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Tuesdays with Story

Meeting notes from Tuesday (of course), December 7

“Collaborative workshops and writers’ peer groups hadn’t been invented when I was young. They’re a wonderful invention. They put the writer into a community of people all working at the same art, the kind of group musicians and painters and dancers have always had.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew

Five writers presented their work at Tuesdays meeting. Here are some of the comments they received.

John Schneller

Precious Daughter

Most found the chapter engaging. Amit appreciated the change in tension when storylines jump from Nia to Kotel. Kashmira thought the dialogue should be given prior to the hawk catching the breeze and exiting. Larry noticed that I like to have minds ‘bounce’ a little too often. Thanks for reading.

Bob Kralapp

“Don’t Take It Personally”

Mike wanted to know if there was anything Kenny and the narrator respected about the coach that would make them feel his betrayal in betting on the game. Or if he was just another authority figure. Amber felt that the story read a lot more streamlined than before. She and several others agreed there should be something more at the end that would bring it around and make it feel more finished.

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays With Story

November 16, 2021

A mistake for authors is defining their author platform as a list of people to market their next book on social media.

If you view your author platform as nothing more than transactional relationships, it will fail. If you view it primarily as sharing your heart and caring for a group of people, it will have far more value and possibly be responsive when you have a book. 

Dan Balow, Steve Laube Literary Agency

Here’s who presented Tuesday evening

Kashmira Sheth (chapters 1-2 rewrite, Nina Soni, Best Hostess) – Kashmira submitted two chapters of Nina Soni, Best Hostess. Most of the comments were positive. There were some questions about how to make the flow of a story better. This was a revised submission and overall the revision worked well. Everyone preferred the title Nina Soni, Best Hostess over Nina Soni, Perfect Hostess. 

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
November 2nd 2021

The first word . . .

Be polite. The editor you email today may be the CEO of  your publisher next year.

Here’s who presented this week

Larry Sommers (MemoirDebriefing) . . . My introductory chapter to a projected memoir, titled “Debriefing,” was generally well-received as a tentative start of something as yet indefinite. John felt the material between the initial aerial reconnaissance scenes and the final paragraph, looping back to the concept of debriefing, could be omitted. Jack felt the passage from Yeats’ “The Second Coming” may have been misplaced. Jack and Jerry suggested that the idea of having been born in a golden age could be expanded. Thanks everybody. Onward and upward.

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
February 16, 2021

The first word . . .

Whatever you’re writing today do it with the confidence of a four year old in a batman T-shirt. 

Tuesday’s With Parkas . . .

Some members of our group proved they are mere mortals this week, succumbing to illness or household calamities. Subzero weather outdoors, Covid lurking in nooks and crannies, the rest of us gathered via zoom. Here is some of what was said:

Kashmira Sheth   Kashmira will present her chapters next week as she got knocked down by her Covid vaccine booster. Fortunately she reported doing considerably better on Wednesday.

— Amit Trivedi (Poem: When I Think of You Now I Smile) . . . Poem received mixed reviews. Jack felt it did not make much sense whereas Larry felt it was simple but complex. John and Jerry mentioned a few words changes and suggested rewriting a sentence. 

Bob Kralap (Poem: Everbearing) . . . The poem “Everbearing” got a mixed reception. Jerry liked it, especially the line about a morning that hums with bees. Although Larry liked its rhythm and sensibility, he was uncertain, because of details relating to weather, whether it was set in early summer or late. Jack focused on line breaks, as well as the imagery used. 

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
February 2, 2021

The first word . . . Panegyric

Some of us don’t use the word blessed much anymore. Maybe too complicated, used by some, misused by others.

But I’ll use it anyway:  Tuesday with Story has been blessed to have Jerry Peterson as its leader/administrator/guru/guide/inspiration/add your own panegyric, for the last God knows how many years. 

Author of at least six novels and novellas and as many short story collections, and according to him, a suitcase full of early rejection letters, Jerry gives hope to all of us who envision invitations to book fairs once our successful book is published.  He’s been our under spoken friend, mentor, and guide.  Some of the success obtained by the published authors in the group, and those authors who have left for England or ceased attending due to age, must be attributed to Jerry.

The life of TWS has been usually friction free for the two decades or so that I have attended.  We offer each other critiques without criticism, stretch from our own literary venues into the strange worlds others are creating, to participate and email endless notes of advice and encouragement to one another.  That too is a reflection of our leader.

So define blessed:  VENERATED:  Not yet, he’s still too young.   HALLOWED: Close, but it would be an overstatement that Jerry would edit out.  OF ENJOYING HAPPINESS:  That’s a good one.   Despite our endless wrestling with words, the community Jerry has formed and fostered with TWS provides the joy of solidarity and mutual support.  We are a bit like the fraternal organizations that once dotted all Wisconsin towns, local clubs and organizations with some sort of general goal that brought together men and women of disparate employment, culture and age to form a supportive community, providing not only some attainment, but also the pleasure of each other’s company.

For the joy we need to thank Jerry, blessed as we have been by his efforts.

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Tuesdays with Story
January 5, 2021

The first word . . . 

“Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.”
― Salman Rushdie

 Six people submitted this week.

— Jaime Nelson Noven (chapter 5-6, Outsleep). . . A lot of important things to chew on this week, including illustrating what makes Rice tick, in particular why she hates outsleep and why she’s a standup. We looked at other low birthrate stories and stories where kids live their lives in the limelight and ask what makes my story unique. We wondered what the media’s and her parents’ expectations were for her, how she would have subverted them, and how that would have affected her life. I’ll be working hard at connecting all these dots! Thank you.

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
September 18, 2020

The first word . . .

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

And they gathered once more . . .

Seven hopped on Zoom, Tuesday evening, to critique the works of six of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

Jack Freiburger (2 poems) . . .

Jaime Nelson Noven (chapter 2, Outsleep) . . . Chapter 2, Outsleep: We looked at flashbacks and the reason for them, misleading descriptions of bubbly doctors who aren’t bubbly and cow eyed wives who aren’t disliked, and the stereotype of the fainting woman. Jack suggested a “regular stranger” alternative to the confusing “regular waiter” image. We corrected my hospital logistical errors and honed in on clunky descriptions. Very helpful stuff!

–Amber Boudreau (chapters 30-32, Second Nature) . . . Amber’s chapters we’re pretty well received anything there was some question of how fast a small cabin would burn and there should be some mention of the roof feeling in at some point. Jaime wanted to know why the main character didn’t tell another who ordered the wolves after then.

  • Also, I will be doing a virtual book launch at A Room if One’s Own on September 22nd at 6 pm for my debut YA fantasy, The Dragoneer. I’ll have a conversation with writer Tracey S. Phillips and we’ll talk about writing and answer questions. 
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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
August 25, 2019

The first word . . .

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”

― Philip Roth (1933-2018), novelist and short-story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Ten writers came together to critique the works of seven of their colleagues. If you weren’t with us, here’s what you missed:

— Amber Boudreau (chapters 10-12, Mavis) . . . Chapters 10 through 12 of Amber’s urban fantasy were well received. Tracey thought there might be a few too many stage directions, giving the manuscript an over-choreographed feel. Also, too many eyebrows doing things.However, a lot happened in these chapters and she liked them. Larry questioned if the audience would know what old-fashioned wringer rollers would look like. (This isn’t for YA, so I hope they do, otherwise, they can look it up.) John enjoyed it and looked forward to reading the third chapter he skipped.

— Jack Freiburger (chapters 56-57, A Walk upon the Water) . . . Some useful advice, dropped an entire paragraph, moved lines around on a rowing description, otherwise it seemed to work but for a few word changes and edits. Consensus is to use Claire not Clare for our heroine. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
May 4, 2018

NO ICE OR SNOW! So we came out …

Ten TWS writers, plus new member, Meg Matenaer, struggled to find tables, chairs and space Tuesday night. Undaunted, they buckled down to consider the works of six of their colleagues. First item on the agenda, wishing Jerry and Larry speedy recoveries. You were missed. Also missed, Pat, who left for Arizona this week. Best wishes to her.

Millie Mader (poem, final draft, “A Broken Bridge”):

Bob Kralapp (Poem):

Jack Freiburger (chapters 4-5, A Walk Upon the Water):

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapter 1, rewrite):

John Schneller (chapter 21, Final Stronghold): Suggestions for the chapter included, minimize ellipses, work on clarity where Kotel is moving through hills and valleys, reminders of what garogs look like, and the continuing efforts to make clear when mindspeak vs thoughts are being used in communication.  Thanks.

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
September 22, 2017

 

Tuesday evening at B&N

B&N actually had a table for the nine writers who circled up to critique the works of our colleagues. Here are some summary notes of what was said:

  • Larry Sommers (prologue, untitled novel) . . . Jerry felt the initial scene with Maria in the parlor was a bit lifeless and too long, and the real interest did not pick up until the boathouse scene with Maria and Anders started. Pat suggested fewer speech tags; some can be simply eliminated and others replaced with action lines. Jack mentioned excessive length of some sentences and mentioned that he has a closet full of “ands” at home that he has removed from his own writings (I think he meant to imply that I should do the same, maybe replace some with full stops and new Caps.) Mike was not as bothered by the slow start in the parlor as others. He also mentioned a valuable resource book, Wisconsin My Home by Thurine Oleson, which I will surely read and mine for details. Thanks, everyone!
  • Paul Wagner (prologue rewrite, Rise of the Serpent) . . . Immensely helpful. Already putting some changes into my prologue and working into Chap One. Everyone was good and didn’t tell me too much o my face that it stunk(kidding)(mostly) I am about half-way getting thru all my “ands”, though i’m sure i’ll find a new home for them somewhere along the way. Also trying to make things a lil clearer and fix  some other mistakes that I don’t know how happened. All in all I was very happy with how it went
  • Mike Austin (chapters 19-20, Riding With the Reed Gang) I have few comments this time as I was very late submitting. Larry commented favorably on the writing style, comparing it to Patricia Highsmith. Millie was relieved (spoiler alert!) that the girls got away.
  • Jack Freiburger (poems, “Lucifer” and “”) . . .
  • Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapters 5-7 , untitled YA novel) . . . Overall comments were positive. Regarding memory scenes, Pat said that it’s fine to start in the past tense but once someone is on the ‘memory’ it can be in present tense. Larry thought that Kedar’s character as the poet is quite good, especially when Kedar is trying to remember MIr’s couplet. Pat had question regarding time line. Amber suggested putting dates so as to clarify timeline.

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