How do you get ideas on what to write? What motivates you to write? How do I get it published? These are some of the questions that crop up at meetings of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild.
In regard to publishing, John Patrick Grace, a recent guest speaker of the guild, explained that a common mistake made by writers is they think their book is for everyone, but it is not. A book should be written with a particular audience in mind. Once written, the book should be carefully proofread before submitting to a publisher. Publishers have different levels of editing: proof reading, which picks up mistakes with grammar and spelling; line editing, which looks for missing words or lines that have been dropped in the process of pagination; and developmental editing, which might involve an extensive rewrite by the author. In this last example, a chapter may have no relevance to the book and will be scrapped. On the other hand, there may be a need to further develop an element of the story – the plot, setting, or characters – and a new chapter will be required.
Grace has had students from all ages take his “Life Writing Class” over the years, and quite a few have become published authors. Guild members Patrecia Gray and Sue Underwood recently completed the 10-week course. Also, the guild’s founding member, Joan Ungerleider, took his course when she lived in Point Pleasant several years ago. At that time, the guild was called “Wannabe Writers.” She went on to write a book entitled “Cooking with the Cherry Tomato Lady.” This inspired the guild to compose their own stories and recipes under the title of “Recipes and Remembrances.”
Grace told the group about a writing class he once held on the grounds of Tu-Endi-Wei Park of Point Pleasant. It was an early, misty morning in October. The assignment was to write in solitude. To accomplish this, Grace required the students to sit quietly on the grounds, 50 feet from anyone else, talking to no one, and write their thoughts. One young lady wrote about the contrast between the peaceful autumn morning on this point of land where two rivers meet and the savage battle that had taken place here between natives and the Virginia militia on an October morning of 1774.
On June 1, the guild will host special guest Eliot Parker, published author of two novels as well as short fiction. He currently teaches writing and literature at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia.
The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets every first and third Wednesday, 1-3 p.m., at the Mason County Library on Viand Street. All aspiring writers are welcome.
Submitted by April Pyles, guild member.