Newsletter Issue No. 3 – March/April 2012

Introductory note

It is said that the spider”s web is symbolic of an act of pure creation. With great precision and attention to detail, the spider weaves its web with care and dedication, each as perfect as the last. March and the beginning of April having been characterized with a focus on the skill of a writer, individuals have surely gone away from our meetings with better insight on the creative act. Let”s hope that writers weave this acquired knowledge into their current literary works!

Chill/Dehxa Competition Results

Monday 5th March marked the much-awaited day of competition results. The competition with the theme Chill/Dehxa – open solely to members of The Writers Club, had its last entry on Saturday 31st December. All identification was removed from each entry, assigned an entry number, and emailed to the judges. The judges Adrian Grima, Anton Grasso, and George Peresso having read all eight entries, written down, and finalized the results, emailed us back their feedback and decision. Submissions were reviewed on the following criteria:
– Creativity
– Originality
– Use of language
– Grammar
– Incorporation of theme in literary work
– Quality of work

Each criterion was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 and judges had the possibility of commenting on each separate criterion, and also to add a general comment at the end.

Ivan Xuereb up first with the short story “My Death will Set you Back” was awarded a Da Vinci Large leather journal and a Parker IM Black Gold Trim Rollerball Pen, with “The Writers Club” embossed on each. Ivan was also given the opportunity of writing a short literary work on social marginalization which would then be produced in a short video clip and reviewed online.

Alana Attard was runner up with the short story “Scent” and was awarded a Romano Italian leather journal.

Both stories marked the beginning of the open reading Fountain of Imagination.

Go Slow on that Defense!

The painter produces paintings, the sculptor sculpture, and the writer literary works. All artists, with their production lying at heart, tend to be defensive to criticism directed at their works. Albeit understandable to some extent, this reality is also a pity, keeping in mind that although praise affirms that the artist is on the right track, it is via criticism that the artist grows.

Dr Roberta Zahra de Domenico, registered clinical psychologist and current president of the Maltese Psychological Association, talked to us about the skill of giving and receiving feedback.

Two pieces of advice directed to the person giving feedback:

1. It is like a sandwich – you start with the positive, comment on the negative, and end on the positive, if possible.
2. Be specific! General comments are useless.
e.g. – “I like the part where you _______” rather than “I think it”s great!”

And some advice for the receiver: “Listen, understand, and discuss.”

The meeting continued with writers reading out their work and obtaining feedback as a means of practicing their skill of giving and receiving feedback.

C is for Creativity

– Tuesday, 20th March
Initially intended as a writing workshop, C is for Creativity developed into an evening in which writers read out and gave feedback and criticism on each other”s works upon unanimous agreement.

Sometimes even a spider needs a few flies to break its web to improve it!

Fountain of Imagination

The evening of Friday 23rd March at Trattoria Omerta in Old Bakery Street, Valletta lit up with a group of writers reading out their literary works – both poetry and prose in English and in Maltese. The general public was invited to unlock their imagination to the literary words created by the writers and to give their comments on the literary works presented…and they sure did!

Literary Structures and Formulae

On Tuesday, March 27th Ivan Xuereb, an active member of The Writers Club led the meeting on Literary Structures and Formulae.

The meeting focused on how to structure stories in order to keep the reader interested.

“Every turn of events in a story should be planned in order to keep the whole structure of your work”
– Ivan Xuereb

He shared with us various examples – such as five parts to a story, and even showed graphical representations of popular stories like Star Wars and Lord of The Rings.

“Structure your story by dividing it into steps!”
– Ivan Xuereb

Knowing when to set a climax or cliff hanger is very important in order to maintain a realistic flow to the story. Different genres can be used in conjunction with this method by following a set of instructions in order to maintain the consistency of the new world and to keep the story flowing, interesting and realistic.

Writing for Children
Part 1: Presentation by Ivan DeBattista

– Saturday, 31st March
An author of children”s books, Ivan DeBattista discussed with us on how to build (1) characters for children”s stories and (2) a world intriguing children of different ages.

Ivan addressed technical aspects of writing – such as the importance of continuity and how characters can be described without it getting tedious; a skill experienced as challenging by many a writer. Additionally, he stressed the importance of preparation before one starts writing, and especially of knowing the characters well whilst keeping in mind the target audience.

Ivan also imparted a lot of wisdom about the business side of writing, that is, the techniques one needs to use in order to get published. We may write alone but we want out writing to be seen.

Writing for Children Part 2: Practical workshop

– Sunday, 1st April
After the informative seminar by DeBattista, writers met up at Buskett to write up literary works for children with the aim of reading them out to children under the care of Puttinu Cares. Sunshine, fresh air and beautiful scenery were all inspiring elements contributing to the creation of a literary childhood world, to say the least.

In the second half of the day the writers moved to Rinella to witness the jousting show running between 2pm and 6pm. A medieval element to a literary work for children?

You never know…

Public Seminar – Horror and Literature: Anton Grasso

Anton Grasso delighted us with his presence on April 2nd to discuss the element of horror in literary works. During the public seminar, Anton Grasso read out excerpts from two of his early works, one of them being “Incens” featuring “Il-Festa tal-Boloh”.

Touching on numerous points of interest, a message which came across very clearly was that, as such, there aren”t any particular factors which make one literary work better than another, as long as it is kept real. Putting elements of fear of his own into his literary works and including day-to-day observations well-known to the public at that present moment – such as a children”s school play, are two such examples.

Grasso also alluded to his most recent work “Kittieb” which is currently being printed out and will soon be on the bookshelves. So those interested: keep an eye out for it!

April Fools
April Blooms
Bells are ringing
Who”ll be speaking?

*All meetings are held in the Music Room at St James Cavalier, Centre for Creativity in Valletta between 19:30 and 21:30, unless otherwise stated.

April having kicked off with Ivan DeBattista and Anton Grasso marks a month ahead full of knowledge from different areas:

Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April
Black, White and Read all Over

Black, White & Read All Over is the first conference organised by the Writers Club. This innovative conference will offer the delegates a weekend of intense talks and many interactive workshops.

Black, White & Read All Over outlines the journey of the book; from idea, to the manuscript, to its editing, publishing and criticism. It goes beyond the journey and focuses also on journalism, comic writing and “Transmedia”, which is introduced only recently in Malta, thus making it innovative at a very cheap price.

The conference is going to be held on a weekend, scheduled on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April. Hosted at Dolmen Resort Hotel in Qawra, the journey is going to be outlined by a series of talks spread throughout the weekend. Whereas the attendees will be given the opportunity to mingle and interact with the speakers during the workshops, which are more focused.

Black, White & Read All Over will present Dr Alfred Sant, Caldon Mercieca and Glen Calleja, Jean Pierre Magro, Christian Peregin, Chris le Galle, Giuliana Fenech, Chris Grupetta, and Veronica Stivala as main speakers.

More information, application forms, and detailed program can be obtained from the facebook events page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/333266026721163/ or send an email on twcthewritersclub2@gmail.com

Sunday, 15th April
Public Debate: Alone we write…together we grow?

The Writers Club has been up and running for the past 3 years, starting as a University-based organisation to become what it is today – a writers” club on a national level.

But the questions remain:
1. Is there a need for a writers” club in Malta?
2. And a Writers” Centre?
What does the general public think? What do you think?
Join us in discussion at Dolmen Resort Hotel in Qawra at 12:30 and voice your opinion.
**Free of charge.
https://www.facebook.com/events/317556238306067/

Tuesday 17th April
Development of Literary Works

Robert Fenech Castaldi, an active member of The Writers Club, will be leading a presentation on the development of literary works:

– What makes a literary work interesting?
– Character and Plot development – what about them?
And much more!

Tuesday 24th April
Public Seminar: Artistic Freedom of Expression in Malta

Ingram Bondin, spokesperson of the Front Against Censorship set up in 2009, will present the general public with the past, present, and future of artistic freedom of expression in Malta.
– How has this freedom evolved over the years?
– What is the Front Against Censorship? What are its vision and mission?
– What exactly led to establishing a Front Against Censorship in Malta?
– Achievements to date?
– What is still in the pipeline?
Do you have any questions you”d like answered on the artistic freedom of expression in Malta? Interested in knowing more? Join us!

TWC welcomes new members aged 16-25.

Feel free to join us for an innovative literary experience creative down to its roots!

For more details, and to catch us at our random events, follow TWC on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twcthewritersclub

TWC is working in collaboration with St James Cavalier, English Speaking Union (ESU), British Council, Inizjamed, PoezijaPlus, DESA, the University of Malta, Malta ComicCon, Versatili, the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS), and Pilot. It is also a registered organisation with Agenzija Zghazagh.

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