October Writers Guild Meeting Recap

By Linda Donaldson

Our last meeting of the Pearl S. Buck Writers Guild brought a dozen of us to the Cultural Center at Green Hills Farm on Sunday October 15th.

Four people brought work to share, and we began with John McCabe’s new introduction to his collection of short stories about the Market-Frankford Elevated trains. Many voiced a connection to John’s depiction of the silent “rules of the riders” that discourages people from talking to each other on trains. We liked his handling of the protagonist’s reconnection with a childhood pal and their subsequent adult friendship as the “glue” that brings these stories together.

A new member, Jim McColgan, read aloud from the introduction to his book set in Cuba. This first book is part of a trilogy spanning from the Cuban revolution onward. His first scene involving children was tangential to the main theme and did not introduce the main characters or their conflict. Listeners suggested Jim revisit his plot and rearrange the action to begin with some element of the drama that will unfold, and to let us get to know either the main protagonists or villains at the very outset. We eagerly await more of his book and his rework of that scene.

Jane Bleam brought a polished version of her story about the geese family. Anne Kaler asked about what other animals Jane had rescued. Thankfully, there are many more. All listeners agreed that Jane’s stories of her summer home experiences are entertaining and, if illustrated, would make great children’s stories. Jane now has all winter to bring us more!

Meredith Betz said she was taking off her “humorous” hat and trying on a serious chapeau. Her short story excerpts from both the beginning and end of a long piece set the stage by introducing a talented musician with a domineering mother. The girl’s music teacher recognizes her ability and begins an exchange that results in a collaborative musical composition. After hearing the ending, we all want to read the middle, so Meredith was encouraged to send out her complete story.

At the end of our meeting, several members wanted to know if Cindy Louden could find a meeting place at the Green Hills Farm for mid-winter meetings before the Guild picks up again in March of 2018. Cindy said she’d pursue that and let us all know. Look for another post as details emerge.

The Fall issue of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is in the final stages and will be posted in the next few weeks. The theme for the Spring 2018 issue will be announced at that time.

 

 

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August Guild Meeting Update

By Anne K. Kaler

The PSB Writers Guild met on Sunday, August 20, 2017 with nine members present.  The next meeting will be on September 17th from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Cindy Louden opened with a welcome to a prospective member Joe Vitella. Continue reading “August Guild Meeting Update”

Fall 2017 Literary Journal Theme is Justice and Mercy

By Linda Donaldson

The theme for the Fall 2017 Issue, Volume 2, Number 2, of the Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal is Justice and Mercy. We see a host of possible avenues for writing about justice and mercy  —  the lack of either virtue OR the presence of either virtue. We include both sides of this theme, for, in Anne Kaler’s words: “If there were perfect justice, we would not need mercy.  If there were perfect mercy, we would not need justice.” Continue reading “Fall 2017 Literary Journal Theme is Justice and Mercy”

July Guild Meeting Highlights

By Linda Donaldson

Eight Writers Guild members came together this past Sunday for our July meeting. For the benefit of our new member, Holly Odell, we went around the table and introduced ourselves and told about our current writing projects.

It was announced that Sandy Cody, a presenter at PSB Writing Center workshops, and Guild member, sent two links from Authors Publish magazine: First Eleven Literary Journals that Read Submissions Blind (without regard to the author’s identity or previous publishing history). Second, a free PDF  The 2017 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.

Anne Kaler congratulated Bob McCrillis on the paperback proof copy he brought of his new collection of short stories published through CreateSpace. Entitled Puckerbrush: Stories of the Journey to Manhood. Bob had just finished rereading and marking the editing changes he plans to make before correcting them and releasing the book for publication. Continue reading “July Guild Meeting Highlights”

How to Write Using a Pattern

By Anne K. Kaler

Writers use patterns the same way that fabric designers use patterns – as guides for their material. (Note the pun there – both use “material” which means it is “of matter” or words.) Writers use the patterns called formulas to make their words conform to an understood, preconceived expectation for the reader.

Anne Kaler Head ShotAnd readers become intensely annoyed when the pattern/formula/genre is misrepresented. Classic story. The well-meaning children of a church pastor bought him a surprise book – Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre  — thinking that the subject matter was suitable for a man of the cloth. It wasn’t.

So, knowing what the pattern of a book is becomes paramount in the construction of that book. That’s why there are genres or types of books which are classified by the patterns they use. Often times the title itself will suggest enough of the ultimate pattern for me to want to read the book. Continue reading “How to Write Using a Pattern”

Writing, Watching, and Wondering

By Anne K. Kaler

Anne Kaler Head Shot

Ever wonder where writers get their ideas from?

Today one source landed right outside the window and insisted on being the center of my universe for the morning.

A young, a very young, robin perched on the top of an iron-ledge of a garden chair as I went out to get the newspapers.  His gimlet eye watched as a circled around him so as not to startle him into flight.

I knew he was young – the speckled head and shoulders and the orange hint on his pale breast gave away his age.  And he did not seem ready to fly away when I passed by.  It was only after observing him for an hour that I realized that this was indeed a very young bird. Continue reading “Writing, Watching, and Wondering”

Pearl S. Buck’s 125th Birthday Celebrated

By Linda Donaldson

Sunny weather welcomed guests on both days of Pearl S. Buck’s 125th birthday anniversary on Sunday, June 25th and Monday, June 26th (her actual birthday). I had the privilege of attending both days which showcased the Short Story Contest winners and the re-release by our own Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Press of Pearl’s children’s story Matthew, Mark, Luke and John on the 50th anniversary of its original printing.Coconut Cake 125

After enjoying delicious cake and lemonade, guests were treated to a free house tour which included concerts on both Pearl’s Steinway piano and her organ by talented musicians.

Short Story Contest Winners

Continue reading “Pearl S. Buck’s 125th Birthday Celebrated”