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Albert Camus:
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

Tuesdays With Story Writers Mail, May 6, 2010
by Carol Shay Hornung

Note from the Editor: Hi gang. I’m jumping in to do the newsletter in May . . . Please send anything you might think would be useful. I’m aiming to have it out every Thursday, so with luck, here goes . . .

Tuesday Night at the Bookstore
Notes from Amber, 1st and 3rd

We are seven. Let’s see…yes, we have a male presence – Clayton! Now, we are eight. Woot, one more guy, Greg and finally John! And one newbie, Gwendolyn.

Pat is our facilitator for tonight!

Millie – Kim liked Zak in his hunky coat. Pat wondered if Erin’s parents would be amazed at how pretty she is or more about how grown up she looks. Millie gives us some background. Cathy was looking for more information on the debate at the end of the chapter. Clayton found lots of opportunities for detailing the relationship between Erin and her parents. Greg thought it flowed well but was looking for more drama. Nicole thought she could expand on conversations after consumption of the pot brownies.

Cathy – Millie thinks the analogies were great. Greg wants to know about beer, but doesn’t think there should be an overload of beer. John thinks we’re looking for a good story, not how to make beer. Clayton thinks some knowledge of beer should go toward solving the murder. Clayton thinks there’s opportunity for disagreement. Pat likes the characters and their dimensionality. Pat invents a new word – klugy, the opposite of elegant. John also liked the characterization of Nine. Greg thought it flowed well. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail 3/29/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“It’s a nervous work. The state that you need to write is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.” – Shirley Hazzard

Last Week
Only 4 folks showed up on Tuesday, so we didn’t really have a meeting (though we did talk and have a great time!).

Who’s Up Next…

Carol Hornung (Asperger Sunset – same scene as sent for March 23rd)
Terry Hoffman, new story – same scene as sent for March 23rd
Holly Bonnikson-Jones, Coming Up for Air (if her computer recovers)
Jack Frieburger, Path to Bray’s Head

Anyone else who wants to hop on the schedule is welcome!
(more…)

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Writer’s Mail

February 25, 2010 by Pat E.

“Writing a book is like one night of glorious sex and having it published is like giving birth to sextuplets.” – Cathy Crimmins

Writing Friends…

Deborah Blum

Check out the cover of Isthmus last week for an article about professor and author, Deborah Blum, http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=28242

UW journalism prof Deborah Blum will talk about and sign her book, The Poisoner’s Handbook at B&N on Thursday (February 25), 7 p.m.,  Blum won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for her science reporting the Sacramento Bee. In The Poisoner’s Handbook, she follows New York City’s first forensic scientists “to discover a fascinating Jazz Age story of chemistry and detection, poison and murder.”

Blum has been on UW/Madison’s staff since 1997. This is her fifth book.

 At Ye Olde Barnes & Noble – 2nd and 4th

Seven folks gathered Tuesday night at Barnes & Noble for readings and critiques.

Jack Freiburger read from Path to Bray’s Head.  How does Lester’s speech move the story forward? Carol Hornung noted that the poem is about Lester, his connection to Ireland, his identity, and Sean needs to find his own identity. Holly Bonnickson-Jones said to watch out for the overuse of “overwrought” and “spouting.”

Annie Potter’s Ginger was both lovely and heartbreaking, according to Anne Allen, who also felt the ending was a little abrupt. Clarify to the reader that the dog had been sold, even if the narrator doesn’t realize it. Also be careful of repeating words – sleep, daydreaming, and the name Lee were all used 3 times in quick succession.

The Journal is Terry Hoffman’s new novel, which Annie Potter declared, “like silk.” An excellent introduction to the story, though there’s difficulty in pinpointing the age of various characters. Simply dropping in some time references “over twenty years ago,” “less than three months ago,” would help establish the age of the various characters. Terrific details, like the strands of hair caught on the glasses.

Anne Allen brought in An American High School in Paris. Jack said there was too much about the school, not enough emotion or descriptions of the other students. Was kind of flat. Needs to lead the reader forward a bit more – like when the narrator is looking at the kids, wondering who will become her friend – show us who that girl is, lead us on a bit. Did like the origin of the family name.

Holly Bonnickson-Jones continued with Coming Up for Air, which is definitely getting into cougar territory. Jack felt that Liza taking a post-modern lit class would see her favorite author, Jane Austen, in a different light. We also wanted some description of David – what did he look like, how did he read the Byron poem? Also, when a pronoun and the name of the person is used in a paragraph, use the name first. (more…)

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