Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, was the last meeting for 2010. We've had some great success stories this fall. Janelle's book is being fast-tracked for publication in the fall of 2011. Lynn won editor's choice in a recent Faithwriter's challenge. And, Joy continues to discover revelations on her journey. Each member contributes valuable insights and encouragement through critiques and the sharing of experiences and resources.

As we close the book on 2010 and begin writing the first chapter of 2011, we hope to grow and expand our circle of friends. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, January 6. If your New Year's resolution is to focus on your writing, drop in. We're a casual critique group and welcome visitors.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Times, Great Writing

We had some great meetings in August. Ellen Gilbert brought her patriotic poetry and told us the story of how a friend passed it along to Cliff Stearns who read it into the Congressional Record. Shirley Knight shared part of her book, A Journey Through Fire, about her husband's struggle with Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Our members also shared their projects, goals and successes. Christine Ramey attended the Faithwriter's Conference and we anticipate her return with lots of tips and encouragement. Greg Gaines delighted us with the audio component for his inspirational Web site. The creativity of Kristen Blyar's poetry gets our juices flowing each week and has inspired poetry in other members. We continue to learn local history and civics lessons from the series by Lynn Rix who, by the way, earned second place in the Faithwriter's Weekly Challenge for her essay on "smell". Tina Givens evoked memories of "packers" versus "payers" in her kindergarten memoir. We eagerly await the next chapter of Tom Jones' thriller and Tracy Redman shared her goal of obtaining her Master's degree in mental health.

If you have a piece that needs a fresh set of eyes, or need some motivation to start writing again, drop by. We meet every Thursday night from 6:45 to 8:45 to enjoy a relaxed, laughter-filled time of critique, encouragement and fellowship.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clark Surprised Us with a Visit

Tonight was supposed to be a night of critiques instead; we received a surprised visit from Sherrie Clark Article Manager of She shared with us that her manager was looking for new writers. This has never happened before! Someone came looking for writers. After all we are a writing group.

She shared that they we needing articles of all kinds. Any subject basically. It is wonderful when we receive visits like this. This goes to show what word of mouth can do for you as a writer! Her manager heard about us from his manager. Therefore, his manager went to Sherrie and asked her to visit us. Wow! This is the power of marketing.

Sherrie shared with us how that they had received 600 face book fans just in the first day they opened. It was a miracle for this new company that they have started off so powerful. That of course, is the power of God.

She told us not to worry about how many articles to send that she would find a way to use them. Sherrie said that a good word count would be anywhere from 300-1000 words for an article. They do not pay at the moment but they are hoping to in the near future. They have already received an overwhelming hit on their site as to who is reading what. That is the power of the media and internet.

She is interested in receiving new articles daily. They do devotions as well but not accepting many at this time. You may reach Sherrie for questions at (904)-887-9981. Also by email at and Share your story with Jax Christian today! Thanks Sherri for visiting with us and we look forward to the opportunity of working with you and with Jax Christian.

Christine M Ramey, FCCW Secretary

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DiGenti Shares His Ideas On Character Development

Vic is the NE Florida Regional Director for the Florida Writer’s Association, He’s the author of the “Windrusher” adventure/fantasy trilogy of award-winning novels, and also teaches a writing workshop at the University of North Florida. Learn more about Vic and his books at his website,

Vic talked about character development in fiction and writing effective dialogue. He began by saying, “One of the things that makes a novel memorable is strong and realistic characters.” He characterized it by stating “…writers, in effect, are playing God because they’re creating people, even though they’re storybook people.” Storybook people aren’t like real people, they’re bigger than life in many ways. Real people lead boring lives, but storybook people must stand out and hook a reader’s interest.

The writer can begin the process of creating storybook people by building a history for them. This can include details of the character’s background, physical characteristics, education, occupation and more. By doing this the writer is able to understand a character’s actions and motivations, even if much of this biographical information doesn’t appear in the story.
Sometimes, you can develop your character from someone you know. Use some of their traits, and build around them, letting the character’s grow in your imagination like a scientist grows cultures in a petri dish. As the character grows, Vic said, “…you’ll be surprised how they take on a life of their own.”

The second part of his presentation focus on how to write effective dialogue. Dialogue is an essential part of a good story, but writing good dialogue takes work and practice. Many people think writing dialogue is easy since people have been talking all their lives, but story dialogue isn’t like real life conversation which tends to be filled with pauses, and “uhs,” “you knows,” and boring interaction that wouldn’t work in a story where every line should move the story forward.

Building conflict into dialogue adds interest to the story and the characters. Oblique dialogue is another way to add tension to a conversation. This occurs when a speaker doesn’t answer a question or changes subjects abruptly. Vic also suggested that writer should read their work aloud or record it into a tape player and listen to it. Surprisingly, clunky and confusing language is much more apparent when listening to it rather than reading it to yourself.

Attributions in dialogue refers to the “he said,” “she said” part of the sentence which tells the reader who is speaking. Too many beginning writers believe the reader will get bored reading this over and over and augment them with adverbs like, “he said dramatically,” or uses words like, “she intoned,” or “he grumbled.” Resist the urge to make these changes as they mark the author as a beginner. The reader accepts the “he said,” “she said” attributions and barely notices them. And not every line of dialogue needs attribution after the speakers have been identified.
Vic also talked about “beats,” which are the bits of stage business a character might do while they’re talking. For example, the author might have the character tugging at an earlobe or pushing a lock of hair from her forehead. These are beats, and they help the reader visualize the scene. But be careful not to overdo the beats as they can slow down the flow of the scene.

Anyone interested in attending Vic’s Novel in a Day workshop at UNF can find more information at
Christine M Ramey, FCCW Secretary