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.
We have our Chairman to thank for setting up the recent writing challenge of producing a piece or two of performance work.
To this end the February meeting was mainly given over to reading draft Monologues in preparation for forwarding to a group of performance artists who are currently looking for suitable material.
For most members the writing of monologues was a new challenge and required a little adjustment of style. The offered drafts were discussed at the meeting and suggestions made for their improvement. The main concern being to lose the back stories and keep the dialogue crisp and direct. A bit of editing will be necessary for most pieces and the suggestions made by both the performers, who had attended a previous meeting to give us guidelines, plus comments from our members at the February meeting should mean we can prune the work down to its bare bones while still keeping the interest of an audience.
The next step, once satisfied with our edits, is to take the work along to the March meeting (hard copies will be required) for the Chair to take to the actors. Who knows, they may choose one or two to perform. Good luck to all those participating members.
Next on the agenda are responses (in about 200 words) to any or all of the paintings members have received via email from Houghton Conquest Art Society. These pieces will be displayed alongside the original paintings at the Houghton Conquest annual art exhibition to be held on 5th May. Drafts to be read at the March meeting, giving time for final edits.
Please note: These exercises are not in any way mandatory and we welcome work of any genre which will always get a hearing.
Visitors are most welcome so do come along and join us at our next meeting which will held in the Biffa Room at St Marks on 7th March at 7.30pm
Meeting Report for November 2018
The Editor of the Group’s newsletter “Write-on” (circulated monthly to members only) was thanked for the comprehensive content.
The Chair put the members in the picture about the up-coming extra meeting in the form of a monologue workshop which will be a joint exercise with actors from a Bedfordshire theatre who are looking for material to perform.
Other group business was discussed briefly before we got onto the main part of the evening which was an opportunity to showcase the individual scripts that the group members have been working on since we last held a free manuscript session. As ever, a good selection was on offer from Haiku through monologue, short stories and real-life experience to Chapters of work-in-progress of novels targeted at both children and adults. There is never any lack of variety and all pieces were well commented on.
There was, in fact, a marked improvement in the level of discussion of each piece since we had decided to do away with the clapping that had somehow become ubiquitous over the course of the past few meetings and tended to silence the comment needed to improve the standard of writing.
The Monologue Workshop will be held on Thursday 8th November and the next Group meeting will take place on 6th December when we will enjoy some seasonal treats along with our Christmas themed pieces. Both meetings will be held at the Biffa Room, St Mark’s and visitors are welcome to attend both events.
Meeting Thursday 4th October 2018
We had a good turnout for the October Meeting and in the absence of the Chair the running of the meeting was split between the vice-chair and the Treasurer.
Mention was made of the Christmas dinner that has been booked by the Treasurer and will be held at the Toby Carvery, Goldington Road on December 14th at 7,30. Please make bookings with the Treasurer.
There were three categories of work this month, the set exercise of “What I Did in my Holidays”, the war poems (that will accompany the poppy paintings at All Saints Church) and any other work outside these topics.
We began with the Holiday topic which had proved to be a popular exercise judging by the number pieces brought along, including one from a potential new member. The work presented was, as ever, varied but based, in the main, on real life experiences from UK, Egypt, Hong Kong and Germany to name but a few.
As the vice-chair had to leave at coffee time the reading of the war poems and stories plus any other work were overseen by the Treasurer to whom many thanks are due.
The next meeting of the Writers Group will be held on Thursday 1st November in the Biffa Room, St Mark’s Church, Calder Rise at the usual time of 7.30. There is no specific topic: bring a piece of your own choosing to read of around 1000 words. Visitors welcome.
Meeting Report for September 6th 2018
There was a good attendance at the un-themed September meeting and, as usual, a wide variety of work on offer for reading and discussion.
One member had brought her science fiction in book form, many congratulations were due on her persevering with such an enormous undertaking.
A vote was taken to select the new name for the group’s newsletter which is sent out promptly each month by the editor. By a large majority “Write On” won the vote. Many thanks to the person who suggested the winning title.
The theme of the next meeting is “What I did on my Holiday”. It is hoped that after the reading of the themed exercise, the war poems that will be accompanying art work from the Treasurer’s art group will be read before being sent on. Members who do not wish to take part in either exercise are welcome to bring their own work which, time permitting, can also be read.
Visitors are always welcome at our meetings and we look forward to another pleasant evening of the written word at our next gathering on the 4th October at the usual time and place.
Meeting held on the 2nd August 2018
We met this month still in the grips of a wonderful summer/dreadful heatwave depending on your point of view. The windows and doors of the Biffa Room were flung wide and we soon settled to hear the member’s contributions to our evening of dialogue. The point of the exercise being to tell a story without narrative.
Before we began the readings, our attention was drawn to the Bedford International writing Competition – last date for entries 30th September 2018. We were reminded not to enter anything that had been read at any of our meetings as some of the judges belong to our writing group. www.bedfordwritingcompetition for further details.
Our stories were, as is always the case, comprised of a wide variety of subjects to include a story for children, an hilarious story about a car journey with a child, an encounter on a bridge that may have ended in suicide but instead had a great twist, a stalking incident that ended in tragedy, a short tale of a clever scam, a very original conversation between farm animals and their mortality and other clever pieces that kept us well entertained through to close of meeting
We gather again on Thursday 6th September at 7.30 in the Biffa Room at St Marks Church, Calder Rise and hope to see as many of you as possible for an evening designation to the reading of member’s current work in any genre.
Meeting Thursday 5th July 2018
Another very good turnout for our meeting on this hot bright evening. The Chair began the meeting by welcoming everyone and mentioning a few points of interest, as follows.
The in club competition to name the newsletter. All suggestions can be sent via e mail to the committee or handed to a committee member or placed in the suggestion box. (see 2)
To make sure everyone has a chance to be heard with any suggestions or comments a suggestion box will be available (by the biscuit area) at every meeting. These suggestions can be placed in the box either with names or anonymously.
John Broadhouse in conjunction with Houghton Conquest Art Society has organised for poppies to be displayed in a remembrance day service. If any member of Bedford writers circle has a poem they would like to see displayed along with the poppies please send them directly to John or a member of the committee who will pass them on. The Chair stated that this is an extra activity and will not be one of the themes for our group but may be something that we as individuals would like to be involved in.
The next group of themes were mentioned but again these can change if a member has a particular idea or theme they would like to see explored. The themes are August 2nd Dialogue, sept 6th No theme, Oct 4th What you did on your holiday, Nov 1st No theme Dec 6th A Christmas poem and our last round robin will be read out in its entirety plus nibbles and cake.
The Evening then began as always with a selection of short stories, poetry and extracts of longer works. There was a large variety of topics covered for our delight, from sausage dogs on the rampage on Guernsey to talking Kingfishers on the Tiber to silky knickers and Bras on display. Every piece of work as always was greeted with much enthusiasm and no end of admiration and all feedback well presented fairly given and well received.
The evening ended promptly giving us all that well needed escape from the sauna like heat of the room and the still hot air of the carpark. (Sounds like the start of a good short story eh?)
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.