DreamCasters

What is DreamCasters?

DreamCasters is a DreamForge discussion group devoted to helping our members improve their writing and storytelling through discussion and sharing expertise. DreamCaster membership is through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/DreamForgePress.  Supporters at $3/month and above can participate in monthly DreamCaster meetings, take part in DreamCaster writing challenges, and learn from DreamCaster guest speakers.

DreamCasters Agenda

July 25th, 2021, Noon Eastern Time

Opening Statement

Welcome to DreamCasters, a DreamForge discussion group devoted to helping our members improve their writing and storytelling through discussion and sharing expertise. We pledge that your monetary support buys stories, and occasionally illustrations. We’re volunteers helping writers, who in turn help other writers, improve their craft and achieve publication

Intro, DreamForge News –  5 min

As this is written, we’re working on putting up our first print copy in 2021 to Amazon, making it available as a separate purchase from Kindle Print on Demand. This will be DreamForge Issue 8, combining the stories from the online Anvil issues 1-3. It should be available by the end of July.

We’re also working on putting together DreamForge Anvil, Issue # 4, which we anticipate having online approximately August 15th. We have stories by Floris Kleijne, Monica Joyce Evans, David Boffa, J.M. Rhineheart, and J.L. Akagi, with a poem by Henry Gasko.

July 2021 Guest – 20 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A

This month our guest is award winning writer Wulf Moon, who is going to talk about the importance of story structure in writing short fiction.

Moon wrote his first science fiction story at fifteen. It won the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and became his first professional sale in Science World . He has won over forty writing awards, and thirty in public speaking. His stories have appeared in Writers of the Future Vol. 35, Best of Deep Magic Anthology 2, Future Science Fiction Digest, Best of Third Flatiron , and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2 by Pocket Books. Moon is a professional voice-over actor and is podcast director at Future Science Fiction Digest.

Wulf Moon’s award-winning SUPER SECRETS Writing Resource and Workshops have been attributed by many aspiring writers as the secret to their success in obtaining first professional sales.

DreamCaster Challenge – 20 minutes

We asked Wulf Moon to talk about structure today, because we have a challenge for the DreamCasters.

We’re going to buy 2-4 stories from the DreamCasters group, by the end of the year in a challenge exclusively given to DreamCasters.

Today we’ll supply a story template to give you a structure to follow, along with examples of how that structure works in a story. DreamCasters who wish to participate will develop and receive feedback on their own story outline following the example in the template.

Then you’ll write your stories, for which you also will receive feedback. Two or more of these stories will be selected, paid for, and published in DreamForge Anvil, Issue 6 in December of 2021.

There will be a review and selection process much like a regular reading period, but only among DreamCasters. Let’s have an experiment and see how much following a structure helps you improve your stories.

Give Aways! 5 minutes

Two lucky attendees, randomly selected by a roll of the dice will receive either a 3 Issue set of the latest issues of Galaxy’s Edge (created by Mike Resnick) or a copy of the DreamForge/Space & Time anthology “Worlds of Light & Darkness.”

Story Prompts –  5 minutes

We’ll give out a couple story prompts that might be interesting to explore.

Meeting Ends.  Thank You All!

DreamCasters Discussion Group

Our goal is to form a community. We want more than other online “resources.” There are many resources out there. But we want this to be about “people as resources.”

We welcome writers of all levels that love speculative fiction or readers who are interesting in writing and storytelling. We want to improve everyone’s writing and storytelling through discussion and sharing expertise. And we want to increase everyone’s successes through awareness and sharing information about the business of writing.

ZOOM

General Structure

Generally a 1 hour session 

  • Intro, DreamForge News 5 min
  • Guest or topic 20 min
    • Breakout or Q&A 15 min
    • Follow up 5 min
  • Business of Writing 15 min
    • Short discussion on a subject/concept related to business.
  • Allow for open time before and after the meeting (half hour or so) for general conversation.

Topics

  • This would be a moderated discussion, but not necessarily a “panel of experts” kind of a discussion - More of a roundtable discussion.
  • We can use Zoom breakout groups. After a bit of a larger discussion, break into groups of 5 or 6 people to discuss the topic in depth. 
  • Once we bring the group back together, we can make any additional points.

Guests

  • Authors
  • Editors from other publications
  • Business oriented guests
  • Science/technology guests

If the Q&A keeps going, can move it to discord or bring the author back for another session.

Times

One Session/Month to start

Currently we're working with the last Sunday of the month, Noon, Eastern time.

We may determine that we need one per month in each time slot. These could be the same discussion in both groups.  Initially, I’m thinking each is unique with recordings available for those that can’t make the scheduled time slot.

Limit the Number of Attendees

  • Initially we’ll limit attendance to 50 for each meeting.
    • If we regularly have more people that plan to attend, we’ll either expand if it seems workable or have more sessions.
    • Recordings available to regular Patreon Subscribers at the $3 and up level.

DISCORD

One Discord group/channel that could help people in different time zones converse.  I think most of these would be open to anyone who participates in any of the DreamForge Webinars (not just the Dreamers Discussion Group.)

  • DreamCasters Discussion – Limited solely to the DreamCaster Group participants
  • DreamCasters Ideas & Suggestions – Limited solely to the DreamCaster Group participants
  • Business of Writing – Any DreamForge Webinar Participant
  • Critiques – Any DreamForge Webinar Participant
  • Research/expertise questions – Any DreamForge Webinar Participant
  • Keep apprised with DreamForge News – Any DreamForge Subscriber
  • TBR list – Any DreamForge Subscriber

Funding & Benefits

Funding – Membership Fee

We pledge simply that your monetary support buys stories, and occasionally illustrations. We’re volunteers helping writers, who in turn help other writers, improve their craft and achieve publication.

Benefits

  • Session recordings (unedited) will be available through Patreon (So if you’re interested in a topic, but not able to attend you can still see the video.)
  • ½ off your next year’s subscription to DreamForge.
  • Advance notice of submission periods. First in line for story reviews during submission periods.
  • Membership to the restricted Discord groups
  • Discount code for DreamForge Webinars.
  • Discount code for DreamForge merchandise.
  • Writing games and contests just for DreamCasters.
  • We’ll have a giveaway at every DreamCasters Webinar. (It could be a story review, a one-on-one with Scot, free merch, or anything else we come up with.)

Ideas

Topic or Guest Each Session

Possible Guests

  • Authors
    • We have a great resources in DreamForge Authors
    • Friends of yours - other authors you know that might be interested in discussing their work.
  • Editors from other publications
  • Business Oriented
    • Emily Mah – discussing self publishing or audio production
    • Wulf Moon - discussing audio narration, different revenue streams
  • Science/Technology Guests

Writing Topic Ideas

These largely come from interesting ideas I’ve heard discussed at cons combined with ideas that Henry Gasko sent.

  • Converting a short story to a novel (or novella)
  • Moving from short stories to novels (or novellas)
  • Optimism vs Utopia
  • World building in short fiction
  • Making your story stand out
  • Creating inclusive stories and characters
  • How do you know how long a story should be
  • Using tropes and turning them upside down
  • Researching
  • The appeal of anti-heroes
  • Tricks to avoid infodumps
  • Getting started when you’re blocked
  • Race and class in speculative fiction
  • How much science do you need in your SF?
  • Comparisons of methods like Save the Cat, Story grid, etc. Peoples thoughts and experiences.

Business of Writing Topics

  • Submissions
    • How to you keep track of your submissions
    • Where do you look for submissions
    • How do you decide what story to send to a market
  • Technology and tools
    • Websites you should know about
    • Software like Scrivner and others
  • Self publishing
  • Self promotion and marketing
  • WordPress and Websites
  • Newsletters and a mailing list
  • Networking
  • Podcasting
  • Getting an Agent – are they necessary, how do you go about it
  • Making a living
  • Understanding contracts
  • SFWA
  • Working with Editors – when to say no
  • Latest market trends in SF

Some of the business topics may be one quick concept that could fit into a quick 15 minute discussion.  Others may be a guest with a Q&A or a topic with a breakout.

Our Next Steps

Currently we’re just getting started, accepting our first signups, and planning for the months ahead. Join us today or keep an eye on our progress.

We hope to build a welcoming community of writers and those who love hopeful science fiction and fantasy.

HELP!

  • We’ll need feedback on the ideas and topics we have listed here.
  • We’ll need more ideas – especially those that relate to the business of writing.
  • We need to hear from newer writers about what you need to know.
  • From more experienced writers, what expertise you may want to share.
  • Ideas or contacts for guests you’d like to hear from.
  • If anyone is interested in helping to moderate discussions, we’d be glad for the help – in any time zone.
  • Any Discord advice or expertise would be appreciated too.
  • Anyone interested in helping moderate or welcome people to Discord.

Contact info@DreamForgeMagazine.com. That address goes to both Scot and Jane.

Join the DreamForge Adventure!

At DreamForge Magazine, we welcome readers with a passion for positive fantasy and science fiction. Here you will find stories where characters endure, overcome, and embrace that spirit of wonder and discovery through which sentient beings invest the universe with meaning and purpose.

Our DreamCasters Discussion Group is waiting for your support and engagement. Support us on Patreon Today! https://www.patreon.com/DreamForgePress