April Guild Meeting Discussion Featured Seven Selections

By Linda Donaldson

As members joined our Zoom meeting this past Sunday, several discussed the previous day’s PSB webinar about World Building by Donna Galanti.

Bob McCrillis shared that he uses Excel spreadsheets to sort scenes, plot arcs and characters to organize his work in progress. Other methods shared were cutting up, rearranging and taping segments of a manuscript, or laying out pages of sections on a large table.

Our first story, “Vincent” by Joan Mariotti, started with the frightening discovery of a body. Then we were taken back in time to the killer and his victim meeting in college for the first time. Joan really paints her characters vividly and has a great ear for dialogue. Readers noted flashbacks call for careful tense editing.

Next, Daphne Freise shared “Unentitled,” an excerpt from a novel that traces two young people’s parallel lives as both apply for a scholarship which one wins and the other doesn’t. Daphne’s descriptions reflect her mastery of language and her protagonist’s first-person voice tells the story well. We all await the next chapters.

Barbara Seras brought us an Op Ed that started out as a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. They contacted Barbara to shape it into an Op Ed and featured it in their Easter Sunday edition. The theme is why getting the Covid vaccination is a reflection of our responsibility to others – a step on the path from the darkness of our world this past year, and into the light of hopefulness for the future.

A trip back in time, “Waiting for Dad” by Karen Edwards is a poignant tale about a family of four children’s weekend outings with their Dad after his divorce from their Mom and his remarriage. Karen takes us down memory lane with spot-on recollections of places and time from a child’s point of view. She lays bare the conflicting feelings of love and abandonment with skill.

David Werrett offered “Click, Click, Click,” a story about his use of the new text-based crisis hotline. Not many of us readers were aware of this method for troubled folks to reach out for help without having to speak directly to a person. A deep and personal interaction can be made with the same comfort and support as with a call-in service. Again, David’s willingness to share his journey with grief in the most profound way, has us all in awe of his ability to express his feelings.

An excerpt from a novel by John McCabe “Nevada to Laos” recounts the US soldiers’ exposure to atomic tests in the early 1960’s and their deployment with tactical nuclear weapons in preparation for fighting in Laos. The horror and the physical exposure they endured would affect their health for decades afterwards. John’s prose and dialogue really place the reader there. Readers requested a little more mention of visiting home in Philly on leave.

Lastly, Jane Bleam wrote “Kitty-Kitty” about her new adopted rescue cat. After losing her treasured doggy this past year, Jane decided replacing her beloved pet with a cat was the wiser decision. Less walking outdoors, and, after this past winter, that proved to be a wise choice! Jane began her story from the cat’s point of view and all readers agree that they want more of that voice. Requests also came for more description of the cat and Jane’s feelings about her.

Megan Monforte sent Part II of her story “Arizona” from last month. She was unable to attend this month but wanted comments to be sent to her via email.  She will email her comments to the other authors.

Please send in your stories/poems to lindadonaldson@verizon.net by May 10th for inclusion in our May Zoom meeting discussion. Our Guild meeting is May 16th at 1pm to 3pm. A link will be sent prior to all registered members.

For information about joining the Pearl S. Buck Writers Guild, contact Cindy Louden at clouden@pearlsbuck.org.

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