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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
December 21, 2018

 

Partying and critiquing at Alicia Ashman:  Present were Amber, Jack, Tracey, Bob, Millie, John, Larry, and Paul. Thanks Amber and Millie for bringing cookies!

Tuesday evening, here’s who had their work critiqued:

John Schneller (chapter 2, Broken.rewrite) . . . “Broken chapter 2 created scenes that needed clarity. Why would Broken be considered bait in Keefer’s trap? The explanation of Din status needs modification as both a worthless and a most valuable person were locked into the indentured service. The scorpion scene was well received.  Thanks to all!! And, Merry Christmas!”

Jack Freiburger (chapters 24-25, A Walk upon the Water) . . .  “I have been so busy I haven’t even looked at the comments yet. Seemed like it read well for the readers, enough action in as few words as possible with some humor that seemed effective.  Sean’s witness the arrival of Venus seemed to work.”

Amber Boudreau (chapter, Avice) . . . “Jack thought the main character would guess others were discussing her and had a problem with one character being described as mean, when they could just as well be described as professionally distant. Larry was looking for more of an emotional reaction from the main characters. Tracey just had to go and channel Jerry and insist tables don’t drink coffee. John suggested being more specific with the last line.”

Tracey Gemmell (blog entry on West Somerset Morris) . . .  “Tracey requested feedback on her blog. She felt it was covering too much ground and was too long. The group agreed. Jack suggested removing all the Morris dance information and including it after the links to more information. Larry felt it read more like a newspaper article on the members of the Morris group than an introspection of Tracey’s ties to England. The group agreed it was maybe two blogs. Tracey has now separated it out into two blogs: her story in one, the stories of the West Somerset Morris members in Part II. Many thanks for all your help.

As an aside, if you want to hear Tracey’s interview on Exmoor Radio, follow this link and scroll down to Stories in Depth.  http://exmoorradio.com/

 

 

Who’s up next

January 15

Larry Sommers (chapters 3-4, Izzy)

Millie Mader (???)

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapter, untitled novel)

Meg Matenaer (chapter, Write in Time)

Paul Wagner (???)

Cindi Dyke (chapter 3, The Mansion Secrets)

 

 

Next month

January 1, our next regular meeting night, stay home or go to a party. We won’t meet that night. We will resume on January 15.

And meet again on January 29, Fifth Tuesday. Tracey Gemmell will host us at her home in New Glarus.

The Fifth Tuesday writing challenge? It’s January in Wisconsin. We’re deep into winter. Where would you rather be? Maximum length for your story, poem, or essay is 500 words.

 

New editor

John Schneller is our Writer’s Mail editor for January.

 

Words make the news

Merriam-Webster executives announced their choice of the word of the year earlier this week. Here’s the story from the Associated Press:

Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice Department. Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle over months and months.

The word follows “toxic,” picked by Oxford Dictionaries, and “misinformation,” plucked by Dictonary.com.

Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s announcement that “justice” consistently bubbled into the top 20 or 30 lookups on the company’s website, spiking at times due to specific events but also skating close to the surface for much of the year.

While it’s one of those common words people likely know how to spell and use correctly in a sentence, Sokolowski pointed to other reasons that drive search traffic. Among them is an attempt to focus a train of thought around a philosophical problem, or to seek aspirational motivation. Such well-known words are often among the most looked up every year, including those that are slightly abstract, including “love,” he said.

The designation for “justice” came soon after President Trump’s one-time fixer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to conceal his boss’ alleged sexual affairs. He told a judge he agreed time and again to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds” out of “blind loyalty.”

It also came ahead of a Senate vote on the “First Step Act,” a criminal justice reform bill with broad bipartisan support. Earlier in the year, Kim Kardashian West not once but twice paid a White House visit on Trump to discuss prison and sentencing reform. Sentencing for drug crimes, treatment for opioid addiction, a loosening of cannabis laws, a Tesla probe, the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign: Justice will remain top of mind into the new year.

“These are stories that connect to the culture and to society across races, across classes,” Sokolowski said. “We get this word that filters in.”

That includes Twitter in a big way.

Often, when Trump tweets about the Department of Justice, he uses simply “Justice.” On Aug. 1, when he tweeted his wish for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Mueller investigation, searches spiked significantly. Trump referred to “obstruction of justice,” a separate entry on the Merriam-Webster site, prompting a lookup increase of 900 percent over the same date the year before.

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