So it’s nearly time to say goodbye to my posts showcasing the work of the Wentworth Writers but not before I share the work of three lovely ladies. (I’m tempted to rewrite that, actually, as one of the pieces is mine...) A big ‘thank you’ to Jacqueline Woods for waiting patiently while Hester and myself got ourselves together. So, here we are - three letters written in the style of Robert Pirosh’s famous Hollywood letter of application.
I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have loved putting it together. I think after this one has gone live I will revisit the first and read them all once again, together. If you would like to join us at Wentworth next year, details of how to book will be posted on NAWG’s shiny new website in due course. In the meantime, why not have a look at what else the organisation has to offer? Visit www.nawg.co.uk.
Our Letters (Part 3)
I like making things. I like sticky, gluey, messy things which leave crusty globs on the carpet and a skin-like film on my hands. I like delicate, intricate things which rest perfectly in my palm and come into existence slowly, reverently, without regard for the pressing demands of the day. I like childish things with vibrant colours and shapes as bold as the young faces which inspire me.
Above all, I like working with my hands and my mind aligned; harmonious in my quiet and gentle rhythm of creativity.
Please may I make something for you?
I have written and self-published a book of which I am very proud but hardly anyone has read..! (available HERE). It's only 99p on Kindle.
I’m still writing bits and pieces but my free time recently has been spent trying to build up two Etsy shops. One is aimed at writers and lovers of literature: Candelabracrafts.Etsy.com and the other at families with young kids: CandelabraFamily.Etsy.com. It’s hard going getting the views so do drop by for a browse...
If you have read this far then I can’t thank you enough. Goodbye for now from the Wentworth Writers.
Next time: - something with an Italian flavour...
[I’m now stressing that I haven’t put the word ‘parody’ to its correct use. Apparently a parody is ‘a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of writing’. The Pirosh letter is not at all serious but never mind. (It’s honestly really stressful writing about writers. I’m now fretting about the square brackets...)]
Anyway, read on and enjoy. First up is Yvonne. Make sure you read all the way down to Henry; he doesn't deserve to be at the bottom of anything other than a long drink!
Our Letters (Part 2)
I like eating. I like large squashy things like gateaux, trifles and fruit jellies. I like savoury aperitifs such as olives, small nibbles of pastry rich pates of game and mushroom, sharp compotes, of exotic fare on the tongue. I like Sunday dinners; roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, lamb with mint and rosemary, and pork with crisp salty crackling. All of which is served with roast potatoes; crispy crunchy outside but soft inside, and beautiful meat juice gravies.
I like cheese, butter, and full cream. Whipped, churned, goats, cow or alpaca. But most of all I like preparing quality food at the right price so that I can eat it; savouring each bite of my tasty platefuls.
Madam I am here, having eaten in fine restaurants, tavernas, cafes in Italy, France and Wales; to offer myself to you as the school cook. May I come over and offer you some of my temptations?
Frances A. Flint
I like trees. I especially like Willows as they hug the Earth around them and dip their leafy fingers in a passing stream. I like when I can snuggle in to their raised roots and curl up like a resident, gazing up through myriad branches and rest my eyes in cool green.
I also like upright trees, huggable trunks and spiral branches that invite me up in to the canopy, stepping high, past nests and tiny caves, a nod to my neighbours as I reach for the highest thinnest branch.
I like to walk in Forests, breathing with the Earth’s lungs.
I can see the wood for the trees.
May I take a walk in the woods for you?
I do love trees! I also love people and have spent most of my working life in mental health and wellbeing, learning about the myriad ways in which we all mess things up, push through the trouble, and come out the other side more resilient than before…then go and do the same thing again!!
I have a memory of being praised for a story I had written in my English class at school, which sparked a love of creating other worlds in my head, some of which I wrote down, some which have stayed as little escape planets for me to visit when needed. Over the years I have written lots of short stories, some shorter that they should be, or as they are known, unfinished.
I really enjoyed my weekend at Wentworth and never cease to be inspired by the tutors and fellow students, it is thrilling to hear the many different styles and imaginings.
Back home in Coventry I belong to the Writers Hub, run by our wonderful inspiration Jo Roberts, who never fails to encourage and enlighten.
I continue to dream and plot and plant the roots of stories that one day will bare fruit.
I am presently developing a freelance Mindfulness training business, and plan to use my Facebook page to write about wellbeing and story telling.
It’s just a baby now, so a fairly clean slate, but you can contact me at @franflint55
Frances A. Flint
[Date as postmark]
I like flying and aeroplanes. I like oily, wiry, stringy, canvassy, deafening, gale-force,
shiny, metallic, aerofoils. I like being windblown, smelling leather, being goggled, in cloud-torn
skies, winged, floating, banking, zooming, turning, soaring and diving. I like roaring, lifting,
sailing, thrusting, looping, making contrails, through cumulus, reaching the stratosphere. I also quite
like landing, safely.
May I be a pilot with your airline ?
(Name and address withheld)
As a child I was fascinated by insects, dinosaurs, books, aeroplanes, poetry and steam engines. Nothing changes! But since the 1990s I've had a passion for dragonflies, especially photographing them. I was involved in the Dragonfly Sanctuary, the Dragonfly Museum and the Dragonfly Project at Wicken Fen prior to joining the Board of Trustees of the British Dragonfly Society in 2006.
My paid career took me into telecomms and project management, but after 45 years I figured it was time to throw in the towel, so I retired in 2015 and started to renew my interest in writing, among other things. After taking a creative writing course in 2016 I now dabble in short stories and poetry and hope to self-publish my first book soon. Peterborough Writers’ Group and The National Association of Writers’ Groups are a great support and I have made many new friends, especially at Wentworth and the Festival at Warwick Uni.
Note from Editor: I really hope you’ve enjoyed this batch of letters and also finding out a little about the people behind the words. A hearty thank you to those who have participated so far. The next post will be the final one in this series so I suppose I had better dig out my letter. It will appear alongside the fabulous contribution by Jacky Pemberton and I am also hoping for Hester to pull her finger out (nudge, nudge).
In the meantime I am always hoping for new subscribers to my list for blog updates so please do fill out the box on the upper right hand side if you are interested. Each new subscriber keeps me going. I can be found on Facebook under many different guises but my writing page is @bmkeeling and my literary gift shop is @candelabracrafts.
When plotting a story, we are frequently advised not to rely too heavily on coincidence – the reader must not be cheated; he or she must be led, carefully yet often unwittingly, through a series of events which come together to form a plot. Said plot should, apparently, follow a generally accepted structure of crisis points, resolutions and thematic arcs. What we should not do is make our characters behave in an unbelievable way, stumble through coincidental events or allow something so outlandish to happen that the reader is alienated and throws down the book in disgust.
However... we have all heard stories (have we not?) of real-life events which would break these rules if incorporated into our fictitious plots. Clearly if the writing is of non-fiction then that is excellent news; it probably means that the subject matter we have chosen will make a rollicking read. Also, I am a firm believer that rules are made to be broken, in certain circumstances at least. I can think of many stories where ridiculously unbelievable things happen and, somehow, the writer manages to pull it off. Yet there are undoubtedly situations where using an event, or series of events, which occurred in real life in a fictitious piece just won’t work because the reader would be left saying that just wouldn’t happen. Whilst our response could justifiably be well, dear reader, it did! that just won’t cut it if it does not feel honest to the person you are trying to engage with.
I can recall a fair few training courses and writing workshops where, in group discussion, plot points have been shot down as being too unrealistic only for the writer to declare that it had in fact actually happened. It’s always interesting and it always makes me reflect, particularly as the past year has seen me writing and editing four non-fiction books about incredible, heroic, moving, dastardly and quite unbelievable events, a few of which would have been dismissed as absurd had they been incorporated into a work of fiction. By way of example, meet Henry Brown, a 19th century American slave who escaped to freedom – by post! After thirty three years of living his life in chains in Louisa County, Virginia, Henry claimed to have received a heavenly vision which told him to mail himself to a place where there were no slaves. Probably born of desperation, it is still completely bonkers and a truth which is, I think, stranger than much fiction (although I feel that I should point out that I am currently reading Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams).
The four volumes are packed with inspirational stories if you are looking for an idea for a piece of writing. Putting them together had my mind racing as I began to imagine how I would tell their stories or include them, disguised, within my own plot. Just make sure you don’t come up with something so crazy no one will believe you!!
Here’s hoping you had a great Christmas and that Santa brought you all of the books you asked for.
Happy New Year,
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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