Writer’s Mail for May 16, 2012
by Jen Wilcher
Greg shares Chapters twenty-six through twenty-eight of Beyond Cloud Nine. We start with the very beginning of chapter twenty-six. Spike wanted to know if the cab speeding away was necessary. Before that she slams the door – Jerry thought it indicated the character was angry when she just got done with a sweet ride. Pat and Jerry liked how the help-desk character saves the day. Pat wonders about the precedent for doing autopsies without cutting into the body. Jerry references CSI: New York. Millie and Pat thought the word posterior got a lot of use. Jerry had the same comment about the word fixated and the gesture of arm crossing.
Greg reads from toward the end of Chapter twenty-seven. There’s some discussion of the third dimension of the computer screen. Andy was bothered by one character’s acceptance of another’s presence on a restricted floor. Spike wondered if it should have been hard to get in? Greg explains that it was.
We finish up with the second scene of chapter twenty-eight. Rebecca pointed out that she thought Greg wrote sentences of all about the same length and it could have flowed better with a comma here or there. Pat has a question about a future chapter – the rest of us plug our ears and try not to listen. Spike, just listening, thought the verbs were too active.
Moving on…Millie shares Chapter thirty-five with the group, reading from near the end. Rebecca noted there was a lot more action in this chapter. She also didn’t think anyone would believe the driver who dumped the gravel. Greg wondered how the state trooper would get back in touch with them if he didn’t take any of her information. Jerry asks if there was nine-one-one at that time. Pat thought one character could slip and fall instead of having a load of gravel fall on him. Andy thought the main character could say things that show she’s excited versus talking about how excited about it. Pam really liked that Millie mentioned Glen Campbell.
Rebecca shares Chapter eight of the Cheese Logue. She admits to having issues with this chapter and plans to take it apart. She informs the group that she’s removing the last chapter and this chapter. Amber asks if this is really what happened. Greg thinks this book is not just about the cheese but about Rebecca’s life as well. Pam thought the raffle added tension because it kept Rebecca busy, but perhaps didn’t need to have so much focus put on it.
Pat shares a couple of short chapters from her nonfiction novel. Millie was intrigued by the fact that this is non-fiction. Greg wanted context. Pam wanted to hear more about hitting rock-bottom. Rebecca thought it sounded very much like a journal entry. Pam thought the second chapter was a little bit more planned out. Andy thought maybe if it slowed down a little it would catch up with the reader. Aaron thought chapter one could work as a forward. Pam wondered what one character’s reaction would be to the knocking down of the Catholic grotto. Millie wanted to know why she’s so angry.
Aaron shares the beginning of his screenplay, Stealing From Yourself. Pat got a kick out of the fact that the main character didn’t see himself in the other characters. Greg thought it was pretty engaging and well done, but he worried about the main character’s personality – is he awkward or a go-getter? Andy had some timing issues, looking for tension to build.
Who’s up next . . .
May 22: Katelin Cummins (???), Andrea Kirchman (???), Rebecca Rettenmund, (The Cheese Logue), Holly Bonnicksen-Jones, (Coming Up For Air), Terry Hoffman, (The Great Tome), Jack Freiburger, (Jesus at the IHOP)
May 29: Fifth Tuesday!
June 5: Greg Spry (chapter 29-31, Beyond Cloud Nine 9). Judith McNeil (more of “The Waldorf Hysteria”), Amber Boudreau (chapter 6, Noble), Lisa McDougal (chapter 3, Follow the Yellow/Ben and Krista), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 2, Lincoln, Black Hawk and the Thirty-Eight Hanged), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 5-6, Rage).
Fifth Tuesday . . .
It’s a-comin’, it’s a-comin’, May 29. Got it on your calendar?
Second-and-fourth group hosts. We will be at Terry and Jan Hoffman’s home south of Madison that evening. Make your reservation now with Carol Hornung, firstname.lastname@example.org Also tell Carol what you are bringing for the feast table.
The writing challenge: Write a 250-word story from an object’s point of view. Says Carol, “Have fun with it! Maybe you are an acorn about to fall into a stream. A golf ball about to be smacked across campus and through the Dean’s window. The last leaf falling from a tree in autumn.”
When you have your piece done, email it to Carol.
BOOK REVIEW: THE BEST OF ME BY NICHOLAS SPARKS
SUBMITTED BY MILLIE MADER
The year was 1984. Golden girl, Amanda Collier and handsome Dawson Cole fall deeply and irrevocably in love. He is from the “wrong side of the tracks,” she from a socialite family from the “elite” area of the small North Carolina town. Their love is star-crossed from its inception. They are forced to meet in secret and lie to their families. Amanda’s mother ultimately discovers the truth, and attempts to control her daughter’s life. The Cole males are violent and criminal. Dawson’s mother left her abusive husband early on. She believed that if she took Dawson with her, his father would pursue and kill both of them. As it turned out, Dawson became the victim of beatings and humiliation. He had inherited his mother’s nature and looks, but was the scapegoat for his father, older brother and cousin, and their uncontrolled tempers.
Dawson had met Amanda when they were paired in chemistry class, but he lacked the confidence to approach her. It was she who pursued their friendship and ultimately,love. Dawson worked in the garage of an elderly widower, Truck Hostetler, helping to restore classic cars. Truck allowed the young lovers to meet in his establishment, where their romance blossomed under his kindness and concern. Both knew that this first love would last forever—at least in their hearts. Fate would tear them apart.
Tragedy soon struck Dawson, ripping his world and his love asunder. Amanda, devastated, moved on to graduate from Duke They never met again until more than twenty-four years later.
Worlds apart, Dawson was working on an oil rig off the Louisiana coast, and Amanda was trapped in a passionless marriage. She had suffered her own tragedies. Then a letter arrived to both of them. Tuck Hostetler had passed away and his last request was for them to return to the little home he had shared with his wife, and the garage where he had sheltered their romance.
Their meeting renews old passions, and both wonder if they have made the right choices in their lives. They are each given a letter from Tuck, which ultimately gives them many insights into their lives as they are now. Dawson has never married, and confesses that he could never have found happiness with anyone other than Amanda. She, in turn, lets him know how vivid the memories of their time together have always been. They discuss all that has happened in their lives in the past nearly quarter century.
In an unexpected twist, their lives again unravel—tragedy finally imparting an almost peaceful closure. Dawson has given Amanda “The Best of Me.”