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00:00:08>>From the Center for the Study and Teaching of
00:00:10Writing at the Ohio State University, this is
00:00:12Writers Talk. I'm Doug Dangler.
00:00:15Columbus Creative Cooperative, founded in 2010,
00:00:17is a group of writers who collaborate for self
00:00:19improvement and collective publishing.
00:00:21There are three published anthologies, Origins,
00:00:24Overgrown, Tales of the Unexpected, and the
00:00:28upcoming Across Town: Stores of Columbus.
00:00:30Brad Pauquette is the director of Columbus
00:00:32Creative Cooperative, and a 3 time contributor.
00:00:35Bernie Reed is in the second book, and Brenda was
00:00:38featured in the third anthology.
00:00:41Welcome to Writers Talk.
00:00:43>>Thank you Doug.
00:00:43>>Thanks.
00:00:44>>Thanks Doug.
00:00:45>>So tell me, how did the cooperative get
00:00:47started?
00:00:49I think Brad, maybe you have the most to say
00:00:50about that.
00:00:51But you can all chime in as you'd like.
00:00:52>>Sure.
00:00:54You know, I was looking for writing opportunities
00:00:56for myself, and wasn't having a lot of luck.
00:00:58Basically, I'm sure you're familiar with the way
00:01:01the publishing industry works.
00:01:02There are thousands of writers poking at the same
00:01:05national publishing houses and literary magazines
00:01:08and things.
00:01:11And I wanted to create a local entity for writers
00:01:13to get their feet wet, get some experience, and
00:01:14also improve their craft.
00:01:17So, a little over a Yeahr ago, I started posting
00:01:18on Craigslist, got a small group of people
00:01:21together, that were interested in writing, and as
00:01:24it turned out, we got a fantastic group of
00:01:26people.
00:01:27And it just sort of grew from there, and now
00:01:29we've got three books on the market.
00:01:31>>Okay.
00:01:32Now, are there other models you looked at from
00:01:35other cities, or is this something that is wholly
00:01:38new for the publishing industry?
00:01:40>>We're not the first publishing cooperative, by
00:01:43any means.
00:01:44But, our particular model, I haven't found
00:01:46another one, in a city.
00:01:48I'm sure they're out there.
00:01:49It isn't that original of an idea.
00:01:51But it is based partly on an experience a friend
00:01:53of mine from college, where he collaborated with
00:01:56other authors to put out an anthology, and they
00:01:59shared the cost of their printing.
00:02:01So I sort of took that idea, put a little capital
00:02:03behind it, and took it to the next level.
00:02:06>>Okay.
00:02:07Now, I understand you meet twice a month for
00:02:11workshops and you offer peer feedback for writers
00:02:12of all genres, formats, and experience levels.
00:02:17And what can a new writer to the cooperative
00:02:18expect in terms of advice?
00:02:21Maybe we can start with Brenda.
00:02:23What was your experience when you came into the
00:02:24cooperative?
00:02:26What kind of advice did you get?
00:02:28>>It's a very welcoming group.
00:02:30I really enjoyed meeting all the other writers
00:02:33and they are very talented.
00:02:36And the help that you get at the workshops is so
00:02:39valuable because they really do a good job of
00:02:42keeping your story, the integrity of your story
00:02:46while finding the places that are...rough, that
00:02:48need to be smoothed out, that need to be better,
00:02:49that could be improved.
00:02:52I just really enjoyed meeting the other writers
00:02:53and working with them.
00:02:55>>Okay.
00:02:56How about your experience, Bernie?
00:02:58What was it you experienced going into the
00:02:59cooperative?
00:03:01>>When I first met Brad, I saw his ad online,
00:03:04they were looking for writers for contributors to
00:03:07the anthology that I am part of.
00:03:12We spoke briefly the time we met, and then I went
00:03:14to the first group, and I was impressed by, like
00:03:17Brenda said, not only the welcomeness of the
00:03:19group, but the quality of the feedback you get
00:03:21from the other writers.
00:03:22No one is there to tear anyone down, but they are
00:03:24there if you are having problems with the story
00:03:27to work with you on it.
00:03:29And to also just make you a better writer.
00:03:33And I'll tell you what: it's a fantastic group
00:03:34for that.
00:03:36>>Okay.
00:03:37So what is it that has helped you to make you a
00:03:39better writer?
00:03:40What specific things did they tell you about your
00:03:42writing?
00:03:42>>One, I was way too verbose.
00:03:45I mean, a short story to me was 22,000 words.
00:03:47And the story they accepted, Brad wrote me a
00:03:52quick email.
00:03:54It was 12,000 words, and he goes "You have to
00:03:56chop 7,000 words out of it." And I'm thinking,
00:03:58how do you do that with a story I happen to love?
00:04:02And he wrote me back, "I really love the spirit
00:04:05or the voice of that story.
00:04:08Work with it, and we'll see what we can do." And,
00:04:11the help I received after that was just, it was
00:04:13one on one help as well as group help.
00:04:17It's just an amazing situation.
00:04:18>>And you made that cut then?
00:04:20>>I made it.
00:04:22I'm a published author.
00:04:25>>I mean, you made the cuts, as well.
00:04:28>>Oh Yeah.
00:04:30>>So that experience didn't scare you?
00:04:31It seems you have come back.
00:04:34>>Oh no, this is an amazing thing.
00:04:36It helps you grow as a writer, more than anything
00:04:37I've ever been through.
00:04:39And I've been through all different types of
00:04:42little workshops and things.
00:04:44This workshop is by far.
00:04:45It's something I look forward to twice a month, I
00:04:47mean I know that.
00:04:48Of course, I'm 60.
00:04:49I don't have a lot to look forward to.
00:04:52>>So what is it that you have gotten out of it,
00:04:55when you go to it?
00:04:58I know you're contributing stories.
00:05:00You've got stories in the anthologies.
00:05:02What, as the director of it, do you get when you
00:05:04go there?
00:05:05>>I get, you know, everything that Bernie gets.
00:05:10>>They're not holding back because you are the
00:05:11director of it?
00:05:12>>Oh no, we don't hold back at all!
00:05:15>>One of the things our group tries to focus on
00:05:17is that we're not trying to meet you where you
00:05:18are.
00:05:19We're trying to get every story to a
00:05:21professionally published level.
00:05:23So I'm held to the same rigorous professional
00:05:25standard as everyone else.
00:05:26No one's coming in and saying, "Well that's good
00:05:28for you.
00:05:29Good work for you, Brad." They're saying, "This
00:05:32is where it needs to be." For me, for Brenda, for
00:05:34Bernie, for anybody there.
00:05:36>>Okay.
00:05:38So what is, what are your backgrounds, then?
00:05:39How did you come to writing?
00:05:41We'll start with Bernie.
00:05:42>>Oh man.
00:05:44Real brief: I was reading a book by one of my
00:05:46favorite authors about twelve Yeahrs ago.
00:05:48I got really upset with the writing, threw the
00:05:51book at the wall, missed the wall, it went out
00:05:52the window.
00:05:53My wife looks at me and said "What the heck are
00:05:55you doing?" And I said, "Sorry, bad aim." And she
00:05:57says, "Why did you throw the book at the wall?"
00:06:00And I said "Honestly, because I couldn't stand
00:06:01the ending." And she said "Then why don't you go
00:06:04write something better?" and that's what I've
00:06:06been trying to do ever since.
00:06:08>>So, you're not going to release the name of
00:06:10the author...?
00:06:11>>Ah, sure I can, it's not a problem.
00:06:14I don't care if Stephen King knows it.
00:06:18>>Okay, so Stephen King was your inspiration.
00:06:20You didn't like something he had done.
00:06:22How did you come into writing?
00:06:25>>You know, I love the written word.
00:06:27I love authors like Kurt Vonnegut, John
00:06:29Steinbeck, Roald Dahl, so it's always been an
00:06:33aspiration of mine.
00:06:35I studied a little bit in college, and was glad
00:06:38to finally get some traction with this.
00:06:40>> And Brenda?
00:06:42>>I probably have also always been a writer.
00:06:46I think the first story I ever wrote I dictated
00:06:47to my mom before I could actually write.
00:06:50I just kept working at it.
00:06:52I studied English at The Ohio State University,
00:06:54back in the 70's.
00:06:56In the interim, I had things published here and
00:06:58there, once in a while, a magazine article, I
00:07:00wrote some curriculum and so on.
00:07:01Just kept working at it.
00:07:04Eventually, my husband and I started a business,
00:07:05called Select Authors.
00:07:08We market some Indie authors together.
00:07:09And that is how I met Brad.
00:07:13He invited me to the workshop, and that is how I
00:07:16got involved with this group.
00:07:18>>Okay.
00:07:20Now, I know you're doing a lot with central Ohio,
00:07:22but tell me about expanding out in the literary
00:07:25scene or the writing in Ohio.
00:07:26What is your experience with that?
00:07:28What is your response to it?
00:07:31>>You know what, we try to keep a very open
00:07:32mind.
00:07:35But I try to plan not past tomorrow.
00:07:37So, you know, we're grateful for everything we
00:07:40get.
00:07:42We found a great niche in the market with
00:07:44specifically local writers.
00:07:46So that is definitely where our focus is now.
00:07:49What the future holds as far as branching out to
00:07:52a larger network, I'm not sure.
00:07:53>>Okay.
00:07:55But you're aware, of, are there groups like this
00:07:56in Cincinnati or Cleveland and other places, or
00:08:00are you sort of alone in Ohio, as far as you
00:08:01know?
00:08:03>>As far as I know, there are no groups like
00:08:07ours, where we're actually getting writers
00:08:08published.
00:08:10There's a lot of writers groups out there.
00:08:11Very, very few work on helping you get published.
00:08:17>>There are a lot of writers groups in
00:08:18Columbus.
00:08:20In Ohio, it's really a very vibrant creative and
00:08:22artistic community with a lot of different
00:08:24writers groups, but I don't think there is
00:08:26anything exactly like Creative Columbus
00:08:28Cooperative.
00:08:31>>Well, you sell advertising sponsorships.
00:08:33You've got one business, per book, that has an ad
00:08:34in it, right?
00:08:36>>Actually, we have every story in the book is
00:08:37sponsored.
00:08:39>>So every story is sponsored.
00:08:41So tell me, you're a nonprofit.
00:08:43Tell me about this economic model that makes this
00:08:45unique enterprise work.
00:08:48>>Sure, it's really, completely community
00:08:52oriented.
00:08:53Technically, we are a for-profit business, but we
00:08:54operate in a non-profit fashion, for the most
00:08:56part.
00:08:57In other words, nobody makes any money.
00:09:00>>So, don't have an owner, things like that?
00:09:01>>Exactly.
00:09:04These books, each story is sponsored by a
00:09:06business.
00:09:08That's another way to draw another local party
00:09:11in, and help them find other opportunities.
00:09:14Not only to support local art, but also get a
00:09:15unique advertising opportunity.
00:09:17>>Okay.
00:09:19Is there a relationship between the story and the
00:09:20sponsor?
00:09:22I'm not saying product placement, but I'm curious
00:09:26about what makes somebody say they are going to
00:09:28sponsor a particular story over another.
00:09:30Do they have a choice, or is it just random?
00:09:32>>In most cases, there is no relationship.
00:09:34In a lot of cases, in order to support the book,
00:09:37the writer themselves will find a business.
00:09:39For instance, Bernie's story, in Overgrown, he
00:09:41had a friend with a local business who sponsored.
00:09:44>>I asked her if she wanted to sponsor the
00:09:46story, and she said, "Yeah, it's a great
00:09:47advertising vehicle.
00:09:50That's the kind of vehicle I like." Because it
00:09:53isn't the I-need-the-business-in-the-door-now
00:09:55thing.
00:09:56But this book sits on someone's shelf for maybe
00:10:0030 days while it's read; then it's passed on to
00:10:03someone else.
00:10:05It isn't just the amount of books sold that gets
00:10:08an advertising impression.
00:10:09It's the total input of people that read the
00:10:10book.
00:10:11I mean, how many times have you passed a book on
00:10:12to a friend and said, "Here, you need to read
00:10:14this." >>Or in your case, throwing it along to a
00:10:16friend that may be walking past.
00:10:18>>"Here ya go, buddy!
00:10:21Read this!" >>So since bookstores can be
00:10:25difficult to deal with, you use local
00:10:27restaurants, coffee shops, and things like that
00:10:29to sell the anthologies.
00:10:32I assume it's a lot like the Starbucks model, of
00:10:34having it, because I think I've seen it at
00:10:35different places, near the cash register, and
00:10:37things like that.
00:10:39Tell me a little bit about working with
00:10:40bookstores.
00:10:42It seems like you're going into a kind of
00:10:45publishing that is going to be getting some
00:10:46traction, right?
00:10:48As bookstores encounter difficulty, they're going
00:10:50to have to branch out, but maybe not yet.
00:10:52>>Sure.
00:10:54One of the things we wanted to do when we
00:10:56published these books was to keep the price under
00:10:57$10.
00:10:58So, we price them at $9.35, so with tax it comes
00:11:00out to about $10 even.
00:11:03Simply put, with the margins bookstores want,
00:11:07it's impossible to sell them this book and make
00:11:09ends meet.
00:11:11So, fortunately, these local coffee shops, we
00:11:15give them the books on consignment, they only pay
00:11:18if they sell, just like a bookstore.
00:11:21But the coffee shops and restaurants are willing
00:11:24to do that for a fraction of the cost that
00:11:25bookstores are.
00:11:26So we'd love to eventually be in a place where we
00:11:30can work with bookstores and distributors and
00:11:31things, but we're going to have to be printing a
00:11:33lot of books to reach the scale where we could
00:11:35economically do that.
00:11:38>> Ok, now, tell me about the selection
00:11:41process.
00:11:43You have people come in.
00:11:44They submit stories.
00:11:46How do you move forward?
00:11:48We'll start with you, and then we'll get your
00:11:49experience, as you complained about.
00:11:51>> Sure.
00:11:54>>So what kind of board is there, that does it,
00:11:55or who does the selecting?
00:11:57>>We have a membership base.
00:11:59We call them "executive members." Anybody can be
00:12:01a member of our group for free, but if you're
00:12:03willing to pay twelve dollars a Yeahr this Yeahr,
00:12:05you can be an executive member and help with
00:12:06decisions.
00:12:08>>So money talks in this.
00:12:09It's all about the twelve dollars.
00:12:10>>Exactly, put your money where your mouth is.
00:12:13>>Through our website we collect submissions as
00:12:16PDFs, and then those executive members read as
00:12:18many as they can and rate them with a rubric that
00:12:21we've set up.
00:12:23Then we take that rubric and isolate the top, I
00:12:26think, four.
00:12:27Across Town, which will be the next book that
00:12:29comes out, we isolated twenty-five stories.
00:12:34And then we contacted those writers and we worked
00:12:35with them.
00:12:36Because we never just want to reject something.
00:12:38We want to look for potential in it.
00:12:40That's one of the benefits of being small, we
00:12:41don't have to take it or leave it.
00:12:43We can say, "This is pretty good, but let's get
00:12:45it where it needs to be." So we contacted those
00:12:48writers.
00:12:50We worked with as many of them as we could.
00:12:52And in the end we ended up with twelve stories
00:12:53that made the cut.
00:12:55>>Okay.
00:12:56So there were thirteen that...you know you had
00:12:59said you didn't want to reject any but there're
00:13:01thirteen you said "maybe next time?" Or you
00:13:02say...?
00:13:03>>Exactly.
00:13:04We said, "This is a really good start, but it
00:13:06hasn't made the steps forward that we needed."
00:13:08>>So did I hear right that those were all
00:13:09twenty-five submissions for it?
00:13:12Or were there a larger pool of submissions?
00:13:13>>Yes, there was a much larger pool of
00:13:14submissions.
00:13:15>>Okay.
00:13:18So you advertise mostly through word of mouth or
00:13:19are you going back to Craigslist each time and
00:13:20pulling new people in, for all the time?
00:13:23How does that work?
00:13:25>>Yeah, we're pulling in new people all the
00:13:26time.
00:13:27We still use Craigslist a little bit, but since
00:13:28we got our feet wet, we've got a lot better
00:13:30press.
00:13:32We've been in a lot of the local newspapers and
00:13:35publications, so we're getting a pretty steady
00:13:36stream of new writers.
00:13:39>>Yeah, we are.
00:13:40And some very good writers.
00:13:41I mean some excellent writers.
00:13:42>>Yeah, we've definitely gained access to a
00:13:45larger higher quality of network or writers.
00:13:46>>Okay.
00:13:51Tell me about the ways that you're moving also
00:13:52into.
00:13:54I think these are available for Kindle, correct?
00:13:55>>Yeah.
00:13:56>>So, how did that work for you?
00:13:59I mean, obviously, there is an economic system
00:14:01that works with economy of scale better than
00:14:02print, right?
00:14:05So how have you worked with getting it on Kindle,
00:14:09and how has that affected sort of the ways you do
00:14:11your business?
00:14:13>>Sure, well I'm a web developer by day.
00:14:17So I was already aware of how to take a book and
00:14:20put it on Kindle.
00:14:21I have clients that I do that for.
00:14:23So these books are on the Kindle, they're
00:14:26available on the iTunes bookstore, as well as the
00:14:29Barnes and Noble nook store, and Google books.
00:14:32And the great thing about those is that you know
00:14:34that if you sell 1 book or a million, the
00:14:36printing cost is still zero.
00:14:40So, you know, once we put the initial effort in,
00:14:42it really levels the playing field as far as the
00:14:45small independent publishers and the big guys
00:14:47that the cost is the same.
00:14:51>>So what is the comparison between the print
00:14:52things that you are selling now and the online
00:14:54stuff?
00:14:56Which I'm assuming you are selling more print,
00:14:58since it's there and the physical thing, and you
00:14:59can pick it up.
00:15:01What does that look like?
00:15:03>>Yeah, we sell 90% printed books and 10%
00:15:05ebooks.
00:15:09>>Okay, Bernie and Brenda, let me start off
00:15:13translate, or move into you telling me about the
00:15:14writing of your stories for anthologies.
00:15:16Brenda, you have a story that is titled "A Fish
00:15:17Story" that was included in the third one.
00:15:19So, tell me about the writing of that, tell me a
00:15:22bit about the story of that without giving it
00:15:24away.
00:15:26>>Alright, well, I'm a fly fisherman, as is my
00:15:29husband.
00:15:31And he had been out fishing over the river, and
00:15:33he ran into this really unusual man who had some
00:15:36unusual things to say.
00:15:38And he came back and told me about that, and we
00:15:39laughed about it.
00:15:42And I started about that, and then later on we
00:15:45were fishing that river, and I started thinking
00:15:47what the man had said and stated wondering, what
00:15:49if, what if that really happened?
00:15:51And as I fished, I just kept thinking, and it
00:15:54became the story.
00:15:56And I had written the story a while before Brad
00:16:00had announced what the theme of this anthology,
00:16:02and it just happened to fit.
00:16:04Then I submitted, and it made the first cut, and
00:16:07I have to say the editorial process was great.
00:16:10I mean it really smoothed the rough edges out,
00:16:12and I want to particularly thank Amy because she
00:16:16did a wonderful job with this story.
00:16:20That was just a good experience from start to
00:16:22finish.
00:16:24>>Now he lost maybe half of the words from his
00:16:25story.
00:16:29Now what was the experience for you?
00:16:31Did you have to add more to meet a certain line?
00:16:34That's not usually what happens though, it's
00:16:37usually people saying, "take this part out." How
00:16:39was that editorial process like?
00:16:41>>Well, I had a little bit of both.
00:16:43I had to take a few things out, and I think most
00:16:45writers are familiar with, the part that you
00:16:50write and think, "That's brilliant!" that usually
00:16:51has to go.
00:16:52>>Yeah!
00:16:53>>So yes, that happened.
00:16:55>>So your brilliance was on the cutting room
00:16:56floor.
00:16:58>>Yes, and then I had to add a little bit more,
00:17:02just to provide a little bit more explanation for
00:17:06the reader.
00:17:08But not a lot.
00:17:09>>I think your word count came out, pretty
00:17:11close to the original, right?
00:17:12>>It did.
00:17:14>>So they said "We like this...just with
00:17:15different words." >>They said, "This part
00:17:16doesn't work," and, "What's going on here?" So I
00:17:18took out the "This part doesn't work," and put in
00:17:20more at the "What's going on here?" >>What was
00:17:23your, since it was your husbands story,
00:17:24originally, what was his response when you were
00:17:28done altering it, and you told him, "This is what
00:17:30they wanted me to do." >>He liked the story, but
00:17:32the funny part of that is, my narrator is kind
00:17:38of, a non-gender narrator, because I wrote a
00:17:41first person, but I was thinking sort of about
00:17:43him when I wrote it.
00:17:46But at one point, I won't give it away, but
00:17:48something really traumatic happens and the
00:17:51narrator is very traumatized and I have the
00:17:53narrator sob, alright?
00:17:55And when I had my husband read the first draft my
00:18:00husband said, "I didn't sob!
00:18:02When did he see me sob?" So I had to take that
00:18:04part out.
00:18:06>>So that's the first editorial process, is to
00:18:08making sure that people who give you the genesis
00:18:10of the story are happy with their portrayal?
00:18:14>>Only if I think they will recognize themselves
00:18:15as the genesis.
00:18:17>>Ok.
00:18:18Well Bernie, tell me about your story.
00:18:20Yours is called "Shore Leave" in the second
00:18:21anthology.
00:18:23>>Yeah it's about a black blues gentleman,
00:18:24Billy Willy.
00:18:26How he came to be, I have no idea.
00:18:29I had a phrase I woke up with one morning that
00:18:31was "Listen to me children while I tell you about
00:18:32the day the devil drove down High St.
00:18:34in a fiery red convertible." And I couldn't let
00:18:37the story get out.
00:18:39The story wrote itself to a little over 12000
00:18:41words.
00:18:43I told you before we had to chop quite a bit of
00:18:45it.
00:18:46The editorial process with Ben and Brad, they
00:18:50made a good story into a great story.
00:18:56And they really helped me with that, and I can
00:18:59cite 5 instances where I said, "You know, that
00:19:01just makes perfect sense." And they were just
00:19:03suggestions.
00:19:05They don't tell you, "You have to do it this
00:19:11
00:19:11way," just to consider it.
00:19:13And it made perfect sense, and it took me a day
00:19:14to rewrite it.
00:19:16And get it back down, and they told me, "You need
00:19:17to work on it a bit more.
00:19:19You need to take more than a day." So I took a
00:19:21day and a half and got it right.
00:19:25But it's the story of Billy Willy.
00:19:31It's a good entertaining little story.
00:19:34Stephen King says a short story is like a short
00:19:37kiss in the dark.
00:19:40It's sweet, it's quick, but it's gone quickly.
00:19:46>>Okay Brad, I think you're going to share a
00:19:48little with us, you have a little story called
00:19:51"Appraisal" in one of the anthologies.
00:19:53Tell me about the background of that, how did it
00:19:55arise?
00:19:57>Well, actually it's back in the media again.
00:19:59This was back in the early days of the Craigslist
00:20:01killer.
00:20:04>>Who is NOT related to your Craigslist ad, we
00:20:07should point out.
00:20:08>>No, I have a strict rule about not being the
00:20:10Craigslist killer.
00:20:13So I just took that concept and basically,
00:20:18doesn't give anything at all, there are two
00:20:19Craigslist killer who think they are the only
00:20:22Craigslist killer that come in contact with each
00:20:23other.
00:20:25And then so I just created these characters, and
00:20:28let them play their lives out and do what they
00:20:30would do.
00:20:33>>Okay.
00:20:34And so you've got some of that?
00:20:35>>Yeah absolutely.
00:20:38>>Murray was younger than his name and mustache
00:20:40led his patrons to believe.
00:20:42It was 2:01 in the morning and tired of yelling
00:20:44at the two drunks passed out on a table across
00:20:47the bar to wake up and go home, he stepped out
00:20:49from behind his oak prison to rouse them himself.
00:20:51"You ain't gotta go home but you can't stay
00:20:53here!" He relished shouting the old cliche for
00:20:56the first two weeks on the job in his south
00:20:59Boston accent that he's amped up to win the gig.
00:21:01After three Years of closing the bar Wednesday
00:21:03through Saturday all he wanted to say now was
00:21:05"Seriously, get the hell out." It had been a
00:21:07slow night.
00:21:08He doubted there was 80 bucks in the tip jar
00:21:10which he'd split with the girl who helped him
00:21:11clean up tables.
00:21:12Combined with his two dollars an hour he'd be
00:21:14lucky to walk out with sixty bones to his name,
00:21:15and that was before the tax man took his toll.
00:21:18But what could he do?
00:21:19It was a Wednesday.
00:21:20"What a couple of ass-clowns" he muttered to
00:21:22himself as he slalomed amongst the bar's cheap
00:21:26Formica tables to the one in the rear where these
00:21:27two gentlemen had made their last stand.
00:21:28I don't remember serving them more than two beers
00:21:30a piece.
00:21:31Must have brought it with them.
00:21:32Ass-clowns.
00:21:34"Hey big fella," Murray shouted placing his hand
00:21:37on the man's shoulder and shaking.
00:21:38"Bar's closed!" Getting no response he moved to
00:21:40the thinner one and shook him harder than he had
00:21:41the last.
00:21:43"Wake up buddy.
00:21:44Bar's closed!" The man slumped off of his stool.
00:21:47The weight his lanky body dragging his chin off
00:21:49the table top to meet him on the floor.
00:21:52There were three things that Murray was unaware
00:21:53of.
00:21:54He didn't know that the rhino slumped over the
00:21:56table like a bag of wet cement was named Hank, he
00:21:58didn't know the skinny one piled on the floor
00:22:00like a soft pretzel is Larry, and until he bent
00:22:02down to check under Larry's jawbone for a pulse,
00:22:04he didn't know that they both were dead.
00:22:09>>Good way to start a story, by having
00:22:11two-thirds of the characters dead right at the
00:22:13beginning.
00:22:14>>Sure.
00:22:15>>So it saves on having to develop characters
00:22:16later on.
00:22:18So how do you all typically write?
00:22:20What are your processes?
00:22:22How do you get into it?
00:22:23How do you get into the say--you've got the idea
00:22:24from the Craigslist killer, you've got an idea
00:22:25from your husband, you wake up with a dream--but
00:22:28how does this work for you?
00:22:30What is your sit-down-and-start-writing?
00:22:34>>I write it all in my head and then I just sit
00:22:37down and put it on paper.
00:22:39>>Okay.
00:22:40So that's why you're not a novelist?
00:22:42>>Yes.
00:22:43>>It would require too much short-term.
00:22:45So you just sit down, write, and you're done?
00:22:46It's one big, long time at the computer?
00:22:49>>Usually.
00:22:51Sometimes I'll get most of it and then come back
00:22:53to it.
00:22:54But usually it's like that.
00:22:56I've got it all done and then I just sit down and
00:22:58I...
00:22:59>>You're not suffering nearly enough, really.
00:23:00>>No, I'm not a suffering writer.
00:23:03>>Alright.
00:23:04How does it work for you?
00:23:05>>I struggle with it.
00:23:07I'm not going to kid.
00:23:10Because it's like, when you're trying to picture
00:23:12a scene and you have a limited amount of words to
00:23:14do it, to use the right vocabulary and to set the
00:23:19tone, and to really work through a phrase, and
00:23:23when you get it right you're like "Hallelujah!"
00:23:26?And then you go to editing and find out you got
00:23:27it wrong and you go "Well, hallelujah." ?But the
00:23:31bottom line is that it's a real process for me.
00:23:35It takes me a while.
00:23:38I can write a short story in three days or it'll
00:23:40take three months.
00:23:43It just depends.?"Shore Leave" actually took two
00:23:45weeks to write.
00:23:48>>And a day and a half to revise?
00:23:50>>Uh, no, it was more like...it was sixteen days
00:23:52wasn't it?
00:23:56>>That's a surprisingly specific number, were
00:23:58you up against a deadline there?
00:24:00>>No, I'm just joking I have no idea.
00:24:01>>Actually it was about sixteen days.
00:24:04>>And what is it like for you?
00:24:06>>I'm closer to Brenda.
00:24:09Generally I'll come up with some sort of plot gag
00:24:12or plot maneuver that I like and I'll sort of
00:24:14outline it all in my head and then I'll sit down
00:24:17and just vomit it onto the page.
00:24:19But on occasion like with "Appraisal" I'll just
00:24:21create two characters I think are interesting and
00:24:24sort of sit down each day and...
00:24:26>>Let them hammer it out.
00:24:27>>Yeah, let them live in this world that we've
00:24:29created.
00:24:31>>So then that must mean that at some point
00:24:33unlike you know the whole plot and nothing's
00:24:34going to surprise you, but yours you're going to
00:24:36hammer it out.
00:24:37There's going to be surprises.
00:24:39>>Yeah, sometimes.
00:24:40>>And they'll take you down roads you didn't
00:24:41expect and things like that?
00:24:43>>Right, especially with their back stories.
00:24:44I'm sort of learning about these characters as I
00:24:45go.
00:24:47>>So how did that get revised or how did that
00:24:49story change as you went along with it?
00:24:51?Were there significant things that people said,
00:24:53"You know, I don't like this or that," that
00:24:56altered where you were going to go with it?
00:24:59>>This story I got lucky I think.
00:25:04Most of what I put on the page originally stayed.
00:25:07I don't know why, maybe I just didn't get good
00:25:08feedback.
00:25:12>>This is the first book?
00:25:13>>Yeah, you didn't get good feedback.
00:25:15>>Blame the editor.
00:25:16>>Yeah, absolutely.
00:25:19I think it has been a while since I wrote that
00:25:21story so I think that I cut a couple scenes and
00:25:23probably consolidated a lot of the language.
00:25:27I got some of the same problems as Berne--not as
00:25:29severe, mind you.
00:25:31>>Thank you, thank you so much.
00:25:32>>But I think I consolidated and became more
00:25:34precise.
00:25:35>>Everyone is growing as a writer though, so I
00:25:37think you can see progression from book to book.
00:25:39That even if the first book is good the second
00:25:40book was better.
00:25:41The third will be better.
00:25:42The fourth will be better, right?
00:25:44>>Says the woman in the third book.
00:25:46>>Nothing is better than the second book.
00:25:48>>Right, I can see the problems growing up now
00:25:51that as you meet together you're the third
00:25:53anthology person, he's the second anthology
00:25:54person.
00:25:56Brad spans all three, so he gets that sort of...I
00:25:58can see the hierarchies emerging out of all of
00:26:03this.
00:26:04>>And there's so many more to come.
00:26:07He may be in the next one, I may be in the next
00:26:09one...
00:26:10>>Okay.
00:26:11The next anthology, speaking of that, its theme
00:26:13is "while you were out" and each submission "must
00:26:14have a character that dies and then is later not
00:26:16dead." ?So how do you arrive at your themes for
00:26:18your anthologies?
00:26:20>>My wife and I talk through them, basically.
00:26:23And I often turn to people like Birney and then
00:26:25don't take his advice.
00:26:27>>He's shaking his head.
00:26:28>>He never takes my advice.
00:26:30And that's fine.
00:26:32>>So you're turning to him for confirmation?
00:26:33>>Yeah, exactly.
00:26:34>>Just realize that if I don't like it it's got
00:26:35to be a good idea.
00:26:38>>We try and find themes that are specific
00:26:40enough to hold an anthology together but still
00:26:42loose enough that a lot of different genres will
00:26:45fit into it.
00:26:47Because I don't want to box people in with the
00:26:49theme, I just want to provide a starting place.
00:26:51>>So that means that you will reject based on
00:26:52genre considerations?
00:26:54And say, "Okay, I like this story, I like where
00:26:56it's going, but it's not going to fit into this
00:26:58anthology because it doesn't meet something."
00:27:02Like, there's Across Town--stories of Columbus,
00:27:03is that right?
00:27:06And if it's not set in Columbus then it doesn't
00:27:07work, is that right?
00:27:09>>Right.
00:27:10That was by far the strictest rule we've had yet,
00:27:13was that the story has to be set in Columbus.
00:27:17And Yeah, there were a few that we said, "You
00:27:19didn't follow the rules." >>Now yours is in the
00:27:20second one, right?
00:27:22>>Yes.
00:27:23>>So what is it that-- You're fly fishing?
00:27:26Where are you setting this around Columbus?
00:27:27Where do you go to fly fish?
00:27:28I didn't know you could.
00:27:29>>You can fly fish anywhere there's water, Doug.
00:27:34>>Because I don't recall seeing anyone fly fish
00:27:35around here.
00:27:38It's always in Coors commercials of pure mountain
00:27:39streams or something like that.
00:27:41And we have those in Ohio.
00:27:43>>Pure mountain streams?
00:27:46>>We do have one or two good trout streams in
00:27:47Ohio, but you can fish for any kind of fish.
00:27:50Bass, particularly.
00:27:51>>With fly fishing?
00:27:52>>With fly fishing equipment, uh huh.
00:27:54>>Okay, cool.
00:27:56So are you all submitting to the next one?
00:27:58>>I was rejected.
00:28:02>>I have one I just finished it so I haven't
00:28:03sent it to Brad yet.
00:28:05>>You wouldn't have been rejected for the While
00:28:06You Were Out yet.
00:28:08>>Oh Yeah that's right.
00:28:09>>We'll reject you later for that.
00:28:11Just give us time.
00:28:13>>Now that you've rejected Steven King you can
00:28:14begin rejecting the other people and complaining.
00:28:16>>Well it is what it is, you know.
00:28:19>>Okay, well I thank you very much, Columbus
00:28:22Creative Cooperative with Brad Pauquette and
00:28:26Birney Reed and Brenda Lehman.
00:28:27Thank you for coming in and talking to us at
00:28:28Writers Talk.
00:28:29>>Thank you.
00:28:30Thanks for having us.
00:28:31>>If people want to look at your website, it is
00:28:33ColumbusCoOp.com?
00:28:35>>Dot com or dot org will both get you there.
00:28:37>>Okay.
00:28:38Alright, well thanks very much.
00:28:39>>Thank you.
00:28:40>>And from the Center for the Study and Teaching
00:28:41of Writing at The Ohio State University this is
00:28:42Writers Talk.
00:28:44I'm Doug Dangler. Keep writing.
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions