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Posts Tagged ‘OddCon’

Writer’s Mail 4/20/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“I’ve never had writer’s block. However, I’ve had publisher’s block throughout my career.”  – Dary Matera

Last Week
Six regulars and two guests sat down for an evening of critiquing.

First up, Jack Frieburger read a few pages from Path to Bray’s Head. Anne said there were some endless sentences. Holly wondered if the Greek references would come from a sixteen year old boy. She also suggested more visual details as Sean starts to see his family for who they are.

Terry Hoffman read the second scene from her new novel, The Journal. Holly thought the dialog between brother and sister was really good. Said a lot about their characters. Carol suggested more detail – what kind of scent was left on the sweater? How were the books in the library stacked – neatly, or askew? What color sofa? Gives character to the mother who has died. Jack said to strengthen the dialog a bit – go ahead, let them get nasty. There’s years of resentment and anger, here.

Holly Bonnickson-Jones presented a scene from Coming Up For Air. Anne said the situation between mother and daughter resolved too easily. Jack said there were emotional inconsistencies. Hard to get a clear picture of the daughter’s emotional status – let the daughter blow up – really get it out. Carol said maybe she should get so carried away that the situation actually becomes funny, but Annie said to stick with the red, hot, and ugly.

Anne Allen read a scene from her memoir. Jack mentioned Anne was writing like him – a lot of long sentences! Holly liked the diary entries. Though maybe too much info on the acne. Carol wasn’t sure of the purpose of the youth group scene – how does it tie into the rest of the story? And Jack said there has to be a joke about French kissing and the setting of France . . .

Carol Hornung read the climactic scene from Asperger Sunset. Jack wanted more color, more details from Russ as he becomes aware of his situation, but tighten the focus. Angela’s speeches are too long. Holly enjoyed the way Russ decoded the situation – everything he learned had led up to this moment. Terry said to lose some of the speech tags – the dialog conveys the emotion.

Who’s Up Next
Terry Hoffman – scene 3, The Journal
Holly Bonnickson-Jones, chapter Coming Up For Air
Jack Frieburger – Path to Bray’s Head
Annie Potter – scene/chapter from memoir
Carol Hornung, winding down of Asperger Sunset 

More on how to protect your computer
Last week, I recommended that you download two free anti-virus/anti-spyware programs – Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware. Those two, combined with McAfee, catch about all the nasties that come down your Internet connection.

But not all.

I once also used Panda. Its backshop pros are really good at keeping up with the new threats hackers create. In place of Panda, last week I added Spyware Doctor. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail  4/12/2010
by Kimberly Simmons

“I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.” – Steven Wright

Last Week

Happy Birthday to Jerry Peterson!

Kim – Jerry thinks there’s some lyrical stuff here. Cathy and Millie liked the lush descriptions. Jen had a problem with the word loomed – it implies distance to her. Jerry suggests getting rid of the word suddenly – it has a tendency to be overused. Alicia didn’t think the two main characters were close enough for one to cry on the other’s arm. Pat thought Ryoko was more goddess in this chapter than before, which worked for her and Millie thought Ryoko was more tenderhearted as well. How is Levi coming off? Anyone? Clayton was looking for hints about the death of another character to come into question here.

Jen – Pat thought a lot of ‘de-adverb-is-izing,’ went on. Jerry suggests sticking with simpler, he said, she asked as opposed to using words like replied, retorted, answered, etc. Alicia still thinks it reads like a stage play or a script to her – it’s lacking description. For instance, what does the lab look like? What do some of the characters look like? Clayton thinks the elements are there, but can be expanded. Millie has a question about the passive voice and when it’s appropriate. Alicia thinks some passive voice is okay, as long as you don’t do it too often.

Amber – Many people had constructive comments, and I look forward to reading their notes, but I lack the skills required to interact with people and type at the same time. Am I fired? (No, Amber, you’re not fired.—Kim)

Alicia – Pat thinks she could leave the whole first paragraph out. In some measure, we already know a lot about Matson, just jump right in. Kim loved the chapter with Anthony and Jane together. Cathy thought the writing was tight, but didn’t get the stifled laughter. Millie (and everyone else) is glad to hear someone else has re-written their story about a million times. Clayton liked the choice of lawyer verbs associated with the questioning, like drilled. One character made need some ‘lawyering-up.’

Cathy – Kim liked Chapter 4 the best because she got a sense of, hey, something’s going on here. Jerry thought there had to be a threat made against the good-looking, friendly guy who ends up dead and he wanted to know if Nine took the emergency call about him. What happens to the rest of the beer? Somebody (anybody at our table) would totally steal it. Clayton likes to get up close and personal to the dead people – to see their character, whether they’re sympathetic or not. Kim wanted to know why he drinks another sample cup of beer when he’s already feeling sick from the first cup, but Shel thinks he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him, but he’s sure it can’t be the beer because he trusts his product.

Jerry – Kim (and Amber) wanted to know about Keystone cops. Alicia thought the diaper had to go in a food cart or someplace else, but Pat could see the nurse finding it later. Pat wanted to know when rubber pants came into existence. Shouldn’t there be seepage? Clayton thought Sonny could wish for his regulation gas mask. Good news for us mortals – Pat found a punctuation error. Clayton wanted a little more place at the beginning of the chapter to know whether he was inside or outside. The lack of an IV concerned Alicia – from her memories, if someone were out for two days they would be hooked up to fluids.

Who’s Up Next…
(more…)

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