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Texas Writes workshop for would-be novelists, family history buffs and book fans

AMANDA EYRE WARD

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

LLANO — One of the things all writers — whether published or not — relish is the chance to learn from other writers. It’s kind of a peek behind the curtain type of thing.

And it’s not just writers, avid readers often enjoy a trip into the minds of authors just to learn how they come up with those stories that keep people turning the page.

Those chances, however, don’t come very often, and when they do, it typically means trips to major cities and reaching into your pockets for admission costs. But the farthest you have to go Nov. 8 is the Llano County Library and the only thing you need to reach for is a pen and paper for note taking.

“Oh, this is so exciting,” said Tommi Myers of the library, located at 102 E. Haynie in Llano. “For librarians and readers, authors are our rock stars.”

The library and the Writers’ League of Texas are hosting Texas Writes on that day from 1-4 p.m. The program features two highly acclaimed novelists, Amanda Eyre Ward and Owen Egerton.

AMANDA EYRE WARD
AMANDA EYRE WARD

The event is free and open to the public. The Texas Writes program, offered through the Writers’ League of Texas, provides these workshops and seminars in smaller communities across the state thanks to funding from the Tocker Foundation.

While it’s a chance for anybody to sit in and hear published novelists, screenwriters and authors share insight, the event gives up-and-coming writers as well as published ones a chance to get some tips and learn a bit about how some writers work their magic.

“So many people are writing family histories or novels, we hope that events like this one help them learn the craft of writing,” said Suzy Spencer of the Writers’ League of Texas. “How often do you get to sit for 45 minutes with each writer, ask questions and just get to learn how they do it.”

The two authors for this particular program bring lots of writing and publishing experience with them, and more.

Egerton is the author of several books, including “How Best to Avoid Dying,” “Everyone Says That at the End of the World” and “The Book of Harold, the Illegitimate Son of God.” He’s also an accomplished entertainer and one of the people behind the award-winning comedy troupe Master Pancake Theater. Along with writing novels, Egerton is a screenwriter and works with major studios.

“Owen is an incredible writer, but he’s also a great entertainer,” Spencer said. “He’ll not only share some great advice and tips with people, but he does it in such a fun way.”

Egerton will be discussing “Burning Words: How to Set Your Writing on Fire & How to Feed the Flames until the Pages Blister.”

Ward started her novelist career in a cabin in Tow, where she wrote her first book. When she was done, she celebrated by enjoying some Cooper’s BBQ. Since that first novel, Ward has added four more and book of short stories. Her latest, “The Same Sky,” has been published in 15 countries, and several of her books have been optioned for film and television.

“Amanda is probably one of the most requested writers we have,” Spencer said. “She’s an amazing teacher when it comes to the writing craft.”

Ward’s topic is “The Art of Research.”

While the typical audience member is an adult, middle-aged or over, Spencer said the events often attract younger writers as well. During a recent Texas Writes program in Atlanta, Texas, a 12-year-old boy attended. When it came time for audience members to ask questions, Spencer said the boy, who is working on a novel about rats, asked some of the best questions regarding craft and writing that she had ever heard.

“He asked about how do you make dialogue realistic and how do you craft action scenes,” Spencer said. “And when there was a break, he’d be over there with the author asking more questions. The two of them were just wrapped up talking about craft. And that’s really what these events are about, getting people excited about writing and helping them become published writers.”

Call Myers at (325) 247-5248 or go to www.writersleague.org for more information. While reservations are not required, they are encouraged.

daniel@thepicayune.com