The Page a Day Writers Group

Posts Tagged ‘continued education


Imagine you’re born perfectly normal, but then a virulent infection devours your eyelids, nose and lips. Your parents decide they can’t handle raising such a needy kid, so you become a ward of the state – and a doctor gets permission to do experimental plastic surgery on you.

This is Howard Shulman’s story.2D07078A00000578-0-image-a-15_1443824642109

Recently, his memoir Running from the Mirror was released by Sandra Jonas Publishing, and it’s riveting.

I met Howard a few months before his book was released. He’d called and told me he met a friend of mine in line at Starbucks who gave him my number. He wanted to talk to a local fellow author about giving writers’ workshops together. We met at a coffee shop in Chula Vista, California, where Howard shared his experience writing his memoir: cleansing yet uncomfortable, often frustrating, sometimes sad or filled with regret. Still, the satisfaction of knowing how far he has come and the hope his story might give to others made the project worth the effort.

Talk about grit. They don’t make ‘em much more bad ass than Howard.

Now in his 50s, what he treasures most is his family.2D068F5100000578-0-image-a-5_1443820009163

Since that first meeting, Howard and I have become friends, and we’ve planned some great workshops on writing craft, character development, and story structure. Be prepared to hone your skills, save time in revisions, and have a lot more fun, whether you write fiction or nonfiction. If you’re interested in participating in a writers’ workshop with Howard and me, please leave a comment with your contact information, or email me at

A portion of Howard’s sales go to Hillsides, an organization that works to recreate the lives of at-risk kids. For more information about Howard’s book or to order Running from the Mirror, click here.

Are you doing anything May 8 through 15? This is last minute notice, but if you’re a writer, you should know the Writers’ Retreat

Me at WRW

Me at WRW

Workshop (WRW) has a few spots left for the upcoming annual event that will change your life. This year, it’s being held at Purple Sage Ranch, just outside of Antonio, Texas.

Here’s how it works: A fabulous professional editor, agent, or bestselling author gives a workshop. Then everyone goes back to their rooms and uses their shiny, freshly acquired new tools to write or revise their butts off. Then you share in whole and small groups to give and get feedback to revise some more. The pros also view your work to give direction to take your writing to the next level. With all this guided practice, you and your fellow WRW writers provide some of the most amazing feedback in critique groups anywhere. Another bonus is the connections you make with writers from all over the U.S. and often from other countries, such as Belgium and Australia.

And there’s partying along the way for those who wish to join in the fun.

When you rejoin the real-world after your week-long reprieve with awesome, like-minded, creative people, WRW adds you to the list serve. WRW participants since 1987, many of whom are successful, published writers, post news and personal events through the site, available to members only. Any alumni may participate in any conversation. I’ve made friends through the list serve and on Facebook that I’ve never met personally.

Purple Sage Ranch: Home of WRW 2014

Purple Sage Ranch: Home of WRW 2014

The 2014 instructors include: bestselling thriller author Grant Blackwood (Briggs Tanner Novels, Fargo series with Clive Cussler), Literary Agent Mary C Moore (Kimberley Cameron agency), YA and romance author Emily McKay (The Farm, The Lair), writer/editor Les Edgerton (The Bitch, Hooked), director and instructor Jason Sitzes, co-founder and author Gail Provost Stockwell.

If you’re a writer who is ready for an intense upgrade in your craft, your understanding of the publishing industry, and the how-to of marketing your work, don’t miss this chance to become the writing professional you want to be!

If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing writers’ experience, so here’s the link:


Happy writing!!

Lorin Oberwerger, writer, independent editor

Recently returned from the Writers’ Retreat Workshop in Kentucky, I came home with lots of new writing tools and polished some old ones. My favorite shiny new wrench came from Lorin Oberwerger, a successful writer and  fabulous freelance editor. She clarified the difference between high temperature and low temperature scenes. Then she asked writers to choose a low temperature scene from our novels or short stories and turn up the heat. We returned to our rooms to revise and turn in “before” and “after” versions for Lorin to critique. Wow. Lorin’s list of elements made such a difference in the scenes I chose!

Some of the items may seem obvious, but they have so much power printed in one spot.  I keep this list next to my computer. For me, it saves time by aligning and tightening the screws when writing a new scene or revising an old one. 

According to Lorin, High Temperature Scenes Include:

  • CONFLICT between two or more characters–physical, emotional, or psychological
  • OBSERVABLE, INTERESTING behavior on the part of characters/protagonist–characters ACTING so that we can see/experience it in our minds/guts/heart
  • TENSION in the form of unanswered questions
  • POWER taken away from the protagonist
  • POWER absent from the protagonist
  • ELEMENTS acting against characters
  • SURPRISING revelations, reversals of fortune, the unanticipated moment or response
  • EMOTIONAL challenge of the protagonist–heightened feeling, loss of control, self-revelation, reckoning with things previouswly kept hidden in the emotional realm

Lorin says that Low Temperature Scenes include:

  • AGREEMENT between two or more characters
  • Characters in ISOLATION, REFLECTING on their actions, their lives, the decisions they face
  • IMPARTING of information, answering of questions
  • EXPOSITION–summarizing of events, telling instead of showing 
  • POWER GIVEN to the protagonist
  • Protagonist ENTERING  the scene in the POWER position
  • ELEMENTS acting in the protagonist’s favor (coincidences, luck, etc.)
  • Events unfolding as EXPECTED–by both readers and characters
  • Protagonist feeling CALM/COLLECTED/UNFLAPPABLE

I challenge you to go through your short story or novel and use the checklists to determine the temperature of each scene. You will be amazed at the clarity and direction you will experience in the revision process.

Here’s to sizzling scenes!

Thanks, Lorin! You rock! 

Happy writing!

Trish Wilkinson

Where can writers go to network? Get information on the writing biz? Get feedback on work and hone their skills? A writers conference, of course. Here in San Diego, there are two, usually in January or February. I went to both last year. San Diego State University (SDSU) sponsors a large event with scads of classes, fancy folders, and agents from all over the country The information I absorbed at the conference helped me to develop my writing career in both fiction and nonfiction arenas, but truthfully, for me, this conference was a bit like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose (trite, but the description fits).  The agents, editors, and presenters were swamped with writers tugging at their shirt tails, and I felt overwhelmed.

The Southern California Writers’ Conference (SCWC) offered fewer classes, but the smaller number of participants made the presenters and agents more approachable The atmosphere was more relaxed and not only made workshop information easier to digest, it created a clearing for writers to develop lasting relationships of support and comradary. I met writers last year that still keep in touch via Facebook and email.

I’m not saying one conference is better than the other. Both have merits. Depending where my projects are in their development at the end of 2010, I may choose to attend the SDSU- read “Big City” – Writers’ Conference.

But this February, I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and to showing around the Page a Day Writers Group at the SCWC conference. I can’t wait to learn from great classes given by accomplished writers (including Kirsten Imani Kasai!) and other professionals. I know I’ll meet lots more scribes on their way up in the writing world, and we’ll spend late nights sharing snippets of prose for kudos and critique to continue the endless journey of enriching our craft.

If you’re a writer and you’ve never been to a conference, or you’ve attended conferences, but it’s been a while, what are you waiting for? You’re bound to learn a lot and meet some interesting people. Maybe you’ll make some great connections with other writers, find an agent to market your book, get some insight on how to strengthen your project or flesh out an idea.

So do some cyber surfing for a conference near you, and take the plunge!

Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!