Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Shortchange Yourself

I learned a very important lesson this week. You know that little voice inside your head? That inner critic that's constantly chattering away, nagging you and making sure you never step outside your comfort zone? I have one, too, and I finally told her where she could go. And believe it or not, it worked!

I'm so excited, and I thought if I could share this with anyone who would be happy for me, it would be all of you in this group! I was searching online sites that were looking for freelance writers, and finally found one that seemed to match my interests: (the site associated with Lance Armstrong's foundation). It's all about science, health, and wellness, and I have a BA degree and a background in environmental health, so I thought, why not? However, they really wanted health professionals with a Master's Degree, but said they would consider experience. So I put my resume together, attached a few writing samples, and sent it off, all the while enduring the endless negative self-talk of my inner "fault-finding committee".  In fact, I was absolutely positive that it would return to me with a big fat "UNDERQUALIFIED" stamped on the front.

But it wasn't! In fact, I was approved as a freelance writer for, and hope to start claiming assignments very soon. Who knew?

I guess the point is to always give yourself more credit -- I think all writers tend to be too self-critical. Just put it out there and go with it. I mean, really, what have you got to lose?

So I'm wondering, can I officially call myself a writer now? :)


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Storyteller Shares His Insights

Hi Writers,

This is Jason Pyles writing from Salt Lake City. At the risk of seeming like a self-promoter, I wanted to let you know that our very own professional storyteller Rich Knoblich braved my contrary co-hosts and graced my movie podcast with his narrative wisdom. (For those who don't know, a podcast is basically a topical radio show that can be heard anytime online.)

Though our show is primarily about movies (and not writing, per se), I thought you might be interested because we discuss a storytelling technique that Rich refers to as a "sidebar" that also frequently shows up in book-writing.

Anyway, it's a free show that can be downloaded off the Internet here:

Rich makes his appearance in Episode 2, which is our show about the "Toy Story" franchise. And just beware, though our show is more or less family-friendly, it has some very mild off-color moments of levity.

Jason Pyles

Sunday, July 25, 2010

OVW Handouts

At our last meeting we had some new members. Handouts from past meetings were requested. As we grow it will become necessary to give handouts to new members and it's not known how many will be needed. I don't want to leave anybody out so I decided to scan all of my handouts into a folder. I'll put it onto a thumbdrive to share with anybody who brings a laptop.

I don't have all the handouts so if you have one that you think is of help bring it to the next meeting and I'll take it home, scan it, and deposit it into the growing folder. Because there are images the individual files are a bit large for emailing. I did scan them as PDF files.

OR you can bring a blank CD and I can save it onto the disc for you. Thumbdrives and CD's are the easiest way I know to update and distribute the info. If you know of another way let me know.

Rich K.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gist St. article

Since I'm the guy who wants to institute a writers reading forum I thought I'd give a sense of what I envision. Ironic I can't make it to the next meeting. Hopefully, many of you have read the Pittsburgh Magazine article distributed at the last meeting. Very ambitious what they've done in Pittsburgh. My hope is for something scaled back and still enjoyable. I want OVW to:

1. Have a support setting for writers to test their own work before a live audience. Nothing like immediate feedback to get a sense of how the words are flowing.

2. An audience! Sometimes you're so excited about a project that you want to share NOW and what could be better than a gathering of friends over coffee to showcase the talent?

3. Bring in creative writing teachers from area schools and colleges to share their talents. I think the poets would be a great addition and are lurking out there wishing for an audience.

4. With a place to share (BaM), our group grows in membership and becomes even more dynamic.

What I don't want?
I don't want somebody to 'share' an article written by somebody else. Make handouts for us to enjoy at home during a quiet moment.
I don't want people to share passages from their favorite book. I want to hear fresh creative original writing from our members.

Rich K.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Bill

From Fred

I am having trouble removing the last line from your previous post. Please remove the line or delete the entire post.   Thank You

Again - No Politics

From Fred

Bill - I removed the last line from your latest post.  Please do not insert your political views on this blog site.

Delay on Writers reading

I just looked at my calendar and I'm scheduled to perform at the Moundsville Public Library on Aug. 16 at 6 PM! That means I won't be able to attend the first writers reading with the PA system. Sorry.

Hopefully, our writers will still read aloud their work and discuss their writing procedures.  The OV Writers Group exchanges so much valuable information. I'll be sure to give us a big plug while at the library in Sept. to recruit more enthusiasts.

Rich K.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Great meeting!

From Fred

We had a great meeting on Monday. We had more on our plate than we could eat. Based upon the people who are coming, I believe things are going to get even better. Welcome Jim, Elizabeth, Todd and Debbie. Hope to see you again.  If anyone has any questions or suggestions, feel free to let us know.  Next month is our one year anniversary.  Wow!

Our Very First Post on the Blog

In honor of our first anniversary, here is the first post that Jason did:

Friday, August 21, 2009

NOTES: First Meeting, 8-20-09

Posted by Jason

— Purpose of this Organization:

To offer support and encouragement to local, fellow writers, as well as seeking to learn more about the business of writing and specifically, how to get published.

— Writing a book is an art form that's subject to interpretation; getting published is a science, with strictly defined rules. — Fred

— In the book industry, money always flows to the writer, not from the writer.

— When trying to publish FICTION, these are roughly the steps:

a.) write the book

b.) send a query letter to an agent

c.) if agent approves, send a synopsis and three chapters

d.) send to the publisher

(First-time authors typically get about $10,000.)

— When trying to publish NONFICTION, these are roughly the steps:

a.) write the book proposal first (even before writing the book)

b.) write a query letter to agent

c.) if approved, then send proposal

d.) the proposal should be a complete marketing plan for your book; it’s like a business plan — you have to sell your book, because making money is always the bottom line; try to know what they’re looking for, before you ever send your proposal

— Platform — an explanation of your expertise, or why YOU should be the one to write this book

— Genre: You should be able to assign your book to a specific genre (ex. biography) on bookstore shelves

— Hook (or “Elevator Pitch”) — We should be able to accurately describe our book in 25 words or less — and sell it! This should be short enough to tell your agent what it’s about before the elevator gets to the next floor.

— A Query Letter — tells a little more in-depth what the book is about; note any previous publishing experience in your query letter; this adds to your platform and helps define who you are

— Getting published is possible; distribution is much more difficult

— agents seem to be “the gatekeepers”

— the length of a typical novel is about 80,000 words, but really, the length should be “as long as it takes,” no more, no less

— Fred recommends attending the writers’ conferences; you get a 10-min. pitch with an agent

— Getting published will mean submitting to an agent, to critiquing and to an editor

— Every Tuesday, the Ohio County Public Library hosts “Lunch With Books” at noon, where authors often come

— We are considering a possible book-sharing/borrowing program among our group members

— The 5 W’s and H:







— Once writers get published and distributed, how can they get customers to pick up their books, particularly if they don’t have the financial, advertising muscle backing them?

— Talk to an Author in Moundsville:

Best-selling author Patricia Harman will be presenting a multi-faceted program at 6 p.m. Monday at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library, 700 Fifth St. Her main topic will be the impact of stress on family health, but she’ll also discuss her work as a nurse-midwife, her recent book, and the writing and publishing process. Anyone interested in writing and publishing their own work will find Harman’s discussion of her experience with the process very useful. The library program is free and open to the public. For more information about the author and memoir, including reviews and an excerpt, visit

Posted by OV Writers Group at 10:55 PM 2 comments

July’s Meeting

From Bill:

We had a very spirited and enthusiastic meeting tonight with 9 attendees including 4 new members.  Welcome to Jim, Debbie, Elizabeth, and Todd. Hope everyone got something out of this meeting.

Fred talked about the differences in getting a fictional and a non-fictional book accepted by the agents.   For anyone in the non-fiction genre, he mentioned a new book that he just bought:  NON-FICTION BOOK PROPOSALS THAT ANYONE CAN WRITE. 

We also talked about Writers’ Conferences and the importance of attending them so you can pitch your book.  Fred passed out information on a Conference in Cleveland on Saturday, August 21st.  We have registration applications if anyone desires to attend. 

Jim brought up self-publishing and Rich told how he successfully self-published his first book, made some money on it, but now is having problems due to his publisher dying. 

Elizabeth told us about self-publishing using .  They have a few different methods on their WEB site to do this.

Rich passed out info on having a Reading of our member’s works at the next meeting. Rich will bring his portable PA system.  We have permission from Books-A-Million to try this.  So put down your thoughts on a short story that you can relate to your fellow writers.

We also received info on how to write a Radio Essay.  If anyone wants to try this, I do a lot of video processing and have some videos on .  I’ll be glad to work with anyone on this.  A video Podcast is easy to set-up also.  Rich did one for Jason which he promised to talk about at the next meeting.

Speaking of the Internet, there are numerous ways to start getting your name out there so you will be more recognizable.  You can start a blog and upload your thoughts on a regular basis.   There are many sites out there that will accept short stories and may even pay for them if they are widely disseminated.  Facebook is another site that may get you a lot of followers.

Here’s a thought to work on for the next meeting:  Should OVWritersGroup have its own Facebook page to get more recognition and more followers?  My photography club has one as do most of the other small organizations around Wheeling that I’m connected with.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New site for novice writers

I received an e-mail the other day about this web site where new writers are welcomed.  The link is:

Their mission statement is:  "WritingRaw is a literary ezine dedicated to new and emerging writers." 

See you on Monday.


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Next meeting (Mon. July 19 at 7 PM in Books a Million) I'll pass out an article from Pittsburgh Magazine about Writers Reading which may be a new activity for us at the cafe. Look forward to seeing everyone since I missed the June meeting.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hope everyone got the nice email from Tamara Woods with the invite to an Aug. 7 workshop at the Monongalia Arts Center. I printed off a copy to share at our next meeting. I think the best part is that our group is getting found and connected.

I also will want to share a bit of news about former member Jason who now lives in Salt Lake City. Got to interview him via Skype.

Rich K.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Another Lead for Writers

This is Bill, again.  Another lead from an ad on Facebook.  I remember us talking about getting published on different internet sites to get some name recognition.  This link purports to do just that for us plus paying good money for the articles:

Again, due diligence is recommended. 

If someone finds either of these links to be good for our group, I can make them permanent links on the sidebar.

New Link for Publishing Help

I was on Facebook and an ad for Writers' Publishing Help came up on the right side of the page.  Here's the link for it:

I read some of the guidelines that they have on this WEB site.  Of course, if anybody wants to try them out, due diligence is recommended.

From Bill

p.s. If anybody posts to this blog, please put at least your first name on it so we know who posted it.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Writer's Readings

YEAH! it works!

I just read in Pittsburgh Magazine about a 'writer's reading' where people can gather once a month to read aloud, explain, critique, and CELEBRATE each others writing. I'll bring the article to explain. I'm going to contact BAM and Muggs Cafe to see if they would let us make a little noise. I can bring my small PA system so we can share over the hum of the cooler. It'll add a new element to our meetings if we share and enjoy our writings together. If it works or if it doesn't we can experiment. Maybe draw a crowd and enlist more writing enthusiasts.
Rich K.

Looking forward to July meeting

I think I've rediscovered how to get back to the blog. sorry I missed the June meeting since I was returning from Baltimore that evening.

I've got permission from Cat Pleska to distribute her radio essay handout at the next meeting.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June's Meeting

June's meeting was one of the smallest we've had, but was still very informative and enlightening.  We only had three old members plus one new member, Jolynne.  (That makes three Jo's as members.)  Welcome, Jolynne.

Jolynne had just attended the WV Writers Conference in Ripley, WV and joined us as a result of the blurb that Fred had in the Wheeling newspapers the preceding week. 

Jolynne was able to pitch her book at this conference.  She also posted a blog listing some helpful links and some of the information that she learned from her week-end in Ripley.

Some of the items we discussed were:
      If you GOOGLE Manuscript Wordcount, you can find out how long each genre's books should be.
      Since Fred is working on a book about a local mass murderer, he suggested we read the novel "Monkey on a Stick" which was about another local murder.  It should be available at the Library.

On a personal note, Karla and I have some of our photos hanging all this month at the Artworks around Town North Gallery at the Centre Wheeling Market House.