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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is IT

(Courtesy President Terrence McNemar.)

Mr. Procrastinator folds the thin sheaf and presses the creases tighter before sliding the pages into the envelope. He peels the sealing strip from the flap and slowly pushes the flap down against the back of the envelope, then slides his thumb the length of the white vellum capsule. Balancing it by two corners, he flips it over and proofs the front. He sees his name and address on the top left corner, a bright waving American flag on the right, and in the center it reads: WV Writers, Inc.; c/o Steve Goff….

“Medium house blend, non-fat creamer, and two sugars!” he barks into the menu board beside Starbucks.

“Thank you, that’ll be one dollar and nine….” He knows the price by heart. He’s not paying attention to the clerk. He’s looking to the left, past the Long John Silvers, beyond the Farm and Fleet Store, and just past the steakhouse, to the Post Office. He smiles.

He holds the door for a lady pushing a walker, and then follows the red carpet to the slot that says ALL MAIL. It reminds him of one of those WWII movies where the funeral takes place on deck of a ship and then they slide the body overboard only this isn’t a reason to mourn. The envelope slides through the slot.

He watches himself approach the glass doors, cool sunglasses, wicked smile, and though the lettering on the hat reads backward in the reflection frem the glass, he know it says – Confident!

Wow, I still had five hours to spare, he thought. Just think, in fifteen days, four hours, and a few minutes, I’ll be filing my tax return. He returns to his seat in the car and hits the key. The coffee smells terrific. The song on the radio reminds him of Ripley.

In other words, TODAY is the final day for submissions to the 2009 WV Writers Writing Contest. Get ye busy and Good luck!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Irene McKinney Podcast

To get geared up for National Poetry Month, let’s start with this vodcast from Irene McKinney, West Virginia state poet laureate, courtesy of WV Public Broadcasting.

Click here: YouTube - A conversation with Irene McKinney, part 1 of 3

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hey... Just Do It!


If you’re reading and re-reading this piece that you wrote and you just can’t decide whether to fill out the entry form and send it in, let me help with your decision. This is “YOUR” contest. We are doing it just for you. We have categories that are specific to the talent of the people in this group. It’s not a Bud, but this one’s for you. Then plan on attending the conference and the awards banquet and it might just be your year to receive that honor.

It would mean a lot to us to see all our efforts go to good use. It would be like you saying ‘Thank You’ and you already know that you’re welcome.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Book in a Nutshell Contest

(This news courtesy of Fay Thompson of the WV Writers Roundtable)

The Knight Agency is holding a Book in a Nutshell Contest Submit three compelling sentences (150 words max) about your completed, unpublished manuscript to

Write BOOK IN A NUTSHELL in the subject line or it will not be deemed eligible. One submission per project, please. Twenty of the best submissions will be chosen and requested by various agents who will then give feedback on your work... and it may even lead to possible representation.

Hurry, the deadline is April 20, 2009. Winners will be notified by May 1, 2009. For more info, go to

Friday, March 20, 2009

2009 Writers Toolkit: Workshops for Writers one Week Away

(From the WV Division of Culture and History Website...)

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History in collaboration with the West Virginia Library Commission will present an intensive creative writing skills workshop on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The conference, Writers’ Toolkit, is free and open to the public.

There will be two sessions of two-hour workshops: 10 a.m. - noon, and 1 - 3 p.m. Each session will feature four concurrent classes. The morning session will offer “Writing Short Essays for Radio” with Colleen Anderson of Charleston; “Basic Writing Elements” with Richard Schmitt of Buckhannon; “Poetry: Getting Started” with Doug Van Gundy of Elkins; and “How Do You Publish for Children” with Cheryl Ware of Elkins.

Anderson will discuss writing and performing the artful short essay that can have listeners laughing or crying as they hear it. She’ll also explore inspirations for the essays from childhood memories to pet peeves to passionate beliefs, and have participants listen to some great essays and try their hand at writing one. Schmitt’s session will include the practice of basic writing craft elements focusing primarily on scenes versus exposition, points of view and altering the time element. He will have students practice exercises which will be read out loud and discussed.

Van Gundy will focus on the Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s three steps: getting started, keeping going, and getting started again. This includes creating a first draft, editing the draft and getting feedback from others. Ware will share her experience of working with small and large publishers and discuss the importance of studying trends in the children’s book market.

Afternoon sessions will offer “Travel Writing” with Anderson; “Strategies for Subduing the Self (Author)” with Schmitt; “Poetry: Keeping Going” with Van Gundy; and “Through the Eyes of a Child: Tailoring Your Narrative for Children” with Ware.

Anderson’s workshop will be a nuts-and-bolts introduction to travel writing in a variety of forms–from book-length travel guides to magazine features to newspaper articles to online publications. She also will cover topics such as pitching feature ideas, getting travel assignments, the importance of word counts, and the differences between traveling as a tourist and traveling as a writer. Schmitt’s session will include strategies for subduing the self (author) in stories both in first and third person. He will focus on how strong narrators present and translate action so that the author might separate himself or herself from the material allowing the reader to engage in the action objectively.

Van Gundy’s second workshop is tailored to students seeking strategies for revising their poems for clarity, musicality and cohesiveness. He would like participants to bring a poem in progress with them for group discussion. Ware’s session will discuss the difference between the picture book, chapter book, middle grade, young adult, and an adult novel with a young protagonist. She will present practice writing narratives for these different age levels.

Anderson is a freelance writer, performer, graphic designer and owner of Mother Wit Writing and Design, a creative studio. She has published a travel book, many feature articles, short stories, poems, two collections of original songs, and her award-winning radio essays are frequently heard on West Virginia Public Radio. She regularly teaches a weeklong workshop on short essays at Ghost Ranch, an arts center in New Mexico, and for more than 10 years, Anderson has written editorial copy for West Virginia’s official visitor guide, which earned the designation of “best state visitor guide in the U.S.” in 2005.

Schmitt has published stories in Puerto del Sol, Gulf Coast, Flyway, and Marlboro Review, among others. His story, “Leaving Venice, Florida” won first prize in The Mississippi Review short story contest and was anthologized in New Stories of the South: The Year’s Best 1999. He also has written two novels: The Aerialist (Harcourt Brace, 2001) and Kodiak (to be published soon). Schmitt is an associate professor of creative writing at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Van Gundy’s poems and essays have appeared in The Oxford American, Ecotone, Waccamaw, The Lullwater Review, The Fretboard Journal and Goldenseal. His first book of poems, A Life Above Water, was published in 2007 by Red Hen Press. He has been a visiting writer at Randolph Macon College, Barton College, Coastal Carolina University and Davis & Elkins College, and was recently an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, Fla.

Ware is the author of the spunky Venola Mae books: Flea Circus Summer, Catty-Cornered, Venola in Love, and Venola the Vegetarian. Her educational picture book, Roberta Price Has Head Lice, is enjoyed by children and teachers alike. Currently, she is working as a writing consultant in West Virginia schools and working on a collaborative poetry book with a friend.

In addition, from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., the West Virginia Book Company will have books for sale and Mark Phillips, who has more than 20 years graphic design experience, and 15 years experience working in book design, will offer assistance to writers on graphic design services and publishing books. Participants should bring pens, pencils and writing tablets. They are welcome to bring a bag lunch to eat from noon - 1 p.m. There also are several eateries available within one block of the Cultural Center.

For more information about the Writers Toolkit workshop, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Event Website:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WV Writers Contest Accepts Late Entries!

(This news courtesy George Lies WVW eNews)

West Virginia Writers 2009 Spring Writing Competition will accept late entries through Tuesday, March 31 for the annual Spring Writing Competition. WVW, Inc., the state's largest organization serving writers of all ages, will award $6,000+ in cash awards to adults and young
writers (Grades 1-12) in this writing competition. It is open to all WV state residents. If you live outside the state, you can enter simply by joining as a WVW member.

A WVW membership offers benefits including discounts off all West Virginia Writers' sponsored writing programs. TIP: WVW offers a big discount to any writer who enters this year's competition. Enter 3 manuscripts but send entry fees for only 2 entries (plus a $2 late fee for each, since these are late entries posted after March 15). Winners will be announced at WVW's Annual State Writers Conference, Saturday, June 13, 2009, at Cedar Lakes in Ripley, WV at

West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Writing Competition
West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Youth Writing Competition

West Virginia Writers, Inc., Steven Goff, Contest Administrator, Rt. 2,
Box 46, Salem, WV 26426. Check or money order for entry fees should be
made payable to West Virginia Writers, Inc.

West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Writing Competition cash awards:
FIRST PLACE - $250.00
SECOND PLACE - $125.00
THIRD PLACE - $75.00

Adult Competition Category Descriptions:

#___Stage Play (All lengths) - Joe McCabe Memorial Playwriting Award.

Sponsored by Friends of Martinsburg Public Library and WVW.
#___Nonfiction (up to 5,000 words). Includes article, essay and
#___Children*s Picture Books and Full-Length Books for youths to age
16. Submit 3 chapters or up to 5,000 words and a 1-page synopsis.
#___Humor (up to 5,000 words). Prose or poetry.
#___Appalachian Writing (up to 5,000 words). Prose or poetry.
#___Book Length Prose. Fiction or Non-Fiction. Submit up to 7,500
words and a 1-page synopsis. Book Length: $12 ENTRY FEE *
#___Long Poetry: Poetry 21 lines, maximum 4 pages in length; any form.
#___Short Poetry: Poetry 20 lines or shorter in length; any form.
#___Short Story: Fiction (up to 5,000 words).
#___Emerging Writers: Poetry. Any poetry form, any length up to 4
#___Emerging Writers: Prose (up to 5,000 words). Specify fiction or

Entry Form: Fill out and mail this form with your check or money
Late Entry Deadline: March 31, 2009, add $2.00 fee for each
Questions? Email or call 304-782-3267.
Downloadable entry form and additional information is available at

Entries must be original work of the entrant and must comply with category descriptions, limitations and procedures. Works that have won a cash prize in any past WVW Annual Spring Competition are not eligible. Published works or those accepted for publication prior to January 1, 2009, are not eligible. A work will be considered published if it has been printed in a publication with a distribution of 1000 or more, or if it has been published on a webpage that has received or could receive 1000 or more viewers annually. Emerging Writers Eligibility: Writers who have never won a cash award in this WVW Annual Competition AND who have not been published in a publication with a greater than 5000 circulation are eligible to enter this category. Eligibility: Entrant must be a West Virginia resident or a current member of West Virginia Writers, Inc.


West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Youth Writing Competition

Elementary: Grades 1 - 5
Middle School: Grades 6 - 8
High School: Grades 9 - 12
FIRST PLACE - $100.00
THIRD PLACE - $25.00

Entry Fees: A fee of $2.00 per entry must be submitted with the fully
complete entry form. Incomplete forms will not be accepted. Only one
entry form per student is necessary.

NOTE: Teachers may submit work from their entire class for a flat $25.00 fee. Schools may enter all their students for a flat $100.00 fee.

Late Entry Deadline: If mailed between March 16 and March 31, 2009, add $1.00 fee for each manuscript.

Eligibility: Entrant must be in grades 1 - 5 for the Elementary Competition, grades 6 - 8 for the Middle School Competition, or grades 9 - 12 for the High School Competition, and must either be a West Virginia resident or a current member of West Virginia Writers, Inc. Entries must be original work of the entrant. Works that have won a cash prize in any past WVW Annual Spring Competition are not eligible. Published works or those accepted for publication prior to January 1, 2009, are not eligible.

Guidelines: Send copies only. Manuscripts must be titled, typed in standard 12-point font on one side of 8.5 x 11 white paper. (A parent or teacher may type the entry.) Prose (fiction or nonfiction) must be double-spaced. Poetry may be single-spaced. The work is limited to 2000
words. The author*s name must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript. The entry form should be paper-clipped to the manuscript.

Schools may combine entry forms in a single envelope with one check, although each student must have a separate entry form. Address

West Virginia Writers, Inc.
Steven Goff, Contest Administrator
Rt. 2, Box 46
Salem, WV 26426

OFFICIAL ENTRY FORMS: West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Writing
Competition and West Virginia Writers 2009 Annual Youth Writing

MAIL CONTEST ENTRIES TO: West Virginia Writers, Inc., Steven Goff, Contest Administrator, Rt. 2, Box 46, Salem, WV 26426. Check or money order for entry fees should be made payable to West Virginia Writers, Inc.

WVW MEMBERSHIP: Adult, $20.00; Student, $10.00; Youth (under age 18),

Monday, March 16, 2009



March 16, 2009


That's right folks, it's time to get those short stories, poems, essays, and novels tuned up and mailed to our contest administrator. You only have until the 16th of March (TONIGHT), so don't 'po'crastinate'. After tonight we go into overtime and you can still enter, it will just cost a little more. And remember, this thing has far better odds than the lottery. The more you enter, the more chance you have to bring home the bacon (or prime rib as the case may be).
What is really cool is going to the conference and sitting there sweating it out until they call the winning entry. Kinda like the Oscar ceremony without all of the glitz, glam, and cheezy comedy(Well, there is some glitz and glam....and some cheezy comedy as well). The contest is the engine that drives the train that gets the conference and the great guests and presenters. So, go ahead and get that little diddy that you wrote when the cable went out last October and format it to our specs and send it in and if the cable went down three times last fall . . .well, send all three because the third one is free. Enough said.

WV Writers, inc. will give away over $6,000.00 in prize money!

To enter go to our website and follow the instructions closely. I'll list those web addresses below.

Now, I need a favor.... a big favor. If you are a student, if you know a student, or teacher, or parent of a talented up and coming writer, please forward this message to everyone, regardless of age, location, or affiliation. We have requested help from many schools, media, and government agencies and they have been wonderful but it only takes one person to break this chain. Fortunately, we have our members and friends to help this contest reach more students every year. The more entries we have from students, the more we will be able to do for them.

Thank you so much, and GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"More than a Few Good Men" seeks anthology submissions


Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear about it.

Write a compelling essay about a defining moment in your life and enter our national contest for the chance to have your story published in the book More Than A Few Good Men. If your essay is included, you'll also earn a $1,000 prize. Click here to go directly to the submission form.

Immortalize your story in this anthology of provocative essays on American manhood to be published in spring 2010. Contributors include Matt Wiener, Robert Pinsky, Steve Almond, Arthur Golden, Nelson Aldrich and a diverse group of other men--from an NFL Hall of Famer to a former Sing Sing inmate, from a Wall Street wunderkind to an Army Ranger.

All proceeds from the book will benefit The Good Men Foundation, a charitable organization founded to support men and boys at risk.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Basic Novel Writing class offered

Have you always wanted to write a novel, but aren’t sure how to begin?

Do you have a story that needs to be told, if only you could find the best way to tell it?

Have you been writing for years, but need help polishing the pieces into a finished product?

Whether you're new to writing or have already started on a novel, this class is for you.

Fuller will demystify the writing process. His courses are designed to give writers of all skill levels the ability to unlock their imagination and bring their stories to life.

Basic Novel Writing, presented by award-winning author and instructor Geoff Fuller, will be held on six Thursday nights from March 26 through April 30 (6:30 to 8:30 pm). The combination of lessons, writing exercises, and in-class critique will teach you all you need to know to get started on that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Classes are held in the Charleston Newspapers parking building conference center on Virginia Street in Charleston.

Fuller’s classes will teach the tricks and techniques that successful novelists use to write the kind of novel people will line up to read.

In Basic Novel Writing you'll discover:

  • Important differences between a notion and a viable idea for anovel,

  • Time-honored tricks to help you create memorable characters,

  • Required elements that will help you construct gripping plots,

  • Essential physical realities of writing a novel,

  • Simple techniques to help you craft realistic dialogue,

  • Advice that will help you paint vivid scenes with vigorous prose, and

  • Powerful words to employ (and weasel words to avoid) in your prose.

  • By the time you have completed Basic Novel Writing, your novel will be well underway!

    Along with the course, you’ll get to spend time in the company of other writers interested in penning a novel. (It’s like participating in a writing course and group therapy at the same time!)

    There’s free, lighted parking available just outside the classroom, and coffee and snacks are provided.

    Sign up now! The first five people to sign up for the course receive a $20 discount.

    Call 304.744.4556 or email to secure your place in the class. Geoff's classes fill quickly, and space is limited.

    Note to class participants only: In the past, many students have asked for extra critique, guidance, and mentoring. We are pleased to offer it this year. For an extra $35, you can have a personal, one-on-one session (a value of over $100) that includes detailed critique of your manuscript, advice about the plans for your novel, and suggestions for further work.

    Monday, March 02, 2009

    Dentyne Playwright Contest

    Dentyne® and their partner, Manhattan Theatre Club (New York City), one of the country’s leading not-for-profit professional theatre companies, have announced the launch of two playwriting opportunities about personal relationships in the digital age as part of their ongoing Make Face Time™ campaign, both dubbed Dentyne® “Realationships” Playwright Contest – one is a national contest open to the general public and the other is a contest open to students at participating colleges and universities. However with a submission deadline quickly approaching on March 9th, we’re focusing on promoting the national public contest.

    With the national contest open to the general public, aspiring amateur playwrights can submit their entries for a chance to win a trip to New York City and have their original, short two-person play performed by professional actors at one of MTC’s theatres at New York City Center before a live audience. Additionally, I cannot forget that the winner of the national public contest wins a $7,500 cash grand prize. Learn more by visiting: