News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Write a novel in a month with help from Writer’s Cramp

September 16th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Even though I write for a living, the idea of writing a novel is daunting. Even my longest pieces don’t come close to a novel. (My editors might disagree.)

But I’ve signed up to do something that is a little crazy, given my schedule, but I like the challenge!

The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an international event in which participants commit to writing a novel (about 50,000 words, the word count for a short novel) during the month of November.

Our city has a lot of writers in its midst.

Seattle ranks first for word count (more than 38 million), average number of words (more than 30,000) and number of donations (almost 13,000).

Fremont’s own Writer’s Cramp is participating in this year’s challenge. Tonight’s class (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) begins the first of a six-week focus on the event at WC’s usual place, Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave. N. (Caffe Vita across the street is the overflow spot.)

The “local word jock” who teaches the classes, Taylor Houston, writes:

Writer’s Cramp is gearing up for the main event by focusing on fiction writing. Classes will include readings and discussion on writing plot and setting, crafting characters, adding dialogue, and related topics. We will also spend time just getting our brains and pens warmed up by doing lots of loosely directed free-writing. It’s all in good fun, and any writer should find the activities fun and interesting, even if he or she is not writing a novel this November.

Classes are $5-$10 per session (donation) or $30 for the six weeks.

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Collaborative Poem from Fremont Fair

June 24th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Words, when thrown together by complete strangers, can sometimes result in “something new” that reflects their own experiences: lost love, reactions to our spastic spring/summer and of course, Solstice.

On Saturday, June 19 at the Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade, local “Teacher/Writer/Word Nerd” Taylor Houston – who also runs the Writer’s Cramp at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center – set out a blank canvas at the Fremont Abbey Arts for All tent and asked anyone and everyone to add a line to a Collaborative Poem. Each writer was asked to read a few lines back and use the images, ideas, and associations generated by the lines written previously by other authors to continue the poem.

poem

About 20 writers of all ages and backgrounds added lines to the poem (15 of the authors who gave their names as listed are shown after the poem). Houston said, “the result is a rich mix a whimsical imagery mixed with tones of longing and nostalgia.” See for yourself:

Let! the Sun Shine

The Frost gone,

the rain splashes gently growing trees

our heart are warm and full…

My face gets wets I catch the ball

And in the stillness of the solstice I stop

to hear the sound of your footsteps approaching softly

against the sunny pavement! Oh, summer.

We love your warm caresses

Pots and lids of honey morning dew SPILT

Fun for everyone who doesn’t get hurt.

Press on regardless

The end is the beginning of something new

That something is breakfast…fruit loop pancakes!

Hurry before I give in and eat something else!

Eat something else–Like an Elephant–Yikes!

But save some berries for me.

Berries are the sweetest when gathered at dawn

A full moon Champagne Sunset lights my darlings eyes.

I must avert my gaze before our eyes

Get lost in each other’s stare

Just the blue haze of memories between us

Lasting long enough till autumn comes

And then floundering two bits in the careless wind of time

Winter is almost here, feel the breeze far and near

So soon the sun becomes less and less and the evening flame dies too soon.

- Authored by Linh, Bob, GM, Scott, Tom, Kateri, Terrance, Julianne, Rose, Moreah, Chantra, Chris West, Ashish Singru, Ani SeShetler, Lauren Marshall, and a few anonymous authors.

This is Writer’s Cramp first such project, and hopes to stage other similar projects at future Seattle events. Writer’s Cramp is a writing class that meets Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fremont Abbey, 4272 Fremont Ave N. in Seattle. The class is open to adult writers of all levels and interests. For more information, please see the web site or check the events listing at www.fremontabbey.org. Writer’s Cramp is also on Facebook and Twitter (@writerscramp1).

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