Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
November 1, 2017

Last night at Jack’s place  

Eight around the table, plus four stories, one poem, two soups, lotsa cheese, salad, wine, beer, but no John Schneller apple pie. John was away at a seminar for work.

The poem and stories are up on our Yahoo group – you can read them there – and soon they will be up on our TWS web page.

Our next Fifth Tuesday

Put it on your calendar now, January 30. Amber Boudreau will host us at her home. One caution, says Amber. She has both cats and kids, so if you have an allergy to either . . .

We do have a writing challenge: Animal stories!

Such a broad topic gives each of us a lot of latitude in selecting our subject and the viewpoint from which we want to write. Yes, it can be a dog story with a dog telling the story.

The usual limit, 500 words.

Who’s up next week  Continue Reading »


Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
October 20, 2017


A Small but Boisterous Bunch

Eight members gathered at the Barnes and Noble Tuesday evening to discuss book chapters, social media, and semi-colons.

Larry Sommers (chapter 1, Immigrant Saga) – Tracey and others questioned the long unrelieved passages of travelogue-like Omniscient Narrator description and thought it would be a good idea to tie more of that material to Anders’ personal point of view. Jack questioned a few historical details and said the slave auction scene was clichéd and offered one or two ideas to make it less so. Good, useful comments from everybody. Thanks!

Mike Austin (chapter, Riding with the Reed Gang) – A lot of compliments for the writing.  Mike has posted the whole story. There were questions regarding the use of first person. What will happen when the first persons get together?

Tracey Gemmell (chapters, More of Less Annie) – The chapters were appreciated for their humor and ability to move the story along at a good clip. Pat suggested some great verb alternatives. She also wanted more descriptions of the dog. Bob wanted a better transition from tentative Annie walking to beach to her turning into Julie Andrews. Several members liked the dialogue between Rob and Annie though Rob may be too good to be true at this point! Amber provided some great insight into social media platforms. Tracey has to learn to tweet. Many thanks for the great feedback. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
Writer’s Mail
October 6, 2017

Tuesday night a bunch of us sqooshed around one table at the Barnes and Noble.

Millie Mader read her poem, Innocence. A lot of good feedback and sadness about the subject of war. Some ideas for how to turn a line that referenced WWI into one that would fit into the stanza about WWII.

Tracey Gemmell read from her chapter 21 – 24, More or Less Annie ‘More or Less Annie’ is now the official title based on positive feedback. Chapters were considered well written and fast paced. The scene inside the cathedral provoked several interpretations. Jack suggested getting rid of many ‘she’ pronouns and giving a better description of St. Albans. Clarification of the meaning of NCIS, to delineate from the American meaning, was suggested.  Many thanks to all for your help.

In other news: Tracey’s presentation regarding her first novel, ‘Dunster’s Calling’, was well received at a library in the UK. She is currently learning how to write a query letter in order to reach out to an agent for her second novel. There are many resources online to help with this, but here is a link to one: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-the-perfect-query-letter

Bob Kralapp read his short poem, Sunday Visit.  Most all enjoyed the small poem, with differing perspectives on “what it was about.”  Good to have Bob back with his poetry. Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

Fifth Tuesday Stories

Fifth Tuesday stories
August 29, 2017
Writing challenge: Write a fishing story.

Max length: 500 words

The tree and He

Amit Trivedi

He poured himself a glass of wine and gazed outside through his window. The pain was still there, and he knew it would get worse. The long shadow of the barren oak tree reminded him of the long, unadorned tresses of a poor bride. What do I remind the tree of? he wondered.

They both had grown together – his father had planted the tree when he was born nearly ninety two years ago. He would not last much longer, but the tree had many years left to suffer!

Memories wrapped themselves in tears. He saw himself climbing the tree, gathering its leaves, tying a hammock and breaking his wrist when the rope had come loose. Instinctively, he touched his wrist and ran his finger over the mark that was still there. And he saw his wife lying in the hammock, reading Omar Khayyam.

There was the Door to which I found no Key;
There was the Veil through which I might not see;
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was – and then no more of Thee and Me.

“Do you remember?” he asked, looking at the framed picture of his wife next to Khayyam’s book. Continue Reading »

Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story

July 21, 2017


Muggy and Melty Summer Round-up from 1st/3rd

We had a guest from Oregon (the state), Summer Bird.  She is co-chair of a writing group in Willamette, Oregon and enjoyed her time visiting our group. Our guest from Oregon is children’s and short story writer. Summer invited us to read a selection of her stories at www.summerbirdstories.com and let her know our thoughts.

Millie Mader (short story, “The Gold Star and the Silver Star”) I wrote from a long ago memory of what I had been told, and searched high and low for the Post Crescent article. It was all true—but not accurate in a number of ways. Millie’s decided to abandon the piece and get on with her short story, Continue Reading »