Manuscript Surgery & Open Mic evening

Thursday 9 February 2017 @ Goring Methodist Church Hall, Worthing

The February meeting will be split into two halves. The first half will be a manuscript surgery. This will consist of up to 4 manuscripts from members, read in groups and then discussed critically within the group.

The second half of the evening will be an Open Mic - please bring your work to read. Pieces read should be up to a maximum of 7 minutes long. Feedback slips will be available for anyone wishing to provide constructive comment to the writers. 


Review of the meeting

The meeting was split between the manuscript surgery in the first half and an open mic session after coffee.

Manuscript Surgery

Five members’ manuscripts were reviewed, including poetry, novel opening and short stories. The manuscript writers read their pieces aloud, whilst their review ‘teams’ had hard copies of the work. There was lively discussion at each of the tables. The room was buzzing with suggestions for enhancing work, changing details and/or praising the creative pieces. My table was lucky enough to review Rose Bray’s poem. Rose asked advice on the title and we agreed that Reflections at Garwick Beach was appropriate. The reviewers found an insightful and effective poem about ‘then and now’. There was a lively debate about exact wording and the form. For example, there was a question over whether the opening line, If I had been living a hundred years ago, could be changed to If I had lived a hundred years ago. Rose told us that the poem was inspired by her life in Guernsey. She said she found the feedback and the discussion very useful.

We moved on to review the opening of Patricia Feinberg Stoner's hilarious novel At Home in the Pays d'Oc, based on her travels with her husband. It was light hearted, but very interesting life writing with an anecdotal style. It was agreed that the work came across as cinematic, consistent and well achieved. We couldn’t really suggest changes, as the work is now ready for publication. Watch this space!

At the end of the sessions, the authors - or their representative - reported back on their experience of the review process. Without exception, the writers said that it had been a very constructive, enjoyable and inspiring experience.

Open Mic
Nine writers signed up for the open mic, with a time limit of seven minutes each. Ian Black had the stopwatch ready, but everyone stuck to the allotted time. We heard the start of a new story in Paul Witham’s series about detective Jack Dor. It was, as usual, funny and gripping - as well as very well written and read out. People said they were looking forward to the next instalment. Liz Eastwood read her award winning poem, Book Rape, a metaphorical reflection on the experience of a ‘significant other’ being raped. Terry Westwood gave a great performance of his fascinating poem about the past. Cherry Taylor’s Before Disrespect Comes was much enjoyed and very well read out. Lyn Jennings Studios by the Beach was touching and beautifully performed. Laurie Morris read her poem without a title with aplomb and we really enjoyed it. We were touched by Rose Bray’s reading of the poem; Reflections on Garwick Beach. Rose had included some changes from the earlier review. Terence Brand read an extract from his novel. We were all disappointed when he stopped, so hope for more at the next open mic. We finished with the first chapter of Tracey Hill’s novel, which had everyone completely absorbed.

We had a literary and creative feast at this meeting. Thanks to all of the members for their great contributions as writers, reviewers and performers.

Liz Eastwood