Posts Tagged ‘John Galligan’

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays With Story
June 8, 2011

Someone asked Tom Wolfe his advice for writers.
“I would say get out of the building and look around. I say, if you spent 30 days in any place in this country, I would say you would come up with material you never knew existed before.”

Tuesday at B&N . . .
Jim Cue rejoins the group from 2nd and 4th after several years. Another visitor, Jennifer, also joins the group (she writes poetry!)

Randy reads from a backstory he put together for Hona and The Dragon. Millie thought it helped her understand Hona’s story. Greg had a comment about the style. He thought it was a little difficult and pulled him out of the story. Aaron agreed it might be a little hard for young adults to follow. Jen wanted to know if this would be printed somewhere in the book. Kim thought parts of it would be revealed throughout the story – definitely not a preface – there’s too much telling, not enough description for Greg. Millie thought this was part of the Hona story and Randy tells us it has roots in this backstory. Rebecca thought it flowed, but she missed character development and thought it could have been describing dragon history, not the human history of the story.

Kim shares chapters 60 and 61 from City of Summer. Millie thinks Kim writes beautifully, but she still doesn’t understand – she thinks one character is another’s father, thought they were married at some point, but Kim explains some reincarnation has gone on. Rebecca suggests using the word reincarnation in the story – maybe several times. And Rebecca thought a scene of one character raising another would help. Jim suggested putting something on the shelf and letting it gather a little dust before brushing it off and reading it out loud. Greg wants to know what this has to do with James and who the antagonist in the story is. It doesn’t have to be a single character, but there has to be a conflict somewhere. Kim also lets everyone know she figured out why James is important to the story. Millie suggests a synopsis.
Aaron shares part 8 of his screenplay Hell Cage. Aaron gives us a bit of a synopsis to start. Millie thought it was interesting and she’s wondering how the demon is going to get out. Rebecca thinks the demon sounds a little haughty. Aaron says he should sound a little arrogant. Randy wondered why the demon just didn’t go for the blood when he had a chance. Jim suggests the blood might have to be freely given. Greg wonders how descriptive you’re really supposed to get in a script. Amber thought one character didn’t need to be shown bound and gagged. Greg asks if we know how the demon gets around from person to person. Jen asks what kind of power the residual demon would have. Rebecca is looking forward to demon wrestling. The more Randy understands the demon’s motivation, the more compelling the story becomes.

Amber shares chapter 21 from her YA novel. Bucktown needs grounding. And lots of other great comments I’m not fast enough to type. (more…)


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March 31, 2011
Writer’s Mail
by Carol Hornung

Quote of the Day. . .

“Writing well means never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.’” – Jef Mallett, creator of the comic strip Frazz, 07-29-07

Fifth Tuesday . . .
And the winner is Andrea Kirchman for her writing challenge story, “The Interview”.

Said judge and Madison College creative writing instructor John Galligan, Andrea’s story was the best of the best because of the dramatic tension she built into it, that she had done it in the fewest words. “We readers are looking for tension and conflict all the time,” he said. “In this one, both characters have a dramatic need. And what a great first line: The first thing I saw, when Katie Tinder took the bag off my head, was her smile.”

Fourteen writers submitted pieces. The stories John selected for runner-up honors are “Bears in Space: Interview with Roz”, Greg Spry; “The Match of the Century: Knightmare vs The Author”, Aaron Boehm; “Meet You on the Mountain”, John Schneller; “Interview with a Monster”, Clayton Gill; and “The Interview”, Cathy Riddle.

For Andrea’s win, she will receive a critique of the first 50 pages of her novel from John and dinner on the town for four with John. Her challenge is printed below. To read all of the writing challenges, click here: https://tuesdayswithstory.com/writing-contest-3292011/

Plan now to be a part of our next Fifth Tuesday! It’s May 31. Second-and-fourth group hosts.

Andrea Kirchman’s winning Writing Challenge:

The interview
Andrea Kirchman, second-and-fourth

The first thing I saw, when Katie Tinder took the bag off my head, was her smile.
“You wanted to interview me?” she asked.
She dropped the bag on the floor and took a seat across the table. I looked down and saw an elaborate duct tape spider web cris-crossing my chest and biceps. I glared at her. She laughed and leaned her chair back against the wall. Propping her dirty cowboy boots on the edge of the table, she swept her right hand towards me. “Please, begin.”
My mind was racing. I was furious with how she had tricked me, but I also knew that any interview was going to be on her terms.
“Do you hit everyone on the head who wants to talk to you or is that just an honor reserved especially for me?” I asked. (more…)

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March 25, 2011
Writer’s Mail
by Carol Hornung

Quote of the Day
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

Fifth Tuesday . . .
Thirteen stories came in for the writing challenge. Tuesday evening at Booked for Murder, we’ll find out who wins the critique of the first 50 pages of her/his novel. Madison College creative writing instructor John Galligan will provide that.

Also at Fifth Tuesday, John will share his list of “The Dirty Thirty”, thirty things you and I shouldn’t do in our manuscripts.

Have you made your reservation? Email Jerry Peterson, and tell him you’re coming.

Tuesday night … from Holly Bonnicksen-Jones:
Kim Simmons, City of Winter, Chapter 39
Holly suggested that the word “mafia” pulls the reader out of the fantasy world. Need to find a different word. Kimmie asked why James would be using a negative power in the sentence with “emotions sucked out.” Kim explained that James wasn’t in control of his power at that time; he was governed by emotion. Kimmie suggested that if he is going to use an evil power, there should be a moment where he reflects on the fact that he resorted to that kind of power. Holly asked why can James use such power on his friend, but did not use that power on the enemy soldiers under his care. Kim stated that his power has been growing and not completely controlled yet. Someone suggested that the description of the ages and the discovery that Jamie is his son are both big moments and need to be separated so that there is more impact for each. Jack suggested that Kim consider the concept of the healers being co-opted by the military. Jack also suggested that the Chief Healer have more status and how more relationship between him and his art. Use the Hippocratic Oath in some way in the chapter or in the story. The group discussed the concept of 6 sexes in this world for one of the species. Jack suggested that if the concept doesn’t move the plot forward, Kim should take it out. Kim was reluctant to do that so Holly suggested that she weave the concept throughout the story. (more…)

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March 17, 2011
Writer’s Mail – Happy St Patrick’s Day! Who is your favorite Irish Writer?
by Carol Hornung

Quote of the Day. . .
“The road to ignorance is paved with good editors.” – George Bernard Shaw

Fifth Tuesday . . .
If you’re looking for that one last thing to tip you over the decision edge, to decide it for you that you have to be at this month’s Fifth Tuesday, here it is: John Galligan!

Published mystery writer – he’s got five books to his credit – and Madison College creative writing instructor John Galligan will share his list of “The Dirty Thirty”, thirty things we shouldn’t do in our manuscripts.

All right, so now email Jerry Peterson, with your reservation. Tell him you’re coming and whether you intend to bring a guest.

Also write your writing challenge story. Interview one of your characters – major or minor, you pick – and distill that interview down to a dynamite piece of no more than 500 words. Be imaginative . . . take your character to lunch or explore a cave with him/her or have your character take you for a ride on the Black Mamba rollercoaster at Great America.

Deadline for getting your writing challenge story in is March 20. Email that to Jerry, too.

Fifth Tuesday, March 29 at Booked for Murder, 7 p.m.

Be sure to bring something for the feasting table

So it will be:
Great food
Great fun
Great fellowship

As always when we get together. (more…)

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March 3, 2011
Writer’s Mail
by Cathy Riddle

Quote of the Day. . .
“Expectation is what colons and semicolons are all about; expectation and elastic energy. Like eternal springs, the colon and semicolon propel you forward in a sentence towards more information.”— Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

About the EITR (the Elephant In the Room) . . .
Writers and storytellers observe and comment on the world around them. That’s our job and calling—to notice the big things and little things. Can’t miss that Madison, the city where our group meets at Barnes & Noble, is in turmoil now over unions, collective bargaining, a budget bill and political power grabs.

Just today in west Madison, at a routine physical appointment at the UW Health, this editor noticed a tiny lapel pin that read “AFSCME,” worn by a pretty young nurse preparing to draw her patient’s blood. A pass-the-time polite conversation ensued:

Patient (seated, holding bare arm out): So you’re in Afs-mee. I see your pin there.

Nurse (whispering): Yeah, we all are here. And my husband belongs to the ess-eee-eye-you. (She swabs the vein site and tightens a rubber band around patient’s upper arm.)

Patient: The S-E-I-U. And that stands for…

Nurse Hold still. (She procures a needle and touches the extended arm): Good veins here. (Furrows her brow.) “SEIU. S. S. The S is…You know, I can’t remember what it means! God, I should know that. (Inserts needle.) Don’t move.

Patient: Is it the society of emergency…? (more…)

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February 25, 2011
Writer’s Mail
by Cathy Riddle

From The Best American Short Stories 2006 series editor Katrina Kenison: “… the best stories I’ve read over the years have seemed to require nearly as much of me, the reader, as of the writer, a kind of passionate engagement that challenges not only my intellect but my humanity. Reading, reading actively, strengthens the soul.”

Fifth Tuesday…
March 29 at Booked for Murder.

Complete your 500-word masterpiece—a distillation of an interview with one of your own characters—and send it to Jerry Peterson. As for the $10 entry fee, send it to Clayton Gill. If your piece really sings, you could win a critique of the first 50 pages of your novel by Madison College creative writing instructor John Galligan, plus dinner with him—an opportunity to learn a lot.

Galligan wrote his first novel, Red Sky, based on his experiences living, working and traveling in Japan. His fourth book in the critically acclaimed fishing mystery series, The Wind Knot, is set to release in March. He has degrees in English literature and environmental studies. On his bio page online he expresses interest in jazz, cooking, gardening and camping.

Does that give you any ideas? Write your piece and send it in soon.

Second-and-Fourth at B&N…
Terry – Chapter 7: The Tome
Anne mentioned that it appeared as if the husband had one too many hands trying to hold his wife back. Holly was mad that he burned the book and wondered if it was really gone? Jack felt that the scene (as was currently written) was not as believable as it could be. Quite a bit of time was spent discussing the phone call and what different characters’ reactions would be if the words and situations were slightly different. Holly brought the discussion to a close by mentioning how much she like how the chapter ended. (more…)

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Writer’s Maily
by Randy Haselow
February 4, 20110

Fifth Tuesday’s writing challenge . . .
Have you been sitting out the writing challenge? Just haven’t been able to get turned on to writing a short piece for Fifth Tuesday?
You need an incentive? Maybe a reward? How about an opportunity to have the first 50 pages of the novel you’re writing critiqued by John Galligan, published author and creative writing instructor at Madison College?
John will do that for you, but first you have to interview your character and distill that interview down to a dynamite piece of no more than 500 words. That’s the writing challenge for our next Fifth Tuesday, March 29.
Go ahead. Select one of your fictional characters – major or minor – and take her or him on an adventure, and the two of you talk. The best piece wins John’s critique.
This time there is an entry fee . . . $10. We’ll use all those $10 bills that come in to buy an outstanding dinner at a superb restaurant for you – if you are the winner – your spouse or friend, and John and his guest where you all will eat like royalty and discuss your writing.
Here’s the deadline. Email your mini-masterpiece to Jerry Peterson, no later than Sunday, March 20. On Monday, March 21, a reader, not a member of our group, will read the submissions . . . no names will be attached . . . and select the three best. The next day, on Tuesday, March 22, John will read the top three . . . again, no names attached . . . and select the very best of the best. And we’ll tell you who the writer of that piece is on March 29.
So you’re curious about that week gap between John’s judging and the announcement. During that week’s time, he’s going to be out of town. No doubt fishing. He does that a lot. Research for his novels.
All right, start writing, and next week, we’ll tell you who’s handling the money.
By the way, the first submission is in.
(thank you, Jerry)

Who’s up next . . .
February 8: Randy Haselow (chapter, Hona and the Dragon), Jack Freiburger (chapter, Path to Bray’s Head), Holly Bonnicksen-Jones (chapter, Coming Up for Air), Ann Potter (memoir), Kim Simmons (chapters, City of Winter), and Jen Wilcher (???).
February 15: Linda Meyer (chapter, Everything’s Going South), Jen Wilcher (chapter, The Hogoshiro Chronicles), Leah Wilbur (???), Clayton Gill (chapter 16, Fishing Derby), Greg Spry (chapter 4, Beyond Cloud Nine), and Aaron Boehm (screenplay/part 6, Hell Cage).
February 22: Terry Hoffman (chapter, The Tome), Carol Hornung (scene, Sapphire Lodge), Kim Simmons (chapters, City of Winter), and Anne Allen (chapter, A Fatal Homecoming). (more…)

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