Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for September 21, 2012
Good Words from Way Back
Two monkeys came from native wood;
To view the haunts and ways of men;
Two mortal hours they silent stood,
And then, content, went back again.
–From Mother Goose Complete (well-worn copy missing title page and publisher)
September 18 Meeting: Five Alive
Five TWS First-and-Thirders offered up their writing last Tuesday at Barnes & Noble West. Here’s the low down, thanks to Amber Boudreau:
Lisa McDougal read from Chapters 5-6 of Follow the Yellow. Pat Edwards noticed a few places that needed tightening up. There were a lot of business details that she didn’t really care about. Instead, Pat would like to see a little more romance. Jerry Peterson and Pat thought a lot of speech tags could be cut. They also wondered whether one character would write everything down so perfectly, or would she forgo punctuation and record in the vernacular? Rebecca Rettenmund pointed out the missing reaction from a parent. Jen Wilcher wondered how a character can acknowledge he’s doing something subconsciously.
Amber Boudreau read from Chapter 10 of her young-adult novel Noble. There were lots of great comments, Amber noted. However: “I can’t remember all of them. They were great though. This is going to be the best chapter ever. So good, I may never write anything else. Not. You all can’t get that lucky.”
Millie Mader shared part of her rewrite for Chapter 38 of Life on Hold. Rebecca had a couple questions about the 1970s-style dialogue. Pat suggested that Millie cut some of the step-by-step stuff. Aaron Boehm wanted to know what the characters talked about while waiting for the wine. Rebecca was hoping for more reaction from the friends when the main character told her story. She also picked up on a lot of the religion in this chapter and wondered whether there shouldn’t have been more praying going on. Jerry thought this chapter was too nice to the main character.
Pat Edwards shared two poems with the group. She started with “Love Is All You Need” which Jen really liked it. Jerry said he followed the tone better once Pat read it aloud. Next came “What’s Your Pretty,” which Amber thought “reads a little bitter.” Other TWSers agreed that the poem generated a similar feeling for them. Spike Pedersen really liked this one, which got the group talking about family, choices, and birth order.
Jerry Peterson read from Chapter 17 of Thou Shalt Not Murder. Rebecca and Spike liked the descriptions. Pat wondered why Jerry’s character didn’t care more about the kid in the story who killed the teacher.
Please thank Amber for this report!
Who’s Up Next?
September 25: Rebecca Rettenmund (The Cheese Logue), Jack Freiburger (Path to Bray’s Head), Pranita Raju (short story), Carol Hornung (?). To join the reading list, contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2: Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 13, The Cheese Logue), Bob Kralapp (?), Judith McNeil (short story, part 3, “The Man with the Broken Heart”), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 18-20, Rage). Two slots remain open. To join the reading list, contact Jerry (email@example.com).
October 9: To join the reading list, contact Carol Hornung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 16: Andy Brown (chapter 3, Lo’s Quarter), Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, Noble), Millie Mader (chapter 39, Life on Hold), Pat Edwards (?), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 4, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 21-23, Rage).
To read or reschedule reading:
• First-and-Third Tuesdays, contact Jerry Peterson
• Second-and-Fourth Tuesdays, contact Carol Hornung
Fifth Tuesday: Howling-Good Time Ahead!
Fifth Tuesday is creeping up on us: October 30, 7:00 p.m., 702 Emerson Street, Madison, home of Rebecca Rettenmund’s mother Victoria Horn – thank you!
TWS Second-and-Fourth is hosting the potluck feast, so please take a moment to let Carol Hornung know what you plan to bring. A generous soul is bringing paper plates and a dessert item, but we need other volunteers to bring:
• Hot dishes, cold dishes, dessert — all welcome!
• Plastic silverware
• Cold drink cups
• Hot drink cups
• Soft drinks (soda)
Please let Carol know what you are bringing.
Publisher of Tyrus Books and TWS alum Ben LeRoy is going to howl with us at this pre-Halloween Fifth Tuesday.
Here’s your Fifth Tuesday writing challenge: Write a story, poem, essay, or short film script of the supernatural; include a ghost, a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, or any combination, or some other unreal critter.
Send your treat by October 26 — 250 words max – to Jerry Peterson.
WPR’s Flash Fiction Ghost Story Contest
Consider this contest practice for your Fifth Tuesday writing challenge: “Enter the Wisconsin Life Flash Fiction Ghost Story contest. Submit your original short ghost story (600 words or less) by October 7 and you could hear your story on Wisconsin Life! Contest winners will be selected by Wisconsin’s bestselling fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Wise Man’s Fear and The Name of the Wind.”
Wait, there’s more: “Winning entries will be recorded for broadcast by WPR’s team of talented radio actors and audio engineers. Visit our Flash Fiction page for submission details and complete contest rules.” Go to: http://wilife.tumblr.com/
This year marks Wisconsin’s first wolf hunting season, so what about a werewolf hunt? Oh wait, it’s also football season, so how about “Bucky the Werebadger”? Oops, there are 20,200 Google hits on “werebadger,” including this from Urban Dictionary: “A werebadger is a lonely fat loser, who is totally in love with a scruffy looking stoner.” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=were%20badger).
Keeping Up with One of Our Alums: “I’ve Got an Agent!”
Pam Gabriel and Susan Gloss Parsons met for the first time at a coffee shop this summer, but initially neither knew the other was a TWS writer. After they got acquainted, Pam asked something like, “So how’s it going with you?” TWS alumna Susan answered, “I’ve got an agent!”
Here’s the story from Susan…
Hello writers! It has been a few years since I’ve sat around the table with you at Barnes & Noble. I miss your faces and wanted to give you a little update. My biggest news is that I had a healthy, happy son last July. He is 14 months old now, and his favorite activity is, as you might guess, reading books!
While I was pregnant with my son, I started writing a novel called Gently Used, about a vintage clothing store, the women who work and shop there, and the stories behind the garments that come in and out of the shop. If interested, you can read more about the plot on my website (http://www.glossingoverit.com/).
Some of you TWS members may recall that I previously had been working on a different novel. I sent that first novel out to agents and got a good amount of interest, but no offers of representation. After racking up many rejections, I decided to set that first novel aside and throw myself into my second novel, Gently Used. I completed it in December 2010 and then set my hand to revising it, and revising it some more. I spent a full year on revisions, between changing diapers and changing law jobs. During that time, I also started writing freelance food articles for Edible Madison magazine.
Fast forward to this spring, when I finally felt like Gently Used was in the best possible shape I could get it. I sent out batches of query letters to agents – many of them were agents who had expressed interest in my first novel, but ultimately passed on it and told me to feel free to query them with future projects. Several agents were reading the manuscript when I won a contest on a writers’ blog, where I’d entered with my query and first page. The agent who judged the contest ended up offering me representation. When she offered, I asked for a week to notify other agents who were considering my work and to make a decision. By the end of that week, to my delight and disbelief, I had four offers of representation.
I talked to each agent over the phone at least once, if not several times. In the end, I went with the second agent who offered – she was the person who most “got” my writing style and had a solid sales record to boot. I signed with her in June and am now finishing up a round of edits before we go on submission – meaning that my agent will pitch the novel to editors at publishing houses to see if anyone wants to offer a contract. I will be sure to let you know if that happens. In the meantime, keep writing and growing that thick skin – sometimes it takes a lot of “no’s” to finally get a “yes.”
– Thanks to Jerry Peterson!
Writer’s Mail: Duty Roster
Harvest some editing experience: Edit Writer’s Mail for a month by joining the schedule below.
• September – Clayton Gill, gleaning your good stuff.
• October – Carol Hornung, who will edit November instead, if you volunteer for October by Sep. 28.
• November – Elect yourself!
• December – Clayton again, hoping you’ll keep warm with words!
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: Locavore Marketing
Here’s a poster at the counter of the McDonald’s restaurant at the Illinois-75 exit off I-90 near Rockton, IL. National retailers and their franchisees often work hard to be part of the local community. Walgreen’s and McDonald’s are not direct competitors, so Brenda McGrath was able to bring them together in her collaborative book marketing effort.
Send your Writer’s Mail contributions to Clayton. Thank you!