March Meeting Recap

posted Mar 12, 2018, 1:42 PM by Bruce Rowe   [ updated Mar 12, 2018, 1:47 PM ]
The Veterans' Writing Group met on March 3:
  • Tom Calabrese is celebrating his 100th story published in the Vista Press coming March 18. Read his latest, "The Deadly Dose." (Thanks for the juice and donuts Tom.)
  • A new book of poetry by one of our members is out on Amazon. See Bridges: Crossed and Yet to Come by Leif K. Thorsten.
  • Joe read a piece he wrote for his community newsletter called "Outside Our Gates" about the growing problem of homeless vets and how we can help. Veterans Village of San Diego organized the first "stand down" as a "hand up" for homeless vets in 1988 and continues to host one annually each July. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans also continues to host stand downs around the country. Visit the VVSD website for more info on the local San Diego stand down.
  • Garry led a discussion on developing characters in your writing. A few nuggets from the discussion:
    • Write descriptions down (Garry called it your "Character Bible") to maintain consistency in characters throughout your work, including a backstory that explains their actions and personality. This is a working document and may change as you progress through the story and uncover or need other character aspects to make the story work.
    • Capture not just their personality, but physical characteristics like mannerisms, how they move, or tics.
    • Include strengths and weaknesses in your characters.
    • Make note of characteristics of people you know.
    • Show, don't just tell, the qualities of your characters. Reveal them through actions and dialog.
  • Jerry read his story about human communication based on a misunderstanding when he tried to order a simple onion bagel with cream cheese. The young woman taking the order assumed everyone knew what an "everything bagel" was, and that led to a sender-receiver breakdown in communication.
  • Paul read a chapter of his in-progress memoir Solomon Sea. It recounted his early days in the Navy and what happened as he naively tried to invoke his recruiter's promise that he could "choose" his Navy career path.
  • Charlie related his road trip as a young student to meet To Kill a Mocking Bird author Harper Lee, in his story "Listening to the Mocking Bird."
  • Leif read his poem "Signs of Aging", composed as he watched his elderly mother-in-law  navigate a trip to the grocery store.
  • Richard read a bit of his continuing work on a book about the Fort Lewis payroll robbery.
  • Ed Fox of San Diego Veterans for Peace made a few announcements about upcoming events, including an event focused on the 50th  anniversary of the My Lai Massacre and lessons learned. For more information, visit the San Diego Veterans for Peace website.
  • Gail assigned a little homework for the April 7 meeting:
    • Write a character description using what we learned in the discussion.
    • Bring a few interesting and uncommon words that we can use to expand our vocabularies and make our writing a cut above the ordinary.