Tuesdays with Story
March 24, 2017
What you missed if you weren’t with us
For the third meeting in a row, we had 14 writers crowded around the tables at B&N Westside to critique the work seven of their fellows. Two of our 14 were guests, Lisa Jisa and Larry Sommers. Here’s some of the comments of your colleagues:
Jen Wilcher (chapter 3 rewrite, Hogoshiro Chronicles) . . .The chapter was well received. Several expressed that they found the drills easy to follow and visualize. Some asked to see a physical calming: a routine that carried her from agitated to calm and in control. A suggestion was made to allow her to exit without a reverse repetition of returning to civilian attire.
Pat Edwards (mentor and threshold chapters, What to Pack) . . . The group reviewed two of Pat’s chapters: Crossing the Threshold and Meet the Mentor. There was some confusion on the guardian’s listed — whether they were at the threshold or over it. A few of the group did the exercises in the chapters and gave good feedback on them. Insightful notes from the group!
Amber Boudreau (chapter 14-15, The Dragoneer) . . .Amber sent out Chapter’s 14 and 15 of The Dragoneer to the group. Pat thought Moira argued with her mother in a very mature manner and wondered if that was intentional or not. Jerry read through the argument and found it fit with what his idea of the characters are like. Tracey suggested cutting a large bit of rehashed story from the beginning of Chapter 14 (which Amber did). Eva noted that the phrase, “on the fritz,” was used twice, once in each chapter, to refer to a phone not working but she found it a bit dated and wondered if there was a more current way to say it. Tracey was kind enough to text her daughter and informed the group she would probably just say it was broke.
Eva Mays (chapter 1, Nexus of Sylvie) . . .The group discussed the age of the protagonist, and what age of reader the book should be geared towards. Pat mentioned that “Nexus” might be to obscure to use in the title of something written for 10-12 year-olds. Cindi liked the scene where Sylvie is stealing money from her passed-out father. Millie suggested that the “cheap picture frame” could be changed to “dime-store frame”. Thank you for all your notes!
Cindi Dyke (chapter 9, part 2 rewrite, North Road) . . . Pat and Jerry thought that this scene still needs to be tightened up. John pointed out where passive sentences are effective but suggested limiting the volume of them would make them more effective. Tracy felt the inner musings of the main character were quite powerful and conveyed Kath’s fear and hopelessness well.
John Schneller (chapter 10, Final Stronghold) . . . Final Stronghold chapter 10 encouraged most readers as they find Jacob’s storyline their favorite in this book. A lack of physical conflict was noted. I learned a pony can be dappled but not dapple gray. And, motherhood has taught Eva that nursemaids are not slow!
Jerry Peterson (James Early short story, part 1, no title) . . . Veterinarian John Schneller suggested a series of tweaks to the calf-birthing sequence to make it procedurally correct. Eva Mays wondered where Manhattan was in a horse story. The only Manhattan she knows of is in New York. Several others shared the same concern. Since chocolate can be poisonous to horses, Tracey Gemmell pleaded that Early give his horse an oatmeal raisin cookie rather than a chocolate chip cookie.
Who’s up next…
April 4: Millie Mader (???), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Judith McNeil (short story, part 3, “Options”), Jack Freiburger (???), Hannah Marshall (poems, “Second Daughter” and “Wintering”), Mike Austin (???), and Tracey Gemmell (“Quieter Than Silence” chapter, Losing It).
April 20: Rebecca Rettenmund (???), Pat Edwards (chapter, What to Pack), Amber Boudreau (chapter 14, The Dragoneer), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), Eva Mays (chapter), John Stephens (chapters 2), and John Schneller (chapter 10, Final Stronghold)
When to post!
Good question. Help your mates out and post your chapter, short story, poem/poems, or essay for critiquing two weeks ahead of our meeting date. That’s the best.
Second best, a week before the meeting.
The absolute latest, Sunday 11:59 a.m. before our Tuesday evening meeting.
Now if you’re not on the schedule for that meeting date, but would like to get in, check our Yahoo group on Sunday. If someone scheduled hasn’t posted by noon, that slot’s open. Post your piece and you’ve got the slot.
If you don’t remember who’s on the schedule, call up the most recent issue of Writers Mail and check the “Who’s up” listing.
There’s another way to know. We now are scheduling seven writers for critiques on a Tuesday evening. If there are only six postings by Sunday noon before a meeting, a slot’s open. Go for it.
Our April editor
John Schneller completes his March editorship with this issue. Next month, Nora O’Reilly steps into the job. Send her your good stuff for Writers Mail.
Check it out
Writer Jimmy Breslin died Sunday, a longtime columnist and winner in 1986 of a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He also wrote 21 books, including the novel, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight; a biography of Damon Runyon; the nonfiction book, The Church That Forgot Christ; and a memoir, I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me.
Read New York Times reporter Dan Barry’s last story on Breslin. It’s insightful, extensive, and worth every word. Here’s the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/business/media/jimmy-breslin-dead-ny-columnist-author.html?_r=0
Just a thought from your March editor:
I listened to a Jerry Jenkins workshop on ‘description in story’ recently. He made the point to avoid describing the scene. Instead, include description in drama and dialogue. Find alternatives to stating the obvious and mundane. Instead of “It was hot”, “He pulled his shirt free from his sticky body.” “It was cold” replaced by “she hunched her shoulders against the wind.”
Here would be a suggestion for a future writers challenge. Instead of writing a 300 word piece, could we each come up with 6 alternatives to “It was hot,” “It was cold,” She was nervous,” “He became angry,” Or the like? If they are good enough we could auction them off!
Thanks for all the submissions! Johna