By Linda Donaldson
Cindy Louden, our Zoom moderator welcomed published author Sandra Carey Cody to our September Writers Guild meeting. She has been a presenter at Pearl S. Buck Writing Center’s workshops. Visit her at her website http://www.sandracareycody.com/home.html to learn more about her writings.
Our first discussion was about Show Me the Way by Karen Edwards. Readers pointed out Karen’s ability to find just the perfect phrase to paint her characters’ traits, and her innermost feelings. Suggestions included noting tense changes, adding more dialogue, and expanding interaction between brothers.
Megan Monforte sent another part of her story Mrs. Stover. This part gave us backstory to explain Laurie’s decision to run away to the shore. Readers praised the way Laurie’s texts with her son’s teacher were interspersed with her predicament – being asked by strangers to take photos of what was turning out to not be a proposal, but a rejection. Commenters especially mentioned the images evoked by the phrase: “One of his chubby starfish hands was on Laurie’s cheek.” Readers suggested the kiss scene needed a more gradual buildup.
They say “you can’t go home again” but John McCabe tells the story of returning to the neighborhood of his youth in The Pit. Readers found it well-paced and full of profound insights. John evoked the nostalgia most feel when seeing the once vibrant childhood places empty of the old crowd and filled with new and unfamiliar people.
Next Cindy acknowledged a letter from David Werrett sent to all of us. She reminded us to respond individually to him directly.
Joan Mariotti explained that this new selection from her novel Vincent included two parts. The first scene described in great detail the personal appearance of Detective Wolkner who was assigned to Janice’s rape case. The second scene dissected the study group’s individual relationship dynamics. Readers liked the detective profile. They found the narrative of the group needed more showing than telling, perhaps with more dialogue. Some wondered if the backstory was necessary to the plot and questioned from whose point of view it was written.
Next up was the ongoing Western romance by Bob McCrillis. Despite Bob’s caveat that his scene was racy, no one felt he overstepped the bounds of good taste. Readers said Bob’s style “holds back while revealing” leading the reader gently on to discover where this story is going. Commenting on Bob’s facility for description in his outdoor scenes, it was suggested that he give more detail of setting in his indoor scenes. Regarding the pace of the transition, from lovemaking to dinner, some wanted it slower, others said it seemed smooth to them.
Finally, in The Button story Jane Bleam introduced a real-life emergency experience with a life-saving medical alert button. Very well presented, this cautionary tale shows just how important such a device is. Readers wanted more detail about her actual injury’s extent, her feelings while waiting for help, the rehabilitation and healing treatments, and her current condition months later as she wrote the story.
Cindy announced the final Guild meeting on October 17st will open with a discussion led by author and PSB instructor Linda Wisniewski. Linda will join us on our Zoom call for the first hour to share her thoughts about writing and will take questions. Visit Linda’s FB page at https://www.facebook.com/LindaWis46/
Be sure to send me your own writing selections by Oct. 10th for the October 17th Zoom meeting and include your email address at the top.
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.