Posts Tagged ‘Boys Without Names’

Tuesdays with Story
WRITER’S MAIL for August 6, 2010
by Clayton Gill

Another Madison with Good Ink
It was a hot and sticky night. In my backyard, the long dog day of August collapsed at last and rolled over in the dark to pant with tongue hanging out. Distant lightning bared its fangs, but I heard no bark, no growl of thunder.

Unfortunately, I heard no Tuesdays with Story members begging for ink in Writer’s Mail, either. So I prodded the laptop to attention and googled “visiting writers” plus “Madison.” Then I discovered there is another Madison, a lively writers’ place, back East in Connecticut. This New England Madison is the home of RJ Julia Booksellers (http://www.rjjulia.com/) where mystery writer Karen E. Olson regularly reads her work.

Karen has a part-time day job editing a medical journal at Yale University. But she also has seven books under her by-line, including three in a series called “The Tatoo Shop Mysteries”—every book features “ink” in the title. See http://www.kareneolson.com/index.html. For insight into Karen’s choice of narration style and point-of-view, check out her blog at http://kareneolson.blogspot.com/.

Many thanks to Greg Spry for editing Writer’s Mail during July. Please see below for the “Newsletter Duty Roster,” which needs editors to volunteer for October and November.

But hey fellow Tuesdays, we’ve got more dog days ahead, so please throw some meat – or ink – to your August newsletter editor. Always hungry, despite the heat. Thanks! (more…)


Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail  4/12/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.” – Steven Wright

Last Week

Happy Birthday to Jerry Peterson!

Kim – Jerry thinks there’s some lyrical stuff here. Cathy and Millie liked the lush descriptions. Jen had a problem with the word loomed – it implies distance to her. Jerry suggests getting rid of the word suddenly – it has a tendency to be overused. Alicia didn’t think the two main characters were close enough for one to cry on the other’s arm. Pat thought Ryoko was more goddess in this chapter than before, which worked for her and Millie thought Ryoko was more tenderhearted as well. How is Levi coming off? Anyone? Clayton was looking for hints about the death of another character to come into question here.

Jen – Pat thought a lot of ‘de-adverb-is-izing,’ went on. Jerry suggests sticking with simpler, he said, she asked as opposed to using words like replied, retorted, answered, etc. Alicia still thinks it reads like a stage play or a script to her – it’s lacking description. For instance, what does the lab look like? What do some of the characters look like? Clayton thinks the elements are there, but can be expanded. Millie has a question about the passive voice and when it’s appropriate. Alicia thinks some passive voice is okay, as long as you don’t do it too often.

Amber – Many people had constructive comments, and I look forward to reading their notes, but I lack the skills required to interact with people and type at the same time. Am I fired? (No, Amber, you’re not fired.—Kim)

Alicia – Pat thinks she could leave the whole first paragraph out. In some measure, we already know a lot about Matson, just jump right in. Kim loved the chapter with Anthony and Jane together. Cathy thought the writing was tight, but didn’t get the stifled laughter. Millie (and everyone else) is glad to hear someone else has re-written their story about a million times. Clayton liked the choice of lawyer verbs associated with the questioning, like drilled. One character made need some ‘lawyering-up.’

Cathy – Kim liked Chapter 4 the best because she got a sense of, hey, something’s going on here. Jerry thought there had to be a threat made against the good-looking, friendly guy who ends up dead and he wanted to know if Nine took the emergency call about him. What happens to the rest of the beer? Somebody (anybody at our table) would totally steal it. Clayton likes to get up close and personal to the dead people – to see their character, whether they’re sympathetic or not. Kim wanted to know why he drinks another sample cup of beer when he’s already feeling sick from the first cup, but Shel thinks he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him, but he’s sure it can’t be the beer because he trusts his product.

Jerry – Kim (and Amber) wanted to know about Keystone cops. Alicia thought the diaper had to go in a food cart or someplace else, but Pat could see the nurse finding it later. Pat wanted to know when rubber pants came into existence. Shouldn’t there be seepage? Clayton thought Sonny could wish for his regulation gas mask. Good news for us mortals – Pat found a punctuation error. Clayton wanted a little more place at the beginning of the chapter to know whether he was inside or outside. The lack of an IV concerned Alicia – from her memories, if someone were out for two days they would be hooked up to fluids.

Who’s Up Next…

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail 3/22/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.”  – Ken MacLeod

Last Meeting

Clayton – Kathy sent in a suggestion for the reporter in the story. Jerry wanted the reporter to be real – he’s introduced but then nothing happens. Clayton sees an opportunity and there will be more to come in the re-write. Kane wants to know how essential the relationship is between Miker and his father. Clayton is using it to deepen the emotional connection between the reader and Miker. If it’s there to hook us, then Jerry thinks it should have some pretty deep stuff in it. It shouldn’t be a chore for Miker to write. Miker is just an observer here and Pat thinks Gram might really be the main character of the story. Millie suggests Miker’s e-mail needs more pathos. Kim wanted to know why the boats were so loud if there was a fishing derby going on.

Kim – Pat has a question about the temperature, if people are wearing dusters and shivering in the jungle, are there mountains, what kind of climate is it? Jen was unclear about the mental communication. Kane and Jerry noticed Ryoko character breathed through her nose a lot. Pat thought that might be because of the cat connection. Kim wanted to know if the emotion of her character was coming through. Kane picked up on the grief. Clayton was wondering about the connotations of certain names, for instance, Leviathan and Ramses.  Jerry’s found a place where a thought just kills the action of a scene. Clayton was surprised Ryoko took the human’s word for how another character died.

Amber – Jen wanted some differentiation of Moira’s thoughts. Italics? Jerry wanted to know where the reaction to the big egg was. Also, if she didn’t want the egg shell to break, where does it get packed. Does the bone get crushed or kicked, which one? What kind of headlamp are we talking about? How bright are those things? Clayton remembers those things washing out color. How would that effect what Moira sees?

Jen – Note to all, cell-phones don’t get dialed, the numbers get punched or keyed in. Pat wondered if it was a script because there was a lot of direction and detail reminding us that, per Stephen King, “The road to Hell is paved with adverbs.” Kane liked that it moved fast and thought it was similar to a screenplay or teleplay. Kane has brought proof from babynamevoyager.com that no one ever names their kid Biff. Bill thinks sentences with forty-four words in them are a little long. The size of the devamper is unclear. Pat thinks the shooting of Biff at the beginning of the story is uncalled for because he isn’t an imminent threat.

Millie – Shel likes to read the pictures that Millie paints, but the idea of shrimp dip and hot cocoa made him ill. Kane found an inconsistency when Erin fell out of the canoe with Zak. Clayton wondered if the water would be that clear and Pat thought it might be colder. Erin needs to shiver some afterwards. Shel thought that scene went too fast. Clayton thought Erin suffered, but we didn’t get to see any of it. Pat likes Millie’s descriptions and thinks she should write more prose poetry. Bill wanted to know how Millie decided pot had a grassy odor. Kane thought some parts were more Millie than Erin. Shel warns us all that Jerry uses a big, dull drill to make people use the active voice. We’ve been warned.

Shel – Millie likes the title, but liked the sardines about as much as Shel liked her shrimp salad and cocoa. Clayton wanted to hear more about the relationship between Shel and the plant. It was a gift from a neighbor of his. He wanted it willed to him, but when the plant didn’t go with his neighbor’s decorating scheme, she called Shel. Pat liked the personification of the Jade plant. Kane thought the message about the temperature dropping was mixed. Jerry wanted to know of the wheel broke or if it slipped. Clayton thought the parenthesis and brackets could go away as the story is from Shel’s point of view.


Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »