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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for November 29, 2012

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

November 27 Meeting
Five people gathered at Barnes and Noble last Tuesday.

Rebecca, The Cheese Logue
The group suggested a few small changes, for example deleting repetitions like the description “important.” Katelin thought the middle seemed to drag some. Several people liked the ending, and Katelin commented on the nice bookend with the beginning of the chapter.

Liam, Fog-Gotten
Terri and Rebecca thought the part about the girl “handling junk” was disturbing, too strong, and suggested accomplishing the culture shock less shockingly. Katelin liked the lengths of the scenes, how they started short and got longer as Mike healed. Jen asked how Mike knows he hasn’t been moved. Rebecca wondered why Mike didn’t ask Taran why no one spoke English. Terri and Rebecca thought Mike should panic more when he wakes up and can’t function normally. He should check himself for injuries right away. Terri pointed out to watch language use as he heals to show gradual progress toward healing. If Mike is so calm and analytical because of boot camp, mention boot camp so the reader knows. Terri suggested another way to tell the reader about the previous head injury: maybe when Mike wakes up he thinks he’s recovering from the first injury and then realizes that can’t be right because he’s in the wrong place and that was a long time ago.

Terri, The Great Tome
Rebecca pointed out that the nurses would check on Rachel every 15 minutes while she’s in the hospital, even if they only look through the window. Also, there would there be bars on the windows, and there might not be a sink in the room. Jen wondered what the “charges” were at the end of the chapter. Katelin thought Rod and the therapy session were well written and believable. Liam thought the comment about silver bullets made it seem like Rod really didn’t believe Rachel. Katelin could see that he did believe her and was just joking, but something didn’t seem right about the jokes. It could seem off because werewolves and vampires are creatures that move, and the Tome is an inanimate object. Perhaps a comparison to the ring from Lord of the Rings would be more appropriate. Rod could suggest throwing it into Mount Doom. Or Rod could make fun of things by suggesting an exorcism, since Rachel said the book owns her. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for November 24, 2012

“Without chaos, there is no creation. Just look at a kitchen after a feast.”~ Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light, NaNoWriMo Pep Talk, November 23, 2012

November 20 Meeting
Jerry, “Rage”: We jumped in quickly with a small discussion about Jerry’s piece before the session officially started, and then picked it up again at the end of the meeting. Pat didn’t like that there was no reason why the teacher didn’t like Thad. The rest of the group didn’t agree. Lisa, thought there should be a set-up for the prop, like a chapter before so it doesn’t come out of nowhere. Pat, thought it would have been an hung jury if it would have been with the jury. Michelle didn’t believe there needs to be a reason why the teacher was mean to Thad.

Lisa, Poems: Pat liked the surprise in the first poem, “Reading with Grandma;” it’s not a sweet poem. Judith thought the line with “flinch” could be changed. Michelle wondered why that word was italicized. Lisa explained to emphasize the word “flinch.” Michelle thought the word “Grandma” should be added at the end again. In the second poem, Pat thought the title should be changed to “Smoking with Matt Damon” and liked the “groupie panties” line. Jerry wondered about the “edge of the toes” line and wondered if toes had edges. Susanne thought the word “ecstasy” was the wrong word and preferred the word “calm.” Millie suggested changing the “New Year’s Eve night” line by dropping the word “night.” In the third poem, Pat liked some of the images in some of the lines. Michelle liked use of the singular in the poem and thought that “floors” should be “floor”.

Michelle, “911 Dale”: Millie really liked the first paragraph and thought it was very descriptive. Pat liked the pace once the dialogue began. Lisa was confused about the point of view. Bob liked the opening and thought it felt like a collage. Pat and Lisa didn’t know whether the main character was a man or woman (it’s Michelle). Michelle wanted to know how to write that she was looking at all this stuff from a call center. She also wanted to know how she should put the info in order. Bob and Susanne liked the lack of info. Bob preferred that she doesn’t hold the readers hand as she writes. Susanne suggested playing with voice and tone. Pat suggested she keeps it in order the way it happened. Susanne said to keep the tone and rhythm of what’s in her memory. (more…)

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Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for November 15, 2012

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

November 13 Meeting
We welcomed our guest, Michelle Nightoak, and got right into the critiquing (and giggling. It seems there’s lots of giggling with this group at times).

Liam Wilbur presented his rewrite of the first chapter of The Fog-gotten. Katelin liked the images of the wires disappearing, but the water droplets pushed by soundwaves didn’t make sense. Michelle did like the idea of noise/sound replacing sight, though all thought the fog was a little too thick for any of these images if the main character couldn’t even see his hand at the end of his arm! Carol liked the way the character’s military background was brought into the story, but warned about the cliche of starting with the alarm clock. Rebecca urged him to keep writing – we’ve seen the first chapter enough, we want more!

Katelin Cummins presented a thorough description of the fantasy world where the Battle of Sista takes place. Terry said not to dwell too much on the details – many will fall into place as the story progresses. Carol likes the potential for conflict between religion and science regarding the substance. Rebecca said to focus on the characters, have fun, and allow yourself to make mistakes.

Terry Hoffman brought in a chapter from The Great Tome. Katelin likes how it built to the showdown, with everyone gathering at the house. Rebecca doesn’t want Rachel to kill herself! Katelin did say she lost track of the mitt during some of the middle of the scene. Jen pointed out that it is clear the book is angry – don’t need to tell us. Carol wasn’t sure the police would break in like that. Michelle concurred, saying it wasn’t likely around here, but that every police department handles situations in different ways. She did say they would evacuate the house before doing anything else, though, so make sure Rachel sees/hears everyone else leave. (more…)

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Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for November 7, 2012

“…as you print out another day’s worth of writing and add it to the stack of pages, embrace the sheer delight of seeing the world of your making assemble itself before you. . . . You are bringing something tangible into the world. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.”-Kevin Wilson, NaNoWriMo Pep Talk, October 31, 2012

November 6 Meeting
Michelle Nightoak joined the group

Lisa read from Chapter Eight of Follow the Yellow. Amber wondered how one character knows what another is thinking if this is told from the first person. Pat liked the scene overall and all of the different conflicts that come out of it. Everyone seemed to like the format Lisa used to show one character’s writing. Pat insisted it kept the work colloquial. Millie thought one character’s mother needs to watch out for her offspring a little more. Pat had a comment about the racy scene, but she thought it was pretty well blocked. Jen wanted to see a character pull an item out of a bag and wondered how that character knew where another was standing if she’s blind. Clayton wondered if a character would bring up their ex on Valentine’s Day. Jerry wondered if a guy would spend $200 on a purse for a girl on their first date. Aaron thought it might be a knock-off.

Millie read her reviews of Jerry’s book, The Watch and Spike’s book, At First Light. We all think Millie should post these!

Bob shared a flash piece with the group. Lisa thought it was very mysterious and had to read it multiple times. Bob tried to make each sentence a contradiction. Clayton thought the pronouns were a bit paradoxical. Pat thought for a short piece, it needs to be super-tight and introduces us all a new word; weltschmerz. She was looking for some hope and beauty and not so nihilistic. Michelle thought there was wonder, but not any hope. The group found the title confusing as well. (more…)

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Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for November 1, 2012

“A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

Fifth Tuesday . . .
What a crowd, 22 people cramming ourselves into Rebecca Rettenmund’s mom’s house – thank you Victoria Horn for hosting us and making that great vegetable lasagna – for this week’s Fifth Tuesday feast and celebration of vampires, zombies, and other terrors of the night.

We shared in eleven Fifth Tuesday stories of the supernatural. Go to our Yahoo group and click on FIFTH TUESDAY. You will find them there.

Special guest Ben LeRoy, publisher of Tyrus Books and a leader of our group a decade ago, answered questions on the changing publishing business, ebooks, what a publisher can offer an author that self-publishing cannot, and the hoops you have to go through to catch the eye of an agent. “It starts with finishing your book,” Ben said, “and then revising it and rewriting it and rewriting it and rewriting it to make it not just a good book, not just a pretty good book, but the best book it can be.”

Plan now for our next Fifth Tuesday, January 29. Put it on your calendar. Fist-and-third group hosts. (more…)

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Tuesdays With Story
WRITER’S MAIL for October 25, 2012

“Nobody becomes a writer overnight. Well, I’m sure somebody did, but that person’s head probably went all asplodey from paroxysms of joy, fear, paranoia, guilt and uncertainty. Celebrities can be born overnight. Writer’s can’t. Writers are made – forged, really, in a kiln of their own madness and insecurities – over the course of many, many moons. The writer you are when you begin is not the same writer you become.” – Chuck Wendig

Last Call for Fifth Tuesday!
Second-and-fourth hosts at Rebecca Rettenmund’s mom’s house, 702 Emerson Street, Madison. Ben LeRoy, of Tyrus Books, will be with us, discussing the rapidly changing publishing industry. Get your stories to Jerry and bring your dishes to pass for an evening of fun Tuesday October 30 at 7 pm! If you wrote a story, bring along a copy to read out loud. Stories will be assembled for the special October 31 Writer’s Mail.

Tuesday Night at Barnes & Noble
Blending in with the mid-term crowd, a half-dozen of us gathered for opinions and camaraderie…

Rebecca Rettenmund read Chapter 14, “Hunger” from her novel, The Cheese Logue. Katelin really enjoyed the piece. Terry singled out the line “Dirge mewed in a voice too small for his size” as a line she liked. The battle concept with the wheel of cheese was fun, too, though Carol didn’t like the cheese talking back or the NUM NUM NUMs, though others begged to differ. Jen was a little puzzled by the line “Back to June 5, Sunday,” wondering – did we ever leave? And Terry reminded Rebecca she needed to show the reader she put on the cheese hat again.

Terry Hoffman is closing in on the ending of The Great Tome. Like Rebecca, she’s on Chapter 14, and this one did a good job of building up suspense toward the ending. The last line, though, was a little confusing. Make sure we realize the bullet ricochets off the book and back at Rachel. Katelin also pointed out that there are three different affairs going on in the book. Might want to mix up the marital problems a little bit. And Carol liked the part where Rachel started to think that the tome is what caused her mother’s car accident. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail for October 28, 2011
by Jen Wilcher

“The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the other cat’s mat is a story.” – John le Carre

We had two new people join us, Jessie and Kat.

Terry Hoffman, The Great Tome
Terry explained that now Rachel is home and discovering the tome.
Cole suggested that there should be a little more description of where we are at the beginning of the section. The reader needs a better sense of place, a segue between the last section and this section. More of a description of Rachel at home. Katelin asked for more clarity of what is meant by “touch by rocks.” Terry meant the leather tooling on the book and will fix the description. Jen suggested explain what is meant by “Y” and Terry responded that it meant “YMCA” and would adjust the sentence. Holly asked about the “I’m on my knees” note, is this literal? Terry said that she is on her knees on the bed, to show surprise and maybe it needs a better description. Holly brought up some of the descriptions in the section as wonderful. Cole asked about the sentence that ends “…my eyes as if-.” He thought it was an error. Terry explained that the character was quickly switching from one thought to another. Jen suggested that she put the two sentences on two separate lines to strengthen the feeling of a switch in thought. Several asked Terry to explain how the main character wanted a baby, but no relationship. But then it appears that when she met Doug, they lived together and then even married. Holly and others in different ways, suggested that the paragraph be a little more descriptive as to what her feelings were. Kat asked about the writing and does it disappear. Terry explained how the writing appears and doesn’t disappear until the situation resolved. Holly suggested that Rachel be presented more obviously as a strong, independent woman so that when she starts unraveling over the book, it is understood that it is the stress of the book that is making her seem more vulnerable. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail for October 28, 2010
by Pat Edwards

“Me fail english? Thats unpossible.” – Ralph Wiggum, The Simpsons

The Pumpkin Challenge
In honor of the upcoming holiday, Webook.com is doing a pumpkin challenge. Your pumpkin can take any form (carved, cursed, animated, giant, murderous, a pie) but it must cause terror in a person or group of people. Real terror. None of that mushy “moderate fear” kind of thing.

Write a scary story in which a pumpkin is the main catalyst for terror. (max 300 words)

The WEbook editorial staff will pick our three favorite submissions and award the authors free entry to PageToFame. Go to http://www.webook.com/project/The-Pumpkin-Challenge for rules and information.

Who’s up Next?
November 2: Amber Boudreau (chapter 16, young adult novel), John Schneller (chapter 2, Final Stronghold), Greg Spry (chapter, Beyond Cloud Nine), Randy Haslow (chapter, Hona and the Dragon), Judith McNeil (???), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 4, Thou Shalt Not Murder).

November 9: Kim Simmons (chapters, City of Winter), Randy Haslow (chapter, Hona and the Dragon), Annie Potter (memoir), Carol Hornung (scene, Sapphire Lodge), and Sariah (???).

November 16: Greg Spry (chapter, Beyond Cloud Nine), Pat Edwards (poems), Chris Maxwell (rewrite, short story), Cathy Riddle (chapter, Beer Crimes), Aaron Boehm (chapter, Hell Cage), and Kim Simmons (chapter, City of Summer).

December 7: Clayton Gill (chapter, Fishing Derby), Justin Schober (chapter 1/part 2, sci-fi novel), Jen Wilcher (chapter), and Jerry Peterson (chapter 5, Thou Shalt Not Murder).

Publishing Lawyer Lincoln
From Alicia Connolly-Lohr
I just self-published my historical fiction novel Lawyer Lincoln In Transit to Freedom on Amazon in the Kindle store. I’m currently working on my Author Central page for Amazon. I have also submitted the book to createspace.com (owned by Amazon but run as a separate business). There it will be available as a publish-on-demand book. Just awaiting the proof. Although TWS in on my acknowledgements page, I want to pass on special thanks all who helped with critiques. Thanks so much.

Need a Character Name?
Why waste precious intellectual energy creating names yourself? This absolutely wonderful site has several random name generators. There’s a pseudonym generator, a fantasy name generator, an elf name generator, a superhero name generator and a lot MORE! My new evil twin name is going to be Savage Acholateezit, courtesy of the evil name generator. Here’s the main site link http://online-generator.com/index.php Don’t miss the “business section,” which includes project names and band names. What kind of music do you think the The Homeless Clouds create? (more…)

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Writer’s Mail for October 20, 2010
by Pat Edwards

“When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.” – Vickie Karp

Tuesday, October 19th at the Barnes and Noble
Kim shares a couple short chapters from her novel – Alicia liked it, but she would have liked the dream sequence without italics better. Jerry was bothered by the break between the chapters and suggested making two chapters into one. Pat likes short chapters, but these were really itty-bitty. Greg didn’t care about the chapter on reading lessons, which interrupts two others, the ones Jerry wants to go together. Alicia was confused between the uses of the word goddess and god. It’s hard to follow. Greg also thought one character was a little too boisterous (with an excess of exclamation points). Jerry and Pat thought the dialogue/accent of one character was overdone and hard to read.

Millie shares chapter 21 of her novel, “Life On Hold,” and a synopsis of the story. Pat really enjoyed all of Millie’s imagery, but she was concerned about the use of the MRI in that time period. The table seems to think they would have taken a regular x-ray of her head. Jerry thinks her main character needs to be more firm with her break-up speech. Kim suggests she might be afraid. Greg thought one character went from not being able to talk to being able to drive off in a short amount of time. We don’t miss how the ambulance got there because the story’s from one characters point of view and she’s knocked out for that. Greg thought the chapter ended with a cliffhanger. Jerry had a problem with the Emergency Room doc. He wasn’t out there and doesn’t know who’s connected to whom, so he won’t be able to tell someone their friend has passed away.

About the synopsis…Alicia is bothered that we still don’t know what the main character is facing and why she’s looking back over these years of her life. Why do we even need the older Erin at the beginning of each chapter? Millie tells us she’s reviewing her life and how she’s ended up where she is now. Alicia doesn’t think that’s enough. We’re all wondering what the connection is. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail for October 13, 2010
by Pat Edwards

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.” – Charles Caleb Colton

2nd/4th Update from the B&N
FIFTH TUESDAY!!!!
Second & Fourth is hosting!
We need a place to hold the event!
We need an event organizer! (someone to be sure we have cups, plates, etc).

Please contact Carol ASAP if you can help!

We only had a few pieces to critique, but a fair turnout Tuesday night.

Kim Simmons presented Chapter 16 of her novel, City in Winter. Annie suggested illustrating the story! She’d like to be able to see more of what’s going on. Dan said to establish earlier that the centaur armor is leather – the term breastplate implies metal. Andrea got caught on the term “Moonies” for people from Moon City. Still a little too close to the 60s-70s cult of Moonies that folks over 40 remember. Maybe play with other words for moon, like Luna. Carol said that everyone seemed to know what was going on – someone needs to say “what the hell was that?????” now and then, which would also allow for a chance to explain the magic to the readers.

Annie Potter read “Suppertime,” a chapter from her memoir. Carol’s response: “I, uh, I added a couple of commas.” Very well done, dramatic moment in the story – not much to be changed! Homemade is one word, and sorry-ass needs a hyphen. . . Dan said he wasn’t sure the girl was being shaken until the narration said “I’ve never been shaken before” so that needs a stronger description. Otherwise, very powerful.

Carol Hornung brought in a piece of another scene from Sapphire Lodge. Dan and Kim wanted to know how Saffi is experiencing the colors she equates with emotions. Kim stated that the colors are too normal – green for pain is good, but blue for authority is pretty common. Andrea suggested more specific colors: baby blue or cobalt or navy, etc. Expand the color palate. Watch the dialog, too. Saffi would say something, and Donovan would rephrase the same thing a short while later.

2nd/4th also need to find a meeting place for December, when BN commandeers our tables – any ideas??? (more…)

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