Sunday, November 26, 2006

The usefulness of writers' groups

Those of you who read my last post won't be at all surprised to learn that I'm writing this one from my prison cell having been arrested for some sort of insider book trading. Actually, I don't mind. The food is pretty good, I can watch telly all day long (ha ha, Amanda) and I have use of a pc. In fact, I'm rather hopeful that this brief respite from the world of work and household responsibilities will help me overcome my writer's block and give me time to compose my best seller. Failing that, I shall take the opportunity to complete an MA in creative writing.

To that end, I have enrolled in HM's writers' group which meets every Tuesday in the well-stocked library, giving its members (a mix of warders and inmates - to encourage communication between parties - a bit like a mixed NHS ward) the opportunity to read out pieces of work they are working on and receive constructive criticism/feedback from other members of the group. This is particularly useful given the nature of some of the, er, shall we say, bold (hardened) personalities (criminals) who are not in the least bit afraid of speaking their mind.

If one is not working on a piece oneself, then one is given an assignment to complete before the next meeting. Last week the assignment was to write a 1000-word short story set in a hi-tech industrial complex with a trapeze artist as the main character and a pocket watch as some meaningful article within the story. I can't tell you here what I came up with as this is not a secure site (indeed, I understand from my colleagues that there is no such thing - and, frankly, they should know) and I wouldn't want to be plagiarised (though, believe me, that is not the worse thing that can happen to one in here), so I leave it to you to come up with your own ideas.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post, since joining the writers' group and being forced to write something (anything), and having the warm and loving support of my fellow writers (okay, Jane, you can put the baton down now, nice and gently, that's it - yes, I have written it exactly as you wanted me to, word for word), my writers' block has vanished and my formerly frozen fingers fly fleetingly across the keyboard.

So, as soon as I get out of here the first thing I'm going to do is join a writers' group on the outside and write my book - 'Bad Girls What Write Good'. Best seller or what?

(And yes, Jane, of course all proceeds will go to the Prison Officers' Benevolent Fund, as promised. Now, I think you'd better lock the door and get back on duty before the Governor notices you're missing.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...


You do need locking up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:48 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Is this what comes of leafing through lesbian literature, Annie?
I think I, too, need to be locked up if that's what it takes to return to writing!

6:14 pm  
Blogger India said...

(Dear, dear, dear. Poor Annie. It's a sign of her extreme delusional state that she thinks she's in prison, and those ladies in white coats are wardens....

Secure psyciatric unit. Nurses. That's all I'm saying.... )

9:24 am  
Blogger Annie said...

I don't get it, Anon. I mean, I get 'LOL' and 'ROFLOL', but I just don't get 'MAD'.

India - should you care to take the time to come and visit me some time, you'd see that the wardens do not wear white coats, more sort of dark blue boiler suits, and, Eva, never mind leafing through lesbian literature - get writing some - it's hotter than pot in here.

1:48 pm  

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