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”

Spring 2017 ♦ Volume 2, Number 1

Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal

There are 16 contributions to this Spring 2017 Pearl S. Buck Literary Journal. The theme of this issue is birth, rebirth and renewal. Submissions include essays, memoirs, poems, short stories, flash fiction and an excerpt from a novel.

Our thanks to authors, Anne K. Kaler, Bob McCrillis, Lois Guarino Hazel, Susan Wagner, Meredith Betz, Fred W. Donaldson, Linda C. Wisniewski, Jennifer Yuan, John McCabe, Carol Kretovich, and Judith Wrase Nygard.

 

(Click title to read selection. Author’s biography at end of contribution)

 

Journals – Seedbeds of Memory

ESSAY BY ANNE K. KALER, PSBVA

The Doe

SHORT STORY BY BOB McCRILLIS

Reinventing Judith

SHORT STORY BY LOIS GUARINO HAZEL

The Stitches of Lydwyna the Spinster

EXCERPT FROM A NOVEL BY ANNE K. KALER PSBVA

Rain

POEM BY SUSAN WAGNER

South Carolina Restaurant

MEMOIR BY MEREDITH BETZ

A Letter to My Son

ESSAY BY FRED W. DONALDSON

What a Man’s Got To Do

SHORT STORY BY LINDA C. WISNIEWSKI

Cleaning the Crevices with a Cotton Swab

MEMOIR BY LOIS GUARINO HAZEL

Plum Flower

SHORT STORY BY JENNIFER YUAN

The Irishman

SHORT STORY BY JOHN McCABE

Doug the Foster Child

POEM BY SUSAN WAGNER

A Difficult Journey

MEMOIR BY Carol Kretovich

Achieving Inner Calm

POEM BY JUDITH WRASE NYGARD

You Are Creative…You Just Don’t Know It…Yet

MEMOIR BY MEREDITH BETZ

Two on a Railing

FLASH FICTION BY JOHN McCABE

Brains, Butterflies, and Writers’ Retreats

By Anne K. Kaler

Anne Kaler Head ShotWhat do writers do when they are not writing?

Read? Do housework? Twiddle their thumbs? Get in trouble?

While all these solutions are possible, many writers enjoy a day to allow their creative muses out to play in the fresh country air with a like-minded group of writers. And what better place to let the muses frisk and scamper about than in an Upper Bucks County writer’s retreat. Continue reading “Brains, Butterflies, and Writers’ Retreats”

Coincidence in Romance and Mystery

By Anne K. Kaler

Anne Kaler Head ShotRomances deal with character development while mysteries depend on plot development. The hybrid of the two genres is called romantic suspense which often depends on coincidence to make a satisfying read. However, something vital gets lost when coincidence strays into the realm of the unbelievable ending.

Ann Hood’s recent novel The Book That Matters Most is such a hybrid because it involves so much unlikely coincidence of events. In fact, the book itself combines many tempting devices on its journey to a happy ending. Remember that the romance genre usually ends with the restoration of order to a disordered society and the promise of continued order through a marriage and the possibility of new life. On the other hand, the mystery genre ends with the satisfaction of justice being done to restore order. Mystery often has an innocent pair of young lovers to carry out its eventual hope for order in society.

So where does coincidence come into play? Continue reading “Coincidence in Romance and Mystery”

Puzzles and Writing and the Human Mind

By Anne K. Kaler

Puzzle DoneIt is finished. The puzzle, that is. The writing is never finished.

The writing is truly never finished, never polished enough, never edited sufficiently because the story never fully ends in my mind. The characters and events continue to exist in my internal universe. I am never satisfied because I feel as if I have abandoned my created children on an alien planet without a working spaceship.

That’s why I do puzzles when I write. I need the constant encouragement that there is an end in sight — that there actually is a last puzzle piece to plunk into place, the only place in the material universe that it will fit.

So why do I persist in both endeavors? Continue reading “Puzzles and Writing and the Human Mind”