At the beginning of January last year, we published the objectives for Chudleigh Writers’ Circle as a whole and for some of the individual members. Today, we take a look at how we got on during what can only be described as an extraordinary year.
Chudleigh Writers Circle
Our last face to face meeting was in February. By mid-March, many events were being cancelled, even before the official lock-down began. We investigated Zoom during April and have held regular monthly meetings that way since May. Once we sorted out the technology and the etiquette, it seems to have worked well for most of us, although there are one or two members who have decided to wait until we can have physical meetings once more. In September, a small group broke out of isolation and went on a socially-distanced walk on Dartmoor. This was well-received and prompted some great bits of writing.
Having decided after nine years to take a break from presenting the annual Chudleigh Literary Festival, we planned to hold a Literary Supper instead. The project was spearheaded by Margaret Barnes who had run a number of similar events very successfully when she lived in the Teign Valley. However, our plans were only at the rudimentary stage when the pandemic struck. So no Literary Supper so far.
Our second Joint Arts Project, in collaboration with local artists and photographers, was successfully completed and culminated in a fantastic presentation of the tryptics in November. We hope to share this with a wider audience as soon as the restrictions permit, but in the meantime, we are already planning a third project for sometime this year.
Between them, members of the group wrote vast quantities of words during the year and published five books, plus short stories, scripts and poems in a variety of outlets. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
“Surprisingly, I have managed to do many gigs further afield – because of the pandemic and therefore lots of poetry gigs have been transposed to being online (eg via zoom). This has meant that I have appeared and headlined at numerous gigs, normally based in places as far apart as Norfolk and New Zealand!
Though generally speaking it has been excruciating not doing live gigs… but we make the most of what we have!
I did a course in playwriting for radio but haven’t turned my hand to it, mainly because I am writing a novel by accident. Something which is taking up any spare time I have.
I am collating work on a new poetry collection, but this is slower than it would have been had I not begun writing a novel!
Same with a new solo multi-media show. I shelved plans for new anythings due to the virus and there being very little reason to get a new show together when I cannot perform it anywhere.
Having said all that, I had an actual real live gig with my band on Fri 18th December, which was a small miracle in these times.
I feel I have achieved a lot this year, despite everything! Much of my work has managed to transpose to online platforms. I miss playing live and going to festivals though. Nothing can replace that!”
“I think I originally set as my goal to have completed my first re-write of my novel. Not totally sure what I had in my mind by that but I rewrote the goal as completing my final edit by 31st December and achieved that. I have a writing buddy (who has been commenting on each chapter as I wrote them), and on 2nd January I will be setting out to post a complete finished draft to her—special delivery of course! The completeness of my editing will of course depend on any comments she might make.”
“I’d just like the opportunity of this round-up of 2020 news to thank everybody in CWC for taking me in, as it were, earlier this year. It’s all very well sitting in one’s garret busily writing but it’s also good to have some companionship and the ability to share with, and bounce ideas off, others.”
[And we are delighted that you gave us a second chance, Ian, even though we forgot to tell you when we cancelled what should have been your first meeting, in March, and you turned up to an empty room!]
“Objective 1: Write and produce 1 musical play. Outcome: A production of ‘Le Coq Au Vin’ was ready for performance but cancelled due to a very nasty bug going round.
Objective 2: Write a one act play. Outcome: Breaking the News (written in December 2019) was performed at The Ice Factory, Teignmouth in March 2020 (3 nights). A further performance at the Teignmouth & Dawlish One Act Play Festival was cancelled. It was also adapted as a radio play and is due to be recorded at some point by the Herne Little Theatre Players.
Objective 3: Develop knowledge of and skills associated with modulation. Outcome: This is a vast subject but I did make some headway.
Objective 4: Write at least 2 sketches. Outcome: I think I wrote 4 sketches, 2 of which were performed for the Chudleigh Cabaret Sauvignon.
Objective 5: Develop a revue. Outcome: I did put together a revue called Off the Cuff but again this has not yet come to anything due to ongoing situation.
Objective 6: Advertise my musical plays more effectively. Outcome: I developed a web-site to promote this material and placed an ongoing advert in amdram.co.uk which is distributed to the vast majority of amateur groups in this country. Frustratingly, it has generated very little interest.”
“At the beginning of 2020 I promised myself to embark on a mission to publish Heads, Hearts & Tails – A Distillery of Poetry and Stories, and I’m delighted to say I’ve done it! I’ve also been busy writing a Romantic Comedy called A Voice Full of Pebbles, and editing The Blood Runner, a crime thriller.”