2017: RW Writes On!

2017, eh? A year of tumult, change and overall surreality.

At RW, we too have felt the wind of change scooting up our foolishly untucked jumpers. We’ve had a big influx of new members, while sadly waving cheery-bye to some long-established faces. Charles Whittaker, who served us wisely and well as Treasurer, has stepped aside to concentrate on his own group of wordsmiths in Henley. We also send hugs, wine and hoorahs to Richard Chalmers, who has handed in his gun and badge as Manuscript Night Secretary. A cornucopia of thanks to all, and a bucketful of good-luck wishes to John Shepherd, who will take on the task of managing our bulging coffers, and the dynamic duo of Juliet England and Josh Williams, tag-teaming the referee role for our increasingly popular MS Nights.

Congratulations also to the 2016 Don Louth Award winner, Julie Roberts. Our Julie has had a hell of a twelve-month, as her first novel The Hidden Legacy was launched with all hurrahs at the RW Late-shift Basecamp, The Great Expectations. As part of her responsibilities to the Don Louth Award, J-Ro has chosen a novel for us to explore for our summer Book Night in August. We’ll be looking at Eagle In The Sky by Wilbur Smith, a rip-roaring tale of high adventure. Should be a blast!

Lots going on, and lots of change. But hey, change can be good, right? If nothing else it gives us the juice we need to create! And we’ve been busy. Three MS Nights have shown the sheer breadth of interests and styles now represented on any given Wednesday. Horror, fantasy and SF are well represented, but historical fiction, romance and literary stylings are always a mainstay. We don’t judge on genre, just on the quality of writing. And misplaced apostrophes. We’ll brutally judge you for those.

Our presentation evenings have been solidly entertaining and informative. RW mainstay and newly-published crime writer Vera Morris kicked off the year with a look at the framework and challenges of the genre, and urged us to make up our own murder scenes in the workshop. Worryingly, this didn’t take much encouragement. We also welcomed journalist Francesca Perryman of local news-site Get Reading to talk journalism and the skills of the interview. Essential, as the theme of our Spring Writing competition is ‘An Interview With…’

More recently, ex Chair Of Vice Julie Cohen returned to the group to give her thoughts on self-editing. Post-Its featured heavily. It’s all about the colour-coding, you know.

There are always successes to celebrate in the group, and inevitably some slip through the gaps. We try to keep up, and inevitably fail. Howevs, let us cheer while we can. We’d like to point out the sterling work that Juliet England is doing on The Limping Chicken, the world’s most popular blog for deaf and hearing-impaired people. Her lively and insightful pieces are well worth a read – http://limpingchicken.com/category/juliet-england/ .

Meanwhile, hoorah to Jillian Bost, whose Flash-Fic story ‘Return’ was recently featured on FunDead. Nice work, Jillian! https://fundeadpublications.com/2017/03/10/flash-fiction-friday-return/ 

As you can see, it’s been a breathless and frantic but fun start to 2017. So busy, in fact, that it’s taken me until March to find time to summarise. Right, thanks for reading. Now back to the writing!