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.

 

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