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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
December 26, 2016

 

The big contest . . .

Here’s everything you need to know to win a critique of 50 pages of the book you’re writing, the critique to be provided by a published author . . . TWS alumnus and sci-fi writer Pat Tomlinson. Pat has three novels out and a fourth under contract.

Your assignment, write the very best short story, essay or poem you can with this as your prompt: The clock struck 11:59 p.m. on December 31st. So-and-so turned, tipped his or her glass to you (or to a fictional character) and said thoughtfully, “You know, I’ve been meaning to tell you this all year . . .”

Maximum length for your mini-masterpiece is 500 words. Go over and your piece will not be read.

Deadline for getting your entry to Jerry Peterson is midnight, January 22. He will forward all the entries to Pat who will select the best of the best.

There is an entry fee . . . $10. The winner gets all the money in the pot with which she/he is to take Pat to dinner at one of our finer restaurants in the Madison area. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
December 19, 2016

 

It happened Tuesday evening . . .

A dozen TWS writers gathered at the Alicia Ashman Branch Library two weeks ago for cookies and critiques. Here’s who was up:

Pat Edwards (rough draft, chapter, What to Pack for a Hero’s Journey) – Pat submitted a very rough, transcription based chapter for her non-fiction book.  Most of the feedback was that it was too hard to read in the transcription format.  Once the purpose was explained, though, many people had good ideas for the book, including using more “real people” stories, references to myths, and deeper explanation of the monomyth (The Hero’s Journey).

Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, The Dragoneer) – John thought the beginning of the chapter (Chapter 11) needed a better hook. Kashmira thought the start of the second paragraph was a better hook. Cindy too felt the beginning was a bit out of order. John thought some stronger word choices would help one character’s dialogue and would like to see Moira pick up a bit more of her training instead of just be told about it. Tracey liked the humanizing elements used to describe the dragon.

John Schneller (chapter 7, Final Stronghold) – The increased action as compared to previous chapters was appreciated. A request for better descriptions of the dragon, especially the unique characteristics, was requested. Using chapters to separate scene changes instead of asterick denoted scene changes was discussed. My desire was to infer concurrent timelines, but I will consider this. A couple snaffoos were noted. A bear should never roar like a lion, and the colloquialism ‘pan out’ was identified. Continue Reading »

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/ Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
November 18, 2016

Who’s up next . . .

December 6: Pat Edwards (???), Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, The Dragoneer), Kashmira Sheth (part 4, I Am From Here, Too), John Schneller (chapter 7, Final Stronghold), Eva Mays (chapter 7, Dhuoda), Paul Wagner (???), and Mike Austin (chapter, Before I Leave).

November 15: Millie Mader (poem), Jen Wilcher (chapter, Hogoshiro Chronicles), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Hannah Marshall (poems), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), Jerry Peterson (chapter, Night Flight), and Tracey Gemmell (novel,chapter).

Tuesday eve at the B&N . . .

Guest and now new member John Stephens was among the 11 writers around the tables. Also, among the group was former second-and-fourther Jack Freiburger now active with us.

Here’s some of what was shared during the critique session: Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
November 4, 2016

 

Who’s up next . . .

November 15:   Millie Mader (poem), Jen Wilcher (chapter, fictional autobiography), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Hannah Marshall (poems), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), Meg Goss (chapter, novel), and Tracey Gemmell (novel, chapter).

December 6: Pat Edwards (???), Amber Boudreau (chapter 11, The Dragoneer), Kashmira Sheth (???), John Schneller (chapter 7, Final Stronghold), Eva Mays (chapter 7, Dhuoda), Paul Wagner (???), and Mike Austin (chapter, Before I Leave).

 

Tuesday eve at the B&N . . .

Former second-and-fourther Paul Wagner joined us around the table. Here’s some of what was shared during the critique session:

Amber Boudreau (chapter 10, The Dragoneer) . . .

Here is a summary of my review from last night.

Amber read from chapter 10 of the Dragoneer. When the protagonist asks another character for a favor, Pat wondered why they weren’t happier about it, as we know that character likes the protagonist. Kashmira questioned if Moira had any social skills to begin with. Jerry enjoyed the strong verb choice at the end of the chapter.

John Schneller (chapter 6, Final Stronghold) . . .

Chapter 6 of Final Stronghold needed some work as the consensus was too much talking and not enough action. Although the author promises more running and less talking in the next chapters, this was a valuable assessment. Changes made. The other dynamic discussed was as to whether a reader can get a proper sense of pacing by reading one chapter a month. To that end, Pat created a file in our group site so that we can load a book or section of a book. I look forward to anyone’s assessment.  Thanks!! Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
October 21, 2016

Who’s up next . . .

November 1: Pat Edwards (???), Hannah Marshall (poems, Earthy Things” and “Foster Child”), Kashmira Sheth (???), John Schneller (chapter 6, Final Stronghold), Eva Mays (chapter 6, Dhuoda), Bob Kralapp (???), and Amber Boudreau (chapter 9, The Dragoneer).

November 15:   Millie Mader (poem), Jen Wilcher (chapter, fictional autobiography), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Judith McNeil (???), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), and Meg Goss (chapter, novel).

Tuesday eve at the B&N . . .

New member Meg Goss joined the circle of first-and-thirders as did Jen Wilcher, formerly of our sister group. Here’s some of what was shared during the critique session:

Millie Mader (poem, “Loss of Innocense”) . . . Generally, I think my poem was pretty well received. A few word changes were suggested.

Nora O’Reilly (chapter 5, Bill McCormick’s Bliss) . . . Jerry corrected me: the commander in chief  is the abbot, where his prior would be chief of staff. I can easily cut down on my use of ‘really’ or ‘very.’ Most importantly I need to find a more compelling reason as to why Joel is returning to Madison. Perhaps trying to let Bill and Evelyn reunite so she can tell him about their son is enough. I do need to consider Bill’s reaction to the impending danger of Joel returning to the city of his crime. I have to investigate the statute of limitations on murder and what consequences Joel would face if he were caught in the present times. A few wording changes were also suggested.

Tracey Gemmell (chapter 1-2, novel) . . . Group felt it was generally well written and humorous. Jerry noted some hyphenation issues and suggested some segmentation of longer paragraphs into short, punchy ones to add emphasis.Group pointed out that some British terms may require further explanation for an American audience, and that Taylor’s age required clarification, as they initially thought she was younger than she was. Pat noted she didn’t feel chapter two was as believable as chapter one, and she requested more explanation as to whether Taylor had quit her job or was fired. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
October 7, 2016

Who’s up next . . .

October 11:

October 18:   Millie Mader (poem), Hannah Marshall (poems), Nora O’Reilly (chapter, Bill McCormick’s Bliss), Judith McNeil (???), Tracey Gemmell (chapter 1,new novel), and Amber Boudreau (chapter 9, The Dragoneer).

October 25:

November 1: Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth (???), John Schneller (chapter 6, Final Stronghold), Eva Mays (chapter, Dhuoda), Bob Kralapp (???), and Mike Austin (synopsis and Jim chapter, Before I Leave).

Tuesday eve at the B&N . . .

Guest and now new member Tracey Gemmell joined the circle of first-and-thirders gathered to critique a cluster of chapters. Here’s some of what was shared:

Amber Boudreau (chapter 8, The Dragoneer) . . . Amber read from the beginning of chapter 8 of The Dragoneer. Pat liked it, but wondered if/when we were going to meet another character from a previous draft (This sounds like the title to a story someone hasn’t written, yet: Character From a Previous Draft. Horror, perhaps?) Amber told her she doesn’t have long to wait. Eva noted a particular sentence that was repetitive. Amber vowed to change it. Kashmira thought one character would show more surprised about the things he was seeing, but Amber said he wouldn’t because he already read about them. Continue Reading »