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Previous Speaker Information
Conquering Self-Doubt When You Sit Down to Write
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 6:30 p.m.
Whether you’re writing memoir or essays, fiction or poetry—whether you’re a beginning writer or have been writing for years—you’ve probably experienced, at some point, almost debilitating doubts. Suddenly, you think, “I’m just not a writer. I can’t do it.” Though she has been writing for 55 years and has seven books to her credit, Judy Goldman knows that feeling. What she has discovered is that self-doubt is a sign your work is taking on its own life, becoming bigger than what you had imagined. Judy will talk about the tricks she has learned to turn self-doubt into writing success. She’ll talk about pushing on, knowing you can’t actually get everything right. You do your work in the hopes of coming close. She’ll explain how to discover what makes your writing different from anything else you’ve ever read, how to write the story only you can write.
Join us at Tyvola Senior Center, 2225 Tyvola Road,Charlotte, NC 28210.
About Judy Goldman
Judy Goldman is the author of seven books – three memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry. Her new memoir, Child, will be published Mother’s Day, 2022. Her most recent book, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap (published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine. Together also received a starred review from Library Journal. Her first memoir, Losing My Sister, was a finalist for both SIBA’s Memoir of the Year and ForeWord Review’s Memoir of the year. She received the Sir Walter Raleigh Fiction Award and the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, as well as the three prizes awarded for a poetry book by a North Carolinian and Silverfish Review Press’s Gerald Cable Poetry Prize. She received the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” the Irene Blair Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award from Central Piedmont Community College, and the Beverly D. Clark Author Award from Queens University. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Washington Post, USA Today, Charlotte Observer, Real Simple, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. She and her husband have lived in Charlotte for 54 years.
The most important detail of Judy’s writing life? The very first prize she won was the Charlotte Writers Club poetry contest.
Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Lea Graham
Tyvola Senior Center
2225 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
From the Outside In or the Inside Out: Organizing Your Book of Poems
How do you put a book of poems together? We’ll explore different ways of organizing your book – whether it be through writing with a specific idea from the outset or by discovering the intrinsic connections between poems you have already written.
We’ll explore different ways poets have organized their books: through form (Terrence Hayes’ Wind in a Box), through place (my most recent book, From the Hotel Vernon); through time (Ed Sanders’ 1968), and through a combination of things like form, personal events, and popular culture (Victoria Chang’s Obit).
We’ll turn then to discovering connections between poems you already have. We’ll talk about imagery, metaphor, repetition and key poems that might help you see and develop the book that is already there. We’ll discuss ways to see with an editor’s eye through examples of books that are organized from the inside out (Lucille Clifton’s Book of Light).
Finally, once you have a group of 48-70 pages of poetry (the typical range of a book of poems), how do you organize it? What goes where and why? Beyond order, we will also talk about things like titles, the audience in your mind, and how to get the best help possible from your writing community.
About Lea Graham
A poet and essayist, an editor and a translator, Lea Graham was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Northwest Arkansas. She divides her time now between Kingston, New York and Conway, Arkansas, a settled life after years moving between four states and as many foreign countries. She is an Associate Professor of English at Marish College in New York where she has been on the faculty since 2007.
Graham is the author of two poetry collections, From the Hotel Vernon (Salmon Press, 2019), Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You (No Tell Books, 2011), and three chapbooks, Spell to Spell (above/ground Press, 2018), This End of the World: Notes to Robert Kroetsch (Apt. 9 Press, 2016), and Calendar Girls (above/ground Press, 2006). Most recently, she edited a collection of essays honoring poet Michael Anania, From the Word to the Place: The Work of Michael Anania. (MadHat Press, 2021).
Her poems, reviews, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous journals including: Dogwood Plume, The Southern Humanities Review, The Arkansas Review, Orange Blossom Review, Milk Magazine, and In/Filtration: Anthology of Innovative Hudson Valley Poetics. Current projects include Curiosity road, a book of travel essays, and a poetry manuscript In Transit which focuses on the histories of travel.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Michelle Icard - Sorting It All Out
Tyvola Senior Center
2225 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
Sorting It All Out
Anyone who has ever written a long work of nonfiction (and this might apply to a lot of fiction as well!) knows that by the time you're ready to write you’ve accumulated a million ideas (some research, some metaphors, some strategies, etc.). They swim about in your head, seem to pull you in every direction, stubbornly refuse to settle down and become a coherent whole that will allow your readers to move effortlessly from point A to point B. Michelle Icard knows the problems you face. She's been there, found her way through the thicket, and is willing to share a few of her secrets. Join us for a session that will make your life as a writer just a little bit easier!
About Michelle Icard
Michelle Icard is a speaker, author, and educator who helps kids, parents, and teachers navigate the complicated social world of early adolescence.
Her latest book, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen, guides readers through the fourteen essential conversations parents need to have with their kids before they start high school. Her first book, Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years, is a primer for the social and emotional changes parents and kids navigate when mid-life meets middle school under one roof. She is currently writing her third book for Penguin Random House: The Ten Failures That Can Make Your Child A Success.
Michelle is a CNN parenting writer and a member of the TODAY Show parenting team. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, Time, and People Magazine. Her middle school leadership programs, Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit, have been implemented at schools across the country and she speaks around the globe at schools and parenting events.
Tuesday, February 15, 2022 - 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Betsy Thorpe
Tyvola Senior Center & ZOOM
2225 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
Taking That Final Step toward Publication
You’re a writer. You’ve worked hard and for a very long time to get your project ready for publication. But do you in fact have a professional-looking work that will draw the attention of an agent or, if you opt for self-publishing, generate the kind of reviews that will sell books in the numbers you’ve imagined? Beyond writing, it is vitally important that would-be authors understand the publishing industry, and the fine points agents and publishers expect to see before they commit to putting time and money into your book. Betsy Thorpe will explain what different kinds of editors do: proofreaders, copy-editors, sensitivity editors, developmental editors. She’ll lay out in more detail the ways a developmental editor can help with observations on the amount and flow of information you’ve included, your style, use of words, even the number of chapter divisions. She’ll explain how a developmental editor can help you develop your characters more fully, refine the hero’s journey, enliven your dialogue, use setting effectively, maintain the pace of your story—and more.
About Betsy Thorpe
Betsy Thorpe, a veteran of twenty years and more in the book business, has seen it all from behind the editor’s desk. She worked briefly after college as a “Rover” at Condé Nast and worked on projects at all their magazines, left to follow her heart into the book world as an editorial assistant at Atheneum Books where she worked with Lee Goerner. Moving up, she worked as an assistant editor at Harper Collins where Janet Goldstein schooled her in what it takes to be a great editor, and she later followed her mentor to Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House. In time, she went on to become health and parenting editor at John Wiley & Sons. Since leaving New York she has worked as a freelancer, co-writing books, editing for individuals, and working for corporate clients.
Betsy lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with two daughters and a giant rescue dog named Charlie. She helped to found the Charlotte chapter of the Women’s National Book Association and fundraises for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, hoping they will find a cure for the millions like her daughter who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Megan Miranda
Finding the Right Way to Tell Your Story
You have a story. You've been thinking about it for a long time, turned it over and over in your head, sketched out the characters, added detail as the months go on. But is having “the story” enough? Are you sure you've found the right way to tell your story? Megan Miranda contends there are five or ten different ways to tell the same story, each of which will reveal something unique as the structure, perspective, or themes change. All of her books have taken a different structural approach. All the Missing Girls, the story of two young women who go missing a decade apart, is told in reverse. The story in Fragments of the Lost circles around found objects, while the chapters in The Girl from Widow Hills are interspersed with news clips that create suspense and drive the story forward. Megan's most recent book, Such a Quiet Place, uses a community bulletin board to heighten tension and reveal another layer of the setting. Recognizing the importance of finding "the right way," she often rewrites projects to make sure she has found the best possible way to tell any given story—and she will share her secrets with us.
About Megan Miranda
Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls, The Perfect Stranger, The Last House Guest, The Girl from Widow Hills, and most recently, Such a Quiet Place. She is also the author of several books for young adults, including Fracture, Hysteria, Vengeance, and Soulprint. She grew up in New Jersey, attended MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Critique Group Creation and Support
Tyvola Senior Center
2225 Tyvola Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
Are you considering joining a CWC Critique Group?
These groups can be a wonderful way to share your project with your fellow writers, see your work through fresh eyes, and receive valuable feedback. These groups also help writers stay on track and continue writing, providing encouragement and accountability.
All Charlotte Writer's Club members have the opportunity to participate in a Critique Group. Critique Groups typically meet once per month. Members either bring work to share at each meeting or, if the work is longer, share work in advance and use the meeting time to provide and receive feedback. Critique Groups are scheduled and run independently of regular CWC meetings; however, all Critique Group participants must be current CWC members.
Current Critique Groups
Don't see a group relevant to your interests? No worries! New groups will be forming this fall, and this is the place to meet fellow writers interested in receiving regular feedback on their writing projects. The goal of this lively exchange is for you to connect with writers of like ambition and to form groups that will take your projects to the next level.
At this Critique Group Meeting we will work with members to help them find a critique group that works for them.
New groups are forming all the time. If you are interested in starting a new Critique Group, or if you have general questions about the groups, please contact CWC President.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Sarah Archer
Structure, Marketability, and Other Screenwriting Secrets
From her experience writing both screenplays and fiction, Sarah Archer has learned that there is a whole lot of overlap, lessons and practices all writers can use to improve their work. She'll talk with us about crossing over, how she utilized skills she developed as a screenwriter in writing her first novel, The Plus One. In addition, there’s help to come here on the importance of building a story structure, showing vs. telling, writing with economy, and hooking readers/viewers early. Sarah will do a deep dive into the process of outlining, from brainstorming with a final, marketable product in mind; to chaining scenes together in a way that drives momentum; to leaving room for creative liberty along the way. Throughout the discussion, she'll draw on examples from The Plus One as well as other novels and films.
About Sarah Archer
Sarah Archer's debut novel, The Plus One (2019), was published in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, and is currently in development for television. Archer is a Black List Screenwriting Mini-Lab fellow who has had material produced for Comedy Central, has published fiction and poetry in numerous literary magazines, and has placed in competitions including the Tracking Board’s Launch Pad. After working in TV and film development in Los Angeles, she moved between six cities in three countries in the course of a few years. She lives in the Charlotte area and is a member of the Charlotte Writers Club.
Tuesday October 19, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker Liam Callanan
Tell it like it is: Crafting Effective Dialogue
Dialogue can be the hardest craft to master--no aspect of writing requires more artifice to sound natural on the page. And yet, nothing enlivens a work so much as well-crafted dialogue. What makes for effective dialogue, and when and how are speakers best deployed? How does dialogue create (or destabilize) a scene? We'll discuss answers to those questions along with one more: what happens when you bring fiction writers and poets into conversation about dialogue? Though both genres have rich dialogue traditions, there's been little cross-genre dialogue about this aspect of craft, and this talk hopes to address that.
Liam Callanan is a novelist, teacher and essayist. His novel, Paris by the Book, a national bestseller, was translated into multiple languages and won the 2019 Edna Ferber Prize. He’s also the 2017 winner of the Hunt Prize, and his first novel, The Cloud Atlas, was a finalist for an Edgar Award. Liam’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle, and he's recorded numerous essays for public radio. He's also taught for the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and lives in Wisconsin with his wife and daughters, and on the web at liamcallanan.com.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker Charlie Lovett
Thoughts on Beginnings and Endings
Where do we start a novel (or any work of art) and how do we know when it is over? How do the beginning of a novel and the end relate to one another? How can there be connections between the beginning and end that lead to a satisfying experience for the reader? Lovett will explore these questions as he shares techniques, experiences, pitfalls, and possibilities for the beginnings and ends of works of fiction.
About Charlie Lovett
In 1984, not long after he graduated from Davidson College, Charlie Lovett went into business as an antiquarian book dealer and began collecting books and artifacts related to Lewis Carroll about whom he has written and edited no fewer than nine books. He earned an MFA from Vermont College in 1997 and for eleven years served as Writer-in-Residence at the Summit School in Winston-Salem where he wrote plays for children, nineteen of which have been published. His plays have been seen in over 5,000 productions worldwide.
His breakthrough as a novelist came with The Bookman’s Tale (2013), the story of an antiquarian book dealer struggling to determine the authenticity of annotations, perhaps by Shakespeare, in a sixteenth century book that might prove once and for all that the man from Stratford wrote the plays. His ensuing three novels—First Impressions (2014), The Lost Book of the Grail (2017), and Escaping Dreamland (2020)—were all connected in some way to his passion for rare books and history. His thriller The Enigma Effect (tentative title) will be published in 2022 as will the first book of a middle grade trilogy, The Book of the Seven Spells.
Lovett lives in Winston-Salem but spends several months each year at his cottage in Kingham, Oxfordshire and travels extensively in England.