Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wednesday 26th October 2011..

25 people attended todays meeting. Before todays Hot Pen began we had a couple of announcements. Glen began by informing us that he had received very valuable feed back from a London publisher/agent concerning his novel about the mental torment of an ex serviceman who had been brutalised by the war in Afghanistan. It seemed to bear out the groups comments when he had read extracts-don't kill the hero and remember to temper the content so as not to alienate possible female clientele.
Brenda had also been in touch with a London agent who had requested 3 more chapters of her book so that sounded very promising. Nik then cautioned that it was not wise to assume success until the deal was finally agreed, as it could lead to disappointment , but not to lose heart.
Nik attended this week with Stuart Quay, who told us that he started writing at 7 years old and caught the bug, although he has not been writing continuously. His speciality is crime thrillers having been published in North America, before coming to Spain.

Jenny had an update on our proposed day trip on 5th November. She read a list of pick up points and by the end of the meeting it was announnced that 19 members had put their names forward with a possible 10 guests. Now it will depend on the availability of seats, which wil be decided at next weeks meeting.

The buzz word for this weeks hot pen was "Before"
Ian began with a confrontation between husband and wife about the break up of the marriage when the husband falls for Jackie/Jack. Always a twist Ian.

Lisa wrote about a person watching an awards cermony wandering when the papparazzi will began to uncover the star's past life.

Jenny's poem was about a closed store, sorry Jen if I missed the rest of it but as usual it was all too short for me to write more. [I'm a bit deaf you know]

Maureen wrote a piece about unreasonable behaviour while Margarets subject was contemplating two bottles, one alcoholic the other medicinal, which one to choose.

Georgia's blank verse very cleverly reflected on past life experiences.

Jane wrote about Tony and Wayne standing before the Registrar to take their vows when Wayne's wife turns up.Poor Tony seemed a loser all round.

Anne G wrote of a conversation between husband and wife undergoing a differnce of opinion.

Douglas was very amusing, striking a cord with me at least, when he tries to address a meeting of deaf people before realising he was at the wrong venue.

Avril took the opportunity to attempt to write on the theme in Haiku form, and this was followed by three limericks from Mary.

Our new Grandma Ann B wrote a lovely poem about her new grandson Tobias. There really is something special about the first don't you think.?

Chris J had a clever piece about regrets following a wife withdrawing money, buyng a car, crashing the car, and having no money left Before her husband knew anything about it. Oops!

Anne F had a journal entry by the Minister of Foreign affairs reflecting on the corruption and famine in Africa and wishing he were in a less demanding position.

Brenda's piece looked back to times before the world went mad while Betty had a story about a maidservant who "borrows" m'ladys brooch to attend a function.

Stuart admitted to not being a short story writer but gave an account of his movements before coming to Spain. Nik confessed he is averse to the word before when he reads submissions, he advised to use with care.

Phil wrote of a Polish immigrant fruit picker who thought of how simple his life had been before leaving his home country and ended with a cliff haanger=
did he kill the woman,Phil/

Glyn spoke of a cancelled Rosas day trip and his wait for a refund while Jim resolved to wait until the last minute of one year in order to write his Lastfirst poem of the year.

Cynthia struck a cord with the ladies when she began by saying "Before marriage I was a person" prior to becoming wife,mother,grandmaa etc.

Mary wrote about a little girl who was late accompanying her family to church and so went walkabout on her own. It ended with her hearing someone addressing her by name. I hope it wasn't the bogey man Mary.

Kathy told of waking to find her living room trashed, but instead of iit being a tale of a burglary, it turned out to be her cat who had chased and murdered a budgie Not such a pretty boy then.

Gerry was the last to read. on the theme. His tale involved a bar room gunfight.

So- isn't it a wonder that one little six letter word Before- sorry Nik- can mean so many different things to so many people. .

As we had about half an hour left before the meeting closed Jane re read an account of the postman catching her unawares as she had a strip wash in a bowl of water whilst her house in France was under construction and Brenda reprised her account of the testament left by a suicide welcoming her impending death. Both invited comments from the group on adjustments needed before submission.

Next weeks theme is " I was alone and afraid". Hope to see you then. Anne Grierson(name in print at last).




Wednesday, 19 October 2011


There were 21 attending the meeting today.; Ian opened the meeting by repeating that he had not had a lot of feedback about the proposed day out and the consensus was we ought to make a decision asap. It was suggested that we took a day trip to Alcala de Jucar on Satruday 5th November and Ian said he would send emails to all members for those wishing to attend. We also discussed the Christmas lunch which provisionally would be held at the; Olympia on 21st December.

John Edwards suggested that our next weeks meeting should; follow the lines of a poetry regime set out in the writers magazine but the feeling was we would stick to the scheduled subject of hot pen as Ian pointed out that we do have a poetry challenge coming up. Henke brought a Guardian supplement for the members which gave hints on fiction writing. We then began the readings.

Ian wrote a piece called The Move which was very topical in the light of recent news events. It concerned the feeling of a family of travellers who were in the process of accepting the keys to a council property and forsaking the life style of their clan. It focussed on the feelings of the eldest boy as he looked around the campsite regretting his parents decision to separate from their traditional way of life. It really was a beautifully written piece.

Iarla read a thought provoking blank verse entitled Men I Know. Although blank verse doesn't float my boat Iarla, I actually thought it rather splendid. Margaret wrote on the theme Roller Coaster about three old Polish gentlemen visiting an amusement park for the first tiime and going on the black hole ride. The dialogue between the three was priceless. Great stuff.

Kath also wrote on the theme describing in great detail her memories of an amusement park on Barry Island which she visited with her brother as a child. You could almost smell the popcorn and candy floss.

Mary wrote part 1 of a proposed short story about Siobhan who sets off from Milton Keyes bus station on a tour of Ireland. She finds she is the only single passenger and notices the manly charms of the driver In the last line of todays reading Mr Wonderful has just approached her. Watch this space.

Cynthia wrote a poem describing a feeling of mayhem with mothers coping with crying children and then in the last line revealed that it was all happening whilst a vicar/priest delivered his sermon. That rang some bellls, I always lost the plot during some long boring sermons.

Maureen read a few short pieces on border crossings as she is compiling some accounts of her experiences durring her many travels. I particularly like the description of willies place on the Brazil/Bolivian border.

Douglas read a terrific piece called A Pirate Saved My Son. It was written from the point of view of an army wife cauught up in inter denominational riots in Singapore when one of her children has an accident and splits his tongue and the only good samaritan to offer to break the curfew and drive to the hospital is an
Indian unlicensed taxi driver when help is refused by her fellow counrtymen. There was no payment sought either, it made you think.

Mary K wrote a small poem entitled Life and it wasn't a limerick. What can I say.

Avril wrote a poem about the ride Space Mountain in Disneyland which drew similarities between the actual reach for the skies of the ride and ones inspiration to do better in life.

Anne G wrote about her roller coaster of feelings the day she misplaced her handbag, which ended when she heard her mobile pleading for a recharge and discovered she had left it outside all night. Who's a lucky girl then. I may add that I'm preparing for the funny farm.

Jenny read another of her telling poems on last weeks theme of conversation piece, entitled Chat Up with a short and sweet sign off advising the would be Romeo
where to go. Priceless.
. ttfn all,see you next week Anne G .

Thursday, 13 October 2011

12th October 2011

Ian was underwhelmed by responses from members regarding how to spend the spoils.  Why not overwhelm him with several suggestions?  I’ll do it after this Ian.

Ian had also listed some features in this month’s writer’s magazine.

1)    Beware vanity publishers

2)    Beware writing without payment (should we?)

3)    November is ‘write a novel’ month 50,000 words

4)    Humorous writing

5)    Character writing

6)    Haiku

This week’s challenge ‘A Conversation Piece’

Margaret (that’s me) started off and I have clearly lost the plot.  The comments 'you said' about the conversation were helpful.  I said’.   I have got it really.  Too much description.  Thanks for your comments.

Jane’s attempt was much better.  Reminded me of ‘Ladies of Letter’s another radio submission perhaps Jane?

Ann gave us another successful story.  Comments were; possibly two changes to sharpen the dialogue.

Avril gave us a fishy conversation. Nothing caught.  Everyone thought that the piece was interesting with good use of technical information about fishing and indigenous wildlife.

Mary read her conversation challenge. Guess what job I’ve got?  where one character didn’t have a clue.  A good concise story was revealed to us all.

Chris wrote about, was it ‘Trench Warfare’ or Marital Warfare?  Comments were that there would be more interruption between husband and wife, but it sounded real enough to me.

Nick asked members who attended the workshop to collect sheets of information he had brought for those who attended the workshop.  He also informed us of a flyer he had giving information about a short story competition of 2,000 words on the theme of Identity.

John’s Conversation piece had lots of detail and was thought to be well rounded.  Comments were;.  A bit more identification of which character was speaking.  John agreed that he had cut some dialogue out to shorten the piece and would have another look at it.

Brenda Read her conversation story about misunderstanding information.  Everyone agreed it was an amusing piece.  Suggestions were; names were not needed, before each person speaks. Agreed that it fitted the brief well.

Douglas suggested that when dialogue was read out using two people, which had been the case on several occasions at this group’s meeting, it worked much better.  A thought for the future.

Alan Gave his own take on a conversation about a conversation piece.  It worked very ‘well’.  Suggested that some ‘wells’ could be taken out.

Betty Read her conversation tale about a ‘red’ or a ‘blonde’ moment.  A conversation heard during a bus ride.  We all want to go on a manhunt to Benidorm now.  Agreed that it worked quite well.

Cathy gave us her slice of life called ‘Forbidden Fruit’ definitely a cake moment.  Suggested that some words used could be revised. And a more definite point of view could be shown.  Worked well.

Iarla Didn’t write on the theme, but gave us a poem called ‘Lighten up’ a very short piece but everyone wanted to hear it again to get the full impact of such a pithy piece.

Jerry ‘A home for mother’ an interesting account of a conversation between mother and son.   ‘mother’ is too astute for her son.  Fits the challenge well  Suggestions were; explanations not necessary as it is clear what the piece is about and who’s speaking.  Perhaps no preamble is necessary either.

John Reminded us about the open Mic session on Tuesday 8th November 7.30 in Chadwicks Bar at Villamartin that’s run in conjunction with Wordplay.

Ian We had a good feeling for his first conversation piece!  This was about the possibility of making a foursome.  Very entertaining.

The second piece was a dating problem ‘will she or wont she’

The third was the Petting Cemetery and group sex ending with a kick, not a kiss.

Jerry Read another conversation piece this time in the car.  You’re sure you’re not shouting Jerry.  Everyone thought that this was very familiar and a bit too real for me Jerry!

Douglas didn’t tell us a story using conversation, but did write a commentary on last week’s meeting where the voices of the people in the group brought the stories to life and he pointed out how helpful and interesting that made the stories and how accomplished some readers were in this group of getting their point across when they read their stories out loud.

That’s it folks, sorry no fancy pictures, but a bit pushed for time.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

5th October 2011

It’s the time of year to plan the programme of events.  Ian asked for suggestions regarding format, exercises and critique.  He stressed the importance of encouraging people to write when we put together the programme.

The group has accumulated a pot of money, some of which we need to consider spending.  Various suggestions were made including a coach trip to include a written piece about the event.  Possibly an Xmas gathering.  Members to let Ian know via email or telephone any thoughts and he will bring the suggestions to the next meeting.

Ian has received the first copy of ‘Writers’ after our renewed subscription.  A list to be attached next week for members to borrow the copy.

Brenda Told us about her 3 chapter submission to Darley Anderson publishers.  She read out their late response to her.  Thanks but no thanks!  Plenty more to go Brenda.  Don’t be disheartened.

Left over’s from last week went first.

Mary read limericks about Ron, Rose, May and June (you might write one for each month of the year Mary?)  Limericks rated highly, accent rated zero.  As always, much fun.

Ann Gave us her twist in the tale, monologue style, on the theme of ‘will she ever shut up’.  The style that suits Ann’s writing.  Give us some more!

Jayne had re-edited one of her stories of France about the school she helped in for a while.  A story about Stefan and Marie Clare.  Some members remembered the story when it was read out the first time earlier this year. Mixed thoughts about making it into two stories.  Some detail changes were suggested.  The anthology has now reached 80,000 words.   Lots of advice and suggestions of how to publish and edit.  Also the possibility of short pieces for the radio to get her work recognised.  Her reading of the pieces is so warm it would be a shame to lose it.

Avril ‘Blabby Annie’ a poem of conversation and celebration making us smile again Avril.

Georgia Varjes attended as a founder member of the group to celebrate her 10 years in Spain and tell us about her self published anthology ‘Words on the Wild Side.’ She read a poem ‘For my Grandmother’ from the collection.  Georgia told us about Create Space, the organisation she used to publish the book.  She felt that it was a worthwhile experience, proof reading her own work and editing it. 

Alan ‘Old Profession Adapts.’  A piece about the experience of selling a two week timeshare.  Lack of clarity about the legalities, the ever changing advice and endless hoops to jump through.  Not forgetting Ramirez and Ramirez eager to take up the case but not without money up front.  It was thought wordy, but worthy of editing for a newspaper or magazine.

Margaret (that’s me) Wrote a prose piece about a child defending her mum’s honour and winning the race.  Advice was that the written conversation needed some work.

Ian pointed out that a conversation piece was next week’s theme, so we could all go and practice.  200 – 300 words.

Cathy Read her poem about ‘Valletta’ the Maltese City.  She called it Golden Valletta’ Very fitting.  The poem was well received.  It was suggested that the word ‘morn’ could be replaced.  Her second piece from a previous week’s exercise ‘The Promise’  was very short and comments suggested that it could be a poem, perhaps change the word ‘sound’ in this piece.

Iarla read a prose piece ‘Isolation Therapy’ Detailed description of an appliance, its use, maintenance and effect.  A trimmer.  His attention to detail and the possibilities and disasters this object could have on personal grooming was clever and entertaining.

Alan brought Spike back to us, called ‘Spike’s Investigations’ this was about his holiday with and without his family.  Comments were that more was needed about the kennels, for example the staff there, the food, and other ‘inmates’.  Give us more Alan.

Jerry His prose piece was read by Maureen about the end of the world in 2012.  It began with reference to early history 800’s when society‘s instinct led to social change.  The idea that instinct and thinking changes reality was put forward.  Perhaps 2012 is the end of one reality and the beginning of another, based on instinct rather than our scientific knowledge.  Comments were that it was a very informative and well written piece worthy of submission to and appropriate magazine or journal.

Any names changed/misspelled/omitted is just to protect the innocent.  Forgive!


Monday, 3 October 2011

28th September 2011

 John McGregor gave us an account of his book promotion events in the UK. ’Fairy Tales of an SAC.’  He enjoyed the experience and we enjoyed his account.  Well done John. Congratulations!

Jayne had heard from Ann who is in the UK at the moment enjoying her new grandmother status.

John Edwards had emailed T S Eliot prize article for information and possible discussion for the group.

Ian had received a short prologue from Brenda and we agreed to do this after the break.  Ian also has guidelines for critiques and is happy to email them if you ask him.

Rita Revealed her piece on the pre 1945 ‘Masks of Gebson’ she had the privilege to see in the Museó Barbier Mullor in Geneva.  She described the ornate masks in detail, their uses and significance.  Received well.

Douglas gave us a short story called ‘The Status Symbol’. The shopping trip that turned into a Palm Beach boast.  It ended with a well deserved put down.  Another entertaining piece, followed by ‘Painting the House’, not so much a put down, more of a pour over of paint on Douglas.  He glossed over (aagh) the inconvenience, but wait for the remedy! Eucalyptus oil.  We all took away that little gem Douglas.  Thank you.

Cathy wrote on the theme ‘Will She Ever Shut Up’  A Bahamas holiday and a wearing experience for fellow travellers.  The ‘Pumpkin’ who can’t dive until Jaws appears.  Cathy was advised to look at content length and chronology of events.  Some minor details needed change, but the story was entertaining.

Betty – a story called ‘What’s in a name’ a precious child naming. Some disagreement within the group regarding repetition of the name Fleur.  Some thought it fitting and appropriate, but some members did not.  It was agreed that repetition of “at the age of” was unnecessary.  Some vocabulary was thought to be inappropriate in this particular story.

John McGregor read the sad account of ‘Rod West’, a loveable rogue with a staggering limp. Sadly lost to drink, despite the offer from comrades.  Clichés  were discussed but thought appropriate in this case.  A moral to the tale might be appropriate.  Drink driving is not a good mix.

The second half of the meeting was dedicated to Brenda’s prologue ‘Dead Trees’. We all had access to a copy made remarks on the script to hand back.  Discussion covered; use of tense, use of apostrophe, use of ‘un’ in last two paragraphs, exclamation marks and double adjectives.  Most people thought it worked as a prologue.

Just enough time for a couple of gems from Chris and Avril.

 Chris shared her ‘Secret of my Lack of Success’ empathy all round.

Avril’s ‘Coming Back’ poem reminded all of the beautiful familiar return to Spain.