By Linda Donaldson
Our September Writers Guild met on Sunday the 15th. We had eight selections to read aloud for comments. There were novel excerpts, short stories, memoirs, and an essay.
Melissa Triol shared a chapter of her novel set in France after WWI in a military graveyard. Great dialogue shows the humanity of a soldier saying farewell to a lost brother. This chapter introduces the lead characters’ first meeting. The selection of the characters’ names was praised. Discussion evolved over of whether a woman slapping a face would use her palm or the back of her hand.
Sharing the Dedication of his next book of short stories, John McCabe drew a portrait of his father as the genesis of his inherited storytelling abilities. The book’s first story, The Bay Man, depicts through many senses, a day on the river with his Dad – we hear, see and smell the Bay and the row boat. A fellow sailor remarked on John’s visceral description.
Jane Bleam entertained with a story from her student nurse experiences. An Inquisitive Five-year-old describes a girl in hospital for evaluation. The head nurse has already characterized the girl’s behavior as “hallucinating,” but Jane tries to understand just what the little girl is thinking. Jane’s well-thought out questions reveal the girl just needs to learn the right words to convey what she means.
After a night of lovemaking in The Hotel, a female observes her partner as he sleeps. After setting that scene, David Werrett has the woman recall the couple’s first encounter, and her pursuit of her lover despite warnings from friends. Her inner thoughts show an unrevealed past and misgivings about ending the relationship. Listeners wanted more, and discussed the use of “panties” vs. “briefs” for women’s underwear.
Bob McCrillis brought Brown Water Machine, a story about an innocent bystander’s encounter with a woman who drags him into a near fatal fight on a sidewalk. The story then morphs into a hell-on-wheels car trip. Quick action, unexpected twists, snappy dialogue and sharp, witty comebacks pepper this high-impact trip. Listeners loved the pace, and wondered what sized weapon could be concealed in a bra.
In Ghosts of Rwanda, Daphne Freise immerses us in the culture of the country. A visit to a memorial to victims of the genocide that took place decades earlier, further draws a stark contrast between the country then and the bustling 21st century city of Kigali. Compliments on the hypnotic rhythm of her prose, listeners also praised Daphne’s ability to capture the lives of the real people of Rwanda.
Liz Casey brought an essay that explores the mindset of those trying to discuss or debate issues that involve feelings and preconceived ideas. Liz examines: civility, pre-judging, labeling, tolerance, anger and fear. She posits that we need to access and stop denying our fears – then we can start to think logically about them. Thought-provoking concepts. Listeners agreed the paragraphs need to be shorter.
Jake, the tough hero of High Noon: Seven Minutes of Mayhem, a novel by Joe Vitella, meets a lovely young artist named Hailey at a gallery opening displaying her work. Quickly we see Jake becoming the object of Hailey’s affection. He meets dignitaries at the opening who remind him of his “hero” status as a wounded vet that Jake tries to deflect. Listeners suggested adding some of Jake’s “inner thoughts” to the story.
Come join us at our October meeting on Sunday the 20th from 1pm to 2pm. If you’re not already a follower of this blog, please register [it’s free!] and be notified when any new blogs are posted.
The theme of our next issue of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is Visions. We will post details in an upcoming blog in early October. For now, we encourage you to write and scour your previous work for stories that fit the theme of Visions.
Our monthly Writers Guild meetings (the third Sunday afternoons from March to October) are where we share and critique our writing work-in-progress. In a friendly atmosphere, we encourage, support, and challenge writers to improve whether they are experienced writers or beginners.