Writers' Lunch

Sponsored by the Mechanics' Institute Library

Rick Homan moderated "Writers Lunch," an hour-long conversation on topics of interest to writers, held on the 3rd Friday of each month at 12:00 pm, PT.  

The Art of Critiquing Fellow Writers

This month librarian Taryn Edwards will moderate the discussion The Art of Critiquing Fellow Writers. All writers need beta readers. Sooner or later, fellow writers will ask you to critique their work. They may or may not clearly state their expectations. How can you best help them, as you will want fellow writers to help you?

Panelists include Elisabeth Kauffman, Matthew Félix, and Rick Homan. Join us, share and learn!

April 15, 2022

What's in It For You?

When you have published your work (with a publisher, self-published, on a blog, or otherwise) what do you want? Recognition from your peers? Fun with fans? Lots of money? Influence on society? What result would satisfy you?  Marketing gurus tells us we must know what we want before we decide how to publish and market a book. Maybe we should even know what we want before we write.

March 18, 2022

All About Outlining

Outlining can be a preparation for writing, a way of keeping track while writing, or a diagnostic tool after writing. Outlines can be numbered lists or flow charts. Some writers spend half their time on outlines; others don’t use them at all.

February 18, 2022

Who Wrote This?

Do you read about the authors you admire? Do you check the "About" page on an author's website or the bio on the book flap? Have you read a favorite author's memoir? Have you read a biography of an author? Have any of these sources helped you understand the author's work? Has this shown you how to use your own experience in your writing?

January 21, 2022

The Places We Write About

Some novelists say the setting is a character. Others create fantasy worlds. Some readers choose books set in a favorite place. Some journalists make a career of chronicling a single place. Some bookstores have a section called “Armchair Travel.” How does place inform your writing? 

December, 2021

The Same, Only Different

Painters learn by copying masterpieces. Musicians are always ready to cite their influences. Should writers imitate successful authors? Or should they focus on developing a unique voice? Are you aware of the masters of your genre? Or is "will appeal to fans of . . ." only an advertising slogan?

November, 2021

Page One

What belongs on page one? Have you written a first sentence that makes the reader keep reading? Have you read an opening paragraph or an opening scene that made you commit to spending several hours reading the rest of the pages? Is this as important in nonfiction as it is in fiction?

October 2021

Beta Readers

Who reads your work before you submit or self-publish? Who makes the best beta readers: Avid readers? Fellow writers? Accomplished writers? Editors? Coaches? Consultants? What do they do well? What are their limitations?

September 2021

Read Like a Writer

Stephen King says the Great Commandment for writers is "Read a lot and write a lot." How much is a lot? What do you look for when you read a book like the one you want to write? How do you keep track of what you've learned from what you've read? 

August 2021

Write About What?

Where do you get your ideas? Some writers keep notebooks of everyday experiences. Others write down their dreams. Still others eavesdrop in cafes. Whether you wrote a novel, a handbook, or a haiku, you first had to think of something that would make a good subject. How did you do it?