Sunday, September 24, 2017
A visit to the Jay County Public Library in Portland on Monday, September 25 kicks off a busy fall of presentations and book signings for the Speed City Sisters in Crime and its members.
On Monday at 6:30, several members will be at the Jay County Public Library to discuss writing, The Fine Art of Murder short story collection, and their own books. Taking part will be Brenda Stewart, Stephen Terrell, Russ Eberhardt and N. W. Campbell.
Other upcoming events:
➽ Saturday, September 30, 1-4 p.m., Indianapolis Writers Center: Author and member Larry Sweazy will teach a time management class for writers titled “How Much Time Do You Really Think You Have?”
➽Tuesday, October 3, 6 pm: Mystery Roundtable at Coal Yard Coffee Shop,Irvington. Sponsored by the Indianapolis Public Library Irvington Branch, it will feature author and Speed City member Larry Sweazy as moderator.
➽Saturday, October 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m: Porter Books and Bread (Indianapolis), Russ Eberhart will be signing his latest book.
➽Saturday, October 14: Indianapolis Author Fair at Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch; Greenwood Public Library Author Fair at Greenwood Public Library; and Elwood Chili Cook Off Food Festival. Speed City Chapter members will be meeting readers at each event, signing The Fine Art of Murder as well as their own books.
➽Wednesday, October, 25, 2017, 7:30 p.m. University of Indianapolis, Schwitzer Student Center, Room 010: Indiana Writers Spotlight Featuring Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author and Speed City Chapter member Lori Rader-Day.
➽Thursday, October 26: College Park Book Club – Members will be discussing their writing, the inspiration for their short stories, and signing copies of The Fine Art of Murder.
➽Saturday Nov. 11, 1pm – 4 pm at Indianapolis Writers Center: Author and chapter member Larry Sweazy teaches an overview of the art and craft of mysteries, titled “It’s a Mystery.”
➽November 16: Ivy Tech Day of Writing, IFC Commons at the Fall Creek campus. Members will be meeting with student to discuss and encourage writing.
⇨Mark your calendar: Indiana Historical Society Book Fair – December 4, featuring The Fine Art of Murder.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Collaboration or Conspiracy For Murder
By B.K. Hart
We shuffle in, pushing tables together at the local Barnes and Noble Café. The conversation sometimes start with – Why are we killing this guy – How do we kill him – What do we do with the body? We aren’t the only group that meets Saturday mornings in the coffee shop so I often wonder what the other patrons think we are doing. Our Sisters in Crime group started with about 15 people. Our goal was to work on a one-act play, learn proper formatting and technique, and create a production, which will provide support to our chapter in the future. It is a learning experience. My personal hope is that I might take away useful ideas for my own writing adventures.
We perhaps should have called this the – And, then there were none – group. We expected a little attrition over time. It happens with every workshop. We began in May and have lost about one person each month. The winner is going to be the last man standing, I think. Each month some of the basic details for the play, hashed out the month before, have changed. I must suspend expectation each time I sit down at the table and look at the meeting as a fresh new start on the play. As a writer, this is very difficult. One of the techniques I use to complete a novel or short story is to pull on the consistency of what I have built when writing the previous scenes or chapters. In writing a play, it has been scraping all progress to create something better than we had before, then dragging back in the parts that worked from the prior meeting.
My forte is dialogue. So, I have written dialogue for about three different versions of how this play is developing. One of the strong points we have covered is how to open your play and what the audience needs to know right up-front. Sometimes this means that you must include the person’s name in the line. In a short story / novel, I would drop the name. In real life, I don’t call you Bob every time I speak to you. I simply say, “Hey, how’s it going?” I wouldn’t normally say, “Bob, how’s it going?” unless you are kind of a stranger to me. In a story, you add the tag as in “I say to Bob, “How are you doing?””
Another aspect we covered in some detail was how to set the stage. What do you want the audience to see when as soon as the curtain comes up? You can imagine for a Sisters in Crime group some of the suggestions that might have been presented for that scenario. It’s an important question because it can set the tone for your entire production. Do you want the audience to know right away that this is a drama or a comedy? How you open can do this for you.
The third and final aspect that I found most helpful is determining how many characters you need to make your play work. The key here for the writer is to keep in mind that each actor needs to get paid. The more characters you have in the writing, the more money it will take to produce. And, since our chapter is paying to produce this, we have decided to keep this to a two or three actor/actress play. It means the writing has to get tighter because you don’t have the luxury of adding a character to impart information. You have to do that with what is already present in the scene, or through dialogue.
So while we are shouting at each other “Hit him over the head with something?” or “How do we get rid of the blood?” I sometimes find my eyes drifting to the remedial reading group gathered at the tables next to us and wonder if they think we are collaborating, or conspiring.