editor of the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing. She’s also the author of books for writers, including The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, Twitter for Authors, and Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! Ready to embark on the next step in your writer’s adventure? Sign up for her free 5-day Writer’s Discovery Mini-course here: http://bethb.net/discover.

Questions provided by CWC member Cristina Deptula of Authors Large and Small.

Five Questions on Plot for Beth Barany

Do most novels benefit from planning? What would you say to someone who writes by the seat of their pants and thinks that outlines stifle their creativity?

Honestly, I think every novelist needs to decide whether or not they want to plan their books. If you work best by allowing inspiration to strike you, then go with that. If you love outlines, go with that. Or if you like to do some planning and some off-the-cuff writing, then go with that. The point about the planning process I teach is to help you find the best process for you. If you’re stuck not knowing where to go with your story, then having a roadmap will help you get going. I have seen this time and time again with people who have taken our “Plan Your Novel” course. Essentially, there is no one right way to write a book; there is only the way that works for you.

What’s your own writing process like? Do you do a full on outline before writing?

I don’t like the word outlining. Ha! That is why the book PLAN YOUR NOVEL LIKE A PRO is about planning, not outlining. For those who want to outline we suggest some tips, but the book is for people who also find outlining boring or hard. I don’t like knowing every single detail about the story before I write it. I like to be surprised as I go, but I also want to have a general direction and understand what my story is about before I start.

Usually I start with a sense of what my genre is and who my main characters are. From there I develop the conflicts of the story. I often go back-and-forth between what kind of story I’m writing, the genre, who my main characters are, and the theme of the story in my planning process. In my writing process I just go. In my editing process I go back-and-forth between being and story and characters and genre and finding the connections between everything.

Is it different when you’re writing YA novels than other types of books? How much does genre influence how you plan a novel?

My planning process has evolved, and it is different with every set of books I’ve written. I wrote my young adult fantasy novels (3-book series) using primarily the hero’s journey as my guide (from the book, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.) When I wrote my romances (5-book series) I was using my planning process that I teach. I’m currently working on a science fiction mystery series now and also used my planning process to brainstorm this 4-book series. Those books are more plot driven than anything I’ve written so far. I would say genre influences how I plan and write my novels tremendously. Genre provides the boundaries of what does and does not go into the story. In terms of characters, action, and conflict.

What do you do if you’ve got a novel planned and then a character seems to want to do something completely different? Have you changed plans midstream, and do you redo your outline in that case?

As I said, I don’t do outlines. I do a plan that is essentially a scene-by-scene structure. Usually by the time I’m writing, I have a pretty good sense of who my characters are and where the story wants to go. If characters want to go off in some other direction that I didn’t plan for, I let them. That’s the fun of writing my first drafts. I really can’t judge whether or not a plot works better than what I planned so I just follow my intuition. I follow the plan if it seems to make sense or if it doesn’t seem to make sense, I write it differently. I do not revise my outline. That’s way too much work. When I’m writing, my focus is solely on writing. When I get to the editing process, I tend to do a lot of character and the world exploration. But I don’t revise an outline. I’m only revising the prose.

How do you plan without having your plan show through in the book and having your writing look formulaic?

The plan is like a roadmap. When you’re actually on your trip it looks nothing like the map itself. So when you’re writing, that’s going to take on a life of its own and look tremendously different than any outline or planning notes you have. In terms of being concerned about being formulaic, don’t be. Every story has a structure. You can’t get away from that. Humans deeply understand story because we have been telling a story for many millennia. You could say that every story is based on formula. Of course, the story structures change over time and are even different depending on what culture you’re from. This notion that stories are bad if they’re formulaic ignores the fact that every story has structure—a formula of sorts.

On April 21st we welcome Beth Barany to guide us in planning our novels.

Join us April 21st for story plotting tips and exercises with Beth Barany. We will also have support groups for craft and book marketing, as well as a reading from our featured member, Kacey Carpenter.

April 21st— “Plan Your Novel Like a Pro” with Beth Barany

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Learn the 7 Keys to Story Planning on April 21st in person—or catch the lecture online later!

 

In this interactive lecture, we’ll help you brainstorm the steps to create your novel—from character development to plot structure to story themes and world building—so you can start writing your novel with clarity and confidence.

We’ll do bite-sized exercises step-by-step to help you stretch your imagination and get excited about the writing process.

If you have never written a novel, still feel lost on how to go from brilliant idea to The End, or always hit that sagging middle and lose focus, this event will help you dream up exciting ways to torture—er, challenge—your characters all the way to the resolution of the story.

This mini-workshop, “7 Keys to Story Planning,” is a mini-course Beth offers at her online school, The Barany School of Fiction, which she runs with her husband Ezra, who is also a novelist.
 
Which means: if you can’t make it to our meeting, you can still see the lecture!
 
Beth will be providing a coupon to all who attend so that they can access the lecture for free at any time. If you can’t make the meeting and would still like to see the lecture, sign up for the course here. Half of the $17 fee will be donated to the Berkeley Branch of the California Writers Club. 

Register for the online version of Easter Sunday’s workshop.

Thank you, Beth!

About Beth Barany

Beth BaranyAn award-winning novelist, Master NLP Practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany specializes in helping genre fiction writers experience clarity so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers. Her courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. She runs Barany School of Fiction, an online school for fiction writers, which includes a 12-month group coaching program to help you get published. Beth is also the editor of the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing. She’s also the author of books for writers, including The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, Twitter for Authors, and Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! Ready to embark on the next step in your writer’s adventure? Sign up for her free 5-day Writer’s Discovery Mini-course here: http://bethb.net/discover.


But Wait, There’s More!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Preservation Park

Be sure to arrive early on the day of our meeting, to participate in the Craft and Marketing support groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this. Non-members and guests can audit any of our critique & support groups before joining. 

Enjoy the buzz of our networking time from 2-2:30 p.m. Have some coffee and make some great connections!


MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
 1:00–2:00 – Marketing Success Group

 2:00–2:30 – Writer Networking
 2:30–3:00 – Welcome, Raffle & Club Announcements

 3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member 
 3:15–4:00 – Keynote Beth Barany

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members*

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket; bring a few bucks to purchase additional tickets at $1 each or 6 for $5. Support the club and win a book written by our club authors!

*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are committed to supporting writers.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

  • April 3 Setting that Works! A workshop with John Byrne Barry
  • May 19 The Working Writer: Day Jobs as Writing Inspiration Panel Discussion with Paul Corman-Roberts, Peggy Dougherty, and Thaddeus Howze
  • June 16 Member Showcase at a bookstore near you!

SPEAKER 3/17/19— “From Print to Performance: Adapting Books to Film and Theater” with Victoria Zackheim

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Adapting Books to Film and Theater with Victoria Zackheim

When you read a book and think, “This would make an excellent movie (or play)!” where do you go from there? In this program, Victoria will discuss what makes a good adaptation…and how to go about doing it! It doesn’t matter whether your write fiction or non-fiction, Zackheim will school us on film adaptations at our March meeting.

About Victoria Zackheim

Victoria Zackheim wrote The Bone Weaver, a novel, and edited six anthologies, including the bestselling The Other Woman, and her most recent: FAITH: Essays from Believers, Atheists, and Agnostics.  She adapted her first anthology, The Other Woman, to a play that enjoyed a simultaneous reading at more than twenty theaters nationwide. Her newest play, Entangled, adapted from the memoir by Lois Goodwill and Don Asher, is now under development, with readings in California theaters. She adapted Caroline Leavitt’s novel, Meeting Rozzie Halfway, to a screenplay, as she did with Anne Perry’s international bestseller Southampton Row. Victoria’s screenplay, Maidstone, is in development with Anderimage, in collaboration with SJ Murray. Victoria wrote the documentary film, Where Birds Never Sang: the Story of Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, which aired on PBS nationwide. She teaches creative nonfiction in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a frequent speaker and instructor at writers’ conferences and organizational events in the US, France, Mexico and Canada. For more info, check her out at VictoriaZackheim.com

But Wait, There’s More!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Preservation Park

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing support groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this. Non-members and guests can audit any of our critique & support groups before joining. 

Enjoy the buzz of our networking time from 2-2:30 p.m. Have some coffee and make some great connections!

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
 1:00–2:00 – Marketing Success Group

 2:00–2:30 – Writer Networking
 2:30–3:00 – Welcome, Raffle & Club Announcements

 3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Leena Prasad 
 3:15–4:00 – Keynote Victoria Zackheim

NEW: 4:15 – CWC Open Mic! Bring up to 5 minutes to read outside, weather permitting

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members*

  • Coffee is provided, bring cookies and treats to share!
  • Admission includes 1 free raffle ticket; bring a few bucks to purchase additional tickets at $1 each or 6 for $5. Support the club and win a book written by our club authors!

*Empty pockets? Ask about our sponsored guest program at the door. We are committed to supporting writers.

1204 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

SAVE THE DATES!
Our Forthcoming Events:

Feb 18th: “Grounding Our Characters to the Real World” with Jacqueline Luckett

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Our members have told us that want more opportunities to improve their craft, and we listened. on Sunday, February 18th, novelist Jacqueline Luckett will help us improve our character writing in her feature lecture, “Grounding Our Characters to the Real World.”

In the real world, we’re eager to learn as much as we can about the new people we meet. Readers should experience that same excitement when they’re introduced to a novel’s characters. At February’s meeting, we’ll look at a few ideas to keep readers interested and engaged in a character from the first pages of a novel to the last.

About the February Speaker

Jacqueline Luckett is the author of two novels, Passing Love (2012) and Searching for Tina Turner (2010), and essays in the Huffington Post and Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011. She has an MFA in Screenwriting from the University of California, Riverside. Luckett frequently speaks to various organizations about discovering her passion, her path to successful publication, and advice for new writers seeking to move forward in their careers. The Bay Area native lives in Oakland and travels frequently to nurture her passion for photography, exotic foods, and in search of another city that mesmerizes her as much as Paris. Learn more about her at jacquelineluckett.com.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this.

MEETING SCHEDULE

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CWC Featured Author Francine Thomas Howard

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Francine Thomas Howard
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Jacqueline Luckett

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

10/15 SPEAKER— “Said and Unsaid: Dialogue in Fiction and Memoir” with Laurie Ann Doyle

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Preservation Park

Our new locatation: Preservation Park

Is dialogue meant to reveal or conceal?

Strong dialogue in fiction and memoir actually accomplishes both, revealing the characters by what is said and not said. October’s featured speaker Laurie Ann Doyle will share excerpts from masters of dialogue, examining how artfully crafted speech, gesture, and silence helps the writer not only develop character, but generate tension, subtext, and move the plot forward. Participants will learn how to take full advantage of their characters’ expressive tics, favorite phrases, and utter withdrawal to build an immersive world for the reader. They’ll have the chance to free-write some of their own dialogue, trying on different personas, and share what they’ve created in a supportive atmosphere.

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About Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle is the author of World Gone Missing, a book of short stories to be released by Regal House Publishing in October, 2017.

The winner of the Alligator Juniper National Fiction Award, her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in The Los Angeles Review, Timber, Jabberwock Review, Road Story, Arroyo Literary Review, Under the Sun Magazine, and many other journals. She teaches creative writing at the San Francisco Writers Grotto and UC Berkeley Extension, where she received the Honored Instructor award. Learn more at her site, LaurieAnnDoyle.com.

But That’s Not All!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…and Check Out Our New Location in the Heart of Oakland

We are meeting at Preservation Park

Our next meeting will be right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Laurie speaks at 3:15, but remember our meetings start at 12, and include interactive groups to help you with your writing and your book sales. In our craft group, we discuss how to tackle challenges in our writing. In the marketing group we help you spread the word about your books and build your platform. We also provide tasty snacks and plenty of opportunities to network with other writers.

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Laurie Ann Doyle

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

“What She Had To Do” with Mary-Rose Hayes, Sunday, February 16, 2014

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On the third Sunday in February, Mary-Rose Hayes will discuss the pitfalls and rewards of translating personal experience into fiction, as well as the organization and design of a multilayered novel.

A desperate choice made by young Imogene Sayle during the rigors of post-war England triggers shockwaves through three generations of a family.

Fifty years later in San Francisco, Imogene’s daughter Penelope learns of her mother’s terminal illness. Despite a toxic child- hood, she is driven by love for her beautiful and destructive mother. She returns to England to care for her and try to discover, before it’s too late, the secret shadow in Imogene’s past that has impacted so many lives.

What She Had to Do, originally planned as a memoir, is a universal story of family fault lines and the complex bonds between a mother and daughter.

What She Had to Do maintains a solid 5 stars on Amazon.

British-born Mary-Rose Hayes is the author of eight previous novels, including the TIME/LIFE best-seller Amethyst, and two political thrillers coauthored with Senator Barbara Boxer.

Click here for information about location and time.