Thursday, 16 December 2010


Nelli and I went to Renegade Writers in Stoke last night and as always it was an interesting evening. Only Jan had anything to read: she’d brought two stories.

The first (which she read) entitled ‘Bridal Bouquet’ was set during the latter stages of the war in 1945 and was a retelling of events drawn from her own family history. It was quite a moving love story and as such needed a more studied pace...a little more space to breath. Perhaps the problem is that Jan is so intent on meeting the length stipulations of the various publishers she is pitching her stories to that she forgets that the stories have needs too and some tales just aren’t capable of being condensed. I hope she brings the story back to the group though, I think it has real potential.

Her second story ‘Otter Burn’ (which was read by Sandy) I think exemplified this tail wagging dog syndrome. Jan had taken a complex story of 6,000 words and tried to précis it to 1,600, keeping some of the subtleties of the tale intact as she did so. It didn’t work but then to tell a complex story, imbue the multiple characters with ‘character’ and to have a pay–off replete with pagan imagery and to do all this in 1,600 words is a nigh-on impossible task. Better I think to have the story at its natural length and wait for a publisher rather than trying to force the issue. Then it would be tale wagging dog!

Sandy Auden made a great announcement: her graphic novel (working title ‘Double-Edged Sword’) has been taken by Accent Comics as part of their Cursed and Blessed Series. The book will be out at the end of 2011. Everyone was delighted for Sandy and although I have been told to be light on what I blog I’ve a feeling, from what Sandy told us, that it’s going to be a blinder. Well done, Sandy!

This led naturally onto a discussion as to how superheroes and their ilk get their powers. Of course, in my humble opinion the master of this was Philip Jose Farmer and his Bole Newton meteor. Well worth checking out.

It’s the Renegade’s Xmas bash next week so if there are any writers (would be or otherwise) who want to mix and mingle we’ll be at the Jolly Potters pub, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent on Wednesday 22nd from 7:30 pm. See you there.


  1. Hi Rod,

    Just wanted to say thanks to you for your support and feedback last night. You all gave me lots to think about and I've already re-written the story! A new improved version I think - thanks to the inspiration you all gave me.
    Oh, and that really good idea that you said had never been done before - I think you should do it, it's a corker!

  2. Sandy, I was two glasses of red wine in. I can't even remember what the idea was. remind me at the next Renegades. Anyway...have a great time of the pist!

    Best Rod