The Art of the Start graphic - TWS - July 17 - Five wooden doorsThis mini master class with five talented wordsmiths dives into a problem that can trouble any writer: where to begin a story. Each of our panelists–including a fiction writer, a nonfiction writer and editor, a poet, a playwright, and a journalist–will take the stage for eight minutes each to elucidate on their strategies and tactics for finding the entry-point for a written project. Not all narratives are linear, and beginning in medias res is always a possibility–but what makes the most sense for your creative work? Attend July‘s Writing Show to help discover your answers.

Date: Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meet & Greet at 6:00; program starts at 6:45)

Location: Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23220

Price: $12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)

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Louise Ricks

Louise Ricks

Louise Ricks is an award winning playwright, actress and artist. Louise has created work that inspires audiences to become active participants in the arts and in their communities. As an actress, Louise has performed all over the country and was even voted Best Actress by Style Weekly readers in 2014. As a photographer, Louise’s industry standard head shots have opened the door for actors to be recognized by national casting directors without breaking the bank. As a playwright, Louise has had over thirty plays produced nation wide. Louise’s shows tell relevant, empowering stories audiences of all ages have enjoyed.

In her personal mission to create quality youth and family entertainment, Louise founded The Whistle Stop Theatre Community in Ashland, Virginia. Now in its fifth season, Louise writes and produces all of their programming. In 2014, the Whistle Stop’s world premiere production, Cinderella: The Fairy Godmother’s Tale was selected by The New York Children’s Theatre Festival to be showcased in New York and in 2015 it was invited to participate in the Ruby Slipper Theatre Festival.

In between writing and producing, Louise has worked professionally as a photographer, teacher, director and award winning visual artist. Louise is passionate about using these skills to awaken artists in all of us, no matter our age. Website:
Brendan Wolfe

Brendan Wolfe

Brendan Wolfe is the editor of Encyclopedia Virginia, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. An Iowa native and graduate of the University of Iowa, he is the author of Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend and Mr. Jefferson’s Telescope: A History of the University of Virginia in 100 Objects. His work has appeared in The Morning News, Colorado Review, and VQR. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Website:

Clifford Garstang

Clifford Garstang

Clifford Garstang is the author of the novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the 2013 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and the short story collection In an Uncharted Country. He is also the editor of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volumes I and II, anthologies of stories set around the world. His work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Blackbird, Cream City Review, Los Angeles Review, Tampa Review, and elsewhere, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He is also the author of the popular literary blog Perpetual Folly, widely known for its annual ranking of literary magazines. In 2015 he received the Indiana Emerging Author Award from the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and international lawyer, Garstang earned an MFA in Fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. He lives near Staunton, Virginia. Website:

Shahan Mufti

Shahan Mufti

Shahan Mufti has written for a variety of newspapers and magazines as a freelance journalist. His work has been published by Harper’s MagazineWIREDThe New York Times MagazineBloomberg Business WeekThe AtlanticColumbia Journalism ReviewThe Nation, and many other publications. Mufti was previously a full-time correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and reported from Pakistan. He later joined the team of journalists that launched, a multimedia platform for international news that is based in Boston, Mass. Mufti has a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a graduate degree in journalism from New York University. He has also served as a Fulbright scholar in India. Mufti’s first book, The Faithful Scribe, A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War, based on his reporting from Pakistan, was published in 2013 by Other Press. Website:
Mary Carroll-Hackett

Mary Carroll-Hackett

Unfortunately, previously scheduled speaker Mary Carroll-Hackett will be unable to attend The Writing Show. She sends her heartfelt regrets. 


We'd like to thanks our sponsors for this show:

Book cover of Brotherhood

A.B. (Anne) Westrick, author of Brotherhood

A.B. (Anne) Westrick understands the art of the start. Moving a chapter from deep in her draft to page one made her debut novel Brotherhood work. Kat Spears took Anne’s advice and moved a scene in her novel Sway from the middle into a prologue. What a difference! Anne loves to analyze the structure of a story and ask, “Where have you invited readers to enter into this narrative?” She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is adjunct faculty in Western Connecticut State University’s low-residency MFA program in writing. For seven years before Katharine Herndon became JRW’s Executive Director, Anne was the admin in the JRW office. In addition to Brotherhood, she has published “Bounce Back,” a short story in River City Secrets, edited by Lana Krumwiede, as well as numerous essays and articles. She’s now hard at work on a contemporary YA novel and eager to help fiction writers hone their craft. For more about her editing services, check out her website at, or email Anne at [email protected].

Book cover of Lock & Load

Deirdra McAfee and BettyJoyce Nash, Editors of Lock & Load

Because nothing says America louder than a gun! Watch for Lock & Load: Armed Fiction—forthcoming November 1from the University of New Mexico Press. As these spectacular stories demonstrate, firearms loom as large in Americans’ imaginations as in the news.

The common theme, and the essential object, in this unforgettable anthology is the gun. Stories from such American masters as Annie Proulx, Rick DeMarinis, and John Edgar Wideman, plus a talented group of newcomers, range widely—from tender to violent, from chilling to hilarious. And, unlike most collections featuring firearms, which typically focus on war or hunting, whose contributors are usually men, and often dead, this book features living writers, half of whom are women, as are its editors, local writers Deirdra McAfee ( and BettyJoyce Nash ( More at University of New Mexico Press

Editing for Authors logo

Hundreds of authors have chosen Editing for Authors since the company was founded in 2011. Why? Because Editing for Authors offers the same meticulous, professional editing process that traditional publishing companies depend on to produce best-sellers. EFA’s experienced editors have worked for some of the largest publishing companies in the world, including Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s/Griffin, Oxford University Press, McGraw-Hill, Lippincott, Penguin, the New York Times Company, NBC Universal, and more.

Founding Partners, JRW board member Erica Orloff, and digital marketing guru Jon VanZile have over 40 years of combined experience making manuscripts shine, as well as advising on social media and indie publishing. Their authors have signed with some of the biggest agents in the world, have had massive self-publishing success, and have won literary awards. Editing for Authors offers a 10% discount for JRW members in good standing.

Visit to learn more.