Posts Tagged ‘UW-Madison Writer’s Institute’

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 5, 2019

Where were you?

Seven writers gathered at B&N Westside Tuesday evening. If you were among the missing, here are some of the comments in the critiques you didn’t get to hear:


Chris Zoern (chapter 1, Apostate) . . .

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 10-11, untitled novel) . . . Amit and Kashmira submitted two chapters of their untitled novel. There were concerns about using italics for the flashbacks as well as the length of flashbacks. Jack wanted more emotional reaction to the flashback, John wondered if they were all needed. Larry likes some of the descriptive language and Jerry pointed out the inconstancy in using the word “Elder” throughout the chapter. Also, Jack thought Uma’s character was rather dull. (more…)


Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
December 7, 2018

At Alicia Ashman, the branch library in the small conference room:

 Present on December 4 were Larry Sommers, Millie Mader, Tracey Gemmell, Jack Freiburger, Lisa McDougal, Cindi Dyke, JohnSchneller, Amit Trivedi, and Amber Boudreau.

Tracey Gemmell (chapter 5, Lavender Wine) . . . “Members treated the chapter kindly. Some questioned the use of ‘skew-whiff’ so this may be a more British word. Larry wanted less emphasis on scooters and Jack suggested changing transportation and transformation usage. Cindi likes the expression ‘accidentally fine.’ Isabella is coming across as a star character. It’s recommended I downplay the ‘goodbye’ scene when Cassie leaves the hotel as it almost seems Isabella’s part is over. Some of the banter needs cutting. Thanks for your input. Thanks also to Larry and Lisa for helping with the book cover blurb for More or Less Annie.”

Kashmira Sheth and Amit Trivedi (chapters 2-3, untitled novel) . . .  “Summary of comments by group: (1) Pay attention to point of view. (2) Define ‘Indian’ words up front. (3) Kedar needs to be a bit more aware of what is going on in the country. Thanks!  Amit.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays with Story
April 21, 2016



Last night I attended a presentation by Henry David Huang (Madame Butterfly, Chinglish), who is a Pulitzer nominated and Tony award winning playwright .  He is a brilliant writer and speaker, and enlighten the crowd in a number of ways.  One take away from the talk was about a technique for tapping into the sub-conscience mind where the really good stuff festers.  The technique he learned from Sam Shepard (Top Gun, Steel Magnolias), was to write as fast as you can.  This  technique prevents the conscience mind from constantly criticizing and self editing.  I had to write a one page paper summarizing the talk, so I decided to try the technique.  Before I thought of trying the technique, I stared at the blank page wondering what the hell am I going to write.  Then the idea hit me to try just writing fast.  I quickly blasted through three pages in eight minutes and at the end I was amazed at what I had written.  Of course there were plenty of missed commas and a lack of structural flow, but there was great content that I had recalled from the previous night.  Not sure if anyone has tried this but I found it very useful.


Who’s up next . . .

April 26:

May 3: Pat Edwards (???), Eva Mays (chapter 4, Dhuoda), Bob Kralapp (short story, part 2, “Wings”), Amber Boudreau (???), and Kashmira Sheth (YA novel chapters, Journey to Swaraj), and John Schneller (???).

May 10:

May 17: Mike Austin (chapter, Before I Leave), Millie Mader (poem), Hannah Marshall (poems), Kashmira Sheth (chapters, Journey to Swaraj), Judith McNeil (short story, part 2, “Just Visiting”), Cindi Dyke (chapter 26, North Road), Jerry Peterson (short story, part 2, “Digging in the Dirt”). (more…)

Read Full Post »

“Deus ex machina is a useful phrase to remember. It never works to have a new character solve the hero’s problem, or have fate step in, or a miracle, or God. If it is John’s problem, let him deal with it if he can or fail if that is what the story demands.” — Kate Wilhelm in Storyteller

Writing Friends

British science writer Dr. John Gribbin has authored more than 100 books which mainly have popularized science. However, his recent fame came by accident — Tiger Woods’ auto crash. News video showed Gribbin’s out-of-print Get a Grip on Physics in the wrecked vehicle.

Although the headlines reported “author’s sales soar,” that result described the rate of sales, not a high total number or dollar figure. Amazon only had 100 copies in stock and sold out in a day. As Gribbin himself explains in an ITN video interview, Woods’ accidental endorsement was no way to get rich: http://www.writerswrite.com/blog/1214091. Thanks to Alicia Connolly-Lohr for this item.

Resolve to write:  Thanks very much to Tuesdays with Story members for all contributions during December. However, 2010 is upon us: Now we need articles, news and information about writing, writers, words, publishing… and ideas for the January 7 issue of TWS News. Please send your material and suggestions to our next newsletter editor, Cathy Riddle, or post in our Yahoo! Groups file “Stuff for the Editor.”

Commit to edit: Even basic copy and content editing of TWS News provides practical lessons in writing. That’s not the only reason to help edit this newsletter for a month or so, but it’s one that will help you get published.  I’ve already snatched up editorship of August and December 2010 issues — I need the practice! — but  other months of TWS News remain open to new editors, including February, March, April, etc. Please join Jerry, Alicia, Cathy, and me! — Clayton

Last Meeting

On Tuesday, December 22, 7:00-9:15 p.m., five TWS Second-and-Fourth members and one guest — Anne Allen, Holly Bonnicksen-Jones, Jack Freiburger, Terry Hoffman, Patrice Kohl, and Clayton Gill (from First-and-Third) — met at Jack’s Hickory Knoll Farm south of Madison and enjoyed a glass or two of “solstice wine” during their literary discussions. (more…)

Read Full Post »

“There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written — it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.” Mark Twain, courtesy of The Story Merchant (http://www.storymerchant.com/) by way of Jerry Peterson

Writing Friends

Stephen King is a lucky Ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come for soldiers wishing to return to Maine for the holidays. Not to say King’s superstitious, but he must believe that luck has its limits. This news comes Yahoo! Via the Bangor Daily News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091213/ap_on_re_us/us_people_stephen_king_troops).

“BANGOR, Maine — Author Stephen King and his wife are donating money so 150 soldiers from the Maine Army National Guard can come home for the holidays.

“King and his wife, Tabitha, who live in Bangor, are paying $13,000 toward the cost of two bus trips so that members of the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Unit can travel from Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Maine for Christmas. The soldiers left Maine last week for training at Camp Atterbury. They are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan in January.

“Julie Eugley, one of King’s personal assistants, told the Bangor Daily News that the Kings were approached about giving $13,000. But Stephen King thought the number 13 was a bit unlucky, so the couple pitched in $12,999 instead. Eugley chipped in $1 to make for an even $13,000.” (more…)

Read Full Post »