Saturday, June 14, 2014

Christina Hollis - Creative Writing, Chapter and....Prose

Hard at Work...(with biscuits)
Last year, the Romantic Novelists' Association awarded each of its local chapters £100 (around $168) to be spent on a constructive writing project of their choice. I'm a member of the RNA's Marcher Chapter, which covers the border country between England and Wales. We put our heads together, and decided to use our windfall to fund a day-long, fully catered creative writing workshop for our members.

We held Be A Fool For Love For A Day on the day closest to April Fool's Day that we could book at our favourite venue, the slick Hereford Courtyard arts venue.  The photo shows (clockwise, from bottom left) Fay Wentworth, Georgia Hill, Christina Courtenay, Joanna Maitland, Marilyn Rodwell and organizer, Ann Ankers, in mid-session.
My Current Release
A month in advance, we each submitted up to ten pages of a current project to our organizer, Ann Ankers. You can read part of my extract on my blog, by clicking here. Ann collated the entries into one document, removing our names and giving each entry a unique identifier. Members then read and critiqued every entry (including their own) before reading out their thoughts on each piece in turn during the day of the workshop. We then discussed them individually, in depth. This system worked really well, especially as everyone stuck to the ratio of three stars to one strike. That means, three good points were highlighted for every piece of constructive criticism given. The whole day was a really positive experience, and everyone went away full of ideas.

Last Tuesday, 10th June, we had a follow-up meeting. Everyone's made great progress with their projects and several (including me!) had completed their featured projects and submitted them to publishers.  Our first workshop proved such a success we're now planning a second one, to be held later this year. That's given us all a big incentive to start work on new projects.

Are you a member of a critique group? What's the most useful piece of advice you've been given?

Christina Hollis writes both contemporary and historical fiction - when she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping. You can catch up with her at, on Twitter and Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at

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