Brainerd Writers Alliance is Rebranding!

…And we need you!


Hello Brainerd Writers!

As discussed in the agenda email this week, we’re going to be rebranding the BWA in 2019! We want this to be a group endeavor, so we’re asking any and all who would like to submit logo ideas to send them in to us before the November 17th meeting.

If you are interested, here are the details:

  • Deadline: November 12th, 2018
  • Try to contain your logo example within an 8″ x 8″ square, so they can be easily read when reduced in size.
  • Email a scan, photo, or the computer file (if working in Adobe Illustrator, or other program) to us. We’ll make sure they are printed off, mounted, and ready for display, so we can vote in November!

Logos can be hand drawn, painted, multimedia art, or computer renditions. They do not need to be perfect, so don’t worry about that. We simply are looking for the thumbnail ideas that we can develop as a group. 

We will vote anonymously for our favorite logo at the November meeting, so if you want to have a say in how things will look in 2019, be sure to attend. The top 3 will go on to become cleaned up digital files and on display at our December meeting–where we will anonymously pick the final logo. 

It’s going to be a great year!

Email Your Logo Submission

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Winners of the 2018 Brainerd Writers Alliance Writing Contest

Winners of the 2018 Writing Contest include:

Fiction Winners Judged by Erin Hart of Minneapolis, MN

  1. Coopersville Rising” by Becky Flansburg of Baxter, MN
  2. Not a Quitter” by Marilyn Bos of North Mankato, MN
    Honorable Mention: “At the Core” by Joe Prosit of Brainerd, MN

Creative Nonfiction Winners Judged by Niomi Phillips of Park Rapids, MN

  1. The Man on the Hill” by ​Thaddeus McCamant of Frazee, MN
  2. Consenting” by Melissa Birch of Pequot Lakes, MN
    Honorable Mention: “Babies, Midwives, and the End of the World
    by John Hurd of North Mankato, MN

Poetry Winners Judged by Bruce Eastman of Brainerd, MN

  1. Ancient Snowstorm” by Charmaine Donovan of Brainerd, MN
  2. Deception and Disguise” by Laura Hansen of Little Falls, MN
    Honorable Mention: “Muse Comes Home Disguised as a Sentence
    by Tracy Rittmueller of Sauk Rapids, MN

Congratulations to all the winners!

**Be sure to stop by our 2018 Writers Conference to listen to the winners read their award-winning piece!**

Watch for exciting changes to the 2019 contest.

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Annual Writers Conference featuring Erin Hart, Oct. 27.

September 30, 2018
Brainerd Writers Alliance Writers Conference and Book Fair
Brainerd, MN — Brainerd Writers Alliance will host its annual writers conference and book fair on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Rumbly Hall, 707 Laurel St., Brainerd, MN.
The day will feature readings from this year’s winning entries by Minnesota writers in our 2018 writing contest, followed by our featured speaker, Erin Hart.
Hart’s debut novel, Haunted Ground, was nominated for mystery’s prestigious Anthony and Agatha awards, and won Romantic Times Best First Mystery, and the Friends of American Writers award. The second novel in the series, Lake of Sorrows, was shortlisted for a Minnesota Book Award. The third in the series, False Mermaid, was named by ALA/Booklist as one of the best crime novels of 2010. The fourth book in the series, The Book of Killowen, received wide critical acclaim when it was released in 2013, and is a Minnesota Book Award finalist.
Cost for the conference is $25 and includes a buffet lunch. Book Fair vendors add $5 to reserve table space.
Purchase tickets until October 20 at
Brainerd Writers Alliance meets the 3rd Saturday of each month at the Brainerd Public Library. Please join! Visit our website for member information.
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Welcome to September 1 in Minnesota.

Yes, autumn is pushing summer aside. With fall comes the end to the Brainerd Writers Alliance annual writing contest. Thank you to all who submitted and good luck!

Our September meeting will be a planning session for 2019. We’ll talk briefly about the 2018 changes and how they impacted the group. Most of the meeting time will be spent on member ideas for 2019. More growth? More events? Stay the same? Every member is asked to contribute their feedback on what they liked and didn’t like in 2018. Most important are ideas for next year. What do you want, as a member, from your organization?

In October we will have our annual writers’ conference with Erin Hart and book fair. Registration is now open.

Conference and Book Fair

Here’s to mulled cider, yard cleanup, and the first frost. We’ll all be busy as bees, right?


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Great writers writing in Minnesota

In the three years that I’ve been involved with Brainerd Writers Alliance while learning the how-tos of writing a novel, I’ve been stunned at the level of great talent I’ve found in Minnesota.  Talented writers abound. Maybe it’s the isolation of winter that opens the creative spirit – create or die from cabin fever. Maybe it’s the natural beauty of our region that inspires the muse. Whatever the spark, our writers are some of the best. And many of you are unknown.

That’s why writing groups across the state hold writing competitions every year, so we can experience your work. You can enter our contest through August 31.

I listened to Erin Hart speak last Saturday at An Open Book event in Wadena. She shared with the audience that her first short story – and only short story – won first prize in the Glimmer Train new fiction writers category. Not only is that a remarkable achievement but she also received an inquiry from an agent wanting to see the first fifty pages of her novel, barely a work in progress at the time. That agent became her agent and remains her agent to this day.

Which leads me to this question: Would winners of the Brainerd Writers Alliance writing contest like to have their work published on our website?

We haven’t done this in the past because we’re so small and do not publish an anthology of regional writers work. It may be unlikely that an agent would find your work published on our small-traffic website. Because we don’t publish on our website, your winning work is then available for first publishing rights should you enter other competitions.

We’d like to hear from you. Your input will be considered at our September planning meeting for 2019.

On another note, Erin Hart will be our fiction category judge and our guest speaker at the Brainerd Writers Alliance Conference and Book Fair this year. She is an enthusiastic speaker and rich with information about her research and writing practice. I can’t wait to hear her speak again.

And, sadly, An Open Book author event will end as of this October. It’s moderator, Jerry Mevissen, is retiring to his new passion for found object sculpture. We’re happy for him, but this will leave a vacancy for celebrated authors to come to our area for talks and book signings.

Keep current on our author talk events:

August 25
Bonnie West will talk about her book, Boyfriends, an anthology of short stories, recently released in paperback! Sage on Laurel, 11:00 to 12:30.

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Deadline for contest submissions is extended to August 31, 2018.

August 12, 2018
Contact: Maggie Fuller

 Deadline extended to submit to Brainerd Writers Alliance annual writing contest for Minnesota Writers

Brainerd Writers Alliance is seeking submissions from literary authors across the state of Minnesota in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Winners in each category will receive a cash prize and free entry to this year’s writers’ conference featuring Erin Hart and will be invited to read their winning entries. Details on the contest and how to submit can be found on our website at

DEADLINE IS EXTENDED TO AUGUST 31. Please submit by August 31. If you have questions, contact

Brainerd Writers Alliance is a group of published and unpublished writers at every skill level, who write in a variety of genres.


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Writing Fiction

Not that I’m doing that this week. I’m imaging myself writing fiction but instead, I’m promoting the Brainerd Writers Alliance MN writers contest and the writers’ conference. We still need submissions and we still need registrations to make this thing go. So that’s how my time is used.

If you want to help me get back to writing fiction, then submit and register and get your friends and family to submit and register. Or forget about my needs and do it for yourself!

Open to Minnesota poets, and writers of creative nonfiction and fiction. Find details on the website.

Contest link:

Conference link:

“The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” Joyce Carol Oates

We always start with the first sentence. Its brilliance draws the writer to the desk and to write. But it’s not likely that first sentence will keep its place in the book, or poem, or article. The first sentence, first words, is where we as writers begin, but that first sentence does not often suggest or answer enough questions in readers to propel them forward. Why? Because the writer does not yet know enough about the story to answer the critical question, it starts here because…

My first novel began with a horrific flashback to 1940.

Matthew Elias McInnis was a tall man, a strong man, from farming for three decades, since he was eight years old. He was a funny man and smart but a bad, bad man when he was drunk and this night he’d been drinking since dinner.

What I did not know, did not recognize, until well into the 5th draft is this: the story is not about Matthew Elias McInnis. The story is about his granddaughter’s struggle for emotional balance after terrible childhood abuse and neglect by her parents. Matthew Elias McInnis barely enters the story after three years of writing. But, it was his story that compelled me to write and in writing, I discovered Ellen McInnis and her story.

I still can’t quite get over the loss of so much of my beautiful writing. I’ve been so clever with my words, but, as I mentioned in the last post, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the reader if you want readers to read your words. So write fiction as it unfolds in you, knowing that the story will change and you, dear writers, will have to change with it.

Good writing today. M E Fuller




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But first you have to know how to write a scene.

Then you can write the book, then you can follow these steps to write the summary.

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

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Northwoods Art and Book Festival

Join our member authors and many more with artists and music and food on August 11, 2018, Hackensack, MN   Northwoods-Poster

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Brainerd Writers Alliance Annual Conference and Book Fair

 Saturday, October 27, 2018

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This year you can register online for tickets. Your registration includes a buffet lunch, coffee break beverages, and snacks. (Menu is to be announced.)

Tickets are on sale June 1, 2018. Seating is limited.

This year’s conference will feature Minnesota Book Award finalist Erin Hart, author of Haunted Ground, Lake of Sorrows, False Mermaid, The Book of Killowen.

Our volunteer judges will share their thoughts on this year’s writing contest entries and winners are invited to attend and read their winning works.

The book fair will be ongoing with a long break during our buffet lunch, allowing time to browse book tables and visit with participating authors. New this year are door prizes and a brag board, not just for our members, but for all participants.

Plus, we’re bringing the conference to one of the new conference spaces in downtown Brainerd. Both in consideration are still under construction and we eagerly await completion so we can get a look inside!


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