Our writer’s group recently had a mini-competition. We all wrote a piece on the same subject, read them all out, not knowing whose work was whose – except of course we did. Many of us now have a distinctive style and I have to thank the group for this gift. Before, I wrote all kinds of stuff in all kinds of styles. But now through the group’s encouragement and insightful critiquing I now know my style, what I like to write and why I write what I write – and believe me that’s a gift that keeps on giving. (Is that a cliché?).
I also have to thank Graham Greene, who has helped me crystallize what I am trying to achieve with my writing. To distinguish his serious works from his other work he called them ‘entertainments’ such as The Ministry of Fear and Stamboul Train; that word switched a light on in my brain (another cliché?). That word is now my ‘brief’ every time I start a story. I write 500/600-word fiction with the emotional depth of a raindrop,but hopefully enough to raise a smile and book a short stay in the reader’s memory.
Now of course my mission is to try and get better and hopefully nudge past average. All of us in this group are striving to achieve our own personal goals and because of this group confidence is high; apart from of a night in with Inspector Montalbano, these Saturday mornings are the highlight of my week.