Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wordcraft – The end is nigh – make way for the beginnings

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2016 – what a long, strange year it’s been! And as it gallops furiously toward its close, I’m also facing endings – and some new beginnings. This past weekend I answered an email from beloved Dallas literary institution, the Writer’s Garret, to help it move out of its present home and into a new one. This will be its second move of the decade, and the end of its space-sharing partnership with independent bookstore Lucky Dog Books (previously Paperbacks Plus) as the building in the Lochwood neighborhood of Dallas that has been the two institutions’ joint home is under new ownership.

Writer's Garret moving in!
It’s not the end for either Lucky Dog (which has two other locations in the Dallas area), and certainly not for the Writer’s Garret, which has new digs in at Metropolitan Press, 1250 Majesty Dr., in Dallas. Metropolitan Press is a commercial printer which also describes itself as “passionate about helping nonprofit organizations.” In addition to housing ArtSpace, a revolving gallery for local visual artists, it houses the offices of Shakespeare Dallas and – beginning January 2, 2017, the Writer’s Garret. The new space looks great, and includes use of a shared meeting room and kitchen/dining area.

As the illustration for this post shows, there’s still a lot of unpacking and rearranging to do before the Writer’s Garret opens in its new location. And believe me, there’s a lot more stuff still at the Lucky Dog location. The Garret will continue operations at Lucky Dog, 10809 Garland Road in Dallas, until December 17, closing temporarily for the last two weeks of the year to put the finishing touches on its new home. I hope to keep readers posted about the transition, with a peek at what the new space looks like with everything in place, early next year.


And then there’s NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month organization whose aim is to prompt writers to put 50,000 words of their novels on the page (or screen) each November. But November has ended, hasn't it? Not quite. My local Dallas-Fort Worth region has a final event scheduled for 2016 – “Commiseration and Relaxation,” a time for writers to read excerpts from their manuscripts and celebrate their accomplishments. Drop by the Nicholas P. Sims Library, 515 W. Main St., in Waxahachie, Texas, this Saturday, December 10, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to meet some of the 1,891 novelists who collectively wrote 28,535,801 words during this past month. (My contribution was a modest 13,047 words.)

And then prepare for the “Now What?” months of January and February when all those words get edited and revised. See the site for details of upcoming “What Now?” events and use these long winter nights to browse some of the material. (I’m looking at “5 Ways to Keep Me Reading Your First Chapter,” in the NaNoWriMo blog section.)


My blog at this site will also undergo some endings and some beginnings. The Adventure classics portion of this blog will come to an end on the last Friday of 2016 (December 30) to make room for more reviews of current books in 2017. The Wordcraft portion will effectively continue, with regular updates each Tuesday, beginning January 3, 2017, but without its subtitle. Although I’m keeping Tuesdays as the anchor day for posting, I hope to publish additional posts during the week as time and material permits, without committing to further scheduling. I hope this will allow me to post some of the reviews authors have been requesting, as well as keep readers posted on current literary events in a timely manner. When great stuff happens at a convention or festival, I intend to post about it not only on Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday as well, maybe even Friday, instead of holding it all in until the next week.


Finally, speaking of literary events, I couldn’t resist the lure of the last two “Dear Lucky Agent” contests of 2016 from Writer’s Digest blogger Chuck Sambuchino. My last Tuesday’s post was about writing memoirs, which are known to be hard manuscripts to impress agents with. How great would it be to get feedback – maybe even land an agent – for our memoirs, and do it all for free? Through December 31, 2016, we can, and all it costs is two mentions in any form of social media. There’s nothing to lose!

Oh, and for writers of historical fiction – like me! – there’s a sister contest. Again, two social media mentions. Sambuchino even provides sample wording for those mentions. Easy TinyURLs to use are http://tinyurl.com/j4d3kqz for memoirs and http://tinyurl.com/zodcsgo for historical fiction.

A literary agent will judge each contest. The top three winners in each will receive a critique of the first 10 pages of their manuscript from their agent/judge and a choice of Sambuchino’s two literary marketing guidebooks coming out in September 2017. See the sites for details.

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