Manuscript Surgery & Planned Open Mic

8 February 2018

The first half of the meeting will look at submitted pieces from members within small groups. Providing constructive feedback and ideas for development.

The meeting will conclude with an open mic session. Pieces brought along by members and guests alike. These will be 5 minutes in length as a maximum. A feedback option will be available for those audience members who wish to do so.


Review of the meeting

We had five manuscripts to review, including The Slat Marsh, Honey of Poison Flowers and extracts from novels. The standard of writing was very high. Nonetheless, we can all do with a bit of feedback now and then. Who else should we turn to but our fellow writers? There was a real buzz. Reviewers covered the effectiveness of opening lines, authenticity of characters, narrative style and many other authorial concerns. Philip Davidson valued the feedback on his novel so much that he promptly joined WSW. Thank you to Rose Bray, Sarah Higbee and Alex Medwell for agreeing to be facilitators along with committee members Richard Buxton and Liz Eastwood.

After the break, it was time for the WSW Members Competitions Award Ceremony. See Richard Buxton’s ‘column’ below. There were nine people signed up for the open mic. As always, we were limited to a maximum of five minutes each. Cherrie Taylor, winner of the WSW Poetry Cup, opened the show with her poem 2AM. Paul Coleman, winner of the WSW Flash Fiction Cup, read his story In the Beginning about God’s need for advice on how to design humans so they can procreate. Next up, we enjoyed an extract from Terry Brand’s novel Singapore Red, with some of the old familiar characters. Sally Fadelle read an extract from Roger the Dodger. It was a touching and amusing narrative from a gifted writer. Once again, we were delighted to listen to a poem from Caroline Collingridge. One of our newer members, Andrea Thorne, read her poem titled In that moment - about a child’s birth so much wanted then so tragic. Lines such as ‘So very much wanted, so loved, so cherished’ juxtaposed with ‘But how quickly the cards can turn’, ‘A diagnosis; a non-life, a vegetable’.

Alex Medwell devised his own ‘Medwellian Contraverse’ form to write Engendering Humiliation. It looks like two poems in parallel on the page, but with a cunning rhyming pattern. With lines like ‘He resigns for a season snugly woven’ in the left section corresponding to ‘He reminds her that she's an ugly woman’ on the right. Let Liz & Alex know if you’d like more on poetic forms.

Philip Davidson read from an early draft of his fantasy novel, Tipton. It’s about a son of King George who turns up after 200 years to claim his ‘rightful’ throne. Liz closed the show with a reflective poem on old age, The Glasses Case.

We drew the raffle before going home. Russell’s number came up, but he had already run to catch his bus. He can collect his chocolates at the next meeting.

Liz Eastwood