We meet at 7:30pm on
the first Thursday of
each month at
The Biffa Room,
St. Mark’s Church,
(off Avon Drive),
Bedford, MK41 7UY
Visitors (18 and older) and prospective members are VERY welcome, whether experienced writers, beginners, or just curious. Simply turn up on the night or contact us by clicking on the 'Get in Touch' icon for an interesting, enjoyable, and possibly instructive evening.
No two meetings are exactly the same as it all depends on who attends, what is read out, and our discussions. The month may have a suggested theme, too. Here are accounts of recent meetings, just to give you a taste of what you may encounter, if you come along.
7th June Meeting
The June meeting started promptly with the new Chairman in place.
It was good to see that so many members had turned out and particularly some who had not been able to attend for a while.
One of our newer members with experience of self-publishing had been asked to give a short talk on the process she used on-line with particular emphasis on “Formatting Fiction for Publication”. We heard about downloading preformatted templates and how to use them. We were, in addition, provided with a very helpful comprehensive handout. An interesting talk for which the members showed their appreciation.
After a short coffee break the business of listening to member’s contributions on the topic of article writing got underway. We heard a diverse selection including one piece that had been published in a motorhome magazine. Several of the articles were about the effects of political correctness was having on society when everyone slavishly follows all edicts to conform to whatever new correctness pops up. The writing as usual provoked interesting discussion within the group.
The meeting closed with all who wanted to read having been given the time to do so and the hope that we will see as many of you as possible at the next meeting which will be held on Thursday 5th July at the usual time of 7.30 in the Biffa Room at St. Mark’s Church, Calder Rise, Bedford.
Thursday 3rd May 1018
We gathered for the AGM in the Biffa room at St. Mark’s. The Secretary and Treasurer had both prepared documentation and circulated it prior to the meeting.
Before the business of the meeting got underway the Treasurer reminded members about the art exhibition at Houghton Conquest where our joint art/writing exercise would be on display.
That done, the Chair gave his welcome and we moved on through the agenda first hearing reports from Committee members. Next, we voted on minor amendments to the constitution, discussed new data protection regulations and accepted that the monthly meeting fee would rise from £1.50 to £2.00 while the annual subscription would remain at £6.00. The small raise in fees was made to offset the increasing costs of rent and refreshments and come into effect from the June meeting. The election of a new committee took place with a new chair being voted in. The previous Chair moved to Ordinary member and a new Newsletter Editor was voted in. Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and Website Manager posts remain as before. The new Chair was welcomed and took over the meeting.
The remainder of the evening was spent hearing member’s and guest’s work being read.
Our next meeting is on Thursday, 7th June. The topic is to write a magazine or newspaper article of around 800 words. As always, you are welcome to bring your own work to read out on the day. Visitors welcome!
Thursday 5th April
There was a good turnout for this months meeting which was lovely to see. The meeting started with the reminder that next months meeting will start with the AGM. If anyone wishes to stand for a role on the committee, please forward your name to our secretary Laura, or any other committee members.
The theme for this evening was ‘science fiction’ and we were not disappointed with a fine array of stories. As a group we were treated to many different takes on the theme, from ongoing works taking us on a journey with a crew struggling in their strange environment whilst being manoeuvred by a now more than human computer, to strange cleaning machines that will tidy anything away ( including the bodies of their owners). We were also riveted to our seats by members who had bought other genres of writing, dark tales of a small mercy in a hospital and the true recounting of a World War One meeting. As always the evening was very encouraging to all with some great feedback given.
At the close of the meeting we were reminded that after next months AGM there is no theme for any stories, so feel free to come along and join in.
Thursday 8th March 2018
The meeting, delayed from the usual first Thursday in the month due to ice and snow, was started by the vice-chair and then handed over to the chair when he arrived.
It was reported that the visit of some members to the Newport Pagnall writer’s group had been successful and that they had been welcomed and hosted in good style.
John told the meeting that the stories sent to a member of the Houghton Conquest Art Society to accompany his paintings had been well received.
We welcomed a new visitor who made a good contribution to the meeting by reading a very well written story and also by making useful comments on members work.
There was plenty of material to keep us interested and entertained, in the form of a poem, two science fiction genre extracts from longer works and several complete short stories.
Joy organised her “photo shoot” for the intended piece to be written which will be submitted to the editor of the new midweek free paper who are looking for articles on local interest groups. Joy may want to take more photos to give wider choice for the article.
We will be back to normal for next month’s meeting and it will be held on Thursday the 5th April in the Biffa Room at St Marks at the usual time of 7.30 pm.
Thursday 1st February 2018
In the absence of the chair the vice-chair took the meeting.
We were joined by one new visitor to this month’s extremely entertaining proceedings.
Thanks are due to John who, in conjunction with a member of the Houghton Conquest Art Society had arranged for the group to write 200-word stories in response to four paintings.
Nineteen stories most in prose, but some in poetry, were read and greatly appreciated. We were able to see how the responses differed and how, in some instances, they took the same basic idea.
Thanks to those who were unable to attend but sent in their work.
All the pieces will now be forwarded to the Houghton Conquest artist concerned who will decide which of the stories he wants to display with his work at a forthcoming exhibition of art. It was suggested that the group arrange to visit the exhibition. Further details when we know the exact date that will take place.
It is planned to publish the stories on the website and, thanks to the artist who has given his permission, the pictures that inspired the work will be posted as well.
The next meeting of the Writers Group will be held in the Biffa Room St. Marks on
1st March. There is no theme for this meeting so members are asked to bring whatever they are currently working on to share with the group.
January meeting 2018
John started the meeting by reading out a request from a local school for a writer to visit and talk about their work. Barrie has kindly volunteered to be the visiting author on this occasion and we look forward to hearing his update.
Two new visitors joined us this week and we listened to a range of stories based on the theme "New Years Resolutions". As befitting the long dark evenings, the majority of the stories focussed on dark themes of relationship breakdowns, with marriages and relationships breaking up, along with memories of love lost.
A more upbeat feel came from one of our of writers, reading an extract from her second book with a theme of fantasy and science fiction. The upbeat theme continued with the final contribution to the theme on resolutions written in the style of a Trump Tweet.
Our next writing exercise will result in some of our writing being displayed in an exhibition alongside paintings from the Houghton Conquest Art Society.
Please write up to 200 words maximum about one of the four Art Society paintings shown below. Please entitle your writing with the appropriate title of either: Boat, Cafe, Beach, Alpine. Note that the beach painting has a small boat in it but it's called Beach. The painting called Boat is a boat's interior.
Please bring your writing piece to the next meeting in paper form.
The following pictures are reproduced by kind permission of the artist and must not be reproduced without consent.
December meeting 2017
The meeting started with an introduction by Joy to the new midweek free newspaper and a suggestion that we write an article for it explaining the workings of our group.
We then heard a short report from Andrew on the November visit of three members to a school in Kettering to help encourage the pupils to try their hands at creative writing. The considerable work put in by the three was much appreciated by the staff of the school who reported positive results from the visit.
We then moved into the seasonal part of the evening and members new and old were treated to a selection of poems and stories, mostly Christmas themed, with the five previously selected words cleverly woven into the pieces.
After this varied entertainment we broke to chat and made a dent in the great selection of goodies on offer.
As the stories had been limited to 500 words, there was no rush to hear everyone’s work and after the last piece had been read we still had time left to pit our brains against Laura’s testing quiz which produced much merriment.
It just remains to wish all members a very happy festive season whether partying or sleeping through it. Hope to see as many of you as possible in the New Year.
November meeting 2017
There were fireworks in the sky over Bedford and chaos in the carpark when I arrived at St. Marks for the November meeting. The two things were quite unrelated I’m sure.
A team of three volunteers will be heading off to Kettering to inspire the children at the Academy to enjoy writing. It is bound to be a great success.
We drew five words from a metaphorical hat which we are asking members to use in their construction of a 400-500 word Christmas story to be read at the next meeting. These words will be sent out to the membership as soon as possible.
We had a guest for the evening and we hope he will join us again.
The next two volunteers for the round robin story are ready to take up the pen and we will be looking for two more at the next meeting.
The treasurer was busy collecting in the money for the Christmas dinner. The Secretary has offered to prepare a quiz for our entertainment so it should be a good evening
We heard some cracking good stories this month and our website manager will upload a couple of them to refresh the site.
I know it’s a crazy busy time of year but do come along to the Christmas meeting where you will be provided with the usual Christmas snacks and drinks and a variety of stories to put you in a great Christmas mood.. We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it.
October meeting 2017
A select group chose to use the supplied photographs as inspiration for this month's crop of short stories. Interestingly, three women chose the laughing ponies while three men chose the stranded vehicle. Make of that what you will! Our November meeting on Thursday 2nd will be an open forum with an opportunity for people to read out work of their own choosing.
September meeting 2017
We were a smaller group than usual, just eleven, probably due to the big stampede to get away now the schools are back.
We had one visitor who read an interesting beginning of a new Science Fiction novel. We look forward to the next instalment.
As it was an open reading session we were treated to some diverse samples of members work including a poetic study on the colour blue, a lovely farewell piece from Deryn who is leaving for America. We wish her all the very best.
The starting chapter of a new “Round Robin” has been allotted to the first two writers. We will be calling for two more volunteers for the third and fourth contribution at the next meeting.
Our next meeting will be held in the Biffa room on Thursday 5th October. The theme for the meeting is to write 500-1000 words inspired by one of the following four photographs. As ever, the theme is optional and everyone is welcome to bring along their own work to read. Visitors are welcome.
August Meeting 2017
Twelve members gathered for an evening of poetry reading.
We were treated to a wide variety of verse from a take on Sapphic Odes, through humour and a degree of pathos to some obscure but fascinating lines that require further reading to be fully appreciated.
Although it’s always a pleasure when members join in with the themed evenings, nothing is compulsory. In addition to the poetry, there was time to hear some prose work from non-poets.
Apart from the group’s written work we heard interesting reports from two of our members who had visited (by invitation) separate schools to encourage children in the art of story writing. The children, by both accounts, were receptive and responded well to the introduction of this “outside” influence. Congratulations to both members for taking the time and trouble to undertake this really useful skill sharing with young people.
The next meeting will be held on the 7th September at the usual time of 7.30pm in the Biffa Room, Saint Mark’s Church, Calder Rise, Bedford.
There is no theme for the evening so just bring whatever you have written and would like to read. It was suggested that it might be useful to bring a few extra copies for those members who like to see the text as well as hearing it read.
July Meeting 2017
We a good turnout for the July meeting with roughly 15 members braving the steamy heat in the Biffa Room to hear and read a variety of work. With all the windows open and the welcome use of a fan we were quite comfortable.
It was good to see the return of some well-known faces and to welcome a new visitor.
A great variety of work was on offer from poetry, short stories for adults and children (one of the latter extremely well received), extracts from larger on-going works through to a rather deep poetic meditation on life and one’s purpose therein.
The meeting ended with five minutes to spare and all members having had the opportunity to read and listen to feedback on their work.
The next meeting will be held at St Marks, Biffa room at 7.30pm and the theme will be poetry.
June Meeting 2017
The continuing heatwave, with its attraction of a cold beverage in the garden, did not deter a determined group of 13 people who turned up to read out their own work. We had a couple of potential new members and between us we heard a variety of pieces ranging from nature writing; to an article on cycling that made us all feel quite exhausted; to a number of chapter extracts from people who are continuing with lengthy book projects. Always an amazing variety of great work.
May Meeting 2017
Our meeting started with the AGM where the new committee was voted in. Congatulations to:
Karl Lynch - Chair
Sue Barton - Vice Chair
John Broadhouse - Treasurer
Laura Richards - Secretary
Veronica Sims - Newsletter
Joy Wilkinson - Website Manager
Andrew Stock - Ordinary Member
The meeting continued with many a fine piece of work being read out and critiqued. A splendid turn out of sixteen people made for a a very enjoyable evening
6th April 2017
We had some group time this month, sharing work is always rewarding. There is never a shortage of new pieces to be read by the author. There's never a shortage of comments and useful criticism either. It is the group dynamic that keeps us all writing and coming back for more.
2nd March 2017
This was an evening of poetry. We had a special guest:- The Bard of Stony Stratford, Vanessa Horton who read some of her splendid work. We also heard some poetry written by members along with short stories and extracts from novels.
2nd February 2017
On Ground Hog day we shared work on this theme which was interesting and showed the different approach we all have to writing. It is always so rewarding to spend time with fellow writers and hear each other's work. We also had 4 newcomers this month, and so we continue to grow stronger.
5th January 2017
Obviously we had to begin with New Year's Resolutions. Some made some but didn't tell. Guess who had set the standard too high and had already fallen off their virtuous perch. There were resolutions outstanding from last year, with renewed attempts to succeed. Although, as the writer pointed out, this was not something they could crow about because they had fooled friends and family that they had already given up. A lovely evening to start the New Year and get us back into the swing of writing.
NEW MEMBERS CORNER
Joining a new group can be intimidating. We are such a friendly bunch - don't be nervous, just come and meet us. We all struggle with creative doubt, writer's block and uncertainty. What's lovely here is that we come together because we love writing. We read our short stories, poems, extracts from longer pieces, prose that helps us think or expresses our doubts and dreams, and more. We do have some published writers and all our creativity is inspiring, but we are such a mixed bunch that, whatever your style or where-ever you are at with your writing, you will feel at home and supported, We share thoughts and ideas, tea and buscuits, social events, and lots of encouragement.
Please put aside your nerves and come visit.