We help and encourage North Texas writers of all genres and experience levels to produce professional quality writing suitable for publication. We do this by providing read and critique sessions, educational activities, networking opportunities and a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere.
Saturday Night Write meets on the third Saturday of each month to provide instruction and encouragement to writers in the community surrounding UT Arlington (and anyone else who wants to drive out to meet up with us). Our discussion leader presents a structured topic and background research to spark interactive participation, focusing on various aspects of craft. Everyone is welcome.
Please join us at our new time and location, Saturday, Aug 20, 4-6 PM at the Flying Fish Restaurant in Arlington. This month we will discuss Improving your Prose Using Poetic Techniques . . . without veering into purple prose. Food prices are reasonable, but no purchases are required for these FREE events. Flying Fish is located in downtown Arlington, on Abram between Cooper and Collins.
The Workshop meets EVERY Wednesday, regardless of holidays or weather. We welcome visitors to come to any of these regular weekly meeting. There is no need to notify us in advance, just show up! It has been years since a meeting was canceled for any reason.
We meet at 7 p.m. at the Simmons Center in Euless, TX and rarely go past 10:00 p.m. Many continue on after the meeting at a nearby IHOP on 183 and Westpark/Murphy in Euless.
Don’t let anyone tell you that writer’s block isn’t a thing. Writer’s block is a lot of things. For some people it’s an excuse not to write. But sitting in front of the computer with a mind as blank as the page…that’s the real deal. There are legitimate reasons you may be struggling to write. Some are logistical—kids, day jobs, school, all of the above. Some are psychological—fear, self-doubt, self-criticism (do you see a theme here?), and even stress and depression. This doesn't even account for actual problems in your scene or plot that are making roadblocks. These are genuine issues, and “just suck it up and write” is not always the best advice. So, I polled some of the members of the DFW Writers Workshop with the question, “What do you do when your mind goes blank while you’re staring at the blank screen?” and got some great, practical advice on ways to address the underlying problems of this mythical thing call “writer’s block.” • I talk out the story with actual human beings. I don’t actually need or want their input, I just need a friendly face to nod while I think out loud. • There are two kinds of writer’s block—the lazy kind and the creative kind. For the lazy kind, there’s no solution but to stop making excuses and get to work. With the creative kind, I’ll talk a break from it and do something else for a while, or talk about the story with someone.• I take a shower. Something about the white noise, I guess, but I get great ideas in the shower. Also, I think it’s helpful to go back and read something I wrote before and remind myself while I love to write in the first place. An editorial interjection here: I think this is a really good point. Frustration and self-doubt is a vicious cycle, and when you’re slogging through the endless middle of your manuscript, it is important rediscover the joy of it, whether it’s by reading old stuff you wrote that you love, or indulging in a day of writing something no one will every see but you. More advice: • I go for a walk. Change the scenery and clear my head. • I write to soundtracks, and I have one for each project, so I’ll put the music on and get into the soundtrack zone. I like movie soundtracks. Anything with lyrics is distracting.• I also go for a walk—outside. The treadmill doesn’t work. Got to get out of the house.• (In response to the above) I like to stay at my computer so I’m ready for when I hit the zone, and I can get typing right away. • I also write to soundtracks, and I once I get the right one picked out for the book, I just play it on repeat. Eventually I can put it on and it’s like a conditioned response—boom, in the zone. This was interesting to me: everyone I polled was quick to answer, and knew what worked for them, but some people were much more analytical than others. • I go back to my reference and planning material. I tend to plan out the whole book, but improvise at the scene level. If I’m stuck in a scene, I realize I may need to plan or analyze the next step a little more before I go on. • I write the first sentence of the next chapter. Knowing it needs to set up the scene and immediately draw the reader in, I make myself do that much before I can stop. Usually by the time I’ve put the work in to make it a good first sentence, I’m warmed up and just keep going. • I start by typing the question “What do I want to get out of the scene?” and then type the answer—what needs to happen, what mood I want to set, how I want the reader to feel at the end of the scene, want do I want to accomplish. Like someone said, once I’ve started typing and thinking, I’ve gotten into it and can keep going. I hit return a couple of times and go right into writing the scene. • I do something similar. I write “I am having trouble with…” and write out where I’m getting stuck. It makes it into a problem to be solved, and within a couple of paragraphs, I can see the solution. Also, I have to do it by hand. I associate the computer screen with editing, and so I feel more creative when writing by hand. And writing in pencil signals to me that I can erase anything that I don’t like and I’m free to make mistakes, and the words just start to flow. This pencil thing made my night, just knowing that someone else has this irrational fear of doing it “wrong.” (Like I’m not going to rewrite the scene five times anyway.) No matter how it feels when you’re beating your head against the computer screen, there are no unique problems—even the ones that sound completely crazy. To all these great tips, I want to add this: when you’re stuck, cut yourself some slack. Sometimes what you need to "break a block" is a Murder She Wrote marathon on the Movies and Mysteries Channel. The scene will still need writing tomorrow. It’s important not to judge yourself by anyone else’s standards. Everyone writes differently. Some people plot, some people freewheel. Some write fast, some write slow. Some write everyday, some write in blocks on the weekends. Some write through blocks, some analyze through them, some clear the decks and come back fresh. Remember there are reasons for being stuck, and there are excuses for being stuck. The difference lies in whether we keep trying things until we’re unstuck, or let the excuse become the only story we tell. (Special thanks to Jenny Martin, Sally Hamilton, Kristin Breckenridge, A. Lee Martinez, Sasha Lenaburg, Charles Breckenridge, Daryle McGinnis, LeAnn Robinson, and Alan Crowley for their input.) Rosemary Clement is a lifetime member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. Her current obsessions change frequently, but this never does: She loves coffee, dogs, history, Jane Austen, archaeology, fantasy novels, comic books, Gilbert and Sullivan, BBC America, Star Wars, books with kissing and movies with lots of explosions. She lives in Texas but her dream is to move to a cottage. Or maybe a castle. It doesn’t have to be fancy, as long as it has wi-fi.read moreTwo more victories for the DFW Writers' Workshop! On May 7th, Henery Press and the Frisco Library honored two of our own, Katie Bernet and Derek Blount. Katie is the 2016 winner of the Frisco Library First Chapter contest for the first chapter of her novel, Nomad, a YA contemporary about Isla, an unwilling nomad who has to confront her crazy-close relationship with her mom to understand where she belongs. Katie joins past winners DFWWW president, Brooke Fossey (2015) plus Melissa Lenhardt (2014) and George Goldthwaite (2014), helping the workshop secure victory for its third year in a row. In addition, Derek landed the workshop's first the Flash Fiction win for his work, Friends to the End, a story where darkness surrounds Harry and George. Frightened. Trapped. And the creature waiting below. With hope running out, can their friendship somehow save them? Want a glimpse into how they did it? Here are the openings to both stories: Nomad by Katie Bernet I was born to a rain soaked woman in the streets of Versailles. She knew only one word of French and used it copiously on the night of my debut. “Merde,” she spat through gritted teeth. “How did this happen to me?” A featherweight man ducked between her knees with shaking hands and sopping hair. “Ellery,” he said in a clotted accent, “you are a mother.” I never knew the man because that night, as an ambulance siren swelled through the streets, he stood up like a single grain of sand in the shadow of a typhoon and ran. But the woman stayed. She held me in her arms and, when I opened my eyes for the first time, she promised we would never be apart. Friends to the End by Derek Blount Darkness surrounded Harry and George, and the creature waited below. They were safe for the moment. The thing could not get them up here, but they could not stay. It simply wasn’t an option. Each year, area authors submit their first ten pages of their novel or 500 words of their flash fiction to the Henery Press First Chapter Contest, sponsored by the Frisco Public Library. Henery Press, an award-winning local publishing company, reviews the entries and selects the winner. Katie Bernet has been a workshop member since 2014. Derek Blount initially became a workshop member in 1999 and rejoined us in 2016. Congratulations to both! If you want to learn how DFWWW authors keep on bringing home the wins, join us any Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at The Simmons Center in Euless.read more