Category Archives: General

Invitation to Dinner for the WWP

The Sudden Valley Women’s Club invites Whatcom Writers and Publishers members to join them for their annual Holiday Gala Luncheon at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

The date is Thursday, December 11, with check-in at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $25.00. RSVP is required and deadline is December 2.

Indicate your entrée choice of Stuffed Pork Tenderloin or Tri Ravioli.
Optional Gift Exchange, bring a wrapped gift if you wish to participate. Also optional donations accepted for Toys for Tots.

RSVP by email to:  Georgia Allen at
Mail check payable to SVWC to: SVWC, 163 Harbor View Dr., Bellingham WA 98229.

David Michaelson once again makes the finalist round for the Military Writer’s Society of America

Rapscallion Cover4 copyDavid Michaelson has received word from the Military Writer’s Society of America that three of his books are finalists in the annual MWSA awards competition. The three books are from three different genres and include, RAPSCALLION SUMMER (humor); BROTHERS LOST (adventure/thriller); BUTTERFLY DUST (young readers). Last year David won two awards in the Science Fiction category.

Stay Connected

We have a new e-mail list. Most of the people who were on the WWP e-mail list before should still be on the new list. But things happen during change-overs like this, and you submit your e-mail again. (Also note, this is different than getting the blogs to your e-mail–this is a special mail list for special announcements that don’t always make it the the blog.)

If you want to stay connected to the WWP and get newsletters and announcements, please click here to subscribe.


Time for a Marathon, Writer Style with Dawn Groves

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      When it comes to rough drafts, it’s all about production. Get something done.

      I don’t like production writing. Rough drafts are always bad and I don’t like producing          crappy work. Yes, I understand it’s the necessary first step yada yada. That doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish.

      Enter writing buddies. Shared misery makes it more tolerable. There’s empathy. A hour of buddy writing can yield good results. Production happens.

     Unfortunately, a typical rough draft can be three times the size of its final form. If I’m writing a novel or a user manual, I’m talking big word counts.

     Enter writing marathons.

Natalie Goldberg is credited with popularizing the writing marathon concept. Her version involves several iterations of timed writes (often prompted) followed by short readings. Differing versions of her original program have since developed, the most well-known being the Annual New Orleans Writing Marathon sponsored by The Writing Project of Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU). SELU’s website  has become the how-to home base for writing marathons around the globe.

A writing marathon makes fast work of that first purple draft. It’s also a great way to jumpstart a
fledgling project or push seasoned work into completion. Well-orchestrated marathons can inspire participants of every skill level into generating remarkable output with surprisingly little difficulty. The key is the iterative structure supported by changing surroundings, short periods of sharing, physical movement (usually walking), strong leadership and periodic instruction, motivation, and problem-solving.

I’ll be conducting just such an experience on Jan 25th, 8 AM to 8 PM starting at the Book Fare Café above Village Books. The price is quite reasonable: $69. Sponsored by Whatcom Community College, Village Books, and the Fairhaven Village Inn, the Winter Writing Marathon is a precursor to the already successful Chuckanut Writers Conference

Of course not everyone has the time to attend. If this is your dilemma, then get busy and create your own marathon. Develop an agenda, set a date, invite friends, serve snacks and make sure everyone sticks to the schedule. There’s no reason we can’t all benefit from Goldberg’s concept. Let’s make 2013 a spectacular year not just for production writing, but also for manuscript completion.

Time’s a-passing, writers. Are you game?

For more information about the Winter Writing Marathon in Fairhaven,  

Contact Dawn Groves,

Research Is Your Lifeblood by Justin “Jux” Berg

It goes without saying that it is vital to make sure you have all of your bases covered before handing in a piece, a chapter or a full manuscript.

How can you be sure?

Research is the backbone of quality writing.  It’s how you support your points of view, your descriptions of eras, events and people; and it’s even important when crafting the vocabulary and dialect you choose for your characters’ voices.

There are many ways to conduct research.  Here are some avenues:

  1. Other books
  2. Magazine and newspaper articles
  3. Archived interviews
  4. Reliable web pages
  5. Film (movies and documentaries)
  6. Conducting your own interviews

The manuscript I am currently working on is a time period piece; a historical fiction about baseball in 1932.  In order to ensure I fully capture the zeitgeist of that era, I have embarked on extensive research.  I have watched documentaries, I have watched movies set in that time period (“The Sting” and “The Natural” to name a couple), I have read books about that era and about the players I am using for characters—I have even listened to 1930’s music to round out the experience.

In my soon-to-be novel, I have chosen to use all of the real players, statistics, ballparks, umpires and public figures from 1932—even though this is historical fiction.  I have chosen to create a ‘what-if scenario,’ in which I’m attempting to capture how events and results would have differed had the color barrier in baseball been broken fifteen years earlier by a different man (Satchel Paige).  I have utilized a website called, which has archived players, teams, managers, umpires, statistics and box scores all the way back to the early 1900s.  This has enabled me to get a better feel for which players and managers were a part of the two teams I am writing about (Yankees and Cubs).  It has also provided good background information for each player as they are introduced in the story.

It has also been important to research things like automobile models, train stations, city nightlife, social trends and much more as I attempt to paint the picture of that era, enabling the reader to travel back to 1932 in his/her mind.

In summary, research is vital for successful work.  It can be an exhilarating journey, as you discover facts and tidbits about what and who and when you are writing about.  So, before you hand in your hard work, be sure to take a trip to the library, scour the Internet and find some knowledgeable people to speak with.  You can never have enough information.