Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Next meeting: Thurs 5'th Sept. 7pm-9pm King George VI Filton

Attendees are asked to bring a 100 word description of themselves in 3rd person (using the words "this person" instead of he or she). These will then be put into a hat on the night and each writer will pick one and read it out. Everyone will try to guess who's description it is.

Each writer is then asked to introduce themselves with a 100 word bio in the style of an author bio in a book. This can be in any style. Each is asked to add 1 lie into the bio. Everyone will try to guess the lie.

We will create a collaborative Pyramid Poem in teams.

We will decide on the structure of the group by discussing the group mission & minutes of the last meeting (attended by Jemma Milburn & Pete Sutton) as well as deciding on future meeting's agendas - although this will be an informal discussion!:


Group Mission


We will develop a group mission to maintain the focus of the group and why we are here. This will be written up and published on our social media outlets. Please help in shaping and criticising the statement. In brief it will state that we:

* Are an open group, always encouraging new members and welcoming guests

* provide a fun atmosphere for writing

* Provide an environment in which to discover our writing potential through shared ideas and stimulus

* Work together to share and develop our writing techniques

* Support/develop/encourage new writers

* Offer constructive criticism

* Get involved in writing events as a team

Regular meetings

To be held every other Thursday in the first instance, commencing Thurs 5’th Sept 2013

Various locations around north Bristol, suggested by ‘host’

Timetabled one month at a time as a trial

Thurs 5’th Sept Host: Pete Sutton Focus on: Introductions, team building & creating our "mission statement"

Thurs 19’th Sept Host: Jemma Milburn Focus on: TBC

Meeting styles

In a vague order of what I expect will be the most common:

· ‘Hosted’ as before, hosted by one person (as booked on time table) with activities and sharing short exercises.

· Focus on one members work – e.g. read through a short story and give constructive feedback – just ask if you would like to book a session focusing on your work. Work can either be read "cold" or mailed to attendees in advance. You can either ask for a "thoughts & feelings" style feedback or a formal critique (see bottom of page).

· ‘A million monkeys’ – get together to just write freely with each other

· Guest appearances from local authors

Group involvement in outside events

There are loads of creative writing style events going on around the city. Pete is quite clued up on them. The aim of NBCW will not only be to meet for our regular sessions, but also to get involved in external workshops and events together. Here are some you will hopefully be up for:

Online competitions

Even if you do not submit your piece, online competitions can provide us a with a writing purpose for some of our meetings. They present us with a challenge we perhaps wouldn’t have come up with alone and will give us a good reason to offer constructive critique of each other’s work in preparation for ‘submission’.

Attendees are encouraged to suggest writing competitions

City Wide Story – Mon 21’st Oct

Starting off in Henleaze libraryon the 21st a team of writers (us) will come together to begin a story. This opening will be passed on to another library for the middle and another for the end. This ties in nicely with the ‘consequences’ and team writing theme that I started us off on.

Bristol Festival of Literature October 2013 – events ~£5.00

We have the huge advantage of one of our NBCW members working here! – Talk to Pete Sutton for the low down! They also have events going on throughout the year.

Recommended festival events:

Sat 19’th Oct – Creative writing competition in a day

A brief is given at 10.45 am and professional authors are there to coach you toward the midnight deadline! The prize: your piece will be published!

Thurs 18’th Oct – Writers conference

This is where you get to watch a critique on a number of pre-entered pieces. It is a good opportunity to learn a lot from examples.

Social events

We decided it would be team building and enjoyable to go on social trips, such as to the brewery or theatre. No pressure to write, no pressure to even have fun if you don’t want to . . . Feel free to put suggestions forward and please respond to planned events with a strong yes or no to make ticket buying and organisation possible.

AOB and ‘To Do’ List

Make events calendar

Make and distribute posters/fliers

Look into library affiliation across Bristol and Fliton; they might be able to offer support and publicity.

Formal Critique

Whilst it is always nerve wracking to get others to read your work and offer critique it is also always a useful process. There is an awful lot of competition out there and being able to present your work in as professional a way as possible is required if you would like to be published. Even if you are just writing for fun (and we all do that first and foremost right?) it is useful to get feedback on your work. A "Formal" Critique is daunting but the aim is to offer constructive criticism. In order to do this in a helpful and structured way the formal critique will have the following format.

Each piece should be no more than 7000 words long

The piece will be emailed to the NBCWG group 1 week before the meeting (if less than 1 week then it will be held over to the next meeting)

Each person will provide a physical copy with their feedback clearly marked

The author will read out the piece (this is very daunting but also very useful - a hint here is to read it out loud to yourself first, then read it to your significant other or flatmate or a friend before bringing it to the group, which will make you more confident to read in front of people. Reading your piece out loud will also give you an idea of whether you have the rhythm correct and whether your dialogue sounds natural or not.

Each person offering critique will have 5 minutes to summarise what they think of the piece. The author should not speak during this part (otherwise we'd get into a discussion)

The author then has 5 minutes to respond to the critique at the end.

It is important to remember that we're all friends and that your turn will come to be the person receiving critique. Critique should be robust but not derogatory.

Critiques should include thoughts on the following:

1.      Grammar - It is enough to note whether or not there are grammatical errors without going into detail in the verbal feedback. All errors should be noted on the hard copy that you will receive from each person offering critique

2.      Plot/Composition/Narrative/Drama - The "meat" of the idea - is the plot believable (if it's fiction), does the poem evoke some feelings? etc. This is a very subjective subject and it won't be immediately apparent whose feedback is the most useful. Once we all get to know our likes and dislikes and individual styles then this will be more useful.

3.      Character - Are the characters believable, too passive, gender biased, enough or too few to carry the plot?

4.      Dialogue - written well or not, attributions

5.      Description - too much, too little, effective etc.

6.      Style/Voice - subjective feedback - like/dislike - it could be that the person has written a romance story and you have no interest in romance, if this is the case then state so!

7.      Summing up - what works, what doesn't work, how the piece could be improved (if at all - it's perfectly OK to say "I loved this piece, write more like it")