Tuesdays with Story
Quote of the week . . .
“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov
Tuesday at the B&N . . .
I Am Poem ~
Millie began by sharing her poem, which had to fit a format. Greg, in general, thought it was an accurate description of life from youth to old age. Pat was looking for some more imagery in the middle stanza, and felt the Pearl metaphor should be pushed to the limit. Judith thought there was room for more stanzas. Alicia was looking for more specifics. Rebecca thought the Sapphire Sky sounded 40.
Life on Hold ~
The group encouraged Millie to read from chapter 35. Rebecca liked that the protagonist took charge, and thought the crash wasn’t clear – was it the truck hitting the jeep or the rocks falling on the jeep? Alicia suggested the boyfriend jump out the window rather than run through the hotel to get outside, and thinks there needs to be a buildup to the protagonist using the word “bitch.” Greg wondered why Millie didn’t have one character jump in the jeep and try to drive it out of the way, and can’t picture how the boyfriend is knocked out. Perhaps she could make it clear what noise wakes them exactly. Pat thought the culprit responsible for pouring the gravel wouldn’t hang around when another character’s back is turned, and asks if he’ll be arrested does the arrest matter to the story? Greg suggested setting it up so the driver can’t get away. Rebecca sees the desk clerk having a larger role, with perhaps a frying pan. Pam thinks the trooper chasing the rental car needs more info. Aaron has a problem with the cops leaving someone with a head injury all alone, and a discussion on police protocol follows.
Stealing From Yourself ~
Aaron shared a scene from his latest screenplay. Pat thought the scene with the gangbanger was a funny interlude; some of the lines where zingers, but she needed a little more explanation here and there, and suggested giving an element of possibility. Greg had a question about the rules of jumping, and feels the idiosyncrasies need to be established. Alicia had a question about the original Rich’s character because he feels like a foil without a personality. Pam kind of felt the same way. Millie thought Rich was still developing. Greg wanted some more world-building. Pat agreed, she thought the small differences were interesting.
Alicia read from chapter two of her novel. Pat thought the language was very true to the voice of Lincoln and liked the details. Pam liked her metaphors. Pat wondered what a marshy scent would smell like and asked if they would call it Victorian wallpaper if Victoria were still alive. Also, Pam wondered if people sang Happy Birthday back then. Rebecca only got hung up on the sound of shuffling feet—how far a distance do you have to go for feet to make a shuffling sound? Greg was looking for more tension and conflict. Alicia has some thoughts about voice and whether she should try switching to third person from first person.
The Cheese Logue ~
Rebecca shared a rewrite of chapter eight. Pat had a question about formatting because some things were italics and some were not. Millie wondered why she was so overly concerned about Sophie, and her friendship, because it isn’t clear to the ready why it’s important – Alicia wonders the same. From reading the chapter, Greg thought Sophie was twelve, but knew from previous chapters she was twenty, and would like more tension and setup. Pat thought some of the scenes screamed immature – Rebecca admits both were immature. Alicia would rather be shown they were immature than told. Pam likes how well the water park and cheese shop are incorporated into the story, and wonders if Rebecca could write about Sophie in the poem at the beginning of the chapter. Amber points out that maybe Sophie is a reflection of Rebecca. Pat liked the format of jumping back and forth through the chapter.
Beyond Cloud Nine ~
Greg read parts of chapter thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, and thirty-five, but explained part of the ending to Millie first. Greg then admits to ditching the prologue and epilogue, and a short discussion on the value and purpose of them follows. Chapter Thirty-Two: Pat had a question about by-planes, the space between characters, and commented that life is cheap. Millie admits to getting caught up in the story and reading it all through to the end. Chapter Thirty-three: Pat still has a question about holograms being able to touch things and wondered where the actual bodies were. Would smells be lacking? Aaron points out the lack of a stirring of air when a hologram walks by. Pat thinks we need more hints early enough in the story for the holograms to be understandable and believable to the reader. Thirty-four: Pam had a question of dozens versus tens. Pat gets the impression that in sequels maybe we’ll come back and get more of an explanation. Millie has a question about the secret society in the book. Pat likes that the antagonist is multi-layered and not completely evil, but still thinks it’s tough to like him. Maybe he has a family? Chapter Thirty-five: Pat wondered if there was any way to get through the very first part of the chapter faster. Greg says that this part is doing what it should by building suspense. Millie admits to reading the end first. There are enough hints to tell the targeted audience where two characters have ended up.
Who’s Up Next . . .
June 26: ??? Holly Bonnicksen-Jones (chapter, Coming Up For Air), Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Great Tome), Jack Freiburger (Jesus at the IHOP), and Andrea Kirchman (???).
July 3: Pat Edwards (chapters 3-4, Our Soul), Pam Gabriel (film script, part 2, “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt”), Judith McNeil (???), Jennifer Hansen (screenplay, “Echoes of Happiness”), Lisa McDougal (chapter 3, Follow the Yellow/Ben and Krista), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 5-6, Rage.
July 10: Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Great Tome).
July 17: Spike Pedersen (???), Andy Brown (chapter 1, Lo’s Quarter), Amber Boudreau (chapter 8, Noble), Jennifer Hansen (chapter 6, “Shadows of Yesterday”), and Aaron Boehm (film script, part 3, “Stealing from Yourself”).
How do you write? . . .
Novelist John Irving, “Cider House Rules,” writes with pen on paper.
“I used to write with a typewriter,” he says, “but it was too fast.”
Plus typewriters break down. Irving found he was spending too much time fixing them, when he could find parts, to keep them going. So he got rid of the last of his antiques.
“Not much can go wrong with a pen,” he says.
Panera and Fifth Tuesday . . .
Do you have our next Fifth Tuesday on your schedule? July 31?
First-and-third group hosts. And now we have a place, the Panera Bread store on University Avenue. We have the meeting room reserved. We will be ordering off the menu, so this will not be a potluck event.
This will be more than our usual meet, greet, and eat Fifth Tuesday. Jerry is looking for a value-added educational session for the evening…more on this as we get closer to the date. We still need a writing challenge – the 250-word limit seems to be popular…any suggestions? Rebecca’s suggestion: Once Upon a Wish. Write a story about a wish.
Other Business . . .
– Editors for Writers Mail:
. . . June . . . Jennifer Hansen
. . . July . . . Alicia
The Last Word . . .
“Note that bodily reactions and inner thoughts trump action and dialogue. The body doesn’t lie.” - Nancy Kress, Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint.
“People often want more than one thing because people hold more than one value. What makes life, and fiction, interesting is when those values collide.” – Nancy Kress, Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint.