Posts Tagged ‘IHOP’

Tuesdays With Story

February 7,, 2023

First Word…

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

—Jane Kenyon, from A Hundred White Daffodils

Tuesday evening…

Eight TWS writer attended the meeting via Google Meet, five of which read from their works in progress. Here is a summary of what was said:

—Amber Boudreau…Amber read from chapter 25 of her urban fantasy Second Act. Most seemed to agree both chapters moved the story along well, but the beginning of chapter 25 could use some work in grounding the reader in the main character’s point of view. Unbeknownst to Amber, some people didn’t receive the chapters, so there weren’t a ton of comments. Therefore, it was amazing and people can’t wait to read more.

John Freiburger…Started the revised, amended continued etc. Jesus Walked into the Ihop.

The brief email sent to explain the concept was recommended as a forward to separate a consideration of the Christian message from Iconoclasm. It seems the work is now willingly accepted as speculative Christology.

The voice is light, colloquial, and at times humorous in the first two chapters, which will require effort to continue. If you too found yourself to be 2000 years old, resurrected from the dead and somewhat lost in ever-changing cultures and “Christian” religions that are wildly at odds with each other, you might also have a skeptical voice and a somewhat perplexed and humorous approach to the world.

—Judy Cummings A Real Hero, Chapters 12-13

There was some discussion over whether the plot was developing too quickly. A suggestion was made to lengthen the timeline in order for Steve’s dad to develop more trust in Blue-Eyes. The group highlighted some places where readers’ believability was stretched. Thanks for the feedback. 

Amit TrivediIf Not For The Partition, Chapters 4, 5

Write in depth the  ‘monkey’ and ‘train’  scenes. Cut the too childish love scenes. The flashback was too long. Also, it was hard to figure out when it was over. Since the book is in present tense, it was suggested to consider using past tense for flashbacks. Thanks, Amit.

Bob KralappPaper Wasps, a short story.

Reaction to the story was mixed. Some wanted more from the ending, while others felt that it was satisfying. Scenes presented in the first part were somewhat muddy and needed to be crisper. Many good buildups were created (the bully girl, the drugstore conversation, the damp garbage bag that didn’t rip open, etc.), but were left undeveloped. Thanks to all for the excellent comments.

Larry F. SommersUntitled WWII novel, first two chapters.

In this version the older brother, Jag, is more relatable as a brother. He still needs more interiority, more sense of his remorse over Hal’s injury. The early morning scene placed in front of the coal mine scene helps fill out the context, but the opening dream sequence either needs to be cut entirely (John) or greatly enhanced (Jack). Thanks, everybody. Your feedback has been very helpful.

February 21, here’s who’s on deck…

John Schneller – Precious Daughter

Paul Wagner – ?

Judy Cummings – A Real Hero

Amit Trivedi – If Not For the Partition

Jack Freiburger – ?

Amber Boudreau – Second Act

Bob Kralapp takes on Writer’s Mail for the month of February.


The standard opinion is to steer clear of cliches. (Avoid them like the …) Which is

reasonably good advice on its face. And then there is the advice to approach them with caution. Know what you’re dealing with. Also good advice. Being informed. First, there is the cliched phrase. And then there is the cliched situation. Beginning a story with a dream being one of the latter. Reasons for avoiding it come down to it being a ‘bait and switch’ tactic. That is: the reader is presented with a situation that has little or nothing to do with the story that follows. The one novel I know of that starts with a dream is Ursula Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven. And that opening isn’t even a dream, but a description of the dreamer awakening. Which is to say, a reclaiming of the cliche, a reimagining of what was an exhausted convention. Whether that sort of opening can ever be used again is open to debate. Probably not. But it goes to the point that an informed writer can breathe life into the deadest of dead clichés.

Last Word…

“I approach the work as though, in truth, I’m nothing and the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true. Writing has saved my life.”

—Louise Erdrich


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