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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.

March 19: Making You Villain Consistent Yet Unique — This month we will discuss Making Your Villain Consistent Yet Unique. Villains have to have goals too, and understanding the WHY behind what your villain wants is a key into creating a memorable baddie. Memorable villains have a specific and on some level understandable psychological process, as well as physical or mental traits that make them iconic.

Join the discussion to consider: What is the difference in the psychology and thinking of a villain versus other kind of antagonists? How do you design goals for villains that counterpoint the psychological needs of the story’s protagonist? How do you decide if your story needs a true villain in the first place?

April 16: Designing Character Wounds and Flaws — This month we will discuss Designing Character Wounds and Flaws. To create a compelling story, the protagonist needs to have a specific flaw that the plot can poke at and then ultimately help the character deal with/overcome. Characters need flaws to feel human, but the dangers is having said flaws make the character unlikeable.

Join the discussion to consider: How do you choose a wounding event in the character’s past that will gel into the flaw you’ve chosen? If the flaw does make a character unlikeable, how can you still get the audience attached? How do you choose flaws that lead to a satisfying character arc?

May 21: Making Character Relationships Complex — This month we will discuss Making Character Relationships Complex. Characters don’t exist in isolation, and they respond in different ways to different people. Real-world relationships usually have complex dynamics (especially when dealing with family or long-term friends). Yet, you don’t have enough space on the page to explore every nuance without slowing down the external plot. You have to find a balance.

Join the discussion to consider: How can adding additional character relationships (ex. the entertainment manager who is also the protagonist’s brother in law) add complexity? How can you introduce plot events that also bring out other aspects of a character relationship dynamic? How do you use other characters to show growth in your protagonist?

June18: Understanding A Story and B Story — This month we will discuss Understanding A Story and B Story. You may have heard these terms in writing groups or critique sessions, sometimes critiquers don’t stop to explain what the terms mean. A story relates to the plot question and B story either counterpoints the A story (if there are multiple storylines) or focuses the protagonist’s character arc. Which sounds more complex than it actually is.

Join the discussion to consider: How can you interweave A Story and B Story effectively? How can B Story enhance the theme and meaning in your work? How do you keep the A story exciting and avoid bogging things down?

July 16: Drama vs Melodrama (pull quotes from last slide in SNW Archetype vs Cliche PPT) — This month we will discuss Drama vs. Melodrama. You want to write gripping fiction that keeps readers turning pages. And to do that, you need dramatic tension. But it is easy for tension to turn to absurdity as drama slips into melodrama.

Join the discussion to consider: How can the concept of last in/first out help you from dipping into unintentional melodrama? How can you use intentional melodrama for comic effect? How do you show character emotions without making them seem overly emotional?

August 20: Designing an Impact Character — This month we will discuss Designing an Impact Character. These characters are sometimes also called influence characters or catalyst characters. As the name implies, these characters inspire, force or simply enable the character to change. These characters are instrumental to the character’s internal conflict and arc.

Join the discussion to consider: How can an impact character reveal emotional truth to the protagonist? How can this emotional truth be a key to solving the external plot problem? What type of characters function as impact characters?

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Previous Topics:

2017

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

2018

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

2019

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

2020

January 18: Villain, Antagonist, Obstacle

February 15: Filling in the Cast: Secondary Characters

April 18: Making Your Worldbuilding Seamless

May 16: Poetic Language Techniques for Fiction Writers

June 20: New Takes on Old Ideas

July 18: Avoiding Infodumps (While Keeping Readers from Getting Confused)

August 15: Writing the Difficult Bits (The PartsYou Find Emotionally Difficult or Have a Hard Time Approaching

September 19 – Generating Exciting Plot Elements

October 17 – Getting in Touch with Your Characters’ Emotions

November 21 – Managing Point of View

December 19 – Using Foreign and Created Language in Stories

2021

January 16 — Maintaining Tension in Your Fiction

February 20 — Finding Your Voice

March 20 — Imbuing Your Work With Meaning

April 17 — History in Fiction

May15 — Getting to Know Your Hero

June 19 — Effective Action Scenes.

July 17 — Using Internal Monologue

August 21 — Plot Twists

Sept 18 – Perfectly Pacing Your Fiction

Oct 16 – Adding Detail to Your Story

Nov 20 – Build a Better Monster

Dec 18 – How to Tighten Up a Story

January 15 – Writing Like Cats & Dogs: How to Include Believable Animals

February 20: Giving Your Character a Goal