February 24 Writing Show: Love at First Line


One sentence? A paragraph? We’ve all heard the horror stories of how little time you have to capture an agent’s attention. Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency joins us on stage to share concrete tips for making the most of your first line, paragraph, page, and chapter. Find out what mistakes writers most frequently make with their beginnings and how to avoid them. Leave with tips that will help you write a foolproof first page, whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction.


$12 members | $15 non-members | $5 students
Social: 6pm | Show: 6:45pm
Wednesday, February 24
1609 West Broad Street (free parking at Lowe’s)

Click here to register today!


2016 Conference Dates Announced!

JRWC_2015_5Hold the dates! The 14th annual James River Writers Conference will be October 14-16, 2016.

Master Classes on October 14

General Sessions at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on October 15 & 16

Registration opens in early summer. Be sure to sign up for Get Your Word On, our e-newsletter, to get all the updates!

Popular Master Class with David Robbins Returns!

David L. RobbinsNY Times bestselling author and professor of creative writing, David L. Robbins presents his popular Art of the Narrative Master Class for the fourth time. The class will go for eight sessions and focus on the structure of good story-telling. Robbins will guide students through the writing and workshopping of several short fiction pieces. Instructional emphasis will be on the actual craft, technique, and skills needed to tell each story.

Thursdays, April 7 – May 26 6:30 pm – 9:15 pm
VCU Honors College, 700 W. Grace St.

The two prior master class groups have remarked that David’s classes are not only informative and eye-opening but fun and a little crazy as well!

Admission is limited to only 12 spots. The class fee is $500 for members or $550 for non-JRW members and may be tax deductible, as the entire amount will be donated to The Podium Foundation and James River Writers. (Please consult your tax advisor to be certain.) A non-refundable $250 deposit is due by March 17; remainder due by April 28. Deposit will be refunded only if the minimum number of 8 seats is not filled.

David L. Robbins is the author of twelve successful novels. His work has been published around the world, and at the conclusion of this workshop, he will jet off to Vietnam in pursuit of his thirteenth. He has won awards for screenwriting, essays, and his novels, and his second stage play, Sam & Carol, will be produced in Richmond this April by Henley Street Theatre. In addition to serving as co-founder for James River Writers and The Podium Foundation, David has partnered with the Virginia War Memorial to found The Mighty Pen Project, a writing program for veterans and military family members. His website is authordavidlrobbins.com.

Click here to register today!

February 11 Literary Salon: The Secret Heart


heart-603214_1280James River Writers and The Poe Museum present our first Literary Salon—a new place to find inspiration this year!

We’re bringing back the grand tradition of the salon, an intimate setting to meet & fraternize with local authors as they in turn guide you in your own writing practice. Whatever your genre, this will be a great way to connect, to learn, and to philosophize. There is no cover charge. We welcome writerly types of all experience levels and readers, thinkers, and artists of every sort.

Topic: The Secret Heart – Considering the Dark Side of Romance

Speaker: Slash Coleman

Thursday, February 11, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Patrick Henry Pub & Grille, in the upstairs salon

2300 East Broad Street (free street parking) (more…)

Best Self-Published Novel Contest Is Back for 2016!

bookJames River Writers recognizes the writing talents and entrepreneurial skills of indie authors by continuing The Best Self-Published Novel Contest, which we started in 2014.

The contest will be conducted in alternating (even) years with the Best Unpublished Novel Contest.

Contest Details

One first-prize winner will receive $500 and a ticket to the annual James River Writers Conference. The winner will be announced in October 2016 at the James River Writers Conference. Press releases will also recognize the winner.

Two finalists each receive $200.


First submit the entry fee of $25 using the “Register Today” button below and a credit card. Once you have submitted payment, you will receive a receipt via email. Print your receipt and follow the guidelines below to mail in your submission.


To submit an entry, the author must be a JRW member or a student at a Virginia college or university. You may join at the same time as paying your entry fee by using the “Register Today” button above.

Submissions for the 2016 contest will be accepted from May 1 through June 30, 2016 (postmark deadline of Thursday, June 30). Note that this contest is for fiction only. (more…)

Your Last Minute Gift Helps Us Do More!


Please take a moment to reflect on how important James River Writers is to you personally, as well as to the central Virginia writing community as a whole. Our membership and registration fees only cover a portion of our annual expenses. We fill the gaps with sponsorships and donations. Help us continue to play an important role in making the Richmond region a vibrant place for creativity and expression, and make a donation.


2016 Writing Show Season Announced

TWritingShow_logoColorThe 2015 Writing Show season was a success with good attendance, great knowledge and a fantastic venue with our partner Firehouse Theatre.

For 2016, we are staying at Firehouse Theatre and sticking with our last Wednesday of the month from January through September schedule. All the new JRW membership options offer some passes to the Writing Show. If you are a frequent attendee, check with Phil Hilliker at membership@jamesriverwriters.org about renewing your membership before the season begins.

Firehouse Theatre, is located at 1609 West Broad Street beginning in February. Free parking is available across the Street from Firehouse in the Lowe’s parking lot.

The programming for 2016 was designed with your comments and suggestions in mind and is adapting to meet your writing craft and business needs.

Entertaining and interactive, The Writing Show has been described as:

  • Inside the Actor’s Studio meets the New York Times bestseller list.
  • The Tonight Show meets the art of writing.

It’s inspiring. It’s fun. And it’s only happening live in Richmond.

Click on the button below for season pass options.

Click here to register today!


6:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street


$12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)


The 2016 Lineup

(Schedule subject to change due to speaker availability)

January 27 – Surprising Ways to Boost Your Creativity

February 24 – Love at First Line: How to Grab an Agent’s Attention on Page One

March 30 – Blogging in 2016

April 27 – Editing for Dramatic Impact: Mastering the Most Important Moments in Your Story

May 25 – TBA

June 29 – Raising the Bard: 10 Things Any Writer Can Learn from Shakespeare

July 27 – The Secret Mind of an Author: How to think, read, and act like a writer.

August 31 – Strategies for Getting What You Want (i.e. a paycheck) Out of Writing

September 28 – The Power of Imagery: Show, Don’t Tell

Individual show tickets are $12/members and $15/non-members. Two free passes to the Writing Show are included with Traditional Membership or upgrade to the Writing Show Membership to receive a Season Pass for a savings of $47 a year. Already have a membership or want to give the Season Pass as a gift? Nine months of exceptional writing education are available for just $85.

Best Unpublished Novel Contest Winners Announced!

Robin Williams, 1st Place Winner of the Best Unpublished Novel Contest

    Robin Traywick Williams

James River Writers is pleased to announce Robin Traywick Williams of Crozier, for The Key to the Quarter Pole, as the first place winner of the JRW and Richmond Magazine 2015 Best Unpublished Novel Contest. Gail Giewont, and Vivian Lawry, both of Richmond, have been selected as finalists for Unguided and Nettie’s Books, respectively.

The Best Unpublished Novel Contest, initially held in 2008 and now offered every other year, is at the heart of James River Writers’ mission of connecting and inspiring readers and writers. In the alternating years, James River Writers offers the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest and Best Self-published Novel Contest, providing exposure and encouragement to a wide range of Virginia’s author talent.


Thanks for a Fantastic Writing Show!

Our Writing Show on Writing for Girls turned out to be one of our best shows of the year. Thanks to our partners Richmond Young Writers and Girls of Summer.

Special thanks to our panel, which included Sarah McGuire, author of the debut novel Valiant, along with Odessa Hott and M.E. Novak-Ellis, both from Richmond Young Writers. As always, our moderator Rebekah Pierce kept things fun and informative.

Here are some pictures from last night’s show. As you can see, we had a lot of fun.

Photos by Joe Kutchera