Hello RWB NaNoWriMo authors. We’re super excited to hear you read your magic this coming Thursday!

To make sure we’re all on the same page, we are re-posting the guidelines you received earlier.

Here you go:

We are delighted you are joining us for the Fourth Annual Reading of the novel at Village Books. JUICY FRUIT DON’T GROW ON TREES may be our best novel yet, perhaps because it took place in a bookstore and all writers love to read.

On Thursday December 3rd we will have a reading in our very own bookstore, Village Books http://www.villagebooks.com/event/red-wheelbarrow-nanowrimo-12/3/15. We will start on time at six o’clock. Please arrive 15 minutes early, by 5:45, and sit as close to the front as possible with the other readers to allow for easy, fast access to the podium when it’s your turn.

Amigos, the alloted time is short because we have a lot of readers, and also because as you all well know, no one can sit in those folding metal chairs for two hours without serious lumbago setting in. This means that each of you will have a 4.5-minute read, including a brief introduction, if you choose. No matter how brilliant your prose, your take on the novel, your backgrounds to the characters, 4.5 minutes is all the time you will have. If you go over that, a loud drum will sound with a dirge-beat, or perhaps a shrieking whistle will rend the air, and a couple of rodeo clowns will come and escort you off. Don’t find out. Please observe the time limit. Also, please rehearse your reading and make sure that it’s four and a half mintues and no more. Choose about 400 words of your chapter to read. No more.

Here are some thoughts and suggestions for keeping it fast-paced and lively:

Firstly, don’t try to make sense. The novel doesn’t make sense. It isn’t supposed to, and that’s the fun of it. Anyone who wants the larger picture can go online and read it for free.

Don’t recap what came before. (When we last saw our heroine, she was……..) No. Keep it in the present that you created.

Your intro might read something simple like:

“Hi, I’m ____________ [your name] and I took these characters [name the characters you dealt with; if they are new characters you created for your chapter then briefly identify: “I made up a new character, XXX who sells hats.” Keep it simple. If you made up new characters, and they don’t show up in your reading, don’t refer to them.

For the read itself select no more than 400 words (depending on the length of your intro) that best exemplifies your narrative voice. Your audience wants to hear your voice, both speaking and on the page. If you’ve got witty dialogue, use the dialogue. If you’ve created a great spooky scene, then use 400 words of that. If you have written something uproariously funny, use that. Decide what really sounds like you, the author. Feel free to skip about and edit from your chapter. Trust us, no one will know the difference.

Remember to read clearly and with expression so that your audience stays awake. And, lastly, do your edits and time yourself for the whole read. Don’t guess at it. Rehearse with a timer. Make your adjustments accordingly.

We have requested a lot of chairs because of course all writers have their entourages, and you should all bring yours. We will also ask to have a table with some water glasses there as well.

We look forward to Thursday the 3rd to seeing you, your entourages, and all the Red Wheelbarrow Writers, to hearing your inimitable voices read successive portions of deathless prose. November is a great month for writers!

If you have questions, please feel free to zap a note us.

See you on the 3rd!

Laura, Susan and Victoria



DIALOGUE AND SCENIC DEPICTION     Instructor: Laura Kalpakian

             Join a lively group of writers to discover and explore Dialogue and Scenic Depiction in Narrative Prose. Whether you are writing fiction or memoir or essay, this class will enhance your ability to create dialogue that fulfills its purpose: to sharpen character, create drama and propel  your story. You will learn how to create scenes that give depth and vivacity to the story you imagine.    Great dialogue and vivid scenic depiction are essential to any work of narrative prose.

             This is a small, select class. Few places remain. Please contact Laura Kalpakian via email or via her website.

 Seven weeks: Wednesdays, starting January 13th 2016

 Cost: $399

A Message From ShelfAwareness Pro About Our NaNoWriMo Reading on December 3!

Cool Idea of the Day: NaNoWriMo in a Bookstore

For the past four years during National Novel Writing Month, Red Wheelbarrow Writers has created a collective novel, with author Laura Kalpakian writing the first chapter and 29 people signing up to take a day each. This year, the group is working on a story titled Juicy Fruit Don’t Grow on Trees, which takes place in Our House Books, a fictional Northwest bookstore. The central characters are all booksellers or, as Kalpakian hinted, “the books themselves.” About 20 of the co-authors will be reading from their collective work at Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., in early December.

Red Wheelbarrow Anthology

Red Wheelbarrow Anthology Submission Guidelines

stock-photo-18473382-old-fashioned-typewriterWriters, as you know, RWB is “sponsoring” our first publication. An anthology!! Read on for details.

Our Theme: Memory into Memoir. In honor of the fact that many in our community can trace our Bellingham writerly associations back to Laura Kalpakian‘s “Memory into Memoir” course, our first community anthology will focus on short memoir pieces. This anthology should reflect the vitality of the RWB community.

Process: RWB founders, Cami, Laura, and Susan T will be making the primary selections. We and others, who will form an editorial team of about 4 or 5, will offer editorial suggestions for the authors whose work is chosen to help ready their material for publication.

Submission requirements: Please read this carefully.

  1. Your memoir piece should be no more than 3000 words
  2. You should try to focus on one self-contained scene
  3. One submission per writer
  4. Please include a 150 word bio of yourself

And note our special consideration below:

As you know, Red Wheelbarrow Writers takes its title from the famous poem by William Carlos Williams. Over his long career, Williams published in literary magazines, as well as whole volumes of verse (here is a quick link to some of his poetry available online). Please have a look through his work (it is all collected in one volume if you’d like to reference that) and find a line that strikes a chord in memory. With your submission, please identify the line and the poem from which you took it. The line itself does not need to appear in your memoir essay, it simply needs to inspire your piece in some way.

Deadline: October 30, 2015.

Send to: rwbarrow@live.com

**Publication: MEMORY INTO MEMOIR will be a self-published production, appearing under the banner of Red Wheelbarrow Press. We will be raising funds to create the final product, and publication will be contingent on the funds coming in.

If you have experience with Kickstarter and have the skills and inclination to help create a crowd-funding video and/or you have other techno skills you’d like to lend to the project, contact me and let me know (clostman@live.com).

Let’s launch our first book for Red Wheelbarrow Writers with the fanfare it deserves. We’re on our way!!


A Message from Laura Kalpakian!


RWB Book Club:

Sunday, June 14, 4 p.m. in the lobby at Pickford Theatre

The Red Wheelbarrow Writers Book Club theme choice for June is, not surprisingly, Fathers. For June we’ve added a petite caveat: no one can choose Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is the most sterling father in American literature, the father everyone wanted to have. We might as well subtitle our June choice: Beyond Atticus.


Our themes can be genres as well. If you would like to have a writerly discussion on memoir, sci fi, time travel, travel-travel, YA, fantasy, graphic novels and other genres, join us on June 14th [check date] at 4 at the Pickford and make a suggestion for July.


For our May discussion of Mothers, naturally, Mommy Dearest made an appearance among other titles. Mostly the fictional mothers we noted were either comic, symbolic or nasty unto evil. One reader chose books like Jane Eyre where girls who were motherless made their way in the world as successful, if challenged adults. As a group we marveled at the paucity of novels with good mothers. The only one I could think of was Lucia Santa from The Fortunate Pilgrim, Mario Puzo’s first novel. There’s the mother in Little Women, I suppose, a model of loving decorum.   One reader brought the children’s book, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree in which the maternal tree yields up its everything to and for the demanding child. Is that the good mother?


Atticus Finch aside, are fictional fathers portrayed differently? Think on it, and join us for a lively discussion Sunday June 14th at the Pickford.


Below are some of the titles offered up for the Mothers Theme

Grapes of Wrath

Scarlet Letter

Nicholas Nickleby

The Fortunate Pilgrim (Mario Puzo’s first novel)

Bleak House

Jane Eyre

The Giving Tree