Monthly Archives: July 2013

President’s Message: Setting Examples

Just in from Australia – Happy Father’s Day Pop! Next was a call from Portland, OR, wishing a Happy Day and much love. It sure warms a father’s heart to hear from his daughters. My daughters grew up knowing their dad as a photographer. They were steeped in the life of lights, camera, action as well as the work that comes before and after the razzle-dazzle. I took them with me to drop film at the lab and they saw me sorting rolls of negatives to be
matched with prints. Being surrounded by male and female photographers, art directors and clients was the norm for them.

Along the way film changed to pixels and prints became digital files. Our children absorb who we are and what we do. We believe they are not paying attention, only to find years later that they had stored it all away for possible use at a future time. We show them by our example how we view and deal with life and other the people around us. Both of my daughters have moved on into their own professions and yet both are photographers as well.

While reading Origin, a biography of Charles Darwin, I was quite taken with a section describing one of Darwin’s sons asking his father a question. The boy explained that he’d been at a friend’s house and the friend’s father had no fossils to work on. Darwin’s son had grown up thinking that all fathers did what Darwin did. In nature it is called imprinting and
takes place by inherited instinct. Humans in advanced societies have, by and large, lost our trust in such instincts.
We are the role models for our children by what we say and do, how we act and, yes, also by what we write. They may not grow up to follow our path, but they will have been shaped by our example in how they approach their own path. These are important matters that should not be left to chance. As parents to the characters we create in our stories we must strive to help them grow into the needs of the story itself. We need to act in a very precise and conscious manner.
Every trait and sense each character displays must be a real and true part of them. If a reader thinks some action a character has taken does not fit, you will lose that reader. How has the character developed a particular way to think and act? What will their responses be in a situation?
An important lesson I have taken away from Susan Tuttle’s “What If” writing workshops is that a writer must know every detail concerning one of his or her characters: Who they are; how they think; what drives them; how they will react to stimuli in any given situation; are they educated or grown up in slums with no chances to advance themselves?
Even if these things do not come into the light of day in your story, it is important that you know them.
Excelsior,
Dennis

NW Wordsmiths June 2013

Mark your calendar for our August meeting!

A Night of Critique!

The August 13th General Meeting Bring 250-500 words to read for critique-

There’s a special treat planned for August: A Critique Extravaganza!   On Tuesday, August 13, at 7:00 pm, our general meeting at the PG&E Education Center will hold its 3rd Annual Critique Extravaganza: How to give them, how to receive them, anything you want to know.  We’ll cover the basics of effective critique process and discuss the variations that have evolved in our existing groups.  This is an interactive, hands-on meeting.  Members and guests are encouraged to bring 250-500 words to read for critique. We’ll hear and critique as many pieces as time allows.  Our experienced panel will give feedback to the reader, and we’ll take comments from the general NW membership as well.  And, don’t forget to also bring paper and pen for taking critique notes.

One of the greatest values of participating in a critique process is that you get to hear a variety of perspectives and learn by what other writers do right—and not so right.  It’s a fabulous way to improve your skills.  Don’t be shy!  Bring your work on that Tuesday night. It will be encouraging, informative and fun!  Visit our website at www.slonightwriters.org