November 2018 Monthly Meeting
Award-winning author Raymond L. Atkins (shown here) joined CWG to explore the topic of humor in writing.
Known for his humorous novels about serious and difficult subjects, he shared specific techniques designed to make writing friendlier and more accessible. Attendees learned how to bring a smile to a sad situation and how to create humor through dialog and visual cues. Ray explored situational humor, including how to distinguish between what is and is not fair game.
Attendees also learned to differentiate between a character and a caricature, why one is funny and one is not, and how to laugh with rather than laugh at. He explored word choice and revealed the power of understatement. Finally, he showed that sometimes trying to be funny is the worst thing writers can do.
Ray teaches English at Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Creative Writing at Reinhardt University. In 2017, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Writers Association. He was final judge for fiction in the CWG 2017 spring writing contest. Set List is his latest novel. Previous novels include:
- The Front Porch Prophet (2008) - Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel
- Camp Redemption (2013) - Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction, 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Fiction
- Sweetwater Blues - Townsend Prize nominee, 2015 Georgia Author of the Year runner-up for fiction, 2016 selection for One Book, Many Voices
- South of the Etowah, his first creative non-fiction book (2016) - Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2016 Lincoln Memorial University Appalachian Book of the Year
- Mr. Atkins (writes) a heartwarming, witty, Southern tale with likeable characters that stay with the reader long after turning the last page. Portland Book Review
- Raymond Atkins tells a story at once comic and deeply tender, a story of friendship, love, unexpected brotherhood, and redemption. Man Martin, Paradise Dogs
- Atkins writes with an incredible blend of humor, insightfulness, sadness, and discourse on the human condition. He is creative and clever beyond comment. I laughed out loud, chuckled, grinned, felt sad, found hope, and burst into tears. Terre Gorham, Memphis Downtowner Magazine
- Subtle humor and mostly pitch-perfect prose distinguish Atkins's compelling mix of mystery and romance. Publisher’s Weekly
- The author has a firm but subtle grasp of the freakishly ordinary people and understated, often unintentional humor that make a small town tick. Atlanta Magazine
- Ray Atkins is richly talented and funny as you-know-what. Lauretta Hannon, The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life
- (Atkins’ prose) feels like a (Ferrol) Sams novel: witty, with small town, off-beat characters who hold traditional beliefs but are tolerant and questioning. Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio
- Atkins is a comic writer, able to see the humor in every situation and to follow it where it leads. Michael Scott Cain, Rambles
- Raymond Atkins is one of Georgia's natural wonders - a crackling-wise writer, who invokes laughter and invites imagination. Karen Spears Zacharias, Mother of Rain