Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet Chuck Neubecker at our May 12 meeting

May 12, 2015 meeting of Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group
Congratulations to second-Tuesday stalwart, Chuck Neubecker, on having one of his stories published in the March-April issue of Gilbert Magazine, a publication of the American Chesterton Society. If you've ever attended one of our second-Tuesday meetings, chances are you've met Chuck. He's with us every month, and always with a new story. Chuck is a short-short afficionado, an amazing story-writing machine.

Come to our next meeting Tuesday, May 12, and meet Chuck and the rest of the gang. Bring some copies of your own latest writing project for critique, or just come to seek encouragement, brag on your writing progress, or connect with other area  Catholic writers.

Meetings are every second Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Half-Price Books on Northwest Highway in Dallas. Find us in or near the community room in the northwest corner of the store. Feel free to bring your lunch or pick one up at the in-house Black Forest cafe.

Monday, April 13, 2015

April meeting tomorrow in Dallas

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. Richard Bach.
I don't know about you, but I spent Lent blogging -- and it felt good, because I've been so obsessed with writing my novel the past year or two that I had allowed my blog to languish. So, as an act of self-denial, I put the novel aside and put some of my other talents to work for awhile. And tomorrow it will feel good to get to another monthly meeting of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers group. Usual time, usual place -- click here if you've forgotten where and when that is.

Meanwhile, speaking of blogging, check out this post on Anne R. Allen's blog, "Ten Reasons for Authors to Blog." I like reason number 9:

To get you out of the garret

As with any solitary activity, writing can bring on feelings of isolation. We have a human need to connect, and a blog is a way into the blogosphere and the wider social web. Discovering and reading other people's blogs, connecting with people you otherwise wouldn't have met, conversation around shared interests – these are all side-effects of blogging, and there are more.

Combined with social media outreach in the form of a Twitter or Facebook account, a blog places you within a community of readers and writers from which peer support, friendships and inspiration soon follow.
Of course, even if you don't blog, you still "have a human need to connect" with others and have "conversation  based on shared interests" -- so why not come to the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers meeting?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Next Meeting, Tuesday, 24 March: Room Change

Come and share your writing goals, progress report, or a selection of your writing for critique at the next meeting of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group,Tuesday, 24 March, at the University of Dallas. We'll meet at the usual time (7:30 p.m.), but in a different room. This month we will meet in Rm 239 of Carpenter Hall (not 241).

Meet other writers, get some feedback on your writing, swap ideas and advice.We are here to help and encourage each other!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Next Meeting: Round-table discussion on Marketing

Alan Napleton, president of the Catholic Marketing Network, will be our guest at the March 10 meeting of the DFW Catholic Writers for a round-table discussion on marketing to a Catholic audience. All writers and public relations professionals are invited to bring their marketing questions and concerns.

This growing writers group  meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, alternating between Half-Price Books and University of Dallas. To meet Alan Napleton come to Half-Price Books on Northwest Highway near Central Expressway at  11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10.
Bring your lunch or pick up something at the in-house cafe. Please join us!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

DFW Catholic Writers on the air and on the ground

Nancy Ward, founding member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group, will be interviewed on local Catholic radio station KATH 910 AM at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 10, 2015. If you miss the broadcast, you can listen to streaming audio of the interview online by following this link on Nancy's blog, Joy Alive in Our Hearts.

And here's a reminder for all you writers and would-be writers who have promised yourselves that 2015 will be the year that you finally get going (or keep on going) with your writing projects -- the DFW Catholic Writers Group has two meetings this month, and you are welcome to attend either or both.

The second-Tuesday lunchtime meeting at Half Price Books in Dallas will meet on Tuesday, January 13, and the fourth-Tuesday meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Dallas  on January 27. Click here for specifics on time and place. Come for conversation, critique, advice or encouragement. If  you have a writing sample you would like critiqued, please remember to bring 8-10 copies to share.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Two November Meetings!

Catholic writers in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex are invited to attend either or both of our November meetings. Our second Tuesday lunchtime meeting will be this Tuesday, November 11, from  11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Half-Price Books on Northwest highway near Central Expressway. Feel free to bring your lunch or pick one up at the in-house Black Forest Cafe.

The second meeting will take place in Rm 241 of Carpenter Hall on the campus of the University of Dallas in Irving, beginning at 7:30 p.m on Tuesday, November 25.

If you would like the group to critique a project you have in hand, be sure to bring 8-10 copies. Or just come and share your writing goals with us. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Writing: It's a process, not an event

“Writing is a recursive process, not a one-time event.” That’s what I used to tell my college students, back when I was teaching at a state university where “teaching the writing process” was a prescribed core component of  freshman composition classes. I don’t know how many of my students really internalized the truth of that dictum, but it’s an idea that has stood me in good stead in the years since I turned from teaching to writing full-time.

My whole writing process is represented here:
pre-writing, writing, not writing, re-writing.

It’s a Process

Every process has discrete steps or stages of development. For writing, generally, these steps are: pre-writing, writing, re-writing. (I’m actually going to throw in one more step, which I call “not writing.”) Every successful writer goes through all four parts of this process, although some of them may be completed only mentally, not in writing. In this article and subsequent posts, I’d like to introduce the different parts of this process and share a little of my own experience with them. Feel free to throw in your own two cents’ worth, too, in the comments section at the end.


Recursive just means there are parts of the process that you’ll find yourself going back over as your work progresses. This is perfectly normal — writing an article or a story is not the same as completing an algebraic equation. The different parts of the process flow into one another, often in unexpected ways. This is because writing is a creative process, drawing on the imagination as well as intellect, and your mind will come up with new ideas as you go along. You need to be prepared to capture and make use of those ideas, even if they occur to you at inconvenient moments. Just jot them down and go back to them at a more convenient time.

My Process So Far

As I prepare to write Draft 4 of my Neverending Story first novel, I’m learning just how “recursive” the process really is. Since finishing Draft 3.5 (that’s my third full draft, with the beginning and end completely re-written), I’ve realized that before going ahead with the next draft, I need to revisit some of the earlier parts of the process.

You see, as I’ve been writing (lo these many months), I’ve been discovering new gaps in my original idea, feeling the need to find new depths in my characters and their interactions, and realizing that the next draft can’t simply spackle over the holes in previous versions. The whole thing needs to be re-imagined, re-organized, and the next draft will need to be freshly written, virtually from scratch.

Some of the gaps and deficiencies of the earlier drafts are due simply to the fact that I’ve never written a novel before, and I’m learning as I go. That’s okay, because I know that writing is a recursive process. Even though I developed my main characters through a careful process, way back at the beginning, I’ve now seen them in action and come to know them better — as well as realizing the ways in which I don’t yet know them well enough. So I’ve been going back and “interviewing” them to find out what really makes them tick and why they do the things they do. Similarly, although my original plot outline was basically sound, I now see that it needs to be revised because, as I’ve gotten to know my characters better, I’ve had to reevaluate when they would do what, and why, so the plot needs a little tweaking as well. It’s all part of the process.

Next time, I’ll talk about the first part of the writing process. In the meantime, if you’re in the Dallas area, why not join us for one of our twice-monthly meetings? Our next meeting is Tuesday, October 27, 7 p.m., at the University of Dallas, and the following one will begin at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 11, at the Half Price Books flagship store in Dallas. Click the “Where & When We Meet” tab at the top of this page for details.