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Writer’s Mail for November 3, 2010
by Jen Wilcher

Election night Tuesday, the 1st and 3rd gang of TWS gathered around a table for some lively discussions and good writing. We had a guest, Linda Meyer.

Since Amber was out sick, her submission will move to a month from now.

Greg read from “Beyond Cloud Nine.” Millie wondered how the antique bi-plane survived over 300 years. Jerry felt it was possible, but needed a line or two to explain. Jerry thought the paragraph about the technical workings of the pilot’s g-suit could be edited down. It does establish the writer’s scientific credibility for later, less plausible events, though. He thought the writing was very smooth. Pat said she could see it on the movie screen easily. She liked the bracketed computer-speak, but thought the italics for the flashback got to be too much. Others agreed. John added that italics should be used as little as possible, only when really necessary. Pat asked how sci-fi writers handled current-day references like, “rocks the size of automobiles?” Should metaphors be time-specific? Would words like automobile still be used 300 years from now?

John read from his edit of his third book, “Jacob on the Just Reward.”
Judith got a good feel of where the story took place, the ship, and the characters. John asked the group where he could visit a ship like this. Jerry thought he should go to the Milwaukee Discovery Center. Although they didn’t have a ship exactly like this one, many people there could probably answer questions. Pat thought a list of characters for reference would be a good addition. It makes sense for large-scale books. Jerry said he felt the book could stand alone (but then, he’d read the other manuscripts). Greg felt it needed more to ground the characters for someone who hadn’t read the other books. Jerry thought the last line of the chapter should end one line earlier – a better line. Randy wanted more visual references during the storm scene: how did he climb up from below deck? How did he get across the deck? Randy also asked why “Emperor/He” was capitalized. John explained the allegory nature of his books. The group thought it was ok to be vague about the time/space location, whether earth in 4 AD or “some other place.” It worked either way.

Randy read from his novel “Hona.” Pat really enjoyed the character he’s created for the Dragon. “He’s like an old gay, British Dragon.” John thought the traveling scene could be better if it’s live with Hona. “If the Dragon can do magic, he can recreate it for her with somehow.” Greg agreed that showing, rather than telling could be more effective for that scene – maybe in a live flashback. He asked, also, what was the point of the story and plot? He needed to understand why Hona was chosen, what part she had in this war, etc. John reminded him to end a little earlier, at a better line, “Don’t ever let ‘em go to sleep!” Jerry thought the first line where the word “emperor” was italicized was unnecessary because the emphasis was inherent in the character’s response. More discussion re: use of italics… Judith wanted Hona to have more involvement with her mentor and have reasons to do so. (more…)

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