Vol. 3, No. 18 April/May '04
From Journalism to an Arc of Fiction
Stories ripped from headlines have offered inspiration for fiction writers at least since Theodore Dreiser, in the early 20th century, found in the pages of a newspaper the embryo of his classic novel An American Tragedy. Betty Webb, keynote speaker for the April 18 SSA Forum, firmly believes newspapers remain the single best source for great fiction.
Be sure to read your Sunday morning paper before this presentation, because Betty will be using it to discuss turning headlines into novels. She will illustrate questions you must ask yourself about turning a newspaper story into a novel with a fictional arc of action: How can you make fictional characters real? How do you avoid getting sued? What three writing sins will kill your novel?
Betty Webb's novel Desert Wives (Poisoned Pen Press, 2000), an exposé of the abuses of contemporary polygamy, is the second of her newspaper-based Lena Jones mysteries. Desert Wives sparked a petition in the Arizona legislature to end polygamy, is being developed for a made-for-TV movie, and has been optioned for a television series. According to Marilyn Stasio, crime fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, "If Betty Webb had gone undercover and written Desert Wives as a piece of investigative journalism, she'd probably be up for a Pulitzer . . . the factual details ‹ supported by research cited in an afterword ‹ are eye-popping." (Taken from True Lies: Libraries, Research, and the Facts of Fiction, Presented at the Cooperating Libraries in Consortium annual retreat, November 2003 ‹ www.barbarafister.com/TrueLies.html) regularly appear in the Scottsdale Tribune.
Betty's feature articles, well-known author interviews, and book reviews regularly appear in the Scottsdale Tribune.
Phone in Forum reservations (546-9382) by Wednesday, April 14, 2004.
The Glass Half Full
Mike Alvarez unwittingly launched his writing career the day he made up a story to save his neck from a bully. In the process, he discovered how to turn a setback into an achievement. In his presentation to fellow-members on May 16, Mike will speak about early misfortunes forming the foundation for writing. "Behind every rejection is a lesson to be learned and another market to be discovered," says Mike. Citing examples from his self-published book, Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Writers (Xlibris, 2000), Mike will explore the valuable lesson that nothing is wasted on a writer.
Mike has been writing for over thirty years. His stories, poems, and articles have appeared in the Arizona Daily Star and Writer's Digest. His story, "The Human Element," was included in the anthology, Computer Legends, Lies and Lore (Ageless Press, 1994). Mike has published two Nick Madrid mysteries, Deliver Us From Evil (iUniverse, 2003) and The Last Place God Made (Xlibris, 2000), a young adult novel, The Treasure of the Santa Ritas (Xlibris, 2001), and is eagerly awaiting the imminent release of his newest mystery, Kino's Gold (Publish America). Mike's enthusiasm for his craft energizes classes at Pima Community College, where he's been teaching writing since 1990.
Phone in Forum reservations (546-9382) by Wednesday, May 12, 2004.
The Write Word
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Luncheon Forum Chair
Write Word Editor
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