Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Wilde’

Tuesdays with Story
April 19, 2022

The first word . . .

In selecting the starting point and ending point for your story, it will help “if you will remember the following facts about readers:

  1. They are fascinated and threatened by significant change;
  2. They want the story to start with such a change;
  3. They want to have a story question to worry about;
  4. They want the story question answered in the story ending;
  5. They will quickly lose patience with everything but material that relates to the story question.”

– Jack M. Bickham, Scene and Structure, p. 7 (1993).

Tuesday evening April 19, 2022

Six TWS writers came together over Zoom and in person this week to review the works-in-progress of four of their colleagues and offer insights and critiques. Here is a summary of what was said:

— Mike Austin (“Roger”) … “Roger” was very well received. I had concerns that it might be too depressing, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. Some areas that could use fleshing out were the things that have alienated his family from him, such as his affair and his mocking of his son’s religion. I also should clarify Angie’s comment about not being able to afford an emergency room. (And along those lines, it occurred to me that if Angie had a job at the university, she’d have insurance. So I might have to give her a different job.) There was a little brawling, though no bloodshed, thanks to Zoom, about whether the structure could be changed so that the story begins with Roger waking in the waiting room, contemplating the events leading up to his being there, or if it should remain linear. I did find the idea of beginning in the waiting room appealing. Hm. Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions.  

Dan Culhane (A Grand Thing To Be An Afternoon, Ch. 2) Dan submitted chapter 2 in which we are introduced to Nellie, Oren, and Jacob and start to see the world of MY026. Dan received some very helpful feedback on the mechanics of the chapter, including on the opening description of the scene and the purpose of certain section breaks. A universal agreement against the use of parenthesis was duly noted. The piece succeeds in introducing characters that are engaging and get people to care about their relationships. However, the narration needs some attention in places to avoid the voice of the narrator sneaking into Nellie’s internal dialogue. All very helpful feedback and much appreciated.


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Writer’s Mail

Writer’s Mail for 04-02-13

Who said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”?
Answer: Oscar Wilde , Author of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Tuesday at the B&N . . .
Fourteen of us gathered round three tables to share a number of critiques.

Amber started us off by reading from chapter ten of her YA novel, Noble. Jen had a question about POV. Pat questioned writing about a head being removed from its shoulders, as in where else would it be removed from? Rebecca was confused by how one character was on their hands and knees but also holding their head at the same time. Andy and Millie didn’t know where the sword came from and Andy didn’t think it unnerved the main character enough. Lisa questioned Zephyr’s vocabulary and whether he would know a lot of English. Alicia wondered if one character would actually have a heart attack and thinks the protagonist is too much of a girl scout; she wants more of a reaction. Clayton was okay with the protagonist’s reaction. (P.S. Lisa can take over this whole note taking business anytime.)

Pat shares the poem Just Words with the group. She starts off by telling us she knows it needs work. Lisa thinks she should add more sadness. Andy saw it as in-your-face. Lisa thought it was in-your-face depressing and she liked it that way. Alicia looks for some redemptive quality at the end. Clayton sees the name-calling as recognition; the author sees these things and wants to fix them. Michelle wonders if the author can open the front door and leave. Amber agrees with Clayton, maybe the recognition is the happy ending. Alicia thinks of the old movie Sybil and wonders if Pat could bring the poem full circle in a similar way. Lisa and Aaron like the title. Aaron suggests adding something about sticks and stones at the end.

Andy shares a couple of poems. Jen liked the first poem, Perfect, saying it had a nice rhythm in some parts but was lacking in others. To Amber it felt like a laundry list of items. Rebecca wondered what we learn from the poem. Lisa found an inappropriate line or two. Rhyming is hard, Pat tells us. Michelle had difficulty with the voice changing from the beginning to the end. Andy’s second poem, Forecast, is about the weather we had in Wisconsin last year. Some of us read it as a metaphor for a relationship thought the last two stanzas don’t fit with that idea; Andy was surprised by this and may consider revenging. Clayton expected the poem to take off but then it didn’t, leaving him disappointed. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays With Story
July 17, 2012

Writer’s Quote:
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” ~ Tom Clancy

Tuesday at the B & N:
Andy Brown (chapter 1, Lo’s Quarter)
Judith-Wanted to know why everything was in caps? (It was an accident); Jim: Didn’t see a need for the word “passively”; Jen: Didn’t feel there was a need to explain why he was ok with parting with his uncle’s jacket; Pat: Enjoyed the chapter. Like’s Simon. Wanted to know was this a preview of another chapter. Wonders if there is time travel involved. Liked the description of Simon’s reaction to her ripping her dress. Can’t wait to read the next chapter; Alicia and Lisa: Thought it was too cryptic. As didn’t know it was a journal entry; Rebecca: wanted to know why he didn’t take the cell phone part with him; Millie: Wanted to know what the “Kendas” was. (Said this was explained in the prologue). Says it reminded her of “Contact” while Jen and Pat thought it was like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”; Lisa: Cut out some of the information about the people at the shop in the beginning; Rebecca agreed; Andy: Says we are supposed to be a little confused; Pam: Suggested he write in “bubbly girly handwriting” that Lo is writing in the journal.

Rebecca Rettenmund (chapter 9, The Cheese Logue)
Judith: Liked the one-ups-manship at the end. As did Pat; Pat: Loved the cup stuff, but that the baggy stuff was preachy. Lisa agreed. Pat loves the story as it is. Likes the daily slice of life; Alicia: Wanted more stuff. Likes that it reads like a diary, but still doesn’t get the concept. She understands the use of the diary, but needs to go for essays since these aren’t full stories. Wants to know what she learned from this experience; Rebecca: Explains that Isaiah and the cat have a character arch; Pam: Thought the Dory part didn’t fit; Lisa: Wanted to know why this chapter was important to the book; Alicia and Lisa: Thinks it needs to have a bigger purpose for the reader; Jim: Suggest that she walk away for a moment. Rebecca doesn’t like that idea. (more…)

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