The group normally meets on the first Monday of the month for 2 hours. We wanted to spend more time together than usual, to try a new space, and fill the day with a combination of writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing, some craft sessions, and general talking and questions about writing.
The day combined these elements and in total 14 people attended during the course of the write-in.
We had four timed writing exercises followed by people sharing what they'd written if they wanted to, and then discussion about the writing. I used my Alphasmart Neo to write on, because my laptop was busy displaying the writing exercises on slides. Today I 'sent' the writing from the Neo to my laptop and am pleased to report I wrote 3100 words during the write in on the various exercisers. They may be used as scenes in novels, starting points for novellas or short stories, or blog posts – I've yet to decide, but – and this is one thing I kept reminding people at the write-in – they are words that didn't exist before, and something that can be edited, moulded to make them better, and that's a good outcome from a day as far as I'm concerned.
Jean Fullerton did a presentation on point of view, the advantages and disadvantages of different points of view, and things to watch like head-hopping.
I did a presentation about how to introduce a character, using the contrasting examples of Middlemarch and Goodbye to Berlin. The former belongs to a more old-fashioned time when characters were introduced over a few pages and almost presented standing still. The latter is a more modern way of introducing a character in the middle of the action, showing the reader about their temperament by what they do, say, wear. I got the content of this presentation from a wonderful book, called The Art Of Fiction by David Lodge.
Throughout the day there were plenty of opportunities for questions and discussion and the programme was deliberately interactive to encourage participants to take part, as well as hearing from published authors about some elements of craft. We built in breaks as writing is a tiring business! And we needed plenty of tea and coffee to keep us going during the day. Loughton Library was brilliant and provided hot water, crockery, tea and sugar, as well as the place to hold the event obviously!
The event included four people who hadn't been to WAW before, who have all been added to our mailing list and we hope to see them at future WAW meetings.
The venue was perfect: plenty of natural light, plenty of space, plenty of plug sockets, tea and coffee, and easy to park. WAW will have another write in at Loughton library in the spring, using a similar format for the day, but with different writing exercises and craft sessions.
If you would like to know more about joining WAW please contact me through this website.
Liam Livings xx