November 3rd 2003

Present for the meeting today from 12 to 2 PM were: Russ, Sharon, Tarah, Beth, Sandi, Marilyn. We got set up for the book party and had a brief meeting.


Beth will be taking some TS12 books to Driftwood Books in Detroit Lakes. Jerry has already taken books to Bookin’ It in Little Falls and he will now take them to New York Mills Cultural Center. He has been a great help to us delivering books on his book signing trips.


Russ brought us some good information on revisions. One method for making revisions is to use bracketing. You go through your piece that you want to revise and bracket the best parts that show rather than tell, the parts that stand out as the best parts. Pick out the dramatic parts of your work, see how it moves from one dramatic conflict to another. This will show you other parts that you could improve or delete.

It is a good idea when you are writing to quickly write your story through one time. You need to see where you are beginning and where you want to end up. Otherwise it is like driving a car; eventually you just run out of gas if you just keep on wandering without knowing where you are supposed to end up.

Russ gave us an exercise. Write for three minutes about a certain situation, two people involved, each having a bad day and you can only use words with one or two syllables. The situation was: a guy is sitting at a car garage, waiting for his car to be fixed. His wife comes in, tells him about some problem she is having. He is having trouble with the garage. They are each trying to explain their problem to the other. Notice that when you write with only one or two syllables, the piece is fast paced, intensified.

Another exercise is to write 6 sentences that would make good last lines to a short story, one page. Then write the story to come down to that last sentence.

Another exercise is to write the same story or poem from 3 or 4 different viewpoints. You might still choose to write it from the original viewpoint that you were using, but you will now see it much better than you did originally.

When describing something, show, don’t tell. Attempt to describe moonlight without using the word “moon” or “light”.

There are several types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound/complex combined. Using these in various ways, you can speed up the action or slow it down. This creates flow.

Another tip when writing — describe the major locals of your work thoroughly and completely, each by themselves. Later, as you are writing, you can draw some information from these descriptions. Also do this for the major characters, their thoughts, fears, etc. This makes them so they aren’t so shallow, it helps you know how they will behave.

Use smell, touch, taste, etc. to show the reader things instead of always telling. This will make it much more vivid.

Tarah read a new poem and Beth read a new essay. Russ read part of his novel that he has re-written. Good but short meeting.


We held the book release party and presentation from 2 till 4 PM. We had a great turnout. Present were: Niomi Phillips, Kat Norton and guest, Russ Jacobson, Marilyn Wolff, Tarah Wolff, Angele Burlingame, Beth Walter, Laura Hansen, Angela Beaumont, Sharon Harris, Janet Pratt, Sandi Krueger, Marion Holtey, Judy Sladek and guest, Florence Witkop, Bryan A. Jerry Mevissen spoke about the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc group and the Talking Sticks we had published in the past. He thanked Jill Johnson for letting us use Beagle Books for our meetings and for this party.

Each author published in the book will receive two free copies of TS12. Any that are not picked up will be mailed. Remember, books make great Xmas gifts!!

Early this year, we began working on TS12. We sent out a call for submissions with a deadline of June 15. We received submissions from 53 writers who sent in anywhere from one to four poems or stories each. The editorial board met in early July, consisting of: Rosa Carlisle, Marion Holtey, Sharon Harris, Tarah Wolff, Beth Walter. We had each read through the submissions previously and marked them with a plus, minus, or question mark. We spent 3 or 4 hours going through them. We went through quickly once and voted. This way we picked out our definite yes pieces and no pieces. That left us with the maybes and we spent considerable time sorting those out.

From there, Tarah did all the typing and the layout. We accepted 49 poems and 7 stories from 42 of the writers. Sharon Harris, Beth Walter and Marilyn Wolff did the proof reading. The book ended up being 98 pages total, including 11 photographs. We made it a point to put a picture next to a poem or story that it matched.

We found an excellent publisher that was right on time. We got the books back in early November. We are very happy with the way the book looks. Sharon and Tarah are ready to do another one!!

Each author had an opportunity to read their work. This was very enjoyable. Jerry spoke of his book Nimrod Chronicles. He has been having great success with it, going to many book signings. Jerry had previously had some of his writing excerpts and his photographs on display in Tri-County Hospital in Wadena and in the New York Mills Cultural Center. Sharon and a photographer named Theresa Reed from Eagle Bend had also had displays in those two places and now their work in at the Perham Library. Sharon plans to do a show with her niece Tarah Wolff in the near future.

We also had two excellent writing workshops this summer that we will probably be repeating. One was by Linda Henry and one was by Florence Witkop.

We had great conversation, great attendance, and great food. It was an excellent party and enjoyed by all.