Sunday, 18 September 2011

Focus on Feedback at Writer’s 14 September Meeting

The mid-September meeting opened with a look at a recent Writing Magazine article, Under the Microscope, where a published author - in this case James McCreet* - scrutinises the first words of a new novel by an aspiring writer. The exercise generated lots of discussion and heated feedback with everyone having an opinion. The consensus, at the end of the session, was that good feedback on pieces read out at the group is important and can help us evaluate our own writing and use of words - making sure every word on the page carries weight.
Christina queried whether people do actually say what they think when listening to readings – she thought not.
Jane demurred but said without being able to see hard copy difficult to deliver a meaningful critique - feedback at best rather than criticism. Something for future discussion maybe?
At the end of the day, it is of course up to the writer to take critiques in the spirit in which they are given and to decide for themselves whether to accept or reject them.
*James McCreet is a British writer, the author of a series of Victorian detective thrillers set in 1840s London. His works are known for their fast-paced, historically accurate and complex plotlines featuring the same core characters. 
Link for more information and his Top 10 Writing Tips. :
Subject for the week was What Do I Do Now – Geoff kicked off with a poem ‘On Assembling my Grand-daughter’s Hi-chair from Argos’. No criticism at all in fact piece garnered unanimous applause with a 10 out of 10 rating!
Hard Act to follow but Cathy gave us a take on the healing properties of Nature when dealing with grief; Rosemary reviewed ‘An Unequal Music’ by Vikram Seth – a book that had a very personal effect on her with its affirmation of the importance of music.
Avril wrote about an aquatic panto in which she was thrown into the limelight when the White Rabbit – never mind his ‘I’m late, I’m late’ - went missing!
Newcomer Betty – previously welcomed – read a ghost story, set in Cyprus, about the raising of a ship-wrecked liner. We were reminded Editors and Publishers advise avoidance of dreams, lottery wins etc. in submissions for publication.
So that’s it from TWC for another week; Think worth recording as a footnote – Private Eye, the witty and satirical magazine, is 50 next month and the Guardian ran a great story last Monday – ending with a para from staffer Andy Macqueen*.
‘The end of The Eye will come when all politicians clean up their acts, when the workings of Whitehall, the media, the justice system and everything in between become entirely transparent, when the British lose their sense of humour and rediscover the deference due to their elders and betters and a herd of Gloucestershire Old Spots fill our airspace!’  
A great use of words to end this week’s blog.

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