No Wasted Ink Newsletter & Ramblecast - May 2023
a newsletter and voiceover podcast by Poet Laureate Wendy Van Camp
Welcome to the monthly No Wasted Ink Newsletter and Ramblecast My name is Wendy Van Camp and I’m the Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim, California. This newsletter and ramblecast is not affiliated with the city and is my own personal newsletter. All views stated here are my own.
Over the past month, several people have approached me to “join them for a coffee” to ask me to describe what a poet laureate does. The answer is different for every poet. It depends on the knowledge base and strengths the poet brings to the table. Some become a force of nature in their local community and others do one or two readings and call it a year.
In my case, it has meant an increase of speaking events on the science fiction convention circuit. While I’ve been active there for many years, speaking on a myriad of topics from editing, podcasting, writing tips, and organizing readings for myself and fellow speculative poets, I’ve seen an increase in demand to appear on panels and to teach my poetry workshops. I speak all over the United States and via the magic of Zoom, in other countries.
I also support our main library’s monthly open-mic. I usually am the feature speaker once a year, but I always go up and read something each month as a regular participant. Our open-mic is well attended and is more local people sharing their love of poetry and music than being a place for “professional poets” to be seen. We have a sense of family there.
I also coordinate a large annual writing event at the main library which features readings, a free to attend writing conference and tables of writing groups and local authors. The planning of this event took many months and certainly proved to be a challenge as I made dozens of personal appearances at writing groups to get word out to our possible attendees. It was a successful event with a few hundred attendees and I will be returning to coordinate again this coming November.
As a poet laureate, one of the requirements the city impressed on me was to sponsor an event during the month of April to commemorate National Poetry Month. For me, this was the launch party for the community poetry annual “Anaheim Poetry Review”. The journal was a labor of love over many months. I am an experienced anthology editor and I believe this was a factor in my being selected as the city’s poet laureate. While creating an anthology is work, finding the poets and getting such a project going in a place where it hasn’t been done before was certainly the main challenge.
Our launch party was fun for all the poets and their families who came to hear them read. We recorded the reading and I am in the process of turning it into a television program which will be cablecast on our local channel, Anaheim TV.
So there we are. These are the highlights of what I do as a poet laureate, and you didn’t even need to buy me a coffee.
yours in poetry,
Crafting a Compelling Plot: Essential Techniques for Captivating Your Readers
Crafting a compelling story that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end is not easy. Using a few techniques in your toolbox, you can create a page-turner that readers won't be able to put down.
First off, we have the classic technique of outlining. Now, I know some of you might be groaning at the thought of outlines (I used to be one of you), but hear me out. Outlining can help you to stay organized and focused as you write. It doesn't have to be a rigid, inflexible plan - it can be as detailed or as loose as you like. The key is to have a general idea of where the story is going and how it will get there. Trust me, your future self will say thank you when you don't spend hours reworking your plot because you got lost in plot holes.
Next, is conflict. As the saying goes, "no conflict, no story". This is what keeps readers invested in the story. They want to see how the main character will overcome the obstacles in their way. Whether it's an external conflict of battling a villain or an internal conflict of grappling with temptations, conflict is what makes a story interesting. So don't be afraid to make things difficult for your characters - they can handle it.
Last but not least, we have foreshadowing. This is one of my personal favorites, because it can add so much depth and richness to a story. Foreshadowing involves dropping hints or clues about what's to come later in the story. It can create tension and anticipation, and can make readers feel like they're in on a secret. Foreshadowing can be done through dialogue, description, or other elements of the story. For example, if you want to reveal a big twist later in the story, include subtle hints earlier on that readers might not pick up on until later.
Now, these three techniques are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plot development. There are countless other tools and tricks that writers can use to create a compelling story. But I believe that these three are some of the most important:
Outlining helps you stay on track
Conflict keeps readers engaged
Foreshadowing adds depth and complexity
Use these techniques (and others you discover along the way) to create a story that readers won't be able to put down. And remember, writing is a journey, not a destination. So don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with your storytelling. After all, isn't that why we do this in the first place?
This science fiction haiku poem first appeared in a magazine called “The Starlight Scifaiku Review” in Spring of 2023. It was part of a series of scifaiku entitled “Cosmological Speed” and is about the study of the Earth’s movement through space. Poem is by Wendy Van Camp.
May 4th - Anaheim Open-Mic at Anaheim Central Library 5pm (reader)
May 6th - Imaginative Verse: Speculative Poetry 2pm (Moderator/Reader)
LitFest in the Dena is a large literary festival held at Mountain View Mausoleum, in the Pasadena, CA Area. I am moderating and reading with a panel about speculative poetry. My autograph session will be around 3pm after the reading.
Poet Laureate Wendy Van Camp is joined by speculative poets: Denise Dumars, Neil Citrin, Jean-Paul L. Garnier, and Leanne Kathleen Ingino.
May 20th - Wrightwood Wine & Art Festival (Artist/Poet)
I will have a booth at the art festival and be one of the contestants at the Rattle sponsored Poetry Slam. I will have my artisan jewelry, poetry prints, and books available for purchase. The festival is held in the mountain village of Wrightwood, CA.
May 26th-29th - Balticon 57 (Virtual)
I am a virtual panelist and moderator at this hybrid convention based in Baltimore, Maryland. Balticon is both in-person and virtual this year. I am scheduled to teach my generative speculative poetry workshop. Please view my appearance schedule on my portfolio website for details. Register for the event at https://www.balticon.org/wp57/
Starlight Scifaiku Review - Spring 2023 - Ode to James Webb & Cosmological Speed
Two astropoetry scifaiku sequences are published in this speculative annual journal by Starship Sloane Publishing. It is my third year appearing in the publication.
Anaheim Poetry Review - April 2023
I am the sponsor and editor of this annual community poetry anthology. It features local poets of the City of Anaheim. The anthology is available to read for free at all Anaheim Public Libraries, and via a flipbook on its website: http://anaheimpoetry.com
ConTinual - Fandom - The Mandalorian (Podcast)
LINKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Portfolio - http://wendyvancamp.com
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/author/wendyvancamp
Medium - https://medium.com/@wvancamp
Twitter - https://twitter.com/wvancamp
Instagram - https://instagram.com/nowastedink
Mastodon - https://me.dm/@wvancamp
The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z8HMPF2
The Curate’s Brother: A Jane Austen Variation of Persuasion - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OU1V45A
Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry
Volumes 1 - 3
Anaheim Poetry Review 2023
Free to Read: https://anaheimpoetry.com
Eye To The Telescope: Quests #46 - Fall 2022
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