minutes

12May2018 Meeting Minutes

MINUTES
San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Call to Order: June Gillam
Due to UOP's graduation on this day and extremely poor parking, our attendance was at an all time low; therefore we postponed everything on the May agenda to the June Meeting, including the election. 

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman
Approximately 10 in attendance, including one newcomer.

Speaker: Poet Laureate of Davis, Dr. Andy Jones offered a delightful presentation centered around the private and the public value of poetry, noting the irony that his private practice as a poet, now a laureate, must needs be shared in the public sphere, particularly to deliver an original three-minute poem just before the fireworks on July 4th. He works to bring poetry to an audience at public events in Davis and he includes in his own writing what his city is known for. 

Addressing the tension between the practical and the impractical in terms of the value of poetry for students wanting to get a job, Andy pointed to the practical first and said there is a new focus on the value of studying subjects fostering creative skills for work that cannot be done by robots. He referenced A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, in which Daniel Pink proposes that three big As affect us now as job seekers of all kinds, including writers trying to sell their wares.

Abundance -- trillions of products and activities, including books
Automation-- robots taking many of the current jobs
Asia -- many more English speaking workers than in US, so cheap wages

Degrees and accomplishments in poetry/humanity/liberal arts prepares people for the new jobs that robots cannot do.

Regarding the impractical, Andy said in poetry we can find emotional truth; it can connect us in an immediate way to important things, crucial things in our lives that hit us in the heart; poetry connects disparate images and ideas, and even a bad poem can still provide a therapeutic function available to all of us.

The poet can step forth and say what others know to be emotionally true but have not have expressed it in a specific and touching way. Ambitious and precise, poetry tries to communicate using the perfect word and do interesting things with the language such as use puns (sparingly) like this example Andy saw in front of a church: "Exposure to the son can prevent burning."

A poem starts with a disturbance of the status quo--the poem's speaker has had an occasion that generated the speech/poem. A poem enacts an emotion, does not need to have a logical meaning, not to be read as an essay or article.

Dr. Andy also offered some marketing tips: "association marketing" works--people who bought this also bought that, and direct "content marketing" works too, such as at events where writers connect with people. It's a good idea to offer something of value such as portions of a nonfiction book in a blog at first to get people to know you and want to support your book later when it comes out.

Ask yourself, how do I offer value in order to grow an audience before my book comes out? For example, medium.com writers help readers solve problems. 

For a schedule of Dr. Andy's poetry and related events in Davis, see
https://poetryindavis.com/
and on Facebook, see Dr. Andy's Poetry and Technology Hour


We took a break for networking


Adjournment: June Gillam

Manuscript Critiques followed.

 


                                        
June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

14April2018 Meeting Minutes

MINUTES
San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018


Call to Order: Scott Evans
Scott solicited nominations for office and reviewed the May upcoming election process. 

Sign In Sheet: June Gillam
Approximately 20 in attendance, including newcomers.

Speaker: Lisa Slabach, author of Degrees of Love, presented on Women’s Fiction, tips for writing deeply emotional content and ideas for marketing, as well. Degrees made its full-length publishing debut in December 2017 and has been nominated for a 2017 Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews.  

Lisa began with a summary of her career, which led to ideas for her novel, which was recognized as a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews and was picked up by several agents, yet turned down by publishers because they did not know how to categorize it for sales, as it did not fall into a clearly recognizable genre. The closest she could come was to place it in Women’s Fiction, which Lisa defined as focused on the “emotional journey of the main character.” Yet this is frustrating due to the fact that many novels are centered around that element, as well. But Women’s Fiction can also be considered Literary Fiction, noted Slabach, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jane Eyre, etc. 

She went on to share her two favorite techniques for writing deeply emotional content. First, use “sense memory.” Put your self imaginatively back into a time you felt a similar emotion and describe what is going on in your body. Second, use the “psychological gesture,” a physical action that expresses an emotion. 

She advised planning to spend on continual marketing without expecting a clearly related sales return, noting that marketing is just part of the cost of running a business. She learned a lot from Facebook tutorials on how to create ads. She uses Book Baby for publication of her novel and is satisfied with them. For more on Lisa,  see http://www.lisaslabach.com

We took a short break for networking

Announcements: May 12 meeting will also be Graduation for UOP, so arrive early to get parking. 

Minutes from the March meeting were approved.

Adjournment: Scott Evans

Manuscript Critiques followed.

 


                                        
June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

10March2018 Meeting Minutes

MINUTES
San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, March 10, 2018


Call to Order: Scott Evans
Scott reviewed upcoming election elements and solicited nominations for office
and shared information about the June Creative Writing Conference available to members at half the usual price. 

Sign In Sheet: June Gillam
Approximately 22 in attendance
Many newcomers, some from Meetup

Speaker: Joshua Mohr gave a lively presentation on the intersection of plot and character, of linearity and non-linearity creating various frames. He noted that writers inhabit a consciousness on the page for each character’s individual quest, their decision-making system. For example, he said it won’t work to trade the protagonists from Clockwork Orange and Eat Pray Love because the characters would choose differently at each plot point.

Josh said that characters from each end of the spectrum may be too one-dimensional while characters who live in the middle have the best shot at the dignity of complexity—what makes them like us, complex human beings. Our task, he believes, is to bring them to life in an exciting way. If we show them in one scene as selfish and greedy, then we can show their grace in another scene, to create dissonance—up the activity level for the reader to ponder the richness of the character; take the story to a meaningful level, meaningful as defined by a complex protagonist. 

He advised writers to play with time in the plot, consider alternate timelines; reframe the story architecture; ask yourself when is linearity an asset, when is it better to hold back the linearity of the actual story seen as a planetary body, with various moons orbiting it, some defying the gravity of the main body to show a more open heart; the writer meets the reader by way of the “open heart” of the book. 

Josh recommends the writer be a reckless explorer with a story’s structure, create a visceral experience for the reader, take him/her to the first row of the theater, invite readers onto the stage of the play. Understand the stakes in the story; what loss or pain is the protagonist risking, what context will add visceral texture to the story—where is it more compelling to be linear and where to depart from that? 

Josh gave us the task of taking a few minutes to list the most visceral scenes from our work in progress and consider rearranging the order they appear in our stories. Content and structure, are all trial and error, he said. We won’t make all readers happy. There is no such thing as THE start of a story; offer the reader an image, an impression, that defies the reader to stop reading. Josh left us with a renewed enthusiasm for our work and the advice to “write the book only you can write.” 

We took a short break for networking

Announcements from those in attendance
Robert Reinarts invited writers to participate in the Heritage Writers Community, which meets monthly at the Hagin Museum. Contact him at rreinarts22@comcast.net for details.

Officers and Committee Reports: 
Website: Updates on the website were provided by Anthony Marinelli who invited all to visit https://sanjoaquinvalleywriters.org/ to view the site and add comments, using the member information form now “live” on the site. 

Minutes from the January meeting were approved.

Adjournment: Scott Evans

Manuscript Critiques followed.

                                        
June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

10Feb2018 Meeting Minutes SJVW Branch

MINUTES
San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Call to Order: Scott Evans

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman
Approximately 24 in attendance
Many newcomers, some from Meetup

Speaker: Keith Edward English, Wordsmith and The Ruination Gods fantasy fiction series author returned to offer San Joaquin Valley Writers an in-depth presentation on virtual marketing via Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts for business. 

    Keith started the session going over some of the basics of professionalism and goal setting. He recommended “ask reddit” on reddit.com as a good research tool for writers and also a venue to be “author of the day” by sending a request message to the moderator of the subreddit genre of interest. 

    He posts four times a week on Facebook and Instagram and recommends we set a goal of times to post and amount of money to spend on boosts. He advised us to offer entertainment and information most of the time rather than sales of our books. He had us brainstorm on items we might want to offer such as humor, quotes, videos, lines from our writing in progress, special interest items such as food and drink related to our books, and “something of the day” where the something is an element featured in our books. 

    Use giveaways on a regular basis, asking folks to post a page “like” from which author will select a person and message to get their email address and send them an ebook. Creating a “thunderclap” is another way to market books, similar to holding a book launch. 

    Throughout his presentation, Keith responded to our many questions as he demonstrated some of the tricks of the trade on the overhead projector, showing his own pages as examples.

We took a short break for networking

Officers Report: Minutes from the January meeting were approved

Adjournment: June Gillam

                                        
June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval

13Jan2018 Meeting Minutes SJVW Branch

MINUTES
San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, January 13, 2018
 
Call to Order: Scott Evans
Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman
 
Introduction of Speaker: Scott Evans, who noted that Keith English was his student in a writing class at UOP a few years back.
 
Speaker: Keith Edward English, author of fantasy and science fiction, spoke offering valuable, practical writing and marketing tips such as how to get the free video editing app “durecorder.”  SJVWriters appreciated his marketing suggestions to the extent that we arranged with Keith to lead a mini-workshop following the break at the regular meeting February 10, with folks bringing laptops and trying out some online marketing approaches then. More information on Keith is at https://keithedwardenglishauthor.com
 
Break and networking
 
Announcements: Scott Evans noted we will be having elections of new officers in May and encouraged local Stockton writers to put their names into nomination as has Leslie Liberty, who has agreed to run for Vice President.
 
February Speaker: Cindy Sample, Marketing Guru, and her success story. More on Cindy at https://cindysamplebooks.com
 
Communications: Anthony Marinelli noted that writers are encouraged to send information to Anthony for the website https://sanjoaquinvalleywriters.org
Harlan Hague: Yahoo What’s Up?
amela Pan, Twitter Account @CWCSJBranch
 
Officers Reports:
reasurer: Financial Report
June Gillam submitted an invoice for $89 for annual Meetup fees.
ecretary: Past three months Minutes Approval  
 
Adjournment: Scott Evans
 
 
Manuscript Critiques: six members stayed for the critiques.
 

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