Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!

Smells good too!
Regular readers of this blog will know that it’s our practice to appoint a scribe for each meeting and she or he tries to capture the spirit of each meeting in a few lines before we collect together again. Our meeting on August 24th remains unrecorded and this grave omission is down to me.

Here’s what I remember:
  • Izzie, once again, proved that the Internet is where it’s at. She cleverly contrived to come second in a design-a-room competition and thereby avoided the winner’s prize, which she didn’t want, and collected the runner-up’s that she did.
  • Linda is entering A Headful of Budgerigars in the Myslexia novel-writing competition. It deserves to win.
  • Tony is toying with a concept for a new mental health primer.
  • Tony read a chapter from his novel-in-progress: We all agreed that Tony has a unique, relaxed style and that this extract built the suspense well. Some of us were concerned about Tilman’s naivety and Angland’s complicated ‘banishment’ process. At one stage Linda admitted that she was so transported by Tony’s description that she could smell Tilman’s urine.

I can't see the blog! When's the next meeting?
Had the blog been written in a timely fashion it would have stated that the next meeting would be on 14 September. Apparently, members are unable to use a calendar or diary to determine which are the second and fourth Mondays in a month and you can imagine the confusion that was caused by not being able to refer to the blog for this vital information.

And on that note I’ll move on to the most recent meeting: 14th September. We were down in numbers because Izzie and Linda were both in London. Linda was attending a Guardian writing masterclass and it will be interesting to hear how it went. As far as news went, it was good to hear that some of us enjoyed events in Bewdley Book Week. Tony has submitted an article to the Malcolm Saville Society magazine. (Tony is a fully paid member of the Lone Pine Club Rob has talked about No Mean Affair to Dorridge U3A and Chris will talk to Newport (Shropshire) U3A about Why Don’t You Fly?

It was Annie who submitted for this week and we discussed a very nearly final draft of Polly Poodle’s Pamperina. Because of Chris’s extended absence this was his first exposure to this text for an illustrated children’s book and he commended Annie on the originality of the story and its rhymes. His main concern was whether and when Polly’s ‘speech’ should be in quotation marks.

I suggested that the work was much improved by the changes that Annie made following advice from her ‘proper’ writing group because it now has a recognisable story arc structure. The rhymes and rhythm are almost perfect with some verses working stunningly well. However, I expressed concern that the couplet that was used as a refrain was not as smooth as it needed to be to bear repetition.

Tony was also very positive about the rhyming and rhythm and suggested improvements where he thought they were called for.

Annie circulated a pitch that she’d written for a ‘Hook’ event at the next conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and this was met with approval from all – subject to some very minor amendments.

After a brief discussion of whether we have to start building bomb shelters in our gardens and prepare for dystopian future now that Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party, we went our separate ways. But not before we had agreed arrangements for the next few meetings, as follows: 

28.9.15:  Rob to submit and to host
12.10.15:  Chris to submit; Tony to host 
26.10.15:  Jayne to submit and to host
9.11.15:  Linda to submit; Annie to host.
(And all meetings to start at 8pm.)