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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
November 25, 2019

The first word . . .

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.”

― Robert Cormier (1925-2000), author of YA novels

Tuesday evening at B&N Westside . . .

Hey, we had a long table to gather around for our last meeting of the year at B&N Westside. Five of our colleagues shared their works. Here is some of what was said:

— Huckleberry Rahr (synopsis and chapters 1-2, YA novel) . . . Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
November 14, 2019

The first word . . .

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially on some piece of writing or paperwork, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work, the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle under the desk lamp. The light from a lamp gives the cat great satisfaction. The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impeded your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough.”

― Muriel Spark (1918-2006), Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist

Tuesday evening at B&N Westside . . .

A small group gathered, six of our regular writers plus a guest, Huckleberry Rahr, a math prof at UW/Whitewater and write of YA novels looking for help in getting published. She joined the group and is on the schedule for November 19 Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
October 19, 2019

The first word . . .

“I was a lot dumber when I was writing the novel. I would come home every day from my office and say, ‘Well, I still really like the story, I just wish it was better written.’ At that point, I didn’t realize I was writing a first draft. And the first draft was the hardest part. From there, it was comparatively easy. It was like I had some Play-Doh to work with and could just keep working with it – doing a million drafts and things changing radically and characters appearing and disappearing and solving mysteries: Why is this thing here? Should I just take that away? And then realizing, no, that is there, in fact, because that is the key to this. I love that sort of detective work.”

― Miranda July (1974-), film director, screenwriter, actress, novelist, short story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

A small group of writers—six in all—huddled around a table on the bargain books floor, where they proceeded to critique the works of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

— Jack Freiburger (chapter 62, A Walk upon the Water) . . .

— Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 24-25, untitled novel) . . .

— Cindi Dyke (children’s picture book, Kerpout) . . .  This poem is the first in a series of picture books for young children. Jerry wondered why Kerpout has hooves instead of paws,  but he is a mythical woodland creature (Kerpout, not Jerry) and I see him with hooves. Jerry also didn’t think chocolate ice cream for breakfast would make you sick. I’m willing to test that out for accuracy. Kashmira thought a bit of adult vocabulary in a child’s picture book is fine, but it needs to be limited. Several thought the metrical structure needs attention in a couple of stanzas. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays With Story

October 1, 2019

ONLY ONE SUBMISSION WAS RECEIVED FOLLOWING THE MEETING (THANK YOU LARRY)

Larry:

Chapters 27-28, Freedoms Purchase:  Jack noted a few details relative to Lake’s estimation of John Crittenden and Henry Clay; the likelihood of oranges in an Illinois summer in 1850s; and the possibility that the Chicago Options Market would be available to Anders in the newspaper [Answer to Jack: The Chicago Board of Trade was established in 1864 but did not start a formal options market until 1973.]. John noted that things seem pretty sweet for our immigrants in these chapters, not much conflict—which is okay as long as it doesn’t go on too long. I promised that I will add a quart and a half of conflict to Chapter 29. Bob noted that there actually is conflict in these chapters, but it’s domestic conflict between Anders and Maria, not too overt. Thanks to all for their comments and I will soldier on. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
September 20, 2019

The first word . . .

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

― Anne Lamott (1954- ), novelist, nonfiction writer, writing teacher

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Eight writers gathered at Barnes and Noble and enjoyed meeting a guest illustrator, introduced by Amit. Jozi Anderson, UW student artist, is seeking commissions from writers for self-published books. She showed samples on her phone of a children’s book cover oil painting and interior illustrations. Members engaged in a lively discussion with her about effective and economical ways to produce art for prospective books. Tracey suggested Jozi place her work on the Behance site at https://www.behance.net/, where artists can display work and authors can find cover designers. If anyone is interested in discussing further projects, Jozi can be contacted at jozimanderson@gmail.com.

Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
September 6, 2019

The first word . . .

“Most things I love to do are like writing, in a way. I love to cook, but that’s putting things together to make a new thing. It’s creating. I love to garden, but that’s generative, too. I love to dance, and that’s about finding a rhythm that’s pleasing to you. Maybe everything’s a little like writing.”

― Less Smith (1944- ), novelist and short-story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Ten writers and one guest, Melissa Zernick, gathered to critique the works of five of their colleagues. Here is some of what was shared:

— Cindi Dyke (back cover blurb, The Mansion Secrets): What started up as a blurb grew into a synopsis which the group critiqued. Tracey felt it needed to be written in a younger voice and that the personality of the main characters needed to be brought out. Several thought an example of the humor needs to be included. Several good thoughts on what should be deleted to create space for the additions. Amber wondered if the secrets inside the mansion walls were literally in the wall. Good points. Thanks everyone Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
August 25, 2019

The first word . . .

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”

― Philip Roth (1933-2018), novelist and short-story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Ten writers came together to critique the works of seven of their colleagues. If you weren’t with us, here’s what you missed:

— Amber Boudreau (chapters 10-12, Mavis) . . . Chapters 10 through 12 of Amber’s urban fantasy were well received. Tracey thought there might be a few too many stage directions, giving the manuscript an over-choreographed feel. Also, too many eyebrows doing things.However, a lot happened in these chapters and she liked them. Larry questioned if the audience would know what old-fashioned wringer rollers would look like. (This isn’t for YA, so I hope they do, otherwise, they can look it up.) John enjoyed it and looked forward to reading the third chapter he skipped.

— Jack Freiburger (chapters 56-57, A Walk upon the Water) . . . Some useful advice, dropped an entire paragraph, moved lines around on a rowing description, otherwise it seemed to work but for a few word changes and edits. Consensus is to use Claire not Clare for our heroine. Continue Reading »