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Tuesdays with Story
October 10, 2013

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

Notes from 10/8/2013
We welcomed back a few members who had been absent for several meetings – Rebecca, Karen and Jack, welcome back!

Deb Kellerman’s “The Crossing Guard.” Carol liked the interaction between the girls, and Holly pointed out that the dialog was good, and they still sounded like kids. She loved the line about the “how could you possibly be so stupid stare.” We wondered, though, shouldn’t the reader get some more details on why, exactly, the girls are all worked up about this new crossing guard? We knew, because we had the explanation from the author before starting the story, but Krisitn said it’s best to firmly establish the conflict before the end of the first chapter.

Holly Bonnicksen-Jones read Chapter 2 of Coming Up for Air. Rebecca found the story exciting. Jack was concerned that Liza was being both angry and logical. At this point logic should probably wait. Deb thought the husband came off as a bit wishy-washy, and Carol agreed, thinking he needs a specific reason to tell Liza about the affair – and that reason isn’t to get her approval, it’s to tell her that he’s moving out. Jen felt that in the passages describing Liza’s emotions there was a bit too much telling and not enough showing of a physical response. We debated the use of the term “Honda Girl” as a derogatory label for the mistress, and felt there should be major heartstring pulls when the guy takes the dog with him. Ouch!

Kristin Oakley brought in Chapter 1 of God on Mayhem Street. Holly really liked the last paragraph, where Leo makes his decision what to do. She did have trouble with the flowers being tucked in the pocket, though – they’d get crushed. Deb liked the setting, really felt a part of it, and Rebecca wondered if Leo had ever actually considered what he would have to do in order to forgive his father. Jack struck down a few cliches in the cemetery and urged Kristin to use more cinemagraphic descriptions. Carol wanted the father’s anger ramped up a bit, too. Don’t let him ask questions (even angry ones). Turn those questions into cruel accusations instead. Ruth was concerned that Leo was dreading talking to his father, but then he simply shut down. He became passive, and we weren’t entirely sure why – if it was how he handled his father, maybe there’d be more tension regarding his lack of reaction? (more…)

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Tuesdays with Story
WRITER’S MAIL for August 6, 2011

Good Words from Way Back

“Faugh, Shere Khan! –what new shame hast thou brought here?”
The Lame Tiger had dipped his chin and jowl in the water, and dark, oily streaks were floating from it down-stream.
“Man!” said Shere Khan coolly, “I killed an hour since.” He went on purring and growling to himself.
The line of beasts shook and wavered to and fro, and a whisper went up that grew to a cry: “Man! Man! He has killed Man!” Then all looked towards Hathi, the wild elephant, but he seemed not to hear. Hathi never does anything till the time comes, and that is one of the reasons why he lives so long.”
–Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) in The Jungle Book (1895)

Fifth Tuesday: Writing Challenge Deadline August 26

Here’s everything you’ve been waiting for . . . yes, our next Fifth Tuesday is August 30!

Chris and Joe Lacey will host us at their country estate out by Cambridge, at 49 London Road. MapQuest says it’s a 37-minute drive east from Barnes & Noble Westside. MapQuest it for a map and directions . . . or just plug the Chris and Joe’s address into your GPS.

Start time is our usual 7:00 p.m. Yes, it’s potluck, so bring food to share. Also bring lawn chairs . . . and pointy sticks so you can roast marshmallows over the flames down at the fire pit.

Here’s your writing challenge: “That is so unlike me!” Write a story, poem, or essay in which the central character is so out of character . . . a pro football tackle who knits, a nun who is a blackjack dealer at Ho Chunk, a four-foot-nine guy who is an eating contest champion or the smallest sumo wrestler in the world. You get the idea. Maximum length: 400 words.

Start writing now. When finished – deadline is Friday, August 26 – email your mini-masterpiece to Pat Edwards.

Reading Recap: August 2 Meeting
Ten First-and-Thirders attended the August 2 meeting at Barnes & Noble East to hear from five authors. (more…)

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March 25, 2011
Writer’s Mail
by Carol Hornung

Quote of the Day
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

Fifth Tuesday . . .
Thirteen stories came in for the writing challenge. Tuesday evening at Booked for Murder, we’ll find out who wins the critique of the first 50 pages of her/his novel. Madison College creative writing instructor John Galligan will provide that.

Also at Fifth Tuesday, John will share his list of “The Dirty Thirty”, thirty things you and I shouldn’t do in our manuscripts.

Have you made your reservation? Email Jerry Peterson, and tell him you’re coming.

Tuesday night … from Holly Bonnicksen-Jones:
Kim Simmons, City of Winter, Chapter 39
Holly suggested that the word “mafia” pulls the reader out of the fantasy world. Need to find a different word. Kimmie asked why James would be using a negative power in the sentence with “emotions sucked out.” Kim explained that James wasn’t in control of his power at that time; he was governed by emotion. Kimmie suggested that if he is going to use an evil power, there should be a moment where he reflects on the fact that he resorted to that kind of power. Holly asked why can James use such power on his friend, but did not use that power on the enemy soldiers under his care. Kim stated that his power has been growing and not completely controlled yet. Someone suggested that the description of the ages and the discovery that Jamie is his son are both big moments and need to be separated so that there is more impact for each. Jack suggested that Kim consider the concept of the healers being co-opted by the military. Jack also suggested that the Chief Healer have more status and how more relationship between him and his art. Use the Hippocratic Oath in some way in the chapter or in the story. The group discussed the concept of 6 sexes in this world for one of the species. Jack suggested that if the concept doesn’t move the plot forward, Kim should take it out. Kim was reluctant to do that so Holly suggested that she weave the concept throughout the story. (more…)

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