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Tuesdays with Story

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January 4th, 2022

Geraldine Brooks
“Write what you know. Every guide for the aspiring author advises this. Because I live in a long-settled rural place, I know certain things. I know the feel of a newborn lamb’s damp, tight-curled fleece and the sharp sound a well-bucket chain makes as it scrapes on stone. But more than these material things, I know the feelings that flourish in small communities. And I know other kinds of emotional truths that I believe apply across the centuries.” (Writers on Writing, New York Times, July 2001)

Here’s who presented on Tuesday evening:

Kashmira Sheth (Nina Soni, Best Hostess) Kashmira submitted Chapters 7-9 of Nina Soni, Best Hostess. Overall comments were positive. Some felt that a little more clarification about the kid flying day and the Holi Festival would be good. There was also a comment about earlier interaction between Jay and Nina that I had not addressed. Thanks for all the feedback.

Mike Austin (Dumpster Fire, revision) I received a lot of great comments and conversation for DF. The picture of Dave is stronger, but still needs fleshing out, and read more like a novel, especially the beginning. There needs to be more reason for Grady to not like or trust Dave. And who the heck is Rachel? Why does Grady suddenly decide to side with her? Just because she’s angry at Dave? There needs to be more information about Dave’s father, and Grady’s relationship, or lack of one, with his own father. And do we know for certain that Dave is fired? Why is “Dumpster Fire” a relevant title? Is Grady’s life also a dumpster fire? Or everyone’s life? How? Everyone felt that the ending works but needs more of a change in Grady to back it up. Thanks so much!

Amber Boudreau (Dragoneer 2) Amber shared the next three chapters of her sequel to The Dragoneer. Kashmira thought she did a good job of describing the main character’s sense of grief upon waking but thought she could have let her stew a bit longer in her thoughts. Larry and John agreed on removing a few spots of too much telling. Jamie was confused by the handkerchief and hopes the character didn’t end up eating it. Mike thought the women in the story would have been more traumatized by their experiences and wanted to read more of that.

Next Meeting

On January 18th, Larry will be out of town, so TWS will gather on Google Meet instead of Zoom. The meeting link for the 18th is: meet.google.com/jjb-htiu-vnm

For January 18th, the presenters will be:

John Schneller (chapters, Blessed Daughter)

Kashmira Sheth (chapters, Nina Soni, Bestest Hostess)

Amber Boudreau (chapters, Dragoneer 2)

Bob Kralapp (short story)

Amit Trivedi (?)

Our editor

Bob Kralapp will edit the January issues of Writer’s Mail. If you have something good you’d like him to include, email it to Bob.

I keep coming across different opinions about this advice: write what you know. Some believe this is the worst possible instruction, and that the writer should write about what is not known. That is, I guess, what is not known but can be discovered by way of applying research to imagination (or the other way around). Or maybe just relying on flat-out imagination to render up a story into daylight. Many have had great success going this route. And I’m in favor of curiosity. And imagination. Especially imagination, because without that, what’ve you got? But on the other hand…

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