Hastings Writers’ Group

On 29 June we were extremely lucky to have the experienced journalist and author, Kathryn Flett, as the judge for our third competition of the year. She gave insightful and useful feedback to everyone, which included such points as: structure, research, opening sentences, writing style and tone, pace, clarity of purpose and target audience, working to tight word counts and deadlines, In addition, she generously gave an honest and revealing account of both her own career and the world of journalism in general. Kathryn then announced the winners: first was Elizabeth Allen’s ‘A Whole Planet of Possibilities’, which was both current and thought-provoking, closely followed by John Taylor’s warm-hearted piece with its excellent opening line, ‘Claim to Fame’. Third was the well-researched and informative ‘On the Trail of Grey Owl’ by Diana Lock. Rachel Marsh was fourth with the fresh and well-structured ‘Turning a Blind Eye’. In response to questions from the floor, Kathryn gave two invaluable pieces of advice on how to improve as a writer: to be edited by someone who knows what they’re doing and to keep exercising your ‘writing muscle’. Her new novel, ‘Outstanding’, published by Quercus, is out this Autumn.

On 13 July, members read out their monologues, to be judged by local writer, director and script editor, Christine Harmar-Brown. There were 19 entries in this, our fourth competition of the year, which ranged from the dark and gritty the to the light and fluffy and which explored a variety of topicss, including domestic abuse, heroin addiction and taxidermy. We heard the voices of characters as diverse as an ageing dominatrix called Madame Solitaire and the Madonna. We visited a truck in Calais, the ‘Titanic’, the pages of Wikipedia and a diary, a villa in the Gulf and contemplated a range of activities, such as school cap wearing, visiting hospital patients, attacks in dark alleys and preparing for Armageddon. We look forward to the judge’s feedback on 10 August.

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