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Feedback Night – Wednesday 4th October 2023.

On Wednesday night, 17 intrepid souls braved the atrocious weather to attend our first feedback evening of the current season. This, for the uninitiated, is an evening where we can submit a piece of work, or an extract from a longer work, for the considered judgement of our fellow writers. You can remain anonymous if you wish, but as this is a time for constructive criticism, rather than death by a thousand cuts, most people are happy to own up.

Efficiently organised by our joint presidents, Linda and Carrie, we got down to work straight away – there was a lot to get through! In groups of four, we scrutinised, analysed and discussed our allotted pieces of work before presenting our joint findings to the rest of the room. The formula for criticism is simple – begin with the positives, mentioning what we appreciated in the piece, suggesting ways we thought it might be improved before adding any other comments or questions.

This evening’s selection of work was varied and interesting. We had poems, flash fiction, novel extracts, a short story that could be developed into something longer and an experiment in revealing character through dialogue alone.

I think all the contributors would agree that this is a useful way to develop a piece of work. You might want to know if the humour or pathos of your piece comes across as you intend, or if the characters’ nature is revealed by dialogue. Would it be best written in first or third person? Does the poem tell too much or not enough? Having someone else’s opinion is really helpful.

It was good to see so many new members taking part. Judging by their contributions, I think I can safely say that the club’s continued reputation for excellence is assur

Maggie Bolton

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