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Chichester Writers' Circle

  the meeting place for Chichester’s writers

 Past Meetings - 2019


December 2019

This evening’s meeting is the last before Christmas and nine attended.  Seven members welcomed two visitors, Piers and Annette.

Robbie announced that she has had information from the Festival of Chichester and the committee will decide how the Circle will respond.  Member Nicky will complete her treatments this week and she is hoping to feel better soon.  Robbie mentioned that she has spoken to past member Vera, who has been recovering from an accident but is now well.  John asked our visitor Piers to tell us about himself and he explained that he has just retired as a consultant paediatrician and he is writing a four volume novel entitled Rick’s Story.

Each of us read our 100 word entry for ‘Christmas cracker’ competition.  Leslie won with her entry named ‘Christmas cockerel’ and the meeting adjourned for celebratory Christmas drinks and nibbles.

After the break Robbie read Geoffrey Winch’s Prose Poetry Competition results.  Christine won the notebook prize with her entry ‘I like to watch him’.  The meeting ended at 21:30.


November 2019

Nine members attended this evening’s meeting, including a new member, Annette, who we warmly welcomed.  Annette lives in Rowlands Castle, she has written fiction and is currently writing memoirs for the benefit of her daughter.

Robbie gave the meeting an update regarding our member Nicky, who is making a good recovery having had four chemotherapy treatments.  We all wish her better soon.

Graham Minett kindly joined us this evening to talk about his writing career and his current work.  Graham has an MA in Creative Writing and he is a very successful author.  He specialises in psychological thrillers or as he prefers to say ‘psychological suspense stories’ and he previously gave a talk about his work two years ago.  Graham is known to his readers as GJ Minett (GeeJay) because his stories have a strong female audience and publishers believe showing his male gender could adversely affect his readership.  His books typically sell over 40,000 in digital format and up to 30,000 hard copies.

Graham started by talking about his history getting published.  He did a reading of Chapter two from his forthcoming book ‘The Syndicate’.   Generally authors can be classified as planners or pant’sers and Graham explained that he is a planner.  He starts each book by laying out a comprehensive storyboard – timeline, character and action throughout the book.  Each scene is plotted to the last degree from the very start.

Members appreciated Graham’s openness and honesty.  We really felt that the meeting had been useful and thanked Graham enthusiastically.  The meeting ended on time at 9:30pm.


October 2019

There was no speaker this month but members had brought samples of their own work to read and discuss. Seven members were present plus Jenny, a prospective new member.

Jan read her proposed competition entry asking for comments as to whether it fit the brief; she also read part of her first chapter of a novel she is writing. Barbara read a piece about a visit to Poland and Robbie read the first page of her next novel. Visitor Jenny read a poem called ‘Howard’s Daughter’.

We finished with an animated discussion on words based on John’s list of old and new words.


September 2019

Seven members were present to hear poet Geoffrey Winch speak about prose poetry, a challenging subject which is difficult to define. We took turns reading the samples he had provided which provoked intense discussion.

Geoffrey’s sessions are always interesting and thought-provoking and we enjoyed talking around the subject of poetry and prose and what makes a poem.

He set us a competition asking us to write a prose poem on any subject but including two or more words from the list he gave us. Entries to be handed in at the November meeting..


August 2019

Ten members, including a new member, George, attended this evening’s meeting to appraise members work in progress and to hear the results of the competition set by Karen in March.

Robbie announced that a small profit was made on ticket sales for our festival event. Robbie brought along the remaining copies of the anthology and she urged all members to buy one (or maybe more) to cover the cost of printing.

George raised a question about promoting books. Paul suggested that at our next year’s Festival event we have a book table to promote members work and members thought that was a good idea.

The competition results were read out by Robbie, Karen being unable to attend herself, but Karen commented that all entries were to a high standard. Lesley was joint first with Christabel, Robbie was second and John’s entry came third.

Each of the entrants read out their piece and George read an excerpt from his book ‘Magic Tree of Candy’.  The meeting closed at 9.30pm.


July 2019

The meeting this evening was transferred to the Quaker Meeting room in Chichester for our Festival of Chichester contribution.  An anthology of the work read is available to purchase from Robbie.


June 2019

There were ten members at this evening's meeting and we welcomed one new member, Alney.   Robbie opened the meeting with a presentation of the Anthology of our forthcoming Festival of Chichester entry.  Robbie appealed to members to sell tickets.  Each member should sell at least four tickets if we are to recover our costs.  Sharon volunteered to provide and serve drinks at the Festival of Chichester.

We spent the evening rehearsing our presentation for the Festival, which took 65 minutes and that was considered about right.


May 2019

Ten members attended this evening to contribute to a discussion of the English Language

Robbie prefaced the meeting by mentioning our forthcoming presentation in the Festival of Chichester.  Next month we will have a full rehearsal runninng through everone's contribution.  

John led the evening's discussion by asking for suggestions - which words have changed?   John asked what drives change?  What brings in new words and what kills off others?  Technology came up again and again as one of the principal drivers of change, the Internet, social media, etc.  We listed new words, dead words and the drivers and killers.  We considered anachronisms and how changes in meaning can destroy a story.

Everyone agreed that this was an interesting discussion and the members thanked John for initiating the discussion.  The meeting closed at 9:30pm.

April 2019

Lesley gave a talk this evening and ten members attended to hear her explain workshop sessions and how we can best use workshops to develop our writing.  Lesley recommended that members should 'buddy up' to help one another improve.

All members who had prepared writing for the Festival of Chichester handed their piece to their buddy partner and discussed.  Then the writing was rotated to the next couple and so on.  Discussion was so intense that we ran out of time.  At the next meeting we will read out our Festival piece so that it can be developed and slotted into the Festival programme.

John started a discussion about words in the English language that have changed in meaning, and invited suggestions to explain what has brought about such change. John asked members to think of examples for further discussion at the next meeting.

The members thanked Lesley for her presentation and the meeting closed at 9:30pm.

March 2019

Fourteen members attended this evening.  There was a sad opening to the meeting as Robbie started by inviting donations to the Stickler Syndrome charity in memory of Wendy Hughes, one of our most popular speakers who died recently.  Tonight we held our AGM and the business included: John's Chairman's Report was accepted; Nicky presented her Treasurer’s report – and a vote of thanks was recorded and Robbie asked all to think about Next year’s programme ready for the April meeting so that we can get the programme together.  A vote of thanks to Robbie.

Robbie went on to discuss the Circle's Participation in Festival of Chichester and the plans are well in hand.  The venue is booked for Festival of Chichester 2019 and we saved money from last year when the venue was the library.  Members were asked to distribute brochures and will be asked to sell tickets this year. 

Adeline asked for outstanding Christmas Cracker submissions in include in production of the forthcoming Newsletter.  All officers of the committee were re-elected without opposition.  The John Murray Cup was presented to Paul Marshall and there being no other business the meeting closed at 8.05pm.

The speaker this evening was Karen Stevens and she took us for character creation.  A stimulating talk and exercises on developing character by describing physical, emotional and behavioural characteristics.  Karen set a competition for members to produce a story of 1,000 words by May meeting, results will be announced in August.


February 2019

The meeting started with discussion about our participation in the Festival of  Chichester and the progress made so far in booking a venue and preparing a programme. It was decided that our theme this year would simply be Chichester with a title of ‘Perspectives on Chichester’. Members were asked to help with publicity and selling tickets nearer the time.

Robbie had already informed members of the sad death of Wendy Hughes who had been a speaker on several occasions and real friend to the circle. A card was passed round for all to sign and it was agreed to send a donation to the charity which Wendy founded – the Stickler Syndrome Charitable trust.

We had no speaker this time and several members had brought work to read. Paul read a piece about fishing called ‘Hearts and Hearths’ and Lesley read a children’s story inspired by Tennyson’s ‘Lady of Shallott’. Prospective new member Elaine read  poem called ‘Valentine’s Day’ and John ended the evening with a discussion on the differences between Housman’s and Larkin’s poetry. Somehow the discussion led to talk about Nature versus Nurture debate.


January 2019

This was the first meeting of the New Year and eleven members attended.  We discussed our forthcoming entry in the Festival of Chichester.  After some debate it was agreed that the theme will be `Chichester'.   The proposed date for our Festival readings is Tuesday 2nd July.  Joe agreed to enquire regarding availability of Quaker Meeting House and check if background music is allowed since the hire fee is considerably less than is being asked for the Chichester library that we hired last year.

The evening programme of readings was introduced by Robbie and Joe was asked to read first.  He read the opening paragraphs from a new book that he is writing about Original Sin.  This generated a discussion about religion.  Next Joanna read a short piece entitled ‘A string of garlic’ and finally Janet read a section from the book she is currently writing.

The meeting ended at 9:30pm.