Willamette Writers Chapters are local writing communities where writers improve their craft and acquire the career skills required in today's publishing world.
The Salem Chapter offers monthly meetings and occasional workshops. Meetings are normally held on the 1st Wednesday of the month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center (4090 Commercial St. SE, Salem).
You can join a monthly meeting even if you're not a member. Read on to learn about us, and join our mailing list to keep in touch. Become a Willamette Writers Member today to enjoy membership benefits (like free meetings) and to support our community of writers.
Online: First Lines Critique Group: Query Letter or Proposal
Presented by Salem and Portland WW Chapters. All are welcome!Making a good first impression and showing the agent or editor what they can expect as they read on is important. If you're struggling to polish the first few lines of your query letter or proposal, maybe we can help. One of the most popular Salem Chapter meetings is when we meet together as a large critique group. We need volunteers to send us the first few lines of your query letter or proposal. Also tell us your name, what type of work it represents, and a two line synopsis of the work. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org During the meeting, we will read this information, and the first lines, and then give the audience two minutes to type their evaluation in the chat. (We will later copy and send the evaluations to the authors.) There’s a chance we won’t get to all of the submissions, but we'll do our best. While we will encourage constructive feedback to help the authors refine their lines and people certainly might praise the authors’ work, please be aware that when submitting, you will read critiques and be prepared for that. Authors should also understand that it will not be a forum for them to respond to, or debate, criticism. As authors, it’s important to listen to reactions and to be open to editing and rewrites. This should be a great opportunity to polish the first few lines of your query letter or proposal! Of course, ultimately, it’s your vision and creativity so you can choose to utilize it disregard feedback! We want to foster a fun, supportive and helpful environment. We will be meeting online on Tuesday, October 5th, from 7:00 to 8:30 PST
How to join
About the Meetings
Unless otherwise stated...
When and Where
The Salem Chapter meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Center (4090 Commercial St. SE, Salem).
6:30-7 pm: social time, including news and member announcements*
7-8:30 pm: speaker’s presentation followed by Q&A and book sales/signing
* We have snacks, but if you want coffee or water, please bring it with you.
Monthly meetings at all the chapters are free for members of Willamette Writers.
Fees for Nonmembers to attend meetings (suggested donation):
- Nonmember guests of Willamette Writers members pay $5.
- Nonmember full time students with student ID pay $5.
- All other nonmember adults pay $10.
Thank you for your support
The Chapter Co-Chairs
The Salem Chapter is run by two co-chairs who together create a program to fit the needs and interests of the Willamette Writers members from the Salem area.
After working in law enforcement as a forensic examiner for more than 30 years, Kathy is turning her efforts towards writing fiction. While she has published three research papers in scholarly journals and written technical manuals on forensic practices, she finds the craft of writing novels is far different than writing a crime scene report. She has had one short story published in the Gold Man Review.
Chris Patchell is the award-winning, USA Today Bestselling author of five novels. A former tech worker turned author, Chris Patchell pens suspense novels set in the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about Chris at https://www.chrispatchell.com/.
Summer Bird has been a volunteer and leader of the Salem chapter for many years. She is an artist and a writer, and you can find her work at https://summerbirdstories.com/.
Past Chairs of the Salem Chapter:
- Orit Ofri
- Marilyn Ebbs (Chapter Founder)
- Heather Cuthberston (Chapter Founder)
Connect with the Chapter
We think writers are awesome!
- Join our meetings and workshops if you’re a writing enthusiasts from the Salem area, if you happen to be in the area, or if you are interested in a specific topic/speaker.
- Like our Facebook Page to keep in touch.
- Explore our blog and subscribe to it to receive notifications of new posts about local events and opportunities by email.
- Join our mailing list to learn what’s coming up next for the chapter.
- Find a local critique group or announce your group.
- Contact us privately if you have a specific inquiry or an announcement to share with the chapter.
All writers welcome. Join us!
Salem Chapter Blog Posts and Updates
Willamette Writers member William J. Cook has just self-published a new novel, Seal of Secrets: A Novel of Mystery and Suspense. There is something strange about Jack Wallace, the man Chloe Denhurst has hired to do odd jobs around her house. He never talks about himself, never mentions a family or friends. She sees sorrow in his eyes, and something else, something sinister. When his past comes back to haunt him, Chloe’s own life and the life of her daughter are put in jeopardy. As the mystery deepens, Chloe gets pulled into a vortex of deception and murder. Find out more and connect with William J. Cook on his website, his author page on Amazon, and on Facebook.Read More
Do you have a logline for your story? Screenwriters have been using loglines to sell their scripts for years. Authors can use them too. Wait, what’s a logline? A logline is the shortest good response to the prompt: “tell me about your book.” Here is the definition from Wikipedia: “a logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.”Read More
Congratulations, Heidi Schulz! One could say that Heidi Schulz has already up and come. With her first book published by Disney, praised by critics, and included in the Oregon Battle of the Books for the school year 2016-17; her second book called a “deliciously witty, delightfully inventive, devilishly fun adventure…” (Anne Ursu, The Real Boy), and her third (a picture book titled Giraffes Ruin Everything!) soon to be released, it could be that Heidi already went.Read More
Fellow Willamette Writers, I love writing those words. It’s an honor just to be in the company of so many talented and motivated writers from around the Northwest. Some of you may be more talented than motivated, so WW has graciously (and perhaps foolishly) allowed me to take the helm of the blog and grab onto the organization’s Twitter and Facebook handles for the week to inspire you to complete that manuscript that is sitting there on your desk, unfinished, taunting you with its incompleteness. Since I’ll be steering the ship, the people in charge thought you might like to know the name of the guy who keeps veering close to the rocks so you can cry out your warnings with a high degree of specificity. “Benjamin, be careful!” you’ll yell. “What does Gorman think he’s doing?” you’ll ask one another. And if you really want to scold me, you could go thoroughly-disappointed-mom-style and shout, “Benjamin Douglas Gorman!” That’s me! Ben Gorman!Read More
Willamette Writer member and writing instructor Jill Kelly knows how to revise. An award-winning author and editor and a former professor of grammar and literature, she’s helped hundreds of writers move their work to excellence. This month, she’ll be leading two Willamette Writer workshops in Salem. To get us started on the road to revision, she’s sharing a few tips and tricks. This is just part one. Get out your red pen and get ready to revise with Jill Kelly! Revise with Jill Kelly Part One: Move subjects and verbs* close together. The subject and verb of any sentence are the two most important pieces of information. As readers, we are always looking for them in order to put the meaning of the sentence together, so writing that widely separates them is more difficult for us to understand. Jack, my brother-in-law from Cincinnati who worked as a factory foreman and had a collection of motorcycles, came to visit us each summer. Jack, my brother-in-law from Cincinnati, worked as a factory foreman and had a collection of motorcycles; he came to visit us each summer.Read More
The Salem Poetry Project continues with weekly readings at Frozation Nation, 155 Liberty St NE #150. Each week will present a featured reader followed by the Infamous Open Mic: 3 poems or five minutes whichever is first. Featured reader begins at 7:00 and the open mic will directly follow. For more information contact Marc Janssen at the Salem Poetry Project facebook page. January 21 Featured Reader, Efrain Diaz-Horna Efrain Diaz-Horna, a Peruvian by birth, has been writing poetry, painting and drawing since his childhood days. His poetry has been published in Expreso, The Oregonian, The Hispanic News, The National Catholic Reporter, and several newsletters. He is the author of the following poetry books The Many Faces of Love (1983), Aire, agua y cenizas (2011), Cuatro poemas (2011), The Anvil of God (2011), and the Life of Oceans (2014). Efrain has been a member of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, The Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Oregon United Nations Association, the Silverton Poetry Association, the Oregon Poetry Association, the Instituto de Cultura Oregoniana, and has chaired the Oregon Hispanic Commission. January 28 Featured Reader, Ariel Local Salemite, Ariel, (who defines herself as a Pacific Northwest Poet) has been writing since 1976. She has been published in several print publications including Gold Man Review , AIM, Chemeketa Courier, Statesman Journal, and the several anthologies – most notably The Widow’s Handbook, in the online publication, such as Unshod Quills, and has participated in Speaking Peace, Salem Peace Mural Project & Silverton Poetry Festival’ Visual-Verbal events. She is a member of Oregon State Poetry Association, Poetry Writing Collective, Scribe Writers Collective, Silverton Poetry Association, Stayton Second Sunday Series, Unshod Quills Writers Collective, and Willamette Writers, and was a board member of Third Thursday Poets. February 4 Featured reader, Tim Pfau Tim Pfau is a retired EMT, Auditor and Union Organizer who now watches grandchildren and tells stories in Salem, Oregon. A former Board Member of the Oregon Poetry Association, his poems have appeared in journals, newspapers, anthologies, radio and mixed-media shows. “Salem” means “peace” and sometimes, it is so. February 11 Featured reader, TL Cooper T. L. Cooper strives to empower and inspire by exploring the human condition through writing. Her published books include a novel, a collection of short stories, and five books of poetry including her latest release, Vulnerability in Silhouette: Poems. She currently lives in Albany, Oregon. To learn more, visit www.tlcooper.com. February 18 Featured reader, Stephanie Lenox Stephanie Lenox is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Business, winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Congress of Strange People, a collection of poems inspired by Guinness World record holders. She lives in Salem where she teaches creative writing at Willamette University. February 25 Featured reader, Michael Smith Michael Smith was active in New York, Denver, Taos, and Santa Barbara as a critic, playwright, director, lighting designer, and theatrical producer. He moved to Silverton in 2003 with his partner Carol Storke. He publishes books under the…Read More
Benjamin Gorman (a member of the Salem chapter) is excited to announce that his second novel, Corporate High School, is being published by Not a Pipe Publishing and will be released on June 12th. This timely YA dystopia describes a future where a single corporation has taken over the world by taking over the public schools. Harriet has to start at a new corporate high school because her father has lost his job and her mother has been thrown into a corporate prison. But something odd is going on at Harriet’s new school. If she can crack the code, she might learn a way to fight back! Check out www.TeacherGorman.com to learn more about the novel and order your copy!Read More