Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Cracked it!!!!

With the help of Rob, managed to sort the piccies problem.

Ian and Cynthia, Rob´s notes scanned to you.
Let´s see some pics on next week´s blog!!!

Chris J

Monday, 26 April 2010

Que Sera Sera

NO PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blogger has changed how to put pictures on the Blog and since I can´t work out yet how to do it, since I don´t have Picasa, this will be a piccy-free zone when I do the Blog until such time as the penny drops.

The subject most written about was as you see in the title.( Pieces on this from John, Mary K and Cynthia)

John wrote a story in screenplay form between a mum trying to feed a pooing baby and at the same time talk to her 7-year old son. Shades of Joyce Grenfell, thought some.

Mary K wrote a poem on the theme which urged us to "Live for now and see what Life holds"

Cynthia`s poem was on the same theme based on being stranded because of the Iceland volcanic eruption.
"Can´t go home because of the lava
Sit in the sun and open some cava."

Alan treated us to a diatribe on clothes sense, which was delivered in his usual dry, amusing style.

Brenda carried on with her novel, this time being the second half of Minerva´s diary. Vey good dialogue.

Heather tried out (successfully) a flash fiction piece called "Waterfall", which turned on the card trick of making a waterfall of the playing cards. Neat!

Douglas surprised us all with a dialogue (read by himself and Maureen). It seemed to be heavily suggestive until the last line. Well done, Douglas!

Maureen´s piece was musings about travel and whether it´s a waste of time or not.

Jenny´s piece touched on the travel chaos caused by the Iceland volcano and wondered which bright spark had chosen Madrid as the hub for all stranded travellers since one often comes up against the shoulder shrug here as the commonest reaction to a request for information.

Gerry gave us a story about a plane crash but it was felt that the dream ending should be scrapped and an alternative found, since the piece was good otherwise and warranted the work required.

wrote a piece about a company in Sweden specialising in chairs, music stands and items in general for choirs and orchestras. ( if you´d like to read the piece, see her blog
"Chris on the Costa" - Link on the right hand side.)

So ended another good meeting, this week under the guidance of the Deputy Chair Rob.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Writers Bureau Competition

Poetry and Short Story Writing Competition with £4000 worth of Prizes!

The Writers Bureau – Britain’s leading Creative Writing home study
college – has launched its annual Poetry and Short Story Competition
for 2010.  

Now in its 16th year, the competition will, once again, be judged by
Iain Pattison and Alison Chisholm.  Alison commented on last year’s
winners saying, “The wide-ranging subject matter and a host of
individual voices made this a fascinating competition to judge. Many
of the entries reached out and captivated the reader, who was drawn
into another world and invited to become a part of it. The winners
were spectacular.”

Last year’s winners can be viewed at

Total prize money is £4000: First prize in each category is £1000,
second prize £400, third prize £200, fourth prize £100, plus six
runners-ups prizes of £50 each.

The theme is open so entrants can choose to write about any subject.

Poems should not exceed 40 lines and short stories should not exceed
2000 words.

The winners will be featured in Freelance Market News and on The
Writers Bureau competition website giving the winners a chance
to showcase their work and boost their profile.

The entry fee for each poem or short story is £5.00 and the closing
date for entries is 30th June 2010. Entry can be either online or
through the post.

For entry forms or further information contact:

The Competition Secretary,
Dept Comppr, The Writers Bureau,
Sevendale House, 7 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1JB

Tel:  00 44 161 228 2362

Or Visit

Friday, 16 April 2010

Well Done Chris

Chris Johansson, a regular TWC member, was published in The Inland Magazine April edition - see page 22 - 'Billy the Bookcase' a very informative article on Ikea. Just click below

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Alphabetically Speaking, It Was A Commodious Skull.

It was a cold and windy day.......
But despite the inclement weather (Wot! on the Coastas??) we had a lively gathering on Jane´s birthday ( eat your hearts out those who weren´t there - she brought CAKE!).

We celebrated Jane´s day and also gave a round of applause to Gerry for his "Highly Commended" story in the Flash 500 Competition.

Cynthia kicked off with a story about a shoplifter. Cynthia´s own professional experience through her work in the UK court system gave an interesting insight into the way an ordinary person, who is also a drug addict, tries to keep a normal life going despite the stress and compulsion of the habit.

Maureen gave us one of her travel pieces, this time from her cruise.It described, amongst other things, a visit to a Cultural Village, where a gruesome array of skulls was on display. As usual with her writing, very colourful and interesting.

Lisa, inspired by an intensive course in Spanish, had written a piece on the use of para and por.

Gerry gave us a rewrite of an earlier story which looks as if it will be a novel(?). Very much improved writing and a gripping read.

Jane wrote a short poem about going out to buy cat food and coming home with two sofas. As you do ........

Alan G, enraged and frustrated by the lack of service given by his TV company, had written a rant.

Alan W admitted, without a shred of regret or an ounce of shame, that he had been glued to the telly all week watching golf but would sharpen his quill for next week before he goes back to the UK (to play golf).

Chris, inspired by one of this week´s topics ( Who put the commode over there?), wrote a humorous poem involving what might be called a musical interlude.

Mary K´s offerring this week was a poem "Alphabetically Speaking" about a woman in hospital and her absent-minded husband.

Jenny´s poem "Jack the Lad" was a little longer than her usual ones but just as good.

Brenda read an episode of her novel where Belle , in the middle of moving, is blackmailed by Dave the cabby. Good dialogue.

Rita wrote a telling piece about the Costa Blanca`s free press and its many adverts.

Heather read a beautifully written story called " The Collector" ( the other topic of the week). It was a very creepy tale about a police photographer who gets his kicks from the crime scene photos he takes. It should definitely be sent to a mag for publication.

John read us a piece he is going to send to his tutor at the Open University as part of the Creative Writing course he is doing. It was about his father and family. Really interesting. (Give him an A+ , Teacher!!)

Incidentally, for those who were absent, Jane´s cakes ( not just one, losers!) were mixed fruit, ginger and lemon. Just thought I´d let you know what you missed.....

Thus ended yet another great Wednesday morning.

Chris J

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Flash 500 Competition

Well done Gerry Wright!

Gerry is a relatively new member of TWC - and has worked hard to take on board advice from the group and has now been awarded a 'Highly Commended' in Lorraine Mace's international Flash 500 writing competition which attracted 100s of entries (including mine!)

For more:

Rob Innis

Sunday, 11 April 2010


I have given this week's blog the title of "Nostalgia" as a number of the contributions were a trip down memory lane. Attendance was slightly down at 16 members but this did not detract from the quality of submissions.

The suggested theme was "As Darkness Was Falling".

Nik started proceedings with an excerpt from his book about a Vigilante in UK. This was not the usual Death Wish type offering but more subtle and was well received by the group.

Rob had a senior moment and although he had written something had forgotten to print it off.

Glyn continued his army apprentice's story detailing the effects of some appearing on parade. Again this was enjoyed but it was suggested that he may make more of the use of the senses and that perhaps some items of speech might be too long.

Brenda read an excerpt from "The Diaries" focussing on Belle's impending move and how she found solace in her garden. One or two suggestions were made here including changing the venue for speaking with the estate agent and the use of the gardener in the story. Brenda was reminded that although her book was based on experiences it was a fictional work.

Douglas gave us another part of his fictitous FBI agent. While it was agreed that the concept was good it was pointed out that the story needed more description and that some parts may need to be revised as it appeared illogical.

Stan started off the nostalgia with his rembrances of the miners' strike and of the effects they had on local communities. This was a very well balanced piece detailing the suffering that people had gone through yet had survived and in some cases prospered after the mines had closed.

Nan had written a story on this week's theme about a group of scouts out camping and involved with four mysterious men invading the camp. It will be interesting to see how the story develops and wil be even better with some prudent editing. We'll have to wait though as Nan and Stan are away for a few weeks!

Mary K gave us a very upbeat message in the form of a poem entitled "With A Song In My Heart". This should be sent out to Yours or People's Friend.

Mary S told a true tale of her family life in "The Allotment". When she had finished reading it was interesting to hear the group relate to her memories. Try sending this to Yours, Mary!

Ann B's offering was a poem that is surely every woman's wish: "Dropping A Dress Size". I wonder if transvestites and cross dressers feel the same.

Chris rounded up the meeting with her recollections of a recent holiday in Salou which was ruined by a group of students from a British university. Their behaviour was so outrageous it was reported in the Spanish national press and TV. There were some humorous moments however especially the incident in the lift where conversation had to be made by the occupants rather than make the journey in silence. I think we could all relate to that.

Looking forward to next week's meeting.

Ian C

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Hot telephones, hot Arizona and hot pen

This was the dreaded monthly ‘Hot Pen Day’, when a word is selected at random from a book and all present have a set amount of time to write something inspired by and using the chosen word. Even so, there was a good attendance – 19. Apologies from John (car trouble), Rob (dentist), Heinke (airport), Pat (hospital) and Jenny.

Before we got down to the Hot Pen, however, we asked last week’s Leftovers to read their pieces.

Mary M kicked off with a revealing and rather intriguing sexual intrigue that involved phone sex and marital misunderstanding. Well received indeed!

Alan W gave us the first part of his reinterpretation of the Gilgamesh story, and employed some amusing turns of phrase. (The Epic of Gilgamesh was written some 1,500 years before Homer on clay tablets discovered in Mesopotamia in the mid 1800s and then decyphered; the story is incomplete).

Gerry gave us ‘A Taste of Freedom’ with a well realised description of a convict leaving an Arizona prison after five years. We all wanted to know more... and also wanted to feel the heat.

Nan read her first ever poem, a clever rhyming piece about going to the dentist and depleting her finances (must have known Rob was going…)

Stan gave us another amusing snippet about Granddad babysitting Danny.

The Hot Pen

The book used was Recoil by Jim Thompson. The words were either ‘lid’ or ‘until’ or both. As time had passed, only 7 minutes was allowed for writing.

Nik wrote a continuation of his last Hot Pen, still in private eye Pete Axiom’s office…

Alan G was summed up as ‘sod the accounts’, let’s go to the beach…

Maureen’s contribution was quite profound, fighting off ‘until’, the excuse for postponing life.

Christina read out a surprisingly long, and very good poem – ‘Until I met you.’

Lisa’s was expectant and deep.

Ian’s was an amusing cut above some, about a hairdresser.

Douglas’s piece was about being bedridden and not liking it.

Glyn was about a crafty DJ.

Brenda gave us a massive salvo in the battle of the sexes, ‘fits all sizes’…

Jane told us about a phone call, which coincidentally so did Mary K, though hers had the recipient being driven to distraction.

Mary S used ‘until’ as an empowering excuse.

Ann gave us her thoughts on shellfish, which she doesn’t like.

Anne opened Pandora’s box.

Heather was all concerned about getting the boiler fixed.

Mary M got into a stew.

Alan G wrote about apologists.

Gerry gave us a dramatic scene in a tense kidnapping saga.

Nan told us about a cemetery, which is often a source of ideas. ‘I’m not finished yet’ might be someone’s epitaph…

Stan gave us a further conversation between Danny and his grandfather; great stuff.

Overall, as ever, the Hot Pen showed what can be achieved in a very short time. A great many of the ideas brimming from these exercises could be transformed into short stories, or even novels! If ever a scribe has writer’s block, just pluck a word from a book and let the words flow – then go back to your ‘blocked’ piece.

Surprisingly, we had time for some fillers.


Alan W finished off the Gilgamesh rewrite, with hints of global warming and of course the echoes of the Flood and Noah.

Anne gave us a thoughtful piece about tracing family history – going back to Adam and Eve and coincidentally the ark! This was highly amusing and posed an interesting thought: very few women are mentioned in the early pages of the Bible.

Christina read out her reflections on her magical cruise to the orient – South China Sea, Raffles, and the New China resort, among other places, though most of us were most curious about the crew who ‘pandered to our every need’.

Lisa read out a lovely poem about the approach of Spring, when those ‘winter books’ are put away.

Thank you all for making yet another session interesting and thought provoking. Until next week - if we can keep a lid on it…