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Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Bransford’

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 11, 2015

He said it . . .

“Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.” – H.W. Fowler, lexicographer (1858-1933)

Who’s up next . . .

March 17: Lisa McDougal (chapter, Tebow Family Secret), Amber Boudreau (???), Bob Kralapp (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 14, Coastie Girl), Millie Mader (chapter 62, Life on Hold), and Judith McNeil (???).

March 24: ???

March 31: Fifth Tuesday . . . meeting at Mystery To Me Bookstore

April 7: Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 15, Coastie Girl), Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Mike Rickey (poems), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 14-15, Rooster’s Story).

Fifth Tuesday . . .

Three weeks away, March 31, at Mystery To Me Bookstore. Are you going to be with us?

Here’s the writing challenge: Many writing seminars use lists of prompts to provide ideas for short stories. For this challenge, create your own list of six prompts to read to the assembly. They must be amusing, at least enough to help fight off sleep.

Ruth Imhoff offers an example: How to survive the Zombie Apocalypse! Ruth thought that was funny, but you’ll do better. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 2, 2015

She said it . . .

“Writing, you’re trapped in the alphabet, and you’ll be there until you die.” – Patricia Lockwood, poet (1982-)

Who’s up next . . .

March 4: **Yes, this is a new night, a Wednesday night!

Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 12, Coastie Girl), Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Mike Rickey (poems), Millie Mader (chapter 61, Life on Hold), and Andy Brown (chapter, The Last Library).

March 10: ???

March 17: Lisa McDougal (chapter, Tebow Family Secret), Amber Boudreau (???), Bob Kralapp (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 13, Coastie Girl), Judith McNeil (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 11-13, Rooster’s Story).

Fifth Tuesday . . .

Yes, it’s only five weeks away, March 31 at Mystery To Me Bookstore. Do you have it on your calendar? Are you going to be with us? It’s a potluck event, so plan now for what you are going to bring for the feasting table. Second-and-fourth group hosts.

TWS alumna Susan Gloss Parsons is our special guest for that evening. She will share her experiences in getting her first novel published by Morrow. (more…)

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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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