Between the Stacks - Aspiring writers can help at the library
Who wants to become the next big discovery in the literary world? Who doesn’t want their doodles on a napkin ending up in a published hardcover book like J. K. Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series - and becoming, in this case, the 13th richest woman in England?
If you are aspiring to become this famous author but still need some help to put all those incredible ideas on paper, the library has many books to facilitate your needs, including “Fiction Writer’s Workshop” by Josip Novakovich, “The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop” by Danell Jones, and “The Writer” magazine in our periodicals section. “The Writer” contains tips and information to improve your writing skills.
What do you do after writing, rewriting and finalizing your masterpiece to your satisfaction? This is where Susan Sloate’s self-publishing workshops come in handy. Sloate will be at the library on Jan. 12 from 1-2 p.m. and Jan. 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for an identical session.
Susan Sloate is the author of 18 published books, which include biography, history, sports, fashion and series books for girls. Sloate’s self-publishing sessions will focus on the new paradigm in publishing: how to get published in today’s market, the crucial influence of electronic distribution, marketing your book to the right audience, creating an Amazon bestseller (yes, you can do it on your own), with time for Q & A from the audience.
Following Sloate’s first presentation, our own librarian Jen McQueen launches a new program for local authors. If you’re ready to receive feedback on your writing (and give feedback to other writers in return), please join her on Saturday, Jan. 12 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. for an informational session of Mount Pleasant Regional Library’s new Writing Critique Group. “Sometimes we don’t realize what works and doesn’t work in our own writing, because we’re too close to it. Other writers can help,” says Jen. For more information please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-849-6161.
Jen McQueen started working at the Mount Pleasant Library as a reference librarian in Jan. 2011. She’d previously worked at the library from 2001-2004, first as a library assistant in circulation and then as a pre-professional in reference (while working on her MLIS at the University of South Carolina). During that time she met her husband – at the library – and found and adopted her dog “Ellie,” whom she also met on library property.
Jen has one daughter in college and two sons, who are in kindergarten and third grade. She loves reading and writing. Her favorite authors are: Sarah Addison Allen, Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon and Liane Moriarty. As an 8-year-old she thought “Baby Island” by Carol Ryrie Brink was the best and “The Adrian Mole Diaries” by Sue Townsend were her favorites as a teen. I [Mirjam] also found them hilarious.
If you ask Jen, “Why do you write?” she will answer, “It’s like playing an instrument: while writing, I cease, for a short time, to exist.”
If you don’t count story-writing as a child or journal writing in her teens, 20s and 30s, Jen didn’t begin her writing hobby until February of 2009, when she began her first novel. Until 2010, Jen was a closeted writer, secretly researching story locations during family vacations to the Outer Banks, N.C., and to Douthat State Park in Virginia. Why the secrecy? “My father is a fabulous writer, my daughter is a gifted writer and my husband is a critical reader with an eye for grammatical errors. I was intimidated,” she says.
After four drafts, and critiques by six friends, Jen abandoned her first novel. She wrote another novel in Nov. 2011 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), revised the draft for about nine months, and then abandoned her second literary child. People were dismayed. “Don’t you want to publish?” Perhaps, someday.
For now, Jen is still practicing. She recently began a third novel, and spends 30-60 minutes writing each day. It’s hard to make time for writing on workdays - she is too tired to write by the time her kids are asleep. But it’s like exercise – she feels better by fitting it into her day. Jen writes for the 30 minutes between her kids’ departure for school and the time she leaves for work. Her favorite writing books are “Immediate Fiction” by Jerry Cleaver, “Hooked” by Les Edgerton, “On Becoming a Novelist” by John Gardner and “The Art of Fiction” by John Gardner.
In 2011, Jen and our former colleague Amy Ravenel-Baker started writing the library column “Between the Stacks” for the Moultrie News. They took turns until Amy moved to North Carolina and her turn became my turn.
Upcoming programs at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library
Young Adult Movie: “The Avengers” (grades 6 – 12)
Thursday, Dec. 20 at 4 p.m.
A team of superheroes that includes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and The Hulk battle an unexpected enemy that threatens the world. This film adaptation of the graphic novel stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans. Rated PG-13, 143 minutes.
Play: Build with Legos (ages 4 and older)
Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2 p.m.
Show your friends what you can build with a pile of Legos.
Mount Pleasant Reel Club – A Book and Movie Discussion Group (Adults)
Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m.
Read the book, come watch the movie, and participate in a lively discussion.
Book: “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis. Movie: “The Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates. Rated PG-13; 128 minutes.
We at the Library wish you happy holidays. Please remember the Mount Pleasant Regional Library is closed Dec. 23-26.
The book return will be locked. You are able to return your items on Dec. 27.