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Good Things Come in Small Packages

We were a very select group for our second read around of the summer. Perhaps holidays and ‘Granny-ing duties’ were the main reason for the small numbers. However, this meant there was more time for general discussion arising from the selection of pieces. For instance, from the two poems arose discussions on two topics: sleep disorders and memories of the trauma of the first day at school. Children are eased into school more sensitively these days, thank goodness.

We had a chapter from a young adult space adventure, which the author thought of as one of the boring bits of the novel. We disagreed. Certainly there was more internal than external action, but the chapter held our attention and moved the story forward successfully, while avoiding the dreaded ‘information dump.’ From another novel, this time for a slightly younger age-group, we had a similar vital, but non-action extract. We discussed the difficulty of drawing all the threads of the story together and having a satisfying ending, which links back to the beginning of a story. An adult novel came next, where the author introduced a very well-drawn antagonist. We discussed the puzzle of why ‘baddies’ are so much more interesting to write!

It seems that all this evening’s novelists use the ‘seat of the pants’ approach, rather than serious plotting. However, it helps to know where you’re going, even if you’re not entirely sure how to get there. Incidentally, if you Google ‘The Centre For Fiction’ – ‘To Plot or Not?’ there is an interesting article on the subject. (just saying)

Anyway, that was us. Perhaps when people return, sun-baked and refreshed, there will be more to join us for our next get together on July 5th.

Maggie Bolton


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