Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Bransford’

Writer’s Mail
June 19, 2014

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” — Ray Bradbury

At this Tuesday’s meeting…
Cindi read from Chapter Twelve of North Road. Andy liked the scene but he had a question about what this part has to do with the overall plot of the story and suggested a series of short stories centered on the main character. Pat, Lisa and Jerry suggested getting to the serious stuff that happens later in the scene more quickly; the scene was set almost cinematically, but the dialogue needs to come sooner. Jerry had a problem with one character telling another to think something over when a decision has been made and there’s nothing to think about. Lisa liked this chapter because it was a little lighter than earlier ones.
Lisa shared a portion of Chapter Eighteen of The Tebow Family Secret. Millie liked the chapter. Pat had a couple questions about the type of amnesia one of the characters has and was looking to read some salting of her memories by her family. Pat also had a question about how one character reacts when he takes a drink of alcohol, considering his past alcoholism. Jerry wanted to know why one character won’t sell a picture when he’s offered a lot of money. Cindi was looking for more of a response from one character. Jerry had an issue with who suggests doing a story on another character. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Week of April 8, 2014

April editor . . .
Andy Pfeiffer is Writers Mail editor for this month. Got news or got feature stuff or something you’ve found on the net that will help writers? Send it to Andy.

Minutes from Tuesday . . .
We had a good turnout Tuesday at the bookstore and welcomed guest Hanna Ruoho. Kristin Oakley had printed copies of her novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois, in hand, and we had a lively discussion about the Writer’s Institute recently held through the UW Extension. Kristin and Holly have promised to write up some words of wisdom for future newsletters.

Diving into the critiques we started with Katelin Cummin’s short piece, “Treasure.” Kristin felt there was some confusion regarding the point of view of the main character – had she experienced date rape or a one night stand? Terry did point out that the woman might be confusing the two in her own mind simply because the concept of rape is too much to bear. Deb, however, points out that Richard very specifically says this is happening because she didn’t say “yes.” In order to strengthen the story within such a tight word count, Holly suggested culling out many of the actions – only leave in those that are most important. Andy felt the opening was very effective and the reader didn’t need much more information about what was going on. Carol was looking for a stronger punch at the end.

Ruth Imhoff read a new chapter of Motto of the Hound. Katelin liked the description of the shop and Holly loved the charms. Terry suggested dropping a charm in his pocket. The character’s name, Blackfan, is used an awful lot, though, and the word “light” pops up quite often, too (which is a bit odd, considering how dark the shop is). Holly pointed out a few cliches, and there was confusion regarding how Blackfan knew there was someone in the basement. Maybe a sound tips him off? Move the swinging lightbulb earlier in the scene – that would help, too.

Carol Hornung brought in a scene from Ghost of Heffron College. Terry felt that Kyle should be more interested in finding out what Travis said to Autumn. Holly felt Autumn gave up too quickly with her accusations against Kyle. Kristin pointed out that she’s accusing him of something, but what, specifically? Could be more there. Hanna said the line referring to Kyle as being “nothing special” kind of clashes with reality – he does stand out from others. Kristin wondered about the internal monolog – would a guy really think this much about what’s going on as the conversation is happening? Andy, representing the Y chromosome at the meeting, suggested that yes, a reasonably introspective guy – perhaps a timid one, too – would be thinking a lot in this way.

-Thanks Carol for the notes (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
March 21, 2014

First and Third Meeting March 18, 2014 at Barnes and Noble
A small group yesterday evening, only nine of us. Jerry was out of town, so Pat Edwards facilitated.

Lisa McDougal read from Tebow Family Secret, Chapter 14. The group liked the twist at the end where Jessica suggests to Adam that he contact Glenn to see if he can uncover Izzy’s trail. Andy thought the twist make the chapter awesome.

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi read from the second chapter of their novel. They had not been able to upload the chapter for the group to read whole thing. So when they get it up, we can read the whole chapter. From the part they read, the group liked the tensions, with descriptions that gave a feeling of “being there, at the time when India was going through political dissent.

Bob Kralapp read from The Hole In The Wall, Part 2. The group wanted more than two pages into this chapter, feeling that it was more of a teaser than a whole chapter. Lisa wondered if Alice wouldn’t have been more cautious than to go into basement unaccompanied, considering the previous night’s experience. Pat suggested that she might want to keep some of information to herself. Since Alice’s actions show that she does not want to tell Gary about the previous night’s actions, and Gary doesn’t seem to “pick up” on any of her body language, Kashmira asked about the length of their marriage. Bob said they were together only two years. She felt that Alice would give away enough with her body language considering the previous night’s events. The group asked Bob about the length of his piece and he said it would be long short story around 30 pages or so. The group was a bit surprised at the couple’s age—in their 20’s. Suggested that some information indicate their age. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
February 6, 2014

“The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict, conflict.”
– James Frey

Notes from 2/4/2014

A dozen of us gather round the tables at the old B&N.

Lisa reads from Chapter Eleven of Tebow’s Family Secret. Pat thought the dialogue flowed and that it was a good chapter. She wondered about what was served at the restaurant the characters visited, but Lisa explains it’s a ‘fusion’ joint. Judith reread some chapters and thinks things are converging. Andy wondered why a character would find a joke about their daughter funny instead of disgusting. Pat thought the ending was very compelling. Jerry thought one character was very laid-back about his mother getting out of prison. Kashmira thought Lisa could add a smell or some description to the restaurant scene.

Cindi reads from Chapter Five of North Road. Millie could relate to the story. Andy initially thought Chapter two was a bit of an info dump, with no dialogue, but the twist at the end hooked him. Amber thought there could be a little more shorthand between sisters in the section that was read to the group. Pat thought she could cut quite a bit out of these chapters and get right into the meat of the story, the part that has emotional resonance. Bob gets the value of telling a story slowly and methodically, but it does bog it down in places. Bob also likes the characters but doesn’t think she needs to hold the reader’s hands.

Bob reads from his short story Hole in the Wall. Lisa was confused about a character who gets introduced. Pat liked the tone though she doesn’t like scary stories. Lisa thought it was too light and didn’t think a lot happened. Some thought it could be ominous. Jerry has a question about geography and if the hole has been taken out yet. Cindi and Pat thought it was very visual, which was great. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
January 3, 2014

“Sometimes you don’t just want to risk making mistakes; you actually want to make them – if only to give you something clear and detailed to fix.” – Daniel Dennett – Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking

Who’s up next . . . weather permitting!
January 7: Lisa McDougal (chapter 11, Tebow Family Secret), Cindi Dyke (chapter 2, North Road), Millie Mader (chapter 50, Life on Hold), Ruth Imhoff (chapter, Motto of the Hound), Bob Kralapp (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 22-23, Capitol Crimes) . . . *Meet at Barnes & Noble Westside at our regular time of 7 p.m.

January 14: Karen Zethmayr (page of pop-up book instructions), Holly Bonnicksen-Jones (chapter 6, Coming Up For Air), Deb Kellerman (chapter 3 of recent work), Carol Hornung (chapter, Ghost of Heffron College), and Ryan Wagner (poems)… *Meet at Barnes & Noble Westside.

January 21: Amber Boudreau (chapter 28, Noble), Andy Pfeiffer (chapter, The Void), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (???), Pat Edwards (???), Judith McNeil (chapter 8, My Mother, Savior of Men), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 24-26, Capitol Crimes).

TWS alum publishes (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
October 31, 2013

“First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about.” – Bernard Malamud

Notes from 10/29/2013
Lisa reads from Chapter Seven of The Tebow Family Secret. Pat was confused as to why one character’s friend was there and how she got in. Andy liked the content of the chapter but he had a question about the wedding and what the dance was for. Jerry says this is a talking scene, which makes it a sleeper unless there’s something physical going on. Pat says there’s a lot of information and some tension, which is good, but there could be more. Jerry didn’t think the scene in the bleachers was believable partly because he didn’t think the bleachers are a place to discuss medical diagnosis. Andy felt the word ‘just’ was overused.

Pat shares her poem Instruments of Flight. Judith loved it. Lisa really liked it. Andy liked that every stanza was different. Bob liked there was a nice establishment and at the end it felt a little up in the air, no pun intended. The mystery almost overshadows the poem itself for Bob. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

September 3rd Meeting for 1st and 3rd Group
Lisa McDougal read from chapter 6 from Tebow Family Secret. Ruth commented that the dialogue was great and that the story flowed. Betsy found Adam’s discussion of the details surrounding his wife’s disappearance intriguing. Jerry commented that the reference that Jessica makes about her New Jersey accent needs to be spelled out so that the reader can “hear” it. He also suggested that the beginning of the chapter could be shortened. Lisa said that she didn’t like the ending of the chapter. Betsy suggested that she cut the last line. The rest of the group made suggestions that Jessica could just shrug, not making any response to Adam’s abrupt order to refrain from bringing up his wife’s disappearance in the future. Judith suggested that Jessica could just change the subject. Amber suggested that she could bring up something that happened earlier in the chapter.

Millie Mader read chapter 46 from Life On Hold . Andy and Lisa both felt that Scot’s last comment saying he wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas, could be more compelling if he gives the reason. Jerry suggested that Scot could say “That is going to be a problem”. There was also a discussion as to whether chemo was given as a shot or a drip at the time. Millie said it would be a drip and that shots of other medication were also administered. Andy mentioned that the conversation at the end between Erin and Dolly should have a smoother transition between discussion on Danny’s overdose and their anticipation about going back to school.

Ruth Imhoff read chapter 4 from Motto of the Hound. Jerry commented that FBI Agent Williams would need to get permission from the local police to do anything on the case. Ruth explained that Agent Williams is the “bad” guy. The group asked Ruth about Blackfan’s strange reaction after the phone conversation with Agent Williams. She explained that Williams uses hypnotic suggestions to influence the behavior of people who may disagree with him. The other question raised by the group was the reason Blackfan was unaware that Simon, who has been his partner of five years, was formerly an FBI agent. Jerry suggested that Blackfan should question Simon more about her that. (more…)

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