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Posts Tagged ‘Fifth Tuesday’

Tuesdays with Story
March 6, 2020

The first word . . .

Skip a day or more between writing sessions and your mind will drift away from the deep moments of your story. You’ll have to slog back to the place abandoned if you had written every day.  (a note that has been on my wall for so long I forgot who it came from)

 

They met at Barnes & Noble . . .which they won’t do again for a while because of Covid-19.

 A full table of authors commented on style, word choices, and moments in history. Much aid and opinion offered to the well being of all projects.

— Meg Williams (???) . . . A LOT of old noir crime feel going on with the first chapter and I need to get away from that

– A lot of character action logistics need a LOT of work.

– Instead of killing characters, I need to kill all of the adverbs used in the narrative portions

– A surprise plot twist involving human trafficking instead of a typical drug bust.

– Conclusion: First Chapter needs to be rewritten and resubmitted for critique. There’s definitely some bad writing habits that I really need to break. So I’m going to take a page out of Taylor Swift’s book and Shake It Off and Write On 🙂 (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story

February 4, 2020 meeting.

The first word…

Ernest Hemmingway wrote: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” But that seems a little too dramatic to me, like the guitar player saying he “played until my fingers bled.” Really? More realistically from Hemmingway is, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Years later, Anne Lamott followed up on this idea with an entire chapter of her book on writing, “Bird by Bird,” entitled, “Shitty First Drafts,” which explained that it’s okay to have a first draft that might be a little rough. I’m not sure where I’m going with that, except to say that it’s good to know that even Hemmingway had to start somewhere. (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story
November 14, 2019

The first word . . .

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially on some piece of writing or paperwork, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work, the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle under the desk lamp. The light from a lamp gives the cat great satisfaction. The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impeded your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough.”

― Muriel Spark (1918-2006), Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist

Tuesday evening at B&N Westside . . .

A small group gathered, six of our regular writers plus a guest, Huckleberry Rahr, a math prof at UW/Whitewater and write of YA novels looking for help in getting published. She joined the group and is on the schedule for November 19 (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story
October 19, 2019

The first word . . .

“I was a lot dumber when I was writing the novel. I would come home every day from my office and say, ‘Well, I still really like the story, I just wish it was better written.’ At that point, I didn’t realize I was writing a first draft. And the first draft was the hardest part. From there, it was comparatively easy. It was like I had some Play-Doh to work with and could just keep working with it – doing a million drafts and things changing radically and characters appearing and disappearing and solving mysteries: Why is this thing here? Should I just take that away? And then realizing, no, that is there, in fact, because that is the key to this. I love that sort of detective work.”

― Miranda July (1974-), film director, screenwriter, actress, novelist, short story writer

Tuesday evening at the bookstore . . .

A small group of writers—six in all—huddled around a table on the bargain books floor, where they proceeded to critique the works of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

— Jack Freiburger (chapter 62, A Walk upon the Water) . . .

— Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 24-25, untitled novel) . . .

— Cindi Dyke (children’s picture book, Kerpout) . . .  This poem is the first in a series of picture books for young children. Jerry wondered why Kerpout has hooves instead of paws,  but he is a mythical woodland creature (Kerpout, not Jerry) and I see him with hooves. Jerry also didn’t think chocolate ice cream for breakfast would make you sick. I’m willing to test that out for accuracy. Kashmira thought a bit of adult vocabulary in a child’s picture book is fine, but it needs to be limited. Several thought the metrical structure needs attention in a couple of stanzas. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays With Story

October 1, 2019

ONLY ONE SUBMISSION WAS RECEIVED FOLLOWING THE MEETING (THANK YOU LARRY)

Larry:

Chapters 27-28, Freedoms Purchase:  Jack noted a few details relative to Lake’s estimation of John Crittenden and Henry Clay; the likelihood of oranges in an Illinois summer in 1850s; and the possibility that the Chicago Options Market would be available to Anders in the newspaper [Answer to Jack: The Chicago Board of Trade was established in 1864 but did not start a formal options market until 1973.]. John noted that things seem pretty sweet for our immigrants in these chapters, not much conflict—which is okay as long as it doesn’t go on too long. I promised that I will add a quart and a half of conflict to Chapter 29. Bob noted that there actually is conflict in these chapters, but it’s domestic conflict between Anders and Maria, not too overt. Thanks to all for their comments and I will soldier on. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
July 23, 2019

The first word . . .

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits (of a writer) is persistence.”

― Octavia Butler (1947-2006), sci-fi author

At B&N Westside . . .

Cody Benjamin, our writer friend from New Mexico, stopped in to show off his first thriller, Shaitan. It came out in May. He’s now writing his second.

Summer travels knocked our attendance down to six who critiqued the works of five of their colleagues. Here is some of what was said:

Jack Freiburger (chapters 51-52, A Walk upon the Water) . . . not many comments Tuesday night.  Seems the anchor adventure was fine, some concern about the footballs game details, but few comments in general at the meeting.  Have not had time to check postings yet.

Jessica Smith (chapters 1-2, rewrite, Holding the Balance) . . . Overall, there was improvement in the two rewritten chapters. The story is good, but I need to show the reader the action, rather than tell the reader. I need to have the characters think in the first person more and do less explaining of their backgrounds. Other suggestions include: (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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