Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hermosa Beach. Pier Ave. Writers Group!

There's more to do on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach than partying, tanning, and rollerblading! Now there's our newest writers group! This group is the same format as all the groups we've been successfully running since 2003. Better yet, it's in a parking-friendly part of Pier Ave, at Planet Earth Eco Cafe. The group starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday, May 11th and the cafe will be closed to the public during group (the cafe closes at 5pm daily, but go there and stop in before 5pm because they have yummy drinks and vegan and vegetarian food). Part writing workshop, part critique group, part creativity booster, our groups are more than just a group of writers gathering together to review each other's work. They are professionally led by a qualified moderator so you not only benefit from peer review of your work, but you also get critique on anything you bring in from our professional group leader.

We are delighted to announce that our Pier Avenue writers group will be run by Miranda Valentine:

Miranda Valentine is an East Coast native soaking up sunny Southern California, where she lives with her husband and two rescue dogs, Bailey & Lola. She holds a Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California, where she was fortunate to learn from some of the best writers in the business, including The New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, The Atlantic Monthly editor and memoirist Sandra Tsing Loh, and best selling novelist Gina Nahai. While her first love is the short story, she adores her work as a contributing writer for Bunker Hill Magazine and, and as the editor of the popular lifestyle blog Everything Sounds Better in French. She is currently working on a memoir about love, loss, and what to do when your ex’s new wife appears naked on your computer screen. It’s tentatively titled “Reboot”. Just kidding...

Writers of all skills, levels, and genres are welcome in our groups. It works for everyone whether you write poetry, memoir, literary or genre fiction, essays, or screenplays and we hire moderators for their specific ability to provide cross-genre feedback, and for their overall supportive nature.

Los Angeles Writers Group, Hermosa Beach
Date: Starts Wednesday, May 11th and meets once a week for 8 Weeks
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm

Fill your notebook.(tm)

Email any questions you may have to

Friday, March 11, 2011

Agent Blog Post on Writing Non-Fiction Query Letters

We are on a mission to bring you the best writing-related articles we can find online.  We usually post them on twitter and facebook.  Should we post them here too or is that repetitive?

Here is an example, an article written by a literary agent:

Let's talk about non-fiction query letters for a minute

Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Why join a writer's group or a writing workshop?

Nicole forwarded me this email from workshop moderator Kat Smith, and it felt relevant to post a piece of her message for our blog readers. If you're still on the fence about joining or participating in a writing workshop of any kind, perhaps her words will sway you:
Young musicians practice daily. A singer doesn't begin with an aria. She starts by warming up her vocal cords. A pianist practices his scales every day from a young age. An athlete doesn't begin with a triathlon. He spends hours lifting weights, stretching, building the muscle mass and flexibility that will support the feats he intends to achieve.

Writing is no different. We become writers with daily practice. Getting in touch with our unique voices. Writing fast, writing free. Progress may be so incremental as to be unnoticeable, just as a pianist doesn't go from chopsticks to Chopin. Some days you'll hate what you write. But one day, something astonishing will come pouring out of you and you'll wonder where the hell it came from.

It came from the 1,183 writing exercises that preceded it. Exercises where you trained your mind to focus, where you learned to trust your voice, to step out of your way, to let it flow. Practice writing like practicing scales, may not seem very glamorous. Bring your passion to it anyway. That's the work of an artist.
Kat also included the following video in her message. It features Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Boys, giving his take on consistent writing:

It seems as though a constant flow of writing is the best way to find your best work. Even small exercises on a consistent basis can help keep you in good practice. I myself participate in's writer's groups, and I completely agree with what Kat and Ray have said. Writer's groups and writing workshops provide their members the opportunity to practice their skill in an open forum with other writers just as dedicated to their craft. So I ask you this: do you practice your writing on a consistent basis? Do you think that this "fine tuning" and practicing approach can be effective?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekly Writers Round-Up

A bit of poetry....


Umbrella, the "supremely rereadable electronic journal," is now accepting submissions for our spring-summer issue, online May 1, 2010. Both general poetry subs and poems on the theme of "gall" are invited, as is poetry-related prose.

Please see the submit page for complete guidelines and specific needs and preferences.

On an ongoing basis we also read poems written in repeating forms for our sister publication, Tilt-a-Whirl. Guidelines at the bottom of theUmbrella submit page.

Deadline: April 10, 2009


Poppyseed Kolache seeks poetry for Issue No. 2.  Editor will consider any well written poem, but prefers not to see rhyming poetry, first drafts, erotica, or polemics.  Prefer poems 60 lines or shorter approx.  Prose poetry okay.  Previously published and simultaneous submissions okay with proper notification.  Send up to 5 typed poems (one poem per page) plus SASE to --

MaryAnka Press, P.O. Box 102, Huffman, Texas 77336.  Sample copy of Issue 1 available.  Full guidelines and ordering information can be found at


Glass: A Journal of Poetry (ISSN 1941-4137) seeks poems for its third year of publication.  Full information about Glass, including submission guidelines, can be found at our website: http://

Glass is an online poetry journal that appears two times a year (June and December).  We want to see poetry that enacts the artistic and creative purity of glass. We seek to promote new and established poets by publishing their work. We are not bound by any specific aesthetic; our only mission is to present high quality writing. All styles, forms and schools of poetry are welcome, though easy rhymes and “light” verse are less likely to inspire us. All will be judged on the quality of the content of the poem. We like poems that show a careful understanding of language, music, passion and creativity and poems that surprise us.

Previous contributors include Rane Arroyo, Jim Daniels, Louie Crew, Susan Deer Cloud, Dan Nowak, Lisa Fay Coutley, Joseph Hutchison, Glen Sheldon, Adam Houle, Brent Newsom, Kyi May Kaung, Katie Hartsock and Maw Shein Win, among others.

We accept submissions between September 1 and May 31.  Full submission guidelines can be found at http:// www. glass-poetry . com.   Please read our submission guidelines carefully.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Do you listen to music when you write?

I'm wondering how many of us pop on the tunes when writing. I was doing this tonight and realized I have to be very careful what I listen to because my mood changes with each song, and my mood affects my writing. Verbs get darker with a depressing song. Characters feel suddenly empowered when an inspirational song cycles through the play list. A violent song will give a character the urge to stab the person they happen to walk past.

I can often write with background noise. TV on, no problem. Neighbors slamming doors and having obscenely loud conversations just outside my window - no sweat. But music? Music infiltrates. I've even caught myself absentmindedly injecting the words to a song into my prose - which I go back and change, of course.

I deeply connect with music, and yet I don't listen to it enough. I love it, but now I know why I don't turn it on as often as I think I should, especially when writing. It's an emotional experience for me. Each song crawls into my nervous system and takes control of my dopamine and serotonin receptors and adjusts them accordingly. Writing does the same thing to me. Maybe that's why they don't mix so well in my world.

Do you write with the tunes on in the background? What's your experience?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New L.A. writer

I started writing "for real" in January. Although I used an unusual process to get there, I now have a complete screenplay. Two weeks ago I began work on another one, and decided that one of Sanora's workshops might help ease me into my new effort. Grease the creative skids, if you will. Little did I realize how much the exercises would help stimulate the creative process. It's difficult to explain, but the exercises seem to be like watering a plant. In the past, the concept might have been there, but I needed a boost to begin that first sentence and it was always difficult for me to write with clarity. Or FINISH writing something at all! I especially love/hate the "freewrite" exercises. I always knew that "editing-as-you-go" was death, but the thought of surrendering to the freewriting process was terrifying! Don't lift the pen? Don't scratch out? No editing as I go? The truth is it enables the ideas to flow, by definition, unchecked. Don't get me wrong: writing is never (for me) smooth sailing, but I am now able to allow myself to just sit and write and see what happens. And what is happening seems to be pretty cool. Thanks, 'Nora!