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.
Jen Wilcher will bring her laugh-o-meter so we can scientifically select the winner. The winner will receive an award, a prize or large bag of cash. Says Jen, as sole arbiter, she welcomes bribes, of which she has offered generously to provide half to the cash bag.
Fifth Tuesday is a potluck event, so what you bringing for the feasting table?
Second-and-fourth group hosts.
TWS alumna Susan Gloss Parsons, our special guest for the evening, will share her experiences in getting her first novel published by Morrow.
Great words plus a contest for poets . . .
From Wordsmith Anu Garg . . . Twenty-one years ago, on March 14, 1994, I started what became Wordsmith.org. Dictionaries don’t list a word for a 21st anniversary, but we can call it a unvicennial or unvicennary, from Latin unus (one) + vicies (twenty times) + annus (year). (This is based on the pattern of undecennary)
Twenty one years may sound like a long time, but each morning I can’t wait to wake up and play with words. Thanks for sharing your love of words with me. You are what makes Wordsmith.org. Thanks for participating and sending your comments and stories. Now I invite you to send your poems.
To celebrate the occasion we are throwing a big poetry-writing party. This week I have picked five words [three are here] to describe various forms of light verse. You are invited to write a poem in each of this week’s verse forms. If you’ve never written a poem, don’t worry. Some of the poems described in this week’s words can be as short as two lines.
Email your original poems to email@example.com (include your location: city/state/country) by this Friday. Selected poems will win books, word games, or t-shirts.
noun: A humorous, pseudo-biographical verse of four lines of uneven length, with the rhyming scheme AABB, and the first line containing the name of the subject.
After writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), who originated it. Earliest documented use: 1928. Here is one of his clerihews:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”
Here’s a clerihew I came up with:
So did the lexicographer, from A to Z
Into his American Dictionary.
“Commanders-in-chief have long been targets for jokes, and Raczka continues this tradition with gusto in a collection of clerihews for each American president, accompanied by Burr’s impish b&w caricatures.”
– Children’s Reviews; Publishers Weekly; Dec 22, 2014.
A couple of clerihews from this delightful book, Presidential Misadventures:
Spendthrift Thomas Jefferson
declared, “My shopping’s never done.”
He went to town to buy bananas
and came home with Louisiana
Turf defender James Monroe
warned the Europeans, “Whoa!
If you trespass, you’ll be shot.
That’s my doctrine, like it or not.”
noun: A short witty saying, often in verse.
From Latin epigramma, from Greek epigramma, from epigraphein (to write, inscribe), from epi- (upon, after) + graphein (to write). Other words originating from the same root are graphite, paragraph, program, and topography. Earliest documented use: 1552.
According to the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
What is an epigram? A dwarfish whole;
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
Here is one from Benjamin Franklin that truly demonstrates the power of a pithy epigram:
Fell great oaks.
“I had never read Martial until I picked up his Selected Epigrams in a new edition with delightfully snarky translations by Susan McLean … it’s hard to demonstrate the quality of Martial’s wit, since most of his best epigrams are unprintable here.”
– Bruce Handy; Humor; The New York Times Book Review; Dec 7, 2014.
A few selected epigrams from the delectable Selected Epigrams:
“Write shorter epigrams” is your advice.
Yet you write nothing, Velox. How concise!
Both judge and lawyer grab what they can get,
so, Sextus, my advice is — pay your debt.
noun: A literary work, especially a poem, composed of parts taken from works of other authors.
From Latin cento (patchwork). Earliest documented use: 1605.
Nobel-prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot’s observation is relevant to centos: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.”
Examples of centos:
The Oxford Cento by David Lehman . . . here’s the link: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9502E3D71630F931A35757C0A9609C8B63
The Dong With the Luminous Nose by John Ashbery . . . here’s the link: http://www.english.txstate.edu/cohen_p/poetry/Ashbery.html
“Louis Zukofsky continued to write … a play, a novella, a book of criticism, a 500-page cento of philosophy in homage to Shakespeare …”
– Bob Perelman; Finding His Voice; Tikkun (Berkeley, California); May/Jun 2007.
So where do you set your stories? . . .
YA author and blogger Nathan Bransford says it’s important that there be change in your setting:
The setting is often referred to as a novel’s canvas, but that’s not right at all.
A canvas is blank. It’s white. It’s unchanging.
If you think of your characters acting within a blank world, no matter how interesting they are, it will feel like there’s something missing.
Instead, it’s crucial to think about what’s happening in the broader world of your novel, what is changing, and how these larger forces are impacting your characters. When you do, your novel will feel like more than just an interesting series of events, it will feel deeper, richer, and more meaningful.
One of the (many) elements that elevated Gone Girl above a regular suspense novel was the creeping ways the economic downturn affected the lives of the main characters, from having to move to the Midwest, to the abandoned mall, to Amy’s feeling that she couldn’t escape her parents’ shadow. The characters are acting within a world where they don’t have limitless control over their lives.
Read his entire post at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2015/03/the-importance-of-change-in-setting.html