Exercises, Meetings

THURSDAY 5th MAY AT THE HIDEAWAY – GROUP MEETING

Please give The Hideaway or Karen your orders, please.

Our task for this week is to write down words you associate with Spring, then using some of them write a story in 300 or fewer words about SPRING.

These are optional tasks so if you want to share some of your own work with the group for critique or advice then please bring it along.

members

CONDENSING YOUR WRITING

CADBURY CREAM EGG 300 WORDS THEN REDUCED TO 100 WORDS – MEMBERS WORK

Give Write By The Sea writers a topic and you can guarantee that they will all come up with something different. Had a great night Thursday at The Grand with our Cadbury’s Creme Egg Challenge. Three hundred words, which we then had to condense into one hundred. A good exercise; it makes you think about what can be left out and what can be said more succinctly.

Paul’s winning story had a definite touch of Lord Byron. Jane’s story was on a similar theme and was powerfully written in the second person. Avril, in the same vein, made us think about actually eating one of these things. New member Chris raised the tone with her informative piece about the history of Cadbury’s (which used to be Fry’s) creme eggs.

We don’t all like creme eggs but we did love Carol Grimes’s story about a children’s tea party and the resulting sugar rush. Maryanne kept us entertained with an account of two schoolgirls on an escapade (or should we say “eggscapade?)

Matthew conjured up a terrifying vision of Donald Trump about to tee off, wearing an Easter-egg themed outfit. It was never going to end well. Debby introduced us to the dear little character of Egg, who was anxiously awaiting purchase at a small supermarket in North Wales, as Easter Sunday approached. Jana’s gentle reflective story on the theme of forgiveness and generosity made us all reflect on the meaning of Eastertide.

Well done, Karen, for thinking up all these themes!

Cadbury’s Crème Egg by Maryanne

The glitter of slightly crinkled yellow, red and purple is bright. But not as bright as the thing inside is sweet. The recalling of this triggers a desire for saccharin within the brain that won’t be foiled by its outer tinsel-foil, but seeks gratification in the promise from within. Teeth, bite. Smooth milk chocolate, cracks.  A creamy sugar flow like lava, not glacier like mint, oozes into the mouth. An instant hit of fondant sweetness.  

But has this sumptuous, syrupiness stronger than honey overstepped the mark? What once we coveted for immediate satisfaction seen now as a quick shot of energy that just as quickly fades? 

Or is that the point? What do we want with long-term if we can be absorbed by the present? Hey, in the devouring IS the mindfulness, The here and now gloopiness of smearing the mixture around our tongues, along the walls of our cavernous mouths, no hollow-egg hollow-moment but one ripe to orgasmic, creamy, bursting?

Forgetting death by chocolate and remembering springtime. Sap rising, life birthing, and then the easter egg hunt to discover the brightly wrapped blisses peeping out from behind clumps of daffodils. But watch it. Don’t take more than your friend or you’ll turn as green as the grass before throwing up. It is an art to see how many or much you can keep inside, would taunt the older ones not yet turned to alcohol.   

Is it true that while these eggs can be vegan, their beef gelatine content was dangerous at the time of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), and that I and a friend had been expelled from school for eating some along with cheesecake in a café in town when we should have been in a lesson. And that, when castigated for taking the law of pleasure too much into our own hands – and laughing behind same hands in recollection of our mock-sensual rendition for our café audience, while still in our school uniforms, of consuming the silk-lined chocolate ovoids – had retorted. Pleasure is essential for our education. 

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The glitter of slightly crinkled yellow, red and purple is bright. But not as bright as the thing inside is sweet. The recalling of this triggers a desire for saccharin whose gratification unfoilable by its outer tinsel-foil, is promised within. Teeth, bite. Smooth milk chocolate, cracks.  A creamy sugar flow like lava, not glacier-like mint, oozes into the mouth. An instant hit of fondant sweetness.  

But if its sickliness oversteps the mark it still works for me as a symbol of when I consumed a forbidden ovoid at school and learnt that pleasure was an aspect of education.

Egg by Debby

To the casual observer, Egg No 88 (hereinafter referred to as “Egg”) was identical to other Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Some eggs were worth thousands of pounds to their purchasers. Others had white shells or tartan wrappers. Egg’s gold, red and purple foil was not a distinguishing feature. Sentience marked him out, something with which he was endowed as soon as two chocolate shells were clapped together. Where would life take him? Anywhere except America, where they preferred more sugar and less milk content. 

Egg’s journey from the Quaker-built town of Bournville was quite short. He reached his new home in late December, with time only for a fleeting glance at the slate heaps that loomed over the town before the driver dropped the pallet at the Spar, stamping the snow from his boots. 

Weeks passed. Times were hard. People had little money for frivolities. Valentine’s Day and Mothering Sunday came and went. On Holy Saturday, the local priest arrived, to buy Easter eggs for his young parishioners. Egg inched too late towards the front of the shelf. Pockets laden and with a cheery Diolch the priest left the shop. Without Egg. 

For left-over chocolate, the outlook was grim. “Rejects” were tossed into a basket with a red label.  Many ended up dented, the cavernous skip outside their final, smelly destination. As the shop opened for Easter Sunday, Egg glanced at his shelf companions; a large dark chocolate egg, three more crème eggs and a packet of mini eggs. Rather unprepossessing. 

A family walked in. “Dad, how could you have forgotten?  the children wailed. 

A hand-scooped Egg and his companions up. “You’re a lifesaver, “ the Dad beamed at the shop assistant, as Egg and his companions slid into the carrier bag. His short life had not been in vain. 


Egg in 100 words – Debby Jones

In his bright foil wrapping, it was impossible to discern what set Egg apart from the other Cadbury’s Crème Eggs.  

In freezing December, Egg caught a glimpse of the slate heaps that loomed over the town, before disappearing into his new home.

Money was tight here. At the back of the shelf, Egg was easily overlooked. Left-over chocolate had a grim future; handled carelessly, dented, destined for the cavernous skip outside. 

The Spar on Easter Sunday morning proved a lifesaver to holidaymakers who had left their eggs behind. Sliding into their carrier bag, Egg reflected that his life had not been in vain. 

The Cadbury’s Crème Egg by Paul

Oh, you tempting, teasing ellipse, clad in glistening hues of midnight blue, and glittering gold: and harlot scarlet. Your gorgeous, slightly crumpled gown clings to the perfect symmetry of your body beneath. The script running round your raiment is wrinkled as if by some unseemly haste in dressing; looking like a quizzical captcha. No robots here, though, just lustful human appetite!  

Your salivating ravisher, pausing only to stare in wonder at your perfection, with trembling fingers undresses you, you gaudy little flirt. An involuntary moan issues from their parted lips, as your apparel is torn asunder and cast aside to reveal your silken-smooth, gleaming brown skin. 

‘I want you; I want you now!’ Complains an impatient id, but super-rational super-ego admonishes: “wait, wait, take it slowly!” So, the first bite is self-denying, self-restrained; it does not even break the skin; but oh, the first heavenly pulse of liquid chocolate, oozing over the tongue and down the throat…  a pause, hungry eyes feast on your naked body. Your plump, curvaceous shape is etched with sinuous lines, like virgin tattoos on shy young skin. The pattern makes twin cartouches, one on each side, in which starbursts blaze. Your oval perfection now is marred by love bites, where your licentious exploiter seized their first glorious taste of your delights. Their heart beats quicker now, the panting lust swells and will be contained no longer. One libidinous snap removes your top, exposing luscious ivory and golden flesh beneath. The taste is divine, ambrosial – truly the food of the gods! Heedless of stains on fingers the greedy tongue plunders your delicious interior, the ravisher does not stop, not even when your chocolate skin is devoured, but greedily sucks each finger and thumb, until consummation is utterly complete. 

But…surely…murmurs Id, just one more won’t hurt.

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The Cadbury’s crème egg is an ovoid confection, 4.5 centimetres long. It weighs 35 grams. It is wrapped in a thin metal foil in the three primary colours. The writing ‘Crème Egg,’ along with the signature of ‘Cadbury’s’, due to wrapping practicalities, are distorted; the barcode on the thickest part of the egg – the Lilliputian ‘big-end’ if you will – is more legible. Unwrapped, the egg has a thick chocolate shell, inscribed with concentric oval lines, culminating in an asterisk on each side. The egg ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ are formed of vanilla-flavoured white and yellow fondant cream. A delicious small treat.

Miracle of Easter Eggs by Yana

Matthew is standing in front of the damaged door leading from their house to the back garden. Looking at the smashed glass panel, how could he make the situation easier for his parents when they would see what he had done?

To apologise for his hockey training would not be enough. Repeatedly apologising, with pouring tears, would irritate his father, but what about his mum? Matthew, glancing at the green garden decorated with daffodils and hyacinths, reminded him that Easter was fast approaching. A quick step to the drawer, picking up all of his cash, Matthew ran as fast as he could to the nearest convenience store.  Here you are! Just on the middle shelf he could see a display of Mum’s favourite chocolate – Cadbury’s Eggs. What a big choice! The boy decided take one in a pinky box, richly decorated with the words “Happy Easter to my dear Parents”, that is it! Without hesitation he grabbed it and ran back home.

Matthew’s heart beat faster, as he could see his father’s car on the driveway, so he casually walked into the house. Carrying his present in front of his chest, he appeared face to face with his parents. Their response was unexpectedly calm, so that made their boy more easy.

“I am very sorry for that, I so enjoy my training…”, bending his head down and passing the present to father.

“OK! Give it to your mum and just behave and be more careful next time! Any injury, you sportsman?”, said father with a frowning face.  While mum was taking her luxury egg from Matt, her eyes flooded with tears as did her son’s.

 —————————————————

Matthew is worried how to explain to his parents the problem of a damaged door, where he smashed the glass panel, within his hockey training. He made a quick step to his drawer, picked up his cash and ran quickly to the nearest store. On the middle shelf he could see Cadbury’s Eggs. Grabbed one, with sign “Happy Easter to my Parents.” When he arrived back home, he faced his parents.

“I am very sorry for that, I so enjoy my training…” bending his head, sad face, passing that present to father.

“OK! Give it to your mum and be more careful!” Mum took her luxury egg and her eyes flooded with tears.

 Cream egg by Carol

  When I was a child, I liked Marmite sandwiches – egg and cress, cheese, even fish paste. A salty, savoury child. The Cadburys creme egg is the polar opposite of Marmite. My son was born In 1967. Sitting with several children around a fifth birthday tea table, plates of sandwiches, biscuits, bourbons and party rings, trifle, angel delight and a cake in the wings with 5 candles for blowing. Happy birthday to you, tra, la, la. Chaos ensued, kids on sugar. Pass the parcel was a riot. I settled them down to watch The Clangers, cross-legged on the floor for a moment, whilst I scooped up wrapping paper, bread crusts and crumbs. There was a short-lived calm whilst Clangers entertained. It was an Easter birthday, and in a little bags, as a party gift, a glow stick and a Cadburys Creme Egg. Each child left with a face smeared with brown chocolate and Physcadelic yellow, glowing gloop. 

 There was one egg left, and once I had settled my hyper child into his bed, I had to try the chocolate egg. It set my teeth on edge, all of a judder. Inside the milk chocolate case, a gelatinous albumen wrapped around viscous yolk, dyed a violent yellow. My tongue revolted and curled up into the back of my throat as the glutinous contents slid down my throat. Sickly and cloying. I was sick. An ingredient list of sugar, corn syrup, high fructose, corn syrup, artificial colour, artificial flavour, calcium chloride with a dash of egg white. Not the healthiest sweet treat. This was the day I learned the results of a sugar rush. Too much sweet stuff and Children = mayhem. Me? I will stick to Marmite on toast. 

——————————————

 100 words

When I was a child I liked Marmite sandwiches  – egg and cress, even fish paste. A Cadburys creme egg is the opposite of Marmite. My first bite of one of these Glutinous eggs set my teeth on edge, all of a judder. My tongue revolted and curled up in disgust into the back of my throat. Inside the milk chocolate case, a gelatinous albumen wrapped around viscous yolk, dyed a violent yellow. Sickly and cloying. An ingredient list of sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colour, artificial flavour, calcium chloride with a dash of egg white. Not the healthiest sweet treat. The first time I ate one of these I was sick. Me?  I will stick to Marmite.

Jane Cottle March 2022

I hold you delicately in my fingers, tight enough to feel your firm outline but softly enough that my warmth doesn’t melt you.

Slowly I start to strip off your silver skin exposing the rich brown of your body and the filigree of lines that cover you.

I lift you to my nose and inhale that rich sweet scent as anticipation starts to build and saliva fills my mouth and gradually, I open my lips and hold the tip of you between them.

I feel you as you start to become soft as my lips caress you and the sweet taste blooms in my mouth as the excitement overwhelms me.

I cannot help myself and my teeth close on you like sharpened pincers and bite down hard.  I stop to look at what remains as I run that little piece of you around my mouth, delighting in the excitement of your flavour.

I have exposed you.  Now I can see your deliciousness.  Your soft white silkiness and your forbidden yellow core.  In one swift movement, I thrust my outstretched tongue deep inside you and drown in your sweetness, lapping and lapping at you like a starving creature.

Then suddenly it is all over.  The sweetness starts to cloy.  Your firm, brown body has become a distasteful slick on my hands. Your crème is no longer exciting and is now vaguely nauseating.  I push you away into a bin and seek hot water to wash my hands and cold water to wash my mouth.

My love affair has not lasted, and it is shown up to be mere infatuation. The anticipation was too much and the delivery too little.   Just as it was last Easter.    


A bit like marmite you either love them or hate them, I love them.

Want to try your hand at writing? Join Write By The Sea on 28th April at the Grand, 6.30 for 7. More details will follow soon.

All about us

ALL ABOUT US

To provide a safe, inclusive and constructive environment for local writers to share and discuss their work.

We meet twice a month on a Thursday evening at 6.00 pm, our venue for the group meetings is The Hideaway which opens just for us so as a thank you, we purchase drinks and food if required from the bar to consume during the evening. Our events are held in The Grand at 7pm.

Our group meeting includes a catch-up of all bookish news, competitions, events, submissions and writing-related opportunities. A group exercise is given by one of our members, which is normally a fun way to get your brain thinking about words, sentences and writing. A sharing of work for general discussion and constructive feedback for the writer. Planning for future events. There will also be a book swap at The Hideaway. 

We then have an event given by an author, illustrator, journalist, critic, poet, writer, publisher or anyone that is local to Folkestone and Kent in the book industry of some description. The talk is about an hour then we have a Q&A session for everyone to participate in. We have a day each week to meet and write, anyone can pop along to these, bring your notebook or laptop to get some words down.  

There is no charge for our events, everyone is welcome plus we are very friendly. Our members have produced two anthologies, which are available on Amazon. 

Our dream would be to build a community of ‘bookish’ people and offer Writing Retreats in Folkestone.

Exercises

HOLIDAY EXERCISE

I know sometimes the holidays can get a bit boring if you are on your own or not seeing many visitors or even just missing doing what you love…….writing!

I have an exercise for the ones that would like to do something creative, this is, as always, a choice so stay calm and just write. Even if you don’t have time to edit, that’s ok as you are writing and that’s what you love to do.

These three photos are the prompts so pick one of them and write something, this can be a story, poem or prose but no more than roughly 2,000 words.  If you are a planner of any sort could we see your planning when you read the story to us, this is optional but might give someone a helping hand or ideas of how they could plan a story. Or do you want to try planning? This is a good place to have a go, as I am sure we will have a good Q&A when we read the stories, which will be on the 13th January 2022.

For the illustrator’s, would you combine these photos for a book cover or just use one? Describe how you would go about doing a front cover using these pictures, you will have to make up the genre or title so we know how the cover goes with the story. 

Have fun, we look forward to reading some in the new year.

Meetings

CHRISTMAS BUFFET GET TOGETHER

On the 9th December from 6pm, we will be having our end-of-year celebration with a Christmas buffet. Everybody is welcome including partners and if you are thinking about joining the group then pop along and meet us all during a relaxed and friendly evening. There will be a nominal charge per person which Matt is working out from The Hideaway.

The members will each be writing a verse for a Christmas card which we will share during the evening.

Our two anthologies will be for sale, Ghosts By The Sea and Doorways To The Sea also if any members would like to bring a couple of their own books so others can see what they have done and buy them or get the link from yourselves then that would be great.

This will be a good time to get to know others from the group and maybe discuss any ideas for next year.

Karen

Meetings

EMOTIONS TASK

Our next group meeting is on the 4th November starting at 6pm for people to get a drink, network and eat, then we start the meeting about 6.45

Our topic for the evening is emotions, the task set by Andy will be to write about 100 words transferring from one emotion to another. If you use any books like the one above please bring them along to share with your work.

See you on the 4th.

Events

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH (NANOWRIMO)

For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a month-long writing challenge that takes place every year in November. The challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, which works out to about 1,666 words a day.

With such an intense daily word count, the idea is that you are solely focusing on getting that crappy first draft down on paper. No rewriting. No editing. Those are things that come later. For now, you just write the story. And, if you’re writing 50,000 words in a month, a lot of those words are going to be crappy. And that is okay. It’s good, even.

Word count

Prepare Your Writing Environment

Where will you write? How will you write?

Decide this now, before November gets into full swing, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

In the interest of speed, most NaNoers choose to type their manuscripts—there are a few brave souls who write longhand, but not many, the choice is yours and what you feel comfortable doing.

Set up your computer so that you have good ergonomics and aren’t risking carpal tunnel syndrome or other issues from typing so much in a harmful way. Review these great stretches for writers and take the time to use them every hour or so, or when you start and finish a writing session.

Try to find a calm, quiet place to do your writing. If possible, set up a dedicated writing nook so that you can psychologically get into the mindset to focus on your writing whenever you go there. It’ll help you get more done!

Prepare Your People

Prepping to do NaNo the right way isn’t just a matter of getting your space set up—you’ll also need to prepare the people in your life for the challenge you’re about to undertake.

Have a frank discussion with your family, close friends, and maybe even your boss or co-workers about what you’re planning.

Let them know that you may not be available as much as usual, and that you’ll need more advance warning of events and activities that they want you to participate in.

At work, try to plan ahead so that you have extra lead time for crucial projects and don’t drop the ball because you’re busy thinking about and writing your novel. Let your co-workers know that you won’t be joining them for lunch most days, but make plans to stay engaged.

Let your family know they’ll have to take on more for themselves this month—you might not be packing all the lunches, walking the dog, and vacuuming everything every day.

Some NaNoers have found that November is a great time to teach their families to contribute more around the house; by being clear about the need to write and treating NaNo like a job or other key responsibility, they’re able to get other members of the household to contribute more. After November, you can keep up that momentum and use the newfound time to edit your book or write another one! Never feel guilty about writing, use your passion to push ahead and do what you would like to do during November.

Do Your Pre-Writing Work

The timer for NaNoWriMo starts at midnight on November 1—but that doesn’t mean that you can’t prep for it in advance.

A lot of the work of writing a novel actually happens before you write the first word of prose.

That’s not breaking the rules—you’re not cheating by outlining and creating character maps, inspiration boards, etc. before November 1. You just can’t start writing the actual narrative until then.

What kinds of things can you prepare in advance?

  • Choosing a genre
  • Brainstorming and mind mapping ideas
  • Creating a general plot arc
  • Character profiles
    • Names, backstory, motivations, archetypes
  • Worldbuilding
    • Setting, time, place, charting any sci-fi or fantastical elements
  • Scene notes
    • What are some key scenes that you’ll need to write to get from Point A to Point Z?

You can also work on determining your ideal reader and how you’re going to meet reader expectations during this pre-writing phase, which will help when you’re editing, publishing, and marketing the book later.

Expand characters and explore their goals

Describing your characters might be the most important part of preparing for your month-long writing adventure. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Character is plot, plot is character.” Consider:

What do your characters look like?

What are they curious about?

What do they love? What breaks their heart?
What do they want? Why?

What is her core belief about herself?

What is his core belief about others?

What is her key fault?

What or who gets in the way of her getting what she wants?

Set the scene

Here are 5 tips to plan and link individual scenes to create structured story arcs:

  1. Start with what you want your scene to reveal (purpose) … 
  2. Decide conflicts or unknowns to plant in your scene. … 
  3. Think about who your scene will involve. … 
  4. Brainstorm further developments. … 
  5. Group scene ideas into larger units.

The average scene should be between 1,000 to 2,000 words.

Create conflict

Your Protagonist

  1. More than anything in the world, my protagonist wants:
  2. But he/she is afraid of:
  3. And his/her greatest weakness is (is it something like “falling in love too easily” or “crossbows”?):

Physical Antagonist
Complete this section if you have a physical antagonist.

More than anything in the world, my antagonist wants (this can be as simple as humiliating the protagonist or something a little more ambitious like world domination):

  1. My antagonist’s “beef” with the protagonist is:
  2. My antagonist is afraid of (long-haired bunnies?):
  3. His/her/its greatest weakness is:

Abstract Antagonist 
Complete this section if you have an abstract antagonist.

  1. The antagonist in my novel is not a living, breathing being. It is:
  2. If my protagonist does not battle against this antagonist, it will eventually (ruin his or her life or cause death?):
  3. My protagonist is battling against this antagonist by:

Outline your story

Are you a pantser or a plotter or combo platter? If you’re a pantser, you might think plots are the work of the devil, sent to make stories feel wooden and contrived. If you’re a plotter, you may wonder how anyone finishes a book without a detailed TripTik. For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, think about creating a loose outline: what strange and mysterious things will happen as your character seeks his fortune or the secrets of her past? As Ray Bradbury wrote, “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”

Set Challenges and Rewards

As you head towards your NaNo goals, you may find yourself slowing down at points, stuck on what comes next or just plain unmotivated to keep writing at such a crazy pace.

How do you get over the hump?

Set challenges and rewards!

Humans are naturally motivated by competition, so make meeting your word count a game.

Try doing a Word Sprint, either on your own or with a friend who’s also doing NaNoWriMo; you can even find sprint partners in the NaNo forums.

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Above all enjoy the month, have fun, meet fellow writers, join Facebook or Twitter groups, pop along to our weekly get-togethers, chill out when not writing, please do not get stressed about your number count as just writing is enough.