A Bad Experience at the Writers’ Group

It’s not been going well. I’ve had a long hiatus and I can’t put my finger on why.  The novels all need masses of re-writing and it’s incredibly hard to get the motivation to start on them. My concentration is appalling. I don’t know where to go with the stories that I have written and that I think are worth sending out into the world.  Self-publish, blog, write a hundred letter’s to agents, publish electronically….

But I’ve plodded on with an idea for a murder mystery. I’ve enjoyed the complexities of the plotting: working out the false clues, the motive, the means, the real clues, the red herrings, the apparently impossible murder. I’ve enjoyed creating interesting, complex characters to drive the story. And I’ve pushed myself to write it – repeating ‘shitty first drafts’ to myself as I put pen to paper.

Rugby Writer’s group met this Monday, and I went along. Reading work aloud is incredibly valuable. Reading it aloud to an audience doubly so. So I decided to read the first scene, which is set in a jazz club, where the two main protagonists meet, chat briefly and kindle a small spark of attraction.  I’d tried hard to get sparky, compelling, realistic dialogue.  The hope was that the reader would like the characters and be intrigued – would they meet again?

But reading it aloud was dire. I had to stop. It wasn’t working. It might be that I can’t act, so I couldn’t give the voices distinction or emotion. Or – more likely – my precious dialogue was crap.  Maybe the main problem is that I’ve never experienced being chatted up in a raucous jazz and ska club myself…

So, the writing is about as bad as this attempt of mine to ice a birthday cake:-

phils birthday cake

On the good side, I had masses of fun writing a bit of backstory for a Dungeons and Dragons character. She is called Herina.  A friend read it and said, “Good, but why did you call her Hernia?”





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