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Creative Writing Archive 2013/14

30 September 2014

Group to write "War And Peace" !!!
Yes. After last time's minimalist 100 word stories we now tackle the 580,000 or so words of that famous novel. Who says we're not ambitious and go to extremes!
Sadly, the reality is that our October topic is "war and peace" and not condense Tolstoy's effort to no more than 3000 words. It'll be interesting to see what our ever inventive group comes up with.
A selection of the 100 word stories will be on the blog (See link above).
We had a good number of people at our meeting today, including a new face, Lynne, who, we hope, will become a regular.
Thanks to Pat for hosting the meeting and providing choc chip cookies and Leibnitz bikkies.

Ronnie Puttock


29 July 2014

A good turn out and a wonderfully varied interpretation of the "massacre" theme. 
A poem about the murder of innocent victims; a moving account of the slaughter of rooks; a "massacre" of a once wooded area to make way for a housing estate; another on needless(?) human activity and its effect on the creatures that depend on the land being taken over; a detective story concerning the deaths of seven dwarfs and a gripping tale based on a true life incident. (Look of the blog for them). There are some truly inventive and creative brains out there in Lostwithiel. We are always on the look out for more of them to join us  -  so why not bring yours along to one of our meetings.

There is no set topic for September but we are experimenting with "flash fiction". The task is to write a complete story (a beginning, middle and end) in no more or no less than 100 words. There's no limit to the number of stories you can come up with  -  the more the merrier, I say! 

Ronnie Puttock.

P.S. Hobnobs were the biscuits of choice this time.

24 JUNE 2014
We welcomed two new members to the group  -  Jackie and Jill. (Yes, really! No falling down or broken crowns I'm pleased to report!). One of the stories we discussed is on the blog, the others may appear there later with the authors' permission. We had a wide ranging discussion over the stories and on the topic of grandchildren in general.
As it says in the introduction above, this is an informal group and not aimed at people wanting to "learn to write", though, of course, reading and discussing group members' work will  -  we hope  -  generate ideas and suggestions to improve your writing skills. So, even if you only have an embryonic desire to write, give us a try. You'll at least get a cup of tea and some biscuits. (It was choc chip cookies this time).
The next meeting will be at 2 p.m. on Tuesday 29 July.
The topic is: "Massacre In The Wood". Any budding crime or war story writers out there?
Ronnie Puttock

27 MAY 2014
We managed a lively discussion on the three contributions: my re-vamped "A" level essay on Keats' "To Autumn", Rosemary's piece about Trevalga and David's observations from a corner of an Ipswich pub.
We also talked about the statement that leching can be harmless. The majority decision was that it can never be harmless.
So, it goes to show that our meetings are not entirely devoted to writing  -  we never know where our discussions will lead us. Which, I suppose, is one of the aims of a writer: to make the reader think.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 24 June at 2 p.m. [contact me for venue details].
And, because two of the group have become grandparents again, the topic for the next meeting has to be: "The Grandchild". Plenty of scope there, I think, for a wide variation on the theme.
Ronnie Puttock
14 MAY 2014

Our last meeting was on April 29 when we discussed our efforts on the stories starting with the given opening line. The range of directions taken was startlingly wide. One charted the fall of an already falling art history teacher, another found the heroine discovering a French half-brother (which we hope will be on the blog site after some editing) while another took us to darkest Africa (and dark it was in a metaphorical but very topical way. Too dark and grim to go on the blog).
For our next meeting the topic was rather vague. It is supposed to be an essay on a topic of the author's choice. Really, it's has to be a piece on non-fiction and not biographical. What will come up at the meeting is anyone's guess  - and that's the joy of the group. Our brains all work in different ways.

There are some more pieces of work posted on the blog. Please go and have a look.

Ronnie Puttock


26 MARCH 2014

Pat Stern writes:-

"Four  of us met on Tuesday 25th  March. The title we had been given was Birthday. We had one poem and three stories. We spent a happy couple of hours analysing these pieces and offering helpful criticism, all aided by tea and biscuits.

 We are a very informal and friendly group who would welcome new members. We meet on the last Tuesday of the month, from 2pm to 4pm, usually at a Group member's house in Lostwithiel.

Don’t think you can’t write- everyone can! We all write letters, emails, messages inside birthday and Christmas cards and thank you letters. We all wrote essays at school. Come along and try us out, we don’t bite! We usually write between 500 to 2000 words and then email our effort to the other members of the group. This enables us to thoroughly read and appreciate the story so we can offer constructive criticism.

Our next topic is a story which must begin with the sentence “After the exhibition his/her life would change forever.”   We will be meeting on 29th April. Even if you feel you can’t write anything come along and meet us and hopefully be inspired.

 At some time in the not too distant future we hope to put together a selection on our stories and offer them for sale to U3A members for a nominal sum.

 For further information on our group contact Ronnie Puttock, details above. "


2 MAY 2013
Because of holidays and other reasons it was a rather depleted group that met on Tuesday (April 30). There were four "Bells" stories to look at and talk about. David had sent an unfinished piece and asked for suggestions as to how the story should go (these will be sent to you, David, in a plain, sealed envelope!!). Pat and I trod similar - and perhaps predictable - paths and wrote about a grumpy incomer complaining about the village church's bells. The outcomes were different. Pat preferring the gruesome ending! Sheila's was based on her mother's wartime experiences.
With that in mind, ther topic for the next meeting is to write something autobiographical. Let's say it should be at least 90% autobiographical!! You could play it straight or you could fictionalise it, changing names and places, but based on yourself and your experiences (like a lot of novels are, in fact).
I promise I won't pass any of your writing on to the police!!!
**Please remember to send your stories to everyone in the group (assuming you wish to) otherwise we have to pass it round the meeting, which takes up time.
I will send an up to date email list to you all.
Ronnie Puttock
We met on March 26 in a rather cold church room. By the time we meet again let's hope it'll be warmer and there'll be no need for heating.
The "scary story" theme produced the usual diverse paths. My story was about rats, Pat's was about mice. Sheila's story was obviously the beginning of something bigger and centred on a haunted picture. David, our latest member, came up with a very thought provoking piece that put a different slant on the meaning of "scary". The theme was paedophilia, or to be more precise, the strong suspicion of it. Physically and emotionally scary for the child concerned , but also scary, in another way, for the teacher who has the suspicions. Faced with a dilemma, what does she do? Does she blow the whistle, but then it turns out the "uncle" isn't a paedophile, or there's no proof or does she say nothing and suffer the recriminations and self-accusations when the "uncle" is exposed? Either choice comes with dangers, possibly personal, but also professionally. Well done to David - and to the other contributors, too.
Our next assignment  -  for the meeting on Tuesday 30 April -  the subject is "Bells". Be they church, door, cow, alarm or even whisky, perhaps. It'll be fun to find out the many devious ways our minds take.     
Ronnie Puttock

Update 7/3/13
**The assignment this month is to write a scary story (max. 2000 words).**



Sometimes the wheels of creativity have to be oiled
Update 26/2/13
We held a very lively meeting this afternoon. The first half was spent discussing the stories produced by four of the group. The stories all started with the first line but the directions they took were many and varied. The stories ended up with sleeping with a teddy bear; a boy going off to boarding school; a man meeting his estranged drug addict mother after 19 years and a plot to kill a husband, fatally backfiring. There's some very fertile minds in this town!
The second part of the meeting revolved around how difficult it is to write good descriptive prose without resorting to cliches. We tried to re-write a particular purple passage that one of us had come up with, but we couldn't find the words that would accurately describe the emotion the character was feeling. Descriptive writing looks easy, but it sure ain't.
Sheila's story about the would-be husband murderer was acclaimed the best and she was given the task of setting the next topic.
**The assignment this month is to write a scary story (max. 2000 words).**
Update: 13/2/13
Yesterday I met with 2 more members of the Group, who couldn't make the initial meeting and brought them up to date with the rest of you.
We've already received one story for the next meeting. Stories can either be emailed to the group before the meeting or you can read them out at the meeting. 
Ronnie Puttock

Update 30/1/13

Report of U3A Writers’ Group meeting: 29 January 2013

 1.       I started off the meeting by giving a brief history of the Writing Group. It was formed a year ago as the Lostwithiel Writers' Group but we linked up with U3A in order to get wider publicity; widen our catchment area and increase our membership. We've doubled the membership and now have a group of 10

2.       We discussed how to publicise our meetings outside the U3A web site. We will put up notices in the Lostwithiel, Fowey and Bodmin libraries; use church, parish and local newspapers and newsletters; pin notices to community noticeboards and in shop windows in the U3A area. I'll see if there's any official U3A stationery that we can use for notices, otherwise we can probably produce our own.

3.       We talked about why we wanted to join the group and what, if any, expectations we had. Although a couple of us had unfinished novels, none of us had any burning ambition to be published writers. Writing is something we all enjoy doing - though it's not always easy - but need the discipline of having a topic and deadline to work to.

4.       What will we do at the meetings? (a) The first part of the meeting will be spent reading and discussing the work produced by the group members. The Lostwithiel Writers' Group had decided to email our work to each other so that more time could be given to reading and thinking about each other's work. This approach wasn't universally accepted so we left it to the individual to do what they wanted. (b) The rest of the meeting would be open to suggestions on the day. Two suggestions came from today's meeting: (i). Do writing exercises or play "games". For example write a 20 minute story or a 50 or 100 word story in a given time. (Personally, I've done this and find it difficult for my mind to conceive, formulate and write a story in such a short time while others have no problem at all. But we shouldn't shy away from things we find difficult - after all nobody's ever said writing is easy!). (ii). Discuss particular topics on the writing process. For example, I find dialogue difficult and would welcome an in depth discussion on how to improve. Other people may have other problem areas.

5.       We decided that we'll meet monthly on the last Tuesday of the month. However, having just written (4) above, I'm wondering about fortnightly meetings. Every other meeting could be when we discuss our writing (and anything else) while the other alternate meetings could be workshop sessions where particular issues can be discussed more deeply - a sort of self-help creative writing course. I don't envisage everyone wanting to attend these "workshops". Maybe these could be evening sessions in order to utilise the skills of one of our group who finds it difficult to attend daytime meetings. I put this forward as something else to get your ideas about.


Our next meeting will be on:Tuesday 26 February at 2 p.m.

I'll let you know the venue when that's been decided on.

We selected a topic for the meeting on the 26th. In no more than 2000 words follow on from this opening line:

She put her arms round him and kissed him on the cheek......


For those who couldn't come on January 29th   . I'll keep the Tuesday theme and the meeting will be on: (venue to be confirmed)  Tuesday 12 February at 2 p.m.

Written by:  Ronnie Puttock  Group  Leader