Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Manuscript Evening with Tamara McKinley: 17 June 2013

It was a nail-biting time for three of our newer members at our meeting on Monday 17 June.  The Group’s Patron, best-selling author Tamara McKinley, had paid us a visit to have a look at some of our work in progress. She had specifically asked to see work from new writers, to make the best use of her time, experience and expertise. Tamara has a straight and forthright approach, but fortunately she clearly thought the three pieces had promise. All the writers were initially given specific pointers about the standard of presentation a publisher’s editor would expect – learning points for all of us.
First up was Rachel Marsh, with a chapter from her historical novel ‘Lanterns in the Cottage’, about smuggling in Hastings. We all enjoyed this piece, and Tamara gave Rachel some interesting advice on how to hook her readers in at the start of her story. Next, Diana Lock with an extract from ‘Identity Crisis’, a chilling science-fiction work set in a dystopian future. Again, we were all gripped by this, and Tamara clearly felt it had considerable promise. Finally, Emma Boyde with the prologue to a novel ‘Tomb’. Again, Tamara helped Emma to see how she could rework her material to ensure that her readers were hooked in to the story from the first paragraph. As writers, we all benefit enormously from manuscript evenings – the lessons learned are totally applicable to our own work. We were grateful to Tamara for giving up her time.
We were pleased to welcome no less than three prospective new members to our meeting – we hope they will have enjoyed themselves sufficiently to join us on a permanent basis. However, on a slightly less positive note, we were sad to hear that long-standing member Richard Holdsworth had decided to resign from the group. His regular members’ Newsletters will be missed.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Poetry Entries - Monday 3 June 2013

Our meeting on Monday 3 June started with the sharing of exciting news: several of us are in the process of having work published for the first time, including one of our most talented writers, Mike Walsh, and newer member Kate Giles – more on this to come. Our Chair, Jill Fricker, has just had a poem shortlisted for a major competition, and acclaimed children’s writer Kate O’Hearn is enjoying great success with her latest novel ‘Valkyrie’ – she has just returned from a book promotion tour to the West Country. Finally, long-serving member Anne Hooker is also pleased with the success of her book, ‘Inspired’, an anthology produced to benefit Stoke Mandeville Hospital. 
     The main business of the evening was to hear the entries for our current competition – producing a rhyming poem of up to forty lines.  As ever, the entries were of a high standard, ranging from the passionate to the comic, with topics ranging from Hastings smugglers via childbirth and hens to writers’ block. The highlight of the evening was a poem presented as a piece of performance art, ‘Obadiah’s Observations’, by Marcus Towner.  Our judge will have a hard job deciding on a winner.