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Writer’s Mail for 05/14/13

“A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously. “– Albert Camus

Tuesday at B&N . . .

Amber shared chapter thirteen of Noble with the group. Lisa took notes. Judith liked the chapter and was interested to see where it would lead concerning the main character’s training. Lisa thought the chapter ended on a good note. Pat had a couple of questions about entering the woods and things going quiet. She also has a question about bow anatomy. Andy didn’t think the chapter had a enough zing and suggested putting it on a shelf and coming back to it later.

Mike shared a poem with the group. He doesn’t have copies so we all listened. Betsy and Andy liked the last line. Pat liked the rhythm but one of the lines didn’t resonate with her. She says she needs to read a poem a couple of times before she gets it. Pat and Lisa found a lot of power in the words and expect that Mike would channel a Maori warrior when he reads it. Mike says he felt that way when he read it. The second poem Mike shares with the group is a letter to a person who had a lot of influence on him as he was growing up. Betsy and Pat think it could be turned into a prose poem format and suggest editing it down. Lisa knows the music Mike is referring to and is in favor of polishing it up and sending it to them.

Lisa shared part of chapter one of Tebow Family Secret. Andy thought it was an effective opening but that there was a lot of info dropped on the reader. Pat thought a lot of what she read could be cut and instead sprinkled in with her visit to the therapist. Pat thinks a therapist wouldn’t ask a lot of yes or no questions, but more leading, open-ended questions. Andy liked the ending but Pat thought she could have left it in a cliffhanger. The group looks up and briefly discusses what a chiasma is in literature.

Judith shared part of chapter one of My Mother, Savior of Men. Lisa says she knows she knows mothers like the one in the story. Pat liked the word choice. Andy didn’t believe a woman of ninety-five wouldn’t sleep that much. Also he thought there was an info dump at the end though Pat liked the narrative at the end because it made a good story. Lisa wanted more of one character and agreed with Andy about the end. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail for 04-02-13

Who said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”?
Answer: Oscar Wilde , Author of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Tuesday at the B&N . . .
Fourteen of us gathered round three tables to share a number of critiques.

Amber started us off by reading from chapter ten of her YA novel, Noble. Jen had a question about POV. Pat questioned writing about a head being removed from its shoulders, as in where else would it be removed from? Rebecca was confused by how one character was on their hands and knees but also holding their head at the same time. Andy and Millie didn’t know where the sword came from and Andy didn’t think it unnerved the main character enough. Lisa questioned Zephyr’s vocabulary and whether he would know a lot of English. Alicia wondered if one character would actually have a heart attack and thinks the protagonist is too much of a girl scout; she wants more of a reaction. Clayton was okay with the protagonist’s reaction. (P.S. Lisa can take over this whole note taking business anytime.)

Pat shares the poem Just Words with the group. She starts off by telling us she knows it needs work. Lisa thinks she should add more sadness. Andy saw it as in-your-face. Lisa thought it was in-your-face depressing and she liked it that way. Alicia looks for some redemptive quality at the end. Clayton sees the name-calling as recognition; the author sees these things and wants to fix them. Michelle wonders if the author can open the front door and leave. Amber agrees with Clayton, maybe the recognition is the happy ending. Alicia thinks of the old movie Sybil and wonders if Pat could bring the poem full circle in a similar way. Lisa and Aaron like the title. Aaron suggests adding something about sticks and stones at the end.

Andy shares a couple of poems. Jen liked the first poem, Perfect, saying it had a nice rhythm in some parts but was lacking in others. To Amber it felt like a laundry list of items. Rebecca wondered what we learn from the poem. Lisa found an inappropriate line or two. Rhyming is hard, Pat tells us. Michelle had difficulty with the voice changing from the beginning to the end. Andy’s second poem, Forecast, is about the weather we had in Wisconsin last year. Some of us read it as a metaphor for a relationship thought the last two stanzas don’t fit with that idea; Andy was surprised by this and may consider revenging. Clayton expected the poem to take off but then it didn’t, leaving him disappointed. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
WRITER’S MAIL for December 12, 2010
by Clayton Gill

Good Words from Way Back
“There are not… many people who would care to sleep in a church. I don’t mean at sermon time in warm weather (when the thing has actually been done once or twice), but in the night and alone.” –Charles Dickens in the opening of The Chimes (his less successful “Christmas book” of 1844, a year after publication of A Christmas Carol).

Reading Recap: December 7 Meeting
First-and-Third group met at the Alicia Ashman Branch Library as the Christmas holiday sales are in full swing at our usual venue of Barnes & Noble West. Millie Mader brought cookies and Judith McNeil brought pretzels – welcome fuel for cold weather critiquing. We welcomed guest Bob Schoen, a retired geologist, who is at work on his first novel.

Clayton Gill read from Chapter 15 of Fishing Derby and included a new “flash forward” scene at the end of the chapter. This ending has the main character, Miker, recounting the death of another character to a “woman police officer.” Pat suggested just “police officer” was sufficient, then Clayton could demonstrate gender in the next sentence or later in the scene. Kim Simmons and John Schneller questioned the effectiveness of the flash forward because it flashed forward several days and interrupted an exciting action sequence. Clayton said he wanted to try the flash forward in order to help develop the Miker character, but agreed he could do that by continuing the action in a straight-ahead time line. Pat Edwards pointed out some confusing “antecedents” – use of pronouns without clear reference – something she said we all have to watch out for. John noted some confusion about catfish dragging the victim down: A single 100-pound fish or 10 or more 10-pound fish? (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail for November 16, 2010
by Jen Wilcher

FIFTH TUESDAY!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At Kim Simmon’s place- BYOC (Bring your own chair. We have a few volunteers supplying extras, but to be safe, bring one you like!)

We need someone to bring coffee and preparation materials, (Kim does not have a coffee maker.) and we need someone to bring soda. Otherwise, bring yourself and a dish to pass!

The writing theme:
“Christmastime is here, by golly.
Disapproval would be folly.
Deck the halls with hunks of holly.
Fill the cups, and don’t say ‘when!'” -Tom Lehrer

In 250 words or less – what is THE HOT CHRISTMAS ITEM this year? Silly battery operated hamsters are so last year – what’s the big thing this year? A cell phone that levitates above water when it falls out of your pocket in the bathroom? An automatic mute button that knows which pundits you can’t stand and silences them before you hear a word? Or a gizmo that switches the speaker-thumpin’ cars driving through your neighborhood at 2am from Snoop Dogg to Mozart? What’s the pitch? Send your mini-masterpiece to Jerry Peterson, no later than Friday, November 26, so he can bundle the stories for printing. Also email him your reservation, with the names of who you intend to bring as guests. Yes, guests are welcome.

Tuesday at the Barnes and Noble
13 TWS writers rounded up some café chairs and circled up by the bargain books at the B&N Tuesday night.

New person Leah – writes “fantasy noir”

Greg Spry read from “Goodbye Mars”
Kim felt the bad guys got there way too fast; could have had more of the girls’ relationships and more of the dad. She wasn’t interested in the killing of the dad. What are dark features? Jim wanted you to find ways to establish empathy. Greg changed the viewpoint and took it away from the scientist/dad. Trying to pare it down, too. Kim wanted more bad feelings to reflect the dystopia Pat liked the self-centeredness of the kids and the way he sprinkled in explanation. Jim thought there was a lot to like. Liked the disorientation. Maybe start at page two with the danger looming right away. Maybe end at the cliff hanger – is dad dead? Jerry 100 meters is too far to see detail of the body – hard to know if it’s an old person or what. Also means the girls get there too fast. Kim – wouldn’t the computer have scanned the bad guys – jerry ryssa’s point of view, she wouldn’t see. Aaron – maybe door is broken open and latch broken. Pat wondered why no one knew mars’ history. They would have some oral history – or strike the line. Jim Instead of exposition, have doc dialogue with Cain. Cathy wants doc to say something compassionate.

Chris read from a scene I’ll call “Alison and her abuser” unnamed piece.
Kim thought it was too fast getting to this scene, maybe add buying groceries, comments, all to build tension. Maybe reflect back on how their marriage started. Jim liked how it started and went right to the violence. But try not to tell – show with action and violence. Millie said he would present a different face to his buddies. Jerry thought it unrealistic to look at the lawn furniture. Cathy thought it odd that he would offer to help clean up. Jerry thought hand-washing the dishes was a realistic personality component to be a perfect wife. Kim wanted the door to close “on his smile” to be more ominous and wanted more struggle before the rape – why no bruises?

Millie read from “Life on Hold”
Jerry wanted to know how the school officials knew he was passed out in his dorm. Mark might be reluctant to tell school officials. Kim was hung up on why the LSD was free and how the dealer handled this. Sleazy guy – we got him easily as a dealer. Cathy didn’t need the prologue. Kim wanted Erin to feel worse — show some remorse. Jerry wanted to make sure the Appleton drinking age is less than 21. Pat thought calling it a treatment center was good. Rehab is new term. John reminded us that a crack is still a fracture. Would they have put a cast on it? Pat liked the paragraph describing the winter trees as very poetic. Jerry things you can take out the “Mark” on “his roommate, Mark.” Would the person really say it that way? Jim thought the girls sounded very cold and not nice. Jerry said that the scent at the bus station. Just her look at Shireen tells her she wants the news, you can cut the line. John thought the club scene was a little boring, but could be spiced up with a little female competition.

Aaron read from “Hell Cage”
Kim wanted someone to throw up, acknowledge the smell. Chris thought there would be fluids on the floor. Lee said, “a new kind of stink.” Jim thought the guys were too nice, even for professionals. John thought it was good to show they were normal guys, but it needs a little more competitive dialogue. Jen asked about the point-of-view – what would they notice first? Jerry noticed the cage was set up in the storage room – in the wrong place. How big is the store room? Kim thought the cage would have squished him. Greg asked how much detail should go in the screenplay. Aaron said it was really up to the director. Pat wanted to know why it ended with him walking out of the scene. Not as logical as the rest of the play. Pat liked that you showed they were normal guys in a business.

Kim read from “City of Summer”
Pat wanted to know if the ode should be all literal or some metaphor. Bill thought the peg turning for the tuning wasn’t enough. John questioned the starting point was too passive – should start a little further down where something happens. John thought the hand holding for James was anachronistic. He’s 13. Pat thought he would hold Ryoko’s hand. Jerry asked about James’ haggling scene – the italics are confusing when they’re used for two different constructs. Foreign words and thoughts create a problem. Keep the reader in mind and make it easier on us. Jerry noticed point-of-view changed from James to Ryoko at the haggling scene. Kim wanted the perspectives to merge. Greg thought as a beginning author you need to follow the most common rules. Kim thought ending needed to show all the point-of-view’s (because she wants to do it that way!). Most thought that a space/break would be enough to allow the point-of-view. Dean Koontz did it in a final chapter, but couldn’t remember the book name. John said we bug you about this because we like the story.

Pat read two poems, but couldn’t take notes for herself and for the official notes. She passed around a piece of Slickensides to prove she didn’t make up the term.

COMING UP NEXT
November 23
Dan Hamre, “Chimera Daycare”
Terry Hoffman, scene, The Tome
Anne Allen, scene, Homecoming
Jack Frieburger, scene, Path to Bray’s Head
Kim Simmons, scenes, City in Winter
Randy Haslow, scene, Hona and the Dragon

November 30
Fifth Tuesday

December 7
Clayton Gill (chapter, Fishing Derby)
Justin Schober (chapter 1/part 2, sci-fi novel)
Jen Wilcher (chapter The Hogoshiro Chronicles)
Amber Boudreau (chapter 17, young adult novel)
Jerry Peterson (chapter 5, Thou Shalt Not Murder).

December 14
Holly Bonniksen-Jones, Coming up for Air
Kim Simmons, City in Winter
Jen Wilcher: Chapter The Hogoshiro Chronicles
Carol Hornung, Sapphire Lodge
Anne Allen, Homecoming
Annie Potter, memoir
Jack Frieburger (stand-by)

December 7
Clayton Gill (chapter, Fishing Derby)
Justin Schober (chapter 1/part 2, sci-fi novel)
Jen Wilcher (chapter The Hogoshiro Chronicles)
Amber Boudreau (chapter 17, young adult novel)
Jerry Peterson (chapter 5, Thou Shalt Not Murder).

Book Review, NAKED HEAT by RICHARD CASTLE
Submitted by: Millie Mader
After exhaustive research, I discovered that “Richard Castle” is actually a fictional character. He is played by actor Nathan Fillion on the ABC Monday night murder mystery series, Castle. As a faux resume on this book’s flyleaf, Rick Castle is credited with an impressive list of best sellers. There are two current murder mysteries however– Heat Wave, 2009, and this new one, Naked Heat, that have both truly appeared as New York Times best sellers. Both are ghost written. They are what Jerry would call ‘cozies’ and are fun reads.
I am a fan of the TV show, and I know that our new member, Linda, is too. Naked Heat is written in much the same way as the ABC series-lots of clever bantering, but with realistic detective work, and a murder solved with every segment. There are two protagonists—Nikki Heat (detective Kate Beckett on TV) and Jameson Rook (Rick Castle on the ABC series.) The air surrounding these two crackles with sexual chemistry, and their banter lights the darker scenes. And yes, they do get together.
The novel starts with the murder of a successful, but hated gossip columnist. Tangled threads are tied to multiple suspects, as Cassidy Towne was in the process of writing an expose that was dreaded by many of the rich and famous. Nikki and her detective assistants are deeply involved, and they are accompanied by high profile author, Rook. Through his prestige as a best-selling murder mystery writer, with friends in high places, he is allowed access to the NYPD detectives—often to their annoyance. He becomes a partner in the murder investigations—and proves his worth.
The principals are lead through a labyrinth of murders, torture and a horrific suicide. Their lives are in peril as they begin to unravel the threads that bind the murders to the gossip monger’s book and its final chapter. Chaos reigns right up to the finale.
This mystery will keep you sleep-deprived until the dramatic end. It’s escapist reading at its best.

Amazon.com Launches Amazon Studios — a New Online Business to Discover New Talent and Develop Motion Pictures. Amazon Studios will award filmmakers and screenwriters $2.7 million with the purpose of developing movies under a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures

SEATTLE, Nov 16, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today launched Amazon Studios (http://studios.amazon.com), a new online business that invites filmmakers and screenwriters around the world to submit full-length movies and scripts to make money, get discovered and get their movie made. Through the monthly and annual Amazon Studios Awards, Amazon Studios will offer a total of $2.7 million to the top submissions received by Dec. 31, 2011, and will seek to develop the top Amazon Studio projects as commercial feature films under its first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures.
Writers are invited to add scripts to Amazon Studios. Filmmakers are invited to add full-length test movies to Amazon Studios. Test movies may be made from your own original script or from any script submitted to Amazon Studios. Test movies must be full length (more than 70 minutes), but they don’t have to be “full budget.” While test movies must include imaginative stories with great acting and sound they don’t need to have theatrical-quality production values. Film fans can review Amazon Studios scripts and test movies, or even upload alternate, revised versions. Full-length test movies will introduce public test screenings to the earliest, formative stages of the movie development process; the Amazon Studios test movie process is intended to guide a film’s development and assess its potential. Amazon Studios has produced five test movie samples, in different styles and genres, which can be found on its Getting Started page (http://studios.amazon.com/getting-started).
“We are excited to introduce writers, filmmakers and movie lovers to Amazon Studios,” said Roy Price, Director of Digital Product Development. “Full-length test movies will show stories up on their feet and attract helpful feedback at an early stage. We hope that Amazon Studios will help filmmakers experiment and collaborate and we look forward to developing hit movies.”
It is the goal of Amazon Studios to produce new, full-budget theatrical films based on the best projects and it will give Warner Bros. Pictures first access to the projects Amazon Studios wishes to produce in cooperation with an outside studio. Under the Amazon Studios development agreement, if a filmmaker or screenwriter creates a project with an original script and it is released by Amazon Studios as a theatrical feature film, the submitter will receive a rights payment of $200,000; if the movie makes over $60 million at the U.S. box office, the original filmmaker or screenwriter will receive a $400,000 bonus. If Warner Bros. Pictures is not inclined to develop a particular project, Amazon Studios can then produce the project in cooperation with another studio.
Winning screenplays and full-length test movies will be selected on the basis of commercial viability, which will include consideration of premise, story, character, dialogue, emotion and other elements of great movies. The first Amazon Studios industry panelists will include: screenwriter and chair, Writing Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Jack Epps, Jr. (“Top Gun,” “Dick Tracy”), producer Mark Gill (former president of Miramax and Warner Independent Pictures), screenwriter Mike Werb (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Curious George,” “Face/Off,” “The Mask”) and producer and chair, Production Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Michael Taylor (“Bottle Rocket,” “The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper”).
“Amazon Studios is a great idea. Getting feedback is essential for creative artists to improve their work,” said Jack Epps, writing chair for USC School of Cinematic Arts. “By letting anyone submit a movie or screenplay to be considered for a major motion picture, Amazon Studios is really opening the doors to Hollywood.”
In the 2011 Annual Awards, Amazon Studios will award $100,000 to the best script and $1 million to the best movie submitted by December 31, 2011. To be eligible for the first monthly awards, test movies and scripts must be uploaded by January 31, 2011. Winners for the first monthly awards will be announced near the end of February 2011– $100,000 for the best full-length test movie and $20,000 each for the two best scripts. The rights payments associated with releasing a full-budget commercial film (the $200,000 referred to above) are separate from and come on top of any money awarded to top submissions through the monthly and annual Amazon Studios Awards.
To learn more about Amazon Studios, check out our video at http://studios.amazon.com.
Amazon Studios web site is operated by Amazon Services LLC.

About Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle, Kindle 3G and Kindle DX are the revolutionary portable readers that wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper. Kindle 3G and Kindle DX utilize the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Kindle is the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items sold on Amazon.
Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, http://www.amazon.de, http://www.amazon.co.jp, http://www.amazon.fr, http://www.amazon.ca, and http://www.amazon.cn. As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

Word Spy: Cougar Lift
cougar lift, n. Cosmetic surgery performed on a middle-aged woman to enhance her prospects of dating younger men.

Example Citations:
The ‘Cougar’ euphemism generally refers to older women who date or marry younger men. Many surgeons and elective surgery centers have coined the “Cougar Lift” term to identify an entire category of cosmetic procedures for women in this demographic who are engaged in new romantic relationships — and want to look as vibrant and youthful as they feel. – ‘Cougar Lift’ Procedures Offer Menopausal Women Surgical Options to Enhance Romantic Relationships,” PR Newswire, November 10, 2010

The number of women age 45 and over choosing to have breast enhancements has doubled. Procedures popular among cougars include facial fillers and buttock implants. Leading the ‘Cougar Lifts’ trend are stars like Demi Moore, Kylie and Madonna. – ‘Cougar Lifts’ On the Rise,” MMD Newswire, June 28, 2010

Earliest Citation:
Since 2008, the number of breast enlargement patients aged 45 and over at Transform, the UK’s largest cosmetic surgery group has doubled, according to a press release issued here. Transform has experienced a large spike in the number of mature women undergoing body enhancement procedures such as buttock implants and breast enlargements. This trend is now being referred to as the ‘Cougar Lift’. – “The ‘Cougar Lift’ Trend: Older Women Filling Out For Youthful Looks,” Plus News Pakistan, June 25, 2010
Related Words:
Botox party
cosmetic underclass
cougar
liposculpture
mommy makeover
umbilicoplasty

http://www.wordspy.com/words/cougarlift.asp

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January 28, 2010  by Cathy R.

“If there is no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.”    — Robert Graves

Writing friends…Our business changes all the time. On Wednesday, the long-awaited Apple iPad came out, with a starting list price of almost $500, which guarantees it won’t be a game changer in this writer’s life, at least not for a while. And last week, the online bookseller Amazon made an important announcement: it will begin offering a 70% royalty to authors willing to publish with them in digital text format for Kindle. That means authors, once they accept the terms of this offer, could receive more for their books than they might through physical books sales. For example, a typical $8.99 book would pay an author $3.15 under the standard system, but $6.25 under the new 70 percent scheme.

Some say this announcement is good news for self-publishers and small presses because it allows authors to cut out the middleman and go directly to their audience, much the same way that technology paved the way for independent music labels to connect musicians directly with their fans/listeners. (Of course, going forward, writers will really have to understand fine print and copyright laws, editing and marketing, if they’ll be working without that extra level of assistance.) Many in the book world are not pleased with this new course of events. To read more click here: http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-amazon-fires-torpedo-at-book-industry-launches-70-kindle-royalty-option-2010-1 Or here:  http://sfwriter.com/2010/01/amazons-70-royalty.html

Writing challenge set . . .  (more…)

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