Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for July

Lots of activity for anyone interested:
– I received word that submissions for the 2018 Tamale Hut Café’ Presents Short Story Contest are now open! They are looking for stories of 3000 words or under in any genre, and it doesn’t matter if it’s been published as long as it’s your original work. There are cash prizes, and if chosen, you must be able to attend the THC Reading Series night on November 17. Deadline for submissions is July 31st, and all the details I have are on our web site at https://thcwritersgroup.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/details-of-the-tamale-hut-cafe-2018-short-story-contest/
– Lisa sent word of a free Massive Open Online Course from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. The course starts July 15. Details of the MOOC program is at https://iwp.uiowa.edu/iwp-courses/distance-learning-courses/moocs
– And just a reminder, at our last meeting, we decided that for October’s THC Reading Series, we’ll present Autumn/October/Halloween stories that somehow incorporate a sense of smell.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, July 14th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group.  If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

The THC Reading Series is taking its summer break in July, but I hope to see you all on the 14th for the Writers Group.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Christian – Story of the Slit Mouth Woman.Poem.docx
Sturdevant_The Life Table.docx
Cary – Flash fiction – Jimmy.docx, Flash fiction – Sticky Raspberry Yogurt.docx, Mike and Wendy.docx
Sean – MOST MORNINGS.rtf
Lisa – Michael.docx
Kathy – One Mother’s Magic-Every Mother’s Wish.docx

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Details of the Tamale Hut Café 2018 Short Story Contest!

I just learned that the submissions period for the 2018 Tamale Hut Café Presents Short Story Contest is now open.  Here are the details from Jaime’s Facebook post:

“We are pleased to announce that submissions for the 2018 Tamale Hut Café’ Presents Short Story Contest are now open! Tamale Hut Café’ Presents is home to a diverse, intelligent crowd of listeners. For our annual contest, we’re looking for complete stories of 3000 words or under that will make the audience laugh, cry, gasp, or stare in fascination. Genre is wide open. Show us whatever it is that you do best.
To win you must be able to attend the Tamale Hut Café’ Presents event on Saturday, November 17th at 7PM, take a photo(s) to promote the contest. Our final five finalists will be awarded the following prizes:
1st- $500
2nd- $200
3rd- $100
Two (2) Honorable Mentions- $25 each
Send stories to jflores3414@aol.com standard manuscript format. Any submissions that do not adhere to standard manuscript formatting and/or the word count restriction or are received after the deadline will automatically be disqualified from the contest. There are two passes to the judging process, the first focusing on only the first two pages and the second on the story as a whole. Submissions for the contest end on July 31st, 2018. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got!”

DISCLAIMER: The Tamale Hut Café Writers Group has nothing to do with the contest other than to promote it, as we do with the monthly Reading Series events, and to encourage our members to submit some of their best work.  If you want feedback on your story before submitting it, send us an e-mail at thcwritersgroup@gmail.com to get on the mailing list, and plan to attend our next meeting on July 14 at the Tamale Hut Café.

Good luck!

Notes from the June, 2018 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our sixty-ninth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, June 9. Thanks to Steve, Brian, Lisa, Sean, Vickie, Salvador, and Gary P for joining me for a sweltering afternoon of discussion about writing activities. Thanks, too, to Matt H and Cary for mailing in comments, to Jaime for the facilities, and to Alex for hauling out the big fan to try to cool the place down a bit. Extra special thanks to Brian for bringing in home-made shortbread cookies. (See what you miss if you don’t attend?)

We started with few agenda items:
– Our next two meetings will be July 14 and Aug 11. Flyers will be up in the usual places shortly.
– I got an e-mail from the 2018 Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. In addition to the traditionally published authors they host, there is a Writers Marketplace for emerging authors. I attended two years ago, and while I didn’t sell many books, I had fun. It seems this year there is a new person running things, so it might be better for us indie authors. The event will be Nov 2-3, and they charge $30 for a half-day or $50 for a full day. Details, and the form to apply, are at http://www.sewibookfest.com/
– Matt H sent in details of his next Atlas Obscura tour, and it’s closer to home than the last. The Peabody’s Mansion tour will be held on 6/23 in Oak Brook, but don’t worry. It’s an afternoon tour so you will have time to make it to the THC for the June Reading night. Details are at https://www.atlasobscura.com/events/peabodys-mansion
– Sean brought in two books for us to browse. One was a book geared towards people writing for the law, both fiction and non-fiction. He thought Christian, one of our occasional attendees, might benefit from it, but he thought that others might be interested. He also brought in his copy of Perrault’s Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault, with artwork by Gustave Doré. He said it’s one of his most cherished books.
– Lisa mentioned that she had recently read an article about mermaids (a topic that seems to pop up in our meetings frequently) but written from and ultra-feminist viewpoint. She said that the article was not for everyone, but she found it fascinating: https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/mermaids-societal-fears-women-desires
– Steve mentioned that the Comstock Review is running its annual Muriel Craft Bailey 2018 Poetry Contest. Deadline is July 15th, and there are cash prizes for the winners. Details are at http://comstockreview.org/annual-contest/
– Lisa sent in a link to The Writer web site, and the flash fiction contest that they are running. Deadline is also July 15 – https://www.writermag.com/writing-resources/contests/
– Because we are interested in story in all forms, Steve highly recommended the Billy Wilder film Ace In The Hole. He doesn’t know if he’s seen a more cynical film.
– Sean also recommended a film he recently saw on TCM: Hotel, an adaptation of an Arthur Hailey novel.
– Kathy was unable to attend, but sent in this bit of good news: “I also wanted to let the group know that after making several edits on my children’s book Grandma’s Amazing Table (thank you to all of you who took the time to suggest changes) I sent it out last week to a publisher specializing in Jewish children’s books that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. They say a decision is made within three months. It just felt good to actually send something out !”

We then discussed topics for our featured reader night at the THC Reading Series on October 27. Kathy had sent in a few ideas, including one where we would jointly create a character, then have to use that character in come capacity in our story. As intriguing as that idea was, it seemed that the time spent defining the character would be better spent working on our stories.
We finally decided that given the time of year we will be presenting the stories, we should do something relating to Autumn or October or Halloween. That means that if you want to write a traditional scary story, you can, but if you want to write about the change of seasons, or about the month of October, it will be relevant. As an extra item to tie the stories together, we decided that we would each include something relating to the sense of smell in the story. Steve pointed out that writers are focused on visuals or sound, but not much is written about the sense of smell, which can trigger strong memories and emotions, so we thought that would be good to use.
So I’m not sure how we’re going to bill this, but I think we have enough to get started. For October’s THC Reading Series, we’ll present Autumn/October/Halloween stories that somehow incorporate a sense of smell. Let’s get started!

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Brian is really enjoying The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay. He says it’s hilarious.
– Gary read Death in the Long Grass by Peter Hathaway Capstick, partially as research for his story, partially because it was an interesting read. He’s also reading The Burma Road by Donovan Webster
– Lisa has started another series, beginning with A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn. She also read the graphic novel version of The King in Yellow, and she said she just doesn’t get it. She’s now reading The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn.
– Sean has been getting into some current events, reading Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, and Russian Roulette by David Corn and Michael Isikoff
– Vickie enjoyed Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis, and Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
– Salvador again was too busy to read anything for pleasure, but has a few books he hopes to complete before the end of the year
– Matt B completed The Flying Squad by Bishop & Stuart-Wortley, which had some biplane details that will help in his current story, and is reading Banacek by Deane Romano, the novelization of one of the TV episodes.
– Steve picked up a copy of Film Snob’s Dictionary by David Kamp, which he identifies with.

Internet Notes for the month –
– Since we like to also talk about movies, I thought some of us would be interested in a BoingBoing story about an archive of 60 free-to-stream Noir films https://boingboing.net/2018/06/05/rot-the-eyes-right-out-of-your.html
Also, check the comments section of that post for more free-to-watch classic films
– I heard an excellent time travel story on Escape Pod recently – http://escapepod.org/2018/04/05/escape-pod-622-anna-and-marisol-in-time-and-space/
– The Creative Penn had two very good episodes recently:
– How To Write Emotion And Depth Of Character With Becca Puglisi – https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2018/02/12/how-to-write-emotion-character-becca-puglisi/ In this, they also talk about the “Thesaurus Series for Writers,” Including the latest edition, “The Emotional Wound Thesaurus
– Another Creative Penn How To Fast Draft Your Memoir With Rachael Herron – https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2018/02/19/fast-draft-memoir-rachael-herron/
(A note about the Creative Penn: the program starts out with the host talking about publishing-related topics, then reads e-mails that she receives from her listeners. The content is after that.)

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual free-wheeling discussion about general writing topics. One thing I wanted to mention was a conversation that developed when Lisa brought up the article about mermaids. We first got sidetracked with trying to figure out the difference, if there is one, between sirens and mermaids. Then, it was fun to see that the concept of mermaids, which most people would think would be universally recognized, is actually something that could have a number of different interpretations, even if the core idea is the same. To many people, “mermaid” brings up thoughts of Disney’s Ariel, but to others, it might be Daryl Hannah from the film Splash, or Hans Christian Andersen’s original character of The Little Mermaid, who comes to a very non-Disney end in the story. All this goes to show that you need to consider this when using well known tropes like mermaids or vampires or other mythical creatures. Sure, you can do anything you want with them, and write them to conform with your own idea of those beings, but you need to convey that to your reader in the course of the story. Otherwise, the reader’s preconceived notion of the thing will not match what you are writing, leading to, at best, an unsatisfying reading experience. What I got out of the conversation was that if I’m going to take on a trope in my story, I need to know it thoroughly, and if I’m using it differently than most readers will expect, I need to explain that to my reader.

Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month. Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be Saturday, June 23 at 7PM, with a book release party for regular reader Alice Liddell. Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around July 1, I’ll send a reminder to you to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, July 14 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for June

Last week, Salvador sent me an e-mail with a link to a YouTube video. He said that “Hopefully, this will give the group a laugh or two (or maybe cause them to lose faith in humanity<g>).” The link is https://youtu.be/wJdNrCeUdhc He further said, “I felt bad about reading maybe 2 or 3 books a year, but now I feel pretty good about it!”

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, June 9th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 9th for the Writers Group, and at the next Reading Series night on June 23.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Brian – First Impressions .doc
Sean – Egypt 1981.pdf
Steve – Story–Untitled.doc
Kay – Brian’s Petition.docx
Matt B – Barnstormers chapter 12-pt 2.rtf
Gary P – kachin rakshasa pt 2.pdf
Lisa – Something Blue–group.docx

Notes from the May, 2018 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our sixty-eighth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, May 12.  Thanks to Lisa, Steve, Kathy, Gary P, Sean, Salvador, and Vickie for joining me for an interesting afternoon of discussion about writing activities.  Thanks, too, to Matt H, Marianne, Cary, and Kay for mailing in comments, to Jaime and Alex for the usual hospitality.

We started with few agenda items:
– Brian sent in this note: By the way, I thought you might enjoy the following.  I read several Biggles books as a child but was a mere dabbler as there were dozens and dozens of them. (Biggles’ Big Adventures) https://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/nov/10/featuresreviews.guardianreview
– Cary wrote in with the news that he won Camp NaNoWriMo last month. “My story is called “Help Wanted” and it’s basically about a newly divorced father struggling to move on with his two kids, so he hires a new nanny and gets a second job. Yet again, the story is unfinished, but I still won. With my word count being 25,000 I won with 25,025.”  Congratulations, Cary!
– Sean announced that he was working on his first play.  Titled “The Turd in the Punchbowl”, he said it will be a reflection on our modern times.
– Kathy highly recommended The Florida Project on Netflix.  She said it was a story about a little girl and her mother living a stones-throw from Disney World, and how they and their friends try to make the best of their situation.
– This may not have been the best venue for this question, but I asked if anyone had any recommendations for web hosting?  My writer site is a free account on wordpress.com, but I need to move my personal site, Stephanieandmatt.com, and I don’t want to be forced to use a predefined layout like WordPress or Squarespace uses.

– We began discussions about the October Reading Night.  Our group will be featured at the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series on October 27, and we need to decide what we want to present.  You might recall that last year we all wrote stories starting with the same prompt sentence.  The year before the stories were all written to a theme.  What do we want to do this year?
The event is a few days before Halloween, so we could easily choose something Halloween-related.  An idea that we didn’t use last year was to incorporate a specific item in the stories.  It could be something as complex as a machine that can record dreams, or as simple as a specific pair of blue socks.  Just something to tie all the stories together.
We’re hoping to decide on our plans at our June meeting.  Bring your ideas to the meeting and help us come up with a cool concept for October.  If you can’t make it in June, send in your ideas and we’ll discuss them.

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Gary is reading May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes, and Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
– Kathy only had one book for us this month, but she couldn’t say enough good things about it.  She said she had wanted to read The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, but then it appeared on the list of one of her book clubs and she loved it.
– Salvador enjoyed The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth, and now he wants to see the film but is having trouble locating a copy.  Lisa recommended checking the library, and specifically the inter-library loan system.
– Steve hadn’t read anything, but recently watched Interstellar and Wag the Dog, and he recommended both films
– Lisa finished I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.  She said the author writes well, but could really use an editor.
– Sean said that one of his favorite series, the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn, have been turned into a Showtime mini-series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’s re-read the books many times and is looking forward to the adaptation.
– Vickie read Endurance by Scott Kelly, which she said was an interesting story but not well-written.  She also read The Great Spring by Natalie Goldberg, and she told of her recent road-trip to visit Larry McMurtry’s bookstore in Archer City, Texas.  She says she’s thinking of writing a story about the trip, an idea that was met with much enthusiasm from the group.
– Matt B recommended The Hunter Island Adventure, a New Pulp story by Wayne Reinagel featuring thinly-veiled pastiches of classic pulp characters.  He also read The Scandal of Father Brown by GK Chesterton, which is considered to be the worst book in the series.  He’s also started The Flying Squad by Bishop & Stuart-Wortley, which he got at the library for a quarter.

Internet Notes for the month –
– a recent Google doodle featured some animation based on the films of Georges Méliès, who came up in last month’s conversation – https://www.google.com/doodles/celebrating-georges-melies
– Here’s a few sites featuring some really bad book covers: http://www.kahnscorner.com/2013/03/judging-books-by-their-covers.html,
http://www.kahnscorner.com/2013/07/judging-more-books-by-their-covers.html
– A study recently concluded that two spaces after a period makes reading easier:
https://boingboing.net/2018/05/07/study-two-spaces-after-a-peri.html

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual random comments, constructive criticism, and helpful discussion about general writing topics.  It was a smaller group than we’ve had lately, but everyone really participated in the conversation.  One of the more interesting topics was about the method the writer is presenting their piece to their audience comes into play.  Most of us thought that if the piece was intended to be read aloud, say at an open-mic event, then some issues like changes in tense and POV might not be as distracting to the listener as it would be if read they read it themselves.  Certainly spelling and punctuation errors are also forgivable if the piece is read live.  That’s not to say that consistent tense and POV are not important goals for the writer in any case, but we agreed that an audience would be more forgiving of such things when the story is read to them, as opposed to reading it from a printed page.

Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month.  Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be Saturday, May 26 at 7PM.  Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around May 27, I’ll send a reminder to you to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, June 9 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group.  I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for May

It was beautiful out today, wasn’t it? It’s a shame we have to go back to work tomorrow.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, May 12th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 12th for the Writers Group, and at the next Reading Series night on May 26.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Gary D – Mr. Exciting Guy.docx
Salvador – The Willow.docx
Matt B – Barnstormers ch.12.rtf
Kathy – One Mother’s Magic-Every Mother’s  Wish.docx
Sean – THE_STONE_MAN_CHPTRS 7 & 8.pdf
Kay – Brian’s Petition.docx

Notes from the April, 2018 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our sixty-seventh Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, April 14.  Thanks to Sean, Lisa, Kathy, Gary P, Matt H, Steve, Cary, and new member Kay for joining me for a fun afternoon of discussion about writing activities.  Thanks, too, to Salvador for mailing in comments, to Jaime for the usual support and to Alex for the tasty food.  And we all hoped Joe was enjoying his vacation, although if we know Joe, he was probably just off somewhere causing trouble.

We started with few agenda items:
– Our next two meetings will be May 12 and June 9.  Flyers will be up in the usual places shortly.
– Good news for TV watchers: the MHz Worldview channel will be back on the air at 5am on April 23, on broadcast channel 20, Comcast channel 372 and RCN channel 57.  This is the foreign-language channel that used to be broadcast by WYCC before that channel ceased operation.  They carry subtitled, mostly-mystery and crime shows from all around the world.  Before the end of the month, we can see an Italian Nero Wolfe, a Swedish action miniseries called Commander Hamilton, and the season finale of Der Bestatter, a personal favorite of mine.  Schedule information is at https://mhznetworks.com/schedule/
– In other TV news, WKRP in Cincinnati is on MeTV weeknights at 8:30.  Original reports were that this would be the version from the DVD set that had most of the original music restored, but I’m not too sure about that.  It’s still a very funny show.
– Lisa sent in a note about Free Writing and Publishing Workshops at Frugal Muse in May.  The store is at 7511 Lemont Rd in Darien, and their web site is at https://frugalmusebooks.com/
– Memoir Writing Workshop – Wed, May 16 at 6:30
– How to get your Novel Published – Wed, May 30 at 6:30
– Cary said that his Camp NaNoWriMo was going well, although he was a little behind where he had hoped to be.  Camp NaNo lets you set your own word count goal, and Cary is shooting for 25,000 words this month.  He thinks he can still make it.
– My Windy City pulp convention recap: had a great time, spoke to some interesting people, saw a couple of good movies, spent a little less than I had planned.  Notable acquisitions this year included a copy of Philip Wylie’s Gladiator, 10 Perry Rhodan paperbacks, and a couple of free books!
– The enigmatic Bob Nemtusak sent me a fairly straightforward marketing e-mail with the subject “$7 on http://www.amazon.com”:
Hi:
I wrote a book.
Please buy a copy here:
   https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Bush-Bob-Dillon-Nemtusak/dp/1505980429/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523378185&sr=8-1&keywords=Bob+Dillon+Nemtusak
– Salvador sent in word of an event that he thought we’d be interested in:
May 1st Crafters meeting at the Westchester Village Hall. A neighbor who is into crafts wants to start a crafting community. She organized the first meeting. All are welcomed. I thought I’d mention it here because, after all, writing is a craft, and I also know that people close to the group are crafters (and that includes painting<g>). One of her ideas is to have a storefront where crafters can sell their works. This may be attractive as a distribution point for our written works.  https://www.facebook.com/events/449068412193762/   [No login necessary to view fb content.]
– Matt H has another Atlas Obscura event coming up next month.  Ray Bradbury’s Waukegan (https://www.atlasobscura.com/events/ray-bradburys-waukegan) should be of interest to anyone who is a fan of Bradbury.  The tour is May 12, which is unfortunately the date of our next Writers Group meeting, and tickets are still available.
– Lisa sent in a note that the 14th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition is open for entrants.  Winners will receive the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award.  Entries must be postmarked by June 30, 2018. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($500), second ($300) and third place ($100). Details and entry forms can be found at http://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/center_for_the_book

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Cary is enjoying Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
– Steve is reading a biography of Warren G. Harding
– Matt H liked The Comedians by Kliph Nesteroff, which has the fabulous subtitle of “Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy”
– Gary is doing research for his latest story, but one book that he really liked was The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World … Via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes by Carl Hoffman
– Kathy read Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
– Lisa says she’s been reading “a bunch of crap” but she did like The Chalk Man by C J Tudor, and she highly recommended My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Chicago native Emil Ferris
– Sean picked up an omnibus of Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn
– Kay enjoyed The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkanen, and White Teeth by Zadie Smith
– Matt B highly recommended The Turk by Tom Standage, but suggests reading it before you Google the subject, because it really is written like a mystery.  He also read Edison’s Eve by Gaby Wood but was not that enthusiastic in comparison.

A quick note that during the discussion of the Edison’s Eve book, I mentioned that one of the chapters was essentially a brief biography of Georges Méliès, a French illusionist and pioneering filmmaker.  Many people know of him through his most famous film “A Trip to the Moon” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNLZntSdyKE) but just as many know him as a character in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, and the movie Hugo, which was made from book.  The group recommends reading the book before seeing the movie.

Internet Note for the month (thanks to Lisa):
– Web App Identifies Unnecessary Words In Your Writing – http://mentalfloss.com/article/78180/web-app-identifies-unnecessary-words-your-writing

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual random comments, constructive criticism, and helpful discussion about general writing topics.  One thing that sticks in my mind from this month is the importance of doing research when necessary.  My story, Barnstormers, benefits from research because it’s set in 1925 and features biplanes, neither of which I’ve ever experienced outside of books, movies and TV, but I’ve been told comes across as credible in the story.  I asked Matt H about a small detail regarding a baseball game in his story, and he confessed that he didn’t know much first-hand about baseball, just what he had read.  And we were surprised when we asked Gary about the setting of his story and he told us that he had never been there, because the way he used the exotic location was used so well.  He said he was just intrigued by the area and did his research.  It’s easy for research to overwhelm a story, as in when the author wants to include everything he or she has learned in her research, but the better writers use just enough details to make you think they know what they’re writing about.

Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month.  Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– around April 29, I’ll send a reminder to you to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, May 12 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be May 26 at 7PM.  Please check the blog for more information.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group.  I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B