Tag Archives: emerging writers

Sherna Ann Johnson:an emerging Charm City playwright

Last Tuesday, I went to the Strand Theater to view a staged reading of Sherna Johnson’s latest play Sick Stories, Gentle Granddaddy (2011). Once, again Sherna wrote an awesome play that chronicles the life of an African-American man, a fellow Baltimorean who marries a Southern woman named Queen. What makes the play interesting is the narration, which is told from the granddaughter’s perspective. She knows her grandfather as a gentle caring man, which is a far departure from his abusive, alcoholic days. I don’t want to give too much away because I want to you to experience the play with fresh eyes. Hopefully, the play will be selected as a part of the 2011 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. Click here to listen to the dynamic play.

It is so awesome to see a good friend become successful at her craft. When I am an audience member, I become transfixed–I am immersed in the story. If Sick Stories, Gentle Granddaddy is selected, it would be Sherna’s second produced play. As mentioned in a previous post, Sherna’s first play, The XX Chromosome Genome Project, was selected as part of the second annual Friends and Neighbors Festival: Works by Women at the Strand Theater  in 2010. The play is reminiscent of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf.  You can purchase Sherna’s chapbook here for $7.95.  To learn more about Sherna and her creative endeavors, visit her website, sannjohnson.info. Sherna is a promising up-and-coming playwright who is on her way to the top!

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so you want to write, huh? (Part II)

As I was looking at my blog stats, it appeared that the previous post, “so you want to write, huh?,” was pretty popular. So, I decided to follow-up with more information to get you started on your writing career. As a beginner writer, you’re probably asking yourself, “Where do I submit my work?” A good place to start is a website called NewPages. This website is an invaluable tool for writers; everything a writer wants to know about can be found: submissions, contests, literary journals, writing conferences, and schools that have writing programs. Every month, I check out NewPages to see what literary publications are requesting submissions. Also, if you have a blog or website that you want to share with the world, then you can email newpages@newpages.com (place in the subject line “Blog Link”) to get your website/blog posted on a list. It took my blog, Writer’s Paradise, around two months to get listed.

Also, I suggest that you see about local writing groups in your area. If you’re from Maryland like myself there is the Maryland Writer’s Association. You have to pay $40 for annual dues. But the cool thing  about MWA is that the organization sponsors events that help writers develop their craft and learn the business. Also, within MWA, there are critique groups where you can meet other members and have your work workshopped.

Another thing that I suggest writers to do is to keep a writing journal. I know for myself, I can become inspired, and for whatever reason, a story begins to unfold in my head. Write it down. Also, read the newspapers. As the saying goes, life is stranger than fiction.

And the most important rule, read as much as you can. If you like a particular sentence, write it down and study it. What did the author do that made that sentence compelling?

If you have any other ideas as to how to become a better writer, feel free to share. Remember this website was developed to create a writing community. I would love to hear your advice.

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