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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
May 10, 2019

 

Way back in the bookstore

A dozen writers circled up on B&N’s bargain book Tuesday evening to critique the works of seven of their colleagues. Here are some of the comments that were shared:

 

Bob Kralapp (chapter 7, Capacity) . . .

Lisa McDougal (chapters 10-11, The Tebow Family Secret) . . .

Amber Boudreau (chapters 4-5, Mavis): Amber read from Chapters 4 and 5 of her untitled urban fantasy. It was unclear to Lisa if the main character was following a recipe for cookies in Chapter 4. Lots of suggestions to cut Chapter 4 in its entirety or to really cut it down. Otherwise, not much to tell. Continue Reading »

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Writer’s Mail

Fifth Tuesday stories
April 30, 2019

Writing challenge: My worst critique ever. It can be fiction. Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

 

My Worst Critique Ever

Chris Zoern

“And you do understand that this is a very selective program, correct?” the Sergeant asked.

His words were muffled, and I had trouble processing them.  Rejected? How? I had the best time on the course, and I was certain I had done well on the written exam. I slowly nodded.

“I’m sorry, I really am. You’ll have to collect your things from your barrack by the end of the day,” he continued.

“Do I at least get to know why I’m not allowed in?” Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Fifth Tuesday stories
January 29, 2019

Writing challenge: It’s January in Wisconsin. We’re deep into winter. Where would you rather be? Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

Time to Jump In

Brandy Larson

A white brahma bull stands alone on a high hillside—red earth and tufted green grass. We drive past with meadow and acacia trees on either side. The small fruit stand is next to a rocky outcropping on the edge of the road. Stopping for a cold coconut, our vendor deftly hacks off the top of the green husk with a few strikes of his machete and offers a straw—cool and not too sweet—coconut wata. Down to the last drop, he whacks the shell in half and we scoop out the jelly lining with a wedge of green husk for a spoon. Food of the Goddess. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 24, 2019

Way back in the bookstore

Ten writers trooped into B&N Westside last week to hear Tracey Gemmell, Larry Sommers, and Paul Wagner share about what they learned at Writers Institute held a couple weeks ago in Madison. Our writers also critiqued the works of six of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

 

Tracey Gemmell (query letter and synopsis, Life Like Lavender) . . . Most agreed the synopsis for Life Like Lavender was too long. Larry also suggesting cutting much from the query letter and replacing it with more wit. Many thanks for your suggestions.

 

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 12-13, untitled novel) . . .  Amit and Kashmira submitted chapters of their book. Readers wanted to see more interaction between Uma and her father to show she was aware of what was going on in the country. Also, some part of Kedar’s chapter sounded more like stage direction and readers wanted more description of what Virabha looked like. Thank you all for your comments. We will work on the chapters. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 5, 2019

Where were you?

Seven writers gathered at B&N Westside Tuesday evening. If you were among the missing, here are some of the comments in the critiques you didn’t get to hear:

 

Chris Zoern (chapter 1, Apostate) . . .

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 10-11, untitled novel) . . . Amit and Kashmira submitted two chapters of their untitled novel. There were concerns about using italics for the flashbacks as well as the length of flashbacks. Jack wanted more emotional reaction to the flashback, John wondered if they were all needed. Larry likes some of the descriptive language and Jerry pointed out the inconstancy in using the word “Elder” throughout the chapter. Also, Jack thought Uma’s character was rather dull. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 22, 2019

 

Once more unto the rectangular tables

 

Ten writers gathered around a real table at B&N Westside when last we met. Here are some of the points that were shared in the critiques:

 

Lisa McDougal (chapter 9 rewrite, The Tebow Family Secret) . . .  Here are the notes I got from yesterday. I don’t remember who all said what so I’ll just say what was said. No inner analysis from Ahna which made it hard to know whose mind we were in. Calling the father “Mr. Tebow” considered to be too formal. The chapter was very talky, so needs something to break it up. More emotion needed. The father needs to come off a bit more ruthless with others if he’s going to be so sweet to Ahna. Also, need to narrow down what drugs Ahna was on.

 

Larry Sommers (experimental blog posts) . . .  Mention of “Low Point” without clarification that it was a small town in Illinois caused confusion. Everybody seemed to think the concept of combining a brief fictional vignette with a longer non-fiction reflection on the same historical material was a viable and interesting concept. BUT, blog posts normally tend to be shorter, and Jerry pointed out that if you don’t post something weekly, folks are not likely to get in the habit of coming back. Tracey suggested finding some way to relate this content more closely to my longer historical fiction, which I’d like to promote. Lisa pointed out that podcasts are becoming the blogs of now. Jack suggested there may be some centralized website that functions as a sort of clearinghouse or reference point for historical-fiction-related blogs. Thanks, everybody, for the helpful comments.

Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 5, 2019

The group met as usual at Borders:  Your editor was absent and so can say nothing about who was there and who not.

 

But here’s the feedback from those who had their work critiqued: Continue Reading »