Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Drinking Cup-a-Soup with William Morris (and Judy Tzuke)

Since time immemorial - or at least as long as I can recall - SVA meetings have been held on a Tuesday.  But, as Take That so memorably rendered it, everything changes, and so we have switched the meeting to Monday nights.  The change is to accommodate Chris's new work pattern, facilitated by Annie who has sportingly agreed to combine writing with running by doing both activities on a Monday evening.  And so it was that Annie arrived, almost literally hotfoot (and hardly late at all.)  A quick change and a Golden Vegetable Cup-a-Soup later, she was able to join us in critiquing Izzie's submission. 

Linda has just got back from Portugal where she perfected the art of writing while her friends enjoyed a lie-in.  Chris was welcomed back into the fold to tell us about his talk at Bewdley Bike Week and the fact that his book was now being stocked (alongside titles by fellow SVA members) at Bewdley's newest and quirkiest shop - Bewdley Emporium

Rob had been spending more time gardening than writing but had paused between horticultural tasks long enough to note that Amazon sales of Out of Such Darkness were gratifyingly high.  Annie, now suitably victualled, told us of her plans to submit her recent work directly to publishers and Izzie had been busy posting pieces on her blog about Eurovision and Judy Tzuke (of Stay With Me Till Dawn fame) (number 16 on the UK Singles Chart back in 1979, if you're struggling.)

Izzie read her piece with the intriguing title Life in an (almost) empty nest. Linda felt she would like to have heard a bit more about how it feels to live in an (almost) empty nest.  Everyone seemed to like the William Morris quote: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."  Chris said he might have been inclined to put this quote upfront. Rob and Tony both detected a certain transatlantic tinge to some of Izzie's writing and Rob found the tone occasionally a little bossy while Annie focussed more on the ideas Izzie had dreamt up, rather than the style or tone. Izzie is certainly enjoying success in the world of blogging and that's an encouragement to us all, whether we're writing blogs, children books, short stories, articles, non-fiction or novels.  But what would the great William Morris have had to say about our little gathering?  Well, he once observed, "It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last." Or, as Judy Tzuke put it:  "It's the same old situation/Every word so finely placed ..."
Next meeting:  Monday 22nd June at Izzie's, Rob to submit.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

What do the Boomtown Rats know that we don't?

We don't like 'em.
Severn Valley Authors has been meeting on Tuesdays since its inception but now in the first radical change in our format (we’re nothing if we’re not flexible) we’re considering changing to Monday evenings. Our next meeting will be on Monday 8th June at Rob’s with Jayne submitting. Will we end up agreeing with the BTs? Watch this space.
Our ranks were depleted once again with Linda being en-route back from a break in Lisbon and Chris having work commitments. We whizzed through news, focusing mostly on Izzie’s success with her blog. She’s been commissioned to write more pieces. She’s way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to earnings from writing. Rob appeared on a panel of three novelists at a Readers Event in Dudley which was very enjoyable.
Annie read two pieces of work. We all thought that The Big Little Book of Opposites was a brilliant and original idea. The group commented favourably on the sillier rhyme choices: "As hot as mosquitos’ burritos; as cold as midges’ fridges", but felt that the more sensible choices: "As prickly as Porcupine’s spines", would not appeal to children as much.
We were also treated to the prequel to Polly Poodle’s Pamperina where we learned how Polly came to own a beauty salon for pooches. Annie is acting on advice from another writing group that specialises in writing for children who have suggested that she needs the first Polly book to have a story arc that ends with Polly opening her shop. This group can see the sense of this but feels that one of Annie’s strengths - and her greatest appeal to children - is her anarchic writing. We like and admire her zany ideas and feel that the storyline straitjacket is cramping her natural style. There were lots of positives in terms of the way she has created a backstory for Polly but we’d like to see more mayhem!
See you next Monday!