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Posts Tagged ‘Critique’

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
November 25, 2019

The first word . . .

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.”

― Robert Cormier (1925-2000), author of YA novels

Tuesday evening at B&N Westside . . .

Hey, we had a long table to gather around for our last meeting of the year at B&N Westside. Five of our colleagues shared their works. Here is some of what was said:

— Huckleberry Rahr (synopsis and chapters 1-2, YA novel) . . . (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story
September 20, 2019

The first word . . .

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

― Anne Lamott (1954- ), novelist, nonfiction writer, writing teacher

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Eight writers gathered at Barnes and Noble and enjoyed meeting a guest illustrator, introduced by Amit. Jozi Anderson, UW student artist, is seeking commissions from writers for self-published books. She showed samples on her phone of a children’s book cover oil painting and interior illustrations. Members engaged in a lively discussion with her about effective and economical ways to produce art for prospective books. Tracey suggested Jozi place her work on the Behance site at https://www.behance.net/, where artists can display work and authors can find cover designers. If anyone is interested in discussing further projects, Jozi can be contacted at jozimanderson@gmail.com.

(more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays with Story
September 6, 2019

The first word . . .

“Most things I love to do are like writing, in a way. I love to cook, but that’s putting things together to make a new thing. It’s creating. I love to garden, but that’s generative, too. I love to dance, and that’s about finding a rhythm that’s pleasing to you. Maybe everything’s a little like writing.”

― Less Smith (1944- ), novelist and short-story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

Ten writers and one guest, Melissa Zernick, gathered to critique the works of five of their colleagues. Here is some of what was shared:

— Cindi Dyke (back cover blurb, The Mansion Secrets): What started up as a blurb grew into a synopsis which the group critiqued. Tracey felt it needed to be written in a younger voice and that the personality of the main characters needed to be brought out. Several thought an example of the humor needs to be included. Several good thoughts on what should be deleted to create space for the additions. Amber wondered if the secrets inside the mansion walls were literally in the wall. Good points. Thanks everyone (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
July 9, 2019

The first word . . .

“We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.”
– John Gardner (1933-1982), novelist/essayist/literary critic

They gathered at ye olde bookseller . . .

Ten of our writers clustered around a double table setup at Barnes & Noble Westside, Tuesday evening, critiquing the work of six of their colleagues. Here are some of the comments that were shared:

Mike Austin (short story, “The Cold”) . . .

Amber Boudreau (chapters 8-9, Mavis) . . . Tracey wasn’t sure how old a character was. In her head, she had him much older than she thought he was. That would affect what her character thought of the budding romance between him and the protagonist. Bob appreciated the tension built around the necklace. John thought the ending line was good enough to get people to turn the page and keep reading.

Jack Freiburger (chapters 49-50, A Walk upon the Water) . . . Many more suggestions than usual.  Need to add Dad as the anxious person to stand in for the reader, make clear the Maine calmness in the face of just another sea disaster.  Group liked potted better than baptizing the old lady. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
May 10, 2019

 

Way back in the bookstore

A dozen writers circled up on B&N’s bargain book Tuesday evening to critique the works of seven of their colleagues. Here are some of the comments that were shared:

 

Bob Kralapp (chapter 7, Capacity) . . .

Lisa McDougal (chapters 10-11, The Tebow Family Secret) . . .

Amber Boudreau (chapters 4-5, Mavis): Amber read from Chapters 4 and 5 of her untitled urban fantasy. It was unclear to Lisa if the main character was following a recipe for cookies in Chapter 4. Lots of suggestions to cut Chapter 4 in its entirety or to really cut it down. Otherwise, not much to tell. (more…)

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Fifth Tuesday stories
April 30, 2019

Writing challenge: My worst critique ever. It can be fiction. Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

 

My Worst Critique Ever

Chris Zoern

“And you do understand that this is a very selective program, correct?” the Sergeant asked.

His words were muffled, and I had trouble processing them.  Rejected? How? I had the best time on the course, and I was certain I had done well on the written exam. I slowly nodded.

“I’m sorry, I really am. You’ll have to collect your things from your barrack by the end of the day,” he continued.

“Do I at least get to know why I’m not allowed in?” (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 24, 2019

Way back in the bookstore

Ten writers trooped into B&N Westside last week to hear Tracey Gemmell, Larry Sommers, and Paul Wagner share about what they learned at Writers Institute held a couple weeks ago in Madison. Our writers also critiqued the works of six of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

 

Tracey Gemmell (query letter and synopsis, Life Like Lavender) . . . Most agreed the synopsis for Life Like Lavender was too long. Larry also suggesting cutting much from the query letter and replacing it with more wit. Many thanks for your suggestions.

 

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 12-13, untitled novel) . . .  Amit and Kashmira submitted chapters of their book. Readers wanted to see more interaction between Uma and her father to show she was aware of what was going on in the country. Also, some part of Kedar’s chapter sounded more like stage direction and readers wanted more description of what Virabha looked like. Thank you all for your comments. We will work on the chapters. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 5, 2019

Where were you?

Seven writers gathered at B&N Westside Tuesday evening. If you were among the missing, here are some of the comments in the critiques you didn’t get to hear:

 

Chris Zoern (chapter 1, Apostate) . . .

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 10-11, untitled novel) . . . Amit and Kashmira submitted two chapters of their untitled novel. There were concerns about using italics for the flashbacks as well as the length of flashbacks. Jack wanted more emotional reaction to the flashback, John wondered if they were all needed. Larry likes some of the descriptive language and Jerry pointed out the inconstancy in using the word “Elder” throughout the chapter. Also, Jack thought Uma’s character was rather dull. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 1, 2019

 

Back again at last!

 

One short of a dozen writers returned to B&N Westside on Feb 19th to critique the works of five of their colleagues. We were not snowed out, rained out or froze out – something to celebrate. Here are summaries of some of the things that were said:

Larry Sommers (Letter to the Editor of the Svenska Dagsbladet) . . . Jerry wants to know how the doctor knows the ages of the children he’s never met and suggests adding the word about. The story drew Tracey in, but she didn’t think it was a letter to the editor. Maybe if he got rid of the beginning and end. Jack didn’t think it was arch enough and recommended making it more “Dickensian,” with a real letter to the editor and then a letter to the author’s sister with the whole (short) story. Jean enjoyed the interaction between the main character and the young girl. Amber was a little unclear as to what the author’s goal was. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
November 23, 2018

At Barnes & Noble Westside

For the second meeting in a row, seven writers gathered in the magic circle. They critiqued the work of seven of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapter 1, rewrite, untitled novel) . . . Jack would prefer the story open with a wide shot and then had a question about how dark
it was exactly. He also had comments about continuity and breaking up sentences. Jerry thought the story was going to be about the tree. Cindi found the descriptions beautiful, but wondered why they traveled down to the temple and back. Larry and Jack are looking for some symbolic value as they’ve read ahead and know what’s coming. They’re in search of a hook. (more…)

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