January 16, 2018

In This Issue:

January Third Thursday; Manuscript Contest Deadline: Class Packages; A&E Conference Registration; Member News; & More

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January Third Thursday
Beginning (Again): How to Start or Restart a Writing Project

Thursday, January 18, 2018 
7 p.m.
603 N. Lamar Blvd., 3rd Floor
Austin, TX   

Have a great idea for a book but you aren't sure how to get started? Or maybe you need to a return to a project that has lain dormant for a while -- for whatever reason.

Sometimes the trickiest part of writing is simply beginning. You can't finish what you don't start, but there is something overwhelming about the blank page or empty screen. And revisiting a manuscript you abandoned a while ago dredges up all kinds of fears and worries. So how do writers cope? How does one motivate his/herself to sit down every day and keep going?

Hear how our four panelists deal with the challenges that come with starting (or restarting) a writing project:

  • Doug Dorst, New York Times-bestselling author, as well as television writer and playwright;
  • Jardine Libaire, author of the novel White Fur, which recently sold to Amazon Studios;
  • ire'ne lara silva, critically acclaimed poet and short storyist;
  • Rachel Starnesauthor of the critically-acclaimed memoir The War at Home: A Wife's Search for Peace and Other Missions Impossible.

Can't make our Austin event? In January, we're also holding panel discussions in  Dallas and  Houston. Visit our website for more details. Hope to see you soon! 

Enter the 2018 Manuscript Contest, now with bigger and better prizes!

Have you been working hard on an unpublished manuscript that's finally ready for professional feedback? The Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers with at least ten pages from a single work ready for sharing, regardless of whether you have a completed draft or are still writing.
The 2018 Manuscript Contest gives you the chance to:
  • Win a registration to the WLT's 2018 Agents & Editors Conference (June 29-July 1, 2018).
  • Meet one-on-one with a top literary agent in your category or genre (in person at our annual conference or via phone call) if you're one of our ten winners.
  • Be recognized during the opening session of the 2018 Agents & Editors Conference and in the printed program (if you're a winner or a finalist).
  • Receive valuable (and specific) written feedback on your work. The optional critiques by independent editors and industry professionals focus on strengths and weaknesses and offer constructive feedback for improving the material.
You don't have to live in Texas to enter this contest. It's open to everyone, everywhere! Other questions? Read our  FAQ, call us at (512) 499-8914 or email our Contest Coordinator, Sara Kocek, at

Entry fees as low as $25!

NEW in 2018: 
Curated Class Packages
Commit to your writing, simplify your life, and save money with these curated class packages.


Narrative Process Package: In-person classes on brainstorming, outlining, and revising for $147. Includes a complimentary online class (a savings of $49)
Deadline: Thursday, January 18, at midnight CST
Craft Essentials: Fiction Package: In-person classes on first pages, dialogue, and plot for $147. Includes a complimentary online class (a savings of $49)  
Deadline: Thursday, January 25, at midnight CST
Craft Essentials: Memoir Package: In-person classes on narrative structure, bringing emotional moments to life, and crafting personal essays for $147. Includes a complimentary online class (a savings of $49)
Deadline: Thursday, February 15, at midnight CST
Online Class Package: 6 classes for $240 (a savings of $10/class)
     Deadline: Wednesday, January 31, 5 p.m. CST

Breaking Through Writer's Block and Reinvigorating Your Manuscript  
with Jardine Libaire   

Saturday, January 20, 2018
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
Instead of big, abstract ideas for overcoming writer's block and freshening your work, this class will lead you in very specific, playful, easy, highly generative exercises within your existing manuscript.

This is a class for writers already engaged in an existing piece of work--short story, novel, memoir, script, or a proposal/treatment. Over the years, the instructor, Jardine Libaire, has developed focused strategies for getting through impasses on her novels and scripts, and she now has a collection of tried and trusted exercises that "force" new insight, fresh detail, or alternative plot points.

The key is to find the trouble spots, and use exercises and prompts to interact with your manuscript in a way that immediately revives a scene or setting or character, opens a new door in the plot, or simply re-engages you and moves the work forward. 
  • You're feeling stuck on a manuscript in any genre.
  • You're looking for a natural, intuitive approach to problem-solving problem spots in a story and generating new material.

Online registration closes Thursday, January 18, at midnight. Walk-up registration available, pending availability.   

Crafting Story Openings that Will Capture Readers 
with Lindsey Lane 

Saturday, January 27, 2018
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
Want to write an opening that makes the reader lean in, stay seated and not move until they reach the end of your story (or first chapter)?
Beginnings are not magic  but they need to bewitch the reader and make them want to enter the world you are creating. How do we do that? Participants will learn very specific techniques (Point of View, Voice, Setting, Character) to make the openings of their stories compelling through lecture and workshop. A great beginning gives readers enough details so they know where they are but not so many that you kill their curiousity.
In this class, participants will dig in and examine the openings of published writers to see what makes readers lean in. The instructor and class will also look at the openings of some class members' stories and discuss specific ways to make them irresistible.

  • "The class provided renewed enthusiasm for my short fiction writing."
  • "was knowledgeable, open, friendly, included each student in activities, and challenged us."
Online registration closes Thursday, January 25, at midnight. Walk-up registration available, pending availability. 

3-Act Structure 
with Carolyn Cohagan    

Wednesday , January 31, 2018
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST
Do you have a great plot idea, but you're stuck after page fifty?  Are you in love with your characters, but they seem to just sit there?    
The 3-act structure has been used in plays and screenplays for decades, and it can be just as useful for novels. Thinking about a "call to adventure," "rising action," and a "climax" can help writers create an outline before they begin or sort out writer's block once they've started.  At the end of this class, participants will have an outline or a structure format to consult during revisions.
To illustrate 3-act structure, the class will discuss the Harrison Ford film Witness. Students are recommended to watch the film or remind themselves of its plot before class.
  • "Lots of brainstorming and that was a very useful adjunct to the lecture on structure."
  • "Carolyn was great -- funny, comfortable, easy to listen to and follow."

Online registration closes Wednesday, January 31, at 5 p.m. CST. The recording will be available for 1 week following the live class.

The Writers' League of Texas
2018 Agents & Editors Conference 

June 29 to July 1, 2018  
Hyatt Regency Austin 

to Members & Nonmembers!
Reserve Your Spot
  • Three days of meeting and networking opportunities with literary agents, book editors, and fellow writers
  • Panel discussions and presentations focused on honing your craft and demystifying the publishing process
  • Keynote speakers
  • Genre sessions
  • A one-on-one consultation with an agent or editor
  • and the "Pitch Lab" (a participant favorite).
A few of the agencies already confirmed for 2018
  • Arielle Datz: Dunow, Carlson, and Lerner
  • Rachel Orr: Prospect Agency
  • Grace A. Ross: Regal Hoffman and Associates
  • Kristina Moore: The Wylie Agency
  • Wendy Gu: Janklow and Nesbit Associates
  • Cherise Fisher: Wendy Sherman Associates
  • More agents added every week, plus editors and keynote speakers
Hope to see you in Austin in June!

If you haven't been to our conference before, check out the 2017 program  here and please do call us if you have any questions, 512-499-8914.

Community Member News 

Ageless Authors
Ageless Authors, an organization of writers age 65 and older based in Texas, will hold a reading from their newly released Ageless Authors Anthology, sign copies of the book and offer tips to other senior writers, at  2 p.m. on  Saturday, January 20 at Half Price Books, 5803 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas. For more information, contact or click here

Writers age 65 and older are also invited to submit entries to the 2017 Ageless Authors Writing Contest now through February 28. Submit a short story, essay or poem on one of three topics, win cash prizes and be published.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?   
Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers' League's membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click  here or call our office at (512) 499-8914. 

Member News 

Len Bourland  (Dallas) continues to teach popular continuing education publishing courses. Her course "How to Self-Publish Quickly, Professionally, and Economically to Get into Bookstores" will be held at SMU over three nights in Jan/Feb. Register  here

Jess Hagemann (Austin) will teach a 4-week class on structuring, writing, and publishing memoirs--plus artifact preservation!--in February 2018. Register here .

New Releases
Pamela Camosy (Garden Ridge) invites readers to join her in the pages of her new book, Healer's Heart: A Family Physician's Stories of the Heart & Art of Medicine. The author recounts patient stories through the lens of the healing relationship between doctor and patient. Purchase the book here .

Interested in having your news listed here? Current Writers' League members can submit their news to Announcements should adhere to the following guidelines: third-person, starting with your first and last name, followed by your city of residence, maximum 50 words. We may edit your announcement for style and clarity.

Open Office Hours: February 8

February Open Office Hours will be on Thursday, February 8.  The deadline to sign up is Thursday, February 1 at noon.  Writers' League m embers can meet one-on-one with a WLT staffer (in person or call in). This member benefit is available to all members regardless of their city of residence.  Current members only. 

Due to limited availability, please email to sign up. Please be sure to indicate whether or not you'd like to speak in person or over the phone (and provide your phone number), and outline what questions you'd like to discuss so we can be prepared for your appointment. Before you send an email, please read the OOH guidelines available here.


Texas Touring  Roster Application Form Now Available
Texas Commission on the Arts ( TCA) maintains a  roster of approved Texas-based touring companies and artists. This program is open to artists of all artistic disciplines including literary arts.  Every two years, all interested artists, companies, and organizations may apply to be listed on the Texas Touring  Roster . Even artists on the current  roster  must apply in full to be listed on the upcoming  roster .   The application to be included on the 2018-2020  roster  is available  here . Find more details about the program here Deadline: January 31, 2018 

Writer Classifieds 
Looking for a writing group or critique partner? Look no further than our Writer Classifieds. Current Writers' League members can submit their name, contact information, and additional details to be included as a listing on a private page on our website. 

Coming Up @ WLT
Classes, Free Programs, Deadlines, and Other Events Across the State

January 18
      BookPeople, Austin, TX

January 20
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
January 23
      Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

January 25

January 26
      Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

January 27
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
February 3
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
February 10
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

February 15
      BookPeople, Austin, TX

February 17
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

February 24
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
February 28

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.  Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to .  

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities,