Posts Tagged ‘J.K. Rowling’

Tuesdays with Story
November 20, 2020

The first word . . .

“Perhaps if we recognize the pleasure in form that can be derived from fairy tales, we might be able to move beyond a discussion of who has more of a claim to the ‘realistic’ or the classical in contemporary letters. An increased appreciation of the techniques in fairy tales not only forges a mutual appreciation between writers from so-called mainstream and avant-garde traditions but also, I would argue, connects all of us in the act of living.”

—Kate Bernheimer, writer, editor, and critic

Zooming Tuesday evening . . .

Nine TWS colleagues gathered on their screens to work through the chapters of six of their fellow writers. Here is some of what was said:

Kashmira Sheth (chapters 19-20, Journey to Swaraj) . . . Most of the comments were how to pick up pace and maybe combine the two chapters. There were some discussions about how to use foreign words. Also, there was a suggestion about providing more details about the past massacre.

Mike Austin (short story, “Hunter’s Moon”) . . . My short story, “Hunter’s Moon,” was well-received, with only few comments, such as the changing werewolves should not have enough awareness to register fear on the victim’s face. And it needs to be shown that they head him off before he reaches his vehicle. Thanks everyone for a fun evening!

Jack Freiburger (poems, “Fall Fire” and “Snow Day”) . . . Two accessible poems this week seemed generally acceptable.  Considering the simplicity of them, non-literary, I didn’t expect much comment, but it seems readers liked them, which was the goal. Spent most of my editing time on Jerry and Amit/Kashmira offering, where I feel I actually can contribute something as a reader.

Amit Trivedi (chapters 3-6, Keeper of the Keys) . . . 1. Start chapter 3 with smoke from the train. 2. Remove like ‘living in the past’ replace it with  something like ‘do we need to repay all our debts’ or let the story convey the meaning. 3. Use water in place of river. Has broader meaning. 4. Sharing food in the train—why? Does not move the story.

— John Schneller (chapter 30, Broken rewrite) . . . Several words struck people as being inappropriate for the setting—kid, crazy—better words, better story.  Jamie wanted clarity on the new hawk that flew in and out of the scene. Everyone felt that Witomzil’s discourse on when to fight needed to be shortened or broken up. I agree. And who better to break up a speech than an impatient squirrel hating dragon. The general rule of fantasy . . . never waste a dragon.


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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays With Story
July 16, 2013

Writer’s quotation . . .(thanks, Jerry)
“Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.” – Neil Gaiman, novelist/graphic novelist/screenwriter (1960- )

Tuesday at B&N . . . (thank you, Amber)
Ruth shares chapter four of Motto of the Hound. Lisa has a question about the match and the sketch artist, but Ruth explains they only had a face not a name. Jerry points out that one character joins the chapter out of nowhere, she needs to be brought in, not just appear. Pat thought it moved well and she’s understanding the work, but noticed one male character uses a female speech patterns. Lisa had to ask if one character was a man or woman. Alicia thought she had an opportunity to play up the comedy more. Going back to Ruth’s rewrite of Chapter three Jerry suggests using parallel construction with the speech tags. Pat and Jerry think the magic needs more narration.

Alicia shares a scene from Lincoln’s Other War. Lisa and Judith really liked this scene. Pat thought it had great visuals and has a comment about the color of Dogwood flowers there should be. She also thinks the ending could be zingier as it doesn’t make her want to turn the page.

Bob reads from an older version of part two from What is Missing. Lisa thought he could separate the letter reading from the rest of the narration to make it easier to read. Andy wasn’t so sure. Pat wonders if the last sentence is the end of the story. Bob says it is. Pat thinks that works, the main character doesn’t have to be back at the home by the end of the story and she thinks there are some great images. Jerry had a question about the door handle. There is some question of whether it matters if the reader knows the letter from another character is real or not. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
April 4, 2012
By Pat Edwards

“I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. I never in my wildest dreams expected this popularity.” – J. K. Rowling

At the B&N Tuesday Night
Greg shares Chapter 20 of Beyond Cloud Nine. Jerry wants to know why one character is checking for her pulse. Pat was wondering why she couldn’t find it. She also had to slow herself down so she could critique the chapter because it read very fast. Pat wants to know how one character is getting his input from the bugs planted on another character. Greg tells us he would not get the info in real time. How do we see something that’s colorless? Very tight writing.

Amber shares Chapter 4 of her Noble rewrite. Pat is disappointed the books don’t whisper to each other and wonders where Ivan is. Greg liked the descriptive chapter on a new character. John wanted more mystery associated with the young man in the library.

Lisa reads from the first chapter of her new story Follow the Yellow. Everyone liked the opening line, but there seems to some question of how mute one character seems to be. Is there actual voice box damage to cause the character to be mute or does she just choose not to speak? John wants to know why they explain this all to an almost stranger. Greg reminds us all not to get too attached to certain plot points. Pat thought the dialogue moved, but got lost in some of the exposition. Jen questions the grand mal seizure scenario also. John wanted to know who Javier was—he sort of pops up out of nowhere. A few of us weren’t sure about who the main male character was.

Jerry reads from Book 2—Rage of Thou Shalt not Murder. Pat did not like reading this because it made her that uncomfortable. Greg found the gun a little hard to follow—literally. John wonders why the character even needed the book for the gun, if he didn’t do anything with the book. Lisa didn’t think the character was a high school student. Rebecca liked the use of the term ‘art knife.’ John found the character a little nebulous and had a question about the evacuation that follows the gunshots. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays With Story
June 23, 2011

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.” — J.K. Rowling

Tuesday at B&N . . .
Amber kicked off the evening by reading from Chapter 22 of her still untitled YA novel. Kim wondered if the main character would notice her father thinking about something before he says anything. Pat wanted more action from the brothers at the dinner table. Jerry needed more reaction from the mother at the dinner table when the brothers rush back to the kitchen. Jen W. wonders if the dragon can cloak his scent as well as his looks. Clayton and Jerry have a problem with the number of speech tags throughout the chapter – some could be moved to increase suspense.

Greg Spry shares Chapter 7 from Beyond Cloud Nine with the group. Clayton thought the main character had been poisoned, but Greg tells us her symptoms are due to a combination of space lag, drug addiction, and being around family. A few people suggested he update the glow-in-the-dark stars and maybe the windows. Clayton wonders if the niece would defend the robot/pet. Pat’s looking for more sister/twin shorthand later in the chapter – would they get more catty as the chapter goes on? Millie likes that the main character is becoming more humanized. Jen W. didn’t think the Japanese word used for a particular member of the family was correct. Pat liked the way Greg slipped in the digital paper; very smooth.

Millie shares Chapter 26 with the group from Life on Hold. Kim called out one line she liked in particular. Pat loves Millie’s exposition but thinks she has a fetish for eye color. Which brings up the question, does hair color really matter? A few of the group weren’t sure why they would drive around the Chicago loop before heading to the Northwest suburbs, unless someone is trying to stall. Judith thought she captured the tension of meeting someone’s family. Clayton asked if one parent would believe another character’s story more than the other. Jerry thinks as it is, the dinner is kind of a throwaway; he wants the knock-down, drag-out row to happen over dinner, with the hired help around!

Liam shares a prologue or even a first chapter of a story with the group. Pat brings up the POV problems right away, but it was still readable. Jerry thinks the whole chapter should be from the main character’s POV. No one knew who the grainy picture was of. Jen didn’t think the FBI would be that calm with that many charges against one man. Aaron didn’t think the FBI would stop to tell the butler who they were there to see either; they would just bust in. Jen W. and Amber wondered who Scott and Rory are. Pat had a problem with the butler committing suicide. The list of charges seemed like such a farce to Randy, it set the tone for the rest of the chapter for him.

Rebecca shares a part of her Cheese Logue under the theme of cyclists. Pat really likes the stream of conscience writing. Jerry thought it was nicely done. Clayton questioned the tense. Rebecca says it should be in the past tense since they’re written as journal entries, but a few people noted a switch in tense. Judith thought it had some nice descriptions. Eileen thought she could take and develop the character of the cheeses even more. (more…)

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