Notes from the November, 2015 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our thirty-eight Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, November 14, and it was the shortest meeting yet, due to some scheduling issues in the restaurant.  We still got just about everything done.  Thanks to Cary, Sean, Michelle, Lisa, Beth, Marianne, Matt H, and Salvador for joining me.  And as always, thanks to Jaime for loan of the space.  He was very apologetic when he asked us to start an hour earlier and keep it to two hours, but he needn’t be.  Other proprietors might not have been so nice about it, and we appreciate it.

We started with a few quick news items:
2015 Chicago Book Expo is next week, Nov 21.  A bunch of us will be there at our table, so stop by if you have time.  And Good News: I just found out today that our table will be in the main room on the first floor, which means more foot traffic, hopefully more book sales, and more promotion for the THC arts events.
– Last year I brought in the Nelson Algren short story contest winners from the Printers Row section of the Tribune to share with the group.  Since the contest last year ran Dec 1 to Jan 31, I’m expecting similar dates this year.  If you plan to submit something and want to see what they picked this past year, I’ll have the booklets next month for you to borrow.
– Beth mentioned that she saw an article about an American Writers Museum on north Michigan Ave that is scheduled to open in 2017.  The Trib article is here  and the link to the Museum web site is in the article.
– Jaime has a request.  Here’s the message he sent me: “Please inform the group I am having a special 10 year anniversary all inclusive THC art “event” January 16th. I would like them to write / poem / whatever on what THC has meant to them. I am trying to get the First THC featured reader Germania Solorzano to come back and our first artist Monique Moreno as well. It will be a great evening of reflection and moving forward. Due to the over all program we will have limited open mic time but the writings will be for me to reflect on my THC work.”  I’ll talk about this again next month.
– We were supposed to talk about the round robin story idea, but I suggested waiting until next month.  Partially because we wanted to keep the meeting to two hours and had a lot of pieces to critique, and partially because I have the Book Expo next week and I’m trying to do NaNoWriMo, so I don’t think I’d have time.  I suggested discussing it more fully at the December meeting, with an eye to start writing in January.  If we had a deadline to finish, say the middle of next year, maybe we could then spend some time whipping the final result in shape and present it at one of the later Reading Series nights next year.  Everyone took pity on my schedule and we postponed discussion until December.

Internet Notes:
– I recommended an episode of the Creative Penn podcast, which was about story sentences.  This is like the elevator pitch you hear about in Hollywood.  They discussed the four elements, structure and theory behind a compelling story sentence. Also how emotion plays a role in creating a premise or story sentence.  The details are on the web site  (and the page also has a transcript of the conversation, if you’re not into podcasts.)

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual conversation and critiques.  We were restricted to only two hours, but I think we were able to give each of the nine pieces their due time.  We even had time to razz Sean for submitting a piece early in the week, only to start tinkering, do a massive rewrite and resubmit it later in the week.  Some of the pieces came in with specific questions from the author, but most were looking for general comments, and those were as enlightening as the specific answers were, sometimes even more.

Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month.  Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– as mentioned above, we’ll be at the Chicago Book Expo next Saturday, November 21, from 11AM to 5PM.  Link is above.
– the next Tamale Hut Cafe Reading Series event will be next Saturday, November 21 at 7PM, with the winners of the THC Short Story contest as featured readers.  Please check the blog for more information.  I expect a full house, so get there early.
– around Nov 29, as I’m probably frantically trying to complete my NaNoWriMo novel, I will 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, Dec 12 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 next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B


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