(Upcoming Meetings, and Minutes of Past Meetings are Posted Here)

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Upcoming Meetings

If you are scheduled to make a submisson for critique, or to lead a workshop, and can't make it, please let Cathy Greco or Dave Volk know by email as soon as possible.

June 9 Critiques - John S. and Dave V. (on-line)
July 7 Critiques - Dawn M. and Betsy C.
August 4 Critiques - Jeff P. and Rob L.
September 8 Critiques - Bob L. and Don S.

Past Meetings:

May Critique Meeting - Submissions by Melissa G. and Bob L. 

Melissa G. submitted her short story, Involuntary, and Bob L. submitted his short story, Blue Moon Inn.

April Critique Meeting - Submissions by Cathy G. and Ron M. 

Cathy G. submitted Chapter 9 of her sci-fi novel, Elysium, and Rom M. sumitted the first chapters of his novel, A Ghost Returns.

March Critique Meeting - Submissions by Betsy C. and Jim L. 

Betsy submitted chapter 3 of her memoir, Travis and Quinn, and Jim submitted Chapters 1-3 of his novel, The Plot to Kill FDR

January Critique Meeting - Submissions by John S. and Diane D. 

Diane submitted the first two chapters of her fantasy utopian novel, and John submitted the beggining of his fantasy superhero work. Dave V, Jim L, Bob L, Judy G, Diane D, John S, Ron M, Jeff P, Betsy C, and Cathy G attended and critiqued; New member Tesa W attended for the first time. 

December Critique Meeting - Submissions by Ron M. and Jeff P.

Ron submitted the final chapter of his ghost/thriller novel, and Jeff submitted a mid-chapter of his new fantasy work. John S, Betsy C, DIane D, Jim L, Jeff P, Ron M, Cathy G, and Dave V attended and critiqued.

September Critique Meeting - Submissions by Bob L and Jim L

Bob L submitted a new short story, and Jim L submitted the first two chapters of his novel in progress. Jim L, Barry W, Melissa G, Bob L, Ron M, David V, Lyn P, Jon S, Jeff P,  Cathy G, and Betsy C all attended and critiqued. Anahid H, Judy G, and Sue C attended as well.

August Critique Meeting - Submissions by David V. and Alina K.

Dave submitted chapters 9 - 11 from his time travel novel and Alina submitted the first draft of her short story. Dave V, Alina K, Don S, Jim L, Jeff P, Robert L, Ron M, John C, Anahid H, Betsy C, and Cathy G attended and critiqued.

July Critique Meeting - Submissions by Ron M. and Cathy G.

Cathy submitted Chapter 7 from her novel, Elysium and Ron submitted Chapter 8 from his novel, The Midnight Gravedigger.

June Workshop - Author Video Lecture Series

We had a great turnout of 11 folks for our Author Video Lecture Series featuring Jessica Brody. The topic was dialogue, and we had fun and challenging writing prompts to go along with the videos.

Recent Meetings

May Workshop - Writing Lecture Series

May Critique - Bob L. (A Big Life) and Don S. (Ms. Megaton Man Ch. 13)

April Workshop - Writing Lecture Series

March Workshop -  Writing Lecture Series

March Critique - Betsy C. (Travis & Quinn Ch. 2) and Jim L. (Breaking News - mother subplot)

February Workshop - Fixit

February Critique - Ron M. (The Midnight Gravedigger) and Jeff P. (Gifts of a Laughing God)

January Workshop - Favorite book passages

January Critique - Lynn P. (Revallo Ch. 7)

December 11 Critique Meeting - Submission by Bob L.

We enjoyed Bob's submission - The December Club. The characters were vivid, the dialog was clever, and there was a good tone and sense of humor. The large cast of characters was handled well. We would have liked to have seen more about the rift between the main character and his daughter, and the catalyst for change.

We continued the meeting with a fun writing challenge and a writing prompt.


November 13 Critique Meeting - Submissions by Cathy G. and Rick J.

We enjoyed both of these submissions: Elysium - Chapter 4, by Cathy G. and "Double Duty" by Rick J. Cathy's submission was well told and vivid with great world-building, interesting and empathetic characters, humor, and an engaging conflict. Rick's submission was engaging, with colorful characters, a well-told action scene, and humor. It has the makings of an entertaining series or serial. We loved the telepathic creature, and the way he was treated by the crew.


October 23 Workshop - Writing Prompts and Games

We chose from several opening line writing prompts and then wrote some fun and fresh stories (and beginnings of stories) that we read to one another. Then we followed with our now-famous movie title game, where we take a real but not well-known movie title and try to fool the others into believing that the fake synopsis we wrote about it is the real one. This has always been and continues to be a fun and popular workshop.

Previous Meetings - July Workshop - October Celebration


Although in the past, we've posted notes from each meeting as it's been completed, we've had a very busy three months personally, and so we're playing a little catch-up now. So welcome to this summary of the previous six meetings! 

Our July Workshop was the always productive: Just Write!, where we all had the opportunity to work on our WIPs without interruption, then head to Eat n' Park to discuss our progress and just have some good social time. 

Our August crtique meeting included very strong submissions from Barry W. and Ron M - Remember the compellingly described earthquake (Barry), and the surprising reactions of the ladies to our hero at the dance social (Ron)? Our August workshop was another installment from the Writing Great Fiction lecture series: How Characters Are Different from People and Turning a Story into a Plot. 

Our September critique meeting included entertaining submissions from Betsy C. and Sandra G. F. We were treated to Betsy's well-told memoir of some of her life experiences with animals. We'll always remember that sweet, sad dog that jumped into her car and then stayed with Betsy for the rest of her days. Sandra's short story, Cornbread was an engaging story of coming to peace with the past. Remember Granny Jeantelle, Bessie, Sylvette, that old cherry tree, and the cornbread that Granny lovingly and hopefully taught Bessie how to make. As usual, we were treated to wonderful imagery in Sandra' submission.

The September workshop was a Fix-It workshop. Members read from their WIP and asked for advice and feedback. The October celebration meeting was well attended, to overflow (not complaining!). Some truly wonderful stories were shared. We all snacked on fall/Halloween treats (and still found room for something at Eat n' Park).

July 10 Critique Meeting - Submissions by Bob L. and Don S.

We enjoyed both of these submissions: "The Other Side," a short story by Bob L., and Son of Megaton Man, chapter 1, by Don Simpson. Bob's submission was a ghost story with children as the main characters on each side of the veil. It was well-received, and contained Bob's trademark warmth, realisitc family potrayal and unique characters. Don's submission was the first chapter of his novel, with professional illustrations, showing Megaton man's new, ordinary life in Ann Arbor, MI, and how his son Simon comes to know that his dad and mom were really superheroes. We loved the illustrations and the flow of the story-telling, and are left wanting to read more.

June 26 Workshop - Writing Great Fiction - Evocative Writing and Integrating Dialogue into Narrative

We watched another two lectures from this very instructive series on the craft of writing. In the lecture on Evocative Writing, we learned about showing not telling, and how the addition of detail puts the reader in the scene. This gives us the opportunity to evoke emotion in the reader.

In the second lecture, we learned about using dialogue to evoke character, to tell the story, and to provide exposition, with great examples and techniques.

June 12 Critique Meeting - Submissions by John T. and Jim L.

We were treated to two strong submissions. "Sins of Omission," chapters 1-2 by Jim L., and "Wings of the Cherubim," chapters 6-8 by John Thompson. Jim's submission was a murder mystery that spans generations, with an engaging prologue and good characterization. John's submission was a tense and engaging continuation of his apocalyptic novel, with vivid descriptions.

May 22 Workshop - Just Write

Folks took advantage of focused time for writing, then retired to Eat 'n Park to refuel and relax.

May 8 Critique Meeting - Submission by Don M.

"Traitor," submitted by Don M, a tightly paced, detailed piece--chapter 8 of a noir novel in progress. 

April 24th Betwixt Meeting - Writing Great Fiction

Shawn presented two great sessions from the Writing Great Fiction series. It discussed starting the writing process, using both logistical and psychological questions. It also talked about using the five "w"s of journalism, and letting the beggining determine the story versus letting the story determine the beggining. The workshop was well-received, and other modules will be presented in the near future. Thanks to Shawn for finding and presenting it!

April 10 Critique Meeting - Submissions by Tom I. and Jeff P.

"Papyrus," submitted by Tom I.

What we liked: There was obviously lots of research behind this story. The dialogue was rich. The story is engaging and ambitious. We felt like we were there. We liked the plan to bury the idol, and the ending regarding the foreboding dreams is a great way to end the chapter.

Our Critiques: Sometimes the dialogue seemed a little expository. Dedu would know some of the things that Teta was telling him, already. The discussion between Teta and Dedu regarding the gods may have gone on just a beat too long. We would have liked to see more narrative description and internal thoughts. Dedu, considering his uprbringing, may not have referred to the idol as just a piece of stoneware.

"Untitiled Contemporary Fantasy Novel," submitted by Jeff P.

What we liked: This story was very enjoyable. It was a page-turner. The opening scenes regarding his sister and his car being shot out moved quickly and was a favorite of several of us.  

Our critiques: The internal monologues slowed down the story and weren't necessary. The mild reaction of the main character to being invisible, and his failure to immediately run to the place where his sister and niece were hiding at his first opportunity seemed unrealistic. The neighborhood where the shooting occurs may have been over-described and lacked some clarity.

Thanks to everyone for their critques, and to Tom and Jeff for great submissions.

Pittsburgh South Writers Group

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