Interview with a Writer: Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin is a New York Times Bestselling author who generously shares her time and expertise with the members of the Charlotte Writers Group. Individual members and the group has grown with her mentorship. We asked for little more of her time to learn a little more about her.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: I got to know CWG through Darin Kennedy, who came to one of my signings at Park Road Books. He hung out with me and we talked for a long time, and I told him about my Thrifty Author Meetup group. Next thing I knew, Darin had invited the CWG gang to the Meetup, many of whom have become regulars in the years since then. I count all those folks as friends, and we’ve all grown and supported each other.

Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Gail Z. Martin”


Interview with a Writer: Dawn Patterson

Dawn Patterson is long-standing regular attendee of our Saturday critique group. We asked her to tell us a little more about herself, her writing and the role Charlotte Writers Group has had in her journey.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: Being a member of CWG has increased my writing knowledge in a compressed amount of time. The internet provides tons of advice and techniques on writing, but nothing compares to someone pointing out specific areas for improvement in your own stories. Personal instruction provides more impact and greater retention of lessons while in a friendly, supportive environment. Outside of meetings, friends from CWG provide me with editorial support, industry insights, and oft-needed encouragement. (Thanks, Caryn and Ann!)

Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Dawn Patterson”

Interview with a Writer: Lance Butler

IWAWLance Butler is an organizer of the Charlotte Writers Group and regular attendee of Wednesday night write-ins. We picked his brain to find out a little more about him for our Interview with a Writer series.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: Feedback. Growth. Confidence. Feedback received from having my work critiqued has given insight on how my stories are perceived outside my own little head but the real benefit is reading and critiquing fellow members, watching their stories develop, learning how to interrogate the pages objectively and break down elements of a story. When I use those skills to critique my stories, I see my own growth. From growth comes confidence.

Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Lance Butler”

Interview with a Writer: Jay Requard

IWAWJay Requard is a former organizer of the Charlotte Writers Group and regular attendee of Wednesday night write-ins and Saturday critique groups. He took some time out of his busy schedule for our Interview with a Writer series.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: When I first arrived in Charlotte in 2011 for grad school I had begun to take my writing much more seriously after the failure to get my first novel published after I had sold it to a really inexperienced publisher. At the suggestion of James Maxey (Bitterwood, Nobody Gets the Girl), I sought a writing group on Meetup. As they say, the rest is history.

Charlotte Writers not only allowed me to better myself as a writer, but it allowed me numerous opportunities to connect with professionals within the publishing industry while forming real, lasting friendships. Without this organization I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I am now.

Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Jay Requard”

Anthology Submission Guidelines

Charlotte Writers Group Anthology

Theme: About Time

Genre: Open, but preference for speculative fiction, or some included element of fantasy, science fiction, science fantasy, horror, magical realism, etc.

Speculative fiction is a broad category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings, and characters created out of imagination and speculation rather than based on reality and everyday life. It encompasses the genres of science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism.

Word Count: 4,000 to 8,000 words. For longer or shorter works, please query

Submission formatting:

Submission Guidelines/Template

Submit as .doc or .docx attachment

Reprints accepted. Submitters may send up to two stories, but they MUST be different genres and sent in separate emails. SEE NOTE BELOW

Emails should be titled: About Time – Title – (Author first initial and last name)

Submissions open September 1st – email to CWGAnthology at gmail dot com

Submissions close November 1st

Compensation – one print copy, one digital copy and $1 token payment. (All proceeds from the anthology will be applied to marketing materials, or put towards group interests.)

Submissions are open to all members of the Charlotte Writers Group with preference given to active members attending Saturday meetings or Wednesday night write-ins.

NOTE: If you intend to submit a story to another market, we strongly suggest you submit the piece elsewhere first. We will NOT be able to pull stories after January 1st. If your story is submitted elsewhere and accepted after January 1st, we will NOT be able to pull it from the publication, risking your submission’s inclusion to any other market.

If your submission is something that you have had critiqued during a Saturday critique session, please make a note of that in your email. There is no need to include the date it was critiqued, just that it was submitted for feedback.

Interview with a Writer: Ann Stawski


IWAWNext up in our Interview with a Writer series, Charlotte Writers Group chats up Ann Stawski. She is regular attendee of our Saturday critique group and the hostess of our upcoming September get together.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: It’s been a combination of osmosis and interaction. I moved to North Carolina in August 2014 and sought out fellow writers. When I found the Charlotte Writers Group, I was drawn into the sense of community, support, and discussion, along with the constructive criticism. The diverse and intense writing critique sessions help me develop my writing. Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Ann Stawski”

CLT Writers Recommend

CLTWG RecommendationsIn our July meeting, Charlotte Writers Group members shared some of the resources that help us most in our respective writing processes. Our members brought some great suggestions ranging from editing tips to websites, to screenwriting books that can help writers of any kind of story. Since not everyone can attend each meeting, our goal is to share what we learn here so all of our members, prospective members, and fellow writers can benefit. Each of these items has been vouched for by a group member. If you have a question about a specific recommendation, check in on our Facebook group and ask about it!

The list is broken down into books, websites, tips, Cons and local events. There’s something for everyone!



All books are listed with ISBN numbers to help you find them through your favorite digital or physical retailer.

  • Angela Ackerman’s Thesaurus Series: The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Urban Setting Thesaurus etc) – Get help finding the word you need without using the same one over and over.
  • Bird by Bird (ISBN-13: 978-0385480017) by Anne Lamott – part writing advice, part guru-level advice on unleashing your creativity. A favorite for many writers.
  • Chicago Manual of Style (current year) by University of Chicago Press – Everything you’ll ever need to reference about style and process in one volume. Used by writers, editors and publishers, this manual updates approximately annually. Corresponding website below.
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves (ISBN-13: 978-1592402038) by Lynne Truss – Punctuation with a sense of humor.
  • Elements of Style (ISBN-13:978-0205309023) by Strunk and White  – Essential grammar without the fluff.
  • The Emotion Amplifier (digital only) by Amanda Ackerman – A companion book to The Emotional Thesaurus
  • English Composition and Grammar: Complete Course (ISBN-13:978-0153117367) by John E Warriner  – Basic English grammar text book with more explanation and clear examples.
  • Forensics: A Guide for Writers (ISBN-13:003-5313643828) by D.P. Lyle, MD – Part of the Howdunit Series with everything you ever wanted to ask about forensics, but were afraid to Google.
  • Gotham Writers’ Workshop – Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School (ISBN-13: 978-1582343303) – A writing workshop in a book.
  • Grammar Girl book series by Minion Fogarty ( – Smart, sassy grammar for anyone in bite-size tidbits. Corresponding website below.
  • The Hero with A Thousand Faces (ISBN-13: 858-0001046747) by Joseph Campbell – Breaks down the hero’s journey throughout mythology to point out what resonates with readers and why. A good foundational understanding of story mechanics.
  • Howdunit Series – a series of books covering everything a writer might need to know about forensics, poison, police procedurals, crime scene investigation, weapons and more.)
  • Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writer’s Course (ISBN-13: 978-0312302764) by Jerry Cleaver – A step by step guide through the writing process.
  • Karen’s Conundrums: A Compendium (a what?) of Grammatical Imponderables by Karen T. Newman – A CLT Writers Group member’s personal contribution to all the grammatical obstacles.
  • The Kick-Ass Writer: 1,000 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience (ISBN-13: 978-1599637716) by Chuck Wendig – An in-your-face, irreverent, and funny presentations of the hard lessons of the writing life.
  • Police Procedural: A Guide for Writers (ISBN-13: 978-1582974552) by Lee Lofland – Part of the Howdunit Series – like having an expert in your pocket.
  • Right Word, Wrong Word: Words and Structures confused and misused by learners of English (ISBN-13: 978-0582246461) by L. G. Alexander – Are you using these commonly confused words correctly? Are you sure?
  • Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Blake Snyder – A guide on how to structure your story. One of a great series of books including worksheets to outline your story.
  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Syd Field – Though this focuses on screenwriting, the principles of storytelling can be related to any kind of writing.
  • The Screenwriter’s Bible (current edition – ISBN-13: 978-1935247104) by David Trottier (periodic update) – Written for screenwriters, however, provides solid information about character creation, story concept, plot points, etc.
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Robert McKee – insight into story construction and how character and structure are interrelated. Screenwriting focus, but principles can be applied to any story writing.
  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Steven Pressman – We all encounter resistance in many forms and this is an art warrior’s guide to fighting through it.
  • The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (ISBN-13: 978-1932907360) by Christopher Vogler – Takes Campbell’s mythic structure and provides practical advice for applying it to the craft of storytelling.
  • Writing Down the Bones (ISBN-13: 978-1611803082) by Natalie Goldberg – A blend of wisdom, advice, and encouragement for becoming the writer you want to be.
  • Writing Screenplays that Sell (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Michael Hauge – Insight into developing character and story structure will help any writer, not just a scriptwriter.
  • Writing the Breakout Novel (ISBN-13:978-1582971827) by Donald Maass – A guide to producing commercially successful novels.
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (ISBN-13: 978-1582972633) by Donald Maass – The companion workbook to Maass’s book.



  • Chicago Manual of Style (
  • Christopher M. Park’s Manuscript Analyzer ( – Discover your repeated words before your readers/critique partners do
  • Charlotte Writers Group ( – Our home base
  • Drew’s Script-o-Rama ( – a resource for finding scripts to see how they are constructed, study dialogue, etc.
  • Duotrope ( – Writer’s resource for market listings and submission tracking for paid subscribers.
  • Goodreads ( – Social media site for book lovers.
  • Grammar Girl’s website ( – Quick answers to grammar questions and top tips.
  • Grammar the Easy Way ( Website and free PDF download
  • Jake Bible’s “Writing in Suburbia” Podcast  – An uncensored, unedited podcast that Jake puts out about being a human who also happens to be a professional writer. It’s a realistic discussion about the business of being a professional writer presented with a sense of humor and a little tough love. (NSFW)
  • John G. Hartness’s “Writing Rants” Podcast – If you’ve ever seen John on a panel at a con, you know exactly what you’re getting. If not, check this out. John rants about all things related to the writing business – and beyond – in typical John style. (NSFW)
  • Magical Words ( – Writing advice and insight from local fantasy/sci-fi authors. While the contributors may be genre-specific, most of the advice can be applied to any genre.
  • NewPages ( – A multifunctional resource for writers.
  • Purdue Owl ( : Online writing lab, primarily for citing resources, however, it does contain a section on the Chicago Manual of Style 16th
  • Ralan ( – Spec Fic market listings
  • Sixfold Short Stories and Poetry – The Completely Writer-Voted Journal (
  • Submission Grinder ( – Market listings and submission tracking – currently free.
  • Text to Speech ( – A free service that converts your text to mp3 with relatively natural sounding voices.
  • Writing World ( – A sprawling multifunctional resource for writers.


  • AdBlock – an extension for Chrome and Firefox that blocks ads in websites, YouTube, etc.
  • Evernote – A multi-platform notetaking app.
  • Excel – easily track expenses, word count, and/or create your own submission tracker.
  • OneNote – a multi-platform Microsoft product for creating “binders” of notes/resources.
  • Scrivener – robust writing software that stores resources and writing all in one location for easy access. Steep learning curve, but reportedly worth the effort.
  • Windows Narrator – A Windows “Ease of Access” app that “reads” on-screen information. This can be used to read your work back to you.


  • Read your work out loud, or use a program to read it out loud to you. This will help you find mistakes (like missing words), hear awkward phrasing, and test your writing for how well it flows. (Besides, the more you practice reading your work aloud, the better you’ll be when it comes time for a reading!)
  • Keep a list of your -isms and use them for editing each manuscript – verbal tics and crutches, words you habitually overuse, feedback you’ve received repeatedly, etc
  • List of commonly overused words/stutter verbs (began, turned)
  • Do a Find/Replace in your document for your -isms, results from the manuscript analyzer, commonly overused words/stutter verbs and change them to CAPS before editing. This will make them stand out and make your text easier to edit.

Regular Events:



We all know that finding the right con can be a great help to writers – from strong writing tracks to learning about the industry and, possibly most importantly, networking and pitching. The italicized cons are events our members have attended.

Writers Conferences 2017


4/20-22/17 Las Vegas Writers Conference – Las Vegas, NV

4/27-4/30/17 – World Horror Convention – The Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA

5/5-7/17 DFW Writer’s Conference – Dallas, TX

6/2-4/17 ConCarolinas – Concord, NC

6/30 – 7/2/17 Writers League of Texas Conference – Austin, TX

7/15-17/16 ConGregate – High Point, NC

7/26-29/17 Romance Writers of America Annual Conference – Orlando, FL

7/22/17 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop, Nashville, TN

8/18-120/17 Writer’s Digest Con East – New York, NY

9/1-4/17 DragonCon – Atlanta, GA

9/1-3/17 Decatur Book Festival – Decatur, GA

10/4-8/17 Novelists, Inc (NINC) Conference – St. Petersburg Beach, FL

9/22-24/17 Baltimore Book Fesival – Baltimore, MD

9/15-16/17 Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference – Columbus, GA

10/19-22/17 Florida Writer’s Conference – Alamonte Springs, FL

11/3-5/17 North Carolina Writers Network Conference – Wilmington, NC

Writer’s Conferences 2018

1/11-14/18 Key West Literary Seminar – Key West, FL

2/15-17/18 Amelia Island Book Festival – Amelia Island, FL

2/23-25/18 – ConNooga – Chattanooga, TN

2/23-25/18 MystiCon – Roanoke, VA

TBD Unicorn Writers Conference – Purchase, NY

Interview with a Writer: DH Hanni


In our latest installment of Interview with a Writer, Charlotte Writers Group catches up with DH Hanni. She is an active member regularly attending Saturday critique group and we look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: It’s been a great group to get really solid, constructive feedback on my work. At least one of the pieces read by the group has been accepted for publishing. Even being around the group has helped my work as I learn a lot from reading other people’s works and the kind of suggestions given during our critique group sessions. Definitely has made me a better and more aware writer. And I can be my weird self and no one bats an eyelash. Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: DH Hanni”

Interview with a Writer: Richard G. Sharp


In our latest installment of Interview with a Writer, Charlotte Writers Group pays tribute to a very special writer. On April 4, 2016, our group lost an amazing member, Richard Sharp. His absence will always be felt by those of us who were fortunate enough to experience his insightful and entertaining critiques at our Saturday critique sessions. We interviewed Richard in early 2016.


Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: CWG has significantly improved my prose, not only through critiques of my own work, but those of others. An important part of that is awareness of how easily an exposition that may be clear in your own mind may be interpreted in a range of other ways if you do not give enough attention to nuance and precise wording. Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Richard G. Sharp”

Interview with a Writer: Darin Kennedy


Charlotte Writers would like to introduce our new bi-monthly feature – Interview with a Writer. Here we spotlight writers from our group and learn about their particular process. For our first interview, we are starting with Darin Kennedy, one of the original organizers of the Charlotte Writers Group.


Question: What role has Charlotte Writers Group played in your writing journey?

Answer: Charlotte Writers has been an essential part of my journey. When I first moved to Charlotte in 2009, I sought a group of writers to help critique my work as well fellow creative types to commiserate in the trenches. Now, seven-plus years later, most of my good friends in Charlotte all come from my connections in this group and I owe a lot of my happiness since moving back to NC to this group. Also, having my work critiqued as well as critiquing other people’s work every other week for five straight years significantly improved my ability to both write and edit effectively. Lastly, as the second organizer of the group after the founder, Brendan McKennedy, I was able to develop as a leader in a different direction than my time in medicine and the military had led. Not to mention, what a great group of people to spend time with week after week. Writers! Continue reading “Interview with a Writer: Darin Kennedy”