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Writer’s Mail 4/20/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“I’ve never had writer’s block. However, I’ve had publisher’s block throughout my career.”  – Dary Matera

Last Week
Six regulars and two guests sat down for an evening of critiquing.

First up, Jack Frieburger read a few pages from Path to Bray’s Head. Anne said there were some endless sentences. Holly wondered if the Greek references would come from a sixteen year old boy. She also suggested more visual details as Sean starts to see his family for who they are.

Terry Hoffman read the second scene from her new novel, The Journal. Holly thought the dialog between brother and sister was really good. Said a lot about their characters. Carol suggested more detail – what kind of scent was left on the sweater? How were the books in the library stacked – neatly, or askew? What color sofa? Gives character to the mother who has died. Jack said to strengthen the dialog a bit – go ahead, let them get nasty. There’s years of resentment and anger, here.

Holly Bonnickson-Jones presented a scene from Coming Up For Air. Anne said the situation between mother and daughter resolved too easily. Jack said there were emotional inconsistencies. Hard to get a clear picture of the daughter’s emotional status – let the daughter blow up – really get it out. Carol said maybe she should get so carried away that the situation actually becomes funny, but Annie said to stick with the red, hot, and ugly.

Anne Allen read a scene from her memoir. Jack mentioned Anne was writing like him – a lot of long sentences! Holly liked the diary entries. Though maybe too much info on the acne. Carol wasn’t sure of the purpose of the youth group scene – how does it tie into the rest of the story? And Jack said there has to be a joke about French kissing and the setting of France . . .

Carol Hornung read the climactic scene from Asperger Sunset. Jack wanted more color, more details from Russ as he becomes aware of his situation, but tighten the focus. Angela’s speeches are too long. Holly enjoyed the way Russ decoded the situation – everything he learned had led up to this moment. Terry said to lose some of the speech tags – the dialog conveys the emotion.

Who’s Up Next
Terry Hoffman – scene 3, The Journal
Holly Bonnickson-Jones, chapter Coming Up For Air
Jack Frieburger – Path to Bray’s Head
Annie Potter – scene/chapter from memoir
Carol Hornung, winding down of Asperger Sunset 

More on how to protect your computer
Last week, I recommended that you download two free anti-virus/anti-spyware programs – Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware. Those two, combined with McAfee, catch about all the nasties that come down your Internet connection.

But not all.

I once also used Panda. Its backshop pros are really good at keeping up with the new threats hackers create. In place of Panda, last week I added Spyware Doctor. (more…)

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