The first meeting of the Cleckheaton Writers Group (CWG) for 2017 took place this evening at Cleckheaton Library. In attendance were myself, Alice, Simon, Kathy, Mandy, Sarah and Arline, Neil having passed on his apologies.
The minutes from the last meeting were agreed and we then shared information on our writing/works in progress (WIP) from the last meeting. I have written some more on my current WIP and begun to plot plan out how to get from where it is now (50k words in, to the written ending) to first draft. I have also written a poem. Alice re-started her WIP, a children's novel aimed to be 40k words, and has written 10k with some cutting and pasting also. Sarah has been continuing with her WIP which is now up to 42k words, some of which she will be sharing for the feedback session, and has been submitting to agents. Sadly, she has received only rejections so far, but a couple of them were helpful ones with feedback. Mandy has written some new short stories and has returned to old ones to edit and send out. She has had a flash fiction accepted for a magazine, sadly without payment, and has been runner up in a haiku competition (East magazine). Kathy has written a piece (unfinished) for the writing challenge set in December (the challenge was to write something that we would wish to see on TV) which she has brought to share for feedback. Arline has read several books, one of which by Irish writer Donal Ryan is set around a pregnancy.
We started with Sarah's WIP for the first feedback session and Sarah shared three pages. It was felt that the piece was very evocative of the University experience, several of the members citing how it reminded us of either being at University or readying our children to do so. There were a few minor editing details that were shared, including words not needed or needed, and a question of tense consistency. A couple of members felt that the anxious personality of the main character (MC) came across well through a great line about empty calories (that we just knew would not be made up for the next day as promised by the narrator) in drinks coupled with the reminiscing and that the opening to the chapter set up the relationship between her two MCs signposting to its importance, one member guessing what this might lead to. Intriguing, we look forward to reading more.
Kathy then shared her TV challenge piece that she had written in a novel style with a Yorkshire setting and beautiful tone. It featured three MCs who had an intertwining storyline and the group agreed that the story/premise was intriguing but that we would all prefer it written as it was (as a novel/la) rather than as a script as it would lose the evocative scene setting and internal dialogue otherwise. Kathy shared with the group her ideas for the story, where it was going to lead to and who/what each character was going to do/be and we all look forward to reading more as Kathy works on this new WIP which may prove to be the first novella or novel that she has written. Kathy has worked on short stories or flash fictions up to now, professing that she would be unable to write a novel, but we all feel that this one may be the one to break this.
I then shared my piece 'Children of Abraham' which was for the TV challenge but written in novel style. It also featured several characters with an intertwining storyline and the group agreed that the premise was intriguing but that it would be something they would choose to read rather than to watch. They felt it also would lose the scene setting, which they felt I did well, and the internal dialogue of the MCs but that it did come across very visually. I shared my ideas for where I saw the story going, with plot lines and character arcs and it was agreed that it had legs and that it was not too far fetched. This led to a discussion about sci-fi/horror for TV and film and how well a book translates to TV or film.
The next meeting of the CWG will take place in a fortnight, same time and place, on Monday 23 January where all of the feedback sessions are available.