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…)