Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for October 13, 2012
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anaïs Nin
Notes from 10/2/12
Eight of us gathered ‘round to read and review and critique.
Millie shared a portion of her rewrite for chapter thirty-eight of Life On Hold. Judith and Pat thought the girls were vicious and catty, respectively. Jerry notes that one character puts the car in reverse and drives all the way to another character’s house. Jen pointed out a few places that disrupted the flow for her.
Rebecca shared part of chapter thirteen of the Cheese Logue. Pat wanted to know why they named their cat Dirigible and suggested she add it to the story if it isn’t too long. Rebecca questions a few vignettes and if she should leave them in or not. Pat and Jerry suggest tightening rather than cutting all together. Jerry appreciated the full circle approach she takes beginning and ending with the same characters.
Judith read from part three of The Man With a Broken Heart. Pat wondered why she changed her format. Judith says she hasn’t. Pat thought it was easier to follow this time. Jerry thought one character used the other’s name a lot, which could happen once or twice, but not more than that. Rebecca wanted to know why she mentioned what one character ate, but Pat thought that part was funny.
Finally we read a section from Thou Shalt Not Murder. Pat enjoyed the scene with the parents and shares her favorite line from the chapter. Rebecca has to ask about spooning – she thought it had to happen in a bed, but the group seems to think its slang for cuddling. Jerry informs the group he based his courtroom scenes on a very rigid courtroom system where the lawyers do not approach the jury.
Notes from 10/9/12 – 2nd & 4th
Rebecca Rettenmund started things off with her chapter of The Cheese Logue. Terry felt there was a conflict between the cat’s extreme passion in trying to get the cheese, then only getting a few licks. Maybe more of a struggle to get it away from him? Josh liked the cat as food critic. Katelin was concerned about the parts where the narrator seems to jump out of the story to explain something to the reader. Especially the part about the cow watering dish. Talk about the dish as noticed by the customer, but don’t need to tell us about “testing” other customers to see if they know what it is.
Carol Hornung brought in a scene from Sapphire Lodge. Katelin found that Saffi was way too calm in the scene – need more reactions. Josh pointed out that the second access point stop doesn’t move the story forward. Make sure the car is better hidden than it is – why wasn’t it found in daylight? Happen to catch a reflection off the license plate at night. Jack liked the concept of the lack of color and thought that should be expanded.
Terry Hoffamns’s tale of The Great Tome continued as Rachel tries to tell Katy about it. Jack felt like the piece lacked atmosphere – it was mostly dialog between the two characters, little setting or description. Jen also felt there needed to be more physical elements. Josh thought the scene should go all the way to winning over Katy, then explode into craziness as the news stories pop up on the laptop.
Joshua Miller presented the Prologue of his fantasy novel, A Chronicler’s Tale. Rebecca said she felt like she was in a video game at first. There’s some confusion in the action as characters seem to be losing limbs (when they aren’t) and the child is assumed to be dead at first by the reader, as this is set on a battlefield. Karen pointed out that two men appeared but were also invisible… We all wanted more focus on the main character. As a reader, who are we following? A lot of the extra information in the chapter may be more suited to use in the story later on.
Karen Zethmayr brought in her new children’s book, The Oak Arena. Josh spoke for all of us when he said how much he liked the illustrations. Carol did point out that Gerald suddenly becomes the main character when the snake appears. Terry agreed, saying Kai is the one who should defeat the snake. He also needs to show some fear – he’s close to being dinner! Jen pondered whether the squirrel was ON the tree or IN the tree. Jack also suggested the story match the cover illustration a little more – instead of leaving the hat while swimming, it looks like he sets it aside while roasting marshmallows. We all liked that the language was not dumbed-down for kids.
Who’s up next . . .
October 16: Lisa McDougal (chapter 7, Follow the Yellow), Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, Noble), Millie Mader (poem), Pat Edwards (poems), Aaron Boehm (film script, part 4, “Stealing from Yourself”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 21-23, Rage).
October 23: Terry Hoffman (The Great Tome), Rebecca Rettenmund (The Cheese Logue), Jack Freiburger (???). To get on the reading list, contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifth Tuesday . . . October 30 at Rebecca Rettenmund’s mother’s house, 702 Emerson Street in Madison. That’s on the southeast side of town. It’s potluck, so bring good food to share. Do this now . . . email Carol Hornung, and (1) tell her you’re coming, (2) who you’re bringing as a guest – guests are always welcome – and (3) what you’re bringing for the food table. We have a lot of desserts at this point – salads, sides, appetizers are needed!
Here’s the writing challenge for Fifth Tuesday: Write a Halloween story, poem, essay, or short film script featuring a ghost, vampire, ghoul, or some other supernatural creature. 250 words max. Three stories are already in. Send yours to Jerry Peterson. Deadline for that is October 26.
New book out . . .
Jerry Peterson’s new crime novel, The Watch, went up this week as a Kindle book and a Nook book. Here are the links:
It’s also up as a Kobo book. But if it’s a print book you want, Jerry says you’ll have to wait a couple weeks until The Watch, the ink-on-paper book, goes up on Amazon.
Just as Spike Pedersen asked you to do for his book, At First Light, go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads – or, better, all three – and post a mini-review or comment. Lots of mini-reviews ups the visibility of the book for people looking for a good crime novel, mystery, or legal thriller to read.
Jerry has a deal for you. Email your mini-review or comment and where you posted it to him, and he will put your name in a hat with all the others that come in. On December 1, he’ll draw one out, and, if it’s you, Jerry will name one of the characters in my next AJ Garrison Crime Novels book for you. Hey, you could be a real bad person, a member of the jury, or maybe the trial judge.
National Book Award finalists announced
By Ron Charles, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/national-book-award-finalists-announced/2012/10/10/e8f7774a-1258-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html?hpid=z3
Stories about the Iraq War hold a prominent place in this year’s National Book Award nominations. “The Yellow Birds,” a debut novel by Iraq vet Kevin Powers, and “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” by Ben Fountain, are among the five finalists for the fiction award. Both novels, which have received positive reviews in The Washington Post and elsewhere, are powerful tales about soldiers coming back from battle.
This year’s finalists are a star-studded group notable for their critical and popular success, although major novels from Richard Ford, Michael Chabon and Barbara Kingsolver are absent from the list.
The other three fiction finalists are “A Hologram for the King,” about an American businessman in Saudi Arabia, by Dave Eggers, who won a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in 2009; “The Round House,” the story of an Ojibwe boy whose mother is attacked, by Louise Erdrich; and “This Is How You Lose Her,” short stories by Junot Diaz, a recent MacArthur “genius grant” winner whose previous novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.
The five nonfiction finalists are similarly renowned: “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956,” by Pulitzer Prize-winner and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum; “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity,” by Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Washington Post writer Katherine Boo; “The Passage of Power,” the fourth volume of Robert Caro’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on Lyndon Johnson; “The Boy Kings of Texas,” a memoir by Domingo Martinez; and “House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East,” by Anthony Shadid, the former Washington Post and New York Times writer who won two Pulitzer Prizes and died last year in Syria during an asthma attack.
The finalists for young people’s literature have a decidedly dark cast this year: Carrie Arcos’s “Out of Reach” is a novel about lost teens and drug addiction. Patricia McCormick’s “Never Fall Down” is based on the true story of a boy soldier in the Khmer Rouge. Eliot Schrefer’s “Endangered” is a novel about a girl trying to save a group of bonobos during the civil war in the Congo. Steve Sheinkin’s “Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” is a work of nonfiction about the race to build an atomic bomb during WWII. William Alexander’s fantasy “Goblin Secrets” is about a boy looking for his lost brother with a troupe of theatrical goblins.
The poetry finalists are “Bewilderment,” by David Ferry, who won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2011; “Heavenly Bodies,” by Cynthia Huntington, a former poet laureate of New Hampshire; “Fast Animal,” by Tim Seibles, a former fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts; “Night of the Republic,” by Alan Shapiro, a previous finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s poetry award; and “Meme,” by Pushcart Prize-winner Susan Wheeler.
The twenty finalists for the National Book Awards in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature were announced Wednesday morning by the NBA Chairman David Steinberger on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Novelist Elmore Leonard will receive a medal for distinguished contribution to American letters, and New York Times chairman and publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. will receive the foundation’s award for outstanding service to the American literary community.
The National Book Awards were established in 1950. To be eligible, a book must be written by an American and published by an American publisher between December 1 of 2011 and November 30 of 2012. Self-published books are eligible if the writer also publishes works by other authors.
The judges considered more than 1,200 submissions in four categories. The Washington writer Dinaw Mengestu, who recently won a MacArthur “genius award,” is one of the fiction judges this year, along with Stacey D’Erasmo, Lorrie Moore and Janet Peery.
The nonfiction judges are Brad Gooch, Linda Gordon, Woody Holton, Susan Orlean and Judith Shulevitz
All the finalists will receive $1,000. The winners, announced in New York on Nov. 14 at a ceremony hosted by Faith Salie, will each receive $10,000.
Something fun from Aaron Boehm:
Here is a list I found of 10 ways to generate Science Fiction story ideas:
Writer’s Mail: Duty Roster
We need an editor for November – it’s easy, just takes a little time each week, and you can even put it on your resume! Sign up today:
• November – Need an editor
• December – Clayton
• January – Start the new year with a new resolution – be the TWS newsletter editor for a month!
Join up with an e-mail to Carol.
Great words . . .
From Word Spy Paul McFedries . . .
fleshwriter: noun, the person for whom a ghostwriter writes a book.
I fell into ghostwriting in 1989, during a slump in my journalism career. Established but neither flush nor famous, I was delighted to get this relatively well-paid work helping business stars write books. I interviewed my “fleshwriters” (as we ghosts call them), drafted early versions, and coached them through revisions.”
– Art Kleiner, “Confessions of a Ghostwriter,” Wired
The Last Word
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” ― Neil Gaiman