Writers’ co-op a resource for budding novelists


Grand Junction Writers Cooperative annual writing competition

The awards ceremony for the approximately 20 entries the cooperative received will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Redlands Community Center, 2463 Broadway.

The event is a chance for writers to introduce themselves to cooperative members and learn more about future competitions.

Those interested in attending should contact Evalon Shires at 241-9178.

Each member of the Grand Junction Writers Cooperative has a part to play, much like the characters in the screenplays, novels or articles they write.

Evalon Shires has the ideas. Kate Ruland-Thorne has the knowledge of the writing industry. Duane Howard has the practical approach to the direction of the cooperative. Ann King gets things done.

The four cooperative board members consider themselves a resource for area writers who need their work critiqued or who find themselves confused with the publishing industry and frustrated by rejection letters.

Shires, Ruland-Thorne, Howard and King love to write and want to foster others’ love of writing. They would like to grow the cooperative, which offers an annual writing competition.

“The idea was to support and motivate novice writers,” said Shires, who had the idea for the cooperative in 2007 and approached Howard and Ruland-Thorne to get their thoughts about making it successful. King joined last year after moving to Grand Junction from California.

Although the Grand Junction Writers Cooperative is small, the four writers are hopeful the cooperative will serve the needs of writers in any genre.

Shires, Ruland-Thorne, Howard and King all have different approaches to the writing process and write about different things, they said. Each has a perspective that could help novice writers.

Shires started writing her novel, “Reluctant Hand” in 1997. It’s her “own romantic fantasy.”

She’s at the rewrite stage now, and King and Ruland-Thorne consistently push her to get more done, Shires said.

Shires writes in complete silence. For her, it’s the best way to delve into characters.

Ruland-Thorne also is writing a novel. It’s about a Scottish family, and she listens to Celtic music to get into the writing mood.

Ruland-Thorne began writing at age 37 and sold her first piece, “The Accident that Saved My Life,” three years later.

When she was 16, Ruland-Thorne accidentally ran into an airplane propeller that cut off the hand and wrist of her left arm.

The experience gave her a wealth of writing material, she said.

“Tell me a good story,” Ruland-Thorne said. “That’s what publishers want.”

And it is one thing Ruland-Thorne learned in her 35 years in the writing industry. Everything she’s learned, she has taught herself, she said.

Feeling alone in learning the writing industry is something King can identify with.

King grew up in Los Angeles near the motion picture industry and started writing scripts in 1982. She currently is reworking screenplays she wrote as a novice writer.

She sees value in the critiquing offered by the Grand Junction Writers Cooperative.

Now, to get into the writing mood, King retreats to the wilderness with a tent and spiral notebook.

Howard’s writing process is a mystery, at least to the three women in the cooperative.

Howard is out of town until February, but the women said he is “insightful” and enjoys writing Western-themed fiction.

All a successful writer needs is an imagination, Ruland-Thorne said.


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