Help for the written word
By Jeanne Millsap For The Herald-News June 22, 2012 2:04PM
Steve McCormick of Lockport, and Kristina Skaggs of Joliet are members of Write On, a writers’ group that meets at the Three Rivers Arts Council in Minooka twice a month. | Jeanne Millsap ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 25, 2012 6:26AM
MINOOKA — When Steve McCormick of Lockport heard the Eddie Money song “Endless Nights,” a couple of years ago, it released a flood of memories of a love from years ago.
A union laborer by trade, he had studied journalism in college and had remained an avid reader and writer. His first instinct was to run home and write about the memories the song evoked.
He hand-wrote it in his hurry to get it down.
“I couldn’t type as fast as the thoughts came out,” he said.
Those thoughts are now a semi-autobiographical manuscript of a love story from a guy’s point of view that McCormick wants to publish, and he is getting help from a new writers’ group in Minooka.
Write On meets twice a month at Three Rivers Arts Council in Minooka and has been such a success the group is considering dividing into two.
The group of budding writers began meeting in January to review and critique each other’s work, sharing tips and helpful hints. Two members are already self-published, and the others have the goal of eventually publishing their work, as well.
McCormick said it’s been just the thing to help him keep the editing and submitting process moving along.
“Sometimes you have to have people give you that extra push,” he said. “And it kind of pushes you to have something to report at the next meeting … It’s like having cheerleaders in your corner, even if it’s negative.”
McCormick said one of the ways the members’ feedback has helped him is in putting a bit more of an edge to his main character.
One of the organizers of Write On is amateur writer Kristina Skaggs of Joliet, and McCormick said her style of writing is edgier and gave him the encouragement to make the needed changes in his manuscript.
“It’s nice to be able to be free to talk about our passion,” he said. “Except for one, nobody is doing this for a career, and you feel vulnerable when you read it out loud. … But nobody has malicious intent when we sit down.”
Skaggs said the first Write On meeting was fairly small, with five or so writers attending to receive “writing assessments.” The group has grown to around a dozen now, of all ages, professions and personalities.
There are writers just out of college, stay-at-home mothers and those who have already raised families and are ready to pursue their dreams of becoming an author.
At first, Skaggs said, it’s difficult to share a story with others.
“It’s hard to read your work out loud,” she said, “but you want to know if it’s working or not working. It’s also to see if it rolls off the tongue well and is making sense right off the bat.”
Skaggs’ current writing efforts are a book of short stories aimed at readers in their 20s.
Write On meets at 6:30 p.m. first and third Thursdays of each month at the Three Rivers Arts Council, 413 Mondamin St., Minooka.
For further information, visit the Write On Facebook site or call 314-974-4397.