Thursday, December 17, 2009

Polishing It Up

So it's nearly Christmas, and I'm in full swing on the editing process of the novel. It's going well (or at least I feel it is), and I'm working on adding in some material that I passed over during the initial writing of the piece. I've also had a big breakthrough in how the magic works in my world, which has become a much more important aspect of the story than I'd originally thought. So I'm pleased overall.

Editing has always been something I enjoy. A lot of my colleagues (fellow writers) loathe the editing process, finding it boring and tedious. To me, it's the editing process that really brings out the brilliant parts of the story. The time and effort that gets put into editing really brings out the writer in every writer, because it really utilizes the skills of looking at the story in a broader sense, taking into consideration characterization, theme, plot, and everything else on a global scale, rather than scene-by-scene. It's a process I like, and I'm eager to be going through it with a novel that I feel has some real potential (moreso than my previous attempts at a novel).

I'm hoping to finish -- or at least have a good portion done -- before the end of the year, as January will be very busy. I'm working to change a bunch of things in The JB Dryden Company that I hope will bring in some more money. One of those things is to bring The Milwaukee Writers Workshop under the fold of the company and start offering a variety of services geared toward the writers I already serve. I'm both excited and nervous, because it's a big step for me to charge for things I've given away for free for so long, but I think it's a good step for my company and my career. At least, I hope it is.

I've never been one for resolutions with the new year, but I believe my goal for 2010 is to get this novel sent out. Having spent years sending out short works, I know the feeling of rejection but also of acceptance and having people read your work. It's a great sensation. Doing it on the scale of a novel is something entirely new to me, though, and it scares me more than sending out short stories ever has, so I've been hesitant to do it with the other piece I have (which is complete). So we'll see how that goes.

Best wishes to everyone for the holidays. I'll probably see you next year. Cheers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Keeping Motivated

November has been a busy month with NaNoWriMo and with just three days left until the end of the month (a little less given the time of day on Saturday that I'm writing this) it's gone very well. I've neglected a few things -- like blogs, Facebook updates, Tweets, etc. -- in favor of getting my word count, and I'm proud of the progress that I've made.

Come December I will be reviewing my work and beginning the polishing process, as well as revising an old novella of mine to finish it off. It'll be a nice combination because they're both pieces inspired by the same time-period: one is an homage to Charles Dickens (complete with a main character whose name is Charles) in a city not too dissimilar from London in the 1800s; the other is a steampunk story in a city very like a mid-sized one from America or Britain during the Industrial Revolution.

I've had some battles with myself over the course of the month -- the worst I've had in a while -- over the validity of my work, the worth of it, the reason for it all. It's frustrating to doubt yourself; it's even more so to produce so much and question why you're even doing it to begin with. I've been lucky to have a lot of support from friends, writing colleagues, and my girls, so that's helped. I just wonder sometimes how plausible it is to really move forward with a work like this.

I enjoy the editing process, though, and I hope that will invigorate me as I begin to piece through both works and try to find what it is I love about them. I haven't done much with "the Charles story" (which is what I call it because after six years it still has no title), and I'm eager to delve into it again and fall in love with favorite character.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Things That Make Me Cry

I've been running a writers workshop in a town north of where I live. Last night was the third meeting, and it went well -- as have all the others. We are working on characters and character development, because the majority of the writers there are new to the craft and have a lot to learn. I think creating believable characters are always a great place to start to write memorable stories.

As a good example of character development, I read Mary Robison's Yours, which is a poignant story about a man and his wife carving pumpkins before Halloween. I've read the story a dozen times, or more, and yet something about it at that reading nearly made me cry in front of the group. There's something about short stories -- and I suppose novels are the same way, only they take longer to read -- that hits you at a certain time and strikes a chord. That's part of why I love short stories. Each reading gives something new to the reader; each new interaction with the story sheds some new light on the reader's perspective of the world. It is that moment -- that personal revelation -- that I really strive to find in others' works, as well as my own.

Writing has been going well lately, though, which I'm happy about. NaNoWriMo is in full swing and even with folks in town and a new niece, I've been happy to have reached my word count every day (plus a little extra).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Begin at the Beginning

So NaNoWriMo is coming up quick, and I'm much better prepared this year than I was the last two - and especially last year. I've settled on the Steampunk genre, and I've got a fairly good plot outline. The YA aspect is a bit sketchy, but that's because I'm very new to the arena, and some of it is self-doubt. I'm sure I'll get over that.

One of the threads on the NaNo forum asks for a 20-word plot summary, which I decided to do, because I think that a one-sentence concept is always a good place to start (mine is a little over - but no worries). It's what I have my students start with when I teach the mechanics of a short story; it's what producers will ask for if you ever submit a screenplay (though that call it your log line).

So here's mine (please give some thoughts/comments): A young boy is thrown into a world of political under-dealings when he begins to question the death of his inventor uncle.

More next time. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stroking the Muse

Someone recently asked me whether I thought "The Muse" was fact or fiction. Being a writer, other writers consistently ask what my muse is, where it comes from, how I react to it; at the same time, non-writers ask me what I think it is. Quite plainly - after years of frustration, story after story written, and time spent supporting other writers - I think The Muse is an excuse.

What are you talking about? you say.

Too often, the muse is a good thing when you produce and a bad thing when you can't. Thus, to me, it's a "Fair weather Johnson" kind of effect. It's like writer's block. The best way to get rid of either is to just write. Sit down; get your thoughts out; eventually, you will produce something. Waiting for the Muse to hit or claiming that you have writer's block is a way to say "I don't really have time for this."

Granted, even the most prolific, dedicated writer needs a break from writing, and it's OK to admit that. To use the muse as an excuse as to why you haven't written anything, though, isn't productive. When you've written something truly great, that's precisely what it is: don't give credit to some unseen entity; take pride in your hard work that's paid off. And when you can't get something out, just say so. You'll be able to produce something soon enough when you sit down and get your thoughts out of your head.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ideology, Pt. 2

I've been discussing the nature of ideology and steampunk a lot over on the Brass Goggles forums lately. Even after a few posts, it has become very clear to me that my vision of the genre is completely different from most of those who frequent the forums. I have always been one to take a serious approach to literature. As I've mentioned before, I feel like fiction ought to have a purpose: whether that purpose is to entertain or enlighten is entirely up to the author. For me, I want my readers to walk away having gained something more than just a fun story to add to their list of "have reads."

In light of the discussion, I began to think very specifically about the nature of genre and its meaning to people. So I've added to my list of tasks to research a number of others' views on genre and genre theory as it pertains to speculative fiction and begin to formulate my own ideas to either grow out of those thoughts or stand in opposition to them.

In general, I believe genre fiction has a unique place in the repertoire of literature because it has the ability to speak towards topics untouchable by mainstream fiction by placing them in a context that is either foreign or futuristic (or some other conception). It has the potential to talk about things in a way that other authors might be shunned by the general populace for bringing up. With that in mind, I think that there is something to be said for some of the movement towards strictly embracing a particular movement's aesthetic aspect only. To disregard ideology is to lose part of what makes a particular genre or sub-genre stand out and bring home its message.

I invite you to join in on the discussion over at the forums if you're keen on discussing steampunk. Otherwise, your thoughts here are always welcome.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ideologies Abound

Literary movements typically happen without an express intent to do so. Writers working under similar perceptions of the nature of language, writing, politics, society, or whatever else drives a writer to write, tend to create movements inadvertently by writing in similar fashion. Modernism was a response to the Romantic idealism of the 19th Century. Post-Modernism was a response to the traditionally-bound and structurally-minded artists of Modernism. This is the way of movements: the writers didn't intentionally try to create a movement; it just happened.

The "punk" movement in science-fiction is a good example of this. For very general information, you can look up cyberpunk and steampunk on Wikipedia (though the information is certainly less than exhaustive). Both of these movements were created in reaction to a previous way of thinking; both of them created a new movement that spawned a way in which to present a story.

I believe, however, that both of them are dead - or at least not progressing - movements. Cyberpunk has run its course. It's message has been stated, and the reaction has been made. Steampunk has also run its course, ideologically, though it is still around as an aesthetic. The stylized nature of the sub-genre has produced more than its fair share of fashion, movies, and styles. But it can be revived.

Why am I bringing this up? Because my current project lies in the attempt to recreate a new steampunk. The message of the first wave of steampunk has been sung; I think, though, that the environment can be kept and a new message inserted. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm reading a fair amount of literature that I hope will inspire a new idea (one I already have in mind but wish to solidify) and some essays. When I'm done, it will either be a grand success or a very educational failure.

I'll keep everyone informed :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strangely Motivated

The Editor-at-Large of Every Day Fiction just got back from Clarion West this past weekend, and I caught up on his blog (after a brief discussion about a rejection I received from EDF - only my second). It got me thinking about the amount of writing I actually produce in a given time.

When I started writing consistently, I was in my sophomore year of college - yes, I said college. I had written a few bits and pieces in high school but only at the mercy of the Muse. When I started writing more frequently, it was more on the pressing of deadlines for classes. Material was spotty at best and rarely worth more than a once-over after it was critiqued.

(I learned something then that I have stuck with since: your drafts (first, second, possibly third) are going to be poor. They're drafts for a reason. So it's ok to produce material that you're not initially pleased with so long as you give it out to others to read, and then polish after. But I digress.)

It also taught me to write when I didn't feel like it, write when I could have been doing other things, and write when it needed to be done. Writing is - and always will be - a job for me. I enjoy it at the same time that it gets on my nerves when I feel like I have to do it. I've set it aside for a bit too long, though, and I haven't really produced anything new in about two months (possibly longer). I feel that I have a lot of good ideas, but it just takes time out of doing things that are a lot less brain-cell-using and fun.

So outside of strapping yourself in a chair and forcing yourself to write, I offer you these bits of advice to get yourself writing on a regular basis - which I will begin to use, too, in conjunction with a program I'm starting with the Milwaukee Writers Workshop.

  1. Make a schedule. Even if you only decide to write for an hour a week, make sure you keep yourself to it. It does you no good to set it and not adhere to it. If it's important enough to you, tell your family and friends and ask them to respect it.

  2. Don't self edit. Every writer thinks that they "could've worded that better" and that's fine, but wait until polishing to take that task up. It doesn't help the story when you're first writing it.

  3. Finish the story. They're no good if they're sitting on a shelf, or in a file, unfinished and unable to be read and worked on. So finish them already.

  4. Find a distraction-free space. Everyone is distracted by different things. For me, it's my cats (or computer games, or books). So find somewhere that you know you work well and go there to write.

  5. Critique and Polish. Once you finish the story (and you will finish), give it to a critique group, so they can offer feedback. Then polish it and send it out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Give Me Purpose!

Why do you write? What drives you to put words to paper or screen?

I write because I have something to say, and I want to world to learn about my vision of the world. There is much to make commentary on in society and the world at large, and I use my writing to do just that. I have a purpose in writing. I believe that that is the difference between "literary" fiction and non-.

Too many people get hung up on writing what they deem to be literary fiction, when inevitably someone else makes that decision for them. I intend each time I write to produce something that will one day be literary, because I write fiction that has a definitive purpose. To me, that purpose makes my fiction literary as opposed to commercial (using the definition of literary not to mean "good, scholarly, 'important' fiction").

This was a topic of discussion between me and another writer colleague of mine. To both of us, there was a significant difference between writing that sought only to entertain - that is, to provide titillating fiction with no drive for the reader to have to work at it - and writing that is meant to enlighten. The difference between the two is something of a personal definition in my opinion, and I think it's pretentious to try and impose your own definition on someone else's fiction. However, to understand the literary community and the editors who (unfortunate though it is sometimes) hold reign over it.

The term 'literary' has been used too often to be the definition of "good" fiction. Fiction that doesn't adhere to the formula of the classics tends to be looked down upon as "commercial" or "mainstream" well before it gets the appropriate reading that it deserves. Editors love to think that they're in the powerful position of helping to continually redefine what is literary, when it can only be proven that future generations will be the one to determine what sticks around and what does not. Despite the academic community's refusal to recognize genre fiction as "literary," books like The Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds, and Brave New World continue to be wildly popular and in the case of LOTR the second most purchased book in the 20th Century. How, then, does this make them less literary when all of them teach us a variety of things and enlighten us to the widely different ways of human nature?

In the end, find your own purpose. This is just my definition. But you should have one, because to write is to put your very passion out to the world and if you're doing it "just cuz" then you're opening yourself up to a world of painful rejection, which is never a good thing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Time Is of the Essense

The last month has been dedicated, very heavily, to the polishing of a novella that I've had completed for nearly three years (perhaps four, though my memory eludes me). I've had it critiqued, rewritten it, critiqued again, and sat on a shelf for six months. What I've found through the process of this polish is that time in stories is a uniquely difficult thing to master. So here are some of my thoughts on timelines of stories.

Originally the story I'm working on had a host of flashbacks that I felt illuminated particular parts of my main character's past. However, those flashbacks were all within the 10-year timeline that the entire story took place in. While I felt like the flashbacks were beneficial to the story, I began to realize the timeline itself was disjointed. So I've combined a number of them into longer flashbacks that elaborate a bit better than the previous ones did.

Flashbacks, in my opinion, are useful in giving perspective to a story. We see what the main character is like in the "present" time of the story; flashbacks give us a picture of what they were like before the story.

The trouble with flashbacks, I've found, is learning where to place them and how to distinguish them. Transitions are one of the toughest things, and I have never been a big fan of the old trope of putting in dates. While I understand that dates are easy time markers, they don't have a place in certain stories, and there has to be a new way to identify such things. I decided to mention my main characters age as close to the beginning of the chapter as possible in order to give the reader an indication of when in time they are.

My suggestion, having used a lot of different methods for playing with time in a story, is to write it linearly first. Then, determine where the story really starts and see if there is an opportunity to put in flashbacks. Otherwise, don't do it until you've got a story that really requires them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Burst of Inspiration

For a long time, I've been working on notes and details and maps (nearly everything but writing) in my world of Dalurin. It's an expansive world, and I have a lot of faith in it - and not just because I'm the one creating it. I've written two legends of some length that are based in the world, and those are good material for future writing, but they're not really the kind of thing to try and publish first. And while I believe that my first novel, Shadows of Mati, has some legs, it needs considerable work, and I don't know that I want it to be the first publication based in my world.

Last night, however, I came across a great idea. This next bit is mine (just as a declaration of sorts) so no snatching.

In the world of Dalurin, there is - at present - a great deal of magic. It is present in much of the world, save for the monotheistic kingdoms, where it is used only for specific purposes and almost exclusively under the direction of the ruler of a particular kingdom. There are powerful mages, certainly, and many come and go; however, the catalyst of this particular story is a specific magic ritual that has been contemplated for centuries but never attained and certainly not perfected. So when rumors of the successful accomplishment of this ritual reaches our MC, he is afraid of many things that will happen, and he takes it upon himself to get a commission from the king to go and investigate - and potentially stop the mage responsible.

Unlike a great deal of the great fantasy works, my underlying mission with this and all of my fantasy novels is to extend beyond tropes (not cliches). There are a lot of things that work in fantasy, and there are a lot of things that are just "standard." I want to try and do something new with certain things; one of them is magic. The other is the races in my world. For anyone who's ever role-played with me, I've never been a fan of tradition, even as a student of speculative fiction. I enjoy it; it has it's place; but I like to step outside the box. So I'm hoping to produce something that will make people feel refreshed and yet satisfied at the same time.

In other news, I applied to two editorial positions yesterday, so we'll see how that goes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Thoughts on WriteCamp

WriteCamp was here in Milwaukee this past Saturday, June 6th - for those of you who haven't heard me gabbing about it for the last two months. I believe that it was a huge success, and I am eager for the next iteration of it.

Over the course of the day, I learned a few things:

1. Writers are not nearly as isolated and introverted as people think. Not only did we have nearly 80 people, but all of those people were on-board with the whole notion of participant-driven sessions and interacting with as many people as they could while they were there.

2. Writers are savvy networkers. I saw more people interacting with complete strangers at this conference than I ever saw at UWM's Spring Writing Festival. That's not to knock that conference, because it's great, but the atmosphere at WriteCamp was so much more relaxed and open, that people felt comfortable stepping out of their bubble.

3. Milwaukee's community is big. Outside of the members of The Milwaukee Writers Workshop who showed up to the event, there were a large number of people who I've never met. We did, however, have people come all the way up from Chicago-land.

4. Community - or the notion of community - is changing dramatically. I had more than one person come up to me during the conference and say that they enjoyed the approachable nature of the conference and how they felt more apt to share and listen than they do at their regular group or with their colleagues. This made me happy.

WriteCamp is an evolution in the way we think about how people in the writing/editing/publishing world think about disseminating knowledge to the world at large. Traditional means are working anymore, and no one likes the idea of the acedemic world thinking that they have the keys to the publishing world by determining what's "good" and "bad." WriteCamp proved that there are more experts in the world than people know about, and they're willing to share, to mentor, and to support the community that they're becoming a part of.

Let's hope that word spreads about WriteCamp and that we can hope to begin fostering a new generation of writers who believe in our mission. Thank you to everyone who attended, participated, volunteered, and came up to me and said nice things.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Distractions 5/26/09

With WriteCamp coming up in two weeks, things have been a bit hectic. However, I managed to polish off an old short story, titled "Terminal." I think that it's a bit stronger now, and I will begin to do my bit of research to figure out where would be best to send it.

My next goal will be to finish off a story that I started at an MWW workshop about a month ago. I've been listening to a lot of Snow Patrol lately, and I keep getting better and better ideas for how this story will go. Essentially it's a tale about a reporter who visits a town that's been hit by a meteor (which I might possibly change) only to discover that it's the town where an old flame from college - some 30 years previous - is living and dying of cancer. It's to be a story with a bit of nostalgia for the two, some obvious undertones of romance, and perhaps a bit of reconciliation after years of regretting a break up in college. I know, it's romantic :-)

Anyway, I'm very excited for WriteCamp, and I keep getting a lot of good compliments and comments about it, so I'm very hopeful about it. I sent out for some new JB Dryden Co business cards, which should be good, and I'll be getting some MWW cards, too. Yay!

Until next time. Cheers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fresh Ideas

I've been very pleased lately with my writing.  Or, rather, the fact that I've been writing.  I polished a story I had not even looked at in quite some time and began a new story that I'd had in my head for a while.  I suppose distractions were my biggest reason for not writing but more importantly I think it was a mental block.

I get that way sometimes - as I'm sure plenty of other folks do, too.  I find it hard to break the cycle of "oh, well, I'll get to it tomorrow" when I'm so busy dealing with other things.  I have been bad about practicing what I preach (regarding writing on a regular basis), and I feel badly about it.  I feel like I've been abandoning my own craft for other things.  But I'm glad to be back on track.

I think that we, as writers, get pulled aside so often to do other things that we forget our passion at times.  Or maybe it's just me.

In other news, WriteCamp is just two weeks away, and I'm getting a little annoyingly excited about it.  Already we have a good collection of sessions, our keynotes, and a fair amount of registered folks.  I think it's going to be a wonderful event, and it will be a great establishing of the community for future events.  As with everything else I'm doing this year, I'm being very positive and considering this part of me "Year of Boone."  If nothing else, I will have learned a great deal about event planning by the end of things.

That is all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Make It Mean Something

I was speaking with one of my students the other day, and she asked, "What is it about short stories that make them stand out?" I asked her if she meant stand out from other stories or stand out as a medium for fiction. She wanted both answers.

So . . . what makes certain short stories stand out from other short stories?

For me, it's stories that mean something. Not in the truly metaphorical way but more in the metaphysical one. They have to speak to me in some way - make me connect with the story, the characters, the concept, something. I want to walk away from a short story with having gained some sense of the author's truth about the world.

Perhaps it's the literary mind in me. Perhaps it's the theorist as well. For a long time, I thought that there was a slight sense of arrogance to my preference (and I'll admit that might be part of it) - a hold-over from my academic days where criticism meant the world. Honestly, though, I think that it comes from a continually-growing love of short fiction. I try and read as much as I can when I can afford it and go to the library when I can't. So I've digested a lot of fiction in the last three years. To me, the stories that resonate the most are the ones that I respond to in some way. Whether it's "Wow, that was great" or "What the hell did I just read?"

And . . . what makes short stories stand out from other fiction media?

I will give you my thoughts, and then I will give you the thoughts of two individuals that I highly agree with.

First, I think that it takes a distinct desire to create something concise when one is writing a short story. And with that in mind the author gives himself a challenge to put together one grand thought into a short amount of space. I think it's a challenge because we have want to say what others have said before, but we want to say it our way, and we want it to resonate with someone in a way that it hasn't done before.

Second, I think that short stories are wonderful and diverse and offer a way to be creative, artistic, experimental, and out of the ordinary. Novels are hard to sell and harder still to make "out of the box." Poetry is, by its nature, out of the ordinary. It speaks to the soul in a way that the short story speaks to the mind. And fiction on stage and screen is dramatic and visual; it's hard to compare that to fiction most times.

I think it's best summed up by these two quotes:

Martha Foley, one of the first editors of the Best American series said, "A good short story is a story which is not too long and which gives the reader the feeling she has undergone a memorable experience." I think that Barbara Kingslover - the author - expands upon that nicely: "A good short story cannot simply be Lit Lite; it is the successful execution of large truths delivered in tight spaces."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thoughts: 5/12/09

It's a quiet night in Milwaukee, and I'm up later than I ought to be after a long day and very little sleep last night. I'm listening to the new Better Than Ezra album and feeling hopeful. WriteCamp is coming up in little less than a month, and I'm very excited about it.

I wrote a steampunk flash fiction piece the other day that I'm fairly happy with. I had my wife read over it, and she said that there's little to draw you in to it, so I'm looking to retool it with a different point-of-view, perhaps, or something a bit more compelling. Perhaps it's a longer story than I'm making it: the character of Doctor Luscowicz is a good one; maybe I need to give him more attention than I have already.

I've also been jotting notes for a few essay ideas regarding creative education, literary theory, and something related to mentorship. I seem to have been doing a lot of "here's my thoughts on writing" rants/discussions/speeches lately, and I might as well see if I can capitalize on them. I might not be original (read, I'm probably reiterating much of what Ken Robinson has said - it's a video, fyi), but I feel that there are a lot of people locally who might not have the same venues that I have and so have not heard what he's got to say about those topics.

I think it's too late to really continue. Just some thoughts for the day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sad Songs Say So Much

I'm sitting in the library of the local university, and I'm listening to sad music. Why? It just strikes me sometimes that I need to listen to other peoples' sad stories; it helps me recognize the pain in the world and put it into my own writing. Some songs are so brilliantly written and poignant that they make me truly sad inside. It is my sincere hope that my own fiction will one day elicit that response from at least one reader. I believe that all writers should have a similar hope: to elicit an appropriate response from their readers in such a way that it completes their work - and not because their work was incomplete before - but because a reader, in my opinion, makes a work what it is for them.

I've been working on two pieces lately.

One is about a society forced into quiet acceptance and obedience made possible by forceful removal of dissenting voices. It is about a young man whose father is taken away, and he begins a revolution that is eventually - and sadly - quelled and forgotten, as is often the case in such societies.

The other is about a woman who feels that her life has come unraveled to a point that she feels her only course of action is to leave her husband - a man whose only true joy in life is his job. It takes place over the course of an evening as she waits for him to return home, so she can tell him why she is leaving, giving him some semblance of dignity, only to wake up in the morning to find that he's not come home. So she leaves regardless.

I don't know why it is that sad stories move me - they always have.

Friday, May 1, 2009

WriteCamp Ahoy!

June 6th seemed so far away not too long ago. Now, here it is only a month away. The inaugural WriteCamp here in Milwaukee is about to be unleashed upon the world. I'm very excited about the progress the planning board has made over the course of the last three months. As it stands now, we have about 40-50 people signed up officially, at least a dozen or so more than that unofficially, and we have folks coming all the way from Chicago to join us. I think it's going to be a great event.

So that's what I've been working on. I've had a lot of opportunity to speak a lot about WriteCamp and what it is and what it's meant to function as, and I've come to realize that people don't understand it. The literary community is so engrained with academia that the thought of a free exchange of knowledge is baffling to most of them. So often I've heard the phrase "Well, people don't like to do things for free," and it disappoints me. Offering things for free shows to the community that we're here to support the community - without having that feeling of "obligatory compensation."

I hope the community here in Milwaukee shortly sees that we're here to help. Not only is the Milwaukee Writers Workshop here as a support group, but groups like Robinson Writers and individuals like Liam Callahan are here to be a part of the community.

If you haven't heard of it - btw - please visit for more information.