Sunday, 30 August 2009

TWC Themes - September

Just a reminder for September's themes:

Writing Magazine August competition - ‘Love story’
2 First sentence: As I sat waiting for a return phone call, I reflected on...’

9 Book review (250 words) or The library book

16 Driving lessons or The coach trip or In the fast lane

23 Life would never be the same again or The allotments

30 WLTM or Must Love Dogs

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Look out for the next issue of Round Town News. There's a September short story competition and the winner gets a laptop computer. Full details to follow soon.


None But The Brave

At the duly allotted meeting time there was only a handful of members in attendance and it was suggested that because the day's topic was "Hot Pen" a number of members had got cold feet. (Hardly likely in this weather!!)

Apologies were given from Nik,Rob and Heather. Eventually a total of 11 members attended.

Some members had pieces to read and it was decided to read as normal and then, if time allowed, we could do a hot pen.

Gerry attempted a piece of poetry in the style of Pam Ayres, entitled "Would I Like To Live Forever?" It provided pros and cons for such an event. Everyone thought that as a first attempt the poem was excellent and should possibly be sent to The Oldie magazine.

This must have been the day for poetry as Brenda had two poems to read. The first detailed the frustration of being a golfer and I'm sure that anyone who has attempted to play the game could associate with its sentiments. The second item entitled "Time" dealt with a life governed by time and how we deal with it. Again this was something that we all recognised within ourselves.

Ian's piece was a reworked version of an old short story called "Too Hot To Handle." This was about the formation of an undercover anti-crime force. We all enjoyed the story and felt it should either be expanded or put into a series of episodes.

Mary had two short items. The first was an explanation of how "Tapas and Salads" were named i.e. Tapas from the Spanish - to cover and the use of bread to keep flies out of beer and Salads from the use of Sal (Salt) to enhance flavour. Her poem, entitled "Agendas" dealt with activities in an attempt to find a partner. (Roundabouts were excluded)

Douglas gave us a piece called "Mendacity" and was a spoof on Superman being required to mend a city. This was an excellent play on words.

Maureen gave us a review of a recent camping/touring holiday in Spain, aptly named "A Girl, A Granny and Two Dogs.

After the break there was a hot pen and the word chosen was "Cracking".

Jane - A story about the disposal of family goods between sisters after their father's death.
Pat - The return home of a wife to her husband's diy.
Mary - The different interpretations and uses of the word cracking.
Douglas - Revenge against "feeble" humour.
Maureen - Took the word "Craic" and explained a recent event in Germany where its use was totally misunderstood.
Jerry - A story of chidren venturing onto thin ice.
Brenda - A short piece describing fire.
Ian - A conversation between two young men admiring a young woman.
Christina - Three verses describing the use of the word.
Mary - This was a piece about a beach party.
Ann - First a piece about rhymes and then a story about a dog going through the ice.

As there was still time left, Douglas provided a filler with a story based on the song "Miss Otis Regrets".

Maureen suggested a barbecue be held at her place before the end of summer. She was advised to contact Glynn because he also had spoken about hosting a barbecue.

Christina proffered her apologies for the next two weeks.

All in all, a good session.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A political scandal or By popular request....

Was this weeks theme for our group. We had 13 members present, a good turnout for August. Rob, deputising for Chairman Nik Morton, announced that Penny Legg had started a new type of writers group, Writing Buddies, which had been mentioned in the Writers' News magazine (which is being circulated amongst members.) Gerry opened proceedings with an interesting story based on the events in a grave digger's, or gardener's as he preferred, life - which ended with a 50 pd. twist. Gerry has recently signed up with the Writers' Bureau and we look forward to seeing how he gets on with his course. Rob is currently editor of the WB Students Magazine. Heather read another instalment for her 'long' short story which created a lot of discussion, mainly around the political motives and opinions. More to come... Brenda read from a piece she started and abandoned a while ago - about an Amercan lady call 'Red' - Brenda bravely tried to set the scene in an American bar but perhaps her London origins came through causing a few members to feel a little disorientated about her story. We await to see if Red appears again at TWC! (Come on Brenda give it an edit!) Douglas read an interesting story about a journalist trying to cover events in Sudan but his accounts of events was disputed by the politicians. We liked the story and the descriptions. Ian read his poem based on the theme (see blog title):

Political Scandal


Ian Clark


Lots of sleaze,

Corruption and abuse,

Daily news,

With journalistic views,

On all this power misuse.

Expenses fraud,

By those who think they’re God,

Because they faced an election,

They will not last,

But become the past,

As they face deselection.


Of poor explanations,

As well as misbelief,

Why this or that MP.

Could not see,

That they were just a thief.

A promised review,

But that’s nothing new,

As party leaders filibuster,

But what the country feels,

Is they need rods of steel,

And not a feather duster.

It matters not,

Who we have got,

Once the country has spoken,

For given the tools,

Regulations and rules,

Will continue to be broken.

This was well received and comments included 'How True!' Well done (as usual) Ian

We arrived at Jane's turn who promptly told us it was 'pathetic' (she was worried because she had written it in a rush) but it in fact it was a very enjoyable, entertaining and topical poem based on the recent exploits of the penguin, Ralph, (it has been in the news) having to have a wet suit made to protect him from the sun's rays.

We all enjoyed it!

Mary read a trilogy of poems which we then debated which was the best order for the Kate Adie (based on) poems. I think we arrived at a consensus.

As we had a few minutes to spare, Rob read his "Those High Tech. Hospital Machines" based on his recent adventures in Torrevieja hospital which he wrote up as a blog.

Rob would like to thank everyone for helping him time keep the meeting in the absence of his watch!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Could Dan Brown's new novel spell the end for the printed word?

This post's headlinecomes from an item in The Guardian

Linked to - This from the site (link on our blog) today:

"The Lost Symbol will be published as an ebook on the same day as the print edition and can be downloaded and read on computers or specialist devices such as the Sony Reader. These are already available in Britain and the Kindle ebook and Apple Tablet will add to the choice once they go on sale in this country."

For the whole item see here

Will Dan Brown's latest novel change the publishing world forever?
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Friday, 14 August 2009

Swearing, telegrams and sex

Meeting of 12 August, 2009.

Some apologies but a good attendance with 14 members.

Swear in
We dived straight in with Glynn’s second chapter of ‘We’re in the Army Now!’ As before, the members were so intent on listening to the story that few comments were made about the writing! There was some discussion as to whether Glynn should bowdlerise it or not. Leaving in some swearing seemed appropriate to give it the ring of truth and add flavour without totally alienating any sensitive souls. Too many books and films tend to go overboard with swearing and it’s not necessary. We all look forward to the next chapter when Glynn returns from his tomato-throwing jaunt.

Hotel hots
Brenda showed us Bell’s passionate reconciliation with Richard. From pub to hotel room in a trice. Again, good description just needs tightening in parts – and don’t forget Bell’s coat in the pub!

Waiting for George
Ian had many an eye filled with a tear or two with his rendering of ‘Trapped’, about an old lady who is waiting for George, her husband. Excellent. Ian says it was inspired by the book he’d just read, The Secret Scripture. This has to go somewhere so it is read widely.

An explosive combination
Heather read the second part of her long story – she has knocked off 1,000 from the original 6,000 words. The main man seems to be a ‘bomber’ seeking revenge or something else after the deaths of his family in the Middle East. A little debate ensued about the main character’s motivation and his sensibilities. All agreed that dialogue brought the characters alive.

Have bike, will travel
Maureen read her experiences quad biking, a factual piece which definitely had us there with her, astride the deafening monstrous machines, especially on those quite steep and forbidding slopes. Not for the faint-hearted!

Poetry games
Christina read a poem in which she owned up to being besotted by a computer game played on Facebook. Good poem, but are you game enough to put the game aside to concentrate on writing? Difficult one, that.

Don’t shoot the messenger
Douglas read out an affecting story about a telegram boy during the Second World War. We felt for the lad. It was pointed out that a couple of characters’ names might need changing, from Harry Webb (Cliff Richard’s real name) and Mrs Matthews, who had a foot-balling son (Stanley?)
Serves him right!
Complete with sound effects, Jenny read out a humorous piece about a husband on the phone, bemoaning the fact that his wife has left him. As we listen, we can well understand and sympathise with the absent spouse! Has potential for a magazine as it will bring plenty of smiles and knowing nods of heads. Alter the last words, though…

Friend pen
Finally, Mary K has – as so often – turned an idea on its head and it works. She gave us an intriguing poem about her friend, the pen, which seems to write of its own accord. If only we could all possess such a clever instrument!

I’m away next week so will be sorry to miss some continuing stories. Rob is standing in. Thanks, Rob.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Beat to a Pulp - I Celebrate Myself

The title is from a Walt Whitman poem. This is a short story accepted for and published in the webzine Beat to a Pulp, which features a new tale every week. There's a lot of imaginative writing there - you can access all earlier stories on the blog page too.

Anyway, if you can spare five minutes, why not have a look at

and perhaps even leave a comment?


Saturday, 8 August 2009

Cavalry, crime and conflict

Meeting of 5 August

Only 6 attendees this time, plenty of apologies – domestic disasters and family visits, among them. It’s hot out there!

We had a general discussion about taking onboard comments and learning from any criticism. Bottom line is, if you haven’t got a thick skin – to face rejection, for example – then you’d better spent your time on other pursuits.

Ashes to ashes
Ann began with an amusing anecdote concerning her family and the spreading of a deceased’s ashes. This engendered many similar reminiscences.

Lure, not lurid
Mary K gave us a clever and amusing poem on the lure of the pen and how she looks forward to these weekly sessions. She apologised for not writing any sleaze for a while…

Cavalry trill
Gerry read out an 1870s tale about Joel and how he grew up outside Boston and finally joined the US Cavalry. Told from the omniscient point of view, it worked well but requires more emotion and detail to place the reader in that time and place. Put more emphasis on the particular rather than the general.

Criminal intent
Nik read out the beginning of his novel The Dragon Tree rewrite, concerning illegal immigration in Tenerife. Many illegals work for a pittance in those massive agricultural tents. Excerpt illustrates controlled switching of point of view in the narrative.

Training for the army
Glynn offered up a rewrite of first chapter of his Joining the Army novel. Starts with his train journey, leaving hearth and home. Great descriptions, as usual, with more characterisation of the narrator this time around. A few things still to tweak, notably story logic/chronology. Still, it’s shaping up very well.

Base character in basement
Heather, our new recruit, began reading her long short story about East/West and it had all of us intrigued. A neat twist, too, concerning the main character’s viewpoint. We’re all waiting to hear more.

A house is a home
Finally, Brenda presented an interesting exercise about the house and the home, two pieces concerning the same building but from two different perspectives. The family buying the house and then the final leave-taking of the place, using smells to evoke memories. Well conceived. And fancy that, an attic and a diary figured in the story!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Chris in Sweden

Hi Folks!

You intrepid writers who are ploughing on through the summer despite the heat and humidity - I greet you!!

I am in the frozen north until early September but send news in my blog.

I think there´s a link from this site...

Hope all is well.
See you later this year.