On 1 February, 30 members attended to read out their stories for our first competition of 2016, for which there were 21 varied entries. Our prompt was taken from this year’s National Association of Writers’ Group’s ‘given phrase’ category: “and then the whispering started”. And plenty of intriguing whispering there was: whispering in woods, in a strange room in a château and on an aeroplane. The whisperers included fairies, a voice in someone’s head and a long-dead school friend. Among those who heard the whispers were a fallen woman, a middle-aged widower, a middle-aged adulteress, a disaffected teenaged girl and an unsettled teenaged boy. We experienced tension at a corporate event, conflict between slave and cruel slave owner, the sadness of two young lovers’ parting and a bus ride through London’s Christmas lights. There was a whiff of mystery and myth: the song of Aneirin, an exquisitely wrought but mysterious serpent necklace and a sinister pond, rippling with fables. We look forward to the judge’s results on 29th February, when successful local writer, Alexandra Benedict, will be visiting to give her feedback.
On 15th February, we were delighted to welcome successful writer and Creative Writing tutor, Jacqs Molloy, to the group. She gave a lively, useful and inspiring workshop on script writing. First, we looked at a section of prose and then analysed how the piece could be adapted for the stage, the radio and the screen. This not only gave an overview of the three genres but also provided useful insights into what is included and what is left out, the value of subtext and the practicalities that have to be considered when writing or adapting material to be performed. There were useful nuggets of wisdom along the journey, eg it is always best to start in the middle of the action, voices have to be distinguishable, eavesdropping is the best way to learn how to create realistic dialogue, film relies on images, rather than speech and finally: “You must give yourself permission to be promiscuous.” (David Hare). It was a really enjoyable evening and huge thanks to Jacqs Molloy for so generously sharing her ideas and experience; we all learned a huge amount and are raring to write our entries for the Drama competition.
For more information about Hastings Writers’ Group, visit our website: http://hastingswriters.co.uk/ or email us on: email@example.com
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