Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Good company, mental stimulation and shortbread, the perfect combination

Apologies were received from Jenny and Heather.
Nik started off proceedings by reading Somerset Maughan’s intro to his collected short stories volume 2 giving good tips about writing in the first person.
Rob’s tale was about a famous Spanish duo Donkey Hote and Sancho Pansy. They weren’t so much tilting at windmills as tilting at wind turbines. They decided to go on an adventure on a motorbike instead of a horse, with a saddle bag filled with pungent, green herby substance, and ended up at a ‘night club’. The girl at the door said ‘do you see anything you like?’ and Sancho Pansy said ‘Yes I like your shoes.’ They eventually get arrested by the Guardia Civil for several misdemeanours. Rob received useful comments. It was thought there was scope for a few stories on the same vein.
Glyn soldiered on with his tale of Army apprentices. One apprentice was on his way from the sailing club back to barracks when he was knocked to his knees and threatened by some recruits from the senior group because he had got out of performing skivvying duties for them, which was a common practice. Glyn is always glad to get comments. It was thought he needed to convey the feeling of violence coming from the group (not the members of TWC but the senior group!)
Brenda continued Minerva’s tale. She had left home and went to a pub where Maud had offered her a room, which was like a cupboard with a big bed in it. Minerva asked the girl in the next room where the bathroom was and she said to her “Have you been on the game long love?” Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire! The story will continue ….. Harry, last week’s speaker, had suggested dividing the story of Minerva into 3 books rather than one long novel, but Nik thought that would be difficult for a non-published author.
Nik informed the circle that Leanne Carter charges 20 Euros an hour for editing a manuscript ( but aspiring writers should aim to pay for editing a couple of chapters at the most and learn from that, otherwise the cost would outweigh the profit.
Mary recited a poem she wrote following a nightmare she had last night where she was in the dark. It told of her fears of being unable to see or speak.
Chris had written her poem in a panic at 9 o’clock this morning on the theme ‘the boys in blue’ aptly called Panic. “What shall we do, what shall we do?” A murder had taken place and the perpetrators were panicking. The use of repetition created a feeling of panic well.
Rosemary read out a passage from her book “Out of a Learner’s Mouth, the trials and tribulations of learning Spanish.” It tells of the difficulties that can be encountered when you don’t understand the language well.
Gerry had written more of his story about an Indian and a white girl. Joe regained consciousness; he had been shot, was losing blood and would be dead soon if he didn’t move. His horse wouldn’t come to him. He saw a shadow and then a small group of Red Indians who showed concern. To be continued ….. He received constructive advice from the circle members, particularly about bullets travelling faster than sound and the origin of the stetson (Nik being an expert in such subjects through research for his Western novels).
John read his tale of marital strife and regret brought back to him by the visit of his daughter and grandson. It told of the inner truth of happenings long ago and was lightened with flashes of humour.
Another illuminating and helpful meeting.
Everyone is supposed to have a book in them but I would rather have a G & T inside me.
Next week’s themes are “seasons/seasoning” or “He had such sad eyes.”

Friday, 21 May 2010

Back In The Day

Harry Gardiner visited the group today and gave a fascinating talk on his years with the Met in London. He served through the era of East End thugs and police corruption and after his statutory 25 years moved on to many other things. He has finally found his true métier in writing and, settled on the Costa Blanca, has written and had published four books: Double Dealing, Revenge, The Villain and The Big One.

Since everybody came to hear the talk, not many people had written anything but there were a few diehard souls who came with literary pearls!

John wrote a very funny piece about taking an aged relative to a wedding.She turned out to be the granny from Hell. It didn´t help that he was late, missed half the wedding and was at the wrong church anyway!

Brenda gave us another excerpt from her novel, this time the historical part. Good dialogue. Harry was well impressed and thought she had the Martina Cole touch.

Chris wrote a wistful piece about self image. She´s really Audrey Hepburn, if the truth be known!

Mary M described a visit to the Irish town Lisdoonvarna and the annual Matching Festival, where farmers go to find a wife. It was craick ( new word for me - fun).

Douglas gave a mild rant about the misuse of the English language. He can´t be doing with the clichés and sentence fillers of the great unwashed.
At the end of the day, if you know what I mean, he´s right, like. Innit?

Another good meeting. Here´s to next week.

Chris J

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Rob Innis published in Writers Bureau Newsletter

The TWC Deputy Chairman, Rob Innis, had an article published in the Writers Bureau monthly E zine - Ezee Writer

It appears in their Expert Advice section and is entitled

Better Safe Than Sorry

and covers the topic of computer back ups for writers to safeguard their work plus some other useful 'Geeky' tips.

Rob was the first editor of the Writers Bureau E zine for their students and produced four editions.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Short and Sweet

My apologies for taking so long to get this blog to everyone but this week just seems to have vanished so as the title suggests this week's report is .....?

There were 18 members in attendance.


(1) Nik kicked off proceedings by announcing that at next week's meeting there would be a guest speaker - Harry Gardner.

(2) Libros International, the publishers, had essentially stopped working and were reviewing their publishing strategies. This led to a general discussion on publishing, authors' rights etc.

Readings of work were then given by:

Jane. This was a little ditty detailing her recent visit to the UK with its cold weather, people looking miserable and, while she was glad to see family, she was even more glad to be back.

Chris. A rendition of her poem entitled "All Change" was her take on the outcome of the UK election.

Mary K. Another poem, this one entitled "Habla Español" and dealt with the use or non use of our adopted country's language.

Brenda. An extremely graphic chapter from her "Diaries" novel was read to the members. Several suggestions were provided on how to deal with the humour and gravity of the episode.

Glyn. This was a reworked item on how the main character of the story dealt with grief,bereavement,illness and the removal of her child by Social Services. This was a powerful piece and initiated quite a discussion on what the ending should be as some members felt it left the reader high and dry.

Heather. An emotional account of the lives of May and Tom was a celebration of life and was based on true events. It was felt that Heather should pursue the tale and that this recollection told today could be the opening chapter.

John. "Coming for a Beer, Tonight?" was the title of John's submission for part of his writing course. The story highlighted how a simple act, of going for an after work drink could have such a dramatic effect on your life.

That's all for this week.

Ian C

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Computers, couples and conflict

Fifteen attended and eleven offered readings of their work. Apologies were duly received.

Douglas began the proceedings and wrote about his relationship with computers, beginning in the Cold War of 1969 in West Berlin, when he prepared the ‘exodus plan’ – just in case. Then, the official computer filled a large room. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in introducing word processors into his travel agency. Then there was the Sinclair ZX, the desktop, the laptop, online access and networks. Considered both a curse and a boon, sites such as Facebook have nevertheless brought people together – not least, one of Douglas’s lost relatives. Meanwhile, some folk attempt to stay off the radar – yet probably fail. Try keying in your name on Google – you might be surprised what’s out there about you!

Mary M gave us an intriguing piece about dodging the truth, while Cynthia got near the knuckle with a sex-change story about pregnancy and soccer millionaires!

Most of us blinked so missed Chris’s flash fiction involving an orchard and apples – all in twenty words!

This was the day before the election. One subject dear to UK voters was probably rubbish collection – as opposed to the rubbish spouted for your vote. Mary K gave us her memories of her time in Switzerland in the 1980s. A place riddled with informers, spying on any misplaced rubbish and of course those beloved Recycling Days, with their magnets, queues and picnics. A really interesting article that’s worthy of a bigger audience.

Jenny’s flash fiction piece was about road rage. In the space of few words, she conveyed the gamut of emotions, with a chilling ending. This too deserves to go out into the world and be read widely.

Ian gave us a short story on the ‘odd couple’ theme. As usual, it was laced with good observation and description, and over it all was a looming threat. Grim, too. Nik recommended the book The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille; it covers similar ground.

Heather told us about ‘Once upon a time in NY’, during her exchange student days in the University of South Carolina. This 1960s tale really came alive.

Glyn read the first half of his love story featuring a National Service soldier and his girl; to be continued next week!

Heinke spiced things up with her sauce making. The subject of sex and food would probably generate an interesting mix, perhaps…

John told us about Glorious Gloria, the man-mad friend of his ex-wife. She boarded foreign students, among other things… An amusing and well drawn character.


Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Inland Magazine May edition

TIM May edition features an amusing true life story from TWC member Chris Johansson (see page 18) plus some contributions from Rob Innis including an article on the 'Lo Pagan' walk with some rather interesting photos!

Either pick up your free copy or click below


Hot pen time again. The word pulled out was ‘tomorrow‘. The ladies wanted to be richer, slimmer, healthier, more organized and in love. The men’s stories involved guns, fire, arguments, being the winner. What’s new!

Rob kicked off with a tale about getting the dreaded NIE, where you turn up only to be told to come back tomorrow, and then the next day. We have all been there.

Heinke’s contribution involved a window dresser who loved his job, with its changing seasons, where tomorrow never comes. Surreal as usual.

John remembered not being allowed to do things today when you are young, you must do it tomorrow, there are exams coming tomorrow, your friends can come to tea tomorrow, and then when you are at work there are deadlines tomorrow,

Heather’s input was about kaleidoscopes, and landscape with many vistas. So many things you did not know you had forgotten can make new patterns and tomorrow will add more to the mix. There were many good phrases used like ‘shake of fate’.

Rita was working in Saudi in 1993 but never got as far as the road to Damascus. In 2010 she found herself on the bus on the road to Damascus to start a holiday. Who says tomorrow never comes?

Maureen wished she could be richer and slimmer tomorrow, (don’t we all!) when she will write, do yoga, eat lots of veg and go to the gym, although she knew in reality she will eat chocolate, drink wine and start again the next day.

Lisa’s tomorrow involved meeting a man. ’I thought again how attractive he was in a Bamber Gascoine way. Perhaps I had better have an early night.’ Naughty.

Ian’s account was about promises made by builders, with manana being the key word. Because the Spanish builders didn’t turn up he hired Eastern Europeans to finish the job and it all ended up in a violent row.

Mary 1 wrote a poem today but thought that tomorrow she would write a true romance.

Mary 2 was thinking about the flamenco dance class she was to attend the next day, when suddenly tomorrow arrived. Mary can move her arms elegantly and dance the steps, but unfortunately not at the same time.

Ann had written a poem about spreading her wings, lying on a beach, who knows what is round the corner. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Chris had a mischievous tale about meeting another man, ’See you tomorrow morning Bill. Jim will have gone to work by then.’

Jenny had a long list of things to do tomorrow as she couldn’t be bothered today, including finding her glasses, checking her bank statement, planting seeds, feeding the budgie.

Christina had written a poem about what she would do tomorrow; give up smoking, start a diet. It is better to look forward to tomorrow.

Alan said tomorrow he would be going back to England for 4 or 5 months. He hoped he would be in time to cast his vote in the election. ‘Past experience shows if you are honest with the electorate they will not vote for you’. He had prepared a manifesto for the National Progressive Party, some points included tax being replaced by VAT, the civil service to be reduced, Scotland, and Wales take themselves off.

Douglas did a poem - ‘Wherever I go if it is tomorrow I don’t want to know if it is linked with sorrow.’

Mary M is another one who wants to start a diet, tomorrow brings hope for a better world and life, today is tomorrow’s yesterday.

Gerry wrote ‘It cannot be tomorrow, that is when the boss is coming.’ He wanted to get out of the mob and the meeting with the boss might give him the opportunity, but what could they do short of a bullet.

TJ came in late but was given 10 minutes to do hot pen. A Sioux boy asks his father why he was called Worromot instead of a usual tribal name. His father explained that he was a breech birth so was born the wrong way round and should have been born the day after, i.e. tomorrow. Get it?

Nik‘s ditty was about two brothers wanting to leave prison to and see their mum who was dying. Eventually they were allowed out because they had been model prisoners, but the handcuffs were to stay on. It was to be the start of his next book.

In the second half there was time for some more readings

Rob read out a story for a competition arranged by AVIVA the first phrase to be ‘As I stepped from the ship the rain ceased.’ It was a tale of a wrongful conviction for stealing some calico and being carted off to Oz as one of the first convicts to arrive in Botany Bay. Following 7 years building houses he was a free man but decided to stay. Very tightly written.

John’s tale was about running the London marathon. Susan Tully of Eastenders was also running and all eyes were for her. John detailed his feelings as he went round the course. Susan Tully was gaining on him but he found the extra strength to finish 3 ahead of her.

Heather’s anecdote was about fear of flying. The storyteller didn’t want to fly and did everything to avoid it. A young man sat next to her and talked all the way to hide his own fear of flying. ‘It was a flimsy affair cocooned in plastic.’

Mary had written a poem about 2 people who met in a hospital car park. They both had spouses in a coma holding on to hope. One day they ended in each other’s arms ‘I badly needed that kiss, it eased the pain, our sorrow was shared.’

Alan continued with his political manifesto. Some of the policies included abolishing the present House of Lords and replacing it with volunteers drawn from the population, who should undergo an intelligence test. (that will preclude most of them in there at present) They are forbidden to have any alliances with political parties. Are you standing for office Alan? I’d vote for you.

Douglas continued his story about Kaplinski the pseudo FBI agent and the blind scientist; there was no sign of either of them. As the storyteller left the site the fire truck was going the other way and a plume of fire could be seen.

Next week’s themes are The orchard or I am pregnant Alex.