September 2018 Newsletter

September 02, 2018 2:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


September 2018
 By Joan Naper and Paco Aramburu

 Letter From The President                                                   

A robust welcome back to all of our 2018/2019 OCWW workshop season active members, those about to rejoin, and all contemplating becoming new members. I hope your summer was productive and fun-filled. Mine was jam-packed, exhausting, but fun. Not nearly enough time available to accomplish what I had hoped. Those undone tasks left for another day. 

Renee James and Susan Levi, our Program Co-directors, have once again developed for you a fabulous new season of weekly programs designed to help all of our passionately committed writing beginners and experienced author members achieve their writing and publishing goals. This year brings return by acclamation instructors like Fred Shafer, Stuart Dybek, Rebecca MakkaiKelly McNees, and others, and visionary instructional newcomers to OCWW Amanda Goldblatt, Vu Tran, Rachel Swearingen, Steven Trumpeter, Emily Gray Tedrowe, Jay Rehak, Sara Connell, Rebekah Frumkin, Sharon Darrow, John S. Green, and Michelle Falkoff. In all, a total of 38 workshops. We will also introduce some unique new types of exciting, inspirational undertakings and topics the likes of which we have never before put forth. Many thanks to Caryn Green, who helped Susan Levi enter the events onto the website.

Fred Shafer has consented to start the year by returning for his thirty-second annual four-week September series. His program is entitled The Music of Sentences. His program will illustrate, “If you ask a fiction writer, a musician, or a composer of any kind of music to identify the primary element in their work, they will most likely give the same answer: a pleasing and effective sense of rhythm.”

He quotes the late novelist Ursula Le Guin, “Rhythm is what keeps the song going, the horse galloping, the story moving,” and rapper Jay-Z describing the flow of a hip-hop song as, “A heartbeat, or the way you breathe, it can jump, speed up, slow down, stop, or pound right through like a machine.” He could easily be talking about sentences in fiction.

Comparisons between music and writing will come up often during Fred’s workshops about the rhythms and structures of sentences on September 6, 13, 20, and 27.  Using examples taken from contemporary fiction, he will show that the discovery of rhythm can be central to the process of finding plot and meaning. He’ll discuss a series of related subjects, including the deep sources of rhythm; points of emphasis in sentences; the interplay that takes place among sentences of different lengths and structures; variations that occur throughout any scene, story, or chapter; the unique value of irregularity and imbalance; and the effort and pleasure that accompany revising for rhythm.

Fred is an editor, writer, and teacher of writing.  He was an editor for many years with TriQuarterly, the international literary journal published by Northwestern University, where he also taught fiction writing and literary editing in the School of Professional Studies. He leads three private workshops in short story and novel writing, from which present and former members have published more than twenty books in the past eight years.  His essays, reviews, and interviews with writers have appeared in several journals.        

What a splendid way to kick off our new year. I hope to see you all there.

Best regards,


                               A Note from Agent, Tina Schwartz:                                               
Anyone who had a submission in to The Purcell Agency's Tina P. Schwartz, and has not received a firm accept or reject, please email her for update. Her email is, and write "OCWW SUBMISSION UPDATE" in subject line please.

Tom Benz

Tom Benz, OCWW Board Secretary, recently won a story contest sponsored by Solsticeliterary magazine. His story, called "Retrieval," is posted here Congratulations, Tom!

Tom recently won the 2017 Serena McDonald Kennedy Award for

a short story collection sponsored by Snake Nation Press. The resulting book, Home and Castle, can be found and on Amazon.

He won the Solstice Literary Magazine
Short Fiction Contest in 2011 and was a finalist in 2013. He has numerous stories published with magazines such as The Madison Review, William and Mary Review, the Beacon Street Review, Blue Lake ReviewCarve and others.

He was a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Collection Contest, also a finalist or honorable mention for the New Millennium Short Fiction Contest..
His website is

Jane Hertenstein

Member Jane Hertenstein has a series of flash memoirs published on-line. Here is the link:

Jane teaches memoir writing, leads a critique group, and volunteers at a homeless shelter where she facilitates a creative writing workshop for the women residents.

She will be teaching a class about writing flash memoir at OCWW on Thursday, December 20.



                                                         C O N T E S T S                                                      

CWA's 3rd Annual First Chapter Contest Open for Entries

Are you currently writing an original work of fiction? Submit up to 10 pages of the first chapter of your book to CWA's 3rd Annual First Chapter Contest.

First prize is a full scholarship to attend the Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat May 19 to 25, 2019, at the Cedar Valley Center & Spa, 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, near West Bend, Wisconsin (value: $1450). Second and third place winners will receive cash awards of $150 and $75, respectively. Each of the top three entries will also be published in CWA's e-zine, The Write City.

For each entry, a non‐refundable fee of fifteen dollars ($15) must be made to CWA via PayPal on the same date as the author’s entry is submitted.

Deadline is October 15, 2018. Winners will be announced in December.

If you are thinking of entering this contest, September might be a great time to get  pre-submission feedback from Fred Shafer. Please see manuscript guidelines on our website:


Prism Review Poetry and Short Story Contests

Fiction: one story or linked short-shorts (8000 words max)
Poetry: 1-5 poems, ten pages max
Winners receive: $250 each and publication in Prism Review
Contest deadline: midnight, November 30. All entries are considered for publication; all entrants receive the issue featuring the winning works.


Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest

Open to fiction submissions through 01 October 2018 (37 days from now).
Guest Judge: Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

First prize: $1,000
Second prize: $500
Third prize: $250

The three prizewinners and seven honorable mentions will be considered for representation by William Morris Endeavor; ICM; the Wylie Agency; Aragi, Inc.; Regal Literary; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency; Markson Thoma Literary Agency; Inkwell Management; Sterling Lord Literistic; Aitken Alexander Associates; Barer Literary; the Gernert Company; and the Georges Borchardt Literary Agency.

Entries must be complete by October 1, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Results will be announced at the website December 15 and in the Winter 2018/2019 issue of Zoetrope: All-Story; and the winning story will be published as a special online supplement to that Winter 2018/2019 issue.

We accept all genres of literary fiction. Entries must be: unpublished; strictly 5,000 words or fewer; and accompanied by a $30 entry fee per story. There are no formatting restrictions; please ensure only that the story is legible. Please omit all personal information from the manuscript itself (i.e., name, address, email address, phone number), as all stories are read blindly.

We welcome multiple entries ($30/story), simultaneous submissions, and entrants from outside the United States. We will email contest updates and results to anyone who provides an active email address. Entrants retain all rights to their stories. Once a story is submitted, we cannot accept an updated draft. (However, an entrant is welcome to submit an updated draft as a new entry.) Entry fees will not be returned or adjusted.

Please email us at with further questions. Thank you for your interest, and good luck!

Looking for a Good Read?

Many of our members have books available for sale on our website:

Find the bookstore on the left side of the top menu bar.

If you are a 2018-2019 member and would like your book included, please send your book cover jpeg and indiebound link to If you are self- published, please send your link to purchase.

We also have a few dates available for members to sell their books at the session break. Please email to request this opportunity.

Your Publishing or Event News

2018-1019 OCWW members may submit third-person copy about their upcoming publishing news and events along with a jpeg image for the October Newsletter to

Submission deadline is September 15

Plan Ahead to Get Feedback on Your Writing

Manuscript Critique Info and Deadlines 2018-2019

Manuscript Critiques are for 2018-2019 OCWW members only

1.  For Fred Shafer Only

Fred will write comments on fiction manuscripts in all genres, for readers of all ages.  Hard copy manuscripts up to 20 pages, double- spaced, Times New Roman font may be sent to his home, at 2128 Lincolnwood Drive, Evanston 60201. Allow time for mail delivery. Manuscripts and a check for $3.00 per page must be received by Friday, August 31.  After that date, writers can bring their submissions and checks to the first three meetings (September 6, 13, 20) at the Winnetka Community House.  He will not accept manuscripts at the final meeting. You must pay the $10 session fee or the 4-pack. 

2.  For all Speakers, unless otherwise indicated. Manuscripts should be sent as an attachment to email: Manuscripts should be in Word, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font with one inch-margins, pages numbered, and name on the front or in the header.  They should be received and paid for no later than 2 weeks before the workshop. 

PLEASE NOTE: Different speakers may have additional requirements or guidelines for manuscript submission. See the event description below for complete details.

3.  Mandatory $10 Speaker Session Fees:

In addition to the manuscript fee, a single $10 session fee is required to submit a manuscript for an OCWW speaker’s critique. This $10 fee pays for the attendance of the session; this fee is due even if the member does not attend the speaker’s session.

4.  Speaker’s Critique Fee:

 $3 per page, with a 20-page maximum. *Please note there is a $15 (5 page) minimum*

5.  How to Pay for Your Critique:

Once your manuscript is received, you will be sent an invoice to allow for quick and easy online payment. Manuscripts cannot be passed onto the speaker without advance payment. Payment must be received at least two weeks before the workshop. Please plan ahead if you prefer to bring cash or check payable to OCWW to a meeting, or mail to OCWW, c/o Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL  60093. Please contact if you haven't received your invoice. 

Speakers and Deadlines:

Goldie Goldbloom: October 25

Emily Tedrowe: November 29 (will accept only the first 5 manuscripts)

Nadine Kenney Johnstone: January 17

Abby Saul  (Query Letter $15) March 7

Tina Schwartz (First 5 pages) March 7

Eric Rampson: March 14

Jennifer Solheim: April 11

Matthew Bird: May 16

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620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093

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