By Linda Donaldson
We had only 5 selections to review, but discussion was lively and easily filled our two-hour Zoom meeting.
First up was a novel excerpt from Bob McCrillis from a Western romance set in Kansas in 1866. His chapter about the pursuit of kidnappers who abducted a young woman, featured a marshal and a widowed female rancher on their trail. The readers loved the dialogue and the unspoken sexual tension between the two protagonists. Bob’s “scene” as he described it was almost like a screenplay, and many felt they could “envision” the action. Setting descriptions were detailed, but some wished for more info on the characters’ sequence of movements.
Megan Monforte couldn’t attend our meeting. Our discussion of Middle of the Road raised lots of questions: Why did the narrator flee? Who/what was she fleeing from? What happens after she makes it to the beach? Every writer wants to “hook” the reader – Megan sure accomplished that – leaving a great deal to the imagination. Her descriptions of her character’s emotional state were spot on and relatable. It was suggested she give hints to the aforementioned questions, and have the character crank up the car radio and sing along.
The next chapter in Vincent by Joan Mariotti shows a slow-brewing friendship between the John and Bonnie as they join a study group. A girl in Bonnie’s dorm is attacked from behind in her room, knocked out and raped leaving her no way to identify her attacker. After the incident, someone stole into the room, removed the sheets and washed them, leaving them in the dorm washing machine destroying evidence. This suggested a knowledge of science in the mid-70s. Readers enjoyed the banter and well-planned situations. One suggestion was the story needs less telling and more showing. Another pointed out the longer paragraphs need breaking up.
Karen Edwards brought us Where Bluebirds Fly, an account of her first Mother’s Day celebration after the death of her mother. She is startled awake from a dream, hearing Somewhere Over the Rainbow playing in her head. She and her sister plan to visit their mother’s gravesite with flowers and butterflies. On her way home as storm clouds part, she thinks, “These are perfect conditions for a rainbow.” Karen hears her mother’s voice say, “Yeah, well, look over your shoulder.” As if on cue, an arching rainbow appeared. Jane Bleam suggested that Karen submit her story to Woman’s World. Readers agreed it captured both love and hope.
Writing about her childhood memories during WWII, Jane Bleam sent us Women’s Rights. Beginning with the story of Jeanette Rankin, first woman elected to congress. She relates Rankin’s organization of women’s rights groups to fight for the 19th amendment. Jane admires her courage and likens it to the women who worked in the factories while men served in the military.
Then Jane relates a phone call telling her mother that Jane’s brother Andy was missing in action. Efforts to learn more by an aunt brought a current news photo of Andy. That, and the fact that letters to Andy were not returned, kept hope alive. When word came that he was in hospital and being sent stateside, everyone was overjoyed. Jane visited him hospital as a 6 year old and played happily with the recovering soldiers. Comments included making a transition in paragraphs between the Rankin section and Jane’s family’s experiences. It was also suggested that Jane’s dialogue seemed “too adult” for a 6-year-old.
Reminders to Guild members. Our August Zoom meeting is on the 15th. Please have your selections in by Sunday, August 8th, and remember to add your email address to the title pages.
The deadline for our Fall Issue of the Literary Journal is September 30th. The theme is Revenge – Sought or Untaken. Click here for our Submission Guidelines.