Monday, January 21, 2019

Minutes from Writer’s Hangout on 1/18/19


Kate from Oregon
Mary from Maryland
Jennifer from Australia
Debra from California
Cherrie from Arizona

Welcome to our newest attendee, Kate. Kate is in the query process for her 5 book dystopian series about a second civil war in the U. S. She has 3 of these books completed and she resolved this year to reclaim the joy of writing. She asked Mary for advice about publishing.

Since Mary already has one book published, she is working on her author platform. She has committed to a blog and Facebook page. She Is thinking about joining Spark/Engram.

Debra is taking 3 classes and editing her memoir. She plans to start blogging soon.

Jennifer is working on completing her first draft this year.

Cherrie had a successful NaNoWriMo and has a new first draft fantasy to edit in addition to the forever project of editing The Long Now. She resolved to finish The Long Now and send query letters by the end of the year. She has been busy with creating a new writing group in Flagstaff: Flagstaff Writers Connection. On 1/26/19 she will be starting an editing workshop series. Members may attend by Skype at 10 am-12pm at Mountain Standard Time. More details to come.


Mary: Infinite Pieces of Us. She loved this book and says it is well written with a wonderfully slow narrative release that compels you to keep reading. Minimal backstory.

Kate: The Future Home of a Living God. She thinks this book feels like a response to The Handmaid’s Tale. She is also rereading many of the books she read in her formative years like The Catcher in the Rye and Women’s Room.

Jennifer is reading a lot of Liane Moriarty including Nine Perfect Strangers. These are excellent character driven thrillers with multiple points of view.

Debra is reading Educated which she feels is similar to The Glass Castle
Her favorite book of last year was the thriller A Woman in the Window.

Cherrie is reading All the Light We Cannot See. Her favorite book for last year wash N. K. Jimesin’s Broken Earth series. She also was surprised that she liked Rick Yancy’s Fifth Wave as much as she did. She was surprised about the complexity of that series.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Deep Dive into Self Editing

Announcing a Deep Self-Editing Workshop Series

Did you completed your NaNoWriMo challenge of a 50,000 word manuscript?


You're Amazing

No, really. Only 12-18% of participants in NaNoWriMo manage to win the challenge. You are among the persistent few and I, for one, salute you.


Maybe you didn't take on the NaNoWriMo challenge but you have a manuscript that is a complete first draft ...


nearly complete first draft.

That's still amazing. It takes persistence, and you are among the minority of the 81% of people who say they want to write a book or script someday.

The first draft tells you, the writer, the story. The next few drafts are about making the story palatable for a reader. That process is called Revision.

Cline Library and Flagstaff Writer's Connection are teaming up to help you with the Revision process.

Join local Flagstaff writers in a 6 month journey to systematically scrub your manuscript or script and get it ready for critique and then agent review. Workshops will be held about every 2 weeks on the weekends. The sessions will include a lecture, question and answer session, step wise exercises to buff your manuscript, and buddy exercises so you can meet other writers and form writer/critique alliances. All lectures and handouts will be published to the internet afterwards, so if you miss a lecture you won't miss out on any of the steps.

Now that you completed this monumental amount of work, what do you do?

Let Your Manuscript COOL

Nothing. Well, nothing with this first draft manuscript. Let is sit and cool off for 2-4 weeks. I mean it! Lock it up if you have to. Don't touch your manuscript or look at it for at least 2 weeks (4 weeks is better.) If you do that, I'll show you something magical at our first workshop.

Well maybe doing nothing is a too hard after kicking butt in word count for days on end. You don't have to completely sit on your hands. Brainstorm your NEXT manuscript. Have you seen our Brainstorming tab above? Or just start writing a new manuscript. Pantsers, you know who you are, I'm talking to you. Don't let those good writing habits you just developed go to waste.


1/26/19Pre-Editing: The Cloud, Story Drivers, Story Structures, First Read Through, Series/Motiff
Attend this lecture from the internet through Google HangoutsYou will need high speed internet, a mic and a camera. The mic and camera on a smartphone work fine. Download the Google Hangout app before the meeting.

Downloads                                Cloud Apps
How to Use Google Slides             Scrivener                   
Presentation                               Google Drive
Presentation Script                    MS One Note
Plot Meets Character                 Amazon Drive
Book Report                              iCloud
Print MS                                    Carbonite
Plot Points                       
Plot Points by Driver                Sugar Sync
Mercer Sequences Wksht         Dropbox
Star Wars Comparison              EverNote
5 Way Plot Structure 
(A Work in progress)
Plot Points Comparison
Story Eq Plot Worksht
Story Grid Worksheet

Books for Narrative Arc
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Structuring Your Story by William C. Martell
Blockbuster Plots by Martha Alderson
Writing the Blockbuster by Albert Zuckerman
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
 Worksheet for Dan O’Bannon’s Conflict analysis
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (The original)
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
Perfecting Plot by William Bernhardt (Briefer and more to the point.)

From Girl to Goddess by Valerie Estelle Frankel (If you’re working with a female lead character)

Books for Character Arc
The Plot Whisperer by Martha Anderson--This is a great book for beginners.
Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell--I really like this one and it has so much I recommend if for everyone to read.
The Story Equation by Susan May Warren--Also a great book that really helped me to see Character Arc structure.
The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson--One of the easiest books for plotting your novel before you write.
The Midpoint by Mary Lynn Mercer--She uses Sequences instead of Acts to build her story and this might be a good book for everyone to look at for that reason.

Books for Thematic Arc
Story by Robert McKee (Mostly geared toward the Screenplay but with very useful information about Value Progression.)
Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
Dramatica by Melanie Anne Phillips (Word to the wise. This is NOT a beginner’s book. This book is very complicated and you would do well to have a little story theory under your belt before you try to tackle this one.)

Handout comparing some of the structural elements

2/9/19"Series": Working with Series, Series Grid, Key Scenes, Theme, Story as a Whole, Scrivener
I will also have this presentation on the internet. 

You can watch on 2/9/19 at 10 am at this LINK.
Make sure you take a look at how to use Google Hangouts before the meeting if you want to watch via the internet.

Hope to see you at the next session!

2/16/19Cutting: Word Count, Timekeeper, Values, Acts, Sequences, Scenes, Beat Sheet, Synopsis, Scrivener Cork Board

You can watch on 2/9/19 at 10 am at this LINK.
Make sure you take a look at how to use Google Hangouts before the meeting if you want to watch via the internet.

3/2/19Scenes: Scene vs. Sequel, Scene Eval, Character Driven, Plot Points, First and Last Page.

You can watch on 2/9/19 at 10 am at this LINK.
Make sure you take a look at how to use Google Hangouts before the meeting if you want to watch via the internet.

3/23/19Point of View and Causality

You can watch on 2/9/19 at 10 am at this LINK.
Make sure you take a look at how to use Google Hangouts before the meeting if you want to watch via the internet.

Week 6 TBA: Tension, Conflict, Emotion, Visceral Response
Week 7 TBA: Dialogue and Setting
Week 8 TBA: Action and Body Language
Week 9 TBA: Thought, Exposition, Backstory, Color Analysis,
Week 10 TBA: Voice: Rhetorical Devices, Backloading, Simile, Metaphor, Cliche
Week 11 TBA: Word Searches, Grammar, Final Buffing, Critique Exchange
Week 12 TBA: Left Overs, Troubleshooting, More Critique Exchange

All sessions will be 10 am to 12 pm at the ">NAU Cline Library, 2nd floor Learning Studio.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Writer's Hangouts Minutes for Jan 27, 2018

In attendance were Mary, Cherrie and Jennifer.

It being nearly the end of January and New Year's resolutions being still fresh, we checked in on resolutions. Everyone lost weight in Jan but Mary wins with a grand total of 30 lb weight loss. Congratulations Mary. Way to go.

Mary is getting a jump on the year in other ways as well. She joined Maryland Writer's Assoc and through them discovered The Writer's Ally. She signed up of an editing package. She finished the first draft of her new novel about Rachel, a girl in a religious cult at the 100 Day challenge and now she is trying to get her edits done before 2/15/18 when they are due at her Developmental Editor.

Mary is reading 4 unpublished novels for a writer's contest she has entered. She has to score each novel and then the novel with the most points wins. Good luck Mary. She is also reading The Rithmatist and the Mistborn Series.

Jennifer has been taking many courses through Margie Lawson Academy. She plans to do an immersion with Margie when she comes to Australia in mid March. She even scored a new editing partner through Margie, Tracy. Through her conversations with Margie, she is learning body language cues and she started reading The Graveyard Shift and looking at the body language in this book with a protagonist who reads body language. She's also reading The Book of Fate and some Darynda Jones.

Both Jennifer and Mary felt Outlining Your Novel was worth while instruction.

Cherrie continues to have a hard time settling in but she has now taken a permanent position at Flagstaff, AZ and her last day of doing two jobs is the first day of Spring, March 21. This has been a slow year for Cherrie due to the move, but she has finished a course that really helped deepen her knowledge of what makes a novel resonate with a reader done by John Granger and looking specifically at the Harry Potter series. The course will repeat and you can get on the mailing list at She is reading a well written second novel with her editing partner the is titled Red vs. Blue. And she is reading another book by Granger about the Twilight Series as well as Ursula K. LeGuin's Malafrena and The 5th Wave for fun.

Cherrie proposed a new direction for the monthly hangouts. She would like to start a deep analysis of a popular book or series similar to what John Granger is doing to learn how to analyse gifted writers and to learn how to make her own work more resonant. Mary and Jennifer agreed that would be useful. Cherrie will try to have something up by March about such a class.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Content Cathedral Welcomes Wizard Reading Formula Writers

Hi all!

I know I've been silent way too long. I've got myself back together and  I am working on scheduling a Writer's Hangout this month. Let me know if there is a date that you would prefer for this Hangout.

I am taking this great course filled with wonderful writers that have no way to talk to each other. So I thought I would provide them with a forum for meeting each other and us.

Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments below.

For those who want to join Content Cathedral Hangouts, the Web Ring forum is You'll get notification when the Hangouts are taking place, when someone posts to the blog, etc.

I am working on several projects related to John Granger's course, and I welcome you to look at the work or even comment and collaborate with the projects.

You can learn more about Granger's work at Hogwarts Professor.

  • My analysis of genre tropes and how Rowling and other authors bend these tropes for fantasy and mystery: Twisted Fantasy Genre.
  • My plot and ring composition analysis of Career of Evil.
Welcome to all of you that partake in this slow motion meeting.

Minutes of Hangout 1/13/17

Answered a Questions about Length of Various Types of Writing:

Type of Fiction

Flash Fiction
Short Story
YA Novel
Adult Novel

Huzzah to Debra for Self Publishing and Getting 6 Reviews:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Minutes of Hangout Oct 15, 2016

What are You Reading?


Just got back from European bike tour and found Slovenia to be both beautiful and friendly. One of the gentlemen on the tour was also a writer of spiritual books and she is reading his manuscript. She is also reading books with her mother including Cat Mysteries and H.Y. Hanna that have turned out to be very funny.

H. Y. Hanna Page


Mary just got back from Writer's Digest Conference and has two requests from agents for her recently completed House on Moss Swamp Road!! Congratulations. She is learning to write Loglines, Synopsis and Blurbs with the help of Rayne Hall. She needs this to fulfill the requests of both agents for a Synopsis.

Writing Book Blurbs and Synopses

She also recommends the Nail Your Novel series by Roz Morris.


Currently abandoning the project that kept her stuck for more than a year. Getting ready to do NaNoWriMo and roughing in a plot outline for a challenge put forth by Tor Publishing. Tor wants to see more fantasy based on any mythology or history except Europe. She is going with a Indigenous American setting/pantheon, but it is turning out pretty dark.

She is using a new type of plot development put forth by Stuart Horowitz and highly recommends the Book Architecture series.Well maybe the first two in the series. The last one was a little sketch.

For fun she is reading The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin, who took the Hugo last year with the first book in the series.

She also recommends the webcourses and note sets from Margie Lawson Academy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016