CHANGES IN STORE FOR NCW

By Ronda Simmons

Originally posted April 01, 2020

There has been some confusion lately about the mission of the Northern Colorado Writers. Despite our motto, “helping writers navigate their way to success,” there are some who have taken to social media promoting NCW as a politically conservative organization.

WRITE, RIGHT, RITE: THEY SOUND ALIKE, BUT THEY MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS

The confusion seems to stem from the third word in our name, Writers. Spelled with a W, it refers to those who write. Righters, a quaint nickname for conservative citizens, is a homophone of Writers. IT ISN’T THE SAME THING!

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WRITERS DARWINISM

By Eleanor Shelton

Originally posted March 06, 2020

I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board my first of four work trips this month. As I look around, so many people are sniffling, coughing, and blowing their noses. I wonder how many people have coronavirus. Probably all of them. I know for sure the coworkers who will be sitting next to me have it because she’s coughing and feverish. I’m going to try very hard not to breathe.

But let’s say that coronavirus does decimate the population (which it won’t), all-digital operations cease, and only Bear Grylls and others with strong survival skills remain. What will be the most venerated aspect of humanity? Storytelling.

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A CHAPTER ONE CHECKLIST

By David E. Sharp

Originally posted February 27, 2020

The annual NCW conference looms on the horizon. Many of us are sprucing up those manuscripts to impress professionals of the literary world, not least of which are agents you hope to woo.

You’ve got 50,000 words to show off, but you’ll only have a page or two to make a solid impression. Story elements are in place.  Taking steps to make sure it is as strong as it can be. One of the keys to good writing is strong external critique. The good news is many common shortcomings are avoidable.

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WE CAN ALL BE POETS, EVEN IF WE CAN’T ALL, LIKE, BE POETS

By Ronda Simmons

Originally posted February 20, 2020

I liked poetry in high school. Loved it, even. In that time and place, the only people who got enthusiastic about poetry were the English teachers, and even some of them weren’t keen. These were the days before being a nerd was cool. Kids my age were into popular music, popular culture, and football. I learned to keep my poetic inclinations to myself, none of my friends would have understood.

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USING SYMBOLISM

BY BRIAN KAUFMAN

Originally posted February 13, 2020

You are likely familiar with narrative arc (the path that characters take within a story’s plot) and character arc (the changes characters undergo throughout the story). But you may not be familiar with symbolic arc—the evolving use of a recurring symbol in fiction.

I first encountered this important concept while reading Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry, a collection of short stories depicting the author’s experiences during the Polish-Soviet war (1919-1921). Simple images like a burning candle are introduced in brightly lit night scenes with romantic fervor. By the book’s end, candles are grimy, dim, and spent.

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FEELING THE PRESSURE OF A PLAN

   BY ELEANOR SHELTON

Originally posted February 06, 2020

I’m about to jump into the querying trenches again. This time with a new novel and hundreds of writing hours under my belt on this recent work of magnificence. My last magnificent opus inched up the ladder of success until the ladder was unceremoniously yanked from under my feet. I’m second burn shy. Is it going to be easier this time around? It’s possible, but unlikely.

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Helping Characters Find Their Voice

BY DAVID E. SHARP

Originally posted January 30, 2020

Character voices are one of a writer’s greatest tools when trying to create lively and interesting characters. While an author’s voice is about individual style of writing, characterization is the arrangement of a variety of trappings. These effects not only help distinguish a character’s voice from the author’s voice, but ideally create genuine personalities.

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MIXING A LITTLE GENRE COCKTAIL: GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU

By Miranda Birt

Originally posted January 22, 2020

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.

 — William Faulkner

We’ve heard this advice over and over. I know, at some point, reading became another item on my checklist. Sure, we try to read within the genre we prefer to write, but eking out time to read when some of us struggle to find time to write can be a chore.

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Poking A Wound

By Brian Kaufman

Originally posted March 26, 2020

I attended Colorado State University at the turn of the century (sounds so long ago when I phrase it that way), studying English Literature and Creative Writing. I had already published poetry, but wanted to hone my skills, so I took a senior workshop course under the state’s poet laureate, Mary Crow.

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SO YOU WANNA BE A CRUCIVERBALIST

By Ronda Simmons

Originally posted January 17, 2020

Like many people, I love crossword puzzles. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it would be possible to make a living as a cruciverbalist, a crossword puzzle maker, so I did some digging to find out.

The short answer is: No.

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