Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rules For Tagum Writer's Club


My personal view of writing is that it should be artful and free.
However, I have been advised that clear rules for the group should be established for the benefit of everyone. With this in mind I have relented and fashioned the following 5 basic rules for Tagum Writer’s Club which are:
Rules for Writer’s Club
1.       We must remember this club forum and the writer’s circles must be safe, fun places where we support each other.
2.       There are many ways to deliver a truth.. Be aware that your critique needs to be done in a clear manner but must never be an attack either upon the author. In other words critique the piece, not the author. (try to avoid getting too personal)
3.       Sarcasm or abuse toward other members, for any reason  is unacceptable. 
4.        When possible posts "to be reviewed" should be posted in pdf or like format. Adult material must be clearly labeled as such.
5.       This is not a dating site and comments or innuendo in this context may result in expulsion from the group.

Getting Ready to Share Your Writing

    Writing responses for other group members  and receiving responses from others is the most important step in revising and refining your own work. Before you share your work, online, in your circle or at your group meeting, consider the following suggestions.

Responding to Other Group Members' Writing

Say something positive about the piece. Even if a piece of writing needs a lot of work, there is usually something good that can be pointed out - the nugget of a great idea, a particularly well-turned phrase, the beginnings of a good organizational structure, or a thorough understanding of the material.

Speak from your own perspective, using phrases like, "My reaction to this was …" or "I found this to be …" rather than "this part of the paper is …" Acknowledge that there may be a variety of opinions about the piece of writing.

Talk about the way you responded as you were reading 

Sometimes it's easier and more helpful to say, "When I read this sentence, I wasn't sure if the paragraph was going to be about this or about that," than it is to say, "This sentence was confusing."

Be specific. Instead of just saying, "The characterization needs work," try to figure out where and how the writer can improve on the story’s character.
Whatever you say, imagine yourself on the receiving end of the comment. If this were your work, what would be helpful to you? How would you want people to provide you with criticism?

Reacting to Other Group Members' Responses to Your Work

Remember that your writing group is trying to help you become a better writer. Anything the group members say about your work is designed to help you make it stronger, more readable, and more effective.

Understand also that this process is sometimes hard for both the reader and the writer.
Keep in mind also that every reader is different. What one reader finds confusing another might find crystal clear. It is ultimately your writing and you will have to decide which bits of feedback to act upon and which to ignore.

Try not to be defensive. It's easy to think, "What do they know?" or "They just didn't get it," but keep in mind that while one reader's response may be the result of that reader's own misunderstanding, if several readers agree that a scene or stanza is confusing or implies something you didn't intend, the problem probably lies with the writing and not with the readers.

Remember that a criticism of one piece of writing is not an indictment of you as a writer or scholar more generally, nor is it a critique of your worth as a person. It is simply a response to words that you wrote on one occasion.

Listen to praise with the same intensity that you listen to criticism. Often, writers can obsess over critical comments and fail to hear all of the good things said about their writing. We can be our own worst critics and harshest detractors

Keep track of the kinds of feedback that you receive again and again. Do readers often suggest changes in plot or imagery? Do the endings of your poems or stories usually seem to need work? Do people frequently tell you that they don't understand words that you use? Do readers praise your clarity? Do they regularly tell you that your introductions are interesting? Use these observations to identify patterns of problems and strengths in your writing.

Writing with other serious writers that you respect and trust can yield golden opportunities and the most rewarding of experiences.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Selecting a Genre For Your Writer's Circle

Selecting a Genre

Once you have recognized the broad genre and form, the sub-genre or category is the next choice. Most people use the term genre to describe the category of a work. From this point on, think of a genre as a section within the local bookstore, with our apologies to purists. From these suggestions it should be easier to select your genre for your Writer's circle.

Technically “genre” describes one of the three major forms: poetry, prose, or drama. However, writers, editors, the book industry, and the film industry now use “genre” to refer to categories within the major genres. We are “misusing” terms but using them as the industries use them.

Every genre can and does include elements of other genres. Consider the following:
1. Creative writing for pleasure.
2. Expats.
3. Fiction and fantasy.
4. Poetry.
5. Health and wellbeing.
6. Love and romance.:

A romance might be set in the West, but is it a Western or a Romance story? We categorize stories by their major elements. If the plot is “Two aging gunslingers meet one last time” the story is likely a Western with a romantic sub-plot. Write as a movie with comic elements, and it might be a comedy with a Western setting and romantic sub-plot. You can see how categories mix and overlap.

The categories below represent popular genres; it is not an exhaustive list. In terms of current popularity, romance and fantasy constitute the greatest number of titles sold.


The easy way to define a romance is two people falling in love. In some stories, the love conquers all, while in others the love results in a sacrifice. Romance novels and short stories remain the most popular forms of published fiction. You might wonder where the romance books are sold. Grocery stores, drug stores, Wal-Mart, and other “non-traditional” outlets sell more books than dedicated bookstores. A romance writer’s dream should be to have a book at the checkout stand.

While series romances remain popular, larger novels by “big name” writers have eclipsed the standard 128-page format.

Contemporary: Set in the current time, dealing with “modern” issues.

Fantasy: Who doesn’t like knights in shining armor?

Historical: Nothing like a revolution or sinking ship for romance.

Regency: A specific form of historical romance. Set 1811–1820, George III King of England and his son, George IV, ruled as Regent, hence the term “Regency.”

Romantic Suspense: Is the man of her dreams a killer? What’s his dark secret?

Time Travel: Men from the past knew how to court properly. (It’s fiction.)

Supernatural: Vampires, ghosts, and other strange phenomena mixed with love.

Religious: Romance with morals.

Multicultural: Either people from different cultures or a romance within a “minority” culture.


Everyone loves a mystery, the saying claims. Since the appearance of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841, readers have tried to solve mysteries before police or kindly old women do. Poe set the basic structure with his slueth C. Auguste Dupin, a gifted amateur who used logic to solve mysteries. Poe’s detective was quickly overshadowed by Sherlock Holmes, who appeared in a short story during 1887.

During the Jazz Age, or Roaring 20s, an American style of mystery appeared. In these stories, the detective was tough, if not the smartest of men. (Nero Wolfe being an exception — he was a genuis while his sidekick Archie Goodwin who assumed the streetwise role.) Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are among the best known authors of American Noir, or “hard-boiled” mysteries. (“Noir” refers to a style of movie in which the action was usually filmed in black and wihite, with lots of shadows.)

Police Procedural: The work of the police, in their language.

Crime Lab / M.E.: Think Quincy or CSI.

American Noir: Mike Hammer stories fit this genre, in which the private eye is offending cops and melting hearts. The style is first person, with plenty of action.

Cozy: A simple setting, often a quiet English village, where crime is rare. Agatha Christie was the queen of this form.

True Crime

For those wanting more realism in mysteries, true crime novelizations are as real as it gets. Written in novel form, these are true stories. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood introduced the genre and it has been popular ever since. Unlike the objective style of nonfiction history, the true crime novel exposes thoughts of characters and makes use of literary devices. Some critics contend that such recreations play with historical facts.

Mystery novels generally follow the exploits of an investigator, often through the eyes of a third person. True crime has to follow the experiences of real people — you cannot invent a Dr. Watson or Archie Goodwin to tell the tale.

Criminal’s Persective: Tells the story of the crime, from planning through punishment, from the perspective of the perpetrator.

Detective’s Perspective: Starts after the crime, working towards a solution from the perspective of an actual investigator.

Media Accounts: Uses actual media sources to advance the plot.

Traditional Omniscient: Standard narrative conveys the story.


Fantasy stories are associated with the elements of medieval myths and legends. There are dragons, knights, wizards, and usually a prince or princess along the way. Good kingdoms are threatened by absolute evil, with few shades of gray. From Lord of the Rings through Harry Potter, fantasy stories are known for both the magic within and their enormous page counts.

Classical: No, not old, but in a “pure” medieval setting.

Contemporary: A modern setting, but with magic and mythical creatures.

Science Fiction

Combine some scientific realism with “what if” and you have science fiction. Science fiction’s draw is that it ranges from the almost believable to the wildly fantastic. Unfortunately, that can also leave science fiction dated after several years. The risk is higher in screenwriting, since a film’s visual style and interpretations of technology are based on the present.

Sometimes science fiction is influenced by fantasy, while often it seems to border on horror. Frankenstein is science fiction, written at a time when people were first questioning the dangers of science without ethics. The doctor was hoping for a “good” — but created a monster during his tests of reanimation. Science fiction often deals with the consequences of inventions and technology.

Other Worlds: Science fiction based on the notion of life on other planets. A great place for fantasy to enter the genre.

Mad Scientists: A well-meaning science experiment goes bad. Very bad.

Morality Plays: The Twilight Zone often used science fiction to ask moral questions.


A contemporary story is set roughly in the present, with an emphasis on current issues in society. A lot of contemporary stories deal with the evolution of families and the roles of women and minorities in culture. There are sub-categories, but they change as events and trends merit.


While associated with stage and screen, comic stories were once a dominant genre. Comedy was seldom “just for fun” before film. Instead, comedy in it’s various forms was used to critique social establishments without angering authorities. (Then again, parody or satire could result in arrest if you weren’t careful.)

Comedy is a great weapon, and normally that’s its purpose. However, there are times when the humor is simply meant to entertain. Many screenplays fall into this category — simple fun. Unfortunately, a lot of film doesn’t rise to the level of comedy. (Sophomoric humor is still humor, but at some point things are merely disgusting or shocking.)

Comedy of Manners: Pokes fun at the upper-class way of life, without being ill-willed.

Comedy of Character: The characters are the stars. Known for “catch phrases” and “running gags.”

Satire: Uses irony and sarcasm to critique human nature. Often a critique of a particular group.

Parody: Mocking an existing work, historical event, or popular culture.

Farce: So ridiculous, it’s funny.

Dark Comedy:
Laughing at pain and misery. Less “hopeful” than satire.


It’s been said that Westerns are American… and Australian. These stories are about conquering a frontier, something the two nations have in common. The setting of a rugged West or Outback takes on the role of a character, contributing to the plot. The stories depict strong, isolated individuals and communities as they face desolate wild land, violent weather, and native Americans. Westerns include the novels of Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, and Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, 1985).

Films often deal with the conflict between outlaws and the need for law and order in the frontier. The first important motion picture, The Great Train Robbery (1903), was a Western. It’s hard to think of a genre that had a greater influence on early screenwriting.

Stories of Honor: A hero is a hero; he always was and always will be a man of honor. Think High Noon.

Redemption: The gunslinger decides to help someone else, or the robber is more “Robin Hood” than “hood.”

The Elements: The heat, the isolation, the Desert Southwest versus the people.

Bildungsroman: The main character leaves the big city for self-discovery.


Historical fiction ranges from the “what if” to detailed stories set against famous events. James Michener was the master of massive regional histories and historical collections. His works are enormous volumes, featuring detailed research mixed loosely with the stories of individuals.

Histories: Huge books about specific nations or regions.

Alternate History: What if Hitler had defeated the Allies?

Historical Thrillers: Espionage against the background of various wars and revolutions.

Horror / Thriller

If you want to sleep with the lights on, horror stories and thrillers are for you. Horror is based on violence or the threat of violence, while thrillers tend to be “beat the clock” stories in which failure means death for someone — and seldom the main character.

Medical Thriller: Mad scientists meet the modern age. These stories are plausible, making them truly scary.

Gothic Horror: Set 1700–1845, these stories feature death, the supernatural, and creepy settings.

Techno-Thriller: The world as we know it is threatened by evil governments or terrorists. Realism leaves you wondering…


A Bildungsroman is a story about personal growth and self-discovery. The term is German, where the form was quite popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Novels of self-discovery affirm the “human spirit” for many readers.


The picaresque novel originated in sixteenth century Spain. This story is a social criticism, using a “picaro” (rogue) as the main character satire or moral commentary. The earliest picaresque novel is thought to have been Lazarillo de Tormes, published in 1554. An American example is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which uses a troublesome young narrator to reveal complex social issues.


Transgressive stories follow a handful of characters through the worst of humanity. The characters seem to be hopeless, immoral, and lost within society. Short novels in this genre were popular during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Drug culture, pornography, sociopaths, and random violence permeate these works.

Specialized Techniques
A story can make use of special techniques to complement form and genre.


An epistolary technique uses letters (or email in today’s world) to tell the story. Some books include sections of letters in every chapter, while other stories are nothing but letters sent among characters.

Roman à Clef
A fictional work based loosely on real people, the roman à clef leaves clues to the identities of the characters.

Although not complete we hope that this info has been helpful to you..

Gilman & Phil

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Death of a Nation

As certain as the death march of Bataan or the Nazi death camps of WWII  a cancer seems to have seized the world as the tables are turned and the bizarre becomes the norm, the sinister is embraced and virtue and integrity are forgotten and absorbed into a quagmire of degenerate substitutions leaving in their quake the rotted remnant of a forgotten past.     

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Best People........

Ernist Hemingway

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”

― Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Favorite Color is Blue

My favorite color is blue still if blue were the only color on earth what a boring world it would be..Diversity adds color and dimension to our world. It is the tapestry of life. Differences in perspectives provide us with the stimulation and motivation to grow and learn about all things. 
These challenges make us strong and allow us to examine our values and convictions. I do not support diversity solely for it's own sake when it is a destructive element; but the day to day interactions of men and women with different perspectives, values and ideas is the stuff that we all can be grateful for. 
Native American Indians as well as other indigenous peoples measured their power by the strength of their enemies. So make yourself known, be heard, stand your ground but understand the value of your opponent. Although my favorite color is blue if all things were blue it would be an unattractive world indeed..


Friday, October 24, 2014

Hey Joe! My Adventures In The Philippines by Richard Cantrall

Full test and blog can be found at:
Catch Adventures in the Philippines through the eyes of author and teacher, Richard Cantrall.
A romantic in the true sense of the word Richard shares his  wonderfully touching experiences, inspirations and travels.
Richard is the facilitator of City Of The Palms Writer's Club and we are proud to feature one of his latest and most intriguing works..

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Awaken Thyself - Excerpt: Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Henry David Thoreau


It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men.  Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.  Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. . . . We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.  I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.  It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.  To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.  Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.  If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.