Another productive meeting of the Cleckheaton Writers Group last night where Pauline, Mandy, Sarah, Neil, Andy, Kathy, John R and myself (Karen) were in attendance.
The minutes from the last meeting were agreed and Pauline informed members that the new Writing Magazine (April) was the competition issue (price £4.10), so recommended purchasing it for up-to-date creative writing competition information.
It was also decided that for the upcoming CWG anthology, for publication prior to CLF2017, that we would be changing the theme from 'Viewpoint' to an OPEN THEME and that there would be an August deadline for members to send pieces to Mandy for her to choose 5k words for publication in the anthology. Please can all members send a selection of short stories, poems or flash fiction (of well over 5k words in total) to Mandy by August 2016 for selection and then printing in October 2016.
The following Work In Progress (WIP) updates were reported: Mandy has a short story published in this months' issue of Writing Magazine and she won third prize (£100) and she has written 5k more words on her WIP bringing it to 15k words. She has also won second prize in an author competition, Brigend Writers Circle; Pauline is working on a new crime novel idea and she thinks she may transfer a character from a previous story, Bickerman, to this novel; Sarah has been editing and put together a first draft of a short story for Bronte-inspired stories for Writing Magazine; Karen has entered the Good Housekeeping novel competition and her short Victorian Gothic horror story has been printed in the new Blood from the Quill anthology and it has already received two 5* reviews, her story securing a special mention; Kathy has not written since the last meeting; Andy has been working on his CampNaNo story and has produced 1200 words for a childhood section of his autobiography, plus a few poems and some adhoc stuff; Neil has written some blog posts of his own and for CLF, plus has signed up to CampNaNo to work on his Blood Shores novel and a ghost story that needs completing; John has not written since the last meeting.
Sarah kicked off the feedback sessions with her short story In case of an Emergency. Mandy had already passed on her feedback ahead of the meeting and the story was well received by the group. Mandy felt that some competitions think that there are too many 'depressing story' entries but that it was an excellent story. Everyone loved the ending and it was a well executed story with an engaging voice. Karen felt that the ending was poignant, especially the line about the weather but John pointed out a plot hole in that all 999 calls were checked, even hang-ups. Andy informed the group that publishers prefer you to write out numbers in full (i.e. nine, nine, nine) but agreed with Karen that the foreshadowing lines were great. Sarah came up with an answer to the plot hole during the meeting and a slightly different, yet still poignant ending, with the secondary character FB messaging the MC. At just under 2k words, Sarah is thinking of entering the story into the Bath Short Story competition which all the members encouraged her to do.
Pauline shared some automatic writing that she had done to try to get over her writers block. The group found it an entertaining stream of consciousness and hope to hear some of her new crime novel in a future meeting.
Andy shared a couple of his autobiographical memories which were very entertaining as Andy has a real gift for dialogue. This led to a discussion about screenwriting, useful workshops that the members had attended and self-publication. Kathy informed members about a publishing site on-line called Penny Shorts that may be suitable for Andy to share his writing on.
There was no time for a timed writing exercise and the next meeting will take place on Monday 18 April 6-8pm at Cleckheaton Library where both feedback sessions are available.