The Scribe

Fall Issue


The Scribe
ON THE EDGE: WRITING A MYSTERY THAT MATTERS by Claire Applewhite FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK: All the Genres Are Your Friend by Brad Cook SLWG LECTURE SERIES: Brad Cook presents An Evening with the Founders By Jennifer Stolzer CONFERENCE RECAP: We Killed ’em in Nashville By Peter H. Green

FOR MYSTERY WRITERS: The Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime Chapter By Pam De Voe THE TREES ARE BARE AGAIN By Dwight Bitikofer Pumpkins in the Patch By Dwight Bitikofer ST. LOUIS POETRY EVENTS WORKSHOP FOR WRITERS: Worldbuilding: Enriching Your Story With Culture and Setting with Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison By Lauren Miller MISSOURI ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA – Love Stories, Love Writers By Lynn Cahoon SCBWI: SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS By Sherry Randle MORE ORGANIZATIONS FOR FICTION WRITERS & PROFESSIONALS FUTURE EVENTS IN THE NEXT ISSUE

>>>A Literary
Publication by St. Louis Writer’s Guild>>>

>>Fall Issue

All The Genres Are Your Friend G
enres, we’re familiar with the genre you write in, you can always improve by studying the other genres. Warriors don’t master a single form of combat; they train in a wide variety and specialize in what they are best at. It should be the same for writers. Even something like a Playwriting Workshop can help improve dialog and pacing. So here’s a bit of literary blasphemy – the greatest stories include a multitude of genres. That simple idea has been a driving force of this organization for the last 92 years. St. Louis Writers Guild represents all genres and types of writing. It’s something we’ve known since the beginning, that writers are writers no matter the genre. big ones – Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Self Help, and Memoir, to name just a few. They can be combined, or crossed-over, and new ones form every day. Genres are important, not only because they help to catalog the industry or to find a book in the bookstore, but genres help writers focus on their strengths. However, too often do we become so focused on genre, as an industry, as writers, and with the people we congregate, that we forget the commonalities we share. I am always amazed when writers tell me that they don’t write that style so it can be no help to them. It doesn’t matter what

Brad Cook

>>>from the president’s desk

On the Edge: Writing a Mystery that

by Claire Applewhite


Every life is a mystery. And every story of every life is a mystery. But it is not what happens that is the mystery. It is whether it has to happen no matter what, whether it is ordered and ordained, fixed and fated, or whether it can be missed, avoided, circumvented, passed by; that is the mystery.



aulkner tells us that “All meaning

in the best fiction flows from the heart in conflict within itself.” We know that without conflict, there is no story. We must emotionally invest in our characters and make the reader feel what they feel with words. This emotive state is central to good fiction writing. Yet, another question lingers. What’s at stake? Does it matter? What is plot? Plot is composed of events. Characters interpret the events in a certain sequence through dialogue and actions. But there’s a catch: these events must be significant because they have significant consequences. Plot is the things characters do, feel, think, or say that cause those consequences. Plot is a cause that has significant effects. Plot theory suggests five stages of plot structure: 1. A character has a problem. 2. Complications arise and conflict intensifies.

In THE ART OF FICTION, John Gardner introduces the concept of the Fichtean Curve. The Fichtean Curve in Figure 1 represents the basic plot of a book. The WOW reaction is defined as the moment when a person’s anticipation of a resolution deviates from an expected result. The WOW

3. Crises culminate in a climax. 4. The conflict is resolved. 5. The protagonist learns something about self or life.

moment is experienced when the conflict is resolved, following the climax portrayed in the Fichtean Curve figure. Examples of WOW moments can be found in the final scene of Romeo and Juliet, or in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy discovers the “wizard” behind the screen. Figure 2 illustrates the use of multiple mini-conflicts to maintain reader interest. The mini-conflicts must be resolved before the ultimate prize can be attained. Note the UC and FC points. UC denotes unfinished conflict resolution where the denouement only partially resolves the main conflict, common in films and books in the 1970s and '80s. A reader experiences doubt, and ideally, the WOW effect


lingers after the book is finished. FC is a mini final conflict that is introduced after the denouement and the deliberately left unresolved. It is commonly used to establish a premise for a sequel. Plot must be developed to demonstrate character dimension and significant impact. The vehicle for story development is the Story Arc, comprised of three basic segments known as the Conflict, Crisis and Resolution, or the Beginning, the Middle and the End Act 1. A short, opening section leading to the first major event called the Conflict, also known as the Inciting Incident to the Crisis. Act 2. The meat of the plot. Characters deal with the Crisis. Act 3. Final movement of the story. Resolution must include a logical conclusion. Plot archetypes are story patterns that have been codified to include established conventions and plot components. The strongest ones provide a foundation for a story and assume a certain knowledge base on the part of the reader. Nine archetypal plots are: Revenge (Moby Dick), Betrayal (Othello), Catastrophe (Grapes of Wrath), Pursuit (The Fugitive), Rebellion (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Macbeth), The Quest (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Don Quixote), Ambition (David Copperfield), Self-Sacrifice (Schindler’s List), Rivalry (Cyrano de Bergerac). Pacing fuels a plot’s engine. At its best, it drives the scenes upward through rising action, and creates tension and intrigue. It is vital that

scenes be interspersed throughout the book to ensure this tension. All the crucial scenes should not all be saved for the end. To illustrate the synergy between plot and pacing, let’s turn to the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. He says, “People think that pace is fast action, quick cutting, people running around, and it is not that at all. I think that pace is made by keeping the mind of the spectator occupied. You don’t need to have quick cutting or playing, but you do need a very full story and the changing of situations one to another. So long as you can sustain that and not let up, you have pace. That is why suspense is such a valuable thing. All stories, even a love story, can have suspense. It’s not just saving someone from the scaffold, it’s whether the man will get the girl. Suspense has a lot to do with the audience’s own desires— audience identification. Very, very important, because they will care more about a known person. So first, I select background, then action and shape them into a plot. Finally, I select a character to motivate the whole of it all. Hitchcock cites two kinds of suspense: Objective—the typical chase scene shown from all angles OR Subjective—letting the audience experience through the eyes and/or mind of a chosen character or characters. Let the reader participate in the suspense, raising tension. In Rope, a young man is strangled in the opening shot. His body is placed in a chest covered with a damask cloth and silver service, and hors d’oeuvres and drinks are served


from it at a party for the victim’s relatives. This is not a whodunit. Only the killers know the truth about the body. The readers must watch as the party guests navigate a treacherous scenario. That is suspense. Whether you use a main plot or a series of mini-conflicts, take your reader on an unexpected path to a WOW moment. Make them feel what your characters feel, and they will care as deeply as you do—about a mystery that matters. CLAIRE APPLEWHITE is a graduate of St. Louis University and the author of The Wrong Side of Memphis, Crazy

For You, St. Louis Hustle, Candy Cadillac, and Tennessee Plates. She is

the immediate Past President of the Missouri Writers Guild, a Board member of the Midwest Chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and a member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Press Club, St. Louis Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, Ozark Writers League and Active member, Mystery Writers of America. Website:


SLWG LECTURE SERIES: Brad Cook presents

An Evening With the Founders
By Jennifer Stolzer


n 1929, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

declared the St. Louis Writers Guild the most prestigious group of its kind in the Midwest. Eighty-three years later, Brad Cook, the Guild's president and former historian, hosted a July 19 showcase of the lives and works of the talented people who founded the Guild. In 1920, the Missouri Writers' Guild had two annual meetings, far two few for Sam Hellman, Shirley Seifert, Jay Gelzer, William Brennan, Leonora McPheeters, and Ralph Mooney. These St. Louis authors started the St. Louis Writers Guild to capture the magic of the statewide organization and to encourage and promote each others' work. The first meeting was announced in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as a “call to writers.” It took place on Thursday, Oct. 28, 1920, on De Giverville Avenue across from the history museum. Thirty people attended, but the list of attendees is incomplete. “One thing you learn about this stuff is 'footprints in history,'” Brad

said. “Some of us leave larger footprints than others.” Sam Hellman was founding president; he established the charter and led the first meetings. As managing editor of the Post-Dispatch, he ran a column of short stories. He also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and created Motor Vogue magazine. Shirley Seifert hosted the first meeting at her father's house. An outspoken woman, she wrote novels about women breaking out of their traditional roles and penned many editorial notes. In one infamous complaint, Seifert declared suburbs a “blight upon the city” and “the most disgusting thing she'd ever seen.” She became the second president in 1921. Jay Gelzer was a prolific author of short stories. Her works were published in Good Housekeeping, Collier's, Woman's World, and Cosmopolitan. She published two books in the 1920s, then vanished from records shortly after. Much of her life remains a mystery, although a 1929 movie titled Broadway Babies was


adapted from one of her published works. Ralph Mooney was twenty-six when the Guild was founded. After twenty years in the Guild, he became president in 1941 following a lull in Guild membership. The rest of the founding six were published in the Saturday Evening Post and the Post-Dispatch. Other notable members were:  Mrs. Dr. H.H. Rogers, known to the world as Pearl Currain. She wrote novels based in the Middle Ages and was subject to a remarkable study on psychic power and channeling;  Temper Bailey, the highestpaid female author in the United States; and  Alfred Sattertwait, an entomologist whose enduring works are still referenced today. Of the founders, the first president left one of the strongest impressions, but Elinor Maxwell McCord, one of Sam Hellman's best friends, provided the only eyewitness account. She said, “his characters came from the common, everyday man. It was better listening to him than reading his stories.” Brad read one of his short stories, “The Breeze.” Hellman's use of conversational tone and colorful '20s slang helped him break in to Hollywood. In 1924, the Hellmans moved to the West Coast so he could work on the film, Flying Fists. He also wrote titles for Casey at the Bat (1927), dialog for Search for Beauty (1927) and Murder at the Vanities

(1934), and screenplays for Little Miss Marker (1934) and other Shirley Temple movies. His penchant for short, witty dialog was a fresh new style in the 1920s and '30s, when long scenes with rambling exposition were normal. To give a taste of his style, Brad showed a clip of Frontier Marshall, starring Randolph Scott and Cesar Romero. Although Sam Hellman only served as president for a short time, the St. Louis Writers Guild owes a lot to him and his fellow founders. Their love of writing and sense of community built the chapter that still thrives today, almost a century later.


CONFERENCE RECAP We Killed ’em in Nashville
By Peter H. Green


udos are due Clay

Stafford, founder, Beth Terrell-Hicks, author and executive director, their

staff and over 40 volunteers, for hosting some 300 writers and guests from across the country Aug. 24-26 at the smash-hit seventh annual Killer Nashville mystery conference. I have seldom attended such a good one. In addition, they cooked up many great things for me to do. Based on a successful experiment conducted at a recent Backspace conference, the event’s planners tried out a new method for handling agent pitches: Agent/Editor Roundtables. A dozen writers with projects to pitch assembled in each seminar room, passed out their first two pages and each in turn was read out loud by a reader or the author. The agents or editors, two of whom were present in each room, as well as the writer participants, made comments. The new technique went smoothly and was a success, as far as I was concerned—Jill Marr had suggestions to change my genre and fix my pitch, so I fixed it, writing like mad while listening with one ear to an interview with author and filmmaker Heywood Gould. In the next hour’s session, Victoria Lea of Aponte Agency liked the way I fixed it and asked for a

Tom Wood

(from left) Panel leader Peter Green and panelists Maggie Toussaint, Fred Arceneaux, Bruce De Silva and Tom Collins (not pictured) Photo by


submittal. Can’t beat that! A panel I led, entitled, “The EExplosion: The Impact of the ERevolution on Traditional and SelfPublished Authors,” was well-attended and evoked strong opinions and new directions from each of the panelists. While the comments reinforced the message that each author must jump in and publicize his or her own book, the panel not only seemed to gain good attention, but I also became fast friends with the panelists. This industry picture was later filled out in a summary panel by the guests of honor. Its members— Jeffrey Deaver, C.J. Box, Peter Straub, Heywood Gould and agent Jill Marr— concluded that the author’s main job is still to produce good content while the industry absorbs this sea change and finds new directions. Other panels covered a myriad of craft topics, including a film-making track, law-enforcement presentations and business subjects. At Saturday night’s banquet, Toastmaster Jeffrey Deaver, multi-published international bestselling author and folksinger, warmed up the audience with droll and embarrassing quotes about awkward author moments from his personal journal. Nashville welcomed each of its three honored guests with a gift of a fabulous guitar as a symbolic key to Music City. Accompanied by Clay Stafford’s Nashville-quality six–piece soft rock band, Treva Blomquist presented sensitive renditions of Jeffrey Deaver’s original songs from his new multimedia novel XO, also simultaneously issued as a singing book for I-Pad. Stafford capped the evening by presenting the Silver Falchion award, for the attendee-voted best

published novel, to C. Hope Clark for Lowcountry Bribe, and the Claymore Award, for the best unpublished novel, as judged by Five Star Publishing Editor Deni Dietz, to Jonathan Stone, for his new novel, Again. Since Jon and his lovely wife Susan were among my dinner companions, there was great joy at my table.

PETER GREENE A writer, architect and city planner reared in a family of journalists, Peter found his father’s 400 World War II letters, his humorous war stories, his mother’s writings and his family’s often hilarious doings too good a tale to keep to himself, so he launched a second career as a writer with the hilarious antics and serious achievements of his dad’s World War II adventure, Dad's War with the United States Marines. In his career as an architect, Peter Green has witnessed enough close calls, suspicious acts and outright skullduggery to lure him into writing mysteries with his debut novel, Crimes of Design (L & L Dreamspell, May, 2012). More on his website at

Photo by David Ulmer


The Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime chapter
By Pam De Voe


he Greater St. Louis Sisters

in Crime chapter is a part of Sisters in Crime (SinC), an international organization, which just celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It was founded to promote the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction. Today, SinC is made up of more than 3,000 members, both women and men, in 48 chapters worldwide — authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, and others who love mysteries and come together to celebrate the mystery genre. The Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime chapter has been offering monthly programs and networking for all who love a good “who-dunnit” since its inception in 1998. Benefits of Membership Members of the St. Louis chapter receive  discounted admission to special events and conferences;  access to our Professional Writer's Library;  invitation to members-only social events;

the opportunity to learn from sisters and misters with real world experience;  a monthly electronic newsletter and e-mail alerts with up to date information of chapter happenings;  you will make friends with people who share your passion; and finally,  you will enjoy excellent programs and a wealth of knowledge about o the business of writing, o forensics, and o other interesting topics. How to Join Joining the Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime chapter is a great opportunity to meet women and men dedicated the craft and business of writing and publishing. You don't write? No problem, fans of the crime/mystery genre are also welcome. When you join the St. Louis Chapter you should also join the National Chapter. If you are a not-yetpublished writer, you will also have the opportunity to join the Guppies. The Guppies are a very active online group of unpublished or recently published


authors that share information about writing. Only individuals who are members of the National and Local chapter of Sisters in Crime are eligible to join the Guppies. Membership dues are $20 for the local chapters. If you would like to join, you can either join at a meeting or send your membership fee to Gloria Bratkowski at 1209 Hebert, St. Louis, MO 63107. Membership with the national organization is separate. Meeting Dates We meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 6:45 – 9:00 pm in Room 21 of the Creve Coeur Community Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri. (This is on Ballas Rd, south of Olive and north of Hwy 64/40.) Usually, we begin with a short meeting and proceed to a presentation or workshop. Please see our web site for a list of the exciting programs we have had so far this year, as well as the upcoming programs. At every meeting you will either learn more about a particular aspect of writing fiction or learn about a particular author and her/his writing process. These are open and friendly opportunities to be up close and personal with people in the writing world. The Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime Blog For more on writing, mystery authors, and writer’s tips, go to our blog at

PAM DE VOE, as President of the Greater St. Louis Sisters in Crime chapter, writes author interviews with writer’s tips for their blog She is an applied anthropologist turned fiction writer.


By Dwight Bitikofer The season has come full circle the trees are bare again like the night we first kissed on the deck while the dog and cat looked on in wonder Our passion continued until spring when love was pulled from under

before the leaves had fully unfolded you withdrew and the tulips bloomed without you A flamed burned on within my soul and when it had almost extinguished you called again and my heart burned with the passion for the coming of autumn But before the leaves had turned hopes for a new season had fallen and now the branches are bare again bereft of hope except for that damned spark That smolders without reason

Published in Blue House, a poetry ezine, February 2006


By Dwight Bitikofer

Sunday night sky burnt orange omen of autumn full moon rising - leaping gracefully into the deepening dusk Tired shoulders and aching back from a weekend others might have played with and I might have too Personal guarantees have proven naught in this frenzied thing called private enterprise and at the last there is only me and us Here on the roof outside my store-top office I rest some minutes and watch the burnt orange fade into dusk. There is no "pie in the sky" only pumpkins in the patch

Published in Blue House, a poetry ezine in August 2006


Curios, 2500 Sutton in Maplewood. Great food and beverages. Open mic gets started around 8 and runs to 10 p.m. POEMS PINTS & PROSE. First Tuesday of each month, Dressels Public House, 2nd floor, Euclid Avenue just north of McPherson Ave., music at 7, poetry starts around 7:30.

Dwight reading at the Stone Spiral Coffee & Curio open mic Photo by

Diana Linsley

DWIGHT BITIKOFER is member of the boards of St. Louis Writers Guild and St. Louis Poetry Center. He is active in open mic circles. He emcees the St. Louis Writers Guild open mic each second Tuesday at the Kirkwood train station. He curates the 2nd friday notes music and poetry performances at Whole Foods Town & Country on the second Friday of each month. Dwight organized the St. Louis Writers Guild Night of Poetry and Jazz in March. Dwight has won several poetry awards and his poems have been published in journals, most recently Natural Bridge. His day job is his role as publisher at Webster-Kirkwood Times, South County Times and West End Word newspapers. He is parent of three young adults. He is a native of central Kansas farm country.

EVERY FRIDAY URB Poetry Open Mic at Legacy Books & Café, 5249 Delmar. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission after 9 p.m., $7. Slam competition the last Friday of each month. EVERY OTHER TUESDAY, starting around 8, open mic at The Historic Crossings, 7th and Ann. Curated by Lenny Smith. LAST FRIDAYS at Abode Coffeehouse (formerly Café Nura), 117 E. Lockwood, Webster Groves, last Friday of each month, 8 p.m. Poetry and music. St. Louis Writers Guild has a poetry and prose open mic at Kirkwood train station, Argonne Drive and Kirkwood Road, EVERY SECOND TUESDAY of the month, 7 p.m. 2nd FRIDAY NOTES at Whole Foods Town & Country, Clayton and 141, 7 to 8:30 p.m., second Friday of each month. Chance Operations. Usually the LAST MONDAY of each month. Duff’s 392 N. Euclid. 7:30 p.m. $3 at the door. See Facebook. Poetry at the Point, 4th TUESDAY of each month at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton, 7:30 p.m. See for more details. Check, and for lots more poetry- and writing-related activities.

ST. LOUIS POETRY EVENTS EVERY WEDNESDAY open mic for poetry and music at Stone Spiral Coffee &


Worldbuilding: Enriching Your Story With Culture and Setting with Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison
By Lauren Miller
Even a seasoned writer can be intimidated by the enthusiastic worldbuilder. You know the type, those writers with an accordion folder's worth of maps, extensive lineages and centuries of history covering the rise and fall of governments. For the rest of us, trepid worldbuilders at heart, questions asked by Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison hit eerily close to home; "What is the creative process?" and "What do you do to expand or enrich the world you already have?" At the Aug. 4 workshop, they set out to answer these questions with a multi-

step approach. Critique partners Lin and Madison write in completely different genres, but the same worldbuilding principles can be used whether you are writing a historical romance set in 8th Century China (Lin) or a contemporary urban fantasy (Madison). The first step is to consider the setting as a character. It helps establish the story's mood, whether it is a Gothic novel or an adventure story. Setting can also carry its own meaning and symbols. Lin explains, "People impose their own thoughts and emotions wherever they go. They view it through a filter." For instance, in the original Psycho, the house on the hill establishes a sense of anxiety, as do the taxidermy animals. The second step is to consider surface vs. deep culture in your novel. Surface culture refers to things you can pick up in a society in a short period of time, such as the food, art, folklore, history, holidays and cultural stereotypes. Deep culture can only be understood by immersion into the culture for an extended period of time. Deep culture is closer to what anthropologists study: gestures and body language, courtship and marriage, family loyalty, traditions, concepts of life and death, time and proxemics (ideas about personal space). Both authors gave examples of how they use deep culture in their novels. Lin found inspiration in “peace marriages” (marriages in order to maintain loyalty) and the meritocracy that allowed commoners to better themselves. Her newest book, My Fair Concubine, is based on the premise that


a woman could desire advancement through marriage, even if the union lacked love. Madison, a student of Russian studies, conducted personal interviews with native Russians to understand family ties for her character, Natalia, in Coveted. She also studied pack dynamics to determine how her werewolf species should behave. Another trick is to create your own terminology and linguistics (where applicable) for your novel. Madison thoroughly reviewed her drafts, removing clichés and creating new ones unique to her world. To say a character was clueless, for example, Madison wrote, "This warlock doesn't know which way to point his wand." Geographic research is also important. Madison recommended Google Earth to learn about street names, typical home architecture and area hangouts. Readers have complimented her novel's depiction of New Jersey neighborhoods she has never visited. Even if you're writing a historical novel, the details can be somewhat flexible. "There is no historical accuracy,” said Lin. “Depending on the politics of the time, the history will be colored. History is a very malleable thing." Lastly, your world should have its own set of rules--rules in storytelling you don't break and rules for the character in the culture they inhabit. “What are the rules that cannot be broken? Which ones have consequences?” Lin created an honor code that everyone follows, whereas Madison developed a complex supernatural system where using magic

can be deadly for a werewolf. By using these worldbuilding techniques, writers can create a richer world for their novel. Exercises gave workshop attendees the chance to sample these techniques, which were partly based on the teachings of Donald Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction.

JEANNIE LIN is the author of three critically acclaimed books set in the Tang Dynasty: Butterfly Swords, The Dragon and the Pearl, and My Fair Concubine.

SHAWNTELLE MADISON is the author of Coveted, an urban fantasy about a New Jersey werewolf. The sequel, Kept, will be released on Nov. 27, 2012.


By Lynn Cahoon
Missouri Romance Writers (MoRWA) is a vibrant, active writing group. With close to eighty members, many writers have found the organization a place to grow their writing skills as well as their careers. Our members are dedicated to one thing, writing the best book possible. Romantic fiction is the largest genre in the consumer-sales market with sales of $1.36 billion last year. (Statistics taken from the RWA website.) As a local chapter of Romance Writers of America, MoRWA members benefit from educational programs, craft sessions, and a monthly critique group. MoRWA members range from the beginning writer, to debut authors, and multi-published, award winning authors. MoRWA members write and have been published in historical, category series, paranormal, contemporary, erotic, and romantic suspense. The group’s interest runs the gamut and includes authors who also

write mystery, science fiction, nonfiction, and young adult stories, in addition to their romance-writing roots. Member programs have brought in nationally recognized speakers in craft and industry subjects including Donald Maass, Bob Mayer, Margie Lawson, and Deb Dixon. Upcoming programs include speakers such as Mary Buckingham and Michael Hauge. Monthly programs include a business meeting, coffee talk, and then a speaker. This year, our speakers have covered subjects such as worldbuilding, self-publishing, marketing including blog tours, contest hints and helps, plot and character, and other timely topics. Inviting an agent to present the state of the industry, answer questions, and, take pitches, has become an annual event. Our meetings happen on the third Saturday of the month at the Maryland Heights Community Centre, 2344 McKelvey Road, Maryland Heights, Missouri. Right off 270, it’s easy to find. Starting at 9:30 with a short coffee talk, the business meeting follows at 10 and then a speaker at 11. Many members gather for lunch at local restaurants afterwards. Our critique group also meets monthly, giving writers a place to brainstorm, network, and try out a new section of their work in progress. Each reader has time to read their (up to fifteen page) section and then the group provides verbal and written feedback for the author’s review. Being a member of RWA is a requirement to become a MoRWA member. National membership includes a monthly magazine,


opportunity to participate in the prestigious RITA and Golden Heart contests for published and unpublished authors, and gets you discounted entry into the annual conference. Atlanta– 2013–Here we come! MoRWA runs two writing contests each year. The Chocolate Rose is only for members, allowing unpublished writers to submit their first page. Published members serve as our judges, offering support and encouragement. Our larger contest, Gateway to the Best, is held annually in late summer and is open to all of our finalists also go on to final and some to win in the Golden Heart contest. Mostly, we’re a bunch of people who love to talk about writing. And who love to support others in making and meeting their writing goals. Because, really, isn’t that what a writing organization should be focused on? Writing? Find us on line at: or Facebook: a Want to Know More about RWA?

Romance. The second in the Shawnee Rodeo Series, will release late 2012 along with A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, a sexy paranormal through Lyrical. She lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and a couple of Pomeranians who think they’re German Shepherd guard dogs.

LYNN CAHOON is the 2012 Publicity Chair for MoRWA. Her debut, THE BULL RIDER’S BROTHER, released in June from Crimson


SCBWI: SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS By Sherry Randle, SCBWI-IL Southern Illinois Network Representative


riters are the loneliest

people…or are they? Yes, writing is a solitary profession, sitting alone in front of a computer or tucked in a corner with a laptop or pen and paper. No matter what genre they pursue, writers need to be alone with their thoughts in order to get their stories/articles/memoirs down on paper. That’s the nature of the beast. However, there are organizations that bring writers together, help them learn their craft, improve their writing skills, network with other writers and celebrate their successes. For children’s writers, there is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a worldwide organization whose purpose is to assist writers and illustrators working or interested in the field of children’s

books. Stephen Mooser, SCBWI President, and Lin Oliver, Executive Director, welcome all those who have an interest in children’s literature and illustration, the only qualifications necessary for membership. There are different levels of SCBWI membership: P.A.L. membership – writers published by publishers listed in the SCBWI Market Surveys; full membership – published authors/illustrators (includes selfpublished); and associate membership – unpublished writers/illustrators. Again, all that is required is an interest in children’s literature and illustration. Whether published or not, children’s writers and illustrators who join SCBWI discover one hundred events held worldwide each year (includes workshops and conferences). The annual SCBWI National Conference is open to nonmembers as well as members, and SCBWI publishes a bi-monthly magazine on writing and illustrating children’s books. It also sponsors annual awards and grants for its members. In addition, there are local networks throughout each state that hold monthly meetings and Shop Talks, and help members find critique groups appropriate for their genre. Whether they illustrate or they write picture books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade or young adult books, whether they write fiction or nonfiction, they can meet and mingle with like-minded SCBWI members. There is also a Listserv (group e-mail) available that keeps writers and illustrators up-to-date on local events and offers a forum for Q and A on any related topic.


To join or to find a local network, check the SCBWI website at Contact the network representatives to find out when and where they meet and how they conduct their meetings. SCBWI Network Reps are full of information and enthusiasm, and are always willing to answer questions. If they don’t have an answer, they know where to go to find it. Joining SCBWI is like joining a family: a critique group becomes like close-knit siblings; a local network meeting is like a monthly family gathering, and attending regional and national workshops and conferences is like going to family reunions and meeting distant cousins for the first time. Everyone has something in common…a love of writing and illustrating for children. Rejection from editors and agents is an unavoidable reality in the world of writing for children, and rejection hurts. But writers who belong to SCBWI have family that is always there, ready to pick them up when they are down, lend an ear when they need direction, and jump for joy when they achieve success. In fact, even a rejection can be reason to celebrate, for no writer, famous or otherwise, has ‘made it’ without some (or many) rejections. So, even though writing is a solitary profession, children’s writers who are part of the SCBWI family are never alone.

SHERRY RANDLE has been a network representative for the SCBWIIL Southern Illinois Network since its inception in 2000. She graduated from McKendree College in Lebanon, IL, with a major in psychology and a minor in organizational communication. After graduation, Sherry began writing for children, using her educational background to get inside the minds and hearts of her fictional characters. She loves encouraging others and celebrating their successes, and is currently working on her first middlegrade novel. Sherry lives in O’Fallon, Illinois with her husband of thirtythree years, two Old English Sheepdogs, and a Saint Bernard. They also have six grown children and eight grandchildren.

Broad Universe is an international nonprofit organization for promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating


women writers and editors in speculative fiction genres. Science Fiction Writers of America – SFWA is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres. Membership is open to authors, artists, editors, and other industry professionals who meet their eligibility requirements. Horror Writers Association -- HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. Your demonstrated intention to become a professional writer is all that's required to join HWA at the Affiliate level. To demonstrate your intention, all you need is one minimally paid publication in any of several categories. Mystery Writers of America -- MWA is the leading association for professional crime writers in the United States. Members of MWA include most major writers of crime fiction and non-fiction, as well as screenwriters, dramatists, editors, publishers, and other professionals in the field. MWA welcomes everyone who is interested in mysteries and crime writing to join, with four categories of membership. Chapter meetings for the Midwest Regional Chapter are generally held every month, September through May, at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in Forest Park, Ill.

Brad R. Cook Mohnish Soundararajan Jennifer Stolzer Lauren Miller T.W. Fendley


FUTURE EVENTS Oct. 6 - Workshops for Writers Oct. 9 - Station Open Mic Oct. 18 - SLWG Webinar, members only Oct. 30 - Dark Visions Open Mic Nov. 3 - Workshops for Writers: Nov. 13 - Station Open Mic Nov. 15 - SLWG Lecture Dec. 1 - Deadline for the Annual Short Story Contest Dec 7 – Winter Gala Check future issues of Here's News! for more information. IN THE NEXT ISSUE Our goal is to make The Scribe a newsletter you'll look forward to reading and be proud to share. Help us reach that goal by providing us your articles, opinion pieces, short fiction (1,500 words or less), and poems about winter or the theme for the next issue: MEMOIRS & NONFICTION. Please contact : for additional information, if needed, or send your submissions by Nov. 30.

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