Caerleon Calling..!

Well, as promised, here I am at Writers’ Holiday in Caerleon in sunny South Wales!

I am feeling a bit ‘punch-drunk’, I must admit. I’m still reeling – and tired – from Saturday’s completely mad Poetry Relay (more about that here). My pigeon – I just found out today – was first back to its loft in Birmingham (yes, the pigeon that I was convinced would get lost!). That’s exciting but does mean that I’ll have to change the first couple of lines of my poem, as it currently starts, ‘As the relay reaches number four, I’m taking on the baton…. ‘(baton rather nicely rhyming with ‘Hatton’, which was my location).

Anyway, I will blog more about that later, once the map is up on the website. Apparently there’s going to be a button on each location on the map and when you click on it, you’ll be able to hear each poet reading their poem! (eek!)

Last night, after a (hot) two-hour drive to Wales, Chris and I ran our ‘Book Quiz’ at 9.30pm. Slight panic when we arrived in the room (many of the 71 contestants were already there, seated and ready to go) and.. there was no microphone! But we got one in the end and off we went. It was good fun. I should have taken a photo to show you but we were too busy being ‘Quiz Misses’ (and downing some much-needed Mateus Rose). The winners were ‘The Laptop Ladies’, who got 66 out of 80. Well done to them!

If you want an idea of the kind of questions we asked, here goes: (scroll down for the answers)
– In what year was the News of The World founded?
– What was the real name of the writer of Animal Farm?
– In Harry Potter, what do wizards call ‘ordinary’, non-wizarding folk?
– Kate and William have recently visited Prince Edward Island. What famous children’s book is set on that island?
– From what play do the lines ‘A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!’ come?

We started our course with writer Sue Moorcroft this morning. (‘The Trickier Bits of Fiction’). One of the first things she told us was that “fiction is all about character. If you’re not getting the characters right, you’re not getting anything right.” I agree!

She also stressed the importance of thinking about the genre you’re writing in before you get started. I’d never considered that before but in fiction, you should be trying to give your reader a satisfactory ending. If you’re writing a romance, then the reader wants – and expects – a happy ending and that’s what you need to be working towards. However, if you’re writing horror, a satisfactory ending for the reader might well be “someone being eaten, very slowly.” (to quote Ms Moorcroft!).

It’s time for a cup of coffee I think! (Otherwise I will be tempted to go for a snooze). I’ll be back soon!

And don’t forget – the Mini Saga Competition ends at midnight tomorrow, 26th July! Get those entries in. We are waiting with baited breath…!

Answers to the mini-quiz: 1843; Eric Blair (ie: George Orwell’s real name); Muggles; Anne of Green Gables; Shakespeare’s Richard III.

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3 Responses to Caerleon Calling..!

  1. I’m amazed you have time to blog with all that going on!

  2. Elaine says:

    Thank you for organising the quiz Helen. I’m one of the winning ‘ladies with laptops’ and the quiz set us up for a fantastice week – in fact I’m writing this on Friday night at the Caerleon Campus as we stayed over for an extra night. It’s very quiet!
    We enjoyed the wine!

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