Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Greater Cleveland Writer's Group | May


Working Steampunk laptop. Not exactly relevant, but awesome.
Via Geekologie.


Twenty writers with all sorts of day jobs enjoyed the written word tonight on the top deck of the Keasarge, a converted steamship built in 1892.

Our little group talked of technique, character development, markets and other Very Important Things while floating next to a rusting, brown submarine. The Cleveland skyline was at our backs, and small jets and helicopters zoomed overhead every ten minutes or so. If you squinted really hard through the setting sun, the whole of it could have worked as the background for a Steampunk novel.

Happily for me, this was not like the college writers' groups I'd attended years ago. For one, there was enough wine to power a number of conversations that actually got somewhere (read: business deals). The group's organizer is a publisher who is working on projects with at least two of the writers.

Almost as important, some considerable writing talent was present in the guise of Ralph Lauren glasses and video producers, ghost writers and chefs of Irish cuisine, a programmer or two, a nurse, a weathered gardener, and a linguist. My favorite character of the bunch was the aspiring finance guru whose car had just broken down.

He read to us from a well-written, humorous first chapter about making a million bucks off a McDonald's salary with the right investment plan. The target audience is those people who are freshly out of jail with no higher prospect than working in a fast food chain.

I didn't want to play group gadfly on my first encounter, so I let someone else raise the obvious question- being, of course: "Ha-HA! Why aren't YOU a millionaire?!". I mean, it's the first thing anyone should ask, and a major flaw in his case for getting it published.

His response to that wasn't objectionably bad. He said it was a living, working plan, and he'd had some setbacks, which he'll also write about. This works because it's first going to be a class given in jails to get inmates thinking about jobs and saving or investing for their future. This author has experiences they can relate to, which is important for skeptical people.

It's not my mess, but I'm looking forward to his progress and to his writing style as he's quite entertaining.

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