Posts Tagged ‘Mystery to Me’

Tuesdays with Story
September 30, 2015

“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” – Emily Dickinson

It was Fifth Tuesday at Panera Bread. I’m sure it was fabulous.

Other Ins and Things

Mystery To Me wants your vote . . .
Mystery To Me Bookstore owner Joanne Berg wants you to vote for her store as your favorite Madison bookstore in Madison Magazine’s “Best of Madison” 2016 selections. She’s been good to Tuesdays With Story, so cast your ballot. It’s all done online, and you can vote once a day between now and October 17.

Here’s the link to get you to the voting site: http://madisonmagazine.secondstreetapp.com/l/Best-of-Madison-2016/Ballot/HomeampLifestyle

Planning way, way ahread . . .
Our next Fifth Tuesday is March 30, 2016. Put it on your calendar now. First-and-third group will host. (more…)


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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
March 11, 2015

He said it . . .

“Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.” – H.W. Fowler, lexicographer (1858-1933)

Who’s up next . . .

March 17: Lisa McDougal (chapter, Tebow Family Secret), Amber Boudreau (???), Bob Kralapp (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 14, Coastie Girl), Millie Mader (chapter 62, Life on Hold), and Judith McNeil (???).

March 24: ???

March 31: Fifth Tuesday . . . meeting at Mystery To Me Bookstore

April 7: Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 15, Coastie Girl), Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Mike Rickey (poems), Cindi Dyke (chapter, North Road), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 14-15, Rooster’s Story).

Fifth Tuesday . . .

Three weeks away, March 31, at Mystery To Me Bookstore. Are you going to be with us?

Here’s the writing challenge: Many writing seminars use lists of prompts to provide ideas for short stories. For this challenge, create your own list of six prompts to read to the assembly. They must be amusing, at least enough to help fight off sleep.

Ruth Imhoff offers an example: How to survive the Zombie Apocalypse! Ruth thought that was funny, but you’ll do better. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
February 11, 2015

She said it . . .
“Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” – Colette, author (1873-1954)

Who’s up next . . .
February 17: Lisa McDougal (chapter 26, Tebow Family Secret), Amber Boudreau (flash fiction), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter 12, part 2, novel), Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 11, Coastie Girl), Millie Mader (chapter 60, Life on Hold), and Andy Brown (chapter, The Last Library).

February 24: ???

March 3: Alicia Connolly-Lohr (chapter 12, Coastie Girl),, Pat Edwards (???), Kashmira Sheth & Amit Trivedi (chapter, novel), Mike Rickey (poems), Judith McNeil (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapters 9-10, Rooster’s Story).

Fifth Tuesday . . .
It’s only seven weeks away . . . March 31 at Mystery To Me Bookstore. Second-and-fourth group hosts. And this is a potluck event, so plan now for what you want to bring to share. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Week of April 1, 2014

April editor . . .
Andy Pfeiffer is Writers Mail editor for this month. Got news or got feature stuff or something you’ve found on the net that will help writers? Send it to Andy.

Minutes from Tuesday . . .
Nine of us gather around the table, tolerating Amber showing them pictures of New Zealand before they get started.

Millie Mader shares Chapter Fifty-Two of Life on Hold with the group. Andy wonders how Erin walks right in and gets hired on the spot. Pat assures us there weren’t (and still aren’t) a lot of formalities. Pat thought the chapter moved forward. Jerry wondered what the physical feeling of mellowing out felt like. Andy felt one character would be more insistent. Millie has set us up for her main character to take a car trip rife with sexual harassment. John reminds Mille that she’s the character’s author, not her mother.

Andy Pfeiffer shares a few chapters (13-15) from The Void. Judith questioned one character’s comment on another’s behavior. Amber wanted one character to be speechless. Pat wanted chapter thirteen to cut back on the mentions of beverages and also the word ‘cute.’ Pat has a technical question relating to Chapter Fourteen and doesn’t think what happens there makes sense. Andy B. felt he left the chapters knowing everyone’s motives a little too well.

Amber Boudreau reads the first three chapters of a new novel, Stone. Andy P. wants some kind of introduction to the person telling the story as it’s in the first person. Andy B. thought the narrative was enough to keep him going. John suggests the nurse could give a hint in that instance. Pat suggests cutting the last line of the second chapter. John reminds the group that opening the book with a character in amnesia is a situational cliché.

Bob Kralapp shares Chapter Three of “Hole in the Wall.” Pat liked that the character went and held the gun, but still wants her brother to get rid of it. Judith has a question about a customer. Jerry points out that the character only puts one foot in the tub and not both when she dries her feet off after. Jerry suggests that the gun might be valuable and wonders why a collector wouldn’t want it. Pat notes that Bob has really nice verbs, but Jerry suggests removing some descriptors.

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Writer’s Mail
February 28, 2014

Second and Fourth Meeting February 25, 2014 at Barnes and Noble
Warm and cozy at Barnes & Noble Tuesday night… it was an all-girls night as we read through three pieces.

Ruth Imhoff brought in her short story contest submission, “Futile.” Deb and Katelin weren’t entirely certain of how it ended. Carol figured out where Ruth was going, but wasn’t quite sure how she’d gotten there. It’s not clear that the main character is a courier and that if he can only evade capture for a few hours, he’ll be safe. Holly liked certain elements of the story being vague, especially since the limit of 500 words is so tight. She suggested looking for use of the word “was” and figuring shorter ways to say the same thing – frees up space for more to be put into the story. Jen thought the needle at the end of the story might have been the tracker. Enjoyed the suspense and flow of the story.

Holly Bonnicksen-Jones read a chapter from Coming Up for Air. Katelin felt that it read well and enjoyed the scene with the characters being allowed to be “normal.” Carol wanted more of a pause after each text – something to interrupt the reader in the same way the text interrupts the conversation. Terry suggested putting in a reaction from Liza as she recognizes Ty pulling away from her. Jen thought perhaps she’d wonder if the texts were coming from a boyfriend? Kristin said she’s still not sure what the story is actually about, and we all discussed the character of Liza, where she came from and where she’s going. It’s important for the reader to be rooting for Liza to change, and needs to understand what is motivating that change.

Carol Hornung presented a scene from Ghost of Heffron College. Terry wanted to know more about how Kyle felt regarding the “nothingness” that Brandi is afraid of, and suggested tying it to his own situation. She also liked the connection of the people in Brandi’s past to people in Kyle’s present. Katelin suggested having Kyle hesitate before lighting the candle. Holly pointed out the inconsistency of the use of Overlook and Outlook. What is it? Also some concern that the narrative gets too negative on religion. Would be good to back off a bit. Maybe make discussion more conversational; what would Kyle’s professor’s say? (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
February 19, 2014

First and Third Meeting February 18, 2014 at Barnes and Noble

Cindi shares part of her novel North Road. Lisa notices there’s a lot of introspection, but she would like to learn more from the narrative and dialogue instead. Andy suggests changing the POV to first person. Pat liked the interplay between characters at the dinner scene but she agrees that she should get to the end faster. Millie thought some of the descriptions were beautiful. Overall, there’s a little too much telling and not enough showing. Jerry suggests cutting the last sentence.

Andy reads from two short stories. The first story; Millie and Lisa thought it was interesting. Lisa wonders if it should be longer. Pat asks a question about word choice. Ruth wonders why one character doesn’t have a bigger reaction to being slapped. Cindi wonders if the character can go without the slap and instead throw something to the ground. As for the second story; Lisa thinks there’s a section that could get cut right away. Pat wonders why the clone would be clothed. Jerry has a problem with the face of the clone. Pat wonders how the clone is able to speak at the end. John wonders if the first line could be skipped altogether.

Amit reads from an untitled work. Jerry and Pat wonder whose story it is. The first person we meet is not the main character, but his daughter and fiancée are. Pat thinks the garden scenes and the kitchen scenes were really well done and very descriptive of all five senses. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail for 11/13/13

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Tuesday at the Bookstore
2nd & 4th gathered at Barnes & Noble Tuesday night. First item on the agenda – where are we going to meet in December?

Problem solved! Karen Zethmayr secured the Monroe St Art Center, 2526 Monroe St across from the Laurel Tavern on the 10th. The space MSAC has taken over is one “bay” of what used to be Pasqual’s. The door to that section is the first entrance to the left of the big red awning that says “Amplify Art.” Please arrive promptly at 7, as we need to be out by 8:30pm.

As for the second meeting in December, we decided to go ahead and cancel. Apparently a lot of people already have plans on December 24th! 🙂

First up for critiquing: Deb Kellerman and “Ms. Williams.” Karen enjoyed the chapter. Katelin realy related well to Rose, but felt that character names were used too often. Karen said things could be trimmed by getting rid of phrases like “on the other hand.” Terry felt a few sentences could be combined – that would tighten up the scene and get rid of a lot of character identifying. She also thought the description of Mom in the suit could be moved up to where she spoke at the meeting. Holly said the scene had nice flow, though the words were sometimes too adult for a 12 year old. Kristen liked the conflict and how it really showed the differences between the two girls. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
October 31, 2013

“First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about.” – Bernard Malamud

Notes from 10/29/2013
Lisa reads from Chapter Seven of The Tebow Family Secret. Pat was confused as to why one character’s friend was there and how she got in. Andy liked the content of the chapter but he had a question about the wedding and what the dance was for. Jerry says this is a talking scene, which makes it a sleeper unless there’s something physical going on. Pat says there’s a lot of information and some tension, which is good, but there could be more. Jerry didn’t think the scene in the bleachers was believable partly because he didn’t think the bleachers are a place to discuss medical diagnosis. Andy felt the word ‘just’ was overused.

Pat shares her poem Instruments of Flight. Judith loved it. Lisa really liked it. Andy liked that every stanza was different. Bob liked there was a nice establishment and at the end it felt a little up in the air, no pun intended. The mystery almost overshadows the poem itself for Bob. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

September 3rd Meeting for 1st and 3rd Group
Lisa McDougal read from chapter 6 from Tebow Family Secret. Ruth commented that the dialogue was great and that the story flowed. Betsy found Adam’s discussion of the details surrounding his wife’s disappearance intriguing. Jerry commented that the reference that Jessica makes about her New Jersey accent needs to be spelled out so that the reader can “hear” it. He also suggested that the beginning of the chapter could be shortened. Lisa said that she didn’t like the ending of the chapter. Betsy suggested that she cut the last line. The rest of the group made suggestions that Jessica could just shrug, not making any response to Adam’s abrupt order to refrain from bringing up his wife’s disappearance in the future. Judith suggested that Jessica could just change the subject. Amber suggested that she could bring up something that happened earlier in the chapter.

Millie Mader read chapter 46 from Life On Hold . Andy and Lisa both felt that Scot’s last comment saying he wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas, could be more compelling if he gives the reason. Jerry suggested that Scot could say “That is going to be a problem”. There was also a discussion as to whether chemo was given as a shot or a drip at the time. Millie said it would be a drip and that shots of other medication were also administered. Andy mentioned that the conversation at the end between Erin and Dolly should have a smoother transition between discussion on Danny’s overdose and their anticipation about going back to school.

Ruth Imhoff read chapter 4 from Motto of the Hound. Jerry commented that FBI Agent Williams would need to get permission from the local police to do anything on the case. Ruth explained that Agent Williams is the “bad” guy. The group asked Ruth about Blackfan’s strange reaction after the phone conversation with Agent Williams. She explained that Williams uses hypnotic suggestions to influence the behavior of people who may disagree with him. The other question raised by the group was the reason Blackfan was unaware that Simon, who has been his partner of five years, was formerly an FBI agent. Jerry suggested that Blackfan should question Simon more about her that. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesday With Story
August 20, 2013

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” – Peter DeVries

Tuesday at Barnes & Noble . . . (thank you, Amber)
Lisa shares chapter five of Tebo’s Family Secret. Jerry asks where the manor house is because for a place to have its own zip code, it has to be huge. Pat was surprised by the intensity of some of the chapter, comparing it to Dynasty. Millie requests a synopsis. To Pat it seems really a lot and very violent. Jerry agreed the scene seemed out of place. Pat wonders why the character’s family doesn’t make up a story for her. Jerry expected that character to get fed up and leave. Pat liked the dialogue, though it was out of character for her. Lisa is concerned that she is not giving the reader enough information and says that she may end up scrapping the chapter altogether. Jerry suggests cutting some of the dialogue about hair color and styles.

Andy shares a second set of scenes from Pilleum. Millie wonders where this takes place. Andy wonders what we think of the villain. We all agree that he is unlikable. Pat doesn’t think of him as a villain yet, just an irritating bureaucrat and found the motives of one of the characters unclear. She suggests giving the characters something to do.

Bob shares a couple of poems with the group. Judith liked the second part of Last Snowfall of the Season where he describes a bird without calling it a bird. Pat found some really nice word images. In October Shower, Jerry had a question about the first arc – he never envisioned the sky as an arc. Judith suggested swapping out one of his uses of the word “pavement” as they follow one another closely. (more…)

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