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The Scribe -- September 2015



Copyright September 2015 St. Louis Writers Guild -- All rights reserved


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Photo and Cover by Brad R Cook 


In this issue



From The President’s Desk: Facing Barriers By David Lucas

Workshops for Writers: Twisting a story: Nonlinear plotting strategies with Jennifer Stolzer by Lauren Miller

Froomis by Jud Miner

Poetry Calendar

A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events


From The President’s Desk: Facing Barriers

By David Lucas


Authors, like other artists, run headlong into barriers. Sometimes they are barriers we create for ourselves. Life can raise unexpected walls in our path.

Then, there are barriers that come with the art and industry, including everything from getting our latest project published to getting people interested in that project enough to want to buy and read it.

None of this is easy. In fact, it gets harder and harder as you go. What you do about these barriers is your choice. As a local author and motivational speaker, Dixie Gillaspie, said, “It is when our true desires meet solid barriers that we are given the opportunity to be transformed into heroes.”

How do you get past these barriers? I wish there was an easy answer. I wish there was some mathematical formula that says “just do this and you will have success and an easy path in this crazy art.” Such things don’t exist. In fact, ease doesn’t make great art. It is our struggle that does that.

With that said, here are some habits and thought processes that can help:

p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t dwell on your past successes or failures;

p<>{color:#000;}. Be proactive and be responsible for yourself—don’t let the high possibility of failure stop you;

p<>{color:#000;}. Find a way or make one, and be patient;

p<>{color:#000;}. Write outside of your emotional comfort zone—push yourself, change up your approach, and keep an open mind;

p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t chase a trend or try to please other people; and

p<>{color:#000;}. Beware of whose opinions you are listening to, and don’t let the naysayers make the decisions for you.

Have a great month writing, and don’t give up.

Workshops for Writers: Twisting a story: Nonlinear plotting strategies with Jennifer Stolzer

By Lauren Miller


Photo by Steven Langhorst


When it comes to storytelling techniques for plotters, pantsers and the in-betweeners, there are Scrivener storyboards, sticky notes on the wall, mind-mapping, and rough drafts sketched on napkins. Then there’s Twine, self-described as “an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories” (twinery.org). Author and illustrator Jennifer Stolzer spoke at the Guild’s Sept. 12 workshop and led the audience in an interactive and engaging exploration of the Twine software.

What is nonlinear plotting? Stolzer described it as “thinking outside the box, considering every option, even the unexpected. Like a conspiracy theorist connecting every incidental bit of evidence into their proof, nonlinear plotting lets your story spread out so you can look at it from a lot of different angles.”

Nonlinear plotting can help writers overcome one of the most well known of dilemmas—the dreaded writer’s block. Stolzer said she tried outlining as a possible solution and met roadblocks fifty pages into her manuscript. In her second attempt, she used sticky notes on her closet door and moved them around to keep a timeline of the events in her novel.

“Twine emulates the post-it idea, virtually,” Stolzer said.

She illustrated this point with a digital copy of Twine and Twine “kits” (yarn with hole-punched cards) so audience members without computer access could follow along. Likening the process to books told in second person where the reader makes decisions

Photo by Brad R Cook


that determine the plot, Twine allows you to consider the decision your character faces from every angle and branch out those ideas in a form of digital mind-mapping.

Stolzer recounted how she was unable to get the main character in her steampunk adventure to transition across a critical plot point (venturing into enemy territory) without making a decision outside of his established character. This decision then was written on a virtual box or card, and the “strings” branched off, attaching related ideas. Stolzer invited audience members to chime in with suggestions, which ranged from the outlandishly magical (a cup of knowledge) to the comedic (weaponized chickenpox) and even cloak and dagger (agents and double agents). These decisions were further explored with the ramifications listed as new boxes or cards.

The group’s brainstorming efforts, and subsequent sharing of their characters’ dilemmas and outcomes from the writing exercise, made the event one of the most entertaining workshops in recent history (in the view of this author). If you’d like to learn more, the writing prompt is repeated here so you can try it at home for yourself:

WRITING PROMPT: Think of a character and name them. Write a problem that he/she faces in his/her life, as big or small as you want. Come up with two options you can twine together for how he can face those options.


Jennifer Stolzer [_is an author and freelance illustrator who serves as secretary for the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. She delights in well-woven stories, complex emotional characters, and conclusions that tie everything up in a bow. Her author-illustrated picture book, DOG PARK, is available on Amazon. You can check out her illustration portfolio at www.jenniferstolzer.com and follow Jennifer Stolzer Illustration on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. _]



By Jud Miner


Abstruse free verse that doesn’t rhyme!

I could compose that any time.

With arcane thoughts and words obtuse

Which sound profound: like pfefferneuse.


I’d obfuscate the clandestine,

And mete out blandishments condign.

Then those who read would pause and say

What great, deep thoughts those words convey.


So fame would come with contests won,

Plus accolades from everyone!

I would be on the speakers trail

With witticisms which regale.


Instead I play with thoughts that rhyme;

With slushy words like slime and grime,

And cutting words like slice and dice,

When put together sound quite nice.


Or if a word thought isn’t clear

I take a lead from Will Shakespeare,

And make up words that fit the space,

Like froomis, frump or biddledace.


If fame eludes me when I rhyme,

Who cares a whit, the thoughts are mine.


Jud is a member of distinction of the St. Louis Writers’ Guild, author of four children’s books, and a reporter for the Echo. In October 2010 he was awarded 2^nd^[_ place in the Childrens/Young Adult Fiction category of the 79_]^th^[_ Writer’s Digest ][_*Writing Competition*.  He has been conducting writing workshops for kids 8 – 14, and memoir writing workshops for the young-at-heart 9 – 99 for over ten years.]

Blog and website: Deep Thoughts from the Old Ogre whit, the thoughts are min

Poetry Calendar

second friday notes, second Friday of each month, 7 p.m., at Whole Foods Town & Country, Clayton Road just west of Highway 141. Oct. 9: Music from Bruiser Queen. Poets Glendal Wallace and Vincent Casaregola. Guest host, Lenny Smith.


RIVER STYX. Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m., Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave. Sept. 21, Michael Castro and Eugene B. Redmond. Oct. 19, Albert Goldbarth and Dana Levin. riverstyx.org/events.


POETRY AT THE POINT, 4th Tuesday of the month,. at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton Ave Oct. 27, poets Tim Leach, Janet Grace Riehl and Mariso Ramirez.


Washington University Reading Series. Oct. 15, Rachel Zucker reading. All in Hurst Lounge, Duncker Hall 201 at 8 p.m.


Sheila Nolan Whalen Reading Series at SLU, 221 N. Grand Ave., Dubourg 409. Tuesdays at 4 p.m. Oct. 6, Karen Solie; Nov. 10, Edward McPherson.


CHANCE OPERATIONS on the last Monday of each month At Tavern of the Arts, 313 Belt Ave., just off Pershing, between Union and DeBaliviere. 7:30 p.m. Open mic follows featured poets.


EVERY WEDNESDAY open mic for poetry and music at Stone Spiral Coffee & Curios, 2500 Sutton in Maplewood (2 blocks N. of Manchester). Great food and beverages. Open mic, 8 until around 11 p.m.


GOODY HOUSE, 7 p.m., fourth Thursdays at Art Marketplace, 2028 S. 12th Street. Featured poets.


R-SPACE. Last Saturday of the month, Lenny Smith and friends at 2 p.m.


ST. LOUIS WRITERS GUILD open mic for prose and poetry, second Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., Kirkwood Train Station, Argonne Drive, just west of Kirkwood Road. Allow time to find parking.


ADDITIONAL OPEN MICS at The Wolf, (every Tuesday), Legacy Books & Café (every Friday), The Historic Crossings (every other Tuesday), Shameless Grounds (Wednesdays at 7), Venice Café (Mondays at 9)


River Styx is partnering with Webster Groves Public Library to offer a series of fall workshops. Richard Newman will lead. Applications available at the library at 301 E. Lockwood Ave. and at riverstyx.org.


A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events

It’s as easy as





Workshops for Writers

First Saturday of every month (except holiday weekends)

10 a.m. to Noon at the Kirkwood Community Center


Station Open Mic

Second Tuesday of every month

7-9 p.m. at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station


SLWG Authors Series

Third Thursday of every month


Query for “SLWG Authors Series” on You Tube or (coming soon) check the Members’ Room on our website, www.stlwritersguild.org.




The Scribe Editorial Staff


T.W. Fendley



Brad R. Cook

Cover Designer


Jennifer Stolzer

Staff Writer


Lauren Miller

Staff Writer


Melanie Koleini

Staff Writer


Special thanks to:

Jud Miner

Steven Langhorst


NOTE: If you are a St. Louis Writers Guild member, please consider submitting a poem, short story or an article about writing (4,000 words or less) for publication in this newsletter. THE SCRIBE is now issued monthly and promoted to more than 1,000 people on our mailing list. Submissions should be sent by the first of each month to [email protected]—put SCRIBE in the subject line.


Also, if you are interested in joining the editorial staff as a writer, please contact [email protected] -- put SCRIBE in the subject line.

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The Scribe -- September 2015

For more than a decade, The Scribe has been the mainstay for communicating with members of the St. Louis Writers Guild. It began as a way to showcase the organization and share insights into the publishing world. Back issues give a wonderful record of the Guild. The Scribe is now available to everyone, not just members. It features stories, poems, and essays from our members, as well as information about our events, most of which are open to the public. The September 2015 edition features "Froomis," a poem by SLWG member Jud Miner, and a report on the Guild’s September 12 Workshop for Writers: Twisting a story: Nonlinear plotting strategies with Jennifer Stolzer.

  • ISBN: 9781310414534
  • Author: T.W. Fendley
  • Published: 2015-10-02 07:20:10
  • Words: 1704
The Scribe -- September 2015 The Scribe -- September 2015