Committed writers dedicated to working together to produce excellent poems, short stories, drama, life writing, and creative non-fiction

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Sheila 01823 67 28 46

Valerie 01884 84 04 22

Friday 26 June 2015


W ords
R un helter-skelter round my brain like eager raindrops that
I nvade the dried-up wells of subliminal id.
T hey gather, rise and overspill, subsiding as they diffuse
I n myriad rivulets across the fractured channels of reflection to
N ourish, quench and be siphoned up at last into a 
G roundburst of breathless cohesion.

© Sheila Rogers
All rights reserved

Wednesday 17 June 2015


Word, the first intelligible sound attached to thought;
Resonating in an empty, starry universe.
Interpretation is followed by misunderstanding.
Telling stories, tales of woe and heroism,
Invoking shared human experience and recognition,
Numinous of message and meaning; writing,
Guardian of thought energy in the quest for clarity.

© Valerie Taylor 
All rights reserved

Highway Code

Writing should
Really be
Immeasurably easier
Than going to work
Insofar as it does
Not involve
Getting stuck in traffic jams.

Words, though, get         
Really snarled up
In bad tempered
Tailbacks and contraflows;
Increased confabulation and
Narrowed thought become
Gridlocked in extended metaphor.

What a bore!
Pull a sickie

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

Insert Yourself

Writing is predictable, or unexpected
risky or safe. But super risky writing
is the original, vulnerable work of the edges;
That’s the interaction that makes it valuable.
It says something we didn't already know;
new truth is not something we’d have
guessed, you were about to say. It surprises us.

© Sophia Roberts
All rights reserved

Tuesday 9 June 2015

The Map

‘Is this the way?’ I asked.

She shrugged. ‘The roads are dark.
Many a hobgoblin waits to trip you up
and wolves with hungry eyes
will search for prey.’

‘Have you a map?’

Her enigmatic smile,
‘that you must forge yourself
along the path of life.’ 

© Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved

Getting there

Embedded memories direct her course
from home to work to town to friends;
spot place and time
what’s where and when.
Some days, an intruder -
the feathered Image Tangler -
alights in the shadows of her
to peck, fret, fray,
before flitting with her lucid maps,
to leave her nearly-knowing.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved

Wednesday 27 May 2015

The Secrets of the Deep

No lines, no contours mark the ways 
among the roaming mountains 
 'neath the 
 where ceaseless 
 glide and hunt in silent 
 that shun the ritual 
 of human sway.

No maps, no beacons, 
no left 
or right or wrong, 
no precious 
laws disturb 
God's dark 
kingdoms of the deep.

© Shelia Rogers
All rights reserved

Monday 11 May 2015


Courtship was blissful, wedding preparations harmonious and the sun shone as confetti was thrown.  Later, the speeches were witty, the wine flowed and guests danced.

Then, driving to the honeymoon hotel, they met a roundabout. 

“Which exit?” he snapped.

She proffered the map which was flapped away.

The skies darkened.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

Factory Ship

Ghostly silhouettes
stand, wait at first light,

for a smouldering apparition
for a wraith on the tide,
for a chimney to rise;

for a breath of smoke
to smudge at,

to erase, to displace
the remains of this night.

© Emma Rich
All rights reserved

Misremembering a life

Rumpled dark blue sheets,
a perfect cup of tea.

A bouquet of Tiger lilies on his desk;
her hands knitting whilst she listened to the BBC.

A pair of dark glasses,
Rachel’s slow smile.

A series of photographs;
disconnected short films,

The failure of false maps;
their loss in transmission;

© Sophia Roberts
All rights reserved

Thursday 23 April 2015

First Kiss

We rose at dawn to hear nightingales
upon the undercliff.  Old Man’s Beard
and brambles tangled the narrow track
and light and shadow played across our skin.

Jonny was gentle with rough hands,
a thatcher like his Dad.
I was fourteen, still dreaming
of a charming prince to wake me
from my rural sleep.

© Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved

Wednesday 15 April 2015

First Kiss

Her hair was cut severely – and hadn’t changed since early days of motherhood; although his profile spoke of sports, clearly he frequented Greggs.

They dined at the Taj Mahal. 

When they kissed afterwards, she tasted of mouthwash, he of extra strong mints.  Blood sang and they gasped, groaned and grinned.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

First Kiss

I kissed the wall,
cool and flat;

though I burrowed into
my imagination,
senses and dreams.

He took me to see Ben Hur
that winter, when the
snow froze and glinted
in the car headlights,
cracking under foot.

He jammed his lips hard on mine.

I was disappointed.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved

Her first kiss

After forty days voyaging into the light
I knew the touch of a mother’s wing, brushing my face.
She opened her heart, offered a breast.

Eighty years pass; she begins her journey into darkness.
My parted lips, soft with sorrow’s breath, linger on her cooling flesh -

my last kiss

© Sophia Roberts
All rights reserved

Saturday 4 April 2015


Interesting link, here:  What It Takes: The Second Draft (Is Not a Draft)

So what are the beginning, middle and end of Editing? How do you complete THE SECOND DRAFT THAT ISN’T A DRAFT?

Well, I’ve spent the last six months or so at to explain what it is editors do. And the website is the basis of my upcoming book The Story Grid: What Good EditorsKnow, which is just about to go to the printer.

It would be terrific if you bought a copy, but you don’t have to. Everything you need to know about editing is free at Really.

But to answer the above question simply:

The beginning of editing is creating a Story Grid Spreadsheet.

The middle of editing is creating a Foolscap Global Story Grid.

And the end of editing is putting together the Spreadsheet and the Foolscap Page into a complete Story Grid for your first draft.

Once you’ve finished Editing or THE SECOND DRAFT THAT ISN’T A DRAFT, you will have a clear understanding of what you’ll need to do in the drafts to come. You will not fear these drafts. Rather you will be re-energized to tackle the obvious problems in your first draft with vim and vigor.

You’ll have that confidence because you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to do to fix the problems and you’ll have a strategy to get that work done.

That is what THE SECOND DRAFT THAT IS NOT A DRAFT is all about.

What It Takes: The Second Draft (Is Not a Draft)

Wednesday 1 April 2015


Just in from work, still going on the 'phone.
Two young-ish daughters, always hungry, whine and moan.
He parks the car, uptight to kitchen sills;
Comes in to kiss us all and open bills.
Sub- village life's the same as in the 'burbs:
We work and live and love in equal thirds.

© Isabel Hare
All rights reserved

Claygate 1954

Bowler hats and brollies on the 7.42,
(Hinchley Wood, Clapham, Waterloo)

privet-packaged houses, net curtains a-twitch,
shanks pony for the hoi-polloi, Bentleys for the rich'

Sunday allotments, cabbages and beans,
Morris men outside the Swan, cricket on the green,

"Rag 'n' Bones!" on Tuesdays, bobby on the beat,
 sweets from the corner shop - Saturday treat! 

© Sheila Rogers
All rights reserved


'Suburbia shines like sweat on you,’

he sneered. ‘Your Daddy
is a middle manager. You look the part
but you are petty bourgeois to your core.
We’re through.’

He walked.

I sighed.

I didn’t say, ‘the chip upon your shoulder
bleeds. You’re on a path
to self-destruct and I

© Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved

Wednesday 25 March 2015


1982 - 1986

Yes, I lived in Metroland.

Rarely catching the clattering train
to Baker Street,
Instead, I sleuthed for shards
of uniqueness in neon lit,
merrie England villas
that bordered the careful park,
Drank Benskins in a smoky pub,
sought god in a redbrick church

And failed to find what I was looking for.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved


Through blind
wet windows,
a mist of lace;
identical houses
suspended in
the weightless world
of silken advertising.

Nails climb
pebble dash walls.

Key in the door.
A routine cranks
into operation.

Rules of behaviour
iron into compressed flesh.

Valium melts
in the throat.

Do not offend.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved

Alter ego

To live swathed by the textured
cloak of heritage.
Secure and sure.
Known to all
but one’s self.


To favour a consummation of life,
inter-twining the gossamer weft
of daily happenstance
with the warp thread of entity:
as ephemeral a dance
as motes on a sunbeam.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved


 Dear Angela,

Thank you for the party. It was fun - sometimes - but we shan't come again. Democracy: Where was she born? Well, now she's gone - but that's all Greek to you. So we're going it alone. Don't worry, we'll pay you back one day - and how!

Good luck! You'll need it. (No longer) Yours.

© Sheila Rogers
All rights reserved

Beyond Words

Resolution Resorts inc™

“Beyond Words”

Mission Statement:

Our passion is to provide
the premier, paradigm shifting,
in-resort vacation experience
on the North Somerset Heritage Coast
centred around both visitor and professional

We are committed to achieving synergies
through boutique rooming,
“fine” dining
and indulgent spa treatments,
making your stay with us truly
“Beyond words”.

*Terms and conditions apply

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Breaking news

Middle-class cocoon,
listening to Radio 4.

she announced.
Curious word?

Distant tropical sea-bed
arched by subterranean quake,
water wall avalanche
erupts on halcyon shores,
wielding drowned destruction.

Unfathomable loss:
more women than men,
more children still.
Ship beached miles inland,
incongruous in memoriam.

Laundry stashed, fragrant,
in airing cupboard.

© Helen McIntosh
All rights reserved

Thursday 15 January 2015

“Where were you when?”

Where were you when
I fell out of my pram?
It was a Princess Windsor II
I'm told,
later used to dam
the stream where
ten spine Sticklebacks swam.
And later still a go-cart,
then renovated for your grand kids.
Where are you now?
On a tablet in the garden
of remembrance.

© William Botley
All rights reserved


Where were you when you started to think
About Freedom and Brotherly Love?
About which is mightier, pen or gun,
In a suburban neighbourhood?

Where were you when you felt the divide,
When horror felt too near?
When political expression was polarised
Between penmanship and fear?

© Isabel Hare
All rights reserved

the David Lean Rule

a follow-up (and closely related) to last week’s The Clothesline Method.

“Here’s the David Lean Rule, as I would state it, for my own benefit as a writer or for anyone else:

In addition to thinking of a narrative in terms of Act One/Act Two/Act Three, think of it as eight to twelve sequences or sections.

I use this all the time. It’s extremely helpful, I’ve found, with long-form material like novels or full-length non-fiction. Why? Because the Three Act concept of organizing a narrative doesn’t always work with something that’s really lo-o-o-ng.

Three-act structure, remember, was developed for plays, for dramas presented on stage, and for movies—in other words for works that would be taken in by the audience at a single sitting. A play or a movie takes ninety minutes, at most a couple of hours. We in the audience have no trouble remembering, as we’re watching Act Three, some set-up scene or moment from Act One. Three-act structure works. It abets and reinforces the narrative’s momentum. Act One hooks us, Act Two builds the tension and complications, Act Three delivers the payoff.

But a 500-page novel doesn’t work like that. We may take a month to read such a weighty tome. We’ll pick it up at bedtime, read 60 pages, then not touch it again for a week. Three-act structure doesn’t always work in this case because the narrative is not designed to be consumed in one sitting. By the time we hit page 396, we’ve forgotten key characters and moments that were introduced on page 21. And even if we do still remember them, the momentum of the story has been lost because so much time has passed. We, the readers, have to reconstitute it by act of memory at each new sitting.

The David Lean Rule comes in really handy here. If we as writers build our narrative out of eight to twelve sequences or sections, each one of which is more or less free-standing (and possesses its own cohesion and story momentum), the reader can pick up the book and be back into the flow right away.

Another big plus, in my opinion, is that thinking in sequences, as David Lean would, gives a story a classic, old-fashioned feel, like Lean’s movies. I like that. It’s old time storytelling.”

Read more, here: the David Lean Rule

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Where were you?

If you can remember the sixties you weren’t there – Robin Williams

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
- much too early for me.


was this when
every life became
‘a brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game’?

I don’t know.

At boarding schools
‘til nineteen seventy-six
more games were lost than won
- fewer bouquets than bricks.

© Tim Scott
All rights reserved

Where were you when….?

Grey figures shoulder
the bullet dark coffin,
feet shuffle, bagpipes moan.

The screen's blue light
flickers on their silent faces;
students, future teachers
bridging a dying empire,
to mould the new world.

The man with the voice which
resonated in their parents’ hearts.

© Valerie Taylor
All rights reserved

Where Were You?

I cannot find you
as snow falls deep,
blanketing and blanking out
your grave.

Where shall I place
the bright poinsettia
you loved so much -
always had at Christmas
cheering the house?

Frozen tears of snowflakes kiss my cheeks.
I was lost to you so long ago.
How can you find me now?

© Gill Dunstan
All rights reserved


clock striking midnight
wind howling cold
strangely re-lived
now Im old

bells ringing loudly
deep hollow tone
clouds moving quickly 
dark cutting moan

entering the tunnel
lights at the end
riding the water
pushing past cold

life in my lungs
breathing in air
hopes in the future
that youre there

© Liz Redfern
All rights reserved

When I needed you most

Abandoned, marooned,
pacing dusty footprints by moonlight,
listening to that song, on continuous loop,
all summer;

that summer
spent watching, as a world stopped turning,
the light dimming, daylight
slipping from my window.

What did you

Who were you

Did they remind you
of me?

Where were you?

© Sophia Roberts
All rights reserved

Where were you?

When the sun came up But sunlight waned
and flooded the plains gave way to rain
when the grass was green birds scattered grass withered
so green and died.

we sang to the birds I called your name
they tweeted back it echoed in vain.
- Remember? Where were you then when 
I cried?
@ Sheila Rogers
All rights reserved

Christmas Eve

"Mince pie, glass of sherry and we mustn't forget the carrot for Rudolph, eh boys? There we are. Now, off to bed and straight to sleep or he won't come."

"You too?"

"Yes, us too."

"Poor old fogies. You'd think somebody'd have told them by now, wouldn't you?"

"Na, they'll believe anything."

@ Sheila Rogers
All rights reserved

Wednesday 7 January 2015

The Clothesline Method

Great idea here for writing a narrative:

"I’m just starting a new novel, trying to figure out the shape of the damn thing. Here’s a trick I use that might help you too. I call it the Clothesline Method.

The line starts out empty.

Then you hang the shirts and towels and underwear (the scenes and sequences) on it.

I aim for between eight and twelve.

Sometimes I’ll actually draw a clothesline on a piece of paper (yellow foolscap, my fave) and sketch in a dozen or so squares hanging beneath.

What I love about this method is it’s simple and it’s dumb. It takes all the preciousness out of the process. And it eliminates a lot of the fear. How hard is it to hang a dozen dresses, sheets, and pairs of blue jeans on a line?

Read more at Writing Wednesday

Saturday 3 January 2015

50 words on “Xmas Eve”

Young man
As a magistrate
this Xmas tide
I think all families
should together
so I’m going to give you
twenty eight days
then you’ll all
be together

© William Botley
All rights reserved