Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Onwards and Upwards in 2013

SVA meeting at Izzie’s, 8th January 2013.                                                                       
Blogger: Izzie

The group were subjected to chocolate lolly pops and Mrs Crimble’s coconut rings.

Chris had nothing to report after suffering from ‘Man flu’ over the New Year. (Sorry Chris).
I have been trying to set up a blog. There is more work involved in this than I had originally thought and so I have enlisted expert help (my husband).
Rob originally had nothing to report, but then let slip that he had picked up his book again and was busy changing the theme to guilt and destiny.
Annie has been working on ‘Auntie Faye’s Beach CafĂ©’ and reported that her rhyming was unravelling, it was going horribly wrong, but progress was being made.
Tony announced that he’d had an article printed in the Shrewsbury Chronicle and the South Shropshire Journal. Unfortunately there was no payment for his efforts, but he did receive a Thank you note from Malcolm Saville’s daughter. He has also entered the Commonwealth Short Story competition.
Linda has also had flu, although hasn’t suffered as much as Chris (obviously). She reports being a quarter of the way through a re-write of ‘A Head Full of Budgerigars’ and is planning to submit around March/April time.

Linda read Chapter 26 from ‘A Head Full of Budgerigars.’

Chris thought it was well-polished and liked the liberal sprinkling of French throughout. He also queried the use of a hyphen in Prussian blue. The group were split fifty-fifty on whether or not this was required.
I thought it was well-written, but felt out of the loop coming in at Chapter 26. I queried whether, or not councils were referred to as such in France and whether or not, a comma was required in line 146. More to follow on the comma…
Rob queried the use of ‘Alcoholic ether,’ but the general consensus from the group was that it was quite acceptable and that we could almost smell the fumes. Rob was also uncertain about the phrase ‘Smile as wide as Woking.’ It was suggested that it might be better to insert the name of a French location beginning with W instead, to avoid potential problems with translation when Linda’s book goes global.
Annie loved the descriptions and in particular the rhyming line, ‘He must have left his head in the shed this morning.’ There was much discussion about the comment, ‘He must have been born without pants,’ more to follow on this too.
Tony loved the poetic language that never stopped telling the story and queried the use of ‘clenched fists and fish eyes,’ to describe Malcolm.
Linda agreed that there were too many animals used to describe Malcolm’s character and explained the famous Greek phrase that was puzzling everyone. Apparently ‘He must have been born without pants,’ translates quite simply to ‘He’s an idiot.’

The Prussian blue argument was eventually resolved by the dictionary. Apparently if used as a noun it isn’t required. When used as an adjective a hyphen is required. It would be unfair to list those members who were in the wrong on this, especially as I was one of them!

The following paragraph is entirely for my benefit, so feel free to skip it. Vocative commas are placed before, after, or around a noun or pronoun used independently in speaking to a person, place, or thing. E.g. ‘I hope, Izzie, that you will remember this.’ Several members of the group claimed to not knowing about vocative commas before joining the group, although this may have been said to make me feel better.

For those of you who are interested in the Prima short story competition, here are the details. Email your entry, which should be no longer than 300 words to: including your name, age, address, phone number and a recent photo. This is a monthly competition and the prize is typically an eReader with magazine subscriptions to Prima for the runners-up.

The next meeting will be at Rob’s house on 22nd January. We are all looking forward to testing out Rob’s baking. Tony will be reading and Rob will be blogging.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

In which Chris starts a Revolution

(Written by Annie posted by Rob.) 

Our new member Izzie Anderton was in attendance. We met at my house and (with minutes to spare) I managed to make a chocolate fridge cake topped with some festive cranberries.
 Tony told us about the recent publication of his article. Izzie is working on a short story. Rob had no news and then proceeded to tell us about an article written about ’50 Shades of Grey’ by Victoria Coren. She advises men not to rush to emulate the behaviour of Christian Grey, ‘Even the guy in the book is silly, never mind you pretending to be him, on a Thursday night after too much Theakston's Old Peculier.’
Although this perhaps isn’t ‘writerly’ news Jayne did recommend, ‘Heat-Holder Socks’ but I don’t think it had any links to 50 Shades. Linda has had a break from ‘writing’ to spend some time researching and preparing to submit her novel to agents.

We looked at Chris’s piece which was a pitch to an agent. He had written to her many years ago and had decided to contact her again with a much more substantial project than before. Also included was a synopsis of the ‘Karl Marx and Careful Driving Trilogy’.
Well you learn something new every writing group and this week’s surprise from Chris was that there was an English revolution. A quick consultation with Wikipedia (as I have already forgotten the facts) tells me:
The Glorious Revolution of 1688, whereby James II was replaced by William III and Mary II as monarch and a constitutional monarchy established, was described by Whig historians as the English Revolution.
Linda enjoyed the pieces and so did Jayne. It reminded Jayne of ‘The Life of Pi’ and she thought it sharply written. Rob had concerns about Chris’s self-effacing manner in the covering letter and wanted a clearer structure. Tony felt that the letter was well-written but wanted Chris to produce a professional letterhead than included all contact details. Chris had written the postal address at the top and Tony felt it, ‘gave the impression that he was still scribbling away with a fountain pen on Basildon Bond.’ I am sure Chris will agree that half the fun of writing group is having the absolute bleeding obvious pointed out in a tongue-in-cheek way!
Other facts that we learnt from Chris are that the ‘Velvet Revolution’ took place in Prague, Czechoslovakia in November 1989 and refers to the bloodless relinquishing of political power by the Communists.
And finally…
I was asked to post this information that I have recently taught to 8 and 9 year olds so that members of the group could be reminded of some of the finer points of pluralisation. 
Pluralising words ending in Y
The rules that need to be followed are: look to the letter immediately before the y.
If it is a vowel then simply add an ‘s’
e.g. monkey to monkeys, donkey to donkeys, survey to surveys,
If the letter is a consonant then remove the y and add –ies
e.g. party to parties, family to families, jelly to jellies, pony to ponies
And suddenly the penny drops…