Saturday Night Write

Saturday Night Write meets on the third Saturday of each month to provide instruction and encouragement to writers in the community surrounding UT Arlington (and anyone else who wants to drive out to meet up with us). Our discussion leader presents a structured topic and background research to spark interactive participation, focusing on various aspects of craft. Everyone is welcome to join us for these FREE events.

Time: 4-6 PM

Location: Saturday Night Write will be meeting virtually until further notice. I hope you all look at this as an opportunity to explore ways to bring more people to our group and enrich our experience. You will notice that the topics have changed from what was originally on the web site. I think we all need to reconnect with the joy of writing, and the ways we can use words to escape the everyday, so I’m listing some of my favorite topics for that for April and May.

April 18: Making Your Worldbuilding Seamless — Worldbuilding isn’t just for speculative fiction. Whether you’re writing present day New York or a planet on the other side of the galaxy, you still need to convince the reader that they are reading about a “real” world. So how do you give the illusion that your world lives and breathes off the page?

May 16: Poetic Language Techniques for Fiction Writers — How can you add depth and meaning with your writing using poetic technique without going overboard and venturing into purple prose? We will discuss finding the balance, and how to effectively use a number of techniques.

June 20: New Takes on Old Ideas — Everything old becomes new again. What makes mashups, retold tales, and flipped tropes so popular? How can you handle these types of stories?

July 18: Avoiding Infodumps (While Keeping Readers from Getting Confused) — How to add information to the story at just the right time so your readers never feel a lull in the pace of your story.

August 15: Writing the Difficult Bits (The PartsYou Find Emotionally Difficult or Have a Hard Time Approaching — How to overcome the blocks in your writing when you are uncomfortable with what needs to happen next in your story.

September 19 – Generating Exciting Plot Elements – Sometimes writers get stuck in the middle of their books, looking for exciting plot points and re-defining plot twists. You want to generate exciting plot elements – without losing the heart of your story, and the shape of your initial vision. Join the discussion to consider: How do you brainstorm ideas without losing the central focus of your story? How do you make your ideas unexpected – yet logical? What are some general categories for exciting plot elements?

October 17 – Getting in Touch with Your Characters’ Emotions – It is often said that character is story. Readers need to get close to your characters to find that story interesting. One way to help readers stay with your character as the story progresses is to the let the reader inside your characters’ emotion. Join the discussion to consider: How do you get in touch with what your character is feeling from scene to scene, and how this changes over the course of the story? Where is the line between vulnerability in a character and melodrama? How do you portray emotion on the page?

November 21 – Managing Point of View – Your story’s narrator(s) will make a big difference in the story you tell. The same events told on a large scale with multiple points of view versus being told by a single first-person observer can change which events can be included in the story, the available settings to work with, and the level of worldbuilding that can be introduced. Considering how important the decisions are regarding POV, you want to put intention and thought into them. Join our discussion to consider: What are the pros and cons of different possible POV choices? Are there benefits to having a character who is the narrator but not the protagonist? How can you avoid “head-hopping” and other POV pitfalls?

December 19 – Using Foreign and Created Language in Stories – When writing a novel, one of your main jobs is to teach the reader about your story’s world. One way to do this is through how your characters and your narrator use language. Sometimes invented or foreign language can help solidify a story’s time and place, or define a specific character. Sometimes it overwhelms the reader and muddles things. Join our discussion to consider: How do you design constructed language so that it is consistent and has the feel of a real language, as opposed to random words on the page? How do you make characters sound like they are using lived language rather than “dictionary” language? How do you teach the language to the reader as the characters use it?

TBA: Effective Action Scenes.
Action scenes done well are almost as hard as comedy. Where and how do you add action to your story?

TBA: Using Internal Monologue
The internal monologue is a tool that can either bring insight into a scene or drive your audience away. Using it correctly can be a challenge.

TBA: Plot Twists
Plot twists are the unexpected surprise that can keep a reader interested in your story. Learn how to introduce them effectively, properly foreshadow them, and include them at key points in your manuscript.

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Previous Topics:


May 20: Effectively Handling Narration

June 17: How to be a Better Self-Editor — With special guest Blake Atwood, local chapter leader of the Dallas Nonfiction Association

July 15: Making a Competent Character Weak

August 19: Truth and Lies in your fiction

September 16: Going Meta

October 21: Planning a Series

November 18: Scene and Sequel

December 16: Introducing Information Without Infodumping


January 20: Making Your Character Arc

February 17: Promises, Promises

March 17: Writing as Letting Go

April 21: Outlining Strategies

May 19: New Takes on Old Ideas

June 16: Creativity Exercises

July 21: The Steps to Romance with Special Guest Speaker Amanda Arista

August 18: Writing Despite Distratcions with Special Guest Speaker Trakina Prevost

September 15: How NOT to Write Dialogue

October 20: High Stakes Plotting

November 17: Focus on Secondary Characters

December 15: Metaphorically Speaking . . . with Special Guest Amber Helt


January 19: Organizing Your Writing Practice with special guest Storm Huyen

February 16: Aliens and Anthropomorphic Characters

March 16: The Benefits of Hands-On Research with Special Guest Bud Humble

April 20: Archetype vs Cliche

May 18: Designing a Mystery Plot / Subplot

June 15: Seeding in Literary Devices to Make Your Story Feel Complete

July 20: Sticking the Landing: Creating a Strong Resolution

August 17: What to Leave in and What to Leave Out with Special Guest Terry Detrich

September 21: Nonstandard Words With Special Guest Peter Keenan

October 19: Tension and Conflict

November 16: Story Vs. Situation

December 21: No Meeting

January 18: Villain, Antagonist, Obstacle

February 15: Filling in the Cast: Secondary Characters