Hastings Writers’ Group

February 2 was the deadline for our first competition of the year: Flash Fiction in exactly 250 words.

The tight word count didn’t inhibit the variety of approach, and there was a startling range of genres: comedy, drama, tragedy, love, murder, genocide with a variety of protagonists, including Nigerian warlords, holocaust survivors and a coin of the realm.

In all, there were 27 entries with 23 being read out on the night. Judge and local novelist, Alexandra Benedict, will deliver her verdict on March 16.

At our first Manuscript Evening of the year on February 16, four members brought their work-in-progress for critique. The first short story, inspired by the author’s wartime experiences, helped us consider the value of a pared down style.

The second piece, a novella set in an ‘ill-fated village’, elicited comments about the importance of providing an intriguing setting at the start of a story. The second two pieces were by successful published authors, both asking for feedback on their work because they were switching genres.

The first writer was changing from ‘women’s fiction’ to a thriller set in the 1970s, and this led to a discussion about convincing readers that the language used is time appropriate. The final piece was a departure for the author because she was writing her first novel aimed at young adults in the first person. Although she felt uncomfortable with this, members were very encouraging.

For more information about Hastings Writers’ Group, visit our website: http://hastingswriters.co.uk or email us on: membership.hwg@gmail.com.