September Writers Guild Meeting Recap

We bookworms met early in the parking lot for our tailgate book swap. Many prizes headed home with new readers, but, sadly, quite a few ended up in our trunks.

Good news, though! One carton of books related to writing were rescued – to keep on hand for a lending library at future meetings: writing techniques, grammar tips, phrase finders, root word dictionary, screenplay writing, copyright and libel rules, creating characters, writing for children & teenagers, writing science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Our meeting began with the first of seven excerpts brought for reading and discussion.

Melissa Triol brought Chapter 4 of her mystery novel. Discussion centered around the use of character names vs. pronouns for clarity, and the pacing of revelations.

Jane Bleam shared a revised story about nursing an injured coal miner. Comments about stating the topic of the lesson learned in the beginning, and eliminating conjecture about facts not known, helped put the final touches on this memoir chapter.

Lois Hazel brought us a new memoir that transported us back to mid-century South Philly,  the close friendships of neighbors, pride in inherited gardening skills and sweet memories. She was given ideas to tie the beginning to the end with word choices.

Joel Mendez shared his dystopian mystery story by reading a plot synopsis of the first few chapters to “set the scene” for Chapter 4. Comments recommended shortened paragraphs, adding dialogue and character naming.

Meredith Betz bravely brought her first fiction piece. Though we read aloud only part of the long story, listeners wanted more, so another page was read. We suggested the addition of names for clarity, and putting dialogue into separate paragraphs.

Editor’s note: Meredith needn’t have worried how her story would be accepted. All agreed we were glad she had brought copies of the whole story, so we could finish reading it later.

Jennifer Klepsch brought but one copy of a memoir piece entitled “Be Still and Listen” and we all paid close attention as Cindy Louden read it. This gentle reminiscence unfolded gradually and yet lingered with listeners as a moving epitaph to changing neighborhoods.

John McCabe shared a his introductory page to his epic novel. It featured inner dialogue quotes, and preceded a page from the first chapter,  including a flashback. Discussion concerned the intro speaker’s identity, shortening paragraphs and separating out dialogue.

Guild members were reminded the deadline for the Fall Issue of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is September 30th. Please send ALL submissions for this issue to

Anne Kaler and Cindy Loudon closed the meeting with a short recount of their participation in the West Virginia University Gateway Conference held September 11 to 13. The event  featured papers presented about Pearl S. Buck and her work.

Dr. Kaler has promised a blog about the conference where our Writing Center and PSBI were represented by herself, Susie Woodland, Jean Silvernail, Carol Breslin, Janet Mintzer, and Edgar Roosa. We eagerly await more details.

2 thoughts on “September Writers Guild Meeting Recap

  1. “Dr. Kaler has promised a blog about the conference where our Writing Center and PSBI were represented by herself, Susie Woodland, Jean Silvernail, Carol Breslin, Janet Mintzer, and Edgar Roosa. We eagerly await more details.”
    You missed one.
    THE LIVING GATEWAY CONFERENCE: West Virginia University 2016.
    It was informative and very friendly and served Ms. Buck very well. I think she would be quite pleased, and satisfied with the intellectual awareness that her memory evoked in West Virginia, The Key Note Speaker assured me that she is revered now, and taught widely in China.
    The time keeper crushed the wrap up of my presentation, but I think the salient points were achieved, (my fault for having too much material). Pearl was a courageous writer and remarkably principled activist of many a just cause. I am honored to have represented her opposing stand on the use of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the Second World War was already drawing to its horrific ending.
    I thank the folks and staff at W.V.U. for being wonderful hosts filled with genuine enthusiasm for Pearl S. Buck.
    John McCabe

    Buck, Pearl S. (1959). COMMAND OF MORNING. The John Day Company. New York.


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