SEPTEMBER MEETING ROUND-UP

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We had another vibrant meeting on September 20th. They’re so lively and friendly, and I’m enjoying them very much!

We welcomed Val to our group. Val has written non-fiction and now that she’s retired would like to write her parents’ life stories, including about their emigration from Russia in the 1940’s. (Please correct me if I’ve erred with any details here, Val!)

Scrivener as a writing tool came up again. I use it for all my writing and love it. I hear that Microsoft Word is much better for writing long projects than it used to be, but for anyone who’d like to give it a try, you can download it from the Literature and Latte website. You can try it for 30-days free, but the software itself costs only USD$45, and comes with good help and support. There’s also a comprehensive and interactive tutorial, which takes a couple of hours to complete but is worthwhile working through.

At first, you might find Scrivener a bit overwhelming, but I’d urge you to try it for a couple of weeks before giving up. You can also return to the tutorial if you’re feeling confused. It takes a while to get used to, but once mastered, you don’t look back!

Margaret updated us in on how how challenging yet fulfilling she’s finding writing the life story of an indigenous lady. She described it as like doing a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces scattered, and in different boxes, and with bits missing, but isn’t that every booklength writing project?!

Ian Reid’s latest novel, ‘The Mind’s Own Place’, came up for discussion. Ian is a local writer and history professor, and you can read more about him and the inspiration for his book in this interview on Amanda Curtin’s blog.

Lynne T talked to us about how writers tend to read their own work somewhat ingloriously. We’re notoriously shy creatures and tend to avoid the spotlight, yet we’re also expected to read to audiences and pitch our work with confidence. I had the wonderful experience of hearing my words read by an actor, and I barely recognised them—they sounded so much better than what I’d written! Reading with confidence and expression can make a huge difference to the audience’s enjoyment, and to how much they hear and retain.

Lynne had some helpful vocal exercises and tips. I thought they were so helpful in fact, that I’ve roped her into giving tips to those of us willing to read aloud to the group at our next meeting. So, if you’re up for it, please bring a sample of your writing, just a couple of paragraphs or so, to read out at our next meeting. I promise we are always gentle and there will be no public humiliation. I’m sure the practice at reading aloud will be helpful in itself.

Once again, we discussed sharing our writing with other members of the group. This can be arranged privately, of course, but don’t forget I’m happy to read up to 25 pages at a time and give feedback. Please email me anytime.

Our next meeting will be on October 18th, 10am, at Mattie’s House, Allen Park, Kirkwood Road, Swanbourne. Please come along—with writing to read aloud!

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