Writers’ group report

Yesterday evening we had our first writers’ group meeting at the Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee Co. (located on Jackson Rd. in Ann Arbor) rather than the standard location at Borders in Arborland (‘Tis the season and all, so Borders, who are quite gracious hosts, would rather not have us around for November and December). The topic of agents and editors who blog came up, as well as writing query letters and pitches. I wanted to share the interesting blog entry by eeknight on character based pitches (which is the excuse for this bit of blogging) so check out my prior blog entry on this here (see second paragraph). I also mentioned DeepGenre, which has the interesting ‘13-line critiques‘, which I am not sure that it is still active as the last submitted critique was in 2006, but the archive of 177 critiques is interesting.

I read another excerpt from “The Alchemist of Liberty” (sorry not much behind that link yet) and received some good feedback which has, luckily or not, started me writing a new opening scene (and I was reading in the middle of the story!).

On showing not telling and a look at character based teasers

E. E. Knight has a couple of blog entries of note.  The first is on showing not telling, or, in other words, how to avoid exposition dumps.  This got me thinking about the opening scenes for the two short stories that I am working on and how I had ended up committing the expositional sin in both.  Having set about remedying these transgressions I find that, strangely enough, I am having fun replacing a paragraph of exposition with a page or two of character interaction.  Who knew?   Well, I did.  I had just forgotten.

The second blog entry of interest was about an old  Jackie Collins’ paperback and its character based back cover copy and front cover teaser.  It struck me that it might be a good exercise to try and do this for (some of) the characters in Tactics.  Fifteen minutes later I had a fun little set of six two sentence (more or less) character descriptions.  They’re a bit silly so I’m not sure how comfortable I feel in sharing it.  Perhaps later (if and when) I take a few more steps down the road to getting published.