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Sunday, August 19, 2018


This is Marilyn Meredith's handout for her talk on description:


Use color, texture, smells, sounds. Use strong, active words for description. Nouns and verbs--less or no adjectives and adverbs.

Readers want to know what your characters look like—give some hints right away, so they aren’t shocked later to find out who they’d imagined is not at all like that. You want them to “see” your characters as you see them.

Don’t put great hunks of the characters’ description in one place. Scatter them.

Include how someone’s voice sounds.

Be sure to keep track of these details, so they don’t change later in the book. Give reminders every now and then—tossed back her mane of red hair—polished his bald head with his hand—adjusted his glasses—limped back to her seat.

Use descriptions as dialogue tags. She smoothed her long skirt before sitting. He loosened the collar of his dress shirt.

Same with vehicles, what kind do your characters drive?

For places, if you’re using real places, be sure you get everything right. Readers will let you know if you’re wrong.

If you’ve created a fictional place, make sure you keep track of where things are—even if you don’t remember, someone else will.

Weather can create a mood for your story. Remember weather changes—or if it doesn’t, how it affects people can add to your story. Hot too long, foggy too long, too much rain, etc. If it’s cold, you want the reader to feel the cold—and vice versa. How the weather affects your POV character.

Describe what you think your POV character will notice about the place where he/she is.

Be sure to describe the places inside and out, let us see where people are having conversations, what it’s like where the action is going on. Description of houses and furnishings can add to what the people who live in them are like. Rich people, middle-class, poor. Neat freaks or slobs.

Same with vehicles, what kind do your characters drive? Should fit their personality.

Some of the authors I think do great description of settings are William Kent Krueger and James Lee Burke.

 A couple of examples: 

James Lee Burke—

We went through a brightly lit shopping district, the entered the old part of Lafayette, where live oak tress hung with moss still form canopies over the streets. --- The mist was gray, floating across the trees and shrubbery and hedges in the university district.

The sky was black, but floodlight illuminated the signs advertising the drive-by windows where the owner sold frozen daiquiris to the happy motoring crowd at five bucks a pop. The outside light also lit the iron framework of the ridge and the bayou’s surface which was running high up on the pilings and looked like yellow rust. When I got out of my pickup, the night air was throbbing with the sounds of tree frogs, the wind blowing through a sugarcane field out in the darkness.

The Tin Roof Blowdown

William Kent Krueger—

True to her work, in one minute she appeared, a dark-skinned woman with a bright, white smile. Her hair was a crown of black and gray. Her eyes were dark and shiny in a face full of welcome. She was clearly well fed, though not quite rotund, and dressed in the blue-short-sleeved shirt of a postal employee. Below that, she wore bright floral shorts.

We continued to follow the river, winding out way up out of the valley between the mountains until we came to a cutoff with a sign pointing southeast—SULFUR SPRINGS 8 MILES.  The road we followed snaked steeply upward then crested. Below, along the base of the range, lay a kind of alluvial plain, an apron of high desert with a clear view to the south.

Sulfur Springs

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Importance of Editing

Saturday, June 16. 10 a.m., Blue Room, Visalia Library, Oak St., Visalia

Today, so many are self-publishing and too often the result is a book full of mistakes, typos and other problem. In many cases, with some good editing, the book could have been worth reading. This is one of the reasons all of us who write need to make sure our books have gone through the editing process.

If you are someone who is trying to interest and agent or an editor in taking on your book, make sure it's the best it can possible before send it off. A manuscript full of errors won't even be read through, probably not given more than a glance.

No book is perfect, even the ones put out by the big name publishers, but they have gone through the editing and copy editing process. However, you can be sure it was looked at by many eyes before it was put on the market.

No matter how you plan to publish, you want your book to be the best it can possible be.

At the meeting next Saturday, we'll go over self-editing tips. Ways to make sure you've done your job before you send it off to anyone else to have a look.

Marilyn Meredith has over 40 books published, taught writing at conferences, for Writers Digest Schools and at bookstores.

Hand-outs will be available.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Want to Self Publish? Learn How

When: This Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.
Where: The Blue Room at Tulare County Library, Visalia. (Oak Street.)

Once you're had your book edited, proofed, and okayed by beta readers, and you don't want to try to find a publisher and have decided to do it yourself, but not quite sure how to go about, this is the meeting for you. 

Judith Bixby Boling will explain about how to use Create Space to do it yourself.

Don't miss this important meeting if self-publishing is for you!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Visalia Library Book Fair

Our group was well-represented at the first annual Visalia Library Book Fair. 

The even was well-organized, lots of authors and other vendors, and many, many attendees.

Here are the booths of some of our members.

The next meeting of the Tulare Kings Writers is Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m., in the Blue Room at the big Visalia Library on Oak Street. 

The topic will be Social Media as it pertains to promoting your books.

Hope to see you there,


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Impromptu Story Writing

Stan Stevens will be leading us with this intriguing idea.

Impromptu story writing is what our meeting will be about.  Glass bowls filled with “story sparks” will launch this activity.  Each time you pick a spark, you’ll have five minutes to create a short description or narrative.  Be sure to bring a writing pad and a few sharp pencils.  You may be surprised at what is written on your pad.  Maybe even the beginning of  A New York Times best seller.  It’s all about having fun with words and ideas. 

Mark your calendars: Saturday January 20, 10 a.m., Blue Room (upstairs, Visalia Library on Oak St.)

Sounds like a great time for all writers.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Marketing Your Books

If you missed our November meeting, you missed a most helpful one. Judith Boling gave ua a wonderful presentation on book marketing.

Her first piece of advice was to spend most of your time writing.

All writers should have 2 biographies--one written in first person, one if 3rd. It should be rewritten as needed. For your purpose as a writer, it should be about your writing life.

Write an engaging blurb about your book.

Have a strong and engaging book cover.

You should have a website and/or a blog, or both.

For you blog, add new posts consistently.

You should have a good photograph of you for promo purposes.

On Facebook, also have an author page.

Focus on your target audience.

And another member sent this link about Search Engine Optimization for 2018.

There will no meeting in December.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Marketing Your Books--Judith Boling

Nov. 18th, 10 a.m., in the Blue Room of the Visalia Library on Oak Street.

We’ll be talking about marketing. For writers, marketing your own books is one of the hardest things to do.

Judith Boling has been studying the subject and will present what she has learned. 

If you have marketing strategies that have worked for you, com share.

No meeting in December.