Posts Tagged ‘Write-by-the-Lake’

Writer’s Mail
June 19, 2014

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” — Ray Bradbury

At this Tuesday’s meeting…
Cindi read from Chapter Twelve of North Road. Andy liked the scene but he had a question about what this part has to do with the overall plot of the story and suggested a series of short stories centered on the main character. Pat, Lisa and Jerry suggested getting to the serious stuff that happens later in the scene more quickly; the scene was set almost cinematically, but the dialogue needs to come sooner. Jerry had a problem with one character telling another to think something over when a decision has been made and there’s nothing to think about. Lisa liked this chapter because it was a little lighter than earlier ones.
Lisa shared a portion of Chapter Eighteen of The Tebow Family Secret. Millie liked the chapter. Pat had a couple questions about the type of amnesia one of the characters has and was looking to read some salting of her memories by her family. Pat also had a question about how one character reacts when he takes a drink of alcohol, considering his past alcoholism. Jerry wanted to know why one character won’t sell a picture when he’s offered a lot of money. Cindi was looking for more of a response from one character. Jerry had an issue with who suggests doing a story on another character. (more…)


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Writer’s Mail for 05/14/13

“The Florida in my novels is not as seedy as the real Florida. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. Every time I write a scene that I think is the sickest thing I have ever dreamed up, it is surpassed by something that happens in real life.”   — Carl Hiaasen


Tuesday at B&N . . .

Ruth, who had popped in at First and Third meetings, visited today. The first 20 minutes were spent introducing her to particulars of the group.

After orientation was over, Bill presented his short story “Conflict.” During the feedback session, Bill stated that Mike was supposed to be a violent jerk, and everyone disagreed, and saw Maria as the villain. In addition to calling Maria a criminal and saying that Mike was always doing the right thing, Andy also stated that the story was too short for everything that happened in it; Jen echoed this, criticizing the overuse of passive telling as opposed to active showing. Terry and Holly offered similar criticisms. Holly said that although he needs to be painted as a jerk with severe anger management issues, he still needs to be likable. Everyone wanted to see more verbal threats and angry actions, like pounding on tables, accidentally knocking his coffee over his newspaper, and arguing with the mechanic and insurance agent about repainting his car. The group talked about various incidents of car damage. Before moving on, Terry mentioned the overuse of “was” and wanted to increase the strength of verbs, and Andy offered one last piece of feedback: That if Maria was taking care of her sick mother, she would not be so reckless and insensitive to someone else’s car. Bill disclosed that she’s from a rough neighborhood and had many things she was stressed out about, and it was suggested that Bill show that through actions.

Andy presented an outline and character notes for his novel People. He read from Brenna’s biography, and everyone did not think the brothel fit with her story and was too over-the-top. The thought process of the group was that she was abused by her uncle and she became a vigilante, killing him and destroying the house in the process. The consensus was to take the brothel out and replace it with her abusive uncle (Ruth said to keep the fire as an accident), then proceed with the story as planned. Jen said to get the bare bones down first, then flesh it out from then. Holly said that if she did it as a minor, she could get psychiatric evaluations and become stable by the time she was offered the SPIES job. The suggestion of her aversion to men was already in her story; it was suggested that she just punch Spalding when he molests her shoulder. Andy became really overwhelmed and shut up… but things are getting interesting.

Rebecca presented the final chapter of The Cheese Logue. Although everyone once again found it boring – except for comparing a cow to a roasted marshmallow – we enjoyed the way it ended. Terry suggested using Post-Its or spreadsheets to show character progression throughout the story, and building things up for the ending to be more complete. Andy once again suggested that there be more instances of personality. Holly wanted Rebecca to show more relationships building, and being friends with all the people around her. Andy said “You have to get other people to treasure what you treasure” – about working at the Cheese Shop, and again mentioned the comparison against Big Box Mart. This led into a discussion about the lighting of Big Box Mart vs the Cheese Shop. When Rebecca mentioned that it was a “home away from home,” everyone wanted her to paint that picture as strong as possible. Rebecca agreed. (more…)

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Writer’s Mail
Tuesdays With Story
June 8, 2011

Someone asked Tom Wolfe his advice for writers.
“I would say get out of the building and look around. I say, if you spent 30 days in any place in this country, I would say you would come up with material you never knew existed before.”

Tuesday at B&N . . .
Jim Cue rejoins the group from 2nd and 4th after several years. Another visitor, Jennifer, also joins the group (she writes poetry!)

Randy reads from a backstory he put together for Hona and The Dragon. Millie thought it helped her understand Hona’s story. Greg had a comment about the style. He thought it was a little difficult and pulled him out of the story. Aaron agreed it might be a little hard for young adults to follow. Jen wanted to know if this would be printed somewhere in the book. Kim thought parts of it would be revealed throughout the story – definitely not a preface – there’s too much telling, not enough description for Greg. Millie thought this was part of the Hona story and Randy tells us it has roots in this backstory. Rebecca thought it flowed, but she missed character development and thought it could have been describing dragon history, not the human history of the story.

Kim shares chapters 60 and 61 from City of Summer. Millie thinks Kim writes beautifully, but she still doesn’t understand – she thinks one character is another’s father, thought they were married at some point, but Kim explains some reincarnation has gone on. Rebecca suggests using the word reincarnation in the story – maybe several times. And Rebecca thought a scene of one character raising another would help. Jim suggested putting something on the shelf and letting it gather a little dust before brushing it off and reading it out loud. Greg wants to know what this has to do with James and who the antagonist in the story is. It doesn’t have to be a single character, but there has to be a conflict somewhere. Kim also lets everyone know she figured out why James is important to the story. Millie suggests a synopsis.
Aaron shares part 8 of his screenplay Hell Cage. Aaron gives us a bit of a synopsis to start. Millie thought it was interesting and she’s wondering how the demon is going to get out. Rebecca thinks the demon sounds a little haughty. Aaron says he should sound a little arrogant. Randy wondered why the demon just didn’t go for the blood when he had a chance. Jim suggests the blood might have to be freely given. Greg wonders how descriptive you’re really supposed to get in a script. Amber thought one character didn’t need to be shown bound and gagged. Greg asks if we know how the demon gets around from person to person. Jen asks what kind of power the residual demon would have. Rebecca is looking forward to demon wrestling. The more Randy understands the demon’s motivation, the more compelling the story becomes.

Amber shares chapter 21 from her YA novel. Bucktown needs grounding. And lots of other great comments I’m not fast enough to type. (more…)

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