Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Romantic Fiction Entries - 21st September, 2015

On 21st September, we met for an evening of romantic fiction, at which eleven members read their entries for the last competition of the year. There was a surprising range of approaches, some of which might have surprised readers of Women’s Weekly. We had loss, longing and lust, love objects from the G.P. to the geek, heroines who were poets and painters, QPID (say it aloud) in Regent’s Park and inter-racial love in India. Stories were touching or wry, played with the conventions of the genre or used them creatively. Unfortunately there was not time to read a further four submissions on the night, but they promise to broaden the range even further. We look forward to our judge, Hilary Mackelden's, feedback on 19th October.

       We were pleased to hear that Marcia Woolf’s short story, Impatience, has been shortlisted for the Wells Literature Festival prize. Congratulations also to Rachel Marsh, who has been given and internship with 'Daily News Service', so please read her article here:

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Planning Meeting - 7th September, 2015

On 7th September, the group met to tackle the thorny issue of planning the 2016 programme. First we discussed the overall balance of meeting types before voting on members' suggestions for competitions. We then moved on to discussing our biennial themed charity anthology, which next year, will be coordinated by a team of three. Our Chair, Eileen Masters, presented various options regarding printing and distribution as well as themes previously suggested by group members. Jane Hempson-Jones from the coordination team had researched local charities who might be interested in promoting the project and receiving the profits; she presented a very clear picture of the type of work performed by each in the community, so members could make a more informed decision. We then discussed what themes might be linked to those charities before voting. We're hoping for as much group involvement as possible and a successful launch of the final volume.

Romantic Fiction Workshop - 24th August, 2015

On 24th August, Elizabeth Allen led a workshop on Romantic Fiction in preparation for the final competition of the year. Having contrasted the genre to its more elevated cousin, romance, she asked everyone to note down what they considered the key elements of the genre to be. We went on to look at two broad categories, contrasting the generally exotic and glitzy Mills & Boon approach with the more everyday Women's Weekly style. Although we acknowledged Mills & Boon novels now range from the traditional heart-warming weddings of doctors and nurses etc. to more 'hot and spicy' encounters, one avid romantic fiction reader among us pointed out the sexual politics haven't moved on that much! We discussed the elements of the romantic novel: characters, setting, plot and prose style, with credit being given to Sophie King's How to Write a Romantic Novel. The group's choices of a suitable location for a novel ranged from libraries through the Scottish Highlands to the gondolas of Venice, and characters' names spanned the mundane to the highly exotic. We wait for the entries to be read out on 21st September.