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Tuesdays with Story
November 20, 2020

The first word . . .

“Perhaps if we recognize the pleasure in form that can be derived from fairy tales, we might be able to move beyond a discussion of who has more of a claim to the ‘realistic’ or the classical in contemporary letters. An increased appreciation of the techniques in fairy tales not only forges a mutual appreciation between writers from so-called mainstream and avant-garde traditions but also, I would argue, connects all of us in the act of living.”

—Kate Bernheimer, writer, editor, and critic

Zooming Tuesday evening . . .

Nine TWS colleagues gathered on their screens to work through the chapters of six of their fellow writers. Here is some of what was said:

Kashmira Sheth (chapters 19-20, Journey to Swaraj) . . . Most of the comments were how to pick up pace and maybe combine the two chapters. There were some discussions about how to use foreign words. Also, there was a suggestion about providing more details about the past massacre.

Mike Austin (short story, “Hunter’s Moon”) . . . My short story, “Hunter’s Moon,” was well-received, with only few comments, such as the changing werewolves should not have enough awareness to register fear on the victim’s face. And it needs to be shown that they head him off before he reaches his vehicle. Thanks everyone for a fun evening!

Jack Freiburger (poems, “Fall Fire” and “Snow Day”) . . . Two accessible poems this week seemed generally acceptable.  Considering the simplicity of them, non-literary, I didn’t expect much comment, but it seems readers liked them, which was the goal. Spent most of my editing time on Jerry and Amit/Kashmira offering, where I feel I actually can contribute something as a reader.

Amit Trivedi (chapters 3-6, Keeper of the Keys) . . . 1. Start chapter 3 with smoke from the train. 2. Remove like ‘living in the past’ replace it with  something like ‘do we need to repay all our debts’ or let the story convey the meaning. 3. Use water in place of river. Has broader meaning. 4. Sharing food in the train—why? Does not move the story.

— John Schneller (chapter 30, Broken rewrite) . . . Several words struck people as being inappropriate for the setting—kid, crazy—better words, better story.  Jamie wanted clarity on the new hawk that flew in and out of the scene. Everyone felt that Witomzil’s discourse on when to fight needed to be shortened or broken up. I agree. And who better to break up a speech than an impatient squirrel hating dragon. The general rule of fantasy . . . never waste a dragon.

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