Writing Groups in Devon


In a field, in a tent, some authors gathered and it was hot!

Assorted members of the Exeter authors Association went adventuring this weekend as we crossed the border and entered the wilds of Somerset. We traveled through the rolling dark green fields of the Mendips, past fascinating historic buildings including the Kings of Wessex and quaint village greens. Finally, we reached our destination – a sports pitch on the edge of Chilcompton.

Sometimes, however, appearances can be deceptive. This pitch was bustling with excitement and dotted about its fields were large white marquess standing expectantly, ready to be filled by musicians, singers, poets, and authors. The first Chilcompton Fringe Festival was waking.

The Exeter Authors Association were honoured to have our own small marquee complete with stage and professional sound equipment so our voices were not lost between the three vibrant music marquess.  We also had a wonderful sound engineer who also gathered audiences for us and a compere who happily joined in with all the workshops, and their efforts were greatly appreciated.

 The day was so hot – unnaturally so for England, we put our book tables outside the marquee and then hid in the shade of the marquee for as long as we could.  In the course of the afternoon two pairs of sunglasses were broken, a lot of liquid consumed and faces began to glow red. It was British summertime at its best.

We had a fantastic line-up of Exeter Authors performing, reading and running free workshops.  Jenny Kane started the show with readings and anecdotes from her best-selling series of Abi books.  Her author's table was busy all afternoon with people coming to the Festival just to buy the latest Abi book, which was very touching.

P.J. Reed read her eclectic variety of poetry to a suddenly increasing audience. One of whom yelled “You’re mad!” in a hopefully positive manner, after hearing about the adventures of her new, neighbour Colin and his washing line. I think that’s what is known as audience participation!

Richard Dee, the steampunk and sci-fi author, did an interesting lecture from his series of Fantasy World Building lecture series which will be available as an online course later this year. After which, he braved the sun all afternoon, selling the deep space adventures of Dave Travise to happy earthlings.

Poet and children’s story author Trina J. Stacey put on her life coaching hat and gave an inspiring interactive session or how to write from the heart, without fear and with happiness. Something which every writer needs to bear in mind when fighting deadlines and unwanted edits from editors!

The actress, narrator and playwright Tracey Norman shone on stage giving a talk about WITCH her play which has been performed throughout England in 2017 and she gave a talk on how to research and write historically accurate plays.

The Exeter Authors have something to offer everyone. In the later afternoon, the darker aspects of humanity were delved into by horror writer Chris Tetreault-Blay who gave a fascinating talk about how to write a successful horror series. Mark Norman, narrator, researcher, and record keeper of the Black Dog sightings of England closed a very successful day with his true tales of mystery and sinister goings on. 

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