We met for the second of our evening networking events, held on the first Thursday of the month at the Castle Hotel, Tamworth. Joining the Tamworth Writers was our friend, Sue Flint from the Readers & Writers Group, Sue Ulliot a published author also from Tamworth and Phil Stott a writer from Derbyshire.
The format for these meet-ups is loose, allowing for discussion of all things writerly, the sharing of work and a chance to exchange knowledge and ask advice. During our introductions, we swapped social media contacts and so the subject of the best way to market our work was explored. Twitter came out top and it was agreed that those not taking full advantage of the platform would benefit from a workshop. Tamworth Writers plan to host a session in the next few weeks at Tamworth Library. Phil also brought up the additional benefits of prompts and hashtags designed for writers on social media like the #100wordchallenge which is useful to both improve writing technique and provide a purpose to write.
Another topic was blogging, a few of us are keen bloggers and we compared the merits of Blogspot V WordPress. It was a useful debate as there are options available whereby blogs can be switched in their entirety from one platform to another which proved useful knowledge for writers present who are considering the changeover.
When the time came to share some work, Wanda from TW asked whether people wanted feedback. She suggested the idea of future work being printed up in order for those listening to also read through as it can be easier to fully take in when you listen and look at the words on a page. This met with mixed reaction and as Sue, R&W pointed out could be problematic for anyone with a condition such as Dyslexia. However, it’s a possibility to think on for future meetings.
As our meeting fell on National Poetry Day, Thursday 3rd October I had come prepared with a poem of my own. It was the first I’d written after joining TW three years ago and probably since I left school nearly 35 years ago! Most surprisingly it won the TW poetry competition that year but I wanted to give it a second look as it was written entirely off the cuff and didn’t have any particular format. The feedback given was extremely useful and I’ll definitely be looking to improve my rookie fluke winner.
Phil read to us next, a piece he’d written using the prompt Missing. Using the location of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham we were given a snapshot from the family tree of the Willoughbys who once owned and lived in the stately home. We heard how Percival Willoughby inherited the building from Sir Francis Willoughby along with its huge debts. He became owner of the prominent country house and its considerable land, all that was missing was the money. During the Second World War, the landmark building was used as a base for US troops including the 82nd Airborne. When they returned after being parachuted into war torn Europe in 1944 many of the Airmen were missing. Thought provoking writing so well delivered it was remarked that this could be a monologue read on stage.
We then heard an except from Vicky Ulliot’s true life novel Our Bulldog Spirit Vicky read the chapter Bedworth’s Golden Boy that told of local aspiring boxer Les’ match against US fighter Bobby Dawson that was held in the town. As she was unable to draw on any first hand accounts of the fight itself, Vicky set the scene, explaining how Les advised his brother Roy not to bet on him winning. The event itself took place at Bedworth football ground where over 5,000 people attended to see the local lad triumph over his world class opponent. Vicky described the aftermath of the fight where a battered and bruised Les is taken to hospital by his brother, sore but extremely happy. Follow the link to find Vicky’s book for sale on Amazon to read more of this heartwarming story.
Tamworth Writers member, Sue then treated us to the first chapter of her memoir Bobby Dog. Told from the animals perspective we find ourselves seeing life through Bobby’s eyes when it begins with his birth on a farm. His world is shattered as he watches his brothers and sisters taken away one by one until the day he too is removed from his mother. Thankfully Bobby is rescued by Sue herself and she goes on to explain how the book threads its way through Bobby’s life taking in the family’s ups and downs along the way. It was agreed that the writing process of this was a cathartic experience, it’s a touching account and we look forward to hearing more.
Finally, we had another first chapter, this time from Elaine who is currently still working on her rom-com novel. The book centres around the friendship of two women and begins on a reluctant night out for the protagonist whose best friend Ginny persuades her she needs to drink, dance and pull. Both nurses, the women get ready despite the narrators PMS ‘poor me syndrome’ and hit the town with their mate Matty. Uplifting and instantly engaging, we enter the lives of these ‘besties’. Elaine was encouraged to write more and complete her novel, it’s one we’d all like to see on the shelves.
Thank you everyone who came to the meeting and hope you’ll be able to return for the next event on Thursday 7th November 7-9pm. Don’t forget to bring some work to share, we’ve heard some wonderful writing already, lots more to come I’m sure!