Tuesdays with Story
February 9, 2017
And we have a winner!
Writing contest judge Pat Tomlinson selected Eva Mays’ story, “The Ball at Mawley,” as the best of the best contest stories at Fifth Tuesday, last week. As a result, Eva gets a free critique of the first 50 pages of her novel, the critique provided by Pat. And she also gets the pot of entry fees, currently at $100, which she must spend taking Pat out to dinner at one of our finer restaurants. Over dinner, the two will discuss that critique.
Number two of the best of the best, said Pat, was John Schneller’s story, “The Cold Truth.”
“Writing a compelling story in 500 words is really difficult,” Pat told the group at Fifth Tuesday. “You can take one of two approaches, tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and end where there is a resolution or write a vignette. The two best [Eva’s and John’s stories] are examples of each.”
Pat also is high on humor in stories. “Every story had lines in them that made me laugh,” he said.
Planning ahead, our next Fifth Tuesday is May 30, our next writing contest will be in 2019.
Tuesday evening at ye olde bookshop
…. writers gathered around the magic circle at B&N Westside to critique the work seven of their fellows. Here’s some of what was said:
- Jen Wilcher (chapter 2, rewrite, Hogoshiro Chronicles) . . . Overall, people thought the re-write was better. Most liked that the conflict built this time around. One person still thought Hibiki was too angry, but another said that because the main character is confused, the reader can be too.
- Nora O’Reilly (chapter 6, part 2, Bill McCormick’s Bliss) . . . I loved the suggestions to make Bill’s inner dialogue a little more sloppy, incorporate post door-to-the-ear trauma into Father Frank’s last conversation with Bill, and perhaps use this as fuel to have the prior expose Bill’s past to the entire abbey. It might also be a good idea to split Ch. 6 into two different chapters. Thanks for all the feedback!
- Kashmira Sheth (chapters 1-4, Nina Soni, book 2) . . . Kashmira submitted Nina Soni chapter book. This is a second book in the series. John asked to take out some repetition and Pat asked about some word choices and suggested some alternate choices. Over all, the first four chapters received positive comments.
- John Stephens (chapter 1) . . .
The comments I received were generally favorable. Focus on viewpoint as it seemed to change. It was suggested that more action in the beginning might appeal to and draw in the reader. Grammar and punctuation needs more attention and there is room to whittle down the extraneous information.
- Jerry Peterson (short story, part 2, “The Mayor & The Guv”) . . . Jack Freiburger suggested Jerry find a more subtle way to establish that Kilmarnock is the most Scottish city in West Virginia than using a blunt statement. Pat Edwards felt a new conflict could be added, a ruckus over the playing of Oh Flower of Scotland as the Scottish national anthem because Scotland does not have a national anthem. Eva Mays and Jack agreed, Jack belting out the first bars of the Royal Stewart March that would anger a Campbell.
Who’s up next?
February 21: Pat Edwards (chapter), Amber Boudreau (chapter 12, part 2, The Dragoneer), Hannah Marshall (poems), Eva Mays (chapter 9, Dhuoda), John Schneller (chapter 8, Final Stronghold), Tracey Gemmell (chapters 10-13, Losing It), and Jack Freiburger (???).
March 7: Millie Mader (???), Jen Wilcher (chapter 3, Hogoshiro Chronicles), Nora O’Reilly (chapter 7, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Judith McNeil (short story, part 2, “Options”), Kashmira Sheth (???), Mike Austin (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 27, Killing Ham).
From robynpaterson.com: A Way to Build more Action into your Writing
Posted on February 18, 2013
Cartman walked into a room, and then shot Stan, and then walked out.
This is an “event”, it’s stuff happening without any dramatic element to keep the audience interested in what’s going on. Too many stories written by beginners are like this, and they lack both conflict and a dramatic core that will keep the audience interested.
In short bursts this can be fine (like a single scene), but if you want to keep your audience engaged it can be murder to your story.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park, and Team America) offer a simple solution to this problem- you should view a story as a series of cause and effect events, and reflect that in your plotting.
Replace “and then” with one of these three:
- And So (or Therefore)
See the Difference?
Old– Cartman walked into a room, and then shot Stan, and then walked out.
New– Cartman walked into a room to shoot Stan, but Stan was waiting for him, and so the two had a firefight and Stan was shot, but now the police were on their way, and so Cartman needed to escape, but the police arrived before Cartman could reach his car, therefore Cartman had to find a place to hide and ran into Rachel’s office, but…
We could go on from here as long as needed in a chain of cause and effect.
Read the full post at http://robynpaterson.com/?p=2900
We have editors!
For this month, it’s Eva Mays. For March, John Schneller . . . and April, Nora O’Reilly. Send them your good stuff.