Tuesday, 27 April 2010

In the merry, merry month of May

We have a number of things happening in May.

At our script writing workshop we'll bring scripts and the other people there read-act the lines so

a) we can hear them read and know if they work, and

b) we can receive constructive criticism.

On Wednesday May 12th at 8pm, we meet at the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells, where Sheila Alcock is going to give us a talk. Sheila is a writer of short stories and has had more than fifty published in women's magazines. This is a very competitive market and you have to be good to get anywhere just once. To rise to the top consistently is a testament to Sheila's skill.

Sheila leads our short stories and articles group and will happily give information about it. They too, meet in May.

Other meetings this month include two novel groups and a writing fiction for women group. This last is a group for writers, be they male or female, whose main target audience would be female.

All our groups are open to all writers over the age of 16, male and female. All we ask is that you are willing to accept constructive criticism and to give the same.

You can email our chairman, Hilary at hilary.mack@talk21.com for more details.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Are you stuck for something to write?

We've all been there. You want to write, you are all fired up to put words down. But you can't think of anything to write about. As soon as you have a subject or a title, you'll be away.

You cast around the room, looking for inspiration. There isn't any.

You stare out of the window, hoping something will jump out at you. Nothing moves.

You have a cup of tea and rail at the unfairness of it all.

Well, below are a couple of titles. One or more of them might just waken your Muse and start the creative juices flowing. It doesn't matter what they inspire: short story, article, novel, play, screenplay. All that matters is, you're under way.

You might find your finished piece bears no discernible relation to the title given. So what? You might not even use the title in your final version, but it will have set you off and that's enough.

And when you've written your piece, why not bring it along to one of our circle workshops, read it out and get some constructive criticism that will help improve it, and maybe even help you sell it.

You can find out about the workshops, and all other details of the circle by emailing our chairman, Hilary at hilary.mack@talk21.com

Now for those titles. I'll put up three or four suggestions every week from now on:

1. The long journey home.

2. Autumn Love

3. Sorry I'm late, sir...

4. A work of art.

Let me know if any of these inspires anything.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Writing Fiction for Women workshop

Last night saw we had the monthly meeting of the writers of fiction for women, a group that continues to grow.

It was a good, fun evening. Everyone is very friendly, and very keen to see their fellow writers succeed. Recommendations for books that will improve our writing were given freely. Ideas for markets were passed one to another.

The criticism given by other members of the group is constructive, gentle yet effective, and all the stories are very enjoyable. In fact, so much so that people have complained that they want to hear more than the four pages we said each could read at a meeting! We want whole chapters at a time.

To this end, we have changed the format of our meetings. Now, instead of each bringing along work to read, we will give a copy of the latest piece to all group members beforehand and then the members can come armed with their thoughts and suggestions for improvement. This will have the added bonus that we can comment on the writing techniques as well as the plot, character and turn of phrase.

Knowing we need to provide a chapter beforehand should also encourage some of us to do more writing in future than we have in the past. Motivation is a wonderful thing.

Forty years ago, when the first workshops of the TWDWC began, this strategy wouldonly have been possible if we'd made several copies and physically taken them to the group members. These days, email means we can send them instantly and without needing extra petrol or shoe leather, or even stamps, envelope and paper. The modern world is a great place to be.

If your writing is aimed at a readership made up mostly of women, why don't you join us? You can find out more by contacting the Circle's chairman, Hilary at hilary.mack@talk21.com

Saturday, 10 April 2010

News from the Ink Front: Script Workshop

The Script Writing Workshop was a friendly, informative and enjoyable evening last week. Five of us met and shared pieces of our scripts. Our writers write for various media - stage, screen, radio, and we each bring a few scenes. Other people in the room read the parts so the author can hear the work. It's amazing what you pick up just by hearing someone else say your lines.

Two of our screen plays are historicals, and I am amazed by the amount of knowledge of their period these writers have. They have really done their homework and it shows in every line, with the way the story rings true, the little details giving it a flavour that makes us want to move in to the world and find out more. Anyone who says writing is easy should watch these writers at work and know the effort they have put in to making it look easy.

Two more members are writing contemporary pieces, so of course, the flavour of their world IS authentic, because they're living it. But their situations ring true, their characters are alive and real, their dialogue natural and flowing. I am in awe of them.

And then there is me. I'm writing a piece for my church. It'll be two acts, and is obviously theologically based. Theological fantasy, I suppose you'd call it. Sort of Pilgrim's Progress meets Heaven Can Wait meets Clockwork. I don't know if it's as good on the page (and stage) as it is in my head, but one thing is for sure. It's better today than it was before it was read out at the Script Workshop.

If you think you'd like to try your hand at writing for performance, why not join us. You can come along and see if the media is for you, or if you already have a script, bring it and hear it read, followed by constructive and helpful criticism.

Contact me at hilary.mack@talk21.com if you'd like to know more.