Posts Tagged ‘Poets’

Tuesdays with Story

The first word . . .

From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Tuesday evening. . .

Seven TWS writers attended October 4 meeting.  

Suzanne Gillingham (Kaleidoscope, Chs. 1-2) The characters were interesting and for the most part likable. The first chapters had too much telling and not enough showing with too much info dumping though there were areas that needed more explanation, for example, souls vs emotions. Also needed was a conflict set-up. 

Bob Kralapp (Logical Realities of World)
(Logical Realities of the World, short story) The major observation was that the story felt unfinished, and left the reader with far too many unanswered questions. Judy suggested that the opening paragraph needed to be broken into shorter paragraphs for ease of reading. Amber commented on the tension generated in the concluding scene. Thanks one and all for the excellent comments.

Kashmira Sheth (Journey to Swaraj, Chs 26-27) Over all the comments were positive. John had suggestion to change the last sentence and also take out one trivial sentence. Judy pointed out to one verb that needed to be changed. Judy also asked about theme of the book. Amber said the story was coming of age. Larry suggested defining the word “swaraj” (self-rule) earlier in the story. We also talked about “theme” in general. Bob doesn’t start with a theme, Larry does. I have quotes about theme in this newsletter. Thank you.

Judy Cummings (A Real Hero, Chs. 3-5) In general, everyone liked the character’s voice and felt the plot was moving along well. Larry suggested putting the protagonist’s name and age earlier in the manuscript, along with correcting the use of military salutations.  Amber pointed out some confusion with unclear dialogue tags and John recommended tightening up the language in a few places.  Thanks for the feedback.

Larry F. Sommers ) Lost in the Woods) Larry F. Sommers, “Lost in the Woods”:  Everybody liked the general tone. A couple of “cute” bits in dialog could have been left out. Judy refused to believe that in eight years of marriage Genie had learned nothing of Gus’s personal history. There were some thoughts that the old man, Carl, may have reached out to Gus by letters or by sending woodcarvings.  Otherwise, it’s hard to see Gus’s motivation for re-establishing contact. Thanks for lots of constructive thoughts, everybody.

Presenter for our next meeting on October 18:

Amber Boudreau

Kashmira Sheth

Judy Cummings

Suzanne Gillingham

Please note that we still have two spots open.

The last word . . .On themes from the writing master class.

  1. 1. Put your characters in conflict with one another. Most themes center on controversial ideas that are a source of conflict for human beings. By putting your characters in conflict, you’ll create more opportunities for actions, choices, and conversations that enable them, and your readers, to tackle your theme head on.
  2. 2. Reinforce your theme with motifs. A motif is a recurring image or detail that highlights the central ideas in a story through repetition. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, for example, Gatsby’s constant, lavish parties emphasize the theme of excess, materialism, and the pursuit of the American dream. Use motif to shed additional light on the theme and also give readers a reminder of its existence.
  3. 3. Represent your theme with symbols. Symbols are objects, characters, or settings that are used to represent something else (while, again, supporting the theme). A symbol may appear one time, or be present throughout the story. In The Great Gatsby, a green light symbolizes Gatsby’s dream for a better life with Daisy. In the beginning of the book, he reaches toward it; in the end, it seems unreachable.

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