Everything you wanted to know about critique groups: Come to our panel discussion on March 11.

Critique group by runnersami.wordpressdotcom

There’s something about critique groups that tends to polarize writers. Some think it’s a great way to have others “in the know” give advice about everything from character development to story arc. Others aren’t so sure, having heard frightening stories about writers being savaged by harsh criticism.

So what’s the truth? How do Winston-Salem Writers’ critique groups handle these questions? And what groups are available for local writers?

On March 11, our panel of writers will tackle these questions and any others on your mind. The panel consists of professionals including Winston-Salem Writers critique group coordinator and professional story coach, Anne Civitano; author Caresse Hightower; corporate professional and author Vanessa Smith; former president of Winston-Salem Writers, author, and professional Carol Roan; and author/poet Grace Winn Ellis. Moderator will be Ashley Carmichael.

The panel discussion will be held at the Reynolda Manor Library at 7 p.m. Don’t miss this important discussion!

On March 14, children’s author Stacy McAnulty presents a workshop, “Engineering a Picture Book”.

It’s not often you encounter a successful children’s book author with an engineering degree and a decade’s experience in product development. Stacy McAnulty uses that background to bring a unique perspective on producing children’s books. Here’s how she describes it:

“I’ve been writing since 2001, both novels and picture books. Last year I started asking myself why I’m successful with picture books and not novels. I think it’s because I don’t only write picture books, I engineer them. Picture books are a consumer product. In my presentation, I talk about the steps of the design process and how they can help writers create a successful product.

“I will go through this flexible process with participants. We can do brainstorming exercises and maybe even create first drafts.”

Doesn’t that sound like such a logical approach to what often seems a mystical topic? The workshop will be from 1 – 5 p.m. on Sat. Mar. 14, at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. Cost is $40 for WSW members, $50 for non-members. Registration begins Monday on our website here, and must be completed by March 11.

Congratulations to the winners of our 10-Minute Play Contest!

Here are the winners of our fifth annual 10-Minute Play Contest:

1st place:  Lela Chesson  for her play “Out in the Left Field”

2nd Place: Ed Robson for his play “Delusional Disorder”

3rd Place:  Marilynn Anselmi for her play “Making Connections”

Mark your calendar for Friday night, April 17, when these winning plays will be stage-read at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. We’ll have more details as the date draws near. Oh, and if you’d like to be considered as a reader or a stage director, shoot an email to Vijya Campagne.

Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference.

From the official website:

“The North Carolina Writers’ Network and the Creative Writing Program at UNC Greensboro bring you a full day of workshops, panels, conversations, and more. This year’s Spring Conference again will be in UNCG’s MHRA Building, on the corner of Spring Garden and Forest Streets, offering classes and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing and publishing.

“In addition, the ‘lunch’ part of Lunch with an Author will be provided for those who register, so writers will be able to spend more time talking, and less time waiting in line.”

The conference takes place Sat. April 18. Here are registration details.

Want to go to a writer’s and reader’s conference that’s (gasp!) FREE?

Consider Book ‘Em North Carolina, now in its third year. Here’s the skinny from its website:

“If you’re a reader, books will take you to amazing worlds – from ancient times to the future; from local adventures to nations around the world; from your own culture to others; from common sense to stretching your imagination in various ways… Whether you enjoy action, adventure, autobiographical, biographies, fairy tales, fantasy, folklore, historical, horror, humor, inspirational, military, mystery, mythology, romance, science fiction, or suspense – Book ‘Em North Carolina is THE place to be on Saturday, February 28, 2015.

“We are full with featured authors registered to sell and sign their books and participate in panel discussions and solo talks. If you are an author who would like to be involved, we suggest that you attend in 2015 – you’ll find plenty of networking opportunities and you can attend all talks at no charge. Then sign up early to be a featured author in our 2016 event – the registration will be posted online in March 2015. Spots fill up fast!”

The event takes place at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, NC from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Complete details at their website.

Writing with Anne

(WSW Board Member Anne Civitano has long been curating all sorts of writing tips, websites, and ideas. In this feature, Anne shares some of her “finds” with us.)

Sam Barbee sent this link to an NPR interview with National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver.

Two articles on the upcoming release of Harper Lee’s novel, “Go Set a Watchman” and all the hubbub that continues to surround its upcoming release. Here’s one, and here’s the other.

The ABC’s of cutting word count, from Fiction University.

And from Grub Street, a very interesting post on mind-mapping to get the creative juices flowing. With links to various sites with help, tools, info.

Writing opportunity of the week.


Deadline: March 1…Prizes: Publication and signing at the convention…Entry fee: None

“Short-story submissions are being sought for the next Bouchercon anthology. Bouchercon is an annual mystery writer and fan convention, to be held in Raleigh NC on October 8-11, 2015. Stories should be between 3,500-5,500 words, and will be blind-judged. The conference and anthology theme is “Murder Under the Oaks” – interpret freely! Complete submission guidelines here.


C. David Gelly’s new novel Orchard Gap, number two in the “Gap” series, is now available at Amazon.

Steve Lindahl, Ray Morrison, and Matthew Peters will be reading from their books at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Thu. Mar. 5 at 7 p.m.

Carol Roan has a personal essay “Waiting for Marshall” in the new anthology Lonely Whale Memoir from Chatsworth Press. She also has a story, “The Designer”, in Fractal Literary Magazine.

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