Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for September 7, 2012
Good Words from Way Back
“Hance found the trail easily, but the Indians had been gone a long time, and it was filled with leaves, dim, and not easy to follow. It ended as nearly all trails do; it branched off to right and left, grew dimmer and slimmer, degenerated to a deer path, petered out to a squirrel track, ran up a tree, and ended in a knot hole.” –from Woodcraft by Nessmuk, Forest and Stream Publishing Co., 1920.
September 4 Meeting: Labor Daze Notwithstanding
The First-and-Third writers met at Barnes & Noble West after the long Labor Day weekend to hear selections from the work of four members.
Rebecca Rettenmund shared Chapter 11 of The Cheese Logue. Millie said this chapter made her hungry for a cheese sandwich. Pat gave Rebecca kudos for trying Limburger and suggested she turn the smell into dialogue at the end of the chapter. Where does the story go from this point? Rebecca told the group one of the upcoming chapters is about animals that eat cheese. John thought it read well, but a few small words could be cut here and there. Bob thought it was very succinct, but noted that the thoughts in italics took him out of the story a bit.
Millie Mader offered a rewrite of Chapter 37 of Life on Hold. Millie told the group she hopes she got the legalities “somewhat correct” in this version. Jerry suggested that Millie’s character wouldn’t have to post bail if there had been a plea bargain. Jerry also noticed that everyone in this chapter is so nice around the table. He wanted to see the main character’s mother fly into a rage. Jen suggested changing the dialogue a bit to reflect the age of one character. Marge, via Jerry, suggested the main character’s injuries wouldn’t be getting that much better in only four days’ time.
Judith McNeil presented the short story “The Man With the Broken Heart.” Rebecca had a problem with the point of view — it confused her. However, Pat found it engaging. Rebecca noted she also became confused when the character, Curly, was introduced. She suggested that Speedy should be referred to by that name instead of another and brought attention to a few missing speech tags.
Jerry Peterson shared Chapter 13 of Thou Shalt Not Murder. Millie volunteered that jalapeno poppers, which appear in this chapter, were as bad as Limburger cheese, which appeared in Rebecca’s piece. Pat didn’t like the squealing of the tires – she thought they should “screech” or make another noise. Millie wondered about the plausibility of a prisoner being held without the setting of bail or the reason for denial of bail. Jerry informed the group that only New York allows such procedure. Pat had a question about the records getting thrown around. She performed a rough breakdown of the bill from the restaurant.
Many thanks to Amber Boudreau for compiling notes on the September 4 readings and comments!
Who’s Up Next?
September 11: Katelin Cummins (chapter 2, The Battle of Sista), Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Great Tome), Kat Wagner (chapter 2, Revolution), Jen Wilcher, (chapter, The Hogoshiro Chronicles), Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter, The Cheese Logue).
September 18: Lisa McDougal (chapter 5, Follow the Yellow), Andy Brown (chapter 2, Lo’s Quarter), Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, Noble), Millie Mader (chapter 38, Life on Hold), Pat Edwards (chapters 5-6, Our Soul), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 4, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 15-17, Rage).
September 25: To join the reading list, contact Carol Hornung at email@example.com.
October 2: Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 13, The Cheese Logue), Bob Kralapp (?), Pam Gabriel (film script, part 5, “Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt”), Elisha McCabe (part 2, Recycle), Judith McNeil (short story, part 3, “The Man with the Broken Heart”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 12-14, Rage).
To read or postpone reading:
First-and-Third Tuesdays, contact Jerry Peterson
Second-and-Fourth Tuesdays, contact Carol Hornung
Fifth Tuesday: Write Supernatural!
You’ve got it on your calendar, October 30: Our next Fifth Tuesday, starting at 7:00 p.m. Now you can put the place there, too: The home of Rebecca Rettenmund’s mother Victoria Horn at 702 Emerson Street in Madison. Potluck that night, so plan now to bring good food for the feasting table. Second-and-Fourth group is our friendly host.
We do have a writing challenge, and it’s in tune with the season, kinda: Write a story, poem, essay, or short film script of the supernatural. Gotta get a ghost, a vampire, a werewolf, a witch or some other unreal critter in there. No trick-or-treaters; they’re real. But what if a vampire were to come trick or treating? All he or she wants is a bite. Give us your treat: 250 words max.
We’ll also have a bonus, an extra treat for our Fifth Tuesday. Ben LeRoy, publisher of Tyrus Books and a TWS alum, will be with us to talk about the fast-changing book biz.
DIY Advice from BookBaby
If it works for “do it yourself” musicians, it can work for DIY authors, say the creators of CD Baby, which helped level the playing field between DIY musicians and major labels by opening worldwide distribution channels to unsigned artists. Today, CD Baby claims it is the world’s largest digital distributor of independent music, and, through its BookBaby division, wants to achieve the same results for self-publishing authors.
“Whether you’re an author, poet, memoirist, or small press, BookBaby can digitally distribute your independent e-book content to all the major retailers so that it is available for all the most popular e-reader devices.” Details at BookBaby.com.
The BookBaby website also carries timely blogs on writing, editing, and marketing your e-book. For example, how about timing your book’s debut with the biggest holiday shopping season: “What you need to know now to get your e-book ready!” Here’s the BookBaby angle:
“Maybe you have a heartwarming Christmas tale for kids or an e-book full of delicious recipes for Hanukkah. Perhaps you’ve written a book dedicated to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Regardless of which winter holiday your e-book is meant for, you will need to carefully plan your e-book’s release in order to make it on time.”
If you plan to use BookBaby services, then “allow yourself plenty of time.” For Hanukkah, that means submitting your e-book no later than the end of September. For Christmas and Kwanzaa, get it to BookBaby no later than mid-October.
For more, see http://blog.bookbaby.com/2012/09/how-to-promote-your-ebook-in-time-for-the-holiday-rush/
Thanks to Judith McNeil for this Writer’s Mail story tip.
Marketing Strategy: Novellas to Novel
Sci-fi writer Hugh Howey self-published his novel Wool and made a pile of money doing it. Now he has an agent, Kristin Nelson, who has sold the book to publishers in 12 countries, including England and Brazil. Nelson also sold the film rights . . . to 20th Century Fox.
However, Howey never intended to write a novel. His first effort was a novella – a super-long short story – that he put up on Amazon as a Kindle book last year.
He thought he might sell a couple hundred e-books, but readers discovered the novella, became fanatics about the story, told friends, and sales mushroomed. Howey then wrote four more novellas, continuing the storyline of the first . . . and finally collected the five into an “omnibus” – the novel Wool.
Howey now is writing two more novels that will complete the Wool trilogy. He will release them as series of novellas . . . and again collect them into novels. He put the first novella, First Shift, in the second series up on Amazon on April 14.
If you’re looking for a way to break in as a novelist, consider using Howey’s incremental method to build readership and sales.
Give Critiques Time
Writer Becky Levine recently put up a post on her blog in which she offered this advice on critiques: Give them time. She writes:
“Here’s the rule: Don’t always assume your initial reaction to a critique comment is going to be your final reaction. Or even just your second and third. So, so often, feedback from one of your critique partners makes you shake your head vehemently (to yourself, of course!) and scream a silent, internal, `No!’ They suggest a character or plot change, a major shift in voice, and all you can think is how wrong they are. How absolutely crazy wrong.
“Don’t lock the door on that belief. Don’t drop it into a pile of wet concrete and let everything harden around it. Because, odds are, you’re going to get to a point in revision where you want to take it out again and look at it. Closely.”
Thanks to Jerry for this item, too!
Writer’s Mail: Duty Roster
Step right up! We’re looking for Writer’s Mail editors. Have fun, learn something, and pad your resume as you edit Writer’s Mail for a month or so, like this editor (see below).
• September – Clayton Gill, who’s also climbing back on the writin’ wagon.
• October – Whoo? Whoo? Gonna get us to Halloween?
• November – Volunteer and you’ll give us Thanksgiving for the Writing Classes.
• December – Clayton again, like coal in your Christmas stocking!
Join up with an e-mail to Clayton and send him content for the next issue of Writer’s Mail. Thank you!
The Last Word: On Scarcity
“The average person looks around and sees nearly 7 billion people on the planet and thinks, `I am only one person. I am not enough.’ Then they have various experiences in life that validate (that) they are not enough. They don’t do well enough in school or aren’t able to make a friend or keep their parents together. Then they look outside themselves and say… `There is not enough _____.’ You fill in the blank…. A compassionate samurai realizes that your wholeness and completeness does not depend on any external circumstances. Brand that in your brain.” –from The Compassionate Samurai: Being Extraordinary in an Ordinary World by Brian Klemmer, Foghorn Publishers, 2007.