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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
December 5, 2016

Contest time . . .

TWS alumnus Pat Tomlinson will be the judge for our next writing contest. Here’s the payoff, he’ll critique 50 pages of the novel the winner is writing. The winner, that can be you.

When will the contest take place? At our next Fifth Tuesday. That’s January 31.

So . . . tomorrow evening we need to develop the writing prompt that we’ll use for the contest. Come with your best ideas.

The maximum length for an entry will be 500 words.

Deadline will be midnight January 22. That will give Pat nine days to read the entries and make his selection of the best of the best.

Those who’ve participated in past contests remember there is an entry fee. That’s $10. The winner gets all the money and must spend it taking Pat to dinner at one of our finer dining establishments in the Madison area. Over dinner, you and he will talk through his critique of your 50 pages.

Pat has three novels out and a couple weeks ago got a contract from Tor for his fourth. Check him out at his website, http://www.patrickstomlinson.com/ (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
August 7, 2016

 

Who’s up next . . .

August 9:

August 16: Mike Austin (chapter, Before I Leave), Millie Mader (poem), Hannah Marshall (poems), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Eva Mays (chapter, Dhuoda), Judith McNeil (???), and Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel).

August 23:

August 30: Fifth Tuesday!

September 6: Pat Edwards (???), Randy Slagel (part ???, “Watered-Down Witch”), Amber Boudreau (chapter 5, The Dragoneer), John Schneller (chapter 4, Final Stronghold), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), Bob Kralapp (poem, “March Morning at the Library”), and Jerry Peterson (???).

 

Around the circle at B&N Westside . . .

Here are the first-and-third writers who had pieces up for critiques Tuesday evening:

Pat Edwards (poem, “Insomnia”) . . . Over all feedback was positive with most people wondering if the character was really awake or if she was dreaming.  Amber recommended the first line be changed to reflect that wondering.

Amber Boudreau (chapter 4, The Dragoneer) . . . Chapter 4 of the Dragoneer was well received in general. Pat had a problem with the protagonist being fine with collecting rocks for the wyvern, just some comment about this being her new normal would be helpful. She also didn’t like the line about the radio. Eva and others wondered what the officer had to say to Ansel, but the author is not saying. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
February 12, 2016

 

The first word . . .

Sci-fi writer Eileen Gunn (1945- ) worked for Microsoft as director of advertising in the company’s early years. “What I learned was you have to ship the product.” Quinn applies that rule to writing. Says she, “You have to finish your stories and send them out.”

13 Writing Tips from Chuck Palahniuk

Number One:

Two years ago, when I wrote the first of these essays it was about my “egg timer method” of writing.  You never saw that essay, but here’s the method:  When you don’t want to write, set an egg timer for one hour (or half hour) and sit down to write until the timer rings.  If you still hate writing, you’re free in an hour.  But usually, by the time that alarm rings, you’ll be so involved in your work, enjoying it so much, you’ll keep going.  Instead of an egg timer, you can put a load of clothes in the washer or dryer and use them to time your work.  Alternating the thoughtful task of writing with the mindless work of laundry or dish washing will give you the breaks you need for new ideas and insights to occur.  If you don’t know what comes next in the story… clean your toilet.  Change the bed sheets.  For Christ sakes, dust the computer.  A better idea will come.

Number Two:

Your audience is smarter than you imagine.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with story forms and time shifts.  My personal theory is that younger readers distain most books – not because those readers are dumber than past readers, but because today’s reader is smarter.  Movies have made us very sophisticated about storytelling.  And your audience is much harder to shock than you can ever imagine. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
January 14, 2016

 

The first word . . .

Oh, for a good title . . . Herman Melville had always called his behemoth of a novel The Whale during the 10 years he was writing it. His British publisher didn’t think much of the book, feeling it wasn’t good enough to be a children’s book, but did finally bring it out as juvenile fiction with Melville’s title. Harper & Brothers, his U.S. publisher, liked the book, but thought the title awful. Mr. Harper had recently read a real-life newspaper account of a monumental chase at sea that involved a huge white whale named Mocha Dick. Sensing free publicity, he suggested Melville give his whale a name similar to Mocha Dick and that that be the title of the book. The book was a publishing bust, selling only 3,200 copies during Melville’s lifetime. Ahh, but today –

Who’s up next . . .

January 19: Bob Kralapp (???), Kashmira Sheth (chapters, Nina Soni), Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Randy Slagel (short story, part 1, “Watered-Down Witch”), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 23-26, Killing Ham). (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story
September 30, 2015

“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” – Emily Dickinson

It was Fifth Tuesday at Panera Bread. I’m sure it was fabulous.

Other Ins and Things

Mystery To Me wants your vote . . .
Mystery To Me Bookstore owner Joanne Berg wants you to vote for her store as your favorite Madison bookstore in Madison Magazine’s “Best of Madison” 2016 selections. She’s been good to Tuesdays With Story, so cast your ballot. It’s all done online, and you can vote once a day between now and October 17.

Here’s the link to get you to the voting site: http://madisonmagazine.secondstreetapp.com/l/Best-of-Madison-2016/Ballot/HomeampLifestyle

Planning way, way ahread . . .
Our next Fifth Tuesday is March 30, 2016. Put it on your calendar now. First-and-third group will host. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
September 25, 2015

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson

Notes from September 2015, Week 4

Other Ins and Things
Fifth Tuesday Challenge!
Yes, it’s less than two weeks away . . . September 29. Members of both our writing groups plus friends and spouses will gather for good times and good food at Panera’s on University Avenue at our usual start time of 7 p.m. This is an order-off-the-menu event. Second-and-fourth hosts.
The writing challenge . . . write something EXTREME, a poem, essay, or short short story. You define what extreme is. The word limit is 250. When you have your mini-masterpiece finished, email a copy to Ruth Imhoff, (email) toastedfroglegs@yahoo.com

Build a Lasting Journaling Practice: 14 Days Journaling Challenge

The Build a Lasting Journaling Practice in 14 Days Challenge workbook you use in the challenge will help you kickstart your journaling and make it a valuable part of your daily life. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

WRITER’S MAIL
Tuesdays With Story
August 20,2015

 

Aug. 18th Meeting

Jerry Peterson’s chapters 9-12 from his crime novella, Killing Ham, drew two comments of significance.  First, when Carsarota steps on a Matchbox car with his bare foot, while coming down the stairs in the dark, it has to draw more than an ouch and a muttered swear word.  Casarota has to yowl, said several, because it really hurts.  Second, the title… “When I first saw the title,” Pat Edwards said, “I thought it must have something to do with the Bible story of Ham.”  In chapter 11, someone bombs a truck carrying hogs to a slaughter plant, thus the title, “Killing Ham.”

Lisa’s The Tebow Family Secret, chapters 34 and 35 were well received.  Jerry commented that the horse accident in Chapter 34 didn’t seem realistic.  He said that a buck wouldn’t run towards a horse as it would view the horse as a predator.  He also mentioned that if Izzy had hit her head on a rock, she may have been knocked unconscious and probably wouldn’t have remembered all of the details of her previous life at once.  So Pat suggested that Izzy should fall on dirt and that possibly the horse would be startled by a snake.  Everyone liked Chapter 35, mentioned that the ending definitely was a page turner. (more…)

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