Wednesday, 25 March 2015

One In, One Out!

(Written by Annie posted by Rob.)

We met at Rob’s house. Tony had sent his apologies but we were still five because Chris had been able to join us.
Izzy: has been working on a blog commission with More Than car insurance and what it is like to teach teenagers to drive. One teenager must be bad enough but to have to teach twins to drive must have been nightmarish. Well done Izzy on the blog and on the driving tests!
Annie: I talked to the group about my recent visit to Crufts and also on how I have decided to loosen the structure of my picture book.
Linda: is starting her second novel and although much is undecided Linda feels that she has decided upon a setting, Winchelsea Beach.
Chris: gave a talk to the U3A and proved to be very popular. He sold 19 books but then ran out of stock. Chris has also been invited to speak during Bewdley Bike Week and event being run by Bewdley Outdoors. It is scheduled during June at St George’s Hall. I for one am very much looking forward to it as I have never had the opportunity to see Chris speak about his journey to Beijing.
Chris’s Reading
Chris’s reading was an extract from’ Karl Marx and Careful Driving.’ Chris’s sharp prose sparkled as ever and all members of the group had found the piece enjoyable and entertaining. Izzy commented several times on Chris’s subtle use of humour.
The piece started with a reference to ‘the British wanting their garden sheds’ which we found amusing. Soon after, the piece contained 4 asterisks to blank out an expletive, there was much discussion as to whether some of the letters should have been left in as there were two possible choices as to the insult being used. Another area that caused amusement was Chris’s reference to shaving between pimples during adolescence.
I was concerned about the lack of a hyphen in nosedived but as you can see it doesn’t have one although Izzy had also felt it looked strange and had also had to check. Rob was excited to be introduced to a new word: Integument.  
A tortoise showing off its integument.
In biology, integument is the natural covering of an organism or an organ, such as its skin, husk, shell, or rind. It derives from integumentum, which means "a covering" in Latin. Wikepedia

I had to confess to Chris that I did not always read the footnotes as I found the Marxist theory quite heavy going but despite this I had managed to spot an errant number three which had found its way into one of them. My confessions didn’t stop there I also admitted that I found the chapter length long. This led to a discussion on chapter length and what is expected. Chris has structured his work around each chapter being a day in length and so each chapter lasts as long as is needed to cover the ground. The others felt happier to slip a bookmark in at whichever point they had reached rather than searching for a natural break.

It was fantastic to see Chris again and to hear news that he is still pushing forward with his non-fiction work ‘Karl Marx and Careful Driving.’ We look forward to the next instalment and only hope that he is there to read it to us.

Next meeting is 24 March at Annie’s house and Rob is reading.
Our 14 April 14 meeting is at Izzy’s house and Linda is reading.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Postcards from ... Kidder

Sadly Chris was unable to join us because of work commitments and we were feeling light in numbers come the appointed hour because Annie had texted in to say that she was running late. She had gone to Halfords to pick up a brake-light bulb and was entertaining two young men under her bonnet. When she arrived, all of a fluster, she was able to give us the news that the other members of her "proper writing group" had liked her plan for a new Polly Poodle story and all she has to do make it into a rhyming story.
By then we had already shared that Tony has entered another competition and is halfway through a mental health dissertation; Linda has submitted 'Budgerigars' to another agent; and Izzie is trying to ensure that her work for the Internet, other than her personal blog, is remunerated.
Rob shared details of his Pubslush crowdfunding campaign and the other members were excited to learn that not only will they soon have an opportunity to read his new novel Out of Such Darkness but, through becoming Darkness Angels, they have a chance of sharing in its success. They all rushed from the meeting and found their way to the website  where they learned all about it.
Izzie read from a blog review of her stay in an all-weather holiday destination called Bluestone which is close to Tenby in Pembrokeshire. We all responded with enthusiasm to the writing, the use of the postcard visuals and her enthusiastic descriptions of the activities they had enjoyed. We would have liked to have seen more descriptions of Izzie's personal experience of some aspects of the holiday. It became clear that the areas where we were looking for more detail were those she didn't enjoy so much and we discussed approaches to overcome this.
Being a seasoned and successful blogger, Annie is a master of the bullet-point summary and the list of hints and in this piece worked really well.

In summary:
·         Annie arrived late but seemed to have had good service at Halfords
·         The news highlight was Rob's crowdfundingcampaign 
·         We all admired Izzie's work and gave constructive feedback including Tony's idea that she should adopt "Postcards from …" as her travel writing brand
·         As always the meeting was a good mix of writerly chat and nonsensical fun

The next meeting is on Tuesday March 10th. It's at Rob's and Chris has already submitted.