Wild Wednesday

A wet, windy and wild Wednesday * – the kind of night you just want to curl up on the sofa with a cuppa in front of the telly. Yet a good number of dedicated and enthusiastic writers battled their way to the Mercure Hotel clutching 4 copies of their work to be read, discussed and critiqued.
The selection of work provided was, as usual, varied and of a high standard:
Short stories with twists in the tail, travel, sci-fi and horror themes – Glesca zombies at Christmas – pure dead brilliant.
Extracts from novels – two intriguing crime thrillers and the burgeoning beginnings of a contemporary family saga.
Flash Fictions – one Titanic story and one with a waspish sting.
Non Fiction True Crime story.
And lastly an untitled poem –inspired by George Harrison’s song All Things Must Pass.

Split into four groups, we worked diligently on our allocated pieces of writing while tail-end Barney battered on the hotel windows.
After a well-deserved coffee break we regrouped to share our findings. Critiques at our Feedback evenings are never harsh. We highlight the positives about a piece and offer fair and constructive criticism which may improve the work.
On this evening, several useful points were raised. Of course, we had the usual suspects: show don’t tell, check punctuation and edit then edit again.
Other points discussed were:
Changing the structure and order of a piece to improve it. Sometimes swapping paragraphs around, removing unnecessary sentences, or starting your story with your original ending can pay dividends.
Using details (gadgets, fashions, songs, etc) your reader can recognise and associate with creates a sense of place and/or time.
Using natural dialogue. Characters should sound real, their conversations should flow. Language and tone used should be appropriate to your character.

The last two points are the themes our speakers will cover at the next two sessions – Margaret Skea (Sense of Place and Period) on the 25th November and Michael Malone (Crafting Dialogue ) on the 2nd December. So take a note in your diaries and don’t miss out.

Feedback evenings are in my opinion indispensable. Having other writers read and comment on your work can be quite a daunting prospect for some folk especially new writers/members. But honestly, it’s pretty painless and helps you polish your rough diamond into a gleaming gem.
So get writing for the next Feedback evening in March. See you there?

*Apologies for the excessive alliteration – I couldn’t resist.

Linda Brown

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