February Writing Show Recap – The Hero’s Journey

By Kellie Larsen Murphy

Plotting the Hero’s Journey

Kellie Larsen Murphy

Kellie Larsen Murphy

The February Writing Show, the first in its new home at the Firehouse Theatre, played to a packed house the last Wednesday of the month. Plotting the Hero’s Journey featured guest panelists Connie Lapallo and Greg Smith, along with moderator Doug Jones.

Ms. Lapallo is the author of two novels based on historic Jamestown’s first women and children. She has spoken before 425 groups across eight states and is recognized as a historian regarding Virginia’s 17th century women. She was invited to address the Virginia Monument Commission regarding its monument to Virginia’s women at the State Capitol. Ms. Lapallo has a degree in Finance from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Georgia.


July Writing Show Recap

By Kellie Larsen Murphy

Stretching the Boundaries of Young Adult Literature

Kellie Larsen Murphy

Kellie Larsen Murphy

YA books are not just for kids anymore. It’s not only due to J.K. Rowling or The Hunger Games, but also the result of some incredible writing and great storytelling. July’s writing show introduced us to two of those authors, Kat Spears and Kristen-Paige Madonia.

Kat Spears has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and three freeloading kids. Her first YA novel, Sway, will be published in September by St. Martin’s Griffin.


June Writing Show Recap

by Kellie Larsen Murphy

Put Your Characters on the Couch: Psychoanalyze Your Fiction

The June Writing Show played to a nearly packed house at the Broadberry on a beautiful evening this June. Attendees were treated to a lively panel moderated by young adult author Gigi Amateau. The three panelists included Cleve Lamison, an actor, screenwriter, and novelist; Jon Sealy, a short story writer and novelist; and Ted Petrocci, a licensed mental health professional with over thirty years as a psychotherapist, trainer, and educator. (more…)

May 2014 Writing Show Recap with Fraga Studios

How many times have you bought a movie ticket at least partially based on the trailer? At least once and probably more, right? A really good trailer gets you to the theater for two hours. A bad one keeps you away. Today, trailers are not just for movies or television. Book trailers are popping up in all genres, from children’s books to suspense to non-fiction. A compelling book trailer can play a large part in an author’s marketing campaign. May’s Writing Show at The Broadberry focused on what makes a book trailer work, types of book trailers, and things to consider when making a trailer. Sharing their wisdom were Tom Sanchez Prunier, a freelance screenwriter and film producer, and Lew Fraga, a producer, writer, director, and owner of Fraga Studios.

Tom Sanchez

Tom Sanchez

What does a book trailer do? Tom and Lew believe a trailer gives the author a chance to say more than what’s on the book’s jacket. They believe a video ad attached to a book can be more cost-effective and far-reaching than a book tour. Used properly, it can be an integral piece in building an author’s brand.

By showing several trailers on screen, Tom and Lew emphasized the importance of showing—not telling—in creating a powerful trailer. Of course, every writer has heard this phrase repeatedly, but they stated it also applies to the video sneak peek into a book. As part of a total marketing campaign, Tom suggested a good book trailer is as important as your book cover. According to Tom and Lew, to make a trailer work, it should create emotional engagement, get to the point, respect the audience, have a clear message, hint at the story, and have a call to action (buy the book!). Unlike a movie trailer, the best book trailers don’t show the faces of the protagonists (or only briefly) or reveal too much of the story. Lew said, “Let the reader come up with a face.” A good trailer never shows credits and is generally under 2 minutes (1-1 ½ minutes is ideal). Bad editing, unrelated content, and excessive text can detract from any trailer. (more…)

April Writing Show and Master Class Recaps: Mining for Stories with Carrie and John Gregory Brown

April Writing Show Recap
Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction
by Kris Spisak, KS Writing

Surrounded by the Broadberry’s chic chandeliers, stomachs happy from a sumptuous spread, April’s Writing Show audience had a night to remember. Author and JRW advisory board chair Virginia Pye moderated the evening, introducing us to veteran novelists and professors Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, who discussed mining one’s own geographical and personal history as a writer.  (more…)

March Writing Show Recap: The Hybrid Author

photoYou’re ready for the world to read your book. Should you self-publish and seek out your own audience? Or go the traditional route and entrust your work to a traditional publisher? There’s a third option: Do both. At the March 27, 2014 Writing Show, husband-and-wife team Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris (pictured left with moderator Bill Blume) showed us how.

“Many streams make a river,” counseled Ballantine, author of steampunk and fantasy fiction. While Ballantine has a long list of traditionally published fiction, she has also self-published work such as her novel Weather Child, which her agent said wouldn’t sell in the United States because it takes place in Ballantine’s native New Zealand.   (more…)

February Writing Show Recap: Storytelling through Filmmaking

Why should you attend the Writing Show? Because we have amazing panelists who  ignite that creative spark.

On February 27, 2014, James River Writers partnered with the Richmond International Film Festival to host the Writing Show, “Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking.” Julie Geen moderated a panel of noted screenplay writers and directors from L.A. and Singapore. Each panelist talked about their journey, process, and passion. They held the audience in the palm of their hand. (more…)

Recap of the January Writing Show — Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series, Great Expectations: The Realities of Self-publishing, held on Thursday January 30 at the Camel, featured three authors with distinctly different stories and some great advice for those looking to self-publish. Moderated by Bill Blume, JRW treasurer and author of Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter, the panel, including Leila Gaskin, Rosemary Rawlins, and David Kazzie, shared their experiences in the ever-more-respectable arena of self-publishing, and fielded questions from the audience during the second half of the show. (more…)

JRW’s September Writing Show Recap: Unearthing the true story of the Hatfields and McCoys feud

Moonshine—when not inspiring fist-fights and gunshots—can loosen a good story.

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, a jug of the notorious libation found its way from hand to hand on the stage of the Camel in Richmond, VA. Taking sips and swapping tales were Dean King, local bestselling author of The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys: The True Story; Geoff Shandler, King’s editor from Little, Brown and Company in New York City, and Darrell Fetty, Hollywood producer of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning mini-series, The Hatfields & McCoys. “Warring Words, Endless Possibilities: The Hatfields & McCoys from Bookstore to Reality TV” was the last Writing Show of James River Writers’ 2013 season, and it was indeed a show-stopper.

King described his years of original research, including documents and interviews with relatives of both families. He unearthed anecdotes that shed new light and brought vivid detail to the tangled saga. (more…)