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.
by Sandy Cody
Editor’s Note: This message, shared with permission, is from Sandy Cody to her writing class at the end of this year’s classes.
This will be our last meeting, but I hope you’ll find time in your busy schedules to keep writing. I’m in awe of what you’ve all come up with when given just a hint – and time. I think that’s what this class has been about – providing time and space for you to write.
If you want to send your “babies” out into the world, here’s something to get you started. Mainly, I suggest you just play around on the computer until you find something that looks interesting. Continue reading “Finding Your Market”
By Susan Wagner
What happens to those small bits of writing you do that don’t seem to fit easily into a category? You know what I mean — comments on __ (fill in the blank), poems you started but never finished, novel ideas – you get the picture.
Maybe these pieces sit and wait on your desk, in a file or journal, or even on the computer. They languish until the day you remember them again. If you ever do. Continue reading “Bits, Pieces, Kids”
By Susan Wagner
If you could dream something into being for a particular person in your life, what would it be and who would it be for?
You can pick anyone and any dream, but you must pick up your pen and write without stopping for five to seven minutes. Try to use concrete images and sensory descriptions. Go. Continue reading “Writing and Workshops”
(With apologies to Messrs. Chapman and Keats –but I needed a title)
By Bob McCrillis
Always on the lookout for a bargain, I found myself perusing the public domain table at Barnes & Noble. For those unfamiliar with these offerings, they are cheap hardback editions of classics that are no longer protected by copyright priced with the student budget in mind. Continue reading “On First Looking Into Dickens’s Oliver Twist”
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.
And 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”
By Anne K. Kaler
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”