Tuesdays with Story
March 10, 2017
Tuesday evening at ye olde bookseller’s
For the second meeting, we had 14 writers crowded around the tables at B&N Westside to critique the work seven of their fellows. Here’s some of their comments:
Jack Freiburger (3 poems, “Nostalgia I”, “Nostalgia II”, and “Half Moon Bay) . . . Jack did his best Ezra Pound imitation Tuesday night, but with out the Fascist salute or praise for Mussolini, with two Imagist poems and one Imagistic dreamscape. The poems were so simple and obvious that little criticism was offered, but jack did receive an anonymous email from one of the women in the group who offered to have a short affair with him as long as he memorialized it in similar Imagist poetic despair, once she ended it.
Nora O’Reilly (chapter 10, Bill McCormick’s Bliss) . . . So for my out of order Chapter 10 from Bill’s Bliss: Some brilliant suggestions include to loose the omniscient narrator’s comments on page two (sounds too Hollywood and is distracting,) and to alter Bill’s body language in the final scene involving Joel and a park bench. Also the vote is out on whether my flashback works or not. I will leave it for now with some smoothing of the rough edges. A fun twist involving the alleged reporter from the Isthmus, Ali, is actually from the Madison police department. . .thanks, John!
Judith McNeil (short story, part 2, “Options”) . . .
Kashmira Sheth (chapters 5-7, Nina Soni, book 2) . . . Kashmira had more chapters from her story Nina Soni 2. Overall, there was a positive feedback. Pat noticed some articles missing and wondered if it was the way Nina spoke or I missed them. (I missed them. I think the articles are hardest to figure out).
Mike Austin (short story, “Giant”) . . . Big Man (working title) received many helpful suggestions and comments. Kashmira suggested that there would be a constant media presence around the giant people. Judith thought it might work well as an illustrated story. And it might be a good idea if I settled on a title. Thanks everyone!
Tracey Gemmell (prologue rewrite and chapter 18, Losing It) . . . Tracey discussed the recent professional edit she received on Losing It. The editor found it a fun story with unique characters. She enjoyed Tracey’s witty writing voice and writing style. The ‘bones’ are good. However, it falls down in the story structure area. In order to be considered by an agent, or for traditional publishing, or any kind of commercial success, the plot structure needs reworking with a substantial cut in word count. Pat and Lester didn’t impress the editor as she found them irritating.
Tracey offered a new prologue to the group and a chapter containing Pat, Annie’s mother. Some considered the prologue helpful in establishing reasons to pull for Annie and Taylor. Jerry preferred the prologue be changed to a chapter. Group discussed ways to weave background information throughout the whole story. It was suggested that the Great Train Robbery component be given a more central roll early on to make the train references clearer, maybe newspaper headlines added. Group also agreed Pat was unlikeable and needs humanizing. The title of the book must now be changed as a new TV comedy series has just been released with the same name. Many thanks for all the wonderful suggestions.
Jerry Peterson (short story, “The Fish Goes Fishing”) . . . Pat Edwards was confused about Watkins’ wife, was she the woman climbing aboard the cabin cruiser, the woman referred to as ‘a woman’? Understanding hangs on the modifiers ‘a’ and ‘the’. If it’s ‘the woman’ climbing aboard, it’s Watkins’ wife, Pat said. Tracey Gemmell felt there had to be more distance from the lodge to where Watkins’ wife meets with her lover. “Beyond the spit of land is too close,” she said. “Make it an island.”
Who’s up next…
March 21: Rebecca Rettenmund (???), Pat Edwards (chapter, What to Pack), Amber Boudreau (chapter 14, The Dragoneer), Hannah Marshall (poems), Eva Mays (chapter 10, Dhuoda), John Stephens (chapters 2), and John Schneller (chapter 10, Final Stronghold).
April 4: Millie Mader (???), Jen Wilcher (chapter 3, Hogoshiro Chronicles), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Judith McNeil (short story, part 3, “Options”), Jack Freiburger (???), Mike Austin (???), and Jerry Peterson (short story, “Reunion”)
Some helpful resources from Tracey’s editor:
Michael Hauge for story structure, internal and external hero’s journey, transition from character identity to essence. Website: storymastery.com. Check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=besI6G4p4nw
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Renni Browne and Dave King
Writing the Breakout Novel (workbook). Donald Maass.
Eva and Tracey discussed possibly coordinating “Professional Development Days.” Members could get together to share resources they’ve found helpful. Would anyone be interested in this?
For this month, it’s John Schneller . . . and April, Nora O’Reilly. Send them your good stuff.
“The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.” Oswald Chambers