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3 responses to “Books by Cindy Martin’s Bed”

  1. Dick

    HI Quonset Hut Cindy!

    Just came back from your blog…

    When I got to this line I wanted it to be first because is defines the mother’s relationship to her children and the cold lack of emotional connection described later – then too the stepfather’s lack of affect describing the birth of his moribund son that day.

    A marriage made in heaven or hell – think I’ve already decided.

    “I’m going to the hospital today,” she said.

    Never during my mother’s pregnancy did she acknowledge she was pregnant, even though my two sisters and I could clearly watch her belly grow. That evening our stepfather brought McDonald’s home for dinner.

    “Your mother had a baby boy today,” he said, unwrapping hamburgers on the table. ”The doctors don’t think he’ll live.”

    Wonderful start and I believe it will speak to anyone who’s had a distant parent – a parent that they very much wanted to have a warm connection with but it was not to be – which will keep them turning the pages I bet!! More…

    dick cummins (class of ‘70)

  2. Cindy Martin

    Dick, I love my new nickname, “Quonset Hut Cindy”! Perfect!
    Many thanks for the detailed feedback. Interesting that you point out an alternate starting point to the piece, which is a technique I’ve been thinking about since taking the memoir class last summer. Where do you come into a story? Important question. Your suggestion to start with my mother’s announcement that she’s going to the hospital has me pondering . . . it’s a good idea. Useful advice.
    I appreciate your taking time to read and comment. Grateful for the feedback.
    Take care!
    Cindy

  3. Dick

    QHC:

    See (comments):

    “I’m going to the hospital today,” she said. (Shows what she is like and creates immediacy – sets scene by “showing” what she is like not “telling.”)

    Never during my mother’s pregnancy did she acknowledge she was pregnant, even though my two sisters and I could clearly watch her belly grow. That evening our stepfather brought McDonald’s home for dinner. (Tells reader and advances the plot – stepfather introduced.)

    “Your mother had a baby boy today,” he said, unwrapping hamburgers on the table. “The doctors don’t think he’ll live.” (“Shows” how new husband is – reader is in the room again.)

    You always hear that you are supposed to show not tell – but I think it is really a good combo that sucks the reader in… See Vonnegut’s ten rules for fiction writing from an old notebook I found down in storage — from my first class with him…
    KV says:
    1. Write about a person or subject you care about.
    2. Give the reader at least one character to root for.
    3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
    4. Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action.
    5. Start as close to the end of your story as possible.
    6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them so the reader can see what they are made of.
    7. Develop a narrator’s voice that is interesting and entertaining – think Mark Twain here.
    8. Give readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. Readers should have a complete understanding of what is going on so that if roaches eat the last few pages they can finish the story themselves.
    9. Write stories not sermons.
    10. Have the guts to cut some of your best stuff, especially what you think IS your best stuff – because usually it isn’t!

    Hope this helps QHC — cheers dc

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