Archive | January, 2013

Call for Submissions: Rising Star Creative Writing Competition

22 Jan



 Submit Today!

Rising Star Submission Guidelines

 • The competition is open to writers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho in three age categories: 15-18, 19-25, and 25+.

• Genres include Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, and Poetry.

• Submitting writers who have won in the past may not submit again. 

• Submitting writers may not have published a first book or chapbook, but may have had individual stories, essays or poems in print.

• Poets may submit three unpublished poems (no more than four single-spaced pages, total); prose writers may submit one unpublished double-space piece of no more than 3,000 words per genre. “Publication” includes appearance on any Internet source except a blog.

• Use one-inch margins, Times Roman Typeface, and a 12-point type. Submissions must be in Microsoft Word® format. Entries will not be returned.

• The authors’ name, mailing address, phone number, email address, genre of submission, age category, and word count must appear on the cover sheet with entry.

• Entrant’s short bio should include information about themselves and their interest in writing. Winners, when notified, must submit a photo (headshot preferred) for use in publicity and the annual anthology of student writing.

• Entries must be received no later than 12 midnight on the submission deadline of March 10, 2013.

• Entries dated after this date will not be read.

• For more information email or call 541.647.2233.

New Printable: Writing an Introduction & a Conclusion

17 Jan

Hot off the presses – a new printable. If you’re having trouble writing an introduction and/or conclusion, check out these formulas.

Pando Package

Willamette Writers 2013 Kay Snow Writing Contest

15 Jan


The purpose of this annual contest, named in honor of Willamette Writer’s founder, Kay Snow, is to help writers reach professional goals in writing in a broad array of categories.


Entry Dates

Beginning Date: November 1, 2012
Postmark Deadline: April 19th, 2013.

Student Writer (18 or under) – There are three categories of student writers. Students can enter any type of writing, fiction, non-fiction, poetry. Word limit, 1,500 words. Students should not enter adult categories unless paying the adult fee. If a student enters an adult category, do not put student or a grade category on the entry form.
Grades 9-12
Students are limited to ONE entry. There is no fee for student writers in these three grade groups. Students should not enter adult categories unless paying the adult fee. If a student enters an adult category, they should not put student or a grade category on the entry form.


1. Entries that do not follow all category guidelines and rules will be disqualified.

2. Entries must be typed, double spaced (except poetry and screenplays – follow rules below).

3. All entries should have a title on the top of the first page. Each following page should have the title at either the upper left or right corner with the page number. (Screenplays have title on first page only, top of the page.)

4. Type word count on upper right of first page, except for screenplays and poetry.

5. Number each page except first page.

6. To assure confidentiality, Do Not Put Author’s Name On Manuscript.

7. A registration fee and entry form must accompany each entry. Multiple entries can be mailed in ONE envelope with ONE entry form.

8. Each INDIVIDUAL entry must be accompanied by ONE (1) 3 x 5 card with author’s name, address, phone, and title of entry and category. Place the card in a plain white envelope, seal it, and on the outside of the envelope write the title of your entry and its category. For poetry entry, EACH poem must be accompanied by a 3 x 5 card in an envelope. If you submit TWO poems (or more), you must have a 3 x 5 card in a separate envelope for each poem. If you submit two fiction entries, each entry has ONE 3 x 5 card for EACH entry inside ONE small envelope.

9. Submit TWO (2) copies of each entry. If you submit two poems for one entry, submit TWO COPIES OF EACH POEM. Do not send originals. Entries, registration form, and 3 x 5 cards can be mailed in one envelope.

10. All entries must be original and unpublished or unproduced. Screenplays cannot be an adaptation of a published novel or non-fiction book by someone other than the screenwriter. Being posted on a web site is not considered publication, nor is a non-fiction article appearing in an on-line newsletter if there was no payment involved.

11. To receive a list of winners, send a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope).

12. Do not send cash. Send a check, money order, or credit card information with the entry. You may enter more than one category and submit more than one entry in each category. A fee must accompany each entry.

13. Only one prize will be awarded to a winner in any category.

14. Manuscripts will not be returned. Keep a copy of your entry.

15. Submissions will be judged anonymously and judges decisions will be final. Judges reserve the right to withhold prizes in any category if entries do not meet their standards.

16. Fee per entry is $10 per entry for members of Willamette Writers and $15 per entry for non-members. Student entries are free. Note: Contest fees are not refundable.

Go to the printer-friendly Kay Snow Awards entry form.

How to Write Good, Real Good!

10 Jan

grammar cat 2

Way back when (all the way back in 1986!) a list appeared in Writer’s Digest that  combined grammar rules with humor. Check it out.

Disagree with any of these? What would you add?


by Frank L. Visco

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10. One should never generalize.
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  14. Profanity sucks.
  15. Be more or less specific.
  16. Understatement is always best.
  17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

Some New Goodies

8 Jan

new stuff

I’ve been working, when time permits, on creating a library of printables for the Writing Center. And now, I’ve finally figured out an easy way to share them electronically – yay! You can find them by clicking Printables (upper right beneath the title of the blog) or by scrolling down (right hand column, directly underneath Recent Posts). You can also find hard copies at the Writing Center (white binder behind our table).

So far, there are only a handful but I aim to have many, many more by the end of the year. If you need help with breaking down your assignment, writing an abstract, crafting a hook, or creating transition, then check out one of the Writing Center printables.

Is there an issue you’d like us to address? Leave a comment & I’ll create an info sheet ASAP.

Everybody Reads 2013

7 Jan

ER 2013 books

Begin the new year with a time-honored community tradition: Take part in a shared reading experience. Head into any library and pick up a special copy of a Sherman Alexie book while supplies last. Adults are reading “Ten Little Indians,” a collection of short stories. Young adults are reading “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” More about Everybody Reads 2013, made possible by The Library Foundation:

January 2013 – Upcoming Literary Events

5 Jan


Looking for something fun AND literary to do this month? Check out these events:

January 6th, 7:30p – Ursula K. Le Guin @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

In The Unreal and the Real (Small Beer), a two-volume selection of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s best short stories, readers will be delighted, provoked, amused, and faced with the sharp, satirical voice of one of the best short-story writers of the present day. Volume One, Where on Earth, explores Le Guin’s satirical, risky, political, and experimental earthbound stories, while the companion volume, Outer Space, Inner Lands, includes her best-known fantastical stories.

For more about Le Guin, check out her web site.

January 6th, 5p – Summerset Abbey @ Powell’s Cedar Hills (free)

Reminiscent of Downton AbbeySummerset Abbey(Gallery), T. J. Brown‘s first novel in a new series, follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of World War I. Joining Brown will be fellow romance authors Delilah Marvelle (Forever a Lord),Elizabeth Boyle (Along Came a Duke), and Laura Lee Guhrke (Trouble at the Wedding) for a conversation about Edwardian historical fiction.

January 7th, 7:30p – Oregon Writers on Craft @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

A homegrown writing reference book, Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life (Forest Avenue Press) is a multi-voiced collection of ruminations about authors’ habits, frustrations, and successes. Above all, it’s a celebration of what it means to be a writer in Oregon. Brave on the Page, edited by Laura Stanfill, features work by 42 Oregon authors, including original interviews and flash essays. Joining Stanfill for the event will be contributors Kristy Athens, Jon Bell, Kate Gray, Robert Hill, Gigi Little, Gina Ochsner, Joanna Rose, Scott Sparling, and Yuvi Zalkow.

January 8th, 7p – Open Poetry Night @ Walters Cultural Arts Center (free)

Informal group of readers and listeners. Join in. 527 E. Main St.
Hillsboro, OR 97123

January 9th, 7p – Scoundrels: Star Wars @ Powell’s Cedar Hills (free)

Ocean’s Eleven meets Star Wars in Timothy Zahn‘sScoundrels: Star Wars (Lucas Books), a classic adventure set just after Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The Death Star has just been destroyed and Han Solo still needs the money to pay off the bounty on his head. Now the opportunity to make that money and then some has walked into his life in the form of the perfect heist. With nine like-minded scoundrels, he and Chewbacca just might be able to pull it off and live to tell the tale.

January 9th, 7p – Madison HS WITS Students @ BiPartisan Cafe (free)

Join Madison High School students as they read their work at BiPartisan Cafe. This is a Writers in the Schools end-of-residency reading open to the public.

January 10th, 7:30p – Peaceful Places: Portland @ Powell’s Hawthorne (free)

Everybody knows about Portland’s food scene, outdoor recreation, bike lanes, beer pubs, and coffee shops. In short, Portland is a happening town. Seeking out the places or times when the crowds will be elsewhere, Paul Gerald‘s Peaceful Places: Portland (Menasha Ridge) gives readers the essence of what each place is about — what makes it peaceful or inviting. But he does not stint on also giving readers all the detailed info they need to get there at the crowd-free time. The theme that carries throughout the book is a simple one: Portland is a great city, but it’s still a city, and sometimes folks just need a break.

Read more about Paul Gerald and his work at his web site.

January 10th, 7:30p – Jonathan Franzen @ Arlene Schnitzer (subscription needed)

Jonathan Franzen’s books include The CorrectionsFreedomHow to Be Alone and the memoirThe Discomfort Zone. A new essay collection, Farther Away, will appear in April 2012. Freedomwon the 2011 John Gardner Prize for fiction and the Heartland Prize. It was also chosen as one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2010 and as a finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Check out this Portland Monthly interview or, if you’re not familiar with him, check out his Wiki page.

January 12th, 3p – YA Authors Read @ Annie Bloom’s Books (free)

Ruth Tenzer Feldman (“Blue Thread”), Joy Preble (“Anastasia Forever”) and Emily Whitman (“Wildwing”) talk about writing young-adult fiction and share their works.

January 13th, 7:30p – Gather at the Table @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

Thomas Norman DeWolf, a descendent of slaveholders, and Sharon Leslie Morgan, a descendent of slaves, come together to openly discuss how the legacy of slavery and racism has impacted their lives. Together, they disclose the various difficulties and rewards they experience as individuals striving to heal. Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade (Beacon Press) is the chronicle of DeWolf and Morgan’s arduous and, at times, uncomfortable journey. Their book is an inspiring and powerful model for healing individuals and communities.

Check out this fascinating interview with the writers.

January 14th, 7:30p – Dan DeWeese & Michael Heald @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

Following publication of the critically acclaimed debut novel You Don’t Love This Man comes Disorder, a collection of eight stories, six of which have been published in top literary journals and magazines. In prose that can be subtly humorous or uncompromisingly direct, Dan DeWeese reveals the lives of men under tension, in conflict with society and with themselves. Across 11 essays,Michael Heald compulsively measures himself against men like Eli Manning, Ryan Gosling, and Stephen Malkmus, and always comes up short. After a decade of failed relationships, estranged siblings, and abandoned hopes, he may or may not have learned his lesson. Goodbye to the Nervous Apprehension (Perfect Day) is not nearly as depressing as any of this sounds.

DeWeese is a professor at PSU who has graciously sent tutors our way (yay, go Dan!). Check out his web site to learn more about his work. Heald talks to OPB about his essay collection.

January 16th, 7p – An Evening of Supernatural Teen Fiction @ Powell’s Cedar Hills (free)

Kevin Emerson‘s The Lost Code (Katherine Tegen) is Book One of the Atlanteans series — perilous adventures in a grimly plausible dystopian future. In Martha Brockenbrough‘sDevine Intervention (Arthur A. Levine), guardian angel Jerome must keep 16-year-old Heidi safe — if he is to graduate from heaven’s program for wayward teenagers. Sean Beaudoin‘s The Infects (Candlewick) is a feast for the brain. His gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre. In Cat Patrick‘s Revived (Little, Brown), a secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead — but the implications are quite sinister.

January 16th, 7p – Susan Jackson Rodgers & Wendy Willis @ Annie Bloom’s Books (free)

Rodgers reads from a short-story collection. Willis reads from a poetry collection.

January 17th, 7p – Wilson HS WITS Students @ Annie Bloom’s (free)

Students worked with fiction writer Carmen Bernier-Grand and playwright Hunt Holman.

January 17th, 7:30p – Ken Jennings @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

Ken Jennings, all-time Jeopardy! champion, delivers an engaging new book, Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids (Scribner), revealing the truth behind all the terrible things our parents used to warn us about. Armed with medical case histories, scientific findings, and even the occasional experiment on himself (or his kids), Jennings exposes countless examples of parental wisdom run amok.

January 18th, 7:30p – Neil Shubin @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

From one of the finest and most popular science writers, and author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us? In The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People (Pantheon), Neil Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do, making clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies.

January 19th, 1p – Anna Brentwood & Danita Cahill @ Jan’s Paperbacks (free)

Area authors including Anna Brentwood and Danita Cahill sign copies of their works. 18095 S.W. Tualatin Valley Highway, Aloha, OR 97006

January 19th, 2p – The Ties that Bind: Interweaving Domestic & Civic Life @ Central Library (free)

Over the past few years, many Oregonians have found meaning and connection through what were once known as the domestic arts. Tasks once considered obsolete, such as knitting and baking from scratch, are at the forefront of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) movement. This renewed interest in the home and handmade things is multigenerational and expanding. Might increased attention to our most personal spaces be connected to the tending of our common civic spaces? Wendy Willis, deputy director for national programs at the National Policy Consensus Center, will examine the connections between domestic life and a healthy civil society, asking participants to consider whether blending together these two notions might help to create a new foundation for civic and political life in Oregon.

January 21st, 7:30p – The Terror Factory @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

A groundbreaking work of investigative journalism,The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig) shows how the FBI, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, has built a network of more than 15,000 informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the bureau can then claim victory in the War on Terror. Trevor Aaronson offers unprecedented detail into how the FBI has transformed from a reactive law-enforcement agency to a proactive counterterrorism organization.

January 22nd, 7:30p – Nicole Georges @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

In a charming graphic memoir that Alison Bechdel calls “riveting,” a psychic reading spurs Portland zinester Nicole Georges to uncover an old secret about her father and the family story she never knew. Calling Dr. Laura (Mariner), part coming-of-age and part coming-out story, tells of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source.

Read more about this fellow Portlander at her web site.

January 23rd, 7p – Verse in Person @ NW Library (free)

Listen to Oregon poets read from their works. This monthly program is organized by local poets to highlight two to three poets each reading.

January 24th, 7p – Cleveland HS WITS Students @ Tabor Space (free)

Students worked with fiction writer Sara Jaffe, cartoonist John Isaacson, and novelist Mark Pomeroy.

January 27th, 2p – William Stafford Birthday Celebration @ Central Library (free)

Join us for our 13th annual celebration of the work of Oregon’s most famous and beloved poet, William Stafford. Born in 1914, Stafford was a celebrated poet, teacher, mentor, and champion of free speech and thought. He was a professor at Lewis and Clark College, received the National Book Award for Traveling Through the Dark in 1963, was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (1970-71), and served as Oregon’s Poet Laureate in 1975.  A conscientious objector during World War II, Stafford died in 1993.

January 27th, 7p – Espresso Book Machine: Book Formatting 101 @ IPRC ($15 for members, $25 for nonmembers)

In this class students will learn how to get a manuscript ready to produce a print run of paperback books at Espresso Book Machine! The class will cover page sizing, margins, cover layout, design and creating print ready pdf’s. There will also be tips on font sizes, spacing, copywriting and generating ISBN numbers. By the end of the class you will have practiced all the steps needed for printing on the EBM and students will be prepared to take advantage of the new IPRC and Espresso Book Machine. 1001 SE Division. Buy tickets @ 

January 29th, 7:30p – Foodopoly @ Powell’s Burnside (free)

Wenonah Hauter, one of the nation’s leading healthy food advocates, believes that the local food movement is not enough to solve America’s food crisis and the public-health debacle it has created. InFoodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America (New Press), she takes aim at the massive consolidation and corporate control of food production, which prevents farmers from raising healthy crops and limits the choices that people can make in the grocery store. Through meticulous research, Hauter presents a shocking account of how agricultural policy has been hijacked by lobbyists, driving out independent farmers and food processors. She illustrates how solving this crisis will require a complete structural shift, a grassroots movement to reshape our food system from seed to table — a change that is about politics, not just personal choice.

January 30th, 6p – Portland’s Past in Pictures: Goose Hollow @ NW Library (free)

Dr. Tracy J. Prince will present a slide show of historical photos from her book Portland’s Goose Hollow, showing the earliest days of the frontier city of Portland. Scenes include: the Great Plank Road (Jefferson/Canyon Road);  rare photos of Tanner Creek running in its banks; Guild’s Lake and Couch Lake; Chinese gardeners who terraced the steep slopes of Tanner Creek Gulch to grow vegetables; Native Americans who had encampments in the gulch; horse drawn streetcars; cable cars; Rose Festival performances on Multnomah Field; and many other photos that give a wonderful sense of life in Old Portland.


Have a literary event you’d like to publish here? Do you know of a fun event that’s missing from this list? Please comment on this post & I’ll update for our readers.

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