Colin told me about a writing group he’d come across. It’s held in one of the Cambridge University colleges on the four Saturdays in the middle of term, and is free to attend for any writers with at least a tenuous link to that college. I have a link to it through Colin, and I am writing a story, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Once I’d found the right room on the college campus, I met some of the other members, including another new one. After the introductions with tea and biscuits, we settled down for some writing talk. We each talked about what we were currently writing or had just written. My Stalked story was well received, which pleased me. We listened to some members reading out their work; I read out a poem written by another member.
We did a spot of free writing towards the end of the meeting, with various prompts to start us off. We could read these out or not. I used story cubes, getting a snake and a cauldron. We wrote for a while, and then I came to an appropriate end of my story, and decided I’d like to read it out. The others seemed to like it, and one member said he could see the scene vividly, and asked how much description I’d put in. I’d added some colours, smells and sounds to evoke an impression of the setting, but I didn’t describe it in huge detail, and I was delighted that it had worked. This, for me, is how description should be done in books: give the reader a starting point, and let them do all the work imagining it.
The next meeting is this Saturday, and I will be going back. In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of “stalking” to do.