Richard Foreman, a member of the Creative Writing Group, tells us a little more about the aims and achievements of the group and also details how anyone interested in writing can get involved, despite the current situation.
Q. Where and when do you meet?
A. We meet at The Centre, 7pm to 9pm on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. When current restrictions cease, we hope to resume this schedule.
Q. How many members do you have?
A. There are currently around seven of us, but attendance numbers vary. There’s definitely room for more and we welcome new members.
Q. And how do things work?
A. We set a writing ‘prompt’ each month. Those of us who have produced a short story or other piece of writing in response to this read our work aloud to the others during the first of the two monthly meetings. Reactions, comments and critiques are exchanged regarding each piece. This is done informally and supportively. Quite often the feedback session spills into the second meeting of the month, but we also try to use those meetings for information exchange and discussion regarding technique, etc. We are also happy for members to bring and read any other pieces of writing, if they’d like feedback on work in progress.
Q. What are the requirements for joining the group?
A. Interest and enthusiasm to have a go at producing a piece of creative writing are the primary requirements. Current members range from those who have had work published in various formats to those who simply enjoy writing for fun. A willingness to consider what you have produced as a ‘work-in-progress’, and an ability to listen to others’ suggestions and make use of them is also important.
Q. What are the benefits of joining?
A. An opportunity to share your writing with others in a supportive, encouraging and enjoyable atmosphere. A stimulus to produce at least one piece of work each month, should you wish to. A chance to learn about technique and develop your writing through feedback from others (and through giving your feedback to others).
Q. What are the group’s key achievements?
A. The group has produced small print runs of three ‘Shaftesbury Tales’ booklets as fundraisers for the Arts Centre (copies available at the ticket desk) and members have also given readings during the last two ‘Fringe’ festivals. Some individual group members have published work in the form of books, e-books, contributions to magazines and anthologies.
Q. Why would you recommend it?
A. Creative writing, particularly if you are unpublished and have no one to share your work with, can be a daunting and lonely pastime. The group offers an informal, relaxed, often humorous atmosphere in which to share work, get some idea how readers might respond to it and some suggestions about how the piece might be developed to widen its appeal. And like any such group it also provides an opportunity to get to know other people who share your interest.
Q. Anything else you’d like to tell us about the group?
A. During the Covid 19 related lockdown, members of the group are continuing with the monthly ‘prompt’ work-exchange by email. If you’d like to get involved with this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the group’s shared email list.