Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Tough Love

“Too long!” no-nonsense, Judith declared after I’d tentatively read out the first chapter to my book, fluffing a couple of lines on the way as I realised that the sentences were not flowing.

Her comment wasn’t even a surprise…I’d bored myself along the way!!

Pad ThaiThere was some sugar coating to follow. Apparently, I had offered too much of a good thing! The chapter was likened to, (I’m paraphrasing), a delicious full course menu that had so many rich, heavy offerings that I had turned a wonderful meal into a nauseating experience!! Yes! That was the sugar-coating! Hmmm!

The comments from the group were constructive and well-meaning, so rather than being crestfallen and dejected I actually felt as though I couldn’t wait to revisit the chapter I had written over a year ago and tear into it. However, due to the constraints of my new life challenge running the Affcot Lodge, it’s still in its original form waiting to be mercilessly chopped, I mean carefully edited....Actually, no! I think I was right the first time!

That sort of honest critique is exactly what is needed from a writers' group. Comments from peers you can trust, with no hidden agendas are priceless. Even though you may not always like everything you hear!

My original intention had been to write about an anonymous man who commits a random act that has dire consequences on the unrelated people who are affected by his actions. However, I then proceeded to give this person a whole back story that was totally irrelevant to the plot (schoolgirl error #26 of story-telling).

I knew that working at the Affcot Lodge would be a ‘distraction’ (to say the least) but the group meeting turned into a farce for me as every few minutes my attention was required by the relatively new staff. Could I change a barrel, speak to an insistent rep on the telephone, fix the coffee machine or other such urgent matters. It was frustrating, to say the least!!

The Ragleth Writers deserve better! We have such a talented group of writers that my undivided attention is called for. More than that, I missed all the good stuff!!  

Our numbers were sorely depleted this month. Unfortunately the wonderful Carole Anne Carr has decided that with all her home and work commitments she could not offer her full support to the group and has therefore stood down, but we continue to follow her writing career with great interest. Hopefully we will still get to see her whenever she can spare the time – she will be sorely missed.

Find out more information about Carole here

Lovely Debbie, with all the health problems she has had to endure over the last few years, now has another challenge to overcome and our love and best wishes are with her at this time. We hope she will be back with us as soon as possible.Catch up with her blog here

Ros, too, has had her share of challenges and hopefully she will be able to join the next meeting.

Helen has successfully published many of her non-fiction books but has been spurred on by the group to develop a fictional story from a germ of an idea that has been lying dormant in her mind for some time. Unfortunately I missed the reading, but the rest of the group were very impressed with the premise of the book.

If you'd like to know more about Helen, information can be found here
And they say that truth is stranger than fiction and that is most certainly the case with the work from one of our other members. I’m not sure that he would want me to reveal too much, bearing in mind that he is writing from true life, but when the book is complete, the harrowing and strange tale will be compelling.

John read out from the first chapter of his latest book, a follow-up to Cuelsin, which is now available on e-book format through Autherium. His unique descriptive style automatically transports you to Eastern Europe, even before you know for sure where the scene is set.

Judith chaired this month's meeting, managing to keep a rein on the topics of conversation that can all too easily meander off the plot, so to speak. Especially with one of our members...naming no names!! She also read a section of book 5 (book four has not even been written yet) that will tie up all the threads woven through the marvellous three books (so far) in the Chronicles of Eternity Series.
 Find Judith's Books here

I am now looking forward to our next meeting, which is scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday 9th August at Affcot Lodge. I very much hope to be more involved with the next one so I can appreciate all the talent we have within the group.

See you there, folks x

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