Friday, September 19, 2014

To Be Creative, Don't Hoard Ideas

Sometimes I meet or hear about a writer who thinks ideas are a rare, precious resource. These writers hoard ideas like a squirrel hoards nuts, locking them away no one can ever see them. They're frightened to share their ideas with others lest they should be stolen. They spend useless time studying copyright law to keep others from copying them. They work for months or years on a story way past the point where more polishing is necessary, because they think they're only going to get one shot at a good idea.

This is all nonsense. Talking about your ideas with others begets more ideas. I say, if someone else steals your idea, good for them! If they're a good writer, what they do with it won't look anything like your story anyway. And if they're not a good writer, why do you care what they do with your idea? And forget copyright--leave all that up to your agent and publisher, although my guess is the hoarders rarely get to the point of having an agent or publisher.

I'm something of a perfectionist, but once you've gotten your story to a point where more work on your story doesn't change the story's quality, move on to something else. There's usually a natural point where if you're paying attention, you realize you've pretty much reached the limit with the story you're working on. If you spend longer than that on it, you're just gumming up the creative part of your mind that needs new things to work on.

You should have so many ideas that if one doesn't work out, you have a hundred more to pick from. The thing to do about ideas is not to protect them, it's to stoke the furnace in your mind that produces them. And just as you don't gain strength by resting your muscles all the time, but by using them vigorously and often, so it is with your creativity. Write lots of stories, poems, letters! (Blog posts!) Keep a notebook with you to write down story ideas whenever they occur to you. If you have a funny or frightening dream, consider how you might adapt it to written form. (Lots of my best ideas come from dreams.) And join a writers' group, where you can discuss all sorts of ideas with other writers!


Written by Nicholas Bruner, cross-posted at The Ballad of Nick's Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2nd Annual WoC Grandmother's Day Event!

The Writers' of Chantilly Second Annual Grandmother's Day event took place on 7 September. The event included an awards ceremony for the winners of this year's WoC Student Writing Contest and readings from WoC members.

The families of contest winners said that they enjoyed the event very much and were proud and excited that their children were being honored.

A reporter from the CentreView newspaper was in attendance and covered the event. She says the article will appear in the Sept 17th issue.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Four of our winners of the 2014 student writing contest were able to attend and read their pieces

Welcome Poster!

A selection of WoC Anthologies were available for sale

A healthy crowd attended for the readings

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Author Reading & Outreach Event
Sponsored by the Writers of Chantilly

Sunday, September 7, 2014
2—4:30 p.m.
Chantilly Regional Library




The Writers of Chantilly, a not-for-profit organization of local professional and aspiring writers in Chantilly, Virginia, will host an author reading and outreach event at the Chantilly Regional Library on Sunday, September 7, 2014.

Members of the Writers of Chantilly will read selections from their most recent books, Etched in Memory and Unfinished Business, and area students who participated in a writing contest sponsored by the Writers of Chantilly will read their original stories, essays and poems exploring the theme of “unfinished business.” Students will be recognized and read their winning entries starting at 2:00 p.m.

The free event will take place at the Chantilly Regional Library, 4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly, VA, 20151, from 2—4:30 p.m. in the meeting room (drop in at any time during the program). Limited copies of Etched in Memory and Nana…and Other Grandmothers will be available for purchase at the event to support the Writers of Chantilly (cash or check, please). Bring your family and support local writers of all ages. Light refreshments served.

About the Writers of Chantilly

The Writers of Chantilly meet twice monthly at the Chantilly Regional Library in Chantilly, VA, to encourage and support writers 18 and over at all levels—newcomers warmly welcomed. WoC has published several story collections over the last 12 years, the most recent being Etched in Memory, available on Amazon.com or through the Fairfax County Public Library system. Contact: wocruthbox@gmail.com; Web: http://writersofchantilly.blogspot.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

Writers of Chantilly Announce Winners of 2nd Annual Student Writing Contest



Congratulations to the 1st-3rd place winners in the 2nd Annual Student Writing Contest sponsored by the Writers of Chantilly.

Prose winners:

The Mother and Child -- Seungwon B. (Rachel Carson Middle School)
A Conscience's Dream -- Oress Fiona P. (Rachel Carson Middle School)
Unfinished Tree House - Khai N. (Rachel Carson Middle School)
Poetry winners:
Unfinished Stories - Emma V. (Glasgow Middle School)
Untitled poem -- Megan D.  (Thomas Jefferson High School)
Shirley - Caroline D. (Rachel Carson Middle School)

This year’s theme was “Unfinished Business” and we received over 175 stories, poems and essays from middle and high school students all over Fairfax County, VA! Our judges were very impressed with the quality of entries—and the talent of young writers who participated—and had a very difficult time choosing the winners.

The students will be recognized and read their winning entries at an author event and open house on Sunday, September 7, 2014, at the Chantilly Regional Library, 4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly, VA, 20151, from 2—4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Please email WOCwritingcontest@gmail.com with questions about the contest or September 7, 2014 event. 

About the Writers of Chantilly
The Writers' of Chantilly meet twice monthly at the Chantilly Library to encourage and support writers 18 and over at all levels—newcomers warmly welcomed. WOC has published several anthologies over the last 12 years, the most recent being Etched in Memory, available on Amazon.com or through the Fairfax County Public Library system. More info: wocruthbox@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2nd Annual Writing Contest Now Closed

The 2nd annual writing contest for middle and high school students sponsored by the Writers of Chantilly is now closed. Good luck to all the students who submitted essays, poems and stories this year. Winners will be announced in mid-June.

Check back for contest results and information about our upcoming author event on September 7, 2014, 2-4:30 p.m., at the Chantilly Library (4000 Stringfellow Rd., Chantilly, VA 20151). 
 
Members of the Writers of Chantilly and aspiring young writers, including winners of this year's writing contest, will read their own stories, essays and poems around the theme of unfinished business at an author reading and open house. Bring your family and support local writers of all ages.

For more details, email:  WOCwritingcontest@gmail.com


About the Writers of Chantilly
The Writers' of Chantilly meet twice monthly at the Chantilly Library to encourage and support writers 18 and over at all levels—newcomers warmly welcomed. WOC has published several anthologies over the last 12 years, the most recent being Etched in Memory, available on Amazon.com or through the Fairfax County Public Library system.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Writing Contest for Middle & High School Students Sponsored by The Writers of Chantilly


The Writers of Chantilly, a not-for-profit organization of local professional and aspiring writers in Chantilly, Virginia, is sponsoring a free writing contest open to middle and high school students in Fairfax County.

Students are invited to write an original essay, short story or poem on the theme “Unfinished Business”—about a goal, a regret, or something left incomplete or unresolved in the past.

First through third place winners will be chosen to read their work at an author event held on Sunday, September 7, 2014, from 2—4 p.m., at the Chantilly Regional Library in Chantilly, VA. Winners also will receive a writing prize package, and have their work published in a future Writers of Chantilly anthology.

Rules:
·         Only one entry per author may be entered
·         Entries must be postmarked/received by May 31, 2014 to be eligible
·         Works must be written by students, and reflect their own original ideas
·         Pieces will be judged on creativity, content and structure (stories and essays should have a beginning, middle and end; poems may be free verse)
·         Stories can be fiction or nonfiction
·         Only unpublished works are eligible
·         Previous winners of a Writers of Chantilly writing contest are not eligible to enter
·         Entries must be typed in English
·         Maximum word count of 1,000

Please include your name, grade, school, mailing address, email address and phone number with your entry (your information will be kept confidential), and note if your piece is fiction or nonfiction. All entries will be acknowledged; winners will be notified by June 16, 2014.


Email entries to: WOCwritingcontest@gmail.com

About the Writers of Chantilly
The Writers' of Chantilly meet twice monthly at the Chantilly Library to encourage and support writers 18 and over at all levels—newcomers warmly welcomed. WOC has published several anthologies over the last 12 years, the most recent being Etched in Memory, available on Amazon.com or through the Fairfax County Public Library system. More info: WOCwritingcontest@gmail.com 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writers of Chantilly Anthologies Featured at Book 'Em Event in North Carolina

Writers of Chantilly member Denice Jobe represented the Writers of Chantilly at the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair in Lumberton, NC, on February 22, 2014.

The annual event, now in its third year, brings together authors, publishers and literary agents who sell and sign their books and participate in talks and panel discussions. A portion of the proceeds raised from the event is given to the community - Robeson County and Lumberton, North Carolina - for the purpose of increasing literacy and reducing crime.

A record 4,000 readers and writers attended this year's event.

Copies of The Writers of Chantilly's anthologies, Nana...and Other Grandmothers and A Medley of Mischief, Mayhem and Madness were available for purchase at our table. Nana was very popular, selling out by mid-day!

Along with books for sale, several of our earlier anthologies were on display, and Denice handed out promotional fliers about our most recent anthology, Etched in Memory, to all who stopped by to check out the books and to learn about the group.

Overall, it was a fun and successful event, and a wonderful opportunity for The Writers of Chantilly to reach new readers.

Writers of Chantilly member Ruth Perry created this eye-catching wall poster that really made our table stand out at Book 'Em

A selection of Writers of Chantilly anthologies on display at Book 'Em