C’mon Let’s Go!

The clocks change this weekend and Spring is in FINALLY in the air. Float on down to the Old Town Cafe and get your words out. We’re waiting!

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Top Entertainment!

We had another corker of a meeting on 14th March, with a good turnout with a great mixture of readings. It’s always nice to hear what people are working on and to give some feedback that may help develop it. Also good to hear finished pieces – top entertainment! We had readings from:

Valerie – an ‘Alba’, the opposite of a ‘Seranada’, a form of poetry popular with the Troubadours of the 11th-14th Centuries. Comedic in tone, usually focused on adultery involving the Troubadour and some smitten court-lady.

Frank – read a poem called that developed from some noodling around the theme of the philosophers exploration of ‘cogito ergo sum’ (‘I think therefore I am’) and Huxley’s observations in the door to perception. Questions were raised and debated on the nature of existence as seen from the two sides of reason and instinct. Deep stuff. Who’d have thought for a Wednesday night!

Chloe – a piece called ‘Tasty Morsels – Puddings’, good title that! A piece about a father’s perusal and discussion of a puddings menu with much innuendo on his part. His kids and his new wife just seemed to want ice-cream but he insisted on relating puddings to people and events, much to the consternation of his new love, though the kids seemed to miss the implied naughtiness.  A great example of people getting completely different vibes from a story: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

Peter – found an old notebook when having a clearout. He read something he wrote back in 1991 – very personal, very raw and a great example of how writing can capture a moment and then take you straight back there when you read it years later. A brave read from Peter and we were very touched that he felt comfortable sharing with us.

Mike – continued with his space-opera sci-fi story involving Caesar, the Senate and the ongoing battle against the invading Horde. Politics, battles, honour, duels to the death, it’s all in here and more. Strong characterisation, a depth in the background and an exciting unfolding story on many levels. There were references to tech that kept it sci-fi though the story has an epic feel of a tale from roman history. A great jumping off point was reached for the final push to the end story…

Max – the first three mini-chapters of a sci-fi story. After reading, Max felt there was too much sci-fi shorthand and not enough context and setting for people to really get a handle on what was going on. Supportive feedback (as always) and helped tighten and tidy. All in a day’s work here at BWC.

Our host Cathi provided us with some yummy cakes and gallons of tea and coffee.

Our new assignment is ‘Mistaken Identity’. We gonna have some fun with that one!

Next meeting is on March 28th 7pm usual place – but hey! lighter evenings!! YAY! If you can get along to the next meeting it’ll be absolutely fabulous to see you.

Madness at a Writers’ Group!

Wednesday’s meeting was a lively affair: lots of readings and discussions, some of which went off in quite unexpected directions.

 Mike read a 300 word piece based on the ‘inanimate object starts talking’ idea. A camper caught short looks for somewhere to relieve himself and is confronted by a polite but indignant talking-tree. Had a ‘spirits of the forest’ feel about it. The acceptance of the main character of the tree talking was a good twist as they got right down to discussing the etiquette of asking before you use ‘the facilities’.

Chloe read a piece of two parts, the second part of which was finished while the meeting was going on. Writing!? At a writers’ group!? Madness!

It was inspired by a visit to Warwick Castle that had taken place that day. The story featured Henry VIII’s Household, three of whom were witches, one of whom had cursed him to fall from his horse in payment for some of his more unpleasant behaviour. The Archbishop put in an appearance (a member of the clergy usually does at our meetings – remember Reverend Teacake?!) and was forgiving of the witches: he was well-versed in their ways. A nice light-hearted story that did bring up the witches as ‘continuing Jesus’ work’, which was a nice twist and could easily be developed further. There was a feast, a prophecy and a scurrying rat that got its come-uppance as well as the poor King. All from a visit to Warwick Castle!

Peter read a 500 word piece that he wrote ‘off the cuff’. A tale of one man’s diagnosis with not long to live, how he sorts his affairs and prioritises the important things like making sure his collection of First Editions do not go to the kids! A straight-talking, no-nonsense doctor was a character that could definitely go out on his own. The story had a twist as the main character died but went about his business anyway, albeit in a world where some of his ‘heroes’ were suddenly present. A sort of super-natural twist that fitted perfectly with the story.

Other Mike read two pieces, a sci-fi short story that is intended to be the opening for a longer piece, and a lyric / poem. ‘The Legion’ is set in the far future, but draws its inspiration for feel and setting from the Roman Empire of old. The people of Earth are fighting off ‘The Horde’ and the Legions are called to do their duty. Great description that focused the story on the characters but kept the ‘Roman feel’. It had a ‘space opera’ feel and could easily be developed in to an epic tale of politics, war and survival. Not bad for a Wednesday evening. The focus on the Roman imagery slightly confused some people as to the actual time / setting, but others felt the story was nicely peppered with clues like airlocks, shifting screens with projected images and such. There was some confusion as to whether you could put epaulettes on a toga…

The lyrics / poem, ‘Every Breath’, had a feeling of someone being trapped, either imprisoned by their own thoughts and feelings, or in a cell. A reflective piece that demonstrated how some thought processes ask questions then offer answers that are bleaker than they perhaps need to be. Mike, apparently, only ‘does sad lyrics’, but nobody believed him and we think there’s a ‘Rainbows and Bunnies’-style piece in there just bursting to get out!

Kieran read the fast-paced ‘The Wallet’ which is a piece he is thinking could go in a different direction – he was looking for feedback on the feel / focus of the piece. The central theme is one of moral dilemma on finding a wallet with cash and a card that invites you to call two numbers: one if you’re a good person, another if you’re a bad person. As a stand-alone story it works really well, managing to ask a lot of questions and reveal a lot about the central character, while maintaining a mystery about what is actually going on. A lot of Kieran’s mixed feelings about what to do with the piece grew from the central character taking on a life of his own and making decisions and wanting to take actions that Kieran hadn’t originally given a lot of thought too. Characters eh? Who’d have them!

We briefly discussed writing crime thrillers / procedurals and how they were harder than they looked. An odd discussion which I have scant notes of but that has sparked me writing a piece with a central character that is a defective bomb-disposal dog, who will most definitely not be called ‘Banger’.

The next meeting will be on February 14th, aka ‘St. Cards & Mush Day.’

BWC is a really great place to share writing. It’s also a great place to get encouragement and support for writing, so if you know anyone that would benefit from what we do, please spread the word.

 

Freebie Time!

A packed house – standing room only! A very positive way to start the new year with our first meeting of a Plural of Writers. Short stories, excerpts from longer pieces, poems and flash fiction all burst forth in a flurry of new year enthusiasm.

We heard works by members including The Raven, one of which was about the feathered variety, the other being an excerpt form a longer piece of work about the trialing of a computer game. That was quite creepy! We then enjoyed a poem inspired by our prompt ‘Reflections’, which was tender and moving in equal measure. A change of gear brought us a belated Christmas poem which was not yer usual Christmas poem, but hey, that’s how we roll, here at BWC.

We’re getting together another short story/poem collection that will be published in the Spring. Our most recent collection, Tasty Morsels, can be downloaded for free in its digital version – YES FREE! – Here

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 17th Jan, usual time, (7pm) usual place, (Old Town Cafe, Parsons Street, Banbury) and as usual, everyone welcome.

Onward into 2018

Thanks to everyone for coming along to our last meeting held just before Christmas. Yes yes yes… we know this blog is a bit late but you know how it is…

We had a reading of ‘The Writing Bar’, which was a tale of what happens when a writing group holds their meeting in a bar rather than a coffee shop and the new member has an agenda other than writing. It included within it both a Haiku and a poem – which we all thought was a good use of narrative to include other forms of writing. A touching story where love unrequited was almost requited (is that a thing?!) and reminded us that love takes many shapes and forms.

Quickly folllowing on was ‘There’s None So Deaf’, a new perspective on an old festive tale. A good slow reveal.

Then we got right proper posh and had a sonnet based on one of our prompts, ‘The Raven’. A humorous sonnet that kept true to the form. Some of us even learned what a sonnet actually was structurally, and enjoyed the piece for its language and imagery, so win-win!

Flesh was then made to crawl with an extract from a story entitled ‘Ticks’, previously published in the ‘Corona Book of Horror Stories’ (go get your copy now!). It was a truly creepy and revolting tale of a boy who grew up loving not the dogs in his household but the little blighters that lived on them. We loved the story and can only say that !!!SPOILER ALERT!!! all did not end well..

Back down to earth, we then heard the prologue from a longer WIP about the doom of planet Earth. The premise was that of an astronaut stranded in orbit in nothing but her space-suit and running out of oxygen, where she reflects on how she ended up joining the void she’s doomed to spend an eternity in. So quite cheery for our last meeting before Christmas, but a great story nonetheless!

There was much lively discussion ranging from myths that surround writing, to what language can/should and absolutely shouldn’t be used in sex-scenes. That made the Christmas bells jingle!

Our next meeting is tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd at 7pm and we hope to see you there.
All assignments are open so if you fancy coming along you may hear some works on the subjects of
Birth Marriage and Death
(the) Wallet
(the) Raven
A 300 word piece on an inanimate object which starts talking,
and last but not least,
Reflections
The assignments of course are simply prompts to inspire us. If you have other stuff you’re working on please feel free to bring it for a read.

Going From Strength To Strength

Due to illness and other nasties we were a small but perfectly formed group last week, other members choosing to stay in bed with a hot toddy. Or teddy. Who knows. However – what a great meeting. First item on the agenda was that we’re in Writing Magazine again. Top writers’ group or what!BWC WM

Then we heard a great poem based on ‘The Wallet’ assignment. Very mournful and evocative, focusing on the contrast in generations and the importance of mementos that can be missed by those focused on monetary gains rather than the person. It was a very moving piece that almost required hankies.

A short debate followed (it usually does) and a member read two other pieces, one a fluffy happy piece, which really was, and one a horror piece, which… really was! The happy one was a tale of love rekindled after a short absence and the horror one was a truly disturbing piece that grew from a fan-fic idea based on ‘the last cuddle’. Engaged us all, drew us in and jaws were suitably dropped, almost shattered. It was a relief then, when lovely cafe proprietor Cathy offered us several thick slices of lemon drizzle cake and obviously it would have been rude not to…This writing lark’s no good for the diet. Ah well.. January soon.

The next meeting, on Weds 20th, is still on even though it’s close to crimbo and it’d be great to see you all – no pressure and no need to worry about the office Christmas party – just turn up and enjoy.

Gotta Love Them Ravens

It’s always good to welcome new members and see the Banbury Writers Cafe group grow, which is exactly what we did this Wednesday. Introductions made, we soon got down to business. Two of our assignments recently have been The Wallet and Raven. Raven seems to have caught the imagination of several members and they read their work. All very enjoyable and interesting it was too, and the discussions that followed included the merits (or otherwise) of writing in the past or present tense, the world of gaming and writing there for, and that most pressing of questions – what is the collective noun for Ravens?

We had an interesting story from our resident prolific fan-fic writer that involved a toe, a bath and some ointment, and we shall say no more! We had the beginnings of a Wallet story, in which the writer declared it was pants before she’d even started, and although no-one agreed, it was suggested that the wallet could be a cursed wallet. And then it just got silly after that. But BWC is a great platform for encouraging writing and reading our work out loud and much positivity was taken from the evening.

Before we signed off at just gone 9pm, we had a table read of a screenplay by one of our members. Appalling Scouse accents aside, we hope we did it justice and our author was pleased. It certainly gave him the opportunity to make notes and help develop the action.

And it’s An Unkindness or A Conspiracy. An unkindness seems a bit mean, but A Conspiracy of Ravens sounds great!

Writers Writing

A bit late with the update, fellow readers and writers, but hey, busy busy busy! We had some excellent readings last week, encompassing the subject of Births Marriages and Deaths and a different story which included Achilles and a Jag, (no, really!) We had an off-the-wall BM&D story in which the best character in a long time was born – The Reverend Teacake – and another whereby witches and all things treacherous were laid bare. And last but not least, a story contemplating the spiky conundrumachilles-greek-raskol-apparel-orozco-design-studio-robertoorozco-artist-orange-black-shirt-homer-spear-shield-theos-mythology-mythos-warrior-war-spartan-greece-athens-illustration-illust of what to do with a relative’s ashes when the living cannot agree….

Our next assignment is ‘Raven’, with all the connotations that brings. Mind you, we’re a creative bunch, so it could turn out to mean anything! Still open is The Wallet and Births Marriages and Deaths and any interpretation thereof.

One of our members has had a poem accepted by Writing Magazine for publication next July. Excellent work!

Soon we will be having a table reading of a screenplay written by one of our members, a punchy, modern mystery where the protagonist discovers something about the universe that the powers-to-be don’t want us to know. We’ve been enjoying the evolution of this screen play for the last few months, and are delighted that the author is happy for us all to read it with him – for the first time in public.

We were also pleased to welcome to our meeting Corona Books, a fledgling publishing company, and who provided a very valuable insight into the world of publishing. And hopefully a regular attendee!

Our next meeting is November 8th in the newly decorated Old Town Cafe at 7pm. Hope to meet you there.