The First Step and the Next Step

Every writer dreams of publishing their book and making money from it. But that dream can feel overwhelming. Where should we start?

Kyle Pratt, a local best-selling author, knows how to find success in the world of indie-publishing and on December 12 and 16 he will be giving a two-part program on how anyone can find similar success.

On December 12, the Centralia Library is having a Thank Goodness it’s Over (TGIO) party to celebrate the end of Nanowrimo and help authors do something with the manuscript they worked on during November. Kyle will be speaking about the business of writing and the four means of publishing available to authors in the digital age.

The party is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Everyone is invited, not just Nanowrimo participants. This is part one of Kyle’s two-part program. The second part will be at the Lewis County Writer’s Guild meeting on Friday so plan to bookend your week with great publishing information.

The Guild’s regular meeting will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Kyle will be our speaker and he will explain how to market your book once you have it published. Because what’s the point of publishing a book if no one reads it? Kyle has tried many different types of marketing and he will share what works best without leaving you feeling icky.

Kyle’s Program Schedule

The First Step (publishing your book)

What: Nanowrimo TGIO Party

Where: Centralia Library

When: Monday, December 12, 4-6 p.m.

The Second Step (marketing your book)

What: Lewis County Writer Guild’s monthly meeting

Where: The Station Coffee Bar and Bistro, 120 S Tower Ave, Centralia, WA

When: Friday, December 16, 5 p.m. social hour, 6 p.m. program

Hope to see you there!

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Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

Amy shared this list at the last meeting. It has lots of great tips and food for thought.

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
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Plot Prompts and Amy’s Advice

Amy gave a wonderful talk last Friday. She started by sharing a variety of writing books with everyone and encouraged us to find helpful tips inside these books. We then shared two or three meaningful suggestions that we found in our books. If anyone wants to learn more from these books they can all be found at a Timberland library near you.

Are you interesting in participating in Nanowrimo this year? Amy explained how the program works and there were several writers interested in joining this November. She would gladly assist anyone who wants to participate. There will be write-ins every Monday in November starting at 5 p.m. at the Centralia Library for those who want to hang out with other ambitious writers.

At the end of the evening, we had a great time writing for 5 minutes using creative prompts. Our guild is filled with very witty wordsmiths. If you would like to stir your creative juices like we did, you can find all of Amy’s prompts below. I found them all quite inventive.

  1. You are having a conversation with your friend when all of a sudden they turn into a frog.
  2. You literally bump into your Soulmate
  3. Your character wakes up to find a nondescript black box with two buttons on it next to their bed. One is labeled “press here to continue as normal” and the other one is labeled “?”.
  4. At birth, everyone has a date they will die tattooed on their arm. Yours was yesterday.
  5. Your character was given a treasure map. Your choice: How they got the map, the journey to the treasure, or what they found.
  6. Make a normal task the Most. Dramatic. Thing. EVER!
  7. Your character is claustrophobic and gets stuck in an elevator
  8. Your character is suddenly famous. Only he or she has no idea why.
  9. As you’ve slept, the teddy bear you adore has fought off demons to keep you safe. The night before you decide you’re going to get rid of him, seeing as how you’ve outgrown him, you awake to witness his last stand against the forces that intend to forever corrupt your childhood innocence.
  10. Write a story inspired by your favorite song
  11. Bored bored bored! Your character is left with nothing to do and, for some reason, has to remain in the same location.
  12. Your character videotapes a confession. Don’t just include the words of the confession.



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Oct 21st Meeting -Plots, Prompts, and Nanowrimo

Long time member Amy Flugel will be presenting a three-part program at this month’s meeting. What a deal!

During her program ” Plotting Your Way Out of a Paper Bag” she will share some plotting prompts designed to drive your characters, and their creators, crazy!  If you love writing prompts this will be a lot of fun. If you hate writing prompts, this will still be a lot of fun because you don’t have to do them but you can listen to other people’s plot creations. All writers need an audience.

Also, if you have a story that you are working on and are stuck, bring it along and we can do some group brainstorming to move the plot along. Sometimes your plot problem can be solved by talking about it.

And, since NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, there will be a small introduction to the large event that keeps writers busy and more antisocial than normal for a whole month! Whether you are a Nano expert or wondering what this weird word means, Amy will have all the details.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m and we have a social hour beforehand. You’ll find us at the Station Coffee Bar and Bistro, 120 S Tower Ave in Centralia, Washington. They have great food and drinks so come and socialize.

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A Look at the Year Ahead

Below are the minutes from last Friday’s meeting. We made lots of plans but still need your help. If you have any ideas for monthly meeting programs or ways to bring in new members let Pat know. The Guild is only as strong as its members and we want to be a valuable asset to all the writers in Lewis County.

Meeting Minutes LCWG September 16, 2016

Current officers:

  • President – Pat Thompson
  • Vice President – Kyle Pratt
  • Treasurer – Jennifer Vandenberg
  • Event Coordinator – Amy Flugel
  • Note Taker – Jennifer Vandenberg
  • Tech – Larry Roth

Anyone on the board can be reached through the Lewis County Writer’s Guild Facebook Group or at any Friday meeting.

Topics for monthly meeting (subject to change)

  • October 21, 2016 – Plotting Your Way Out of a Paper Bag by Amy Flugel
  • November 18, 2016 – Nanowrimo event
  • December 16, 2016 – Program by Kyle Pratt
  • January 20, 2017 – Program by Jennifer Vandenberg
  • February 17, 2017 – PNWA Conference recap by Pat Thompson
  • March 17, 2017 – TBA
  • April 21, 2017 – Creativity by Larry Roth
  • May 19, 2017 – Annual Potluck
  • June 16, 2017 – TBA
  • July 21, 2017 – No meeting, critique group instead
  • August 18, 2017 – No meeting, critique group instead
  • September 15, 2017 – Idea round up for next year

We have three months with nothing planned. If anyone has any ideas please let Amy or Pat know.

Possible program ideas if anyone would like to present:

  • How to give a useful critique
  • Read from a favorite book
  • How to find and utilize an on-line critique group

We would like to have more writers join our group and are looking for any outreach ideas.

  • Amy will be creating a poster that we can put up around the county.
  • Pat is creating business cards to hand out at writing events.
  • Kyle will look into getting an article in the Chronicle regarding Nanowrimo and our group’s participation.
  • Jennifer is going to explore how to make the website more useful to current and new members and would love any input provided.

If anyone has any ideas to bring in new members please let Pat know.



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It’s Potluck Time Again

On July 15, we will be having our annual potluck. This year, Vice President, Kyle Pratt, has opened up his lovely, rural home for the event. Thanks, Kyle! Plates will be provided, but things like cups, silverware, and napkins are still needed. And of course, it wouldn’t be a potluck if you don’t bring a dish to share. So mark the calendar, take off your writing hat, put on your chef’s hat, and we’ll see you on Friday.

The details:

What: Lewis County Writer’s Guild Annual Potluck

When: July 15, 2016 around 5 p.m.

Where: Kyle Pratt’s house. 378 Harmon Road, Chehalis, WA 98532

Why: To hang out with fellow writers, eat good food, and have fun

RSVP: You can leave a message below, or comment on the Facebook Group. If you can bring stuff like silverware let us know.

Questions: If there is anything I forgot to mention or if you have a question feel free to email Jennifer at

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Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely pursuit

There’s a cliche about writers that we all lurk in castle towers, like Rapunzel, tapping on our typewriters and never talking to anyone. While I doubt that was ever true, it’s especially not true in the 21st century. With the internet, writing groups, and a ton of great conferences, writers around the world are building communities with like minded souls.

Jordan Hartt, our speaker at this month’s meeting, understands this very well. He is a reader, writer, and writing teacher who works to build community through writing. He directly facilitates five annual writing retreats, serving just over two thousand writers per year. Creative work has appeared in many literary magazines and journals: a collection of rainy, watery narrative poems, “Leap,” appeared in 2015.

Hartt will share ideas about how to develop supportive and inspirational community as writers. I am looking forward to this talk since I love being part of this community, but sometimes feel trapped in the tower.

Jordan also wants to write an article for LewisTalk about the thriving community of the Lewis County Writers’ Guild itself, so come to social hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and let him know how great our community is.

See you on Friday, May 20, at 5:00. Have you tried the Station Panini? It’s really good. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!



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