A monthly newsletter with news for the WWW Community, writing wisdom,
prompts, and information on upcoming events. 

September 2012



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This fall, it's all about the writing



Everything you'll ever read about learning to be a writer will include one overriding point: that to be a writer, one must write.  Quantity, we are repeatedly told, is more important than quality (because only quantity begets quality); perseverance trumps talent; and that nothing is more important for a writer than simply sitting down to do one's work. 


If you are among the fortunate few who fly out of bed every morning inspired that very moment to begin writing, you've got it made. But if you are like the rest of us, you have to devise ways to trick yourself to get those words on a page.  Here are a few suggestions:


1. Get out of the house and surround yourself with writers.  Somehow libraries are no longer the places where you'll find writers writing. (When did public libraries get so noisy?).  Starbucks and Panera Bread are.  Plus, you get the inspiring aroma and the helpful kick of caffeine.


2. When you finish each day's writing, write the first sentence of what you'll work on tomorrow.  That way you'll have something to start the next day's writing with.


3. Buy a new set of pencils, pens, and whatever notebooks you wrote best in when you were in high school. (Note: Take it from me, do NOT buy that new ultrabook you promised yourself, especially if it has a new operating system you'll have to spend the next two months learning - and cursing.) 


4. Impose a hard and fast deadline upon yourself by registering for a writing workshop. After paying all that money, you won't want to show up with nothing, will you? And the thought of six friendly readers who are waiting to hear what you've written is a powerful motivator.


5. Buy a new spiral notebook just for jotting down those vital pieces of craft you will learn in your workshop meeting that week.  Or capture the ideas that come to you as you listen to others' work. Even a few words scribbled in the margin can give way to an entirely new piece of work, possibly now, possibly even year from now.  You'll refer to those notebooks for a lifetime.


6. Join forces with your fellow writers.  Beginning Sept. 10, spend every Monday lunch hour at the Westport Writers' Workshop for our Creativity Jumpstart Brown Bag.  Marcelle Soviero, who leads our popular Blocked: How To Get Unstuck workshop, will get your writing muscle limber with a brief directed writing exercise. For the next 50 minutes you'll find yourself writing - and ready for a productive week ahead.


We're offering a FREE TRIAL OFFER during the month of September. Try out your first session FREE next Monday, Sept. 10 from 12 noon to 1 pm.  Please call in advance to reserve your spot. (203) 227-3250. Or just stop by with your pen, laptop, and/or your lunch.


Finally, this from Naked, Drunk and Writing (Ten Speed Press, 2010) by Adair Lara:



Is it any good?

Is it too short or too long?

Why would anybody care about this?

What if somebody reads it?

What if somebody does?



Did I write today?


JB Signature

We hope to see you!




Jessica Bram 

Founder/ Director


News of Our Writers


Congratulations to Lorri Danzig, whose two poems, "Meningioma", and "The Gurney," were accepted for the Fall 2012 issue of The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.  A longtime WWW workshop participant, this summer Lorri took part in Valerie Seiling Jacobs' Writing About Your Life workshop.   


We wish the best of luck to Sheila Traub who begins the Sara Lawrence University's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program this month; 
Marcelle Soviero's essay about her Uncle's Suffolk Soda Shop was published in the July 31, 2012 issue of NYMetro Parents. Marcelle recently became owner and editor-in-chief of
Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers.  (Don't forget to LIKE Brain, Child on Facebook.)
WWW workshop leaders Matt Debenham and Sandra Rodriguez Barron were recently named adjunct faculty members of WestConn's MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program.
In addition to leading Fiction Writing: The Fundamentals at the Westport Writers' Workshop this fall, workshop leader Steve Otfinoski will be teaching developmental composition at Housatonic Community College.  He will also teach a course entitled "Texts and Contexts: Writing as Craft and Inquiry" in Fairfield University's Core Writing program.  
In case you missed ...
Open Mic 81912.3   Open Mic 81912.5






 August 9, 2012  


Open Mic 81912.4 Open Mic 81912.2











What are you writing? We want to know!  


Watch for announcements of upcoming Open Mic nights and join us. Only $5 admission includes coffee, cookies, camaraderie and inspiration. 


Registration for Fall 2012 workshops
is currently under way.
Don't be closed out! 
Workshops fill quickly. Register Now.
CLICK HERE to see workshops now registering.

We are launching the Fall season with this important
one-time workshop:
Structure and Plot of the Contemporary American Novel 
Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 am to noon

Sandra Rodriguez Barron is the author of two novels published by HarperCollins: Stay With Me (2010) and The Heiress of Water (2008), winner of the 2007 International Latino Book Award for debut fiction.


The structure of a novel may be its most essential element.  Regardless of genre, every well-crafted novel must have a cohesive structure and plot

that keep the reader engaged to the end.  For the novice as well as the most accomplished writer, how to go about structuring one's novel may also be the most difficult challenge faced.  This workshop will take on that challenge.


This workshop will demonstrate the fundamentals of story structure, and show how to develop an enticing plot that will keep readers wanting more. We will introduce The Hero's Journey as one of the basic structures of storytelling, as well as present structural elements inherent to themes such as love, coming-of age, pursuit, revenge, and others.


In this workshop participants will learn:

  • How to structure your novel;
  • How to shape your story through linear methods like plot diagrams and outlining;
  • Alternatively, how to shape your story using non-linear, intuitive methods such as character-driven plotting, dream/sensory plotting, imitation, and tracking;
  • How to create a satisfying rhythm of action;
  • The use of reflection in your novel;
  • How to use the concept of stakes, yearning, consequences and causality, and power shifts, to create a dynamic narrative.

September Saturday One-Time Workshops



How to Publish Your eBook 
Sept. 15, 9 am to 1 pm


It's the hottest news in publishing today: Today many authors are bypassing traditional publishers and reaching readers by publishing their work as ebooks at relatively low cost. Digital format can achieve a readership, earn fans, create buzz, and yes, earn money. In fact, self-published e-books have cracked best seller lists and are changing the face of publishing.


If you are ready to publish your novel, short stories, essay or memoir as an eBook, this workshop is for you. Join us as we learn how to publish and promote an eBook suitable for all formats from iPads to Kindles to Nooks. Participants will learn the insides and out - from manuscript to finished book - of the eBook publishing process from a writer's perspective and direct personal experience. 


"Get Published" Boot Camp 
Sept. 22, 9 am to 12 noon

You've worked hard to develop your craft.  You know your essays, short stories or poems are good, and you get great feedback from readers.  Isn't it time you had your work published? Are you ready to begin building your portfolio of publishing credits?


Becoming a good writer is just the first step.  Finding markets for your work takes research.  Breaking into those markets requires a focused plan and d

edicated follow-through.  But where to begin?  


The objective of this workshop is to show you how to develop a focused action plan for selling your short stories, essay, and poems to magazines, literary journals, respected online publications, and other reputable press venues.

Please note that the emphasis of this workshop is on short pieces (not novels or nonfiction books).



And coming soon .. 


Attention Freelancers: 

Don't miss this powerful new workshop, lead by a pro:


Pitches Made Perfect 

with Ellen Ullman

Oct. 6, 9 am to 12 noon

Just as the early bird gets the worm, the cleverly written pitch gets the editor's attention - and usually the assignment. But how can you be sure your pitches are fun and functional without being sappy or boring?  How can you write a pitch that is guaranteed get you in the door, and ultimately the job? 


There is a formula to pitch writing, and this workshop will help decipher it. Workshop participants will study a sampling of pitches recently received from editors-some that turned into assignments and some that didn't-to determine which ones made the grade and why. They will learn what editors look for in a pitch and will then spend a great deal of time turning ideas into pitches.

Your  idea for a screenplay:
Will it work?

Here is where you can finally find out.

Screenwriting: 3-Day Intensive 
with GiGi New 
Oct. 19, 20, and 21
9 am to 12 noon or 1 pm



If you have a story idea that you believe will make a great feature length film, then don't miss out on this opportunity to get your idea onto the page under the guidance of professional screenwriter, GiGi New.


This 3-day Screenwriting Intensive Workshop will focus on specific and concrete techniques for writing a great screenplay that's compelling and cinematic. The workshop is appropriate for anyone who has a screenplay already in progress, as well as anyone with a story idea and a desire to finally get started.


During the workshop, you will begin to craft the first few pages of your screenplay and receive feedback. We will get specific with story, character arcs, putting action on the page, and how to convey your unique voice.


Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, this workshop will enable you to see how a story progresses on the page. Are your character choices interesting? Does your idea track well and have stakes that move the story forward?


Perhaps every story has been told. But has it been told in the way that you can tell it?   


Don't be closed out. Limited to 10 participants allow time to focus on each writer's work.  (Several spaces are already filled.)





   screenwriting immersionscreenwriting immersion

GiGi leading a Screenwriting Intensive Saturday workshop this summer.  
Her Screenwriting 3-Day Intensive will not be offered again in 2012.


Writopia Lab Workshops for Ages 8 to 18
To Be Offered During School Year

Writopia Graphic


Here's good news for kids who never seem to find enough opportunity to write creatively during the school year:


After school and weekend Writopia Lab Creative Writing Workshops will continue during the school year. 


Workshops have a maximum of six participantsSessions are peppered with original and fun writing exercises, but focus primarily on writing--and completing--stories. Each time we meet, students bring copies of the newest drafts of their work to share with the group. They quietly review each other's work--marking the parts or lines they enjoy most along with the sections that they think can be improved - and then share these ideas with the group. Within a few sessions, students comfortably and easily provide insightful feedback to their peers.

Laptops are supplied at Writopia Lab workshops. Above: Writopia Lab teacher Christine Pakkala with an inspired group of young writers this summer.
For information see Writopia Lab Westchester/Fairfield or call Writopia Lab at (914) 401-4159.
Writopia Lab is a 501(c)3 corporation. Students pay on a sliding scale according to ability to pay.



Westport Writers' Workshop

3 Sylvan Road South 

Westport, CT 06880


Enter a Contest


Tell the Universe you mean business by entering a contest.  Here are a few upcoming deadlines you should know about:


Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest.  A prize of $3,000 and publication in Real Simple will be given for an essay on the theme "If you could change one decision you made in the past, what would it be?" Submit up to 1,500 words by Sept. 13, no entry fee. 


Roanoke Review Fiction Contest. A prize of $1,000 and publication in Roanoke Review will be given for a short story. Submit up to 5,000 words by November 1, $15 entry fee.


Southwest Review Morton Marr Poetry Contest. A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southwest Review will be given for a poem or a group of poems by a writer who has not published a book of poetry.Submit up to 6 poems in a traditional form with a $5 entry fee per poem by September 30.


Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Win a prize of $15,000 and publication by Berkeley Books for your first novel.



Well Said


Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet. 
~ Anonymous

Please feel free to forward this newsletter WORDS-for-WORDS to your friends and fellow writers. Visit our website to sign up for newsletters. You can also read past archived issues here.  
For questions or more information about our workshops, events, or Westport Writers' Workshop membership go to  or call (203) 227-3250 or