Thursday, 21 February 2013

More than two schools of nonsense?

Izzie wasn't able to be with us for our first meeting in January so it was a band of five who settled down to bought  cakes and cookies to swap success stories. After ten seconds of silence we moved on to other news.
Tony has taken on board the group's comments after his last reading and is much happier with the new draft of his Idle Speed Control story. Rob is putting the final touches to the first full draft of his novel. During this process the pupa that was The Sting Inside  has morphed  into the butterfly that is The Sign. Linda has spent some time grappling with technology and now has a new blog. She is also taking part in a podcast with some writers in New Zealand. Chris is on the home stretch of his marathon opus - he is now only six chapters from the end. Annie is thinking about doing the illustrations for her children's book herself.
Indeed it is Annie's children's book Aunty Fay's Beach Café that was the subject of the reading. Annie also read the submission letter she intends to send to her selected agent. Clue: she likes baking.
As far as the letter was concerned the overall judgement was that it could be improved in a couple of sections by going back to the original and that Annie should be more forthright about her writing successes.
We all enjoyed 'Aunty Fay…' - no I'd better rephrase that. We all enjoyed Annie's reading of the poem about the cafe and the weird food that is served there. Each of us pinpointed a favourite word-combination or image. Chris and Rob became over-heated about whether 'boy-twins' or 'twin-boys' fitted the poem better. Linda as ever was called upon to stop the boys coming to blows.
An interesting discussion centred around the two 'schools of nonsense'. In the first, Linda called it the Owl and the Pussycat school, the author uses commonplace objects (animate and inanimate) and connects them in a nonsensical way. In the second, (here I have to own up to not noting whether it was Tony or Linda who gave it the name) the Jabberwocky school, the objects themselves are nonsensical. Annie's poem mixes these two approaches in an innovative way and opinions were divided as to whether this was a good or bad thing to do.
As the pointilators on the tempranillo showed that the slumpty hour approacheth, the percolator slammed down his gampel and declared the conpetication slorpeth. But only until the nonsense resumes at Tony's house on the 26th.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Idle-Speed Control or Idle Speed-Control?

(Written by Annie. Posted by Rob)

Izzie did not have much to report but she was pleased with herself for completing lots of blog entries. She has also entered the Writers’ and Artists’ Short Story Competition.
Linda is half-way through the re-write of her novel and had little to report apart from that.
Chris has been to Coventry to give a talk to 70 people. It had gone very well and he found them a very responsive group.  Congratulations to Chris who was wearing Tuesday socks on a Tuesday (Tony would be proud!).
I am continuing with my children’s book and am planning on entering the Malvern short story competition run by Malvern Theatre.
Tony announced that the Bridport prize was open for entries and that he had had an article published on resilience.
Tony read his piece called Idle Speed Control.
I thought that references to road rage had thrown the reader off the scent which then allowed the story to take an unexpected turn. I did want to know what the regular trip to Bristol was for. The description of the sea-gull as being off-white did cause me some confusion as I think that they are very white.
Chris went for the jugular and started with a moan about the title –no less – asking whether Idle Speed Control needed a hyphen. Chris did enjoy the Herbie references: CK55 TXP Goes Bananas and CK55 TXP Goes to Monte Carlo. He did think that the nature description was too much of a digression from the story. Then there was the use of the word then!
Linda said that the piece had an air of tragi-comedy. She loved the bit when Paul was pretending to be a Dutchman. She was confused by the black queen chess piece and its relevance to the story. Paul’s character was also a concern to her as he was willing to pocket £110 that was rightfully the money of a beggar woman who simply eeked out an existence.
Izzie was sceptical that Paul had not noticed the beggar woman until the windscreen had been washed. She also felt that an explanation was needed about who Julie was.
During Tony’s right to reply he explained that the story brief was to write about three objects: a black queen, a £10 note and a bunch of flowers. This explained why they were together in this story. The piece was well written and had some very amusing parts but did seem to raise too many questions to give a rounded ending. 
The group also talked about having a technology night where there would be time to discuss podcasts, twitter and blogging.
Next meeting: 12th February, Rob host, Rob to blog and Annie to read.