The Pointe

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#Preptober: Are you ready for #NaNoWriMo2017? A View from the MidPointe Trenton Writer’s Group

As many people’s thoughts turn to fall celebrations and crisp autumn days, writers worldwide are prepping for #NaNoWriMo2017 (National Novel Writing Month which has taken place each November since 1999). The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November (that’s roughly 1,667 words penned per day).

    Last year the first meeting of the Trenton Writer’s Group met as a jump start for NaNoWriMo on November 2; we had a total of 7 writers attend. As of our last meeting, the MidPointe Trenton Writer’s Group now has 30 members (including several high school students thanks to collaboration with the Edgewood School District Librarian Rachael Fryman). The best part of the writer’s group for me as coordinator has been forming friendships with fellow writers from all walks of life. Our meetings take place on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30. The group is open to writers ages 16 & up at all skill levels and all genres as well as anyone interested in learning about the craft of writing. Our mission is to offer peer support and share ideas/resources with other writers, to share our passion for the written word, and to network via email for those who cannot attend all the monthly meetings. For more information or questions about the MidPointe Trenton Writer’s Group, I can be contacted via email at tmennnger@midpointelibrary.org

One of our first members, Tim Barner will be celebrating the release of his novel, Eyes of God, in December when it is published by eLectio Publishing.

In May of 2017, Edgewood High School graduate and published author, Michelle Bolanger www.michellebolanger.com came to speak and share her publishing experiences. Michelle has published three books so far: Saving Detroit, The Kiss (The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1: The Kiss and Book 2: The Touch. Michelle also co-presented a panel on the in’s and out’s of publishing at the Dayton Book Expo.

The idea to start the writer’s group once I began Adult Programming here at Trenton was born of a 2016 summer visit with my friend Diane Gronas (author of YA novel Starseeker: Flower of Tamaroon) to the MidPointe West Chester Writer’s Group to hear published author Molly Jebbers speak on the task of publishing. Writing novels is my lifetime dream as in sixth grade my chosen career was to be a Science Fiction Author. Admittedly that was back in the 1970’s and after 20 years serving the Trenton community, it is still something I refuse to give up on.

I’m still working on that mystery novel now titled Vanish in Darkness (that has gone through many transformations over the years, “casting” changes of characters and their various careers)--the current version began taking form in May of 2013. Along the way, I’ve honed my writing craft with the world of fan fiction. In the early 2000s I tried to get publishing by submitting to an annual Simon & Schuster Star Trek writing contest called Strange New Worlds; I never made the cut but the editor Dean Wesley Smith would always encourage me with handwritten notes on the bottom of his “checklist” as to why the story didn’t make it. He told me “Keep working on your writing, it’s already very strong” and that I usually made the “second-read” pile, which kept me going.  One of those stories can be found on my Archive of Our Own (AO3 for short) page “Careful What Q Wish For” (I put it up in honor of the actress Gates McFadden’s birthday this year http://archiveofourown.org/works/10053533).

While I’m not a #Trekker anymore, something happened in October 2011--I discovered a magical ABC show called Once Upon a Time that rekindled a lifelong love of fairy tales (my favorite being Beauty and the Beast). While I worked at the original novel in 2015 an opportunity to enter a “Flash Fiction” deleted scene contest with the winner to be chosen by the editors of www.onceuponafans.com came up. Problem was it was limited to 500 words and I’m not good at short short fiction. With help from friends, I got it written and down to the magic number. And on March 1, 2015 the story “Dark Practice” was announced as the winning entry and published on the fan site.  This story can be found also AO3 at http://archiveofourown.org/works/4682351. Besides the massive boost to my writing confidence, the best thing to come from this was the network of friends (some outside the U.S.) and fellow writers I found through social media (especially Twitter). This year, Once Upon a Fans announced their annual “Fan Awards” and there was a category for Fan Fiction.  I’d been suffering from a writing drought for most of the year so I thought why not? So I took up the challenge, published “A Thorn for the Rose” on my AO3 account before the August 31 deadline (http://archiveofourown.org/works/11862468). This time it would be not just the editors but the fans of the show who voted.  

On October 2 the winners were announced. This will definitely be a “pinned” tweet for my writing motivation:

tamara tweet.png

 

Some criticize “fan fiction” writing but from my perspective, it has been a way to publish online to find readers and hone storytelling skills. Most importantly, it gives the writer the payoff of the ultimate goal of the reason to tell stories--sharing them with readers and hopefully giving the readers the same “wow” experience that the writer felt in the weaving of the tale.

So as we approach the month of #preptober before #NaNoWriMo never ever give up your dreams--they do come true just not always in the ways we might expect.

About the author: Tamara is a self-proclaimed "geek" who loves fairy tales (especially the show Once Upon a Time), J. R. R. Tolkien , Harry Potter, DC & Marvel superheroes and also writes gritty spiritual suspense. She has worked at MidPointe Trenton Library since 1997 (when the original Trenton Library was still shared with the Trenton Historical Society) and is currently a library specialist who does both Teen and Adult Programming.