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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Go Fish! Summer Writing Contest Announcement

Coffee and Critique
Members Only
Summer Writing Contest
Holy mackerel! It's contest time!
Wanted:  Short stories, essays, and creative nonfiction pieces with a fish-related theme.

Quota (aka word count): Between 500-1,000 words.   Entries shorter or longer will be thrown back.
Include the word count on page one.

Castoff date (aka deadline): Tuesday, Sep 3.
Contest open to Members of Coffee and Critique only.   
No Fee to enter.
Every entry must have a title. 
One entry per person.
 All entries should be typed double-spaced, 12-pitch font.

 Except for the title, no name or other identification should appear on your submission.

 On the day of the contest (Tuesday, Sep 3):

Place your entry in the folder marked ENTRIES.

Fill out a 3x5 card (I’ll provide them) with your name and the title of your submission.

Place completed card in the envelope marked CARDS WITH TITLES AND NAMES.

Readings will be done at random by volunteers.
If you pick your story out of the pool of entries, toss it back and snag another. 

Judging will be done by your piers. No critiques will be given the day of the contest.

Score each entry between one and ten (no decimals), with ten being the highest.

To put all entries on equal footing, score your own submission with a ten.

After all readings are completed, scores will be tallied.
Winners will be announced by the contest coordinator, who will not enter the contest.

Prizes: Certificates will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
(No promises, but if I can dig up a few clams from the bottom of my purse, a modest cash award will be given for 1st place.)

Bonus: Entries may be considered for inclusion in the C&C anthology.
Hook your reader!
Pen something a-lure-ing!
Put some mussel in your writing!
You’ll shore have fun!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Take Ten with W. E. (Bill) Mueller: "Success is in the Editing"

Our latest featured Coffee and Critique group member is multi-published, award-winning writer W. E. (Bill) Mueller, who calls Chesterfield, Missouri, home. 
Bill has been a valued member of Coffee and Critique for several years. He brings his wisdom, excellent writing and critique skills, sense of humor, and big-picture sensibilities about the craft of writing to the table.  
His work has appeared in numerous publications and has won awards from The Writer Magazine, Writers Digest, St. Louis Writers Guild, Saturday Writers, the Ozarks Writers League and other places. 
Peaches and Cream, his book of short stories, was published by High Hill Press, but (he writes) it is probably out of print.
Here are Bill's answer to my take-ten questions:

1. What inspired you to become a writer?

Bill: My father was a printer at the Post-Dispatch. Ink was in my blood early on. During high school I worked Saturdays in the paper's editorial/book department. Very intellectual atmosphere--all expressed in writing.

2.  What is your writing specialty?

Bill: Short stories and an occasional essay. Readers seem to prefer my Zach Bannister (P.I.) stories. Also stray into memoir writing.

3. How would you describe your writing process?

Bill: I can only write after I have the entire story in my head. I cannot simply sit at the computer and clack-away. I need the whole structure of the story in my noggin, then write it long-hand, then onto the keyboard. Success is in the editing. Weeks and weeks of editing.

4. What is the best part of being a writer?  The worst?

Bill: The best part of writing is hearing a reader say they really like your work. Winning writing contests also helps. What we all strive for is some verification that we are writers, and writing well.

The worst part of writing is waiting for inspiration. My need to have it all in my brain causes me to shout "come on gray cells, get busy."

5. What is the best writing advice you’ve received?  The worst?

Bill: The best writing advice: write in the present tense as much as possible; use strong verbs; edit, edit, edit. The worst advice is usually from someone who doesn't understand my story and offers critique.

6.  Which books on writing can you recommend for other writers?

Bill:  John Gardner's "The Art of Fiction."  An absolute must read.

 7. How has belonging to Coffee and Critique affected you as a writer?

Bill: Tuesday mornings always humbles me. I work and work, edit and edit, rewrite and rewrite my stuff till I think it's perfect, unblemished, untouchable. The Tuesday morning crew quickly cures that illusion; they alway see stuff that slides by me, like semicolons!!! Always, always have someone read your work who is impartial and honest.

8. You’ve been published numerous times and have won many awards. Which are most special to you?

Bill: Not to toot my horn, but five awards are special to me. First, the St. Louis Writers Guild Short-Story contest First Place award in 2009. Second, first place in The Writer magazine's 2009 story contest, a nation-wide magazine and competition. Third, in Writers Digest magazine contest (2011) I won second place in the crime/mystery genre; only two places were awarded. Four, I was awarded the first President's Award by the Ozark Writers League in 2010. Five, strangely, is the third place award I received this January from the St. Louis Writers Guild. When I finished reading the story, several folks had tears and I got prolonged applause, and later was told I should have won first place.

9. What three words best describe you?

Bill: Reading. Writing. Fishing. (He writes: other descriptions are unprintable)

10. What is your writing dream?  Alternate question: If you could interview one or two famous writers or historic figures living or deceased, who would they be and what would you ask them?

Bill: Let me answer both parts. I would love to have a story published in 'Ellery Queen' magazine, or one of the notable literary journals. I would love to meet Dostoyvesky and John Updike. I'd ask 'em the same ten questions you have asked me.

Thanks, Bill, for your candid answers. I always learn something when you speak.

Your many awards and publications bear witness to your belief that success is in the editing!