Writers help other writers in Oceanside group

OCEANSIDE — “Writing is the hardest way of earning a living with the possible exception of wrestling alligators,” said writer Olin Miller.

The people who belong to the writers group that meets at the Oceanside library probably know a few things about alligators.

They are a group of about eight who twice a month lay their work on the table and let the rest of the members offer opinions and constructive criticism.

“You get multiple critiques and take away what you want as the writer,” Marla Bluestone said.

The group aims to help each writer solidify the voices of his or her characters, help with their inner dialogue and very important for any writer, get rid of excess wording that does not advance the plot.

The writers and their work are varied.

Chuck Braithwaite is a playwright who is writing a novel. His plays have been staged, but at the moment he is writing a story about a man who is convinced he has been stricken with Alzheimer’s disease and wants to have as many experiences as he can before the disease closes in on him.

Leah Zanzucchi shared her work, which she classifies as a science fiction/humor that is narrated by a mouse. The group agreed they could see it as an animated screenplay appealing to both children and adults. She is 34 now, but has known she wanted to be a writer since age 8.

Ron Hoodenpyle, who already has a publisher for his very first effort, has written a book about having been touched by the hand of God at age 10 and at several other critical times in his life.

After the critique portion of the meeting, the group discusses topics like writer’s block, discipline and other drawbacks writers face and how to deal with them.

Dave Baurac says he writes 500 words a day, no matter what. It’s not all gold, but sometimes bullion can be extracted, he said. He spent 40 years writing for others in public relations for a science research firm.

He describes his book as a thriller with political overtones.

Most of the group’s members don’t call themselves “writers” when asked their occupation.

“Hemingway is a writer. Steinbeck is a writer,” said Bluestone, who shared her poetry at a recent meeting. She, like Baurac, wrote for others during her working life.

Bluestone said, and some of the others agreed, that when someone asks what she does she keeps them from getting mired in the “quicksand” of asking questions like, “Oh what do you write?” And, “Can I read anything you’ve written?”

“I don’t like to open the door to questions like that,” she said.

On the other hand, Braithwaite said he was asked recently and for the first time he answered “playwright.”

“I found that satisfying,” he said.

The group meets at 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays, upstairs in the Oceanside Plaza Library downtown, 330 N. Coast Highway.

Writers of all levels are welcome. It is asked that a person bring an example of their work to read to the group. To learn more, call (760) 435-5600.

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