By C. E. Lawrence
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series

Fantasy writing isn’t that different from other kinds of writing – except when it is.  So here are a few tips and tricks to whet your whistle for the journey!

— Ideally, stories advance only through conflict, large or small.

Example: Harry Potter doesn’t know he’s a wizard, but his evil aunt and uncle know he might be and are terrified of magic

So what happens?  As he discovers his powers, he must hide them from aunt and uncle.  Conflict!  The story advances as his powers become clearer, he learns who he is, etc., but because he must hide this knowledge, there is inherent tension in the story.

Tricks and Techniques:

The Innocent

A tried and true way to reveal key information is to have an uninitiated character who doesn’t know things that must be imparted to the reader.  As he/she learns these backstory and plot elements, the reader does too.  Warning: you still must avoid info-chunks and long monologues of “telling” – you must follow the Rule of Conflict.


Harry Potter takes place largely at a school, which is a perfect place not only to teach the young wizards, but also the reader.  However, notice how even the classroom scenes are filled with conflict (will Snape go after Harry, will Miss   freak out, will Moody do something violent, will Drago and his thugs attack Harry and his friends?)  As the reader worries about the potential conflict, the information is imparted seamlessly (and since it’s magic, there’s a lot of potential for fun) – which brings me to my next trick:


“Telling” is the lazy man’s way out.

When in doubt, write it out.

There’s nothing more fun than seeing magic at work – not only Harry Potter style magic, but the kind of “magic” that turns up in any fantasy genre (cf. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.)  Don’t tell us what super powers your characters or monsters have, show them (like the song in My Fair Lady, “Show Me”).

By having Harry start out as the “Innocent,” and by setting the story in a school (very clever choice!), Rowling sets up a situation in which showing is not only natural, it’s expected.  So we get to see all kinds of magic in the works, all the while absorbing the “rules” of how the magic works in her story effortlessly – it never feels like the Dreaded Exposition Dump, because she does it by demonstrating in scene loaded with conflict.

Want to learn more?  Come to the Fantasy Writing class in Cape Cod this year – see you there!


ce lawrenceC. E. Lawrence is the author of nine published novels, award-winning plays, musicals, poetry and short fiction often based upon historical research. Her most recent Lee Campbell thrillers are Silent Slaughter and Silent Stalker.  Her Sherlock Holmes novels, The Star of India and The Haunting of Torre Abbey, have recently been reissued, along with her Claire Rawlings mystery series.


On Wednesday, July 22nd, former CCWC President Kevin Symmons is hosting a launch party for his new novel, Chrysalis. This event, similar to WritersNights Out, will be held at Uno’s at the Hyannis Rotary (Rte. 132). Again like WNO, it begins at 5:30, but this event is free. There will be pizza, munchies, wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee, and dessert. The purpose is of course to introduce Chrysalis, his latest romantic thriller that is set during the summer leading up to 9/11. It’s already garnering some great early reviews (see one below). But make no mistake, Kevin is putting on this modest event to thank all his friends on Cape Cod and the CCWC members who have been so critical to his success as an author.


“Kevin Symmons weaves a gripping summer read with Chrysalis.  Summer. Cape Cod. Horses. First love.  It doesn’t get much better than that…and yet it does.  An element of danger lends a sense of urgency to the story as a maniacal villain plots his revenge with our young lovers in the crosshairs.  Added to this is the date— 2001.  As the villain draws near, the calendar turns ever closer to that fated September day, leaving the reader to frantically turn pages, wondering whether villain, terrorists or both will destroy the tender new romance.  But just when you think you know where the story is headed and how it will play out, another twist takes you by surprise.”


Please join Kevin and his writing friends for the fun!




Member News for July

by web editor on July 6, 2015

Take a look at our members’ writing news for this month:


Travel writer Ray Bartlett’s debut novel, Sunsets of Tulum, is coming out in October.  Sign up at for updates and release notes. If you are a published author and want a review copy to blurb, please let him know.

Anita A. Caruso and Barbara Eppich Struna will be signing and selling their books at The 26th Lions Arts and Crafts Fair, Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th at the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School, 901 Route 134, South Dennis, Ma. from 10AM-4PM. Anita will have her memoir available, As Ever, Pudd- A Love Story That Never Ends Told in Letters and her children’s book, Brayden’s Magical Jungle. Barbara will be selling her two historical novels, The Old Cape House and The Old Cape Teapot.
Both will also be selling their books on Wednesday, July 29th, at the New England Book Expo at Danversport Yacht Club, Danvers, Ma. from 4-9PM.

Dean Coe will be having story time at the Eight Cousins Bookstore in Falmouth on Tuesday, July 7th at 10:30 a.m. He will be reading his book Chesterton Saves the Whale.

Jim Coogan and Jack Sheedy, partners in Harvest Home Books, were the principal writers for this year’s Summerscape, the historical magazine that is published annually by the Barnstable Patriot weekly newspaper and distributed by the Cape Cod Times.  The 40 page collection of Cape Cod stories is the 21st Summerscape collaboration between the two writers.  Over that time period the magazine has won five first place awards for editorial excellence from the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

The Running of the Bulls (El encierro), a bilingual book by Joyce Prince, has recently been published.

Kathy Salzberg’s humor book, Confessions of a Mad Dog Groomer, is now on sale at the following Cape Cod bookstores: Titcomb’s Book Store in Sandwich, the Yellow Umbrella in Chatham, the Brewster Book Store in Brewster, and Music Smith Book Smith in Orleans, as well as her family business, The Village Groomer and Pet Supply in Walpole, MA, and the online store of her publisher,  Additional contact info at

Husband and wife poets Thomas Slayter and Judith Partelow will be featured on July 25th at 7 pm at The Teichman Gallery in Brewster.


Current CCWC members are invited to submit their news to the next Member News Roundup, which will be posted to our blog and Facebook page on the first Monday in August. To have your news included, please email a one or two sentence announcement to no later than Friday, July 31st. Write “Member News” in the subject line, and be sure the announcement includes your name exactly as you would like it to appear. We do not have room for longer articles or reviews, but you may include an email or website link so readers may contact you or find further information. If you have multiple events, signings, etc. coming up, the best way to publicize these is with a link to a calendar on your own blog or website. (Please note that we reserve the right to edit any announcement for length or for potentially offensive or controversial content.)


by Deb Kurilecz
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series

Just recently a writer friend of mine said, “We always worry if our characters come alive on the page.”  What a great discussion point for my course at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em: Create Great Characters.  Of course by great, I mean unforgettable characters such as Scarlett O’Hara or Hannibal Lecter.  I’ll bring lots of examples from literature but we’ll also examine your characters and provide tips for making them memorable.  Writers of all levels are welcome and will benefit from my many tips and techniques.

At last year’s conference, my class was fun and lively and I am so excited to be asked back and to be teaching one of my favorite topics.  I’m also teaching how to add the WOW factor to your writing.  Sign up for both classes.

Have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Keep writing!


Deb KuriKurileczlecz is an international award-winning writer who teaches creative writing and is a book and story project consultant. Her fiction, memoirand poetry have been published in numerous literary journals, most recently Eleven Eleven, Willow Review, The MacGuffinAmerican Letters & Commentary, Blue Earth Review, Oyez Review, The Jabberwock Review, and North Atlantic Review.

Announcing David Litwack’s Latest Release

by web editor on June 24, 2015

Congratulations to David Litwack on the release of his latest novel!

The Children of Darkness is now available for purchase on Amazon. Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Fall 2014 in the Fantasy Category, this dystopian tale is the first book in The Seekers series. The next book in that series, The Stuff of Stars, is due out November 30th, 2015.children of darkness

Click here to buy your copy today!


Displaying the perfect pitch  –whether in baseball or writing —  is a crucial skill that wins games and book contracts.  That was the main subject for Writers Night Out on June 17, 2015 after cocktails and dinnerUnos Chicago Grill on Route 132 in Hyannis.

Following a brief welcome by Executive  Director Nancy Rubin Stuart 2015, board member, Dwight Ritter, spoke about the importance of critique groups run by the Cape Cod Writers Center. One example of success that comes from  meeting regularly with other writeers was illustrated by Dwight’s group which just published an anthology of short stories his group wrote,  Dancing Naked.

Dwight at June WNO

Afterwards, eight members of the Cape Cod Writers Center tried out their  pitches before  other members and our author- judges,  former board president Kevin Symmons and former board treasurer Arlene Kay. They were  Terri Arthur, Barbar Struna, Mary Newton Lima, Robin Kish, Susan Awaniswiw, Anita Caruso, Sheils Murry and Greg Jamison.

While each of them had an intriguing plot they pitched,  Kevin and Arlene reminded them of the importance of describing the book’s underlying theme, then briefly summarizing the plot. By doing so, writers are more likely to pitch a home run!


by Kate Klise
Part of the 2015 Conference Faculty Series

Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.

Sounds like one of those banal quips you hear at a high school graduation. In fact, it’s a quote from none other than Cher, who will not be teaching the Writing for Children’s course at this year’s Cape Cod Writers Center Conference (August 7-9). Nor will Cher be teaching the course on Young Adult Novels.

But I will. And I plan on asking all of my students to embrace any feelings of foolishness as we talk about the art and craft of telling a good story.

I’m working on my thirtieth book this summer. It never gets easier for me. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if I want to have a good idea, I have to generate a lot of ideas. Most are lousy, which is why I try not to fall in love with my first draft of anything. As Colette once said: “Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”

I wouldn’t dare destroy anyone’s work other than my own. But I do hope I can help other writers separate the gold from the straw in their working manuscripts. And for those writers who are just sitting down with a new project, that’s fine, too. We’ll spend a lot of time talking about beginnings and how important it is to hook the reader as early as possible.

Will we feel silly? Maybe. Will some of our ideas be slightly less than brilliant? Probably. But we won’t care because we know looking foolish is the price we pay for the possibility of being great writers—or rock stars.


Kate Klise 001croppedKate Klise is an award-winning author of books for young readers. She also spent 15 years reporting for People magazine. For more about Kate, visit

Riverhaven Books June 2015 Newsletter

by web editor on June 17, 2015

Riverhaven June 2015 Newsletter

Writers Night Out Tomorrow, June 17th

by web editor on June 16, 2015

Perfect Pitch Practice

At Uno’s Restaurant, Route 132, Hyannis
5:30 networking, 6:00 dinner, 7:00 presentation


Practice pitching your mapitchnuscript at this month’s Writers Night Out! You will have two minutes to convince our discerning membership – including fellow authors and editors – why they should be interested in your book. Critique and suggestions will be given by our audience along with a vote for the evening’s best pitch. Reserve your spot now to participate in this exciting opportunity!

The personal pitch is one of the most critical skills for all writers.  You’ll need it to sell your book or story idea to a time-pressed agent or editor, to promote your work to the media, and to place it on your website and/or social media accounts.

By popular demand, the CCWC’s June WNO again offers you the opportunity to practice your pitch before an audience, hear their reactions, and learn what works best. Even if you’re not ready to pitch or submit to an agent or editor now, come and enjoy the company of your friends and fellow writers and get a taste of what pitching is all about.

Presenting participants must be CCWC members. The maximum time allowed is 2 minutes (yes, you will be timed!). There are 10-15 slots available, on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure your place, please contact Sara Kass at


The cost of Writers Night Out is $25 for CCWC members and $30 for non-members. The price includes a buffet dinner and a non-alcoholic drink.

Please contact Sara at our office to sign up via email for what promises to be a fun and informative evening: or call 508-420-0200.


Maybe the 150th birthday of William Butler Yeats had something to do with it. Or the fact that it was a gorgeous morning on Cape Cod. More likely though, it was the three distinguished authors who  appeared at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis on Friday morning, June 12  for the Cape Cod Writers Center’s Breakfast with the Authors program who charmed the thirty-five members of the audience.

After a continental breakfast, the first speaker, C. L. Fornari, a nationally known garden expert, author of five books and host of two radio shows, spoke about her career, the common mistakes people make in the garden and her most recent book, Coffee for Roses.



She was followed by Hank Phillippi Ryan, an investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate, the winner of 13 Emmys, 13 Edward R. Murrow Awards and two-time Agatha Award for her best-selling mysteries, the most recent being Truth Be Told.

Hank Phillippi Ryan BWTA June 12, 2015

The third speaker was John Hough, Jr., a former speech writer for Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, assistant to James Reston at the Washington Bureau of the New York Times, and the author of five novels, including his latest, Little Bighorn. 


John Hough Jr. BWTa June 12, 2015

Their presentations were followed by a lively Question and Answer session after which the authors signed books for members of the audience, many of whom praised the program as “one of our best!”


3 BWTA authors IMG_3440

With our appreciation to C.L. Fornari, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and John Hough, Jr. for a wonderful morning!