Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
September 10, 2017

Tuesday evening at B&N

A baker’s dozen crowded into the story circle to critique the works of our colleagues. Here’s some of what was said:

  • Jack Freiburger (short story, part 5, “Jesus Walked into the IHOP”) . . .
  • Tracey Gemmell (chapters 19-21, Casa Something) . . . The new title option of ‘More or Less Annie’ was well received. The group considered the chapters witty and fast paced. Jerry expressed some concern that it took twenty one chapters for Annie to finally break out. However, in the story structure format Tracey is following, the switch from identity to essence typically occurs around this point. Others in the group felt the pacing was appropriate both for Annie’s character and British cultural expectations. Many thanks to all for your comments.
  • Katy Sullivan (fan fiction, part 2, The Night We Met) . . . I read the second part of Birthday Night, and some thought it was a bit slow. Suggestions others had adding dialogue to the flash back, add the mood of the song to the story, and bring in the senses. Bringing the senses will help the reader feel like they are there. From this one mentioned that smell brings back memories and to add memories with that aspect.
  • John Schneller (chapter 15, Final Stronghold) . . .Discussion centered around the length of middle grade novels for unpublished authors (90,000 words is too long). The possibility of splitting the story . . . and the alternate approach of pursuing a graphic novel.
  • Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapters 1-2 , untitled novel) . . .Amit and Kashmira mentioned that they are making their 1947 historical fiction a young adult novel. Pat enjoyed the details that are woven in the story. As a true British, Tracey loved the cricket scene.
  • Jerry Peterson (short story, “A new car for Boone”) . . . Jack Freiburger picked off a half-dozen problems, the largest of which was Boone asking the cop whether he was the kind who, like Norman Rockwell’s cop, hides behind billboards, waiting for speeders. “If the cop hadn’t been in World War II, Boone could really set him off by challenging him because he was,” Jack said. Pat Edwards, John Schneller and others wanted Boone to coin a line for Cronkite, the line “And that’s the way it is,” Cronkite’s signature line that he used to sign off his CBS Evening News broadcasts years later.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
June 9, 2017

 

Tuesday evening at B&N

A baker’s dozen gathered around one teeny, tiny table to critique the work of seven of our colleagues. Here are the summaries:

  • Amber Boudreau (chapters 21-23, The Dragoneer) . . .
  • Millie Mader (short story, part 1, “Stone Cold Stripper”) . . .I received quite a lot of critiques on my opening chapter. Mostly to rearrange some of the paragraphs and to make it all more clear. I will start working on it this weekend. Thanks for taking on this job.  Millie
  • Eva Mays (chapter 12, Dhuoda) . . .The intrigue of the story starts to build up in Chapter 12. There were some character inconsistencies that need to be fixed. Kashmira pointed out that Dhuoda probably wouldn’t reveal what Gerberga told her with no provocation, and Mike thought she should be better at hiding her emotions at this point. Jerry mentioned that there wasn’t precicely “nothing” under the dead woman’s sleeve, and also that shears can’t actually clatter from someone’s hand. Thanks for the notes, everyone!
  • Mike Austin (chapters 10-13, Riding with the Reed Gang) . . .I received a lot of good input for my chapters of “Reed Gang.” There was some discussion of how disturbing Smitty is and whether that scene could be toned down a little or stay gritty. I also need to choose better and more varied names. There was much fun poked at the similarities, even making it sound like a Dr. Suess story. Thanks everyone for mocking me! But seriously, yes, I do need to work at that. The thing that was mentioned that I was seeing as the biggest problem was the length of time focused solely on Nick, and then suddenly bringing Ida back into the picture. I’m not sure just yet how I can remedy that, if it will be with some editing or with new chapters being written. Thank you all for reading and commenting. 

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
May 19, 2017

Tuesday evening

Fourteen gathered. One gentle soul was missing—and missed. There’ll always be a seat at the table for you, Judith.

Here’s a taste of the critiques:

Paul Wagner (prologue, part 1, Rise of the Serpent): No critique summary.

Pat Edwards (chapters 9-10, on purpose): “Pat received good feedback to look at how the myths and personal stories are used for examples in the chapters. The references need to be given enough explanation for those who are unfamiliar with the myth, but not bore those who are familiar. John proposed that one myth be used throughout so the reader can follow better. Most thought the stage synopsis at the start of each chapter was useful.”

Tracey Gemmell (chapters 8-10, Casa Something). “Chapters were considered well developed. Cindi identified some noteworthy turns of phrase. She questioned the notion Taylor hadn’t thought about her father in years, as she seemed to think about him often. Eva thought the work polished, but wished she liked Annie more. Larry said he would buy the book—if he weren’t reading it for free now. Jerry’s waiting for, more, belly, laughs, and, more, commas. The group diagnosed Tracey with a curtain disorder. Tracey will seek (window) treatment. She thanks you all for your concern.”

Amber Boudreau (chapters 18-20, The Dragoneer): “Amber had three chapters reviewed by the group as she attempts to finish up her rewrite by mid-summer. The note the Librarian leaves for Moira confused a lot of people. Some thought it referred to a combination of some sort, or directions, but it did not. The beginning of Chapter 20 went over well and people appeared to enjoy Moira’s discovery that her spell affected the forest. John thought two characters could be sparring while they talked at the beginning of Chapter 18 to give it some physicality.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
May 5, 2017

 

Tuesday evening at the old book shoppe

Fifteen gathered around a long, table set-up, so long that those on the ends had to shout to be heard by their opposites as we critiqued the work of seven of our colleagues. Here’s some of what was said:

  • Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 2, Hunting for Dad): No submission.
  • Millie Mader (poem, “Texas”): “I don’t have much to submit re my poem. Mainly I was corrected on not using capital letters where required, plus some punctuation.”
  • Nora O’Reilly (chapter 11, Bill; McCormick’s Bliss): “It was suggested that I add more internal dialogue for Bill about his conflict between his ties as a monk with his growing attraction to Margo. We also discussed that I should enrich Bill’s inner dialogue throughout the first part of the novel to make it more appealing to readers. Finally, I need to reword the very last sentence with Margo asking where Bill was on the day of the Sterling Hall bombing. It sounds like an interrogation currently.”
  • (more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 22, 2017

Tuesday eve at B&N Westside

A dozen gathered around a table to critique the work six of their fellows. Here’s some of the comments of your colleagues:

  • Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 1, Hunting for Dad) . . .
  • Pat Edwards (chapters 7-8) . . . Pat submitted two more chapters of her non-fiction book about the hero’s journey.  Most reviewers wanted more detail in the myths and stories, and ways to tie those stories to the advice in the chapter.  John had a good idea for including some unconventional mentors like cancer – for what people learn from them.  Pat also asked for input as to what to call those who complete a hero’s journey, as she doesn’t want to use the word hero.
  • John Schneller (chapter 12, Final Stronghold) . . . Final Stronghold chapter 12 drew a few good suggestions. Mike thought a weasel should be able to eat like a weasel. The idea that “these are the rules of the valley” seem a bit shallow so I have had to think through this dynamic. Jerry and Pat didn’t like similarity of names. I begged off on a one time appearance but to no avail. Rebecca  felt the scene should be described in more detail, and lastly, I was reminded to replace as many speech tags with actions, as possible. Great suggestions, one and all!!
  • Amber Boudreau (chapters 16-17, The Dragoneer) . . .Amber read from the beginning of Chapter 17 of her YA Fantasy novel, The Dragoneer. Pat thought the shame Moira felt at one point in the story was too much and suggested a replacement, such as discomfort because shame is such a strong emotion. Katie requested Amber read a particular paragraph from the end of the chapter. Amber, humbled by the request, complied as she wasn’t sure about the paragraph, as other critiques suggested getting rid of it.
  • Jack Freiburger (short story, part 1, “Jesus Walked into the IHOP”) . . .
  • Eva Mays (chapter 10, Dhuoda) . . . The consensus was that I achieved the high tension  that I was going for in Chapter 10. Jack put forth the word “caravan” to replace “cavalcade. Many people thought Rosamund’s broken arm should be more painful than the chapter currently shows. Jerry suggested I change a sentence where it makes it seem like the horse is running for longer than is physically possible. Thank you all for your input, I will put it to good use!

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 14, 2017

 

April 4 at the bookstore

We had 11 writers, including guest Katy Sullivan, around the tables at B&N Westside to critique the work seven of their fellows. Here’s some of the comments of your colleagues:

  • Millie Mader (poem, “Ballad of the Tower”) . . . Here’s my “3 sentences” re: my poem. I had submitted it once before—a couple years ago. It was well received, with a couple of word changes. I made the changes when I got home last night. Thanks for doing the newsletter.
  • Nora O’Reilly (chapter 9, Bill McCormick’s Bliss) . . . The group asked that I slash much of Bill’s internal dialogue (something I am doing currently throughout the rest of the book.) I was warned to be careful of switching my point of view between Bill and the omniscient narrator, and to cut my excessive food description. These suggestions as well as cleaning up the end of the chapter to leave a bit of a cliffhanger were also incorporated. Appreciate all the honest feedback, thanks everyone!!
  • John Schneller (chapter 11, Final Stronghold) . . . Chapter 11 was a chapter of working through a vignette on justice. The characters being mostly animals, were easier to follow, and the justice-logic worked for the group. The main discussion centered on names. How and why Jjosh is spelled (stuttering squirrel) and the possible means to remind e reader how Kotel acquired his name and what it means (Keeper Of The Lamb). Since this came out of book one, it might help to return to this early in Final Stronghold. Another useful note, your children’s names should not show up in the list of characters.
  • Mike Austin (chapters 1-6, Riding with the Reed Gang) . . . “Riding with the Reed Gang” was received very well by everyone, which is really going to put me on edge about the next chapters. We had some discussions about the alternating POV, and why Nick’s character is the only one not in first person, and if it worked or not. The consensus, if I understood correctly, is that it works so far. We also talked about making the era more clear in the beginning. There were very helpful and appreciated comments all around. Thanks!
  • Hannah Marshall (poems, “Second Daughter” and “Wintering”) . . . We had good discussion around both poems. The words “coal” and “barks” stuck out in “Second Daughter” as needing some reworking. In “Wintering,” we discussed that the first few lines were perhaps too spring-like for the rest of the poem which revolved around summer and winter.
  • Tracey Gemmell (prologue and chapters 1-2, rewrite, Losing It) . . . The prologue and introductions to Annie and Taylor were generally well received. Several group members found the writing to be tight and polished. Some tidying needed to clarify a few minor points. Mike found the prologue a little ‘stiff,’ but enjoyed the way the first chapter brought out Annie’s desperation without being melodramatic. Taylor is still not considered likeable, (Jerry has no sympathy for damaged Chanel shoes) but the backstory as to why she is like she is was helpful to readers. Hannah hated the idea of a character becoming more or less male/female in behaviors. Later story does get into how a man can be aggressively successful while a woman is simply a ‘bitch’ if she tries the same. Hey, I don’t make up societal rules ;). Many thanks for all your helpful comments and encouragement.
  • Jerry Peterson (short story, “Escape to Wenzhou”) . . . This was a fun read, kind of reminiscent of ‘Indiana Jones,’ said Mike Austin. Tracey Gemmell found the truck fixing scene a bit long. Also, said she, “I found the frequent use of ‘Sister’ [in referring to the nun] a little distracting.” Cindi Dyke and several others were confused by Boone’s knife-cut hand gesture. To Cindi, it was the throat-cut gesturing meaning stop, not a gesture meaning turn as Jerry intended. He said he’d fix it.

 
(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »