“ It begins with a character usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.” - William Faulkner
Writing Friends . . .
Our webmaster still needs members to email their preferences for biographies to be posted on the TWS web page. Tell her to post your old bio, send in something new, or state you do not want to submit anything. As of Saturday, only eight members had sent in an update. Pat will re-post another handful of members’ old bios. Our group has thirty-two people. Latecomers, please send something in. See the last newsletter in the TWS yahoo files for content guidelines.
We continue to work out a few kinks. To distribute your written works to others, the best way is to email it as an attachment to Yahoo group. Every TWS yahoo member will get it. In case somebody misplaces it, you can also post it in “Files” on the yahoo web site, where every member can access it.
Happy Veterans Day to our members who are veterans. In honor of the day, here’s twenty-six veterans’ short stories for reading. You never know when you may need to have some military background information for a character or setting in one of your works. http://www.helium.com/knowledge/170393-short-stories-the-veterans-day-mystery.
From our writers . . .
Email Juliette Crane:
Thank you so much to you and everyone in TWS who voted for my postcard entry in the Design For Mankind contest. I won! And now have my illustration made into postcards that are available for the world to see here:
In other happy news–I’m delighted to announce my first art exhibition in Madison! Stop by the Sequoya Library for the Opening on November 20 from 6-8PM. Feel free to bring friends and family too. My art will be up in the children’s book section of the library now through December 31. I’d love to see you there!
Friday Nov 20th, 6-8PM
4340 Tokay Blvd
Madison, WI 53711-1567
Get a sneak-peak on my website: juliettecrane.com
Tuesday at the B&N . . .
Seven people gathered for last evening’s meeting, including one new person, Ann Potter, Jack Freiberger explained how the new Yahoo group works and encouraged Ann to contact the Website and get on the list. Holly Bonnicksen-Jones suggested the website have a way of signing up for meetings, so we know who will be there (not just who will be reading). Jack and Holly read their pieces [Did we not decide that comments would not be included in reports from now on?] (Holly: cut out excess adjectives and run-on sentences; limit obscure references to cultural items; how to handle flashbacks. Jack: one cannot half-whine; Amy seems a bit flat in this scene; would a teenage kid really be this self-knowledgeable?)
Who’s Up Next. . .
November 17: John Schneller (chapter 7, Broken), Amber Boudreau (chapter 2, YA novel), Clayton Gill (chapter 6, Fishing Derby), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter ?, Lawyer Lincoln), Pat Edwards (poems); Julie Satkamp (short story). REMEMBER: We meet at Julie S.’s house. See the email from 11/4/09 posted on the TWS Yahoo group cite for directions & phone.
November 24: Carol Hornung (scene, Aspserger’s Sunset) Holly Bonnicksen-Jones (?), Jack Freiberger (Path to Bray’s Head), Anne Allen (new piece), Bill Dries (something to review)
December 2 (remember it’s a Wednesday): Judith Mcneil (??), Pat Edwards (poems), Amber Boudreau (chapter 3, YA novel), Alicia Connolly-Lawyer (chapter ?, Lawyer Lincoln), John Schneller (Chapter 8, Broken). Look for an email update on location.
Picking a Genre for Your Next Novel . . .
Colson Whitehead’s essay, What to Write Next, in the Sunday, New York Times’ Book Review section, is, shall we say, tongue in cheek. Read it at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/books/review/Whitehead-t.html?_r=1 . Helping make future genre selections involved his modification of a dartboard in his basement (illustration included). He writes that now, when he is “overwhelmed by the untold stories out there,” he throws a dart to see where it lands. While musing, he probably isn’t too far off the mark for guessing what the next, hit genre in fiction will be. Excerpted here is one possibility on his list of dart-generated ideas for a new work in the historical fiction genre:
. . . Sweeping. . . . Meticulously researched. . . . Something about verandas. Welcome to the world of the historical novel. This is different from a book About a Little Known Historical Fact in that you’re taking a recognizable event or milieu, familiar from PBS documentaries and Oscar-winning movies, and putting your own spin on it. If you get sick of those tedious period details (gas-lamp, chamber-pot, chandler — oy!), consider cutting between the past and the present, where the narrator discovers information about some ancestor’s role in things. Throw in a real-life famous person — Jimmy Hoffa, Emma Goldman, the Lindbergh baby — and watch the sparks fly.
Tuesdays With Story’s Mascot? Inspirator? . . .
Mitch Albon, author of the best selling, Tuesdays With Morrie (the name inspiration for our group), has recently struck a deal with Borders Books to conduct weekly, half-hour “webisodes.” In the unscripted web broadcasts titled, Mitch Albon Live, Albon will interview “celebrities, authors, musicians, and others,” said the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Albon also recently released another book, Have a Little Faith: A True Story, which has already claimed the Number One spot on the New York Times, hardcover, non-fiction, bestseller list. Albon, who is generally secular in his writing, relates in this book how two men – a rabbi and an African-American, ex-con, turned pastor – believe that God transformed their lives. See the story here: http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/books/63590067.html
Web, Writers and Publishing Trends . . .
Do two webcast author events constitute a trend? CNN and Oprah’s Book Club teamed up for a live discussion of Uwem Akpan’s best-selling book “Say You’re One of Them,” a book of short stories about African children who face the unimaginable. Thousands of people logged on to post questions for the author during this worldwide event. The Webcast is available at: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/oprah.book.club/ With Oprah’s influential impact on book sales, might this rekindle a trend in short story collections? Akpan, a Nigerian, Jesuit priest, is also an M.F.A. creative writing graduate from the U of Michigan. An increase in applications to graduate creative writing programs on the horizon? New literary agent deference to MFA-ers?
Virtual World Writers’ Groups in “Second Life”. . .
Second Life (SL) is a huge, virtual world service/system run by Linden Labs. You access SL through the internet. There are a myriad of “worlds” you can visit from universities to clubs, embassies and government sites – and fair warning, numerous “adult entertainment” areas (but they are easy to avoid.) Millions of dollars in commercial transactions occur on SL annually. There are multi-millions of residents; monthly logons near one million. SL is free. Wikipedia explains SL thoroughly. I would call it a new paradigm, for lack of a better term. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life
Above: Scene of a Writer’s Symposium meeting in Second Life, copied from
“Just for Writers: Free, Weekly Open Mic & Support Group in Second Life” by Joan Kremer on September 14, 2009. http://www.writersinthevirtualsky.com/just-for-writers-free-weekly-open-mic-support-group-in-second-life/
Getting going in SL requires you to join, download the program software, install it, create a visual persona, an “avatar,” and then, you’re ready to go places. There are writers’ groups which meet online at predetermined days and times (e.g. “The Written Word,” “The Writers’ Circle,” and “The Circle Slam”). The groups cover all genres. See Joan Kremer’s January 19, 2009 article, “Written Word: This Virtual Group Offers Tremendous Support for Real Writers.” http://www.writersinthevirtualsky.com/written-word-this-virtual-group-offers-tremendous-support-for-real-writers/ For a more current discussion, see Jason Boog’s blog article, “The Second Life Writer’s Club,” at http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/readers/the_second_life_writers_club_136063.asp#disqus_thread
The rubric, “show don’t tell,” really applies here. Above is a sample of what your screen would look like when visiting an SL writers’ group. Imagine yourself as one of these avatars sitting in a chair, engaging in real-time conversation with other writers and you have the concept. It is unclear whether they rely on live readings or a pre-meeting exchange of their writings for critiques.
Disclaimer. I have never tried visiting any of these virtual writers’ groups. However, I have used Second Life as a means to visit and talk with my husband while he was on a month-long business trip last year. It was fun and interesting. I found it to be a bit like jumping into a cartoon and walking around and talking to others who have jumped in there with you. We walked around (including through walls), talked at the beach, flew around and walked into an undersea world. I invite anyone who tries one or more SL writers groups to submit some comments about it for a future newsletter.
The Last Word . . .
“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” - Jerry Seinfeld