Good Reads – Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Most of us know Roald Dahl for his imaginative children’s books- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fastastic Mr. Fox and so on.

Several years ago I was first exposed to Tales of the Unexpected, a collection of short stories he wrote mainly in the 1940s, and was pleasantly surprised by his fiction for adults.  All of the darkest elements of his children’s stories come together in poignant, funny tales of life and death and self-ruin.

His collections of short stories for adults demonstrate the same creativity as his chidren’s books, but combined with a mature, sinister realism and sharp wit.  His sardonic tales of irony and just deserts are contemplative, but still entertaining, light reads.

If you’re into short stories, Roald Dahl is a master.  This ain’t your granpappy’s chocolate factory.

Get it for a few bucks on Amazon here.

Ohio Writers’ Guild “Meet the Authors” (Non-CCC Event)

The Ohio Writers’ Guild, a Central Ohio writers’ workshop group, is holding an author reading event on May 7, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio.  The event will convene at the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library at 75 N. High St. from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For more information about the event, you can download the flier by clicking here.

This is a free event.  Local authors’ books will be available for purchase, and light refreshments will be served.

More than 13 local novelists will be represented.  Please come out and support your local writing community.

Note: This is not a Columbus Creative Cooperative event, this is a link to another outstanding writers’ organization in Central Ohio.

The Book Exchange

I’ve been asked several times at workshops if we ever intend to read any novels or short stories together and discuss them, like a book club.

Not at this time.  It seems that most of our members have enough on their plate, I know I do, and adding another stressor would probably do more harm than good.  Simply reading the workshop materials can be a two hour chore some weeks.

But, I would like to find ways to read and talk about good books together.  In the words of Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

So I’d like to introduce the book exchange.  If you’re interested in expanding your reading horizons, please bring a book to pass along, and arrive to the workshop 15 minutes early next time.  We’ll spend a few minutes talking books, then rotate what we’ve got around/across/above the circle, and make sure everyone gets something new to read.

You probably won’t ever get your original book back.  You’re giving it away for good.  Sorry.

But, you should have something to take home with you that’s just as good.  You can keep your new book for life, or read it in the following two weeks (or four weeks, or ten weeks) and trade it again at the next meeting.

I think this will give us a way to share insight into our reading without burdening our members with another line for the to-do list.

I hope to see you Wednesday!  For more information on our upcoming writers’ workshop and book exchange, please contact us, or become a CCC member today (log in for workshop info).  Membership is free.

Join Us On Facebook

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our page on Facebook yet, please visit us now.

To “like” Columbus Creative Cooperative, simply visit our page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Columbus-Creative-Cooperative/113659345377353 , and click the button at the top that says “Like”.

When you become our fan on Facebook it helps us to spread the word about our organization, and makes our resources and opportunities available to more writers and readers.

Please “like” the Columbus Creative Cooperative on Facebook today, and share the page with your friends as well.

Writers’ Workshop FAQs

The term “writers’ workshop” is used a lot of different ways. When we use it at the Ohio Writers’ Association we mean a meeting for Ohio writers to bring their work and give and receive mutual feedback.

Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

When and where do OWA workshops meet?

Our workshops presently meet in Zanesville and Columbus, Ohio on a rotating basis. Check the calendar to see upcoming dates.

Workshops are free and you do not need to be an OWA member to join us.  To be alerted of the time and place of upcoming workshops, please join our mailing list or register for a free ColumbusCoop.org account.

What does a writers’ workshop look like?

Typically, our writers’ workshops consist of six to twelve people workshopping around a table for an hour and a half giving feedback on each other’s work. The mood is light and friendly while remaining professional; it’s an enjoyable, creative, constructive experience.

Most participants want feedback on short stories, but others bring essays or other formats. Sometimes work is submitted as a bare bones outline, and other times the author is just looking for nitty-gritty details before they send their work off to a contest or anthology.

The feedback is always honest, so sometimes hard when it needs to be, but it’s always a cooperative, pleasant atmosphere.

Can I bring my novel, poem, etc?

Yes! Our focus is primarily on short stories, but you may absolutely bring other forms of writing. Our general guideline for any piece to be reviewed is a maximum of 10,000 words.

I don’t have anything written right now, can I still come?

Yes! We’d love to have you. Whether you want to feel out the group before bringing your stuff, or you just don’t have anything you’d like feedback on right now, please come along and join our discussion anyways. The other writers would greatly appreciate your feedback. We just ask that you please read the submissions beforehand and be ready to add to the discussion.

Do I need to be a OWA member to come?

Nope! Everyone is welcome to join us.

Will my work automatically be submitted for publication with OWA?

No!  We run our publishing and writers’ workshops as independently as possible.  Although it’s a great way to improve your work before the next anthology, you are not required or expected to publish the work you bring to the workshops.

You are encouraged to bring stories and work you’ve been working on for other anthologies, contests, magazines, etc.

How do I submit my work for feedback?

We ask that all work you’d like feedback on be submitted no later than midnight of the Wednesday immediately before the workshop. Please email your work (preferably in PDF form) to workshops@ohiowriters.org.

You will receive a confirmation email if we receive your work. Writers whose work is selected for the workshop will receive a confirmation email; everyone else will be notified to please resubmit for future workshops. We’d love to have everyone’s submissions workshopped, but time restraints limit us.

Within 48 hours of the deadline for submitting work, all of the collected pieces will be posted to the members-only area of the website for download, so that everyone can read them in advance.  You can register for a free account to download the work. This gives everyone the opportunity to read everything and prepare their thoughts before the meeting.

Should I bring written notes?

No, you do not need to bring written notes. Our feedback sessions are just a verbal discussion.

If you’re a natural note-taker and would like to pass off what you’ve got to the author, that’s great and you’re encouraged to do that, but it’s not required.

What happens if my work is chosen but I can no longer attend?

Life happens, we understand. Do your best to notify us as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it. If you pull out in the week before the workshop (after your work has been chosen), you are required to attend one workshop before being allowed to submit your work again. This is out of respect to the time readers have put into reading what you have submitted.

Where can I find the workshop materials?

Log into your free OWA account, and then visit this page. From there, download the .zip file and read away!

Other Questions?

Please contact us at workshops@ohiowriters.org. We hope to see you at the next workshop!

Anthology Opportunity – The Memory Eater (Non-CCC Project)

***Please note: this is not a Columbus Creative Cooperative project, this is a link.

Matt Hance, a member of the Columbus Creative Cooperative, is putting together an independent anthology.

The theme is “The Memory Eater”, and he’s collecting short stories about a device that can isolate and erase specific memories.  Find more information at: http://anthologies2011.blogspot.com/2011/03/call-for-memory-eater-anthology.html .  The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2011.

His blog also has some interesting tips and resources for writers.

We’re happy to promote Matt’s work, but please note that this is not a CCC project.  All questions and feedback should be directed to Matt on his blog.

Happy writing.

Origins Anthology Now Available for Pre-Order

Origins Anthology Available May 4 2011The Columbus Creative Cooperative’s first anthology, Origins, is now available for pre-order.

Origins is a collection of nine short stories written by local, Columbus, Ohio authors.  This anthology includes the work of Amy Dalrymple, Matt Hance, Chad Jones, Ben Orlando, Brad Pauquette and Kim Younkin.

All pre-orders will receive free shipping in the USA.  Please consider pre-ordering the book today, by clicking here.

All pre-orders will be shipped no later than May 4, 2011.  We conveniently accept PayPal and all major credit cards.

Thanks for supporting the Columbus Creative Cooperative and your local writing community!

The Water Cycle Project

March 22, 2011 is world water day, a day devoted to raising awareness about the global clean water crisis.

It seemed like an optimal opportunity to share a link to The Water Cycle Project with you, you can find them at www.WaterCycleProject.org.

The Water Cycle Project(TWCP) is a small, grass-roots organization that uses long distance cycling trips to raise money for fresh water well drilling in rural India.  TWCP is a zero-overhead organization, which means that 100% of donations go directly to indigenous well-drilling teams.  There are no paid staff and no commissions.

Please check out TWCP today, and consider making a donation or joining them for one of their 2011 cycling trips.

OpenOffice.org – Open Source (Free) Word Processor

If you’re in need of a word processor, check out OpenOffice.org.  It’s an open source project to produce a free word processor, as well as the rest of the typical Microsoft Office Suite.

From my experience, not only is the Open Office product free, but it far surpasses the capabilities of the official Microsoft Office.  Open and save as nearly any file type (including Word’s .doc, .docx, etc.), and exporting a document as a PDF is one click.

Open Office also includes a program for spreadsheets like Excel, a presentation program like Power Point, as well as the rest of the typical Office Suite.

What’s the drawback?  Well, like most open-source products, there’s no support.  But really, when’s the last time you called Microsoft for help using Word?  Because it’s a community-driven product, the online support provided by users all over the world is far better than any outsourced, scripted support you might receive from the large software producers.

While Open Office is free, the official project does rely on donations.  But $10 goes a long way when you don’t have to fund a massive corporate structure.

Next time you upgrade your computer, don’t spring the extra $150 for Microsoft Office.  It’s worth your time to check out OpenOffice.org first.  You’ll be impressed by the capabilities, and users like you are constantly improving the product as a community.

Anthology Pieces Have Been Selected!

We have selected the Columbus authors to be included in our upcoming anthology.

The selected writers are:

  • Chad Jones
  • Ben Orlando
  • Amy Dalrymple
  • Kim Younkin
  • Brad Pauquette
  • Matt Hance

Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who submitted a story for review.  We really enjoyed all of the submissions, please consider submitting another story in the future.

The anthology will be released May 4, 2011.  Pre-order options will be available shortly.