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Writer’s Mail 3/13/2010
By Kim Simmons

“The trick is leaving out everything but the essential.” – David Mamet

Last Meeting
Eight folks gathered at Barnes & Noble last night, and once Carol stopped grousing about Jodi Picoult publishing a book with a character with Asperger’s before she did (darn it!), we were able to get underway. . .

Jack Frieburger presented a scene from Path to Bray’s Head where Sean helped make the donuts. Carol liked the minimalist conversation describing how the gossip of Sean’s misadventure would spread through the town. Holly wanted more of the five senses – lets smell and taste those donuts. It was a good breather scene between Sean’s inner life, his encounters with Lester, and the rest of the world.

Holly Bonnickson-Jones read a section of Coming Up For Air where Liza washes David’s hair. Lots of sexual tension. To bring out that tension, Annie suggested taking out a lot of Liza’s internal reflections. Let her words and actions speak for her. There was some conflict about the end – if David should just go, or if the details about getting the shoes and jacket were necessary. Jack thought no, newcomer Avery suggested they be left in. And Carol pointed out that poor David never got a rinse, and there were going to be soap bubbles everywhere . . .

Carol Hornung brought in the climactic scene from Asperger Sunset. Still needs to be cut down – take Kevin’s explanations and move to a later scene. Holly felt it was all too neatly wrapped up in a bow. Make sure Russ’ observations fit with his character. And make sure the detective works to calm down and disarm the bad guy, not antagonize him. Plus, more color.

Guest Jim Shaw brought in the introduction to his nonfiction book, In a Tuscan Farmyard. Jack and Dan pointed out that there are an awful lot of “Tuscans” and “Tuscanys.” Carol felt it should be reduced to about two-and-a-half pages. A lot of the additional paragraphs feel like they could start entire chapters and should be saved for later. Focus on the theme of the book – show how the elderly woman symbolizes how things are different in Tuscany. (more…)

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