WTF Weather

Bonanza II crew member James Dawson captured this image of a waterspout in the Delaware Bay off Cumberland County Tuesday evening. The waterspout is illuminated by lightning. (Image courtesy of Bonanza II)

It’s now 6:47 PM and it’s black as midnight outside and the sun isn’t supposed to set for over an hour and a half. We just went through a tornado warning, and they’ve now issued a tornado watch, until 8:00 PM. Outside it’s all lightning and thunder and pouring cats and dogs, the rain coming down in sheets. There’s flash-flood warnings (my garage is probably already flooded) and if a tornado doesn’t strike, we’re to watch out for straight line winds. The photo you see just above was taken yesterday of a waterspout off the coast of New Jersey, and after an 80 degree day, tonight it’s going down to fifty-nine. WTF is going on with the weather in New Jersey?

Jeez, if I wanted weather like this I would’ve moved to Iowa.

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2019 Housatonic Book Awards – now open and taking submissions

The MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University and its alumni organization, the MFA Alumni Writers Collaborative, are proud to present the 2019 Housatonic Book Awards.

The Award will be given to book-length works in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and YA/Middle-Grade. Books must have been published in 2018. The Award carries a $1,000 honorarium in exchange for appearing at the winter or summer residency of the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University to give a public reading and a one-day, three-hour workshop with MFA students. The Award also includes a $500 travel stipend and hotel stay during the residency.

For more information and submission guidelines, visit: Housatonic Book Awards

Plot Driven vs. Character Driven? So binary!

What do you base a story on? Do you have a plot that’s been rolling through your brain, based on an historical or life-changing event? Or is it based on a certain  person, grappling with a foible of the human condition? Fiction writing texts tell us most stories are plot-driven or character-driven, but I tend to think of it another way.  Not in all stories but perhaps in some, it’s the character’s own tendencies that drives the plot.

I recently read A Handmaid’s Tale (I believe I’m the last person in North America to actually say “I recently read” it), which no doubt can be considered plot-driven. In short, it’s set in the dystopian nation of Gilead, where a patriarchal and militaristic society subjugates women, most notoriously the young, fertile kind who must bear the society’s children for those who can’t. The story is told through the viewpoint of the handmaiden Offred, and it’s through her eyes that we learn firsthand of the totalitarian regime’s constraints. For much of the first part of the book we see how Offred bends to the will of the society, but as we learn, through flashbacks, about her personality and the way she lived her life before a government coup, we see how much her rebellious and questioning nature was suppressed. So  when she is allowed some liberties and is taken to a skewed but still viable throwback to the way life used to  be, she becomes bolder and starts taking chances again, her rebel proclivities driving the narrative to a precarious yet daring end.

So how does her inherent nature drive the plot? Without revealing too much of the story, if Offred was more reticent, if she remained subjugated, if she wasn’t willing to take life-or-death chances, the plot may have veered to a more tragic ending. Instead the character pushes the boundaries, drawing on her past experiences to use them as a catalyst for her forward actions. As a reader we get to know the Offred of the nation of Gilead, but also who she had been before it (there’s some conjecture what her real name is–some have said Kate, but she’s referred to as June in the the Netflix series). When we learn what was important to her in the past, how she handled certain situations, and most tragically what she had lost, we can better understand the decisions she makes when handling the situations she confronts now.

In effect, she’s acting in character, and it’s her intrinsic likes, dislikes, fears, and foibles that direct her actions and reactions, thus steering the plot. And it’s her own character flaws and attributes that make those plot twists and turns all the more believable. For the writer, delving deep into the personality of the character, really knowing who they are and what they’re capable of, is essential to the change that must come over your protagonist as they’re propelled toward the conclusion, and thus one wholly satisfying ending.

Authorpreneur Workshop by the River Sept. 27 – 28, 2019 – Registration is now Open

Marisa Corvisiero, founding agent and owner of the Covisiero Literary Agency, is excited to announce the next Red Bank, Author-Preneur Workshop by the River, September 27-28, 2019. This event is an amazing multilayered interactive full day workshop with presentations by  Literary Agent Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq., her Corvisiero Literary Agency colleagues, and other key industry professional guests dedicated to authors’ success.

​The workshop is presented at a beautiful location by the Navesink River in Red Bank, NJ, where the setting is relaxing and inspiring. Light breakfast, lunch, and social mixer will be provided.

The event offers a hands on approach to authors of all genres at all levels of their careers, with the mindful goal of imparting writing, publishing industry, business, and mindset knowledge, while sharpening skills to attain success in the fastest possible period of time. This is a two day retreat for authors to really get immersed into the mindset of growth, honing skills, learning publishing options, industry practices, getting insider tips and guidance on everything from plotting to submissions to publishing deals. In addition to the lectures and hands on drafting exercises, authors will enjoy mediation sessions, goal setting practices, presentation by success coach, and much much more. The goal of this workshop is to help authors not just think like creative author-preneurs, but Successful Author-Preneurs.

During this retreat-like full day workshop, authors have the opportunity to attend various Presentations, pitch Literary Agents and Editors (Optional), get a book signed by Bestselling Author Megan Erickson during our Mixer, get work critiqued by Agents and Editors (Optional), attend the Critical Mass: First Page Critique Literary Agent and Editor Panel, and Network with authors and industry professionals all day long and during a Networking Mixer after hours.

For registration, presenters, pricing, and more info, go to Covisiero Agency Authorprenuer Workshop.