June Meeting Recap

posted Jun 5, 2018, 8:36 PM by Bruce Rowe
The Veterans' Writing Group met on June 2:
  • Garry and Stacey appeared on a Palomar College Live TV segment to talk about Listen Up!
  • The "Before I Die" global art project invites people to contemplate mortality, including writing poetry about it. Spoken-word poet Ant Black will be hosting workshop and reading events when the project makes a stop in Oceanside. The event is June 15 for the workshop and June 22 for the readings at Oceanside Civic Center. Both start at 6 pm.
  • The Library of Congress is conducting a Veterans History Project. Find out how to participate.
  • The Fallbrook Writer's Read on November 13 will feature our members reading their stories from Listen Up! followed by a panel discussion. And of course, books for sale.
  • Our authors read their work:
    • Dante read a story about volunteering at a Formula 1 race in Long Beach in 1980. He recounted the bone-rattling noise and excitement as the cars roared around the track.
    • Richard continued with another installment of his work about the planning of a robbery of the Ft. Lewis payroll in 1963, getting into the logistics of the plan.
    • Glenn read his op-ed piece about the recent run of mass killings and what might be the root cause.
    • Paul read another chapter of his adventures as a submariner from Solomon Sea. Trying to out maneuver a hurricane proved futile and all aboard were tossed about, but survived. Then the real adventure began when a short dive turned into a near catastrophe when the boat's stern planes jammed.
Author Frank Ritter joined us for a mentoring session on building suspense and tension in our writing. Frank has authored several thrillers, including his most recent The Killing Games. Here's his wisdom on this topic:
  • Before you write, plan out why you need suspense and what it's going to accomplish in the story.
  • Tension creates suspense - to make it work, you can't have suspense without tension.
  • Need opposing forces (think of a stretching rubber band) or motivations in your characters with an unknown ahead.
    • We're all familiar with rival cops from competing agencies, fighting over a plan of action or jurisdiction.
  • The formula is that suspense-building comes in threes.
    • The situation arises three times with a resolution the third time.
    • He used the example of Sonny in The Godfather, who wants to act when sister Connie is abused by her husband. He holds off twice, but the third time he rushes to help her, only to meet his own demise at the hands of a rival mafia boss who had lured him there.
  • Writing two simultaneous scenes in the same narrative is one way to do it. Frank used this technique in his book about the kidnapping of the Pope. The Pope travels the stations of the cross as his pursuers tunnel underneath him to the spot where they'll nab him.
    • Can even use a clock or calendar dates to set a timeline.
  • Also, always set the "credits" of your bad guy first, showing his ruthlessness or cruel nature. That way readers know just what a challenge your good guy is up against.
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