The Ventura County Writers Club was founded in 1933 by four writers in the Ojai, California area. Since then the club has grown to more than 150 members and holds regular monthly general membership meetings. In these meetings persons prominent in all areas and genres of the literary field speak on sources for ideas, enhancing creativity, and getting your work published. Click here for Membership Information...
Writing Camps for Youths
July 2013 Meeting
Three Editors to Speak at VCWC July 9 Meeting on
“Working with a Professional Editor”
Discussion will cover fiction and nonfiction, both line and concept editing
Three professional editors from the region will take part in a panel discussion “Working with a Professional Editor,” at the July 9th meeting of the Ventura County Writers Club. Club president, Kate Sexton, will moderate the session. Joining the panel are: Greg Elliot of Agoura Hills, author, editor, screenwriter, and writing professor at UCLA, Tammy Ditmore of Newbury Park, professional book editor, and southern California publishing legend, Shelly Lowenkopf of Santa Barbara, former Executive Editor for several California publishers, recipient of the “Life Time Achievement in Writing” award from USC for 30 years teaching masters writing classes, and author of over 35 books. Mr. Lowenkopf has personally seen over 700 books to publication as an editor.
Both fiction and nonfiction writing will be covered.
“Editing is a very grey area for most writers,” stated Sexton. “A properly edited book can make the difference of getting an agent and a deal, or not. This does NOT mean spell checking or school teacher grammar. Publishing today has created its own standards that help American English evolves. Grammar taught in school lags behind the public discourse. To have a book that sells, the author must submit a top quality manuscript.
The panel will cover both copy/line editing and, what Ms. Sexton thinks is more important, content/concept editing. "Where does your story really start? Do you have real conversations by your characters or do they sound stilted because of not contractions? Is there enough dialogue or is the manuscript filled with narrative? And how to judge?"
The 90-minute panel will address these questions and more.
“When I programmed last November’s Ventura County Writers Weekend,” said Sexton, “the Editing Panel sold out faster than any other session, including meeting literary agents. To me this meant writers are confused or have questions that need answering and we hope to do so with this panel.”
Time will be set aside at the end of the formal panel for questions from the audience. There will be no Opening Act this evening so more time is devoted to the panel topic.
June 2013 Meeting
Writer, Author, Columnist Wendy Dager to Share Awful and Awfully Funny Stories about Freelance Writing at the VCWC June 11 Meeting
(Ventura, CA – May 7, 2013) Professional freelance writer Wendy Dager is best known in Ventura County for her work in the Ventura County Star newspaper, where her biweekly opinion column has appeared for fifteen years. She has also written feature articles for the Star’s Life, Time Out, travel, community and news sections, as well as advertorials for its niche publications department. Dager has penned press releases, corporate newsletters, animation scripts, greeting card copy, bumper sticker slogans, magazine articles, short stories and more. Her humorous mystery novel “I Murdered the PTA” was a top-five finalist in Court TV’s Search for the Next Great Crime Writer, and was published by Zumaya Enigma in 2011. Her dark, kitschy novella, “Thrift Me Deadly,” was a 2009 Fabri Literary Prize finalist.
At the June 11 meeting of the Ventura County Writer’s Club, Dager will share stories from her career as a freelance writer. “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Then hopefully, you’ll laugh some more,” she said.
Dager started her freelance writing career over two decades ago. “The publishing business was very different than it is today,” Dager said. “Books weren’t something you downloaded, newspapers were where everyone got their news, and greeting cards were sent through the post.
“One of my favorite freelance jobs was writing copy for a greeting card company,” Dager continued. “The editor would fax me the cartoons and I’d come up with the inside gag-line. That was the perfect job for a stay-at-home mom – other than the fact that the cards were for adults only. I had to hide them from my kids. Now that they’re adults, they’ve seen much worse. Thank you, Internet.”
As her children got older, she had more time to expand her repertoire to include articles, essays, advertorials, press releases and web content for newspapers, magazines and businesses. “Nonfiction freelance gigs are my bread-and-butter,” Dager said. “But what I really want—just like every other writer—is to finally get my big break, and I don’t mean hip.”
She’s had many successes during her diverse career, but much more frequent—and funnier—are the experiences that didn’t have the best outcomes. Some of these “awful and awfully funny stories” she will share with the members and guests of the VCWC on June 11. The audience might want to bring a tissue or two for the few tears Wendy suggests will fall during her sharing of her stories, but overall her presentation promises to be great fun. Everyone is sure to leave the meeting feeling good all over after listening to this delightful and funny woman.
The new Opening Acts program of club members reading selections from their latest works will begin the evening.
Winners of the 12th Annual Poetry Contest
If you missed our April 2013 general meeting, the names and poems of the winners of our 12th Annual Poetry Contest are now posted under Contest in Poetry.
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