Workshop will assuage mud season writers' block

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— Fear and lack of motivation are common roadblocks that prevent writers from moving forward with their work.

Local author Jill Murphy Long has a solution. She will facilitate a Mud Season Writers' Workshop for seven weeks.

She has her own reason for initiating the group. "I needed a deadline and I need support and creative people to be around," Long said. "I miss having the small group that keeps you going."

Having published three books, she understands why many writers don't finish their manuscripts. "People think if they don't finish it, then they can't fail," Long said.

The group will edit each writer's work and provide constructive criticism, but there will be no time to interpret the manuscript or screenplay. "You can't explain the back story during a movie. Your words have to explain it from the get-go," Long said. "You can only take notes and say thank you."

One of the dangers of these groups is that they can spawn strong friendships that eclipse the writers' professional goals, Long said. "You need a facilitator, or it will turn into a drinking group that writes."

Each session will be an 1 1/2 hours and participants need to bring in five to 10 pages of their work to each meeting. The first half of the session will be used for reviewing work. During the second half, each writer will read his or her work aloud and introduce the next portion of their project.

Participants can use one another as a sounding wall, Long said. "You don't have to do what the group says, they are just suggestions. They might throw out 105 bad ideas and then you go home and figure out your own process."

No experience is needed to participate in this group but making a commitment to it is a must. "People will be counting on you to read their work, and they want to know what happens in your story," Long said.

About six writers have committed to the workshop, and all ages are invited. "We have a high school senior that is joining us, and there are old moms like me," Long said.

The goal of the workshop is to help authors write their best work and prepare for publication, Long said. "It's all about being in a creative environment and having a reason to write until the publishing world picks you."

Writers should come prepared to the first session with copies of their work. Contact Long before 4 p.m. on Sunday at 846-1428 or by e-mail at permissiontonap@yahoo.com to sign up.

-- To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com

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