Wednesday, 26 October 2011
The news this week came thick and fast.
Clive: A magazine called Britain at War are interested in an article about a metal case made for Monty by Clive’s father during World War Two.
Chris: Has given another successful talk that was well attended.
Rob and Tony: Are preparing for their talks at Bewdley Library during half term.
Linda: Hold on everyone! This is big news! Linda has been accepted on to the Gold Dust mentoring programme. After attending the Arvon Course Linda was invited to submit her work for specialist mentoring and has been accepted. Linda has an Australian tutor and they keep in contact by skyping. Congratulations Linda, well done.
We also discussed my story that I wish to submit to a competition to write a children’s story. Everyone engaged well with my main character, Thomas. Linda did suggest a few more mannerisms to be included to give insight into his character, which I have done. Also the group were in agreement with the age range that I plan to submit the story for.
The other news of the night was that Chris failed to notice I had missed a vocative comma, leaving it to Rob and Tony to pick this up.
Clive was concerned that the ending of the story was too predictable. Often when I am reading with children at school it is easy to predict what will happen in the book so I am not sure if it is a problem that an adult can predict an ending. Tony thought that the ending did not have enough of a comeuppance whereas Rob thought that the pay back was good.
Eagle-Eyes Gillam noticed some typos: coupe instead of couple and conversions rather than conversations. I was also picked up a number of times for missing out the second set of speech marks.
Thank you all for your valuable contributions. The story is now ready and I will be posting it tomorrow.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Sunday, 2 October 2011
We gathered at Rob’s for new member Clive's debut reading - a short story called Old Friends. Both Linda and I were initially put off by the golf club lounge setting of the opening scene but still the story managed to engage and everybody admired Clive’s acute ear for dialogue, much of which sounded completely natural, as if it were real conversation overheard. Annie was very taken with the character of the annoying waiter, commenting he was ‘annoying in a really good way '. She wanted the waiter to go away so she could continue eavesdropping on the other characters’ conversation - proof of the compelling nature of Clive’s storytelling. But it was Rob who really hit the nail on the head when he observed how Old Friends - a rather old-fashioned, highly moralistic tale in which the good are rewarded and the reprehensible get their comeuppance - could have come straight from the pen of Somerset Maugham.
Now I didn't let on about this at the meeting but Somerset Maugham and I have something in common. Last year I wrote an article for the British Journal of Wellbeing called Time to write the next book. I don't mean to cause a distraction here so I'll put a link to the article at the end of this blog entry and you can click on it and read it at your leisure. The point is, Clive is anxious to break out of his rather old-fashioned style but, as there are probably few people writing in the tradition of Somerset Maugham these days, why shouldn't Clive be the one who picks up that particular baton?
There is an apocryphal story that Thomas Hardy (one of the greatest of English novelists and also one of England’s finest poets) wanted nothing more than to be remembered as an outstanding dramatist like his friend JM Barrie (one of Scotland's most successful novelists and playwrights in his time) who in turn berated himself for not being able to write poetry like Hardy. The moral of this story is that, if you’re brilliant enough to create a Far from the Madding Crowd or a Peter Pan, you should be pleased with your achievements. And if my Severn Valley Author friends insist on my being Wyre Forest’s answer to Garrison Keillor then I think Clive might settle for being the 21st century’s Somerset Maugham.