Sunday, 26 June 2011

Meeting Report: 20th June 2011

On 20th June we were privileged to welcome award-winning novelist Jill Hucklesby as the judge for our ghost story competition. Although a distinguished and busy author, she had found time to read all seventeen entries several times before settling on a shortlist - and finally the four prize-winners. As well as being generous with time, Jill was also extremely generous with both her praise and constructive criticism. She gave pertinent and detailed feedback to all entrants with invaluable tips on how to achieve clarity, consistent characterisation, pace and atmosphere.

In first place was Roz Balp, who was delighted to receive copies of four of Jill’s novels. Her entry, ‘Faniel’, was described as intriguing, with excellent dialogue, a very strong dénouement, and elegantly written. The judge had no suggestions for any improvement! The lively and humorous ‘In-Comers’ by Amanda Giles came second and was praised for its strong structure and very satisfying grisly twist ending. Jill Fricker’s beautifully written atmospheric tale set in Victorian London, ‘Shadows and Fog’ was third. In fourth place was Ezzie Gleeson-Ward’s ‘Marked’, set in a school and described as a very stylish piece, tightly-written, with strong characterisation and excellent description.

An impromptu question and answer session on writing and being published followed, which everyone found both fascinating and informative. Following Jill's feedback, some of the writers are reworking parts of their stories before they are included in our next group publication 'Ghost Writers' due out in October.

For enquiries about activities and membership please contact the membership secretary at or visit our website:

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Meeting Report: 6th June 2011

On 6th June member Jill Fricker ran a fun workshop entitled: ‘Who do we think we are?’ The aim was to discover a little more about each other whilst carrying out a writing-related exercise.
We were all asked in advance to bring a sheet of paper with a favourite opening line from a novel, the book title and author written at the top. Then we were paired up and asked to swap papers before being given the task of interviewing each other. This produced an immediate buzz of questions and answers and some furious scribblings. Next, we had to (neatly!) write up our notes as a short article, poem or other piece of writing on our partner’s headed sheet. These were then all mixed up and re-distributed at random to be read out and everyone invited to guess who each sheet was about. This caused some hilarity and unknown facts to emerge as we worked out who was who, helped by the book details given. All voted it a highly enjoyable session.
We will be hosting an open seminar ‘What Goes into a Great Novel?’ with authors Leslie Tate and Sue Hampton on Saturday, 30th July, from 10.00-13.00 hours at the Southwater Community Centre (behind Warrior Square station). This session promises to appeal to all writers and readers, not just potential novelists. Places are £7 full or £5 concessions (seniors/students etc). For more information or to book please e-mail
For enquiries about group membership and to arrange a preliminary visit please contact or for more information visit our website