• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Girl You Know I Want Your Love


Sometimes when you’re talking with a writer and you give feedback that a particular scene doesn’t work, the writer will say, in his or her defense, but that’s how it happened! To me, that’s like when you make a joke and nobody laughs, and you say: you had to be there!  We weren’t there. It’s your job to put us there. Please don’t tell me that’s how it happened. No one gives a shit how it happened. More to the point, how something happened has little to do with how well you render it on the page.  You have to find the words, phrases, nuances, descriptions. The tone, telling details, restrained alliteration, etc. to create the illusion. You are a puppeteer, a conductor, a director, a show maker. Please don’t tell me how it happened. I beg you.

Do you feel me.

11 Responses

  1. Totally agree.

  2. I feel ya, sister. And I dig want you’re putting down.

  3. Yes, I do.

    It’s the magic word. Show.

    Which reminds me, however, of Show-n-Tell at school. Maybe that’s where it started for us poor writers who get hung up on the tell part.

    Does anyone know that a Moon Pie is really a Southern S’more?

  4. Yes.

    I recently ran a bit past a couple of mentors, a bit from long ago and far away, and I was there. One, a guy who’s been on the NYT list, was brutal, the other less so, both raising good points as readers.

    I didn’t like it, but they were right. I wrote for the writer, not the reader, a fundamental error if you want to sell what you wrote.

    I’ll finish that piece, but probably just for myself.

  5. I feel you. It’s the difference between a writer and a reporter (no offense intended there). Writing is creating, not recounting.

  6. Maybe. I don’t want smoke and mirrors — okay, I’ll take the haze and daze, but the looking glass is lying about my age — but I do want to know where the bodies are buried. Once I’m there, I don’t need to have someone show me how to use a shovel.

  7. There was a murder in the library. Ms. Scarlett did it; she used the candlestick.
    I’m out.

  8. I feel you. I started out as a writer trying to tell what actually happened. Christ but that was boring. So I made something else happen.

    It’s my own piece of work, I’ll make any damn thing happen that I want.

    There is no view from nowhere.

  9. I’m feeling it, but from a different angle, after attending a seminar last night. The speaker intended to enthrall us with her book journey (her best friend at Big Name Publishing House knew an editor who, after looking at her “idea box”, claimed the Publishing House HAD to publish her as-yet-not-written-manuscript); then, we were encouraged to purchase her $50 book of pretty pictures and quotes from other authors. Name dropping and sly references to summer trips spent in The Lake District completed her presentation. The screaming in my head may have been audible to others. I went home to my manuscripts and rejection letters, convinced that ignorance, truly, is bliss.

  10. I think the key is writing it not how it actually happened, but writing it how others might have seen it happening.

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