Workshop Blog 13/11/23

Not many of these left before the Christmas party. Woo-hooo. And by popular request (demand) I shall adopt brevity as my watch-word. Ten of us attended this week, at the YMCA, and we managed seven readings with a great deal of feedback.

Firstly we heard from Daniel with part of his story Objects in the Mirror are Deadlier then they Appear. Very dense text with a lot said in few words. A solid tale and really interesting and funny. Keep ‘em coming.

David then read us an untitled piece he wrote following an exercise in a different group. Quite a funny and potentially disturbing story of the effects of a new gas discovered by a female scientist, who becomes invisible. She ends up playing childish jokes on her husband/partner. As you would, of course.

We then heard from Gill, with the continuing of her tale of two men conscripted in 1950 but from significantly different back grounds, and who meet again forty years later. This part was about the rich, entitled, man and went back in time to when he was sentenced to several years in Harrow school for boys. Really detailed and filling in the fears and emotions, where privilege is somewhat changed. Well well done.

Sara was next up with Listing, which began life as a very short piece, then expanded into something else, but was once more reduced and is an entry to our flash fiction competition. The piece was interestingly circular in form, and had many great ‘sounds’ within it. Sara admits that it is partially auto-biographical, but she wouldn’t tell us which bits. She’s such a tease. But this was a brilliant work.

Eryl then read two flash fictions; The 11:48 from Platform 1 and Do I Love You? Both of these were really good, with the first concerning a couple who say goodbye to their daughter as she heads off to university, with the unsaid question ‘What do we do now?’. The only unbelievable part was when the train left on time. The second one was taken from a slightly obscure song called Tinsel Town in the Rain by an even more obscure band called Blue Nile. But the story was pretty damned good.

Matt gave us the beginning of a story called Pebs’s Friends(?), which was very funny and bordering on disgusting, so ideal for children, though some content farther in could prove unsuitable. (IPerhaps Matt reveals the truth about Father Christmas?) I especially liked ‘…she remembered with a wince why it was a bad idea to lick things in trees…’. I’m thinking another masterpiece coming through.

Sharif was last up with another section of his novel about a bookshop in London in 1952(3?) but this part was way back in 1948. Nafa our Palestinian heroine is seeking Edmund in his bookshop and she finds him. But this is a difficult time in Britain, owing to the scars of WWII being everywhere and painful rationing being in place. In 1948 there was also huge turmoil in Israel/Palestine. Edmund is one of the heroes of Sharif’s previous tale set in Germany immediately after the end of WWII in Europe. Great character detail and observation of people and times young man.

We were deprived of anything written by Jeff this week, as he is unwell with throat, chest and head cold, but he still came along and hopes to contribute to the readings next week. We really hope so.

Don’t forget we are on ZOOM next week and then have three meetings at the YMCA. Here is the ZOOM link for next week:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85635610190?pwd=ckFSYzc1c1dUQ0htcEJGdEh2Q1B0UT09

The 20th and 27th are regular readings and feedback sessions, then 4th Dec is the adjudication of our flash fiction competition by the fabulous Emily Garside. EG will not only be giving us the results of her deliberations but also her insight on all matters author.

The 11th Dec is our Xmas short (almost flash you could say) humorous tale competition and party. 500 words, hopefully humorous and loosely about Xmas, to be read out at the meeting and then voted on by all members present. We are then within our Xmas break until 8th Jan which is also at the YMCA. The current take on calendar is attached, as is a competition for children’s authors.

Speaking of Xmas, here is a poem from an issue of The Caterpillar, which is for younger readers, such as myself:

Christmas Confusion by Sarah Ziman

When I was but a tiny child the vicar came to call:

‘Do you sing “Away in a Manger”?’ I said, ‘No, we sing in the hall.’

The Bridport Prize is now open for entries in all categories. A most prestigious prize but it isn’t for everybody. They returned my collected efforts with a note saying ‘…thank you for entering (again) but as we’ve told you previously we don’t accept rubbish…’ Fussy so-and-so’s. Here is their link:

Home

As you will know, there are two members about to be published in the traditional agent/publisher manner. Laura is to be published in Feb and Jen is awaiting her publication date. Previously I suggested Ian and Matt were vying to be the third member to be published imminently, but they have been overtaken and I hope to soon be able to reveal the author, title and publisher, but this should be very soon. I’m so excited. Well done to the anonymous person I refer to.

Take care and see you next week.

Byeeeeee, P.

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