At our AGM in September we had a bit of a committee reshuffle, with Jackie and Diane stepping down as Chair and Programme Secretary, respectively. Their shoes are going to be hard to fill on a few counts: firstly, there are three of us instead of two (Nick takes on the role of Chair while Andy and Sue are Joint Programme Secretaries – that makes six feet going in to four shoes); secondly, Nick and Andy have bigger feet; and thirdly, we’re newbies trying not to cock things up, rather than the steady, experienced hands of our outgoing duo.
Nevertheless, onwards and upwards! We still have the wisdom of existing committee members (Barbara as General Secretary and Brenda as Treasurer and Competitions Secretary) as well as new blood in shape of Linda. One of the things the committee is looking to address is the format of the Informal Meetings. We’re keen to develop these sessions into, on the one hand, a more structured evening with readings from members’ work in the first half followed by discussion and workshopping for those that wish to polish their piece further (we will also try to facilitate pre-reading via email and the blog).
At the same time, we also want to step away from the need to write something to a specific prompt. We’ll still have one, but if members have a work in progress, or have something entirely different, we’ll be happy to listen to them (and discuss them further if the author so desires). We’d also like to try and tie the prompts in to any themes or genres thrown up by the preceding formal meeting so that we can flex our creativity in potentially new directions. Or not. The decision on what to write is entirely up to you, as is whether you want to just read your piece or engage in workshopping.
Length of material is also often an issue, as we can’t always find time to churn out the few thousand words one might feel is necessary. But as we’ve heard from Roberta Dewa, short pieces of a hundred or so words can produce incredibly powerful imagery and emotions. So perhaps short snap-shots are a way forward, flash fiction that captures in a few breaths an instant in time that may leave us wanting more (always a good way to finish a performance).
Whatever your particular style or genre, we want our members (and the wider community) to get writing. Our latest prompt (if you need one) is “A Bit Of A Nightmare” and our next informal meeting is on 19th October. Have a think about what you want to get out of the informals and come along on the 19th with your writing and ideas!
Finally, don’t forget that Clare Harvey is here on 5th October to talk about her historical fiction set during World War Two. See you there!