Monday, 4 December 2017

27th November 2017 - writing exercise

This evenings meeting was based around a hugely enjoyable writing exercise that tested our imaginations and our ability to play well with others. Each member arrived with a prepared character, described in no more than 250 words. These included an alien in human form, a shop worker with a pigeon phobia, a guardian angel and a talking snake who can only be understood by those he has bitten. Working in group of four or five, members wove these into wonderfully bizarre and fascinating story plots. Each group rose well to the additional challenge of skilfully incorporating, or crowbarring in, three props randomly selected by the throwing of picture dice.

13th Novemember 2017 - Poetry Workshop

This meeting took the form of a poetry workshop, led by prize winning poet Kim Lasky. Kim spoke to members about the benefit of entering competitions in order to get published. She also gave some very useful advice about the different types of competition and how to select the right one. Kim read a selection of her own superb poems and answered a broad selection of member’s questions. 

30 October 2017 - Catherine Cookson Compeititon Entries

During this meeting members read out their entries to the 2017 Catherine Cookson competition. There was a satisfying amount of murder, mayhem and mystery. We heard tales of long lost relatives, family breakdowns and a knitting circle whose members were not all as innocent as they seemed. The entries will be judged by Thorne Ryan, an editor, and the results announced at our presentation evening and 70th anniversary celebrations on 8th December, 2017.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

16 October Winners from 'Crime from the Ciminal's Point of View'

The meeting on 16th Oct saw James Carol give the feedback and results for the wild card competition "Crime from the Criminal's Point of View". First place was  Sandra Daniels with 'Ray', second place went to Emma Boyd with 'Call Centre Charity', third place was given to Sam Davy with 'Pity Me' and fourth place went to three contestants -Godfrey Forder with 'In Two Criminal Minds', Maddie Blake with 'Missing Laura-Jane' and Diana Lock with 'A Nasty Case of the Jimmy Choos'.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

October 2nd, 2017: Synopsis Writing

Our meeting this week focussed on writing a successful synopsis. Literary agent Jemima Forrester came to share her knowledge and experience with members. Jemima explained the function of the synopsis as part of the process for submitting books to agents. She gave a lot of clear and extremely useful guidance on how these should be written. Members who had sent their synopsis to Jemima prior to the meeting received constructive feedback.  

September 18th, 2017: Reading of Wild Card Competition

This meeting saw the reading of the submissions for our ‘wild card’ competition – Crime from the Criminal’s Point of View. This was a hugely successful competition and the standard of entries was exceptionally high. The competition will be judged by author James Carol and judging will take place on the 16th October.

September 4th, 2017 : Planning Meeting and writing exercise

September 4th, 2017 
This week we held the planning meeting to set the programme for 2018. Members reflected on the success of the 2017 programme and shared their individual views on the competitions that they had enjoyed the most, and those they had found more challenging. Those present cast their votes from the ideas suggested for each competition category and for the theme of the annual anthology. Members who were not at the meeting have the opportunity to vote via email. With the formalities completed, we took part in the ever popular ‘props’ writing game. Using the scenario of three characters trapped in a lift, we each created tales that took comical, unusual and sometimes disturbing turns as we wove in the ‘unusual’ objects brought in by our deputy chair, Kate.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

August 14th 2017 - Results of the myths and fairy tales competition

At this week’s meeting we received the feedback and judging for our entries to the myths and fairy tales competition. Our stories were judged by Catherine Smith who, amongst many other things, very successfully writes poems, short stories and radio plays. Catherine gave very useful advice to each writer, particularly where she saw potential for stories to be adapted to form part of a series or to be developed into a full novel. She also saw potential for some to be animated or used as short film or radio scripts. Her feedback was very encouraging and left members feeling inspired. First place went to Vicky Armstrong, with her tale of Mrs Majuba and the League of Ladies, and Roz Balp took second place with The Moonlit Pool. In third place was Diana Lock, with Ayashe and the Red Crow. Fourth place was awarded to Maddie Blake for her story, The Princess and the Elf King.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Monday 3rd July - Sitcom Writing Competition Results

Tonight saw the judging of the sitcom writing competition. Our judge was local writer, producer and performer, John Knowles. First place went to John Taylor for his script 'That's the way to do it'. Second was Roz Balp with 'Gargoyles'. Diane Lock took third place with 'Grandads' and, in fourth place was Vicky Armstrong with her piece 'Home sweet home'.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

19 June - Writers' Exchange

On a very hot, humid evening members brought in extracts from their writing projects to get feedback and support to help overcome plot problems. In a very productive meeting we considered the images created by different character names, the issues raised by the use of mobile phones as a plot device and how to write a synopsis for editors. We discussed the pacing of stories and the language and tone to use when writing for children. Several members were also able to share exciting news of interest from publishers.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


Wow, what an excellent afternoon!
This year marks the Platinum Anniversary of the Hastings Writers’ Group. Yes, that’s 70 years! As part of our celebrations we decided to publish a children’s anthology to support local charities and encourage the authors of the future.
Today, 1st June 2017, we proudly launched Imagine That! a compilation of stories, poems and pictures, written by local children to support local children's charities.
Over twenty young contributors from the Hastings and St Leonard's areas, aged between 5 and 11, read extracts of their work to a packed audience, which included other contributors and their families, invited dignitaries including Hastings Mayor Judy Rogers, Michael Foster and HWG Chair Eileen Masters, along with representatives from the charities, which are:
Charity for Kids -
Dragonflies -
The Oliver Curd Trust - 
Our compere for the event was HWG Vice Chair and world-renowned children and young adults author Kate O'Hearn, who put the children at their ease and moved things smoothly along.
Imagine That! costs £5 and is currently available at the Hastings Tourist Information Centre, as well as from Hastings Writers' Group and the charities themselves. All proceeds will be divided between the three charities.
We would like to thank our funders for the book: Isabel Blackman Foundation, Hastings Lions Club, Hastings and St Leonards Muffin Club, Hastings Round Table and Hastings Writers' Group, The Catherine Cookson Trust along with the White Rock Theatre for the use of the Sussex Studio.
We also want to thank the team which organised the book and the event – Rosemary Bartholomew, Roz Balp, Anne Hooker, Carol Pullen, Anne Spiring, Amanda Giles and Liz Allen. Thanks also to Amanda’s family who provided strong-armed assistance.
We hope that group members and local people alike will support Imagine That! and its charities, and enjoy a terrific book by the authors of the future.

22nd May - Life Writing Competition results

This week members received the results of the life writing competition. Our judge, local life writer, novelist, poet and teacher Andrea Samuelson, praised the standard of entries. Andrea gave some very helpful feedback for each entry, recognising those that successfully fulfilled the competition brief and offering advice and guidance for those with room for improvement. Fourth place was awarded to Dave Baker for ‘Anatomy of a Love Story’, third went to Sam Davy for ‘Death is the Cessation of all Biological Functions’, in second place was Roz Balp for ‘My Husband, My Prince’ and our winner was Vicky Armstrong for ‘On Learning to Read’. Godfrey Forder was also commended for his work ‘Dandelion and Burdock with Bronwen’.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

8th May: Sitcom Workshop

Hastings Writers Group was very fortunate to welcome local script writer, poet, producer and performer John Knowles. He presented a workshop on writing comedy, sharing very funny stories of his own life and experiences. We were treated to videos of performances some of John’s work. These showed how easy it is to make people laugh – if you happen to be extremely talented, intelligent and blessed with a sharp, sometimes dark, sense of humour. John gave us some useful tools to help us prepare for our forthcoming sit-com writing competition. These included advice on character and plot set-ups as well as some practical tips relating to script writing and the best reference books and computer software available. Members were entertained and inspired in equal measure.

24 April Life Writing Readings

Members read out their entries to the life writing competition. The fascinating accounts covered decades and spanned continents. We heard amusing anecdotes about much loved parents and grandparents, and stories passed down through generation, possibly embellished along the way. We enjoyed autobiographical accounts. These included tales of childhood chronicled through accidents, illnesses and medical treatments. We also heard an interesting tale of one boy’s efforts to raise money for a ski trip by working in a fizzy drinks factory. We heard reflections of consciousness and happiness made during a slightly booze-filled trip around Hastings and considered death and its portrayal in the media. Another fun meeting showcasing the diverse styles of our very creative members.