The Oct. 24 pledge drive edition of Literary Ashland had no guests, instead we highlighted upcoming events and featured some rules for writing offered by famous authors.


Congratulations to Chautauqua Poets and Writers on last night's successful event with acclaimed poet Mary Szybist [she-bist] at the Mountain Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School.

In the spring, CPW will be featuring Jane Hamilton, author of The Book of Ruth, which won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and A Map of the World.

Coming next month:

On Nov. 5 and 12 author Joe Peterson will talk about “Saloons and Suffrage in southern Oregon” at noon at the Medford Public Library (11/5) and the Ashland Public Library (11/12). It's part of the Southern Oregon Historical Society's Windows in Time series.

And don't miss the Friends of the Ashland Public Library Booksale and Auction, November 8 and 9.

On November 6 @ 7:00 pm  G. A. Bradshaw, author of the children’s book The Elephant Letters: The Story of Billy and Kani will be reading at Bloomsbury Books.  The Elephant Letters tells the moving story of Billy and Kani, two African Elephants. While they were born on the same day, the two young cousins live very different lives.

And Friday Wine and Words, the monthly series at Weisinger's Winery will feature Tim Wohlforth on Nov. 21, reading from his novel Curse of the Chameleon.

Willamette Writers Southern Oregon  Saturday, November 1 will feature Vincent Craig Wright "You already have a voice." Morning sessions starts at 10, the afternoon one starts at 1. Please bring pen, paper, or a device for writing and 2 to 4 pages of a recently begun story. Central Point City Hall Council Chambers, 140 S. 3rd St., Central Point, OR.

Writers' Advice:

Kurt Vonnegut

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Raymond Chandler

On writing detective stories.

  1.  It must be credibly motivated, both as to the original situation and the dénouement.
  2.  It must be technically sound as to the methods of murder and detection.
  3.  It must be realistic in character, setting and atmosphere. It must be about real people in a real world.
  4.  It must have a sound story value apart from the mystery element: i.e., the investigation itself must be an adventure worth reading.
  5.  It must have enough essential simplicity to be explained easily when the time comes.
  6.  It must baffle a reasonably intelligent reader.
  7.  The solution must seem inevitable once revealed.
  8.  It must not try to do everything at once. If it is a puzzle story operating in a rather cool, reasonable atmosphere, it cannot also be a violent adventure or a passionate romance.
  9.  It must punish the criminal in one way or another, not necessarily by operation of the law…. If the detective fails to resolve the consequences of the crime, the story is an unresolved chord and leaves irritation behind it.
  10.  It must be honest with the reader.

Elmore Leonard

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.