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Writer’s Mail

“When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaningless of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Six writers—Amber, Bob, Amit, Suzanne, Larry, and Mike–gathered together Tuesday evening. Mike dawdled in late, having lost track of time at some frivolous thing, I’m sure.

Submission Comment Summaries

Amber Boudreau, Second Act, Chapters 36-37 – Amber read from the beginning of chapter 36 of Second Act. Larry suggested she revisit the end of the chapter and the action happening in one location versus what’s being overheard from elsewhere. Amit was left wondering who’s the leader amongst a group of characters but didn’t let it distract him from the story. Bob liked the dialogue and thought it did a good job of blending humor with heavier stuff, like blood and gore.


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Tuesdays With Story

February 21, 2023

First Word…

Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound.

—E. B. White, author, essayist

Tuesday evening…

Eight TWS writers met via Google Meet to discuss works-in-progress. Here is a summary of what was said:

—Kashmira Sheth (Raj’s Coat Story)… Kashmira submitted a picture book manuscript. Most of the comments were positive. Jack and Larry suggested some tweaking about the food and also the ending. Bob liked the part with pockets and said it was magical! Amit suggested changing, “buttons running up and down,” to “buttons flying up and down.” Judy suggested adding smell, texture etc. in certain parts of the story.  Amber enjoyed the story. Thank you!


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Tuesdays With Story

February 7,, 2023

First Word…

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

—Jane Kenyon, from A Hundred White Daffodils

Tuesday evening…

Eight TWS writer attended the meeting via Google Meet, five of which read from their works in progress. Here is a summary of what was said:

—Amber Boudreau…Amber read from chapter 25 of her urban fantasy Second Act. Most seemed to agree both chapters moved the story along well, but the beginning of chapter 25 could use some work in grounding the reader in the main character’s point of view. Unbeknownst to Amber, some people didn’t receive the chapters, so there weren’t a ton of comments. Therefore, it was amazing and people can’t wait to read more.

John Freiburger…Started the revised, amended continued etc. Jesus Walked into the Ihop.

The brief email sent to explain the concept was recommended as a forward to separate a consideration of the Christian message from Iconoclasm. It seems the work is now willingly accepted as speculative Christology.

The voice is light, colloquial, and at times humorous in the first two chapters, which will require effort to continue. If you too found yourself to be 2000 years old, resurrected from the dead and somewhat lost in ever-changing cultures and “Christian” religions that are wildly at odds with each other, you might also have a skeptical voice and a somewhat perplexed and humorous approach to the world.

—Judy Cummings A Real Hero, Chapters 12-13

There was some discussion over whether the plot was developing too quickly. A suggestion was made to lengthen the timeline in order for Steve’s dad to develop more trust in Blue-Eyes. The group highlighted some places where readers’ believability was stretched. Thanks for the feedback. 

Amit TrivediIf Not For The Partition, Chapters 4, 5

Write in depth the  ‘monkey’ and ‘train’  scenes. Cut the too childish love scenes. The flashback was too long. Also, it was hard to figure out when it was over. Since the book is in present tense, it was suggested to consider using past tense for flashbacks. Thanks, Amit.

Bob KralappPaper Wasps, a short story.

Reaction to the story was mixed. Some wanted more from the ending, while others felt that it was satisfying. Scenes presented in the first part were somewhat muddy and needed to be crisper. Many good buildups were created (the bully girl, the drugstore conversation, the damp garbage bag that didn’t rip open, etc.), but were left undeveloped. Thanks to all for the excellent comments.

Larry F. SommersUntitled WWII novel, first two chapters.

In this version the older brother, Jag, is more relatable as a brother. He still needs more interiority, more sense of his remorse over Hal’s injury. The early morning scene placed in front of the coal mine scene helps fill out the context, but the opening dream sequence either needs to be cut entirely (John) or greatly enhanced (Jack). Thanks, everybody. Your feedback has been very helpful.

February 21, here’s who’s on deck…

John Schneller – Precious Daughter

Paul Wagner – ?

Judy Cummings – A Real Hero

Amit Trivedi – If Not For the Partition

Jack Freiburger – ?

Amber Boudreau – Second Act

Bob Kralapp takes on Writer’s Mail for the month of February.


The standard opinion is to steer clear of cliches. (Avoid them like the …) Which is

reasonably good advice on its face. And then there is the advice to approach them with caution. Know what you’re dealing with. Also good advice. Being informed. First, there is the cliched phrase. And then there is the cliched situation. Beginning a story with a dream being one of the latter. Reasons for avoiding it come down to it being a ‘bait and switch’ tactic. That is: the reader is presented with a situation that has little or nothing to do with the story that follows. The one novel I know of that starts with a dream is Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven. And that opening isn’t even a dream, but a description of the dreamer awakening. Which is to say, a reclaiming of the cliche, a reimagining of what was an exhausted convention. Whether that sort of opening can ever be used again is open to debate. Probably not. But it goes to the point that an informed writer can breathe life into the deadest of dead clichés.

Last Word…

“I approach the work as though, in truth, I’m nothing and the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true. Writing has saved my life.”

—Louise Erdrich

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Tuesdays with Story
January 17, 2023

The first word . . .

“The pipeline between ‘Oh, my god, I wrote this!’ and ‘Oh, my god, I wrote this?’ is a short one.” AD Wills

Tuesday Evening . . .

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chapter 10-11)

Amit and Kashmira suggested I tighten the internal monologue in Chapter 11 and focus on Steve’s action and physical responses. Jack suggested layering more period details, i.e. radio programs, to make the story more cinematic. For the most part, group members are entertained by the story and find Steve’s clumsy patriotism compelling. Thanks for the feedback, everyone. 

Amber Boudreau (Second Act, Chapter 24)

Amber read from the beginning of Chapter 24 of Second Act her urban fantasy centered around a werewolf stage actor in Los Angeles. Amit thought the chapters did a good job of solving one mystery before introducing another. Judy liked the romantic interlude but had questions about the significance of the scarf in Helen’s dressing room. Kashmira wondered if the main character would worry about his shifter friend being able to smell what had been going on behind closed doors or show relief when they couldn’t.

Kashmira Sheth (I am From Here Too)

Kashmira submitted the next set of pages of I am From Here, Too. Overall, everyone thought these poems had more details that brought the characters alive. Jack suggested using some things to extend the metaphor. In certain scenes. Judy wanted more action and less internal thought from Anoop. Amit wondered if the story should open with Jacob and Anoop. Thank you all for your feedback. 

Amit Trivedi (If Not for the Partition, Chapter 3) Need to pay attention to tense as past and present tense were mixed up. More interaction with Kedar and the little boy (Mimic the kindness shown by the elder couple to Kedar.) Significance of the policeman noticing the moccasin on Kedar’s feet is not very clear-Need to rework that. Short sentences for the tragic scene will be more effective. Look at starting chapter 3 at the break of page 3 or close to that point.

Suzanne Gillingham (Kaleidoscope, Chapter 5)

Kashmira thought I should focus more on the immediate surroundings, especially the smells and sounds of Lake Monona rather than the ocean in San Francisco. Amber thought I should add Brandon’s synesthesia into his thought process over leaving Madison and Carey. Jack and Judy both thought the description of the porch was out of place or should at least be short, chopped sentences given how upset Brandon was. Almost everyone thought the resolution at the end of the chapter came too soon—to be realistic, a longer build up is needed. Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

Who’s up next . . . 

Jack Freiburger

Amber Boudreau

Amit Trivedi

Judy Cummings

Kashmira Sheth

Bob Kralopp

For the good of the order . . .

Our Fifth Tuesday gathering will be held Jan. 31 at Jack’s place, Hickory Knoll Farm in Fitchburg. It will be a potluck. Jack will inform us what he’s providing and what we need to bring ourselves. 

The writing prompt is “The best prank ever.” Any form or format, 500 words max. Send to Larry by the end of Monday, January 30. 

First Tuesday will be on Feb. 7th.

The last word . . .

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” Anais Nin

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Tuesdays with Story
January 3, 2023

The first word . . .

“The profession of book-writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”

John Steinbeck

Tuesday Evening . . .

Mike Austin (The Reed Gang, Chapter 1)

Chapter 1 of The Reed Gang (working title) was well received. I need to change some names. Red and Ned just doesn’t work. And I need to introduce the characters more, with descriptions. We had some discussion about the drunk girl, and whether she should be older. But having her younger has more of an impact. Nick’s involvement with the other four needs to be explained, and I’m thinking that I’ll move that introduction so it’s before this chapter. Thanks!

Kashmira Sheth (I Am From Here Too, first 15 pages)

Kashmira submitted the first fifteen pages of her novel in verse, I am From Here Too. The main thing discussed was how to weave a conflict or a hint of it earlier. The writing worked well for the most part. There was also a discussion about writing about Sikh faith and what kind of research was needed. 

Larry F. Sommers (Untitled, Chapters 1 and 2)

Larry F. Sommers, Untitled WWII novel, Chs. 1 and 2:  The main point all agreed on was that Jag, and to some extent, Hal as well, are not likable characters. Too cold and self-involved. More human facets of their inner lives need to be disclosed. It was suggested that the first paragraph, introducing Hal, be omitted to begin with the second graf on the coal-scooping action. John pointed out that tidying up the coal dust partway through the job didn’t make sense, and he suggested that Hal and Jag hold an active productivity competition. Great feedback, everybody, thanks.

Amit Trivedi (If Not for the Partition, Chapters 1 and 2)

Overall the revised chapters were received very well. A few changes were suggested regarding reducing the number of characters in the first chapter, changing the order of paragraphs and giving more details about the bazaar (scent and sounds) and a bit more explanation of the geo-political background.

Thanks all!

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chapters 8 and 9)

The group gave overall positive feedback on these chapters, specifically the protagonist’s struggle between duty and young romance, the voice, and the emotional pull whenever the protagonist’s missing brother is mentioned. Larry suggested changing the German so it’s clear to the reader that the protagonist isn’t fluent in the language. Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

Who’s up next . . . 

Jack Freiburger

Amber Boudreau

Amit Trivedi

Judy Cummings

Kashmira Sheth

Suzanne Gillingham

For the good of the order . . .

Our Fifth Tuesday gathering will be held Jan. 31 at Jack’s place, Hickory Knoll Farm. It will be potluck. Jack will inform us what he’s providing and what we need to bring ourselves. 

The writing prompt is “The best prank ever.” Any form or format, 500 words max. Send to Larry by the end of Monday, January 30. 

The last word . . .

“Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince.” 

Richard Rodriguez

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Writer’s Mail

November 15, 2022

The first word . . .

Trigger the imagination. A story never belongs solely to you the author

Tuesday evening with Zoomers and Sitters:

TWS writers offered their input on four submissions from their colleagues.

—Kashmira Sheth Kashmira submitted two chapters of Nina Soni, Miserable Traveler. The biggest takeaway was to have a positive title and show more excitement about going to India. Also need some more tension in the story.  

— Larry Sommers “Smile”- Although the factory setting, the violent action, and the tension between the two main characters are interesting, most readers felt that Johnny’s detached state of mind in the immediate aftermath of the slashing was unrealistic and that there needs to be a deeper and more meaningful resolution of the clash.  Thanks, everybody!

— John Schneller A series of scenes were submitted. Most felt the redirection of Nia into an active role offers better potential for her storyline. (You can only do so much when locked up.) Dialogue needs were identified.

— Amber Boudreau

Amber read from the beginning of Chapter 20 of Second Act. Amit didn’t understand the humor at the end of chapter 19 and thought there was a bit too much introspection on the part of the main character. Meanwhile, Kashmira wanted to know about what the main character was thinking at the end of chapter 20. Kashmira and a few others also had to ask if a certain character had died because the way one particular line was written made it sound like they were still alive. 

Who’s up next . . . 

Those wishing to present material on December 6 are:

Judy Cummings
Suzanne Gillingham
Jaime Nelson Noven
Mike Austin
Amit Trivedi
Kashmira Sheth
Amber Boudreau

Every scene in your novel should advance your story or reveal character. Avoid:

  • Throat-clearing—a literary term for a page or two of scene-setting and background before a story or chapter finally really begins. Get on with it.
  • Too much stage direction. Don’t spoon feed the reader every action of every character in every scene. Stick with the heart of the scene and let the reader enjoy deducing the rest.
  • Cliches—this doesn’t apply to just words and phrases but also to clichéd situations: starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.
  • Telling what’s not happening—like “He didn’t respond,” “She didn’t say anything,” or “The crowded room never got quiet.” If you don’t say these things happened, the reader will assume they didn’t.

The last word . . .

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

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Tuesdays with Story

November 1. 2022

The first word . . .

Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside books. This might require joining the marines, or working on an oil rig or a hashslinger at a truck stop in Kentucky. Know what things smell like out there. If everything you write smells like a library, then your prospective audience will be limited to those who like the smell of libraries. From Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson

To zoom or not to zoom,

Four TWS writers gathered around the table. Others gathered around their screens from the east coast to the Mississippi. Here is some of what was said:

— Larry Sommers “Walt’s Mirror” Jack suggested drawing a parallel between the car mirror Walt broke and the mirrors that were originally installed on the first generation of F-4 fighters, to draw past and present together. John suggested moving material from the third paragraph up to the top of the story. Everyone agreed it was a very incomplete work.  Thanks, everybody.

  • Jamie Nelson Noven  New York After All Chapter 14
  • In this chapter, Jack thought it moved well, but he’d like more description of the place and clothing so that it feels more immersive. We talked about the strangeness of the humor checklist and whether there really is comedy going on at this club. Kashmira wondered what would happen if the clothing was reversed, if people were more dressed up than Charlie expected. Larry thought the tense change worked well and that her mental state reflects well her feeling of aging. We also talked about highlighting her choice of auditorium more. Thanks, everyone!

— Amber Boudreau  Second Act Chapters 17, 18 Amber read from the beginning of chapter 18 of her urban fantasy sequel Second Act, but all the trouble came in chapter 17. Jack wanted a bit more out of the fight scene. Not just description but more noise, especially if our protagonist is having a hard time seeing. Larry and John both recommended edits. Jamie wanted the alpha, Richard, to have another reason for sending our protagonist into harm’s way other than bragging rights. Kashmira wanted a better reason why as well.

  • Kashmira Sheth  Nina Soni, Miserable Traveler Chapter 1
  • Kashmira submitted the first two chapters of Nina Soni, Miserable Traveler. John wanted a more active beginning.  Jack wanted a faster pace and would like to see a Diwali scene later in the story. Larry thought the rain scene in the beginning was a little confusing. Jamie wanted Nina’s age mentioned right at the start of the story. Amber had a few small suggestions and Mike liked the story. Judy sent her comments saying that the plane scene was too long. Thank you all for your comments. 

Who’s up next . . . 

On November 15, here’s who will be presenting:

Kashmira Sheth

Paul Wagner

John Schneller

Amber Budreau

Openings available

Our editor . . .

John Schneller will edit our November issues of Writer’s Mail. He would appreciate your news. Email it to him and he’ll include it in the next issue.

Line Editing | written by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency
Today’s post is the second installment of definitions about different types of editing. If line editing, that means someone “fixing” the craft. Sometimes I receive submissions from authors who need more practice in craft. That’s okay! Even the most experienced authors can improve. However, once we’ve agreed to work together, you’ll know that I believe you have mastered craft and that your work is excellent enough to present to editors. I have listed below the most common areas for improvement I see from newer authors (and sometimes even in published books). I wrote the examples offered. None are either intentionally or unintentionally taken from any published or unpublished work: 1. Too many conversational tags. Maximillian sighed. “I wish you would think more of me before you go about making decisions that will affect our lives, Mimosa,” he said. Mimosa glared at Maximillian. “I will do what I want to do when I want to,” she shot back. Maximillian took a swig of his drink before answering. “In that case, we are through,” he declared. 2. Conversational tags that are too detailed. Unneeded adverb: “If only you loved me as much as I love you,” Sebastian told Verona sadly. Sarcasm (or other speaker emotion) is noted when the reader should intuit the context: “Well, Roxanna, you did get up at five this morning; wash four loads of laundry; iron Dwight’s oxford-cloth shirts; go to spin class; cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner for six people; work on your novel; and teach school. I don’t understand why you’re tired,” Midge said sarcastically. 3. Conversational tags that aren’t doing the right job or doing the job right. “Give me the gun!” said Dorian. Try: “Give me the gun!” shouted Dorian. “Hand over the package or else!” said Axel. Try: “Hand over the package or else!” threatened Axel. “I don’t like you,” hissed Tawny. Instead, use hissing sounds with, “You slithering snake!” hissed Tawny. 4. Too much unnecessary description of places. When I started writing novels, an editor rightly suggested that I avoid too much travelogue. This tendency is tough to tame when a writer is excited about a recent trip. When writing a description, ask yourself how much the reader needs to know to feel the sense of place enough to believe the story. Accuracy is foremost. Be sure not to have wildflowers blooming at the wrong time of the year for the area, for example. 5. Asking the reader to invest too much emotion in a character who ultimately doesn’t matter to the story. If, as an author, you are giving too much time to a character, ask yourself why. Why has this character captured your imagination? Does the character need her own story? 6. Offer description as appropriate through logical characters. From a detective: The redhead with brown roots and freckles looked innocent enough, but he placed her on his mental list of suspects. From a love interest: Her long, auburn hair shone in the sunlight. Adorable freckles sprinkled her face as a testimony to long summer days spent on the lake. Can you think of other ways to improve your craft?

The last word . . .

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow.”

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Tuesdays with Story

The first word . . .

From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Tuesday evening. . .

Seven TWS writers attended October 4 meeting.  

Suzanne Gillingham (Kaleidoscope, Chs. 1-2) The characters were interesting and for the most part likable. The first chapters had too much telling and not enough showing with too much info dumping though there were areas that needed more explanation, for example, souls vs emotions. Also needed was a conflict set-up. 

Bob Kralapp (Logical Realities of World)
(Logical Realities of the World, short story) The major observation was that the story felt unfinished, and left the reader with far too many unanswered questions. Judy suggested that the opening paragraph needed to be broken into shorter paragraphs for ease of reading. Amber commented on the tension generated in the concluding scene. Thanks one and all for the excellent comments.

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, Chs 26-27) Over all the comments were positive. John had suggestion to change the last sentence and also take out one trivial sentence. Judy pointed out to one verb that needed to be changed. Judy also asked about theme of the book. Amber said the story was coming of age. Larry suggested defining the word “swaraj” (self-rule) earlier in the story. We also talked about “theme” in general. Bob doesn’t start with a theme, Larry does. I have quotes about theme in this newsletter. Thank you.

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chs. 3-5) In general, everyone liked the character’s voice and felt the plot was moving along well. Larry suggested putting the protagonist’s name and age earlier in the manuscript, along with correcting the use of military salutations.  Amber pointed out some confusion with unclear dialogue tags and John recommended tightening up the language in a few places.  Thanks for the feedback.

Larry F. Sommers ) Lost in the Woods) Larry F. Sommers, “Lost in the Woods”:  Everybody liked the general tone. A couple of “cute” bits in dialog could have been left out. Judy refused to believe that in eight years of marriage Genie had learned nothing of Gus’s personal history. There were some thoughts that the old man, Carl, may have reached out to Gus by letters or by sending woodcarvings.  Otherwise, it’s hard to see Gus’s motivation for re-establishing contact. Thanks for lots of constructive thoughts, everybody.

Presenter for our next meeting on October 18:

Amber Boudreau

Kashmira Sheth

Judy Cummings

Suzanne Gillingham

Please note that we still have two spots open.

The last word . . .On themes from the writing master class.

  1. 1. Put your characters in conflict with one another. Most themes center on controversial ideas that are a source of conflict for human beings. By putting your characters in conflict, you’ll create more opportunities for actions, choices, and conversations that enable them, and your readers, to tackle your theme head on.
  2. 2. Reinforce your theme with motifs. A motif is a recurring image or detail that highlights the central ideas in a story through repetition. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, for example, Gatsby’s constant, lavish parties emphasize the theme of excess, materialism, and the pursuit of the American dream. Use motif to shed additional light on the theme and also give readers a reminder of its existence.
  3. 3. Represent your theme with symbols. Symbols are objects, characters, or settings that are used to represent something else (while, again, supporting the theme). A symbol may appear one time, or be present throughout the story. In The Great Gatsby, a green light symbolizes Gatsby’s dream for a better life with Daisy. In the beginning of the book, he reaches toward it; in the end, it seems unreachable.

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Tuesdays With Story

September 20, 2022

First Word…

“There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.

—Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960) American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker.

Last Tuesday Evening with Tuesdays With Story…

Six TWS writers met via Google Meet to discuss the works submitted. Here is a summary of what was said:

—Jaime Nelson Noven (New York After All, Chs. 7-9) …Bob enjoyed the cinematic opening. Kashmira suggested getting more insight into her thoughts as she approaches. John suggested adding tension during this scene and in the dorm room. Amber noted that the teaser “after everything” is a good opportunity for backstory, since it doesn’t work well as foreshadowing. Judy recommended showing us something in the scene that “doesn’t feel right” instead of just saying it. Kashmira also suggested extending the scene to see her hesitate over her big decision in the end of the chapter. Thanks, everyone!

Amber Boudreau (Second Act, Chs. 13-14) …Amber read from the beginning of chapter 13 of her novel Second Act. Overall people seemed to like the chapters, but they thought there could have been more tension especially when the three characters go out for a meal. As John pointed out, we trust two of the characters, so the way to introduce tension would be with the third. Jamie wondered if the sound of the packing peanuts would drive a werewolf with sensitive hearing to distraction. Judy wondered how in control of his wolf the main character is. Answer: very. John wondered if the packing peanuts might have been tampered with.

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chs. 1-2 and panels 1-8 of comic The Adventures of Captain Tharros) …In general, the group thought the protagonist’s voice was authentic and consistent with that of an 11-year-old boy. Amber questioned whether the name Captain Tharros might be too similar to the villain of the Marvel series. Jamie thought it wise to not feature the comic book too often between chapters, consistent with advice Judy received from an editor recently. Kashmira suggested further research on whether or not it’s appropriate to give art suggestions in the comic book sections, as this is typically not done with other types of manuscripts. Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, Chs. 24-25) …Kashmira submitted chapter 24-25 of JTS. Jaime felt that there was urgency in these chapters. Judy felt that chapter 24 had too much information in the beginning that readers might skim over. John suggested using metaphor for the death of 10 million people. Bob pointed out that characters have grown. Amber liked the present tense and wondered if Mayur and Jasubhai would return. 

Here’s who’s up on October 4…

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chs. 3,4 and panels of comic The Adventures of Captain Tharros)

Suzanne Gillingham (Kaleidoscope)

Bob Kralapp (Logical Realities of the World, short story)

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, Chs. 24-26)

Our Editor for October…

Kashmira Sheth takes on Writer’s Mail for the next two issues. She is always on the lookout for good things to include, so if you have something you want her to include, do email it to her.

In Other News… 

Kashmira’s fifth book in the Nina Soni series will come out on October 18th, 2022. Here is the first review from Kirkus:

Nina, who enjoys making lists and sometimes has trouble focusing, is an earnest protagonist with classic worries about sometimes-intricate levels of friendship. Snow good! (Kirkus Review)

She also did a podcast with Reading With Your Kids.

The link is: https://traffic.libsyn.com/readingwithyourkids/Kashmira_Sheth.mp3

Last Word…

Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.

Barry Lopez (1945-2020) American author, essayist and nature writer.

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Tuesdays With Story

September 6, 2022

First Word…

“The important thing is not to offer any specific hope of betterment but, by offering an imagined but persuasive alternate reality, to dislodge the mind, and so the reader’s mind from the lazy, timorous habit of thinking that the way we live now is the only way we can live. – Ursula Le Guin, Paris Review, Art of Fiction, No 221

Tuesday evening…

Jack Frieburger (Three poems) Rende Moi:  Fluff at this point, but may eventually become a poem.

Je Suis Charlie:  Some phrasing was appreciated. Larry saw moral equivalence, which was not intended. I suggest Baader was correct in that there are no innocents, but the romance and high principle of terrorism is not what the person in the street feels. But there is the suspicion of those not of the same race, class, etc., that pervades the west.

Would that we could be Innocents.

Barbara Salisbury is either coming along or as far as I can take it. Previous readers saw an improvement.

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, Chs. 21-23) Kashmira submitted chapters 21-23 of JTS. There were some questions about how Dadima’s death would make Veena think of certain issues like fighting for freedom as well as British rule. There are few things that need rearranging. Also comment about expanding one critical scene to make it stand out more. One phrase was overused. Thanks everyone for your input. 

Bob Kralapp (Two poems) General response to Aria centered on its being warm and comforting, creating a feeling of peace. Larry liked the simile used in depicting the destitute man in Holborn Station. A few readers had questions about the choice of words used to characterize the narrators’ reaction to the man. Kashmira noted the haunting nature of the poem. Thanks for all comments.

Amber Boudreau (Second Act, Chs. 10-12) Amber read from the beginning of Chapter 12, the last of three chapters she sent to the group. (Apparently, we should only send 15 pages or so. Amber hastily makes a mental note). Everyone seemed to agree that chapters 11 and 12 were where things really picked up and started to move along. Larry suggested compressing Chapter 10 and saying the same thing, but with 75% of the words. Jamie has found the tension taking a roller coaster ride in these first chapters, but seems prepared to buckle herself in for whatever’s next. Paul wondered if werewolves could get fleas. Larry found the time it takes for our main character to change into a wolf fascinating at a whopping twenty-two minutes. 

Larry F. Sommers (Brothers, Ch. 1 rewritten, Hal view – possible opening chapter of a WWII novel) Jack and others thought the previous version, written from Jag’s viewpoint, was more robust and straightforward. Suzanne and others liked the Hal viewpoint. Point for the Hal viewpoint: Introduces the character from an internal viewpoint. Point for the Jag viewpoint: Hal will disappear for a while; better to start with a character we can follow for a few chapters and then go back to Hal.  Thanks, everybody.

Who’s up Next?

John Schneller (Precious Daughter, unnumbered chapter)

Jaime Nelson Noven (New York After All, chapters 7-9)

Judy Cummings (???)

Amber Boudreau (Second Act, chapters 13,14)

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, chapters 24-26)

New Members to TWS…

An invitation went out, courtesy of Jaime Nelson Noven, for anyone interested in joining TWS. Judy Cummings, Gregory Renz, Suzanne Gillingham, Mike Kern and Cheryl Vickroy answered the call. Welcome!

Last Word…

The challenge is to write about real things magically.” – Raymond Chandler

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