On Sunday, January 24th, 2016, we held the first meeting of our new short story group. The premise is that we work on a short story for a month (every story is based on the same starting idea) and then meet to read them to one another. After the reading, the writer discusses their process and how they chose to write the story they did. After that, the group provides feedback based on what they heard.
Thank you to Tania, Shelley, Mom (Ginny) and Glen for coming to the inaugural meeting of the Writing Group. It was a great success and a truly wonderful day. We had a special guest listener in Sabine who was in charge of deciding the order we read in.
A Brief Overview of the Stories:
Everyone wrote a completely different story and took inspiration from the photo in different ways.
Shelley read first. Her story follows a woman who is on her way to celebrate a former race-car champion at an event being held in his honour. Her descriptions of the emotions and anxieties of her protagonist draw you in from square one. Written in the first person, the story hints at what the former race car champion was and who he has become.
Tania read next. Her story followed an elderly man named Leonard who has recently lost his wife and now lives alone. She uses narrative to walk us through the history of Leonard and his wife while keeping us present as he moves their beloved old truck into their summer kitchen for repairs. Tania picked up on the linoleum flooring in the image and linked that to an old summer kitchen which had not been filled in.
Glen’s story took us on a humorous journey with Gilberto, a farmer and mechanic, as he tackles his afternoon chores and deals with the dogs, goats and chickens that bring him his daily frustrations and joys. He uses strong language to draw you in and paint the picture of the world he has created for his characters complete with a confused rooster and an exploration into the genesis behind the phrase “you old goat.”
Sabine appointed me, Sean, next. My story followed an elderly mechanic named Miguel who works for the mafia erasing the details of crimes from their vehicles. I focused on the narrative to pull the story along, describing Miguel’s fears and emotions while telling the history of the Xavier Family through the lens of my protagonist all while he works on a rush job from the boss.
Ginny (Mom) chose to conduct research for her story to offer it genuine validity. Her story followed a reporter who has been sent out of town to interview a former race car champion whom on request by her boss. The reporter has little interest in the vehicle or the driver until she learns the true story behind his life of racing and what makes him so compelling. The car in the story is as important as the characters themselves with the amount of detail and vivid descriptions she uses to show it to the reader.
With our first story and meeting under our belts, we’re ready for month two. For this month, we are writing a story that has something to do with the lumber barons that first cut trees in the new world.