The meeting started by welcoming John and finding out what he would like from the Writers Group. As a beginner with an idea to start to write a story, he is mainly coming along for advice as he starts to write for the first time.
For our Work In Progress updates, Kathy confirmed that she has sent a couple of her stories off for competitions, one being the Flash500.
Kathy kicked off the feedback sessions with the third in her 12 Dates of Christ Moss short stories, 3 French Hens. The story was very realistic and humorous. There were a couple of minor points the group thought could be improved, e.g. a change of POV that was not needed, but the group were very positive about the continuation of her project and ideas for the other 'numbers' were ventured.
John then shared his idea for his story and explained the areas where he felt he needed help to start. The group suggested that he write notes to himself on his new idea in a dedicated notebook that he should keep with him for when he is struck by inspiration. It was recommended that he write a vague plot plan, plot milestones that need to happen from beginning to end (though these can change as he goes along) and that he start with one scene that most resonates with him, or a description of his MC or the 'thing' that sets the story going. All the group felt that although a writer does not need to write a story from beginning to end, having a vague plan and working through one scene at a time (not necessarily following scenes) gives an easier way to getting a first draft down. As Andy advised, the novel is not in the writing, but in the editing.
I then shared information on events and competitions I had heard about: HLF are looking for performers for their Pechakucha event on 8 March (talk on a theme of 10 on any subject with 20 images of 20 seconds each) and The Pearls Project (a recorded message of 60 seconds on a book or poem you've read that you consider to be a pearl) at the University of Huddersfield 2 March. There is a Remembering Oluwale poem or short story competition by BigBookEnd Leeds for inclusion in their upcoming anthology, there are 4 weeks left to enter and a £3 fee. Good Housekeeping and Readers Digest have writing competitions in their latest editions and the Leeds Trinity Writing Festival is coming up on Wednesday 6 April 2016.
The group then discussed the new proposed opening times for Cleckheaton Library as the future of the CWG would be in doubt should they be adopted:
Proposed Cleckheaton Library opening hours
Currently open Proposed
Monday 9 am - 8 pm 10 am - 5 pm
Tuesday 9 am - 7.30 pm 10 am - 5 pm
Wednesday 9 am - 1 pm Closed
Thursday 9 am - 7.30 pm 10 am - 7 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 4 pm 10 am - 3 pm
Sunday Closed Closed
Total 51 hours 35 hours
It was felt that it would be beneficial for the CWG if the Library could find a way to stay open at least an hour later on a Monday evening so that the group could still go ahead. Other than this, the meetings would have to be moved to a Thursday evening (if there is a room available to book) or a Saturday. Kathy would be unable to come on a weekend and Andy would struggle on a weekend. It was agreed that all the members of the CWG should let Karen know what day/times they would be able to make within the proposed hours and then she can feedback to the Friends of Cleckheaton Library.
The next meeting of the Cleckheaton Writers Group is scheduled for Monday 22 February 6-8pm at Cleckheaton Library.