Tuesday, 9 February 2010
A few hours ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with some writer friends. We started the evening with a simple warm up exercise, where we all received the same short list of words. The idea was to produce a piece of prose which included all the words on the list. The exercise lasted fifteen minutes, after which we each read our efforts out.
Its amazing how many different ideas can come from the same set of words. Each was like a mini story and could be turned into a longer piece of prose given more time.
Next we swapped news of what we had all been doing for the last month. I discovered we write far more than we each realise.
This was followed by a read around of our current manuscripts. I like this bit the best, as everyone takes part, offering helpful critique. These people have developed good listening skills. They pick up on mistakes I've overlooked in my work. Be it poor grammar, typing errors, overly descriptive, or over written writing, or perhaps I've changed point of view where I shouldn't have done.
Its incredibly valuable to have honest and encouraging people in a group. They don't pat you on the back and say well done, nor do they batter your words and sap your will to write another word. Its simply what worked and what didn't work in the piece. They guide you and point out concerns, helping you to look at your writing in different ways. They critique the writing, not the writer, and its all taken in the spirit it is intended. I do the same for them, and each of us will go away and think about what has been said...we'll change some things, others will be left unchanged.
The last fifteen minutes were spent discussing market news. Publications and competitions that might fit with what one of us is working on at present. We'll talk about events happening in the area or further afield, but mostly we spend time encouraging and supporting each other with our writing.
It was a good evening.