Writing lessons

by Juliet Platt on July 4, 2010

in Writing

For a couple of years I ‘ve been hosting a very small and informal writers’ group in Highworth – the Highworth Scribblers. We meet on the first Thursday each month, and there are usally 3 of us at the moment, though the membership over the months has been as many as 6 at a time!

Gail’s writing a novel, Steve’s into writing screenplays and scripts for sitcoms and radio and I write short stories. The idea is that we meet, drink coffee, talk about our writing experience, and share some of our work for feedback each session. It’s a good motivation to write something regularly, and it’s nice to spend time with people “in the same boat”.

Our latest session was last Thursday 1 July, and I took along a draft of a short story I’d been working on. It was messy and scribbled through, with lots of crossed out bits and arrows arcing all over it as I rearranged sections. (I always write in long hand initially – I find it helps my flow of ideas.)

Anyway I apologised for it before I read it out, and asked for help in finishing it off.

As I read, it got some laughs, and by the end I was told that it didn’t need much change.

Not convinced, I asked some more detailed questions: what about the supporting characters? The mid-section development? The ending?

In half an hour we had made a number of very small changes – literally the odd word here and there – and I immediately felt that the whole thing had been quite transformed.

And this made me reflect on how, much like life, we often don’t need to make huge changes to have a big impact. The devil’s in the detail as they say.  Sometimes altering the small things in our daily routine can make the most positive difference.

If you are interested in joining our merry band of writers in Highworth, give me a call – 01793 727994.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn Hull July 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

What a great metaphor and how true . . . especially when our own inner critic is at work which stops us appreciating the value of what we have achieved. I’m now dying to read your story – and I promise to bring mine when we meet on Wednesday!

susan mayer March 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Would any of your members be interested in going in for a short-story competition as part of the Swindon Festival of Literature? An entry form can be downloaded from the Swindon Speakers website http://www.swindonspeakers.co.uk or contact me for a copy.

Stories must be the author’s original, not previously published or self-published and last no longer than 5 minutes when read out. Entries are limited to one per person. Closing date 22 April.

All stories will go to a short-listing panel from which six will be chosen. The final six authors will be asked to read out their stories in front of a panel made up of two authors: David Constantine and Stuart Evers, and two members of Swindon Speakers. This event will take place on Tues 10 May 2011 at Swindon Arts Centre.
Prizes will be given and a good time had by all!

More details are on p. 27 of the Swindon Festival of Literature 2011 brochure.

Best regards
Susan Mayer
Swindon Speakers Club
tel: 01793 722130

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