Monday, February 25, 2008

February round-up

We had our first 'official' meeting in 2008, and yet again, it seems that the group is bursting at the seams. Three new members, and a very enthusiastic discussion at to what group members wanted from the group this year. (Winning Lotto is not in the writers' group control but perhaps a group syndicate ticket might be the way to go.)

Our 'program' is summarised in the right-hand column of the blog and we're covering everything from openings (oh no, I can hear Julie Andrews singing in the far corners of my mind...'Let's start at the very beginning...') to that famous oft-repeated phrase 'Show Don't Tell' which can be the bane of the beginning writer's life, to 'grammar and tense', to editing. Phew! It's going to be a big year.

For the first time in three years, we had a deadline for a competition which was NOT extended. Maybe we've learned our lesson from the last couple of times not to make a deadline for January. It seems that the competition was hotly contested with many of our members thrusting freshly-printed manuscripts and entry fees to the receiving officer. The competing short stories have been sent to the judge, and the winners will be announced at the AGM in May. I'm sure that many of the entries will find their way into our 20th Anniversary anthology which will be launched on November 15 at Bowraville Theatre.

Our members are not content just sitting back and waiting for the annual NVWG writing competition to roll around. They are sending out entries to other competitions and collecting prizes! I've started a section on the blog 'Members' Accolades' to celebrate their success. Woo hoo!

Due to the timing of the full moon and - more importantly - Easter, next month, our next meeting has been postponed to the 5th Saturday of the month, March 29th. Same time, same bat channel. Until then.....

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Writing in Paradise

All writing workshops should take place in paradise. Not in a stuffy classroom, on those hard orange plastic chairs, where fearful repressed memories of school are evoked. Writing workshops should be held somewhere beautiful and inspiring such as Noel's place. Noel is kind enough to offer the hospitality of his house for our workshops and the views are stunning.

The workshop was run by Peter Matheson on storytelling and we did a lot of work on character development.

Creating characters from thin air, from photos, from the ether. Determining what the character would do in unusual situations.

As usual we enjoyed each other's company and obtained many new writing tools for our writer's toolkits.

One of the exercises included interviewing each other's characters, which- going in cold - was much harder than it sounded.

Caz did an excellent job of the catering and we have a running booking for all of our workshops to be held at Noel's place.

2008 is a huge year for Nambucca Valley Writers Group as it is the 20th anniversary of the group. We will celebrate this event by producing another anthology comprising our members' writing in all its forms: poetry, non-fiction, short stories. This will be launched in November.

But first its the annual NVWG Foundation President Writing Competition. This year the category is short story and I can guarantee that it will be hotly contested. Each of us will be trying to wrest that beautiful trophy back from Noel. The deadline is the next meeting, February 22nd with no exceptions, so everyone better start scribbling.

The results of the competition will be announced at our AGM in May.

Many of our members will be travelling to Johns River for a writing retreat at Falls Forest Lodge for the first week of March. This workshop is being hosted by Arts Mid North Coast and will be tutored by Claire Scobie.

All photos (except for Peter's) have been taken during the Storytelling workshop on January 27th & 28th.

Next meeting on February 22nd at 2pm at the small hall behind the Nambucca Entertainment Centre (for a change) or find us on the balcony of the RSL for lunch at 12.30 pm.