Happy New Year! 2015 Scheduled Meetings and Write-Ins

Hello WriNoShores!

I hope the new year finds you well and writing. We’ll be having our usual Plum Island Coffee Roaster meetings 1pm-5pm on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month. I will hold Write-Ins at my house 6pm-9pm (generally) on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays (please note: a few days have been adjusted to avoid running meetings too close together). Here is the schedule as of today.
PICR: 4th and 18th
Write-In: 13th and 27th
PICR: 1st and 15th
Write-In: 10th and 24th
PICR: 1st and 15th
Write-In: 10th and 24th
PICR: 5th and 19th
Write-In: 14th and 28th
PICR: 3rd and 17th
Write-In: 12th and 26th
PICR: 7th and 21st
Write-In: 16th and 30th
PICR: 5th and 19th
Write-In: 14th and 28th
PICR: 2nd and 16th
Write-In: 11th and 25th
PICR: 13th
Write-In: 15th and 29th
Write-In: 13th and 27th
NaNo Kick-Off Party: 25th
Full Steam Ahead!
See Calendar on NaNoWriMo Website
for Times and Dates of Write-Ins and Special Events
TGIO Party: Dec 5th

If you have any questions you can email Sara through this website, or catch me on our Facebook page.

This schedule can also be found on our Facebook page and NaNoWriMo Calendar.

Wednesday Woo: NaNoWriMo with the WriNoShores

Writers of the North Shore developed from the idle minds of Sara and I. We’d lost our ML to a cross country move and I wisely talked Sara into applying for the position. It didn’t take much persuading (read our ABOUT page to get her side of the story). We were already familiar with many of whom we now consider the “regulars” and have had a very positive experience with all who have crossed our paths on the NaNoWriMo journey.

Though Sara sometimes conveys to us the horror stories the other NaNoWriMo MLs experience, we have no such tales to tell. Kindness, consideration, and support are what you’ll find here with us. The desire to keep that going all year round prompted us to keep meeting twice-a-month at Plum Island Coffee Roasters for an informal social write-in, and twice-a-month for a more stringent write-in at my house.

This year-round group are who the WriNoShores are. A dedicated, smart, funny group of women, and men who love to read, write, and talk about writing, and occasionally indulge in sweets. We encourage one another, empathize, educated, and considerately, bring each other sweets.

Our genres, styles, voices, and skills are as varied as our confections, and all are welcome. We are a community bound together through the shared struggles, and triumphs of writing. We understand each other. We never underestimate the importance sweets have to the well-being of a writer and the creative process.

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, having this local group has been a reassuring reminder that we are not alone. Some where nearby are our fellow writers who are looking out their own windows wishing they had a dark-chocolate butter cream from Sanborn’s same as us.

NaNoWriMo may have bought us together, but kinship, caffeine and sugary substances sustains our connection the rest of the year.

Seriously, if you are participating in NaNoWriMo come to one of the write-ins. They are super productive, surprisingly so as many will attest-even the doubtful have been converted. We run our write-ins with a mixture of military precision and joviality.

A new event for the year 2014 was our version of NaNoWriMo’s “Night of Writing Dangerously” an all-night writing extravaganza. You can read about it…ah hell, I guess I never wrote about it!

Briefly, we held “A Swashbuckling Evening of Writing” between our usual Saturday 10-4 at Hamilton-Wenham Library write-in and Sunday’s PICR 1-5pm write-in. We ate, wrote, read, laughed, had cocktails, many noshes, sang, danced and took a sunrise walk to the lake in freezing cold weather. It was a blast. And again, I stress, it was productive.

We truly believe none of these events serve you if you are not getting your writing done. I think next year we will have a leader board to calculate how many words we wrote collectively and individually. Anyway, it was a lot of fun even if most of us didn’t make it to PICR the next morning but opted to stay comfy and cozy at my house writing.

That’s who we are, and what it’s like to write with us during NaNoWriMo. It’s only 268 days from today (01.19.2015).

Wednesday Woo: NaNoWriMo

We are well underway here on day four of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and it has been wonderful catching up with all our old friends and meeting new ones.

Not writing much here, just wanted to let you know how the first few days played out.

Day One found us at our favorite write-in at The Hamilton-Wenham Library hosted by Sarah Lauderdale the reference librarian and ten year NaNo champ. There were sixteen of us who braved the wind and rain to get this thing rolling.

Day Two bought snow (!) but that didn’t keep at least nine of us from shivering together at Plum Island Coffee Roaster. (Darn it Bruce, turn on the fireplace-it was snowing for crying out loud!).

Day Three, I hosted at N.Andover with librarian Bridget Rawding (who by the way got word that her Master Thesis was accepted right before we got there! Awesome, congrats).

Day Four the schedule was wrong for the Newburyport Library write-in, but that was fine we were able to get the room when we got there. We had quite a few newbies, they seemed to enjoy the process of sprinting.

End of day four, I hit 15k. I still don’t know what I’m writing. Is that bad?

I leave you with just a few links, I don’t want to distract you from your writing.

The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know

For sleep or to help you relax while you write

Brain Food for Writers




Wednesday Woo: Get Writing

I have a revolving cadre of bloggers I keep up with on writing, marketing and psychology. This morning Oliver Emberton wrote a post titled, If You Want To Follow Your dreams, You Have To Say No To All the Alternatives and it made a big impression on me.

NaNoWriMo is only 3 days away and I still don’t have a story. I was thinking last night- I’ve never suffered writer’s block just indecision and lo and behold there is Oliver talking about indecision. And since writers block has been a topic at our prep write-ins too, it ties in quite nicely with my Wednesday Woo topic: How to Get Started Writing.

The last month leading up to NaNoWriMo, I’ve written plenty of advice, posted dozens of links and thought of little else but how to help someone write their novel. But, I’ve personally been stuck in a rut of indecision.

At its most basic writing is all about making decisions. You decide who, when, where, why and how–about everything. What gets described, what gets alluded to, who gets shot, who lives, why the killer did it, what he wore, what he had for breakfast and where he ate it. That is a lot of decisions. No wonder we get intimidated.

First and foremost, is showing up to do the work, but once you’re there the secret to writing is…deciding.

Don’t waste time searching through Oliver’s site, that goes against what you need to be doing right now, but I will direct you to one other post, How ToDebug Your Brain. The gist of which is pick one thing to be the right thing you should be doing and say no to everything else. November, we know means balls to the walls writing and saying no to everything else.

RECAP: show-up, decide, say no to everything else.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, answer these questions:

Whose story do you want to tell? Do they have a worthy goal? Are there enough obstacles or conflict in their way? Do you know the ending? You’ll be able to make the decisions needed to write if you know who your MC is, where they are going (the end), and why.


NaNoWriMo: Prep Write-In

Like most writers I collect links to worksheets and advice about plotting, novel writing, character development and the like. Some of them I’ve utilized in previous post on here and on my own blog, but I thought since I was compiling a list specifically to bring to our NaNoWriMo Prep Write-In, I’d post it here too.

Links to Worksheets Presented at Barnes and Noble 10.18.2014 and PICR 10.18.2014


Novel Writing Plot and Project Developmental Worksheet and Guide
Traditional Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboard
Novel Storyboard Worksheet
Chapter Storyboard Worksheet


22 Rules for Storytelling compiled by Emma Coats


The 36 Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti





Websites Recommeneded

Reviews of Writing Software
I’m biased, I use Storymill. I also own Contour and Montage.

How-To, Book Recommendations, Lists and Advice—On Writing
(caution-prolific profanity-it has a life of its own)

Random Generators
(wow, that sound pornographic but it’s just people and place name generators)
Story and Idea Generators

Dictionaries/Thesaurus/Word Generators

This is the website I mentioned at today’s meeting about keeping a diary/journal.


About showing up and writing



NaNoWriMo: Thoughts on Novel Writing

With only three weeks to go until the 1st of November and official start of NaNoWriMo I’m seeking inspiration and advice anywhere I can find it. Here are a few sites that offer more to think about than instruction.

On the NaNoWriMo blog you can find this post about How to Write About What You Don’t Know

The Write Life posts The Worst Ways to Begin Your Novel: Advice From Literary Agents

I covered a few basics on my website NaNoWriMo Preparedness

Chuck Wendig’s blog and books are terrific but to be a bit more specific 25 Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Next Novel

Just to be contrary to the plotter and planner I sometimes wish I were, Planning to Outline Your Novel? Don’t!

The process of a few famous writers How to Write a Great Novel



Wednesday Woo: NaNoWriMo Warriors!

Hello my fellow WriNoShores and other passersby!

NaNoWriMo is gaining on us so it’s time to start the preparations. Our local NaNoWriMo warriors–the WriNoShores are headed by Sara Leahy our intrepid ML who is hard at work securing the venue for our kick-off party, selecting party favors, and organizing our write-ins. Not to mention all the pre-NaNo plotting meetings in October to help get you started.

If you are new to NaNoWriMo I’ll give you a quick run down. Insanity overtakes us and we sign up to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s the National Novel Writing Month part, it happens in November and ML’s are local leaders.

“They host Kick-Off Parties to celebrate the beginning of this whirlwind month; weekly write-ins (often in cafes or libraries) where you can join other local writers pounding their way towards 50,000 words; and “Thank God It’s Over” Parties to relax and commiserate with your fellow writers about your sore hands. They also oversee their regional forums and can answer many questions you might have about NaNo.” NaNoWriMo


We are thrilled to have Sara as our ML, she’s done a terrific job the last three years and I hope she sticks it out for many more to come.

I am her ever faithful sidekick whose husband Paul is our graphic design/prepress hero. He makes us, and George–the WriNoShores mascot –look good.

The other part is meeting wonderful like-minded writers and the camaraderie surrounding us as we pound out those words at the write-ins.

What’s a write-in? Write-ins are set times, and places where we gather to have word sprints. Many people shy away from write-in but I urge you to try them out. Especially, our regions Saturday write-in at Hamilton/Wenham Library. The majority of people who come find them very productive and often credit their success to their write-in participation.

So if you are an old friend–we look forward to seeing you again, and if you are a newbie–come on down we’d love to meet you.

Not to brag, but our region, The North Shore of Massachusetts, is an especially engaging and convivial group. You will find support, friendship, and all manner of writerly help among our members. And since it’s right after Halloween-plenty of candy to get you through the tough spots.

Check out our regions calendar of events here.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask here on the WriNoShores site, or through the NaNoWriMo regional forum.




Wednesday Woo: WriNoes in the Woods

Hello WriNoShores, I thought I’d use this opportunity to fill you in last weekend’s writer’s retreat/summer camp experience.

I hope no one is feeling left out. We didn’t make a big announcement about it. It was a rather spur-of-the-moment consensus among the PICR regulars to have a meeting at Sara’s which ended up being a three-day, two-night party rather than a meeting.

As most of you know Sara has been staying in Maine at her mom’s cabin coming down to my house twice a month for our PICR meetings. She extended an invite to the regulars of PICR to come up to Maine, which we all kept talking about but never made plans for. For some reason, at the last PICR meeting the plans all of sudden gelled. The WriNoShore’s Summer Camp 2014 was a go (WriNoShore’s Writer’s Retreat? Darn-it, it’s a thing now, we have to name it).

I don’t think we deliberately kept it on the down-low, but this being our first foray into the wooded environs of Sara’s habitat, I think it was instinct to keep it a small gathering. We had no idea how it would work with everyone there, nor what we would be doing. This was truly a by-the-seat-of-our pants operation.

Sara’s accommodation is a real Maine cabin, with a real outhouse and real outdoor shower. I admit to feeling a slight bit of trepidation. I’m typically an all amenities kinda gal. When we stayed in Acadia this summer–one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world– I opted for a luxury rental with gourmet kitchen so I could cook while everyone else communed with nature. Camping is slightly out of my comfort zone but fear not, it was terrific. I only freaked-out once when a bug was crawling on me.

Being the elder has its advantages, and I was afford the couch in the cabin with Sara, while Sarah, Julia, and Rae, bunked in the (60’s era?) Starcraft trailer that’s part of the property, and Jamie tented it.

I’m sorry to say, you guys missed a great time. The cabin is out of the world charming with an accumulation of rustic knick-knacks and Sara’s own treasures. The outhouse is large for such, and not the least bit inconvenient for a rustic convenience (glad the snake didn’t make an appearance until after we left). We all adored the outdoor shower–who doesn’t like being naked in the woods under a hot shower?

A screened picnic table kept us bug free for the most part-until we busted it-even then it worked pretty well. If Sara invites us back it looks like the dates will be August 28, 29, and 30th for WrinoShore’s Summer Camp 2015 (I think summer camp sounds more fun, there’s no pressure to write).

As for how we spent our time. Friday: Jamie and I arrived first and picked an abundance of blackberries from which I made blackberry syrup for cocktails for Saturday night. We hit the grocery store for supplies. Sara headed out to pick-up Sarah, while Jamie and I prepared dinner of hamburgers, a carrot/cranberry/walnut salad, and a cucumber/mint salad.

Julia and Rae got a little lost following their GPS but survived their dirt road detour and arrived shortly thereafter. We ate. We drank (reminder-to-self: do not say “surprise me” to Julia and Jamie when they are taking cocktail orders) and congregated in the kitchen chatting all night.

Saturday: Slowly arising, breakfast was a serve yourself affair. We had some quiet time of reading and writing and then a field trip to Hussey’s General Store, a treasure trove of all manner of items (its sign reads “Guns, Bridal Gowns, and Cold Beer, how could you not love the place) biggest surprise was an intriguing book corner with some fabulous old tomes. An afternoon siesta followed, then Mexican fiesta dinner, and cocktails. Then shit got real.

Bonfire and singing commenced. We rocked the woods with some pretty eclectic selections and voices. Plus giant sparklers! The festivities went indoors and well into morning before we finally sang our last tune and turned in (reminder: Sara turn off phone so “someone” doesn’t text you asking about the next day’s schedule just as you’re falling asleep).

Brunch got off to a slow and late start but eventual was served, eaten and we were on our way to the Windsor Fair. A few hours of hot strolling, fried food-stuff, and animal scritching and we were back to Sara’s packing it up and bidding her a fair-thee-well.

With the exception of terrorizing Jamie with my awesome driving skills, I think it went extremely well and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Wednesday Woo: Music to Write By

Hi Gang, Just a short post today since my daughter is leaving for college tomorrow-weeping shall commence at any moment.

If you are a writer who needs or likes music to write to here are a few links that might be of interests.




Wednesday Woo: Writing Communities-Online

Up next in Writing Communities is online resources. These can be places to find information, or build relationships with other writers. Some may be blogs, some are websites for individuals or magazines. I don’t think it matters much where or who you get support and inspiration from so long as it is relevant to you and your work.

It does takes a lot of trial and error to find groups that fit you well enough to be of help. I advise you to read the about pages, and take advantage of whatever  connections are available. Try to have an idea of what it is you are looking for-makes recognizing it so much easier. Join in the conversation, post questions, how else will you discover if the group is a good fit? There’s no penalty for leaving if they aren’t your cup of tea.

You may also find that your needs change as you become more experienced and move through not only the writing process, but the publishing process as well.

In no particular order, here are a few groups I’ve belonged too or still do, plus a few I’m familiar enough with to recommend. Some are based on common denominators like genre, gender, or style, others the writing process or publishing.


Live to Write – Write to Live “Professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing”


The online publication of the International Thriller Writers

We’re a respectful online writing group made up of writers who improve each other’s work with thoughtful critiques and by sharing their writing experience.


She Writes is a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write, with over 20,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Leveraging social media tools and harnessing women’s collaborative power, She Writes is fast becoming the destination for all women who write.


No frills Q&A forums


Absolute Write is a comprehensive informational Website for writers of all levels. Absolute Write offers articles and information about fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, freelancing, and copy writing. In addition, we provide information about editing, publishing, agents, and market research. You’ll find links to classes, software, and a large and active online community of writers and publishing professionals.


An online writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, befriend other writers, and much more…


WritersDigest.com is the one-stop shop for information, resources and writing community. Writers can connect with other writers on our forum, visit our blogs and sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter. They’ll also find weekly writing prompts, contests and competitions, conference listings, and online exclusive articles.

(I like WD and find their material very helpful. I have participated in various writing prompts and contest-eventually you begin to recognize the regular contributors. But, WD does inundate you with offers if you subscribe to their email and it can get annoying.)


Our mission is simple: offer help and support as much as we can. This site has many different tools and resources for writers, editors and teachers, so poke around and enjoy!
A FREE creative writing community created in 2004 to provide a place for writers and poets to share their writing, get constructive feedback and interact with other writers who share their same passion. If you’re an author looking for a place to share your poems and short-stories as well as read writing from a diverse group of writers, you have come to the right place. Joining is fast, easy and (always) free!

Figment is, above all, a community of writers, and communities run on respect. Treat your fellow Figs with kindness so that any Fig, new or old, feels comfortable using the forums, entering contests, and sharing work.


Okay, that a lot to work through. I may add to this list in another post but focus more on a specific aspect. Let me know if there is anything you are looking for and I’ll try to find it for you.