Uncategorized

Another manuscript evening is around the corner.

manuscript evening1

We will be holding a manuscript evening on Tuesday 6th March at 19:30 at Anteros Arts Foundation, 11-15 Fye Bridge St, Norwich NR3 1LJ.

anteros-map

This will be a good place to put those critique skills from the previous workshop to good use!

Please bring in a maximum of 1000 words to be critiqued in the group. Work will be looked at it small groups, so please ensure that you bring 6 copies, double spaced, with the font at least 12pt and preferably Times New Roman, or Ariel.

If you do not have access to a printer, please email the piece you wish to work on to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk. Please be sure to use the subject ‘Manuscript evening’ and please include your name and the story title somewhere in email.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Hayley Long is returning!

Just a reminder that Hayley Long, award winning teen fiction writer, is returning next week to announce the winner of the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour, and to share her feedback on the entries.

pen-marker-hand-the-hand-40554

It’s also another opportunity to chat with the Hayley, ask her some questions, and perhaps get a signed copy of her books.

As always, there is an on the door fee of £3 for members and £5 for non-members. Light refreshments will be served.

The meeting is Tuesday 20th February at 19:30 at Anteros Arts Foundation on Fye Bridge Street, opposite The Mischief Pub.

anteros-map

We hope to see you there!

Uncategorized

Keeping it constructive

Feedback1

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”

― Frank A. Clark

 

On Tuesday 6th February we ran a workshop on how to give a critique. Kathy Joy, who runs her own critique business called Fine Tune Your Fiction, walked us through the process.

critique 1

First, we discussed constructive criticism.

Kathy defined constructive criticism as having 5 main characteristics:

  • It is specific – it clearly states what the problem is, and why it is a problem.
  • It presents solutions instead of problems. 
  • It focuses on the work not the author.
  • It is never personal.
  • It makes no assumptions.

In addition, Kathy explained that these rules applied to both positive and negative criticism. Positive praise that is not specific and does not explain exactly what was so good and why is empty praise, which is a form of destructive criticism.

Next, the group was walked through how to assess a manuscript and give a critique in four simple stages:

  • First, the group was asked to read through the work. No markings or notes were allowed – the task was simply to take in the story and become familiar with what was happening, who the characters were, where it was set, and so on.
  • The second stage was using a red pen to highlight any weaker areas, but also be able to explain specifically what wasn’t working, and why.
  • The third stage was using a blue pen to highlight stronger areas. Once again attendees had to zero in on the specifics – what was good and why.
  • The final stage was to pick a single weak area and suggest a way to resolve it. This was the first and crucial stage to giving a critique.

critique-4.jpg“The most important part of any critique is to ensure your suggestions are not how you would do it if you were writing it, because it’s not your work. An editor’s job is not to impose their style on other authors but instead to cultivate an author’s voice, to refine it. To do this, you must look at the work and try to understand what the author was trying to do and think of a more effective way to achieve it that fits the existing content.”

-Kathy Joy

Everyone managed to highlight a specific weak area and most could come up with a possible solution to it.

critique 3

Overall the workshop went exceptionally well, with everyone learning something new, which can be applied going forward.

“Much like how reading more helps you become a better writer, so does learning to critique. Seeking out strengths and weaknesses in the work of others makes you more sensitive to it in your own work.”

-Kathy Joy

The NWC would like to thank everyone who attended.We would also like to thank Kathy for walking us through the process of analysing work and offering effective, constructive criticism.

Uncategorized

Next week’s critique workshop

critique reminder

Critiquing other’s work can be a great way to identify problems in your own work, and become a better writer, so we are running a constructive criticism and critique workshop on Tuesday 6th February. The workshop will be led by Kathy Joy, who runs her own critique business at www.finetuneyourfiction.com.

The workshop will include:

  • What makes a good critique?
  • What is constructive criticism?
  • How to give constructive criticism.
  • How critiquing others work can help you become a better writer.
  • How to fix issues found.

To participate, simply bring a 500 minimum – 1000 maximum word extract of a piece of work you wish to be critiqued. This can be from a short story or part of a novel/novella. Participants will swap work with each other and critique it in the workshop.

 

Manuscript guidelines:

To help with the critique process, please ensure your manuscript sample is:

  • Printed.
  • Double spaced.
  • 12pt.
  • Times New Roman font.
  • From the beginning or near the beginning of your work, rather than in the middle or at the end. This is to help make it easier to work with.

If you do not have access to a printer, please email your work to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk before 3pm on Tuesday 6th February. Be sure to include your name and the story title in the email.

 

Other things to bring:

A red pen, a blue pen, and a black pen.

Entry is £3 for member, £5 for non-members. Event is at 7:30pm on Tuesday 6th February at Anteros Arts Foundation in Norwich, near Fye Bridge and The Ribs of Beef pub.

anteros-map

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

Norwich Writers' Circle, Uncategorized

An Evening with Heidi Williamson

Members of Norwich Writers’ Circle were delighted to welcome award-winning poet and mentor Heidi Williamson to our meeting on Tuesday 16th January.  Heidi led an instructive and entertaining workshop on how the use of poetic techniques can improve both our prose and poetry.

Heidi

The group was challenged to join a number of free-writing exercises, demonstrating the use of sound, patterning, editing and silence.  Heidi encouraged us to experiment with the length of sentences, to read our work out loud when editing (where we get bored, the reader will get bored!), to seek stronger words to replace overused verbs.  We should look to improve both the rhythm and vocabulary in our sentences.

pexels-photo-210661

Heidi recommended us to become absorbed in a different world, seeking out occupations or places that are out of our life experience, in order to expand our range.  Why not to go the dictionary, find ten random words and try incorporating them into a paragraph of free writing? Do not be afraid to repeat words for emphasis – poets often use patterning repetition to great effect.

Finally the group discussed the use of silence, pauses and tension in our writing, techniques more often found in poetry than in prose.

The workshop was inspiring and enlightening and Robin Parkinson thanks Heidi on behalf of the group.  During our refreshment break Heidi signed copies of her two anthologies, Electric Shadow and The Print Museum.

Uncategorized

The Results – 2017

champagner-toasting-new-year-s-eve-drink

The results of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition are as follows:

Shortlisted winners (in no particular order):

  • Jan Harvey with Perfect Strangers (Oxfordshire)
  • Donna Tracy with @Crowstarver (Norwich)
  • Thomas Woodland with Strangers On A Train (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
  • Glenda Young with The Caller (Seaburn in Sunderland)
  • Clare Walsh with Breaking the Ice (Lancashire)
  • Iain Andrews with Babylon’s Falling (Norwich)
  • Alison C Wassell with The Comfort of Strangers (Merseyside)

The finalists were:

3rd Prize – Willian Brakes with I Never Go To The Seaside (Norfolk)
2nd Prize – Phillip Vine with The Thirteenth Station (Norfolk)
1st Prize – Bella D’arcy with A Shift in the Gallery (Essex)

Congratulations to all our winners!

Uncategorized

Informed Speculation

“Part of being an historical writer is to reflect on sources and their accuracy.  Sometimes part of the evidence you find is contradictory and you have to find a way of writing that in.”

– Gill Blanchard, speaking to Norwich Writers’ Circle.

IMG_3988

On the evening of 3rd October members and guests at Norwich Writers’ Circle welcomed Norwich historian, genealogist and biographer Gill Blanchard to the meeting. Gill, also a long-time member of the Circle, spoke about her research and writing career, expanding on the progress of her business, ‘Past Search’.

As a youngster Gill dreamed of being an investigative journalist. She and her three siblings were brought up in a household of book readers, for five years the family did not own a television.  Aged eight, Gill won a competition in her home in Sheffield, becoming the youngest Bookworm in the city.  She especially enjoyed adventure stories and explained how her parents’ passion for folk music led to her being immersed in the stories told through folk songs. Gill developed a fascination for history and a love of learning, discovering family history through an encounter with a relative from Australia who was researching his genealogy.

Having had her daughter with partner Ian, she embarked on her first degree, resulting in a job offer from Norwich Record Office, a role that lasted for six years.  Her extensive and varied career, including the launch of Past Search, her own research company in 1997, is well documented on her website, www.pastsearch.co.uk.  Working for private clients, her time was spent searching through records, collecting and analysing data, interpreting data and presenting reports.  In 2009 Pen and Sword Books published her first instructional book, Tracing Your East Anglian Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians.  An updated reprint will be available soon.  Two further books followed: Tracing Your House History in 2013 and Writing Your Family History in 2014.

But it was at a meeting of Norwich Writers’ Circle in 2012 when she learnt of the MA in Creative Non-Fiction and Biography at the University of East Anglia.  She realised that by taking the course she could open up new avenues for her writing and her business.  Gill graduated with the MA in 2014, her studies resulting in her two most recent publications, her first full-length biography Lawson Lies Still in the Thames (Amberley Books May 2017) and I Therefore Post Him as a Coward: An anatomy of a Norfolk scandal, 1836 (Poppyland Publishing April 2017).

A lively question and answer session followed Gill’s talk, when the discussion explored the motivation behind her commissions, how to deal with uncovering uncomfortable truths and the need to be aware of changing attitudes and behaviour over time, putting events into context while making comparisons with the present and commenting accordingly. Members were intrigued by the concept of ‘Informed Speculation’, with Gill explaining how her writing is always based on fact and research, sections of ‘speculated’ narrative prefaced by “One can imagine…”, “I like to think…” or “We can presume…”

After warm applause, Adrian Dearnley gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the Circle for her entertaining and informative talk.

Uncategorized

17/18 Programme now up!

welcome back image free stock

The wait is over. Our new programme for the new season is now up on the website and details all the fun we have planned from September!

Our first meeting is at 7:30pm on Tuesday 19th of September where we welcome Elly Griffiths, popular crime writer, alongside Alison Bruce a fellow crime writer who will be launching our first competition of the season.  The meeting will be held at Anteros Gallery on Fye Bridge street. Entry is £5 on the door for non-members and £3 for members.

anteros-map

 

We hope to see you there!

Interested in becoming a member? If so please visit our membership page for more details.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk.

 

 

Member Successes

Congratulations To Gill!

cover.jpgNWC member Gill Blachard has recently had not one but TWO books published.

First is I Therefore Post Him as a Coward: An anatomy of a Norfolk scandal, which documents a disagreement between a clergyman and a knight in 1836 and how it affected the small Norfolk town it took place in

Next is Lawson Lies Still in the Thames: The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson, which details extraordinary life of John Lawson.

Both books are available for purchase.

Well done Gill!

 

Norwich Writers' Circle

Reading Up A Storm

Photo 1

On Tuesday 16th May we welcomed Robert Welton, librarian of the Jane Austen College.

Robert regaled us with the journey that led him where he was today – how he started in Borders as a children’s specialist book seller.  He was the first ever national children’s book seller.  When Borders closed down, Robert moved to Jarrolds and became part of their events management team, working specifically with children and  schools.  He was later head-hunted for the job of librarian at Jane Austen College following a chance encounter with the head teacher.

He then moved on to discussing something very important: getting children and young adults to read.  Just how do you accomplish such a task?

Robert explained that at Jane Austen College, students are encouraged to be the best they be, whether that is going to university or working in a pub.  With this in mind, Robert explained that it is far more important that children are reading rather than what they are reading.

“We have this thing where if they don’t want to read a novel, if they want to read the sports page, if they want to read the Beano, The Dandy, Empire Magazine … if they’re reading the back of a cereal packet every morning, they’re reading something.  It doesn’t matter what they’re reading, as long as they’re enjoying it.”

– Robert Welton

Robert went on to explain that they have form periods and thirty minutes of that is dedicated to reading.  Students can bring in anything they want and read it – no matter what it is.

“Too many schools have this ‘you will read this and you will enjoy it!’. And what’s the best way to put children off reading?  By forcing them to do it …  If you keep pushing children to read, they won’t do it.”

– Robert Welton

The evening was capped off with some excellent book recommendations and a slight tangent on the importance of not relying on wikipedia for information.

Overall, everyone greatly enjoyed Robert’s talk.  For most, the reading bug caught us young, so it is fantastic to know that there is at least one person out there still working hard to create a new generation of readers.

The NWC would like to thank Robert for his informative talk.  Also, a special thanks to everyone who joined us, either as a guest of a member.

We hope to see you again soon!