Tuesdays with Story
February 19, 2016
The first word . . .
Nonfiction author Matt Ziselman: “I did what many writers do at one time or another: I stopped writing. But, perhaps even worse than not writing was that I stopped believing that I could write.”
Middle School Novelists
Richard Hamel is a Madison School teacher who sponsors a writing program for middle school students. Students across the district are writing novels through the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) website (They wrote drafts last November, then revised through subsequent months). They will have a culminating workshop at the public library downtown in April to celebrate their accomplishment and to connect them to local writers. They are looking for writing volunteers for the workshop.
Are you interested? Contact me to get Richard’s contact info.
Advice on Character Development
By Maria Murnane
For the past year or so I’ve been working on a new novel, and this one has caused me a lot of angst–and stress. I realize now that the main reason I’ve had so many problems is that I didn’t spend enough time thinking about the protagonist before I started writing. I figured (hoped) she would evolve into a believable, empathetic character as I wrote, but she never really did. The result was a first draft with a heroine who seemed…not real. The early feedback I got from trusted friends varied from “I don’t know who she is” to “I don’t really like her.”
Ouch. Hard to hear, but so very necessary. And you know what? My friends were absolutely right. I pride myself on creating believable heroines my readers can root for, but this time I fell short because I was too eager to jump into the process of writing and skipped over the time-intensive planning stage. I’ve never been much of a planner, and while I think for some stories it’s fine to start with an interesting situation or scenario and see where the wind takes you, “winging it” with a protagonist doesn’t always work. It certainly didn’t for me this time around. Characters can undoubtedly evolve as you go, but for the main one you have to start with a foundation.
Read the entire post here Advice on Character Development
Who’s up next . . .
February 23: ?
March 1: Lisa McDougal (chapter 48, Tebow Family Secret), Pat Edwards (poems), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Eva Mays (chapter 2, Dhuoda), Hannah Marshall (poem), Randy Slagel (short story, part 2 rewrite, “Watered-Down Witch”), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 27-30, Killing Ham).
March 8: ?
March 15: Lisa McDougal (chapter 49, Tebow Family Secret), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Hannah Marshall (poem), Kashmira Sheth (???), Judith McNeil (???), and Millie Mader (???).
Fifth Tuesday coming . . .
Wow, our last Fifth Tuesday was way, way back on September 29. So our two groups are more than ready to gather together for a social event, for another Fifth Tuesday. And this one will be on March 29. First-and-third group will host. So here are the critical details . . .
Place: Ella’s Deli, 2902 East Washington Avenue. This will be an order-off-the menu event. If you’d like to see what Ella serves, call up the deli’s website and you will find the menu there.
Writing challenge: Write a story, essay, or poem using this as your writing prompt: “I’m a curious person. No, I’m a nosy person. No, I’m a snoop, and it’s finally gotten me into trouble.”
Do not, repeat, do not use the prompt as the first sentences of your mini-masterpiece.
Max length: 500 words.
Jerry Peterson will assemble the stories, essays, and poems into a package, so he needs your piece on or before March 24.
TWS alum published . . .
The Library Journal’s reviewer calls Pat’s story of a murder on a spaceship “the ultimate locked-room mystery” and says further that Pat “has a lot of fun dragging his detective all over the ship as he investigates who killed Laraby.” Laraby is a lab tech on the ship.
Book 2, Trident’s Forge, comes out in April.
Angry Robot is Pat’s publisher. Check out his first book and Pat at his website, http://www.patrickstomlinson.com
Oh, yes, Pat will be with us at Fifth Tuesday to talk about his experiences getting published.