I recently had the pleasure of being in invited to judge a writers’ club ghost story competition. The quality of the submitted stories was heart-warming. The effort and sheer hard work that so obviously went into every single entry just shone through.
I’m a big supporter of writing groups. They provide the opportunity to meet like-minded people and share support and encouragement with each other. Plus…you can have your work critiqued by fellow members.
And if you’re lucky, someone brings cake. Need I say more?
Next year the Nottingham Writers’ Club celebrates it’s 90th anniversary and continues to go from strength to strength with between 30 and 40 members covering a wide range of ages from early 20s to lively 80s.
Club spokesperson, Carol Bevitt explained, “The club has always had an ethos of encouragement and support to aid writers at any level to develop their writing skills, whether for publication or their own pleasure.
“Our meetings are a mix of speakers – fiction, non-fiction and useful skills; annual and regular competitions; read and write nights. We also have a practical session on a particular writing aspect, with discussions and exchanges of experiences. We have a manuscript reading session too, where constructive comment is encouraged.
“We produce a quarterly magazine, with competition results, interesting articles, members reporting back on workshops, conferences and talks they’ve attended, and reviews of speaker meetings with photos.”
Carol went on, “In December we combine our Christmas party with an Awards Night. Those placed 1st to 3rd in our bi-monthly poetry, and quarterly prose competitions receive book tokens, and the winners of the annual competitions take home a trophy which they hold until the next Awards Night when they receive a certificate as a permanent reminder of their win.”
Decisions…decisions as winners are selected!
A couple of years ago the organisers became aware of how many newer writers there were who didn’t enter competitions.
Carol said, “They didn’t think they were good enough or stood a chance against experienced writers. That led to us creating the Nottingham Writers’ Club National Short Story Competition; 2016 will be our third year.
“Our main specification is that entrants have not earned £300 or more from short story writing in the previous year, so this encourages a good mix of writers. Every year we have a tough job finalising the shortlist – there are some good writers developing out there, they just need a little encouragement and helpful suggestions.
“Every entrant receives comments from the readers. From the emails we’ve later received from entrants, these comments have encouraged them to carry on, and even look at their work again for rewriting.
“One of the 2015 entrants was delighted to be a runner-up, as they had never entered a competition before. Messages like this make the hard work involved, worthwhile.”
Popular short story writer, Patsy Collins, is judging the 2016 competition.
The winning entries from the 2015 competition, and the judge’s comments can be read here –
More information about the club can be found on the website – http://www.nottinghamwritersclub.org.uk/