Workshop offers tips for authors


STANDISH — Arenac County writers looking to improve their skills or hear advice on getting published won’t want to miss the fifth annual Gateway to Writing Workshop at the Northeast Michigan Arts Council (NEMAC) on Oct. 3.

During the workshop, hosted by NEMAC and the Mid-Michigan Writers, the audience will get a chance to hear a keynote speech titled “What a Writer Needs to Know” from Pat Herring, an author whose work – plays, novels and short stories – has been published multiple times.

“I was a teacher who is now an author and a speaker. I write mostly novels, but I’ve also written plays and short stories,” Herring said, adding her novels are typically mysteries set in periods of time gone by. “I started writing for my students, I was the drama director and we couldn’t find plays with enough characters. We’d sometimes have 30 students in the club, so the kids just said ‘Why don’t you write us a play?’”

She says her play, titled “Four Chicks, Three Hunks and a Frog,” eventually was published.

“It seemed really easy the first time around. Nobody told me it would be six years before the next published piece,” Herring said. She added that getting published, like she was, is usually the main topic of interest for audiences at her speaking engagements and workshops.

“I always boil it (being published) down to one word, and that’s persistence,” the writer, who hails from Onaway, said. “The people who succeed are the people who just keep trying.”

However, Herring’s keynote speech and workshop aren’t the only attractions of the writing conference. Chris Lucka, member of the Mid-Michigan Writers Board of Directors, says she, along with Marylou Bugh, will be hosting a workshop on getting started and getting past mental blocks and, according to Lucka, another workshop held by writer PJ Coldren will cover the past and present state of publishing.

She added the networking opportunity writers can take a hold of at the event could really pay off down the road.

“The people hosting workshops and the keynote speakers at these events know a lot about publishing,” Lucka said. “You never know whose in the audience.

“Generally we have 30 to 50 people who attend.”

The registration deadline for the Gateway to Writing Workshop is Sept. 29. The event costs $20 to attend, and runs on Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 989-846-8211 or 989-846-6546.


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