Friday, 11 May 2018

23 April 2018 - Critique workshop

In a very relaxed, interesting and useful workshop, members focussed on the giving and 
receiving of criticism. We considered the pros and cons of techniques such as the 
‘praise sandwich’. We also spoke about the delicate balance of offering feedback in a 
positive, supportive manner while still making it honest and helpful. Members took part 
in a practical activity, working together to critique stories written by unknown authors. 
This experience was aimed at strengthening the support for members to develop their 
writing skills, receive feedback and solve problems in their personal writing projects.  

9 April 2018 - Sci-fi Entries

Tonight we read our entries for the science fiction short story competition. In 2000 words
 members took us to outer space, back through time, and up the A21 to encounter chemically 
enhanced, floating traffic cones. We explored alternative energy sources obtained through 
crystals or the power of dreams, and plunged in to a world covered in water. We considered 
ethical issues, such as creating humans in laboratories, lethal injections and capitalising on 
the extinction of animal species. We also considered the dilemma of going to the bathroom 
leaving one wife in bed and returning to find a second, identical wife, sitting next to her. 
Assuming the world is not taken over by computers, or aliens….members will hear the 
competition results in a few weeks.

19 March 2018 - Poetry Results

Tonight members were very pleased to welcome back poet Kim Lasky, as the judge of our poetry competition. Kim had prepared a critique for each poem and these were shared with writers after each was read aloud to the group. Kim praised the standard of all entries. She explained that, although there was a great variety, she had been able to group them loosely into poems that focused on the art of writing, seasonal poems, protest poems and poems that dealt with loss or took us to different times or cultures. The results of the competition were as follows: Fourth, Liz Caluori ‘What a difference a day makes’; third, Roz Balp ‘Stork’s Flight’; second, Godfrey Forder ‘A load of old Pollocks’; and first, John Taylor ‘They are not missing they are here’.

5 March 2018 - Sci-Fi Wrtiting Workshop

This evening’s meeting was a sci-fi workshop. This was delivered by Simon Guerrier who writes sci-fi books, stories and articles, as well as for radio and TV, including writing for Dr Who. We learnt that the actual definition of what constitutes sci-fi is a hotly contested issue and heard about the differing views of the genre expressed by some well-known authors. Simon explained that there is also some dispute about the origins of sci-fi, encouraging us to consider the works of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe. All members present were fascinated during the presentation and discussions, and engaged enthusiastically in an exercise to create stories from the headlines in the New Scientist. The workshop was particularly popular with one or two of the groups more science-focused members.

19 February 2018 - Writing for Children Workshop

Tonight’s meeting was a ‘change from the advertised…’ due to sickness. HWG deputy chair Kate O’Hearn stepped into the breech, bringing forward the delivery of her workshop on writing for children. Kate has had 15 books published in the 8+ age group. She was able to share a fascinating insight into her experience, including cautionary tales to help members who are aiming to follow in her footsteps to avoid some of the pitfalls. Members were able to ask questions and received some sage advice. In summary – for any member who was not able to attend – aim to keep the chapters short, kill as many adults as you like but don’t kill the kids and no kissing! The sci-fi writing workshop has been rescheduled until later in the programme.

Friday, 9 February 2018

5 January 2018 - Poetry entries

This was the first meeting lead by our new Chairperson, Amanda Giles. The meeting started with some information sharing and opinion gathering about ideas for enhancing elements of the organisation of the meetings and the activity programme. It was agreed that further evaluation, taking into account the views of all members, will take place over the coming weeks. This evening members read their entries to this years first competition - poetry writing. As always, the quality of writing was extremely high, and a broad and interesting range of subjects were featured. Members wrote about love, life, war, foreign lands and anarchic circus clowns. This was followed by a short writing activity. Each member selected a random word from a envelope and created a short poem using their word as inspiration. This was extremely successful and it was agreed that more activities of this kind should be considered for future meetings.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Annual Presentation Evening - Friday 8th December 2017

Our Annual Presentation Evening was a celebration of 70 years of the Hastings Writers' Group.  We had a delicious cake shaped to resemble what most of our writing desks look like, a fantastic buffet and awards were presented.  The 70th Anniversary book project, Imagine That! sold enough copies to donate money to charities: Dragonflies, Charity for Kids and The Oliver Curd Trust.  The Catherine Cookson cup was presented to Amanda Giles by our guest judge, Thorne Ryan.  The Writer of the Year award was presented by our patron Tamara McKinley to joint winners Roz Balp and Diana Lock.