Tuesdays With Story
July 10, 2012
Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~William Safire, “Great Rules of Writing”
Sorry, no notes received for Tuesday at the B & N: if received, they will be inserted in the next issue
Who’s up next . . .
July 17: Spike Pedersen (???), Pat Edwards (chapters 3-4, Our Soul . . . or poems), Andy Brown (chapter 1, Lo’s Quarter), Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 9, The Cheese Logue), Millie Mader (chapter 36, Life on Hold), Lisa McDougal (chapter 3, Follow the Yellow/Ben and Krista), and Pam Gabriel (film script, part 3, “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt”).
July 31: Fifth Tuesday
August 7: Lisa McDougal (chapter 4, Follow the Yellow/Ben and Krista), Pat Edwards (chapters 5-6, Our Soul), Pam Gabriel (film script, part 4, “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt”), Judith McNeil (short story part 2, “The Man with the Broken Heart”), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 3, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 7-8, Rage).
Writers Mail editors . . .
Alicia Connolly-Lohr, is our editor this month. In August, it’s Andy Brown. Email editors directly to submit any items you think would be good for the newsletter.
Panera and Fifth Tuesday . . .
Do you have our next Fifth Tuesday on your schedule? July 31?
Put it on now and make your reservation with Jerry Peterson. Guests are welcome, so tell Jerry who’s coming with you.
First-and-third group hosts. The place is the Panera Bread store at University Avenue and Midvale. We have the meeting room reserved. We will be ordering off the menu, so don’t bring food or beverages. This is not a potluck event.
It will be more than our usual meet, greet, and eat Fifth Tuesday. We will have both a writers’ challenge and an “added value” component.
The writers’ challenge? A wish. Write a short short story, poem, essay or a mighty short film script about a wish made or a wish granted . . . your wish, somebody’s else’s wish, your dog’s wish. You’re the writer. You pick, you write, then polish. And send you mini-masterpiece to Jerry by July 27. Maximum length: 250 words.
The “added value” component? We’ll tell you about that when we get closer to the date.
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.
Author event you should take in . . .
July 18 at 3 p.m., Madison writer and game designer Jackson Miller will be at B&N to talk about and sign his book, Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories. If sci-fi is your love, this event is for you.
Miller’s Star Wars: Knight Errant was a national bestseller published by Del Rey. To date, he has two books in this series.
Are we stripping modern books bare? . . .
In our drive to capture readers, are we cutting too much from the books we’re writing? Your adult author and former literary agent Nathan Bransford took that up in a recent post on his blog:
Reader Drew Turney wrote to me recently with an interesting question. There’s so much advice, commentary, and opinion about stripping away anything unessential to a book’s plot. Writing in the modern era emphasizes moving the plot forward at all costs, and everything else is “ruthlessly killed off no matter how darling.” Digressions and detritus that might otherwise be compelling on their own are eliminated.
Is this a purely modern phenomenon? And is it for the best?
My opinion: Yes to both.
Yes, I do think it’s a modern phenomenon. I also think that stripping the unessential is a reflection of the fact that people are getting better at writing books.
But it’s complicated.
We’re living in a golden era
We tend to view the present in a negative light, especially when it comes to books and literature. Today’s books can’t hold a candle to Hemingway’s and Fitzgerald’s, today’s readers aren’t as noble and patient as readers in the 1950s, social media and distraction and e-books are killing literature (even though studies have shown people with e-readers read more).
We always think things are getting worse relative to some golden era in the past.
Partly this is because that the only books we read from past eras are the good ones. All the pulp, all the duds, all the forgettable ones have largely been forgotten and have been lost to history. We tend to forget that the classics we read were very rarely the most popular books of their time. Every era had its pulp, its celebrity books, and its, well, crap.
And because we elevate whole eras above our own, we also tend to treat classics as sacred and perfect. We don’t spend much time thinking about how the books from the canon could have been improved upon or how, say, Dickens could been that much better if he had just reined himself in a little.
Read the entire post at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2012/07/are-we-stripping-modern-books-bare.html
The Last Word/Food for Thought:
“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.” - Uniek Swain