Week of April 23, 2014
April editor . . .
Andy Pfeiffer continues as the editor for Writers Mail this month. Next month, Lisa McDougal takes on the job.
Minutes from Tuesday . . .
2nd & 4th is beginning to look like a class reunion with the recent return of members like Roxanne, Rebecca, and now Liam! Welcome back!
Deb Kellerman started the evening off with the second half of chapter 3 of The Crossing Guard. Carol likes that the characters seem very clear, especially Allie and Rose. Holly suggested trimming a lot of extra words, and also wondered if Rose might challenge Allie’s opinion of Matt. She is somewhat passive and even if she doesn’t challenge her friend out loud, she is probably thinking it. Jack wanted a bit more distinction in each character’s voice, the way they spoke, mannerisms, actions. Also thought Rose might have some emotional thoughts in her interpretation of how Matt might feel about her. Jen said not to forget physical reactions from the characters in describing them, too. Roxanne thought it should be more clear at the end if Matt is within earshot of the conversation Allie and Rose are having.
Kristen Oakley brought in a character piece called “The Bomb.” Rebecca, speaking from an illustrator’s point of view, pointed out that “extremely average” is actually very attractive when it comes to features and the way people see others. Jack thought there was conflict between the character being highly recognizable and yet anonymous. Terry found it wonderfully creepy and wanted to read more. Carol liked the voice, the way the piece flowed. Very easy to read. Holly wants more information on the characters motivations.
Roxanne Aehl read the back cover blurb she wrote for her novel. Kristen suggested a logline to identify the character, goal, and the obstacles in her way. Carol liked the visual images, especially “without safety goggles through her new lens of Alzheimers.” Wondered, though, if specific events should be mentioned? Jack disagreed – he found the blurb extremely well-written, intriguing, and useful in that it really teases the story and repeats the name of the main character enough to embed it in the reader’s mind.
Jack Freiburger rounded out the evening with a poem, “Fred Goff,” which he called Flash Poetry (written in just a few minutes that afternoon). Holly enjoyed the off-set lines in the middle of the poem, and Terry particularly enjoyed the last stanza, finding it very powerful.
-Thanks to Carol for the notes!
Who’s up next . . .
May 6: Amber Boudreau (chapter 4, Stone), Millie Mader (chapter 53, Life on Hold), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter 3, novel), Bob Kralapp (short story part 4, “Hole in the Wall”), Andy Pfeiffer (chapters, The Void), and Jerry Peterson (chapters, Rub Out).
May 13: John Freiburger (poetry), Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Tome), Holly Bonnicksen-Jones (chapter, Into the Rain), Liam Wilbur (character piece), Rebecca Rettenmund (new story), Carol Hornung (scene, Ghost of Heffron College).
May 20: Lisa McDougal (chapter, Tebow Family Secret), Andy Brown (chapters 3-4, Man Before the Fall), Cindi Dyke (chapters, North Road), Pat Edwards (???), John Schneller (chapter 2, Final Stronghold), and Judith McNeil (chapter 13, My Mother, Savior of Men).
Fifth Tuesday . . .
Yes, next week, April 29, at Mystery To Me Bookstore. Potluck, so decide what you are bringing for the food table.
Have you written your challenge story?
The challenge is coffee shop stories. Write a story, poem, essay or film scene in which a coffee shop is involved. The coffee shop may be the immediate scene or be nearby or be referred to in some way. No more than 500 words
This is a competition. Entrance fee is $5, payable when you arrive at Mystery To Me. The winner receives a critique of the first 50 pages of her/his writing project plus dinner on the town with our judge.
Your terrific mini-masterpieces are due to Jerry Peterson by midnight Friday. So write, write, write.
Here comes Willy Shakespeare . . .
Some more words courtesy of Wordsmith Anu Garg:
William Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, but he continues to haunt high school students around the world. They have to study his plays year after year. They have to dig deep and analyze. And then they have to produce reports in Times New Roman 12-point, double spaced, one-inch margins, at least three pages.
But there’s a reason Shakespeare is still with us after all this time. In his poems and plays, he has captured human foibles, discontent, ambition, and almost every human quality. His influence on the English language is enormous.
It’s not surprising that his characters have come alive in our language. This week marks the 450th birthday of the Bard of Avon. In his honor we have picked five words that have been coined after his characters. We’ll meet characters from the plays Much Ado About Nothing, Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens, The Tempest, and Romeo and Juliet.
PRONUNCIATION: (DOG-ber-ee, -buh-ree)
MEANING: (noun) A pompous, incompetent, self-important official.
After Dogberry, a constable in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, in which he goes about his blundering ways while mouthing malapropisms. Earliest documented use: 1801.
“Why doesn’t he do something, then? Ignorant Dogberry! Useless bumpkin! Calls himself a copper and doesn’t even know where to start!”
– Edmund Crispin; The Glimpses of the Moon; Gollancz; 1977.
“The mayor of Bangor, Maine, vetoed a time-altering resolution passed by its city council … for which Railway Age lampooned him in an editorial that began ‘A Dogberry who holds the office of mayor.’”
– Jack Beatty; Age of Betrayal; Knopf; 2007.
PRONUNCIATION: (POR-shuh, -shee-uh)
MEANING: (noun) A female lawyer.
After Portia, the heroine of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Portia is a rich heiress who disguises herself as a lawyer to save Antonio’s life. Earliest documented use: 1869.
“‘Listen sister…law isn’t the only subject I’ve mastered!’ snaps Betty, … ‘I may be a Portia, but my middle name’s Dempsey!’”
– Mike Madrid; Divas, Dames & Daredevils; Exterminating Angel Press; 2013.
MEANING: (noun) One who hates or distrusts humankind.
After Timon, the misanthropic hero of Shakespeare’s play Timon of Athens. Earliest documented use: 1598.
“My soul was swallowed up in bitterness and hate … I saw nothing to do but live apart like a Timon.”
– Upton Sinclair; Prince Hagen; Heinemann; 1903.
MEANING: (noun) A man who is a passionate lover or seducer.
After Romeo, the hero in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. While Shakespeare’s play popularized it, the story itself originated in folklore and is much older. Earliest documented use: 1566.
“The square’s scribes were once famous as stand-in Romeos, writing love letters. Sometimes, the same scribe would find himself handling both sides of the correspondence for a courting pair.”
– The Scribes’ Lament; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 20, 2008.
MEANING: noun: Someone who is capable of influencing others’ behavior or perceptions without their being aware of it.
After Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan and a magician, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Earliest documented use: 1785.
“Melliora is the Prospero who engineers a return to social order entirely in accord with her desires.”
– David Oakleaf (ed.), Eliza Haywood; Love in Excess; Broadview Press; 2000.
Amazon merges Kindle personal documents with Cloud Drive. . .
From IndieWritersSupport.Com: Amazon announced last week through an email to its customers that all personal documents archived in your Kindle e-reader library are also now being made available from Amazon Cloud Drive. The files will be placed in a new folder called “My Send-to-Kindle Docs” where you’ll then be able to manage the items as you would any other file, including being able to organize, share or delete them as need be.
Personal documents are those which include files you’ve sent to your Kindle device, like Word documents, PDFs, images, online news articles or blogs, or um, you know, e-books you’ve…ahem…acquired. You can upload these to your Kindle device via the browser, desktop, mobile device, or email.
The change is taking place without any need for end user involvement, similar to other actions Amazon has taken in the past, such as when it switched on “AutoRip” functionality for CDs and vinyl, for example, automatically placing music files in users’ online storage drives. (Well that’s one way to workaround the challenge of generating traction for Amazon Cloud Drive!)
Says Amazon: “And as always, you can use Manage Your Kindle to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud. Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just ‘Send Once, Read Everywhere’.”
And as always, you can use Manage Your Kindle to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud. Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just “Send Once, Read Everywhere.”
In addition, the documents you store in your Amazon Cloud Drive will be stored in their native format, like Microsoft Word (DOC) or TXT for example, so you’ll be able to access them from anywhere using the Cloud Drive service. Previously, Amazon would automatically convert things like DOC files to Kindle-friendly formats. It still does this for the sake of reading, but now keeps a copy of the original in your Cloud Drive.
However, the change doesn’t mean your Cloud Drive will automatically turn into a free, web-based e-book reader of sorts. Things that you can do on the Kindle, like bookmark pages or keep track of reading progress, won’t work on Cloud Drive.
But there is one benefit, as others have noted: because Kindle owners received 5 GB in free space for Personal Documents and Cloud Drive users received 5 GB for free file storage, the resulting merger means you’ll now have 10 GB of free file storage to play around with.