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#61 [url]

Feb 22 13 5:05 AM

To ztnoble: I really like your writing style! Your story really held my attention and kept me wanting more.

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#63 [url]

Feb 22 13 9:54 AM

Zola,
I really enjoyed your story.  As the others have indicated your writing style is very engaging and you brought your gran'ma to life and painted a picture of your relationship with her.  It is so wonderful that you have those memories even if they are not of the traditional "loving grandmother" feelings we find so often in fiction.  They are wonderfully honest I thought. 

I do agree with your last post about the second part which digresses somewhat into all the names but that is what first drafts are all about.  Once the info is there on the page you can manipulate it and insert or delete to bring it more inline with your initial paragraphs. 

Keep up the really great work. 

Jo

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#64 [url]

Feb 22 13 10:07 AM

Deb,
You have a wonderful writing ability.  Your blog about the family reunion is well written and you have built up suspense, but then there was no conclusion really, it just sort of petered out.  I am talking specifically about the  cousin who came and sat "carefully" at your table.  Was there some illness she was hiding or some other issues?  That is what is implied.  Your description of people is excellent,  not tedious but enough to give a glimpse of each. 

I think the concept of plot or theme could be further enhanced here to make this a really outstanding article.  You certainly have the tools to do it. 

Good job.

Jo

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#65 [url]

Feb 22 13 10:25 AM

Good writing, Deb!  Since we had a sort-of reunion this past December, where we came from near and far, I could relate to the story.  I like your descriptions of the characters.  Easy to envision them in our minds.  

I agree with Jo about no real conclusion, but you did state what was happening the next day, so I figured the conclusion would come after the reunion was over.  Or maybe you were beginning the next day's story with some thoughts from the previous day.  Also the fact that people were travel weary was in itself a kind of concluding end to that day.

All in all, I think you're doing a bang-up job of writing this, hard as you say it has been, and I can see this book coming about as a good one.  I got the inspiration from reading this that I need to write about our recent reunion, maybe at the end or beginning of the book?  Have to dwell on this more.

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#66 [url]

Feb 22 13 4:40 PM


Well, that is just the first night of the reunion. There are several parts to follow, and the resolution about the cousin who sat carefully comes at the end of the book...with a few more surprise endings. Jo, you guessed it very well, though. She was one of the Sr. family members I go on to interview, and she dies not long after the reunion...along with some other folks.

I appreciate your critiques. Yes, I realize there is work to be done...but I just want to get it out first. So much has happened in the last few years...hard to remember much of it.

Thanks again, Jo & Bettyann!!!

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#67 [url]

Feb 23 13 6:11 AM


Hi Deb,  very nice imagery in your reunion piece. I can see the reunion playing out before me and see how with a little polish your on your way to creating an engaging scene. I will admit to being a little confused about whether this is your family or your husband's family reunion. 

However, I can't say I can identify a conflict, but with that being said I can feel tension in this piece, some apprehension and comfortableness at the reunion which is fantastic. I think that should be explored a little further. What is the conflict? What is the reader going to learn or experience by sharing this journey with you. That may need to be expressed a little further in this opening scene.

With regards to the ending, I wasn't concerned with the conclusion, but perhaps instead of telling us the next days activities, foreshadow things to come, make the reader turn the page. I need to know what happens tomorrow. 

Looking forward to reading more Deb, nice writing. 

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#68 [url]

Feb 23 13 7:31 AM

Thank you, Lynn, for your honest approach! This is what I was looking for. 

When I organized the photos I used to build the scene(s), I categorized them: Meet & Greet, Breakfast at the Hotel, The Boat Ride, The Banquet, Piney Grove (church), and At Hattie's House. My intention is that all through these reunion events, there is a tension within myself of getting to talk with Hattie. As stated in the piece entitled "Hattie's Call," she had requested all of the siblings to attend before she would discuss the land deeds. I had expected her to come to the reunion, which she was unable to attend because of her health, but I did not know that at the time. The conflict appears as small instances...the tension...to build to the visit at Hattie's House following the reunion. I intend to go back later and insert my personal conflict...thinking...but, as I wrote this, I found myself trying to be careful of how I characterized the cousins...especially the male cousins, especially the Nathaniel George branch historian. There has been conflict there to this day...about him being so open with the family, but so secretive with me, the family historian. We just went round and round over the past couple days about his line, and he finally divulged which son of Nathaniel he descends from (Nathaniel had 16 children).

That Monday after the reunion, we visited three of our senior family members. One of them was the cousin in the purple and white pants suit who "sat carefully" beside Dorothy. 

This first part of the book leads to Hattie's ultimate challenge...for me to write my personal memoir of our daughter's death. Part I of the book is about the reunion leading to her challenge. Part II is my personal memoir. Part III is the aftermath of the reunion...the deaths of our senior family members we had visited, and how that has effectually ended family reunion.

The apprehension at the reunion is also my personal inner conflict with being in groups of people I do not know...wanting to fit in, and not feeling it. I agree, there is more that I can do in this area. Just want to get the "bare bones," on paper, as I have read Bettyann write before about her Korean War piece. 

Thanks for the idea for the end of this section. I will definitely use that to guide me in my re-writes!

I do not know if any of you are familiar with the author, Jay Neugeboren. He was one of my writing professors at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst back in the early 1980s. This is a quote of his to my mother (my mom was the Undergraduate English Secretary there, but after I had graduated.)..."writing is a gift, but it does no one any good until it is published for the world to read." I guess part of me wants to prove to him that I have finally completed something worthwhile. So, that is part of what drives me. He is the sole surviving writing professor from the University who instructed me. At that time I was working on my very first attempt at family historical creative non-fiction based on my mother's Jewish ancestry from Vilna, Lithuania (then Russia). Perhaps one day I'll be able to go back to that and write it as well. I still have my note cards from those early days of research, but the 100 pages I wrote for my senior project were discarded years ago in an act of frustration.

This writers' challenge and forum has truly helped me get back into the writing after so many years of being dormant! Thank you, all!!!

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#69 [url]

Feb 23 13 8:02 AM

Connie (cshortel),

What an interesting story! I really enjoyed reading it. It kept me interested all the way. I've read a lot of history of that era and of Indian captivities and such, so I'd say that James' wife and children were very lucky to escape as they did.

Zola

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#70 [url]

Feb 25 13 4:26 AM

Thanks Zola. If you are familiar with her Massey is also a relative, though not in the direct line.  She was not so fortunate.  While she lived and eventually escaped, several of the children taken with her were killed.   Christina was very lucky.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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#71 [url]

Feb 25 13 7:48 AM

That would be Massey Harbison, a fairly famous incident around Pittsburgh.

Connie from WV stuck here in Florida

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