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EXETER AUTHORS ASSOCIATION

Writing Groups in Devon

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Blog posts : "writing"

Summer is Over!

So here we are again, summer been and gone and there is a nip in the air!
The clan has regathered and the conference was bursting with lots of news about
books being ready to bash the public's wallets as the latest epics come rolling
off the production line!

But before we discussed  the biz of the day at this season's opening encounter, 
a warm EAA welcome was extended to Lucy V. Hay making her debut at the Costaloads
in the Bampton quarter of Tivvy Town..Welcome to the mad house Lucy!

So whats been occuring during the summer recess? Well, it appears that many events
have been attended, festivals enjoyed, workshops deployed and book projects completed!l
The Guv is bringing light to the doom and gloom of Witheridge, Maura is editing & getting
ever closer, Susie W. is all over the country, Jenny Kane is having a quiet time working 25 hours a
day, Brian is doing spooky things, Doc Rich is beating his computer up as we 
speak and still producing first class work, Lucy's doing loads, Tracey has a new book, 
Hallee is set to take over Aljezera TV & Jen B. is stashin' the cash for Anthony Nolan.

Even I've managed to get Chunky & Sarita back on the road so all in all, everyone is
busy and there are loads of talks books and festivals to attend, hell's teeth even Christmas
got a mention today! 2019 will be hectic for sure and there will be plenty going on!

HIGHLIGHT of the day....After collecting the members hard earned cash for annual subs,
the promise of a new badge was firmly placed in the shadows...of the local travel agents 
as the Guv (Pam) threatened with the quip " Ok subs are in, I'm off to Spain haha!"

The bad news is the collection from 11 members was around £110 and the local travel folk
are offering 4 nights in beautiful Barcelona for..wait for it...£99!!!!

If you see the Guv hovering on the corner of Market Walk, blow her cover and if disguised
listen out for the tune she is humming....

This year I'm off to sunny Spain  - 'Y Viva Espana!'  by Richard Lappas

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Inspiration Points!

The start of a story, that moment when an idea begins to form and then explodes into a million different characters, places, and events is one of the most exciting times for an author. 

It arrives naturally and sometimes you have to be patient but when the creative spark hits your life changes forever. You enter a whole new reality and embark on epic adventures.
So where does this creative spark come from?
It could be a memory, gossip whispered by a friend, a daydream or even an image captured in your minds’ eye. Something in these events acts as a catalyst and sends your imagination into overdrive.
For example, one morning I nipped into Costa for a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate tiffin, as I am particularly partial to any food with chocolate in the title and my life changed forever. A story unfolded before my eyes like a movie and I dived into Torcia, the first fantasy world I ever created.
I saw the main character of the story, a warlock sitting in ragged clothes in a dingy, cluttered garret clutching onto the side of a medieval-looking wooden inn. He was sitting quietly on his favourite armchair by the fire, but something was very wrong in Torcia as even from the inside of his lodgings he could feel his people's suffering as the invasion of Torcia accelerated. It was all very exciting as I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I just sat down at my laptop and my fingers typed the images which flashed across my brain. One hundred and twenty words later the land of Torcia and Mivir had been born.
After writing ‘Defiance’ the first instalment of The Torcian Chronicles I was set to write the sequel, which everyone told me was the most logical thing to do. Unfortunately, logic and creativity are distant cousins at best. When Brian, a Gothic poet, told me of how he saw a black cockerel hung upside down from a village signpost swinging in the midnight breezes.
I knew immediately that was going to be my next story. It was going to be based in Witheridge, a village in the moors which I changed to Witherleigh so not to offend the villagers. The first thing I saw in my mind when entering Witherleigh was a young man from London making a new start in the countryside, driving down the twisting country lanes in his ancient car. I later found out he was a church youth leader who no one trusted because of his antisocial habit of witnessing ghosts and demons. Writing this book has been quite challenging because of the research into the Bible, church organisation and services and the voyage into Latin.
So far, the manuscript is at 31,000 words - complete with town map, a glossary of daemons, and a chronological list of missing curates.
All this arrived from one comment about a cockerel!
Therefore, when inspiration hits – grab that spark with both hands and prepare to entire a new, ultra-exciting universe.

Click here to enter the Kingdom of Torcia 

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A Slice of Pi-Life by Jenny Kane

Last night I spent the evening talking to the Exeter branch of the Pi-Society at the Hotel du Vin in Exeter - and my head is literally buzzing.

After a delightful two hours in the company of friendly, intelligent and joyful people, I am riding high on one of the privileges of being a writer. There are few perks in this profession; little money, no days off, no spare time, frequent bouts of insecurity and more disappointments than it would ever be sensible to count- but we do get to meet a wide range of amazing people. For me this is one of the highlights of the job- and after just two hours with the members of the Pi-society - I feel lucky to have met each and every one of the people who’d turned out to see me despite the hail and gales that hit the city last night.

On my arrival to the library in the Hotel du Vin, I joined the group sat around a big round table (wine glasses full and at the ready), and the event began. We broke the ice with a discussion about our favourite books and reads, and then we were off! I answered questions about books, writing, and my rather diverse career- from archaeologist to erotica to romance, to historical crime- for the next two hours. The evening simply flew by.

Before I knew it, the time had come to sell a few copies of my books, and we were preparing to face the elements of the cold and wet winter night once again.

I’d like to thank Nicky Dunn for inviting me alone to the Pi-Society, and the whole group for making me feel so welcome.

Jenny

www.jennykane.co.uk

 

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The Bampton Charter Fair Experience

Last weekend the Exeter Authors Association were in action at the Bampton Charter Fair. This was the first time authors have been invited there for over 500 years so we have a lot of history to make up for. We shared a hall with the lovely people from the LARCS and it made for a chaotic, busy day.

The children's authors and entertainment section proved very popular with our special guest Ollie in a toga bringing ancient history to life. K.Y. Eden gave a fascinating insight into the writing of the Redcroft Journals trilogy and into the crazy life of a fantasy author.

Jenny Kane as always delighted her fans and sold out of most of her books. Fortunately, they are still available online. The Circle of Spears drama company gave a thrilling installment of their play WITCH... which completely stopped the tea chatter. John Hall gave a fascinating talk about researching and writing his terrorism based novels and a possible research trip to Oman. Richard Dee read one of his scary short stories and Richard the second or Richard Lappas to his fans regaled everyone with tales of Princess Diana and the Queen. 

P.J. Reed came in her performance poetry guise for this event, leaving her high fantasy and horror writing for more sinister times, and read her new poem regarding 'Colin the nearly new neighbour'.  Brian Willis, another performance poet from Tiverton entertained with his new selection of Gothic poetry.  Jeni Braund sold many copies of her Heartland poetry book in aid of the Anthony Nolan charity. All in all in was a fun-filled. action-packed day! 

If you missed seeing the Exeter authors they will be on display at the CreaTiv Hub, Fore Street, Tiverton, Devon from  Tuesday 28th November to Saturday 2 December with free goodies, cookies, a free draw and an amazing selection of books!

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Exploring the Devon Dialect

The Tiverton Poetry Group monthly meeting is always a surprising affair. The chameleon nature of the CreaTiv Hub, means you never know what you are actually walking into. On occasions our meeting has been held amid art exhibitions, photography and the hilarious children’s art centre time, when we ended up holding our meeting on a kiddie art table complete with beautifully vivid matching chairs.

The surrealist nature of the room reflects the surrealist nature of the group.  In what other context would a group with such disparate former lives as a postman, PhD student, life coach, author, teacher, air force corporal, and book shop owner all meet under the cover of darkness than to discuss poetry?

Last night we walked into a rainbow coloured treasure trove of vintage clothes. The atmosphere oozed with their memories of lives once lived and now discarded.

The past is indeed a foreign country and this month’s meeting delved into Devon’s poetical past with readings from John Keats, a one-time resident of Teignmouth, slightly risqué poem ‘Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid?’   and Rudyard Kipling, a Westward Ho! man, poem ‘The Gardener.’ We also ventured into the near past of Devon folk history with an attempted reading of Crediton born, Jan Stewer’s ‘Home! Home, Begad,’ which proved a highly challenging read.  Here is a section to attempt if you can…

Home! Home, begad. ‘Tis snawin’ an’ blawing’ an’ I be sneezin’ an’ barkin’ an’ me nawse gets nipped off if I aunly putts ‘en outside the door an’ the sky is as black as thinder an’ ev’rything in the shops is dear as zuvrins an’ they voretells ’tis gwain to be the wist winter o’ the lot.

But ’tis home an’ that’s all I cares about fer the present.

I’ve left the warm zin behine me fer a bit, zim-zo, an’ I mus’ zay I veels the cold most jewsive. If I aunly goes two enches away from the vire the ole gewse-vlesh creeps up all ovver me an’ me knees is knackin’ together an’ me teeth is chitterin’.

But ’tis home.

An’ there’s other kinds of warmness bezides the yet o’ the zin. There’s the zight o’ yer awn volks an’ the ole familiar noises which you never did’n use to take no notice of, but now they makes ‘e preck up yer yers like music.

It takes a brave man/ woman to slow your vowels and roll easy ‘z’s and try to speak like a Devonian.

After various levels of dialect success, the group moved on to their own Devon inspired poetry and AOB.

We were delighted to learn long standing member Audrey had won a Haiku Competition with an actual cash reward and people say poetry doesn’t pay!

Group poets P.J. Reed, Trina J. Stacey, and Brian Willis are performing at CredFest17 as part of the Exeter Authors Association ‘A Celebration of Books’ event on Saturday 17th June, Crediton Library from 2 – 5pm.  Everyone is welcome to this free event but spaces are limited.

For further information visit – http://exeterauthorsassociation.jigsy.com/credfest17-information

Finally, The Tiverton Poetry Group are planning their annual open poetry event at the Independent Coffee Trader, Tiverton with a tentative date of Tuesday 11 July.

More details to follow!

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Choosing A Title and other Author Chat

Today the North Devon ‘Authors in a Café group met in Bideford’s Latte and Lunch to take advantage of their January coffee and cake special offer. Any attempts at dieting were suspended for the duration. The focus for our discussion was titles – how to choose one, what makes a good one? What do particular titles tell us about the content? What kind of audience might a particular title attract? All agreed that the title and the cover image are inextricably linked. We were able to offer helpful suggestions to those amongst the group who are currently searching for a captivating title.

We hope that we will soon be able to announce an exciting ‘writers in residence’ event for our group, in a stunning and inspirational location. All we can say at present is, if you would like to come and chat to us about our work, keep part of 29 April – 1 May free.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 9 February and amongst other things,  we shall be discussing Susan Hughes’ blog post, which poses the question, how far can historical fiction writers can ‘bend’ the facts to suit their plots? https://www.bragmedallion.com/blog/history-making-susan-hughes/

By Janet Few

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The Twyford Writers - writing in styles

Twyford Writers braved the chilly autumn darkness this week to meet in The Royal British Legion Hall  and discuss writing they don't normally do.

It's always a challenge writing in a genre you don't like but it's always good to put a toe outside your comfort zone and test the waters of unexplored writing styles. The results were strange and wonderful. There was a highly entertaining soap parody complete with a heart attack, resuscitation, staff cuts, hospital romances, broken relationships, and embittered staff.

We had a food poetry extravaganza featuring chocolate in a variety of poetry styles including tanka, limerick, and senryu but requests for a quick sausage roll dinner were rebuffed.

There was also the strange experience of a horror writer writing a very creepy romance about the wrong type of love which brought a huge reaction from the group.

Finally, there was a descriptive narrative about Knightshayes in the form of a guidebook. 

The group then spent a very happy final  hour in the bar discussing future writing plans, stories and plotting future story twists. 

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Twyford Writers

The Tiverton-based writing group the Twyford Writers met last Thursday to discuss their latest writing projects.

The bar was vacated  due to a darts match so the meeting was held in the quiet surroundings the memorial room of the British Legion Hall. The group read their own very diverse interpretations of an image of a person with a diagonal dark/ light split background. From this starting place, the group's imagination ran to vastly different places. The scene was variously interpreted as a blind man being described a painting, a first-hand account of a chase through a snow covered landscape and of a couple's voyage to a new life.

It is always fascinating to listen to the stories being told by their writers and this session was no exception. 

The writing challenge for next month is to write in a form outside your normal writing comfort zone whether that means prose, parables, comedy or romance etc.

This hard working, fun group is open to new members. 

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