Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Writing Group

When I was growing up, I was the only 'creative writer' that I knew - people read my stuff, they seemed to like what I did, but I was the only kid doing it. In 1998, thanks to a horror anthology called 'Dark Visions', I discovered the small press and in 1999 I made my first sale (to Sci-Fright). Back then, the UK small press was predominantly print based - the Internet was still in its infancy to mere mortals and so I have a nice collection of books sitting on a shelf, containing some of my short stories.

Anyway, at about this time, I thought I might like to join a Writers Group, to see if there was anything I could pick up about moving forward. I found a poster, in Kettering library, for the Kettering Writers Workshop and I joined up.

I'm not entirely sure that the group did teach me much at all, but I did enjoy going - we met once a month at the Melton Road Community Centre and took along stuff to critique or read out (the centre later provided a key location in my novelette "The Mill", which was very successful to me). The group leader, Sally Angel, stressed that you didn't have to be published to join, or even want to be and as it was, the two most successful members were myself and Sue Moorcroft and both of us made our own leads and luck. Sue is now successful, a full-time writer and making great inroads in romantic/chick-lit fiction. If you've got this far into my web-site, you know what I'm doing now.

Sue & I, I think, used to wind Sally up because we were doing exactly what the group was supposedly pushing us towards, but we were the only ones really going for it. Everyone else was doing something they loved, enjoying the thrill of creation and reading their stuff and that's great, though I did get a little saddened towards the end of my membership when people got excited about appearing in poetry anthologies, where they had to buy a copy of the hardback edition. But no matter - I left the group in 2000, when I started night-school to do my AAT qualifications and I have no idea if it's still going. Part of me hopes so, but most of me assumes not.

I'm hoping to join another group, in Northampton, with some very prolific and successful members and I hope it gives me the same kind of push that Kettering did.

This appeared in the Kettering Evening Telegraph on Thursday 3rd June 1999. I am in the middle of the picture and Sue is sitting to my right. Simon, a beat poet (whose work I really liked) is to my left. The lady behind Simon and myself, Anne, was really supportive of me and my horror stories, but she had to leave when her Parkinson's meant she couldn't hold a pen - a great shame and a lovely lady. Sally, for some reason, isn't in the photograph.

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