Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Cleckheaton Writers Group meeting 23 January 2017 5.30-7pm

The Cleckheaton Writers Group meeting that was held at Cleckheaton Library last night had myself, Kathy, Mandy, Neil, Alice, Fiona, Sarah (who arrived after WIP updates) and new member Jayne in attendance.  The minutes from the last meeting were passed and we welcomed Jayne to the meeting, introducing ourselves and detailing the types of writing that we each do.

Work In Progress updates: I have chapter planned and written 5 more chapters of my WIP and a short story.  Alice has changed her WIP, rewriting and editing it.  Neil has been blogging.  Mandy has been editing.  Kathy has written more on her story started after Christmas and looked at competitions.  She has also downloaded a Happy Valley script from BBC Writers Room as she has set herself a script challenge for 2017 with her short story collection 12 Dates of Chris Moss.

Kathy kicked us off with the feedback sessions and shared some more of her current WIP.  She has altered the relationship between two of her MCs, Damon and Mrs Dunstan, and the majority of the section dealt with interaction between Damon and the wife of her coma patient character.  The section really pulled us in and the group agreed we could have listened to more, although Kathy did not share all that she has written.  Kathy has written about 5k words and we discussed the names of her characters and whether she saw it as a long short story, a novella or a novel.  Rightly, Kathy is not labelling it and writing it until the end of the story rather than trying to constrain it into a formula.  She revealed that she was a bit stuck with how to go forward, and after further discussion, she feels the next chapters should deal with laying out the backstory to all of her main characters. We look forward to hearing more.

Alice then shared some of her rewritten WIP which is a children's novel for ages 8-12.  The novel is written from the Point Of View of two characters, Song and Melissa and the chapter she shared, chapter one, was from Song's POV.  The introductory chapter put us straight into the action and we had lots of questions.  It was paced very well and we enjoyed the psychology of the piece, i.e. how Song felt that not speaking to her abductor put her a little in control of a situation that she felt out of control in.  The chapter flowed well, so the hard work Alice had spent on her editing really showed.  Alice outlined the rest of her story for the members and the group agreed that it was not too dark for the age range, as she had worried.  Alice aims for the novel to be 40k words in length and we look forward to hearing more.

Kathy had previously mentioned the Northern Writers Awards and we discussed these, the deadline of 2 February and the different type of awards.  A writer can only enter one award and the application/submission process is quite lengthy, plus you have to be available for the evening that the awards are given out.

I informed the group of the other competitions, events and workshops that I had researched since the last meeting, including the Huddersfield Literature Festival Courage is Poetry project (deadline 10 February), Tamworth Writing Competition (deadline 31 January) for a short story featuring a building or address in Tamworth, the Writers and Artists' Yearbook short story competition (deadline 13 February), Readers Digest 100 word flash fiction competition (deadline 20 February) and the Word Club for Poets event in Leeds, 27 January, and the free New Writing North writing workshops for under-represented North East writers running at Newcastle Library February - July 2017 (further details on these in an upcoming blog post for my followers).

The next item on the agenda was the planned anthology to celebrate the Cleckheaton Writers Group Cleckheaton Literature Festival (2015 & 2016) and I asked the members to please send their work (short stories and poetry of up to 5k words) to either myself, Karen, or Mandy as soon as possible.  I also informed the group that I had spoken to a couple of authors that attended the Festivals who would be happy to be included in the anthology, so I will write to others so that the anthology will also have work representative of the writers, poets and artists that ran workshops and events at the Festival.  It is hoped that the anthology can be launched at the Library in May.

We then discussed the recent debacles on FB and Twitter in regards to ghost writing, which lead on to a Neil informing the group that there is a Script Editor job going at the BBC and he promised to share the link with interested group members.

The next meeting will take place on Monday 6 February where Jayne has already asked to take the first feedback slot.  I informed the group that if I was not at the meeting, it would be because I had not made it back from my writers retreat.

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