Notes from the April, 2016 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our forty-third Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, April 9.  Thanks to Marianne, Sean, Cary, Beth, Matt H, and new member Steve M for joining me to talk writing and stories.  And as always, thanks to Jaime for the comfortable location and to Joe for the occasional comedy.

We started with a few quick news items:
– The June meeting will be on the third Saturday, June 18, instead of our usual second Saturday because I’m going to be at the Printer’s Row book fair on June 11.  I’ll remind everyone of the change again next month.
– Round-robin story: 11 chapters done.  The file was sent to the 12th author early Saturday morning.  After that, we have one more person then everyone will have had a chance.  I’ve told #12 that they’re welcome to start to wrap things up, and I’ll make the same comment to #13.  I look forward to discussing the story at the meeting next month.
– Just a quick reminder about the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention – April 22-24.  I wrote about it in last month’s recap.
– Matt H says that he doesn’t think his article has been in Streetwise yet, so we should all continue to patronize the Streetwise sellers when we see them.
– Sean passed around a sheet he found on the ‘net that was a checklist to use when Planning Your Novel.  A jpg of that is here:
– Kathy had sent in a request for information about self-publishing, as she’s getting close to putting her collection together.  I got several replies and forwarded them to her.  The e-mails were very informative, so I plan to post the information here shortly, as long as the submitters are okay with that.
– Beth wanted to know know how others in the group feel about what role the “audience” has in their writing.  The conversation on this was varied and interesting, with some discussion of web sites, publications, and niche markets to be written to.  Some of us have the writers group and the people attending the monthly Reading Series in mind, but most seemed to view themselves as their primary audience.  I personally figure that I’m writing what I want to write, and I hope that other people enjoy it as well.
– A few months back, we inherited a copy of the 2014 Literary Marketplace Catalog.  I’ve been taking it home and bringing it back, but I asked the group what we should do with it.  We decided that we’d keep it around as long as someone is willing to take it home and bring it back at a future meeting.  Additionally, Cary brought in his copy of the Writers Market 2016 book from Writers Digest Books, and said that if anyone wanted to take a look at it he could bring it in again.

Internet Notes –
– I was recently pointed to an article on the Writers Circle web site entitled “If You’re A Writer, You Need To Follow These 12 Twitter Accounts.”  I don’t use Twitter, but if you do, you might find it interesting
– On Mar 11, the NY Times published an article stating that you will no longer be able to buy the cheaper, mass market edition of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, leaving only the more expensive trade paperback for schools (and anyone else) to buy.  On Mar 16, they reported that HarperCollins will offer “discounted” Mockingbird paperbacks, but only to schools.  Seems suspicious that this happened not long after the author passed away.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual conversation and critiques of the submitted pieces.  One digression that was really interesting was regarding naming your characters.  It seemed that everyone had a slightly different method of assigning a name to a character in their story, everything from using random name generators to baby naming web sites.  Sean found an article which lists names chosen by rich parents.  I know when I was naming characters in my third novel, set in 1926, I used a page on the Social Security Administration site, which helpfully breaks down popular names by decade .  Since the meeting, Sean sent in another article about how names differ by culture.

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 next Saturday, April 16 at 7PM.  The featured reader will be Jeffrey Westhoff. Please check the blog for more information.
– around May 1, I will send a reminder to you to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.  This e-mail will also contain the current round-robin story.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, May 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 next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B


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