Posts Tagged ‘Booked for Murder’

Writer’s Mail for October 7, 2010
by Pat Edwards

“The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.” William Faulkner (via Michael A. Simpson)

Reading Recap: October 5 at the B&N
Ten First-and-Third members met at Barnes & Nobel West at 7:00 p.m. to hear six colleagues reading their recent work.

Jen Wilcher read the introduction to Chapter 1 called “Hibiki’s Point of View” from her as-yet unnamed novel. Jen’s story takes place in a fictional hogoshiro or “protection castle” of feudal Japan. Characters include the protagonist, the girl Hibiki, and Rin, a mythical, fox-like kitsune who is 299 years old. Pat Edwards praised Jen’s depth of characterization established so quickly in this opening chapter. Pat said the story was very interesting and she wanted to read more. So, she recommended that Jen “write on” rather than re-write again. In regard to Hibiki’s emotions, Elijah Meeker suggested Jen could employ the “anime effect,” such that Hibiki’s actions would more directly relate to her speech in dialogue. This effect would demonstrate specific emotions in the dialogue, rather than in narration. Pat praised Jen’s depth of characterization. Clayton Gill suggested that Jen maintain consistency in her use verb tenses. He thought it was important for two reasons: For the reader to know whether the story was a “real-time” description (present tense) or a recollection (past tense), and for Jen during the writing because the tense – present or past – also could influence her vision and imagination in telling the story.

Greg Spry brought us the prologue of his science fiction novel Beyond Cloud Nine. Jerry Peterson warned that many readers – himself included – probably would skip the prologue. Jerry recommended making the prologue the first chapter. Also, in one instance of the main character’s thought shown in italics, Jerry pointed out that any such thought question would not need the attribution “she wondered” which would be redundant. Clayton noted that the prologue or opening chapter used third-person narration, whereas the next chapter would be narration from the main character’s point of view. Would subsequent chapters use first-person narration? Greg replied no, that the whole novel would use third person narration, which Jerry agreed should not be a problem for the reader. Elijah commented on the challenge of “language in transit,” especially when the novel tries to forecast English in the 24th Century. Greg could identify his colloquialisms of the present day – especially in dialogue — and invent some new ones for his novel’s future time. Along these lines, Pat liked Greg’s very human characters but suggested that he make their forms of address more futuristic or related to careers of the future (e.g., “Space Commander Davis” for “Ms. Davis”).

Pat Edwards read three poems, the first of which – “The Last Time I Hit a Person” – generated much comment among Tuesdays members. The poem opens with the question “Would you believe…?” and closes with a question “Do you believe…?” In between the questions, there is the action of the poet (presumably a woman) in bed who strikes a man who strikes back and knocks her off the bed. Elijah suggested that the poem’s early tone is too light for the subject of domestic violence, noting the short, catchy line length. Clayton suggested that the short line length succeeded in producing “freeze-frame shots” of the action, while the longer lines show thought and analysis of the action. Judith McNeil appreciated the poet’s literal questions about perception, story telling, and memory. Commenting on the second poem – “Too Much Gravity” – Elijah admired the concept that we all inherit adaptations to gravity. But he worried that the narrator’s presence in the central stanzas “gets in the way of the poem.” Clayton asked the group, “Is there any a single word that is a synonym of ‘gravity’?” No one came up with a one-word synonym, which is one thing that adds to the beauty of this poem. Several members commented on exquisite images, such as “DNA trickles down” and “the marionette gene.” Pat’s third poem – “Window Cube” – also garnered praise from the group. Elijah noted that the poem works very well, despite the “lists of things,” which other poets have not used so effectively. Members noted the powerful contrast of the poet’s prosaic work cubicle and her recollection of other peoples’ office space burned out and exposed to the elements and the view of strangers.

Clayton Gill read from Chapter 14 of his juvenile adventure novel Fishing Derby, focusing on a passage at the beginning of the chapter which describes the attack of frankenfish protestors on the Zooper Aqua pontoon boat. The young protagonist Miker, the boat’s pilot, freezes in fright during the attack as he remembers an incident from his past. Then a command from another character – “Mind the boat, Miker” — calls the boy back to the present. Clayton asked the group, “Does this passage work?” There was general agreement that the flashback and “call back” succeeded. However, Greg wondered whether an attack with paintballs, bottle rockets, and cherry bombs could be sufficiently threatening or dangerous to warrant life-or-death, action-thriller narrative. Also, he recommended that the reader be reminded every now then about the purpose of the current adventure and the role or personalities of the other characters. Jerry and Pat noted that it should not be necessary to remind readers of solid details from the previous chapter (e.g., the “bass boat” as a small, high-powered, two-place boat). (more…)

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by Greg Spry

Next Fifth Tuesday: August 31st, 2010
It’s only 5 weeks away, August 31. Make your reservations now. Send either Shel Ellestad, or Jerry Peterson, a note telling them you are coming and who you’re bringing as guests. Yes, guests – friends, spouses, children – are always welcome.

It’s also time to write your Fifth Tuesday mini-masterpiece. The first two are already in.

Anne Allen wrote an article for Nebraska History and won Best Article of The Year. It even involved a cash prize! Anne Beiser Allen’s article, “A Scandal in Niobrara: The Controversial Career of the Rev. Samuel D. Hinman,” has been selected by the Nebraska State Historical Society to receive the 2010 James L. Sellers Memorial Award for the best article to appear in Nebraska History during 2009.

Andrea Kirchman’s short fiction piece, “Don’t Listen to the Sirens” just got published on the Six Sentences blog. Check it out! http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/2010/07/dont-listen-to-sirens.html

Meeting Recap: Tuesday, July 27th – 2nd & 4th
Eleven folks gathered at BN for critiquing Tuesday night.

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January 21, 2010 by Cathy R.

“The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it is simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.” – Stanley Kubrick

Writing friends…

This group has been around for quite awhile—nearly a decade now. One former member and group leader, Ben LeRoy, founder of Bleak House Books and now Tyrus Books in Madison, says he was asked to take over leadership of an ongoing group of aspiring writers “sometime around 2002 or 2003” by Sherry Klinker, then the publicity manager at Barnes & Noble. Shortly afterward, the growing group split into the two sections we now have today. Ben recently offered to do a question-and-answer session with TWS members to share what he knows about books and publishing. Maybe in spring?

This week, news from another early member who continues to write and publish, Kashmira Sheth: I want to tell you my new book BOYS WITHOUT NAMES just came out yesterday. If anyone is interested I have posted pre-pub reviews on my website: http://kashmirashet h.typepad. com/

– Kashmira

Writing challenge set . . .

To your keyboards! First-and-thirders, our hosts for Fifth Tuesday – March 30 at Booked for Murder – have set the writing challenge: “A Night at the Bookstore.” (more…)

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