CTRWA November meeting

The CTRWA meeting kicked off with a critique group. Always interesting feedback from a variety of writers. Worth becoming a member just for this experience. 🙂

The Margie Lawson Workshop if coming up Nov 20th. I’ll be there.

Jennifer Fusco gave some great tips during her Craft Corner presentation on public speaking.

  • Speak slower–it will calm you down
  • Move around–it helps combat nervousness
  • Arrive early to get the lay of the land
  • Practice so you’ll know what you will say
  • Don’t read to people–it bores them
  • Have a plant/stooge in the crowd to ask a question
  • Understand what is causing your nerves–fear of forgetting, fear not get message across?
  • Have a plan for when you blank out
  • Dress professional and comfortable
  • Know your audience

Jessica Andersen did the Ask A Published Author panel and was on hand to sign copies of her new book Blood Spells. I picked up a copy. She mentioned that for every 12 queries, you usually get 1 positive response.

The guest speaker was a psychic medium, Tracy Timbro. What an amazing person! She equated the way spirits communicate as being almost schizophrenic in speed, imagery and words. She also asserted that anyone can get in touch with the spirits. It’s a matter of raising your vibration level and the spirit lowering theirs so that you can meet in between. Ways to increase your vibration levels include: meditation and participating in creative activities such as writing, painting, singing.

A key element is believing in it. If your mind shuts the door you will not be aware of the communication. Sometimes religion/personal beliefs make it difficult to open the door. It can be as simple as a loved one popping into your head, a song jogging a memory, or a dream that feels too real of someone who passed on. During sleep, our vibrations are higher and that is why it is easier for spirits to communicate with us.

In photos–orbs or light streaks can denote a spirit presence.

There are signs everywhere if you look for them–upset electrical appliances and feathers–both can be signs of a spirit. She does not believe in coincidence. She also does not believe that death is the end. She likened it to a kid going off to college. We choose our paths in life and struggle here. Spirit guides are the equivalent of our parents back home.

When she senses a spirit, there is a physical tingling over her skin—like static but magnified. She had felt taps on nose and head from spirits. She is pulled toward the person the spirit wants to communicate with. The images and voices are all in her mind. Sometimes spirits superimpose their emotions on her.

Ghosts and haunting occur because a spirit does not cross over either because it refused to leave or doesn’t know it is dead.

Time does not sync up here vs. afterworld. So a week in the otherworld can be like 80 years here.

There are two types of hauntings:residual vs. intelligent. Residual is when the energy is captured and remains there like a video on replay. Intelligent is when the spirit is there and can communicate.

Unlike the movie, Sixth Sense, she never sees an injured spirit. They always appear to her in their best state.


The chapter President, Toni Andrews, led a workshop on forming critique groups.

The purpose of a critique group included:

  • Function as a 2nd set of eyes
  • Evaluation
  • Informed feedback
  • Learning experience
  • Brainstorming
  • A preview of editor and agent review

Critique groups are not for:

  • Line editing
  • Revision
  • Validation
  • Power trip for critiquer

Some important things to look for when forming a critique group:

  • Having similar goals as writers
  • Partners at same level professionally/ skillwise
  • Written guidelines including a mission statement
  • Max page level and timeframe for review
  • Exit strategy–have a trial period

When Critiquing:

  • Think about how to phrase things–be tactful
  • Be honest
  • Be clear and use specific examples
  • Be humble
  • Always find something nice to point out

Things to examine in critique:

  • Writing–flow of sentences, changing up sentence patterns; do you need to reread sentences, POV clear, showing vs. telling, repeated words
  • Pacing–is story moving? do you want to scan ahead? does each scene drive plot forward/have character development
  • Dialogue–does it sound natural? Do men and women sound different?
  • Voice and tone–do you have a reaction to it? narrative in POV character’s voice
  • Atmosphere/Setting–where is scene taking place? Mental picture of setting?
  • Plot–is it believable, are there holes in it?

The sandwich method works best when critiquing:

  1. Praise something
  2. Give constructive criticism
  3. Suggest how to address criticism

Overall, another amazing meeting. Lots to think about and tons learned.

Word count: 57, 288

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2 Responses to CTRWA November meeting

  1. berry says:

    Knowledge is power. Keep learning.

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