Monday, April 18, 2011

Meeting Minutes April 17, 2011

Nancy opened the meeting by reminding us that the focus needs to be on writing and that sometimes we stray from that. Because of that an Executive has been formed consisting of current members who have active duties within the group: Nancy, Clare, Shirley, Pat and Diane. Nancy presented a document of guidelines prepared by the Executive. This will be emailed to those who were not in attendance. Anyone who has any suggestions, please email Nancy. A final copy will be posted on the website.

Jayne presented an anthology to which she contributed called A Second Cup of Apple Cider prepared by World Vision Canada. You may purchase a copy for $20, or $15 each for multiple copies. You can check the following links: and

Marilyn read a piece she wrote called "Embracing Change" - a very thought provoking essay about how we can't go back, only move forward.

Jayne read a bit from her story "What's Next?" from A Second Cup of Apple Cider. This story is also about change which prompted the discussion that as we approach middle-age, "What do I want to be when I grow up?"

Ashley announced that she finished the first chapter of her book entitling it "The War on Words". She read this to the group.

Ron read from his book with the working title "Courage in the Cauldron". In reading it aloud, Ron realized there were things he wanted to change. Nancy said, "That's why we read aloud." The group discussed the need to add emotion to historical facts. We need to find our own voice.

At this point Nancy advised that Wayne Townsend will be speaking about war at the Grand Valley Library this Tuesday, April 19.

April is National Poetry Month. Nancy was going to bring her bag of words she uses for our annual poetry workshops but she found this morning that the cat had peed on them. So, Nancy has no words. Imagine that!

So to create a new bag of words, Nancy asked us all to write down 10 or more words and she would create a new set of poetry prompt words for future use. In the meantime, we did pass the pages we made two people to the left and members were invited to use those, or Nancy also provided a separate page of prompts.

Judy, Clare, Marilyn, Pat, Jayne and Ashley all used the words to write poetry.

On the sheet Jayne received from Ron was the word pejorative. Jayne asked Ron what that meant. Here, as provided by Merriam-Webster is the definition I found: "to become worse, having negative connotations, tending to disparage or belittle. syn. DEPRECIATORY."

Ron wrote about back in time, an event when he was 5 or 6 years old. "Yesterday was...." a description of his aunt's house and a delicacy of blue cheese on bologna. I noticed a lot of pejorative faces around the room. (Yeah, I had to throw that in there).

Nancy wrote about having writer's block and creativity not being nurtured as a child. She stresses B.O.C. - Butt On Chair.

Prompts were provided courtesy of A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves and The Write Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer.

1. Moving into the new house...

2. Darkness comes at three in the afternoon (after Robert Bly)

3. Write about an important, big-time event in your childhood. Write in first person as if you are, once again, that age and it just happened. Use child-appropriate language. Don't worry if it turns out to be more fiction than fact. Start with "Yesterday was..."

4. Or write about the same event, but as an adult looking back. Don't worry if the story changes this time as you go with the flow. Start with "If I could go back in time to the day when..."

5. It's only a teeny-weeny little lie...

The next meeting is May 1st. Gloria or Marilyn will be leading.

P.S. Diane, I really suck at this so please come back!

Written by: Mary Patricia Bird

Friday, April 15, 2011

Elora Writers' Festival Writing Competition

Elora Writers' Festival invites entries for their 8th annual writing competition.

Submit your poetry or prose (short story/personal essay) on any theme. Prizes: $100, $75, $50. Age categories: adult (19+) and young writers. Submission length: prose maximum 2000 words, poetry no more than 75 lines. Entry fee for the adult category only, $15. Deadline is Postmarked by Friday April 29, 2011. The winners will be announced at the 17th annual Elora Writers' Festival on Sunday May 29. For details and contest entry form: (Writing Competition link). Thank you, Julia Browne Chair, Elora Writers' Festival Writing Competition

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writing Characters Workshop, Orangeville

The Headwaters Writers Guild presents …
“How to find and create great characters”
Saturday, June 4~ Space still available ~10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Tweedsmuir Presbyterian Church, 6 John Street, Orangeville

Whatever you're writing - fiction or nonfiction - readers will care about your story only if they care about your people. In this workshop, you'll learn techniques for creating fictional characters and depicting real people.
You’ll learn how to breathe life into the page so that your characters start telling you how the story should go. Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years.

He teaches at Ryerson University and has led creative writing workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he's helped many of his students get published.

Fee for members of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild: $35.40 plus hst = $40 paid in advanceor $42.48 + 13% hst = $48 if you wait to pay at the door

Fee for members of the general public: $38.94 + 13% hst = $44 paid in advanceor $42.48 + 13% hst = $48 if you wait to pay at the door To reserve your spot, email

To register, please make out a cheque to Brian Henry and mail it to: Brian Henry, 110 Reiner Road, Toronto, ON M3H 2L6

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Article in the Orangeville Banner

Feel free to visit my blog to check out my latest item in the Orangeville Banner!

I Was Bullied As A Child


I'm a member of the HWG and I recently finished writing a new blog entry about my experiences of being bullied as a child, and sadly, bullying is now on the rise with today's presence of the internet, YOUTUBE and cell phones.  My hope in sharing this blog entry is to help bring more awareness to this serious problem and maybe it will inspire someone who is being bullied to know that they have self-confidence if they look inside themselves.

The world would be an awfully boring place if we were all the same, so own it!  :-)

Please come on over to by blog page and read my new entry entitled, CLICK HERE TO READ MY LATEST BLOG ENTRY ABOUT BULLYING

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meeting Minutes April 3, 2011

Clare led today's meeting, armed with chocolate treats from Dorothy to rev our blood sugar! Thank you Dorothy!!!

Jayne announced that on April 17 the church will be hosting a Pancake Breakfast/Lunch including pancakes and much more. Everyone is invited to attend, donations will be accepted. Breakfast will be served at 11:30am after Palm Sunday Mass. Come out and support our generous hosts if you can.

We have sent a tentative retreat day for Saturday, June 11 at Eramosa Eden. Nancy will confirm this with the ladies at Eramosa and an email will go out to all members.

Marilyn brought a box of books to share with everyone and ended up taking home about half of what she came with. Nancy asked her what kind of books she brought. Marilyn replied "I have very Catholic tastes and there are all kinds." The leftover novels will go with her to the Elora Festival.

Joe announced that he has rented a table at the Erin Home Show at Centre 2000 on April 30th to sell his books. He will be provided with 2 chairs, a table and electricity. His website, for all interested in checking out his books is He will be adding new articles to his webpage this year and answering questions his readers may have.

Marilyn's movie will be screened on Friday April 22 at the Regency Theatre in Kitchener. There will be screenings for 6 films in all and the evening starts at 7pm.

Nancy hated to admit it, but she has become a bit obsessive. She has been researching her family tree and finds the mystery addictive. She read a great piece about her latest obsession.

Marilyn wrote about the boxes we put ourselves in. How we set boundaries and limit beliefs for ourselves. Virtual boundaries.

Kelli read two query letters for Amber and the Bully. One was her original query letter, the other was a revised version. The group advised her to make it shorter, add the genre and age range for the book, and google query letters for children's books. Jayne advised her that the query letter has to have the same tone as the book and that writing query letters are even harder than writing the actual book. Marilyn said that the hook is everything.

Diane read from a short story written for Wynterblue's 24 contest on March 26, 2011.

Jayne's husband popped in to announced that Caitlyn's mom is out of surgery and doing well. Caitlyn says hi to all!

Clare did an exercise on similes and metaphors.
Similes are comparisons using like or as. Example: "Muscles like a Clydesdale on steroids."
Metaphors are comparisons that don't. Example: "He had the build of a pregnant fire hydrant."

He did a reading from An Irish History of Civilization by Don Akenson. The line he chose to describe himself was "He died as he had lived, a dung heap covered in flies." We received three pieces of papers for the prompt.

1) Images
 This sheet contained several examples of similes and metaphors. A few examples are:
         1) Fat fingers like a cluster of grapes
         2) Paper thin personality
         3) Brisk as a walk in the snow
         4) Soaring on the wings of time

2) Something to Write Home About
This sheet gave a list of 10 words that we needed to write similes or metaphors for.
a) cold
b) limp
c) happy
d) ugly
e) sad
f) busy
g) harmless
h) intoxicated
i) lonely
j) skinny

3) Prompts
And, finally, the prompts!!!
Write based on one of the images of the following:
a) My earliest childhood memories stirring marvellous shadows on the wall
b) There is no enemy to fight but silence as he sits motionless in blue veils and sculptured folds
c) After plunging back into the deep waters of sleep, he awakened feeling like a lump of wet clay.
d) Waves of laughter rippled through the crowd
e) Today the wind is blowing hard enough to knock the hair off a dog.
f) He possessed the sincerity of a salesman's smile
g) He raised his hands for silence and, in a moment, you could hear a fairy whisper.
h) "Now there was a brawl!" Conor said ....Tore the fucking place apart. It was a donnybrook of      monumental scope. Bodies flying, furniture smashing, the girls screaming. One of the most beautiful evenings I ever spent in my life. Anyhow...I was fortunate to make a successful exit just as the police arrived.
i) Aw, look at the size of him, would ye. With them feet of his, he'd keep right on standing a long time after they shot him.

A few samples from our writers:
Marilyn - "Her face resembled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."
Marilyn (who was on a roll!) - "As trustworthy as a dieting crocodile."
Jayne - "Uglier than a bald rooster."
Diane - "The cold lashed through him like a horseman's whip."

Everyone picked through Marilyn's books and Nancy showed us a book written by one of her ancestors that contains letters written by her great-grandfather!

For those of you who are not aware: April is Poetry Month.

Our next meeting is April 17, 2011. Reminder that there is a pancake breakfast taking place right before the meeting. Everyone is welcome!