Mutual Critique Night and ANNUAL PROJECT Launch!

04 July 2017

In Attendance:    Hazel Newton (chair), Mary Matthews, Derek Newton, John Cutting, Olive Cutting, Patricia Burn and Sally Runham

Apologies from: John Williams and David Seaton.

Welcome and notices

Hazel welcomed everyone to the meeting and passed on news of members. A general discussion and sharing of members’ news and writing/ publishing actions ensued. Then the group read contributions of up to 750 word free writing pieces for comment and critique.


read a poem that she wrote as a tribute to a former WEA class tutor entitled, ‘History of Parks and Gardens.’

There followed comments and discussion about ‘knot gardens,’ in particular. Several members had not heard of this term that relates to formal gardens. Flower beds are enclosed in box or privet hedging, closely pruned and kept very tidy! Some examples were discussed including at Hampton Court Palace. It only works where there are many gardeners employed. The tutor must have been honoured to receive such a cleverly tailored poem.


A discussion of poetry followed and all are looking forward to the Poetry Workshop in August.


handed out a short piece of Blurb for the back cover of her forthcoming novel, to be published in September, and requested feedback. There was a lot of discussion and several suggestions. Most people found that the blurb encouraged them to read the book. Sally preferred quite detailed blurb to decide whether to take the time to read any book. Hazel suggested making it a bit shorter and snappier. Olive and Patricia gave written feedback and Mary thanked members for their comments.


read ‘And So It Begins,’ a beautifully crafted piece she had written about the birth of a Vulcan baby which forms the opening part of "Spock’s Autobiography'. Everyone enjoyed the writing. Sally felt that the piece could be adapted for reality literature in addition to science fiction.

Patricia was very informative about using brand names such as Star Trek and Spock. It is possible to steer around trademarks and yet produce a story that everyone knows relates to high profile drama.


read a piece entitled ‘Peregrine Moves To The Top Of The Food Chain,’ based on the successful and popular BBC Springwatch Live Web Cam Films from Britain’s Cathedral Nesting Boxes. Hazel said this was a well-rounded short report.


read a story based on the theme, ‘Could The Day Get Any Worse?’ about the last day in the life of Anne Boleyn. This empathized completely with her dire situation as she approached her politically-motivated execution. We, too, felt for her in her forlorn hope for a last minute reprieve based on the love that she and the King had shared.

Members enjoyed a refreshment break including scones and shortbread.


Over coffee, Olive read ‘Garlands’ a romantic story in a country house rose garden. Related by a parent, it expressed the abiding contentment when a child finds a suitable partner.


There followed discussion about scriptwriting for TV serials.

Please see the programme below and note that the new initiative of an Annual Competition was launched this evening.
This is for 1,800 to 2,500 words on the theme of Autobiography or Biography and either fiction or non-fiction. This can be carefully created over a period of 9 months, which is a suitable gestation period for anyone!


The meeting closed at 9.30pm.


The next meeting, the Poetry Workshop run by Jean Fairbairn is on 1st August 2017.  The poetry competition challenge arising from this workshop will be set on that evening with submissions due on 5th October. We look forward to seeing you there.


Please also bring or send any outstanding annual subscriptions of £12.

Events Ahead and Sources of Support

Patricia encourages members to write for the website. She suggests blogs of about 500 to 700 words On Any Theme.  Please visit the website frequently and create new links to the website through Facebook and other media in order to raise its profile. Email all website contributions to Patricia at      


Hazel - Local Radio as a way of broadcasting our work.


Sally - Please refer to for help with self-publishing. I attended a course in February and found this source really supportive. Help with all aspects such as editing, proof reading, cover design and promotion can be sought. One person on the course is making superb progress with publishing a story based on his family history that has been on his agenda for many years. You no longer need to leave your bestseller to fester waiting for the right agent or publisher to come along.

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