August 15, 2017

In This Issue:

August Third Thursday; Panel Discussions in San Antonio, Houston, & Dallas; New Fall Classes; and More!

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August Third Thursday
Writing About Mythology

Thursday, August 17, 2017, 6:30 PM
The Blanton Museum of Art 
Auditorium in the Edgar A. Smith Building
200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Austin, TX 78701


 ***note that our August Third Thursday is NOT at BookPeople and will start at 6:30 pm; if you're a regular at this event, take note of this venue change (for August only; we'll be back at BookPeople in September)
To celebrate the Blanton Museum of Art's temporary exhibition of "Epic Tales from Ancient India: Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art," this panel will bring together writers and scholars who have explored and been inspired by myths and legendary tales from many traditions. What can we learn from the ways these myths were developed and revised for their audiences, and what appeal do they continue to have for modern readers and writers?  Our distinguished panelists for this compelling conversation will be Sheila Black, Dr. Richard Flores, P.J. Hoover, and Dr. Helena Woodard.

The panel starts at 6:30 in the Blanton Museum of Art Auditorium, located directly across from the museum gallery in the Edgar A. Smith building (which also houses the Blanton Museum Cafe & Store). But you'll want to arrive early! During the Blanton's Third Thursday, admission is free and hours are extended. You can read more about the Blanton's Third Thursday events, which start at 11 am, on  Facebook.

Check out the events calendar at the end of this email for two additional events happening in Austin this week!

San Antonio, Houston, & Dallas: 
Mark Your Calendars! 

We're hitting the road for a series of FREE panel discussions in September and October!
First drafts of novels and memoirs can begin with a spark of an idea and a rush of enthusiasm. But after 70-100 pages, that initial clarity often vanishes, along with any sense of the way forward into the book. Or perhaps you're researching for a nonfiction project, but you feel lost at the thought of organizing your notes into a coherent narrative. 

At three panel discussions across Texas this month, we'll be discussing strategies for shaping early drafts of book-length projects. This is a  must-attend event for anyone who has recently thrown themselves into a new project or wants to return to a memoir or nonfiction draft that they've put aside.

Join us in one (or more!) of three cities:

SAN ANTONIO - September 11, 6:30 pm, at the Twig Book Shop -  Our panelists will be Kate Winkler Dawson (author of the forthcoming  Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City ),  Joe JimĂ©nez  (author of  The Possibilities of Mud and Bloodline ), Chaitali Sen (author of The Pathless Sky ), and Nancy G. West (author of the Aggie Mundeen murder mystery series). RSVP here on our website.

HOUSTON - October 6 at 7 pm, at Brazos Bookstore - Our four panelists will include Chris Cander (author of Whisper Hollow) and Owen Egerton (author of Hollow). Additional panelists TBA. RSVP here on our website.


Upcoming Classes

Strategies for Structure Within a Novel 
with Stephanie Noll
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. CST  

Learn t he function of chapters in a novel,  the difference between successful and unsuccessful chapters how to determine chapter length , and  strategies for the beginning, middle, and end of chapters.

In  this class, participants  will read published excerpts and participate in writing exercises (on new work or their work-in-progress) so that they leave the class with a stronger sense of how to best arrange pieces of their manuscript into a coherent whole.
  • "This was a great class and encouraged more participation than I am usually able to give even when attending in person."
  • "The writing prompts were excellent."
  • "I liked the reading beforehand, to help understand the concept and see it in use. I liked the exercises, which solidified understanding of the concept."
Online registration closes Wednesday, August 23, at 5 p.m.  
Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week. 


The Craft of Short Fiction: Telling the Story with Fewer Words and More Punch 
with Lindsey Lane
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. CST  

Learn how to  build a strong narrative arc, use  dialogue to advance plot and reveal character, bring  the setting to life with the tiniest details, and create  a balance between action and exposition .
In this class, the instructor will examine specific published stories and offer writing exercises to make every tool in your writing toolbox more accessible and easier to use. As an added bonus, participants will receive an up to date document of short story submission outlets.
  • "It was fast paced, keeping the class busy throughout."
  • "Great examples to fortify the instruction."
  • "With the prompts, I was really quite surprised at how easily I could conjure up little stories."
Online registration closes Wednesday, August 30, at 5 p.m.  
Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week.


Better Novel Beginnings Through Character Development
with Greg Garrett
Saturday, September 2, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
Are you starting a novel and worried about getting off on the wrong foot?  Learn how to imagine your character's yearnings and foreshadow future events so that your beginning can engage your readers and prepare them for what is to come.
In this class, participants will learn how to build a character who feels compelled (internally or externally) toward change and transformation, and exercises for introducing plot and complications at the beginning of a novel.
  • "Masterful."
  • "I couldn't have asked for more."
  • "It felt like brain fuel. I needed this course."

Online registration closes Thursday, September 7, at midnight.  Walk-in registrations will be accepted at the venue, as space allows. 


Worldbuilding for Speculative Fiction
with Amanda Downum and Marshall Ryan Maresca  
Saturday, September 16, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Strong worldbuilding is the foundation for fantastic fiction, from Middle-Earth of  The Lord of the Rings to Hogwarts of  Harry Potter. But when and where do you add details, and how much is too much?  This class will focus on tools to build rich, believable worlds and techniques to integrate that work into your  fiction, whether you're starting a project from scratch or want to add nuance to an existing story. 
In this class, learn techniques to build a rich, immersive world, without infodumping or overwhelming readers. Particular focus will be given to worldbuilding without dry infodumps and on incorporating worldbuilding into characterization and description.

  • You're writing speculative fiction, science fiction, or fantasy.
  • You're writing any novel or story set in a place or time that readers must be taught to understand.

Online registration closes Thursday, September 7, at midnight.  Walk-in registrations will be accepted at the venue, as space allows. 

Writers' League of Texas Podcast  

Have you checked out our podcast lately? If not, you're missing out on an array of great discussions featuring some of our favorite writers sharing craft tips, tricks, and advice. And remember, you can now find us wherever you get your podcasts Subscribe  so you never miss an episode!

Last August, we spoke with four authors -- Michael Hurd, Varian Johnson, Doyin Oyeniyi, and Jennifer M. Wilks -- about why Black Literature Matters: why it's important for readers to seek out diverse books; what can be done to support writers of color (published and just starting out); the ways that writers, publishers, and literary organizations can support diversity in our literature, our programs, and our communities; and the crucial role that black literature plays in shaping the important conversation on race in our country today.

Community Member News 

Kallisto Gaia Press (Austin) is calling for submissions to The Ocotillo Review - Volume 2. Click here for guidelines. A limited number of copies of The Ocotillo Review - Volume 1 are still available at and at most independent Texas bookstores.

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 

New Releases & Publications
Sue Cleveland and Dixie Evatt (Austin) announce that their book  Shrouded (under the pen name Meredith Lee)  is now available at BookPeople. The eBook version will be available worldwide on  August 16. On September 9, their book launch will take place at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas. Find more details 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
September Open Office Hours will be on Thursday, September 14.   The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, September 13 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.
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

August 16
       AFS Cinema, Austin, TX 
      Space is limited. Please RSVP if you plan to attend. 

August 17
Third Thursday: Writing About Myth
      Blanton Museum of Art Auditorium, Austin, TX
      Please Note: This panel will  not be held at BookPeople.
      6:30 p.m. start time.

August 18
       BookPeople, 2nd floor, Austin,TX
      Online Class
      Online Class

September 2
"Better Novel Beginnings Through Character Development" with Greg Garrett 
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

September 9
"Rock Star Publicity: Book Promotion for the Bold and Bashful" with Marika Flatt and Elena Meredith
      St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

September 11 
      The Twig Book Shop, San Antonio, TX 
September 16 
"Worldbuilding for Speculative Fiction" with Amanda Downum and Marshall Ryan Maresca
     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

September 20 
"On the Hero's Journey: Discovering Plot, Character, and Meaning for Your Novel" with Greg Garrett
      Online Class

September 23 
"Creating Protagonists Your Readers Will Follow" with Chaitali Sen
     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

September 26 

"First Impressions Are Everything: Composing a Standout Query Letter" with Becka Oliver
     Writers' League of Texas Offices, Austin, TX
     Members Only

September 28  

"Effective Research Methods for Fiction: How Much Is Enough" with John Pipkin
     Online Class

September 30  

"The Secret to Making Picture Books" with Liz Garton Scanlon
     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX   

October 6
      Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX 

October 7
"The Agent Search" with Becka Oliver
      Inprint, Houston, TX
      This class is sold out. 

October 10
      Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

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 .