Writing Groups in Devon


Blog posts : "ComicCon"

A Hurricane Force Meeting by Richard Lappas

'The Guv has returned and despite the hurricane force winds and lashing rain that swirled ferociously in and around Camp Costa Lot (No walls on us!), the Guv has once again taken up the reigns of this family of wordsmiths that was so brilliantly held during her absence by the uber efficient Jenny Kane (Lady Marion to her fans) and her sterling efforts in keeping the ship afloat, will go down in the annals of history that is the EAA.

So amidst the bluster and blowing, the gathering also hailed the return of young Brian who had been absent due to a nasty bug though his spirits were lifted after Christmas, in hospital somewhere, became bearable after being joined by the infamous Father Christmas and a silver brass band! Great to see you back Brian humour and comradeship sorely missed for sure and good to see you mending. By the way as you've missed the last 2 meetings, it's your turn to buy the coffees...And we want cake!

Meantime, everybody in attendance today is writing, editing, planning, researching about poetry in Westhill, family eulogies in Tivvy, knife crime, and anti-terrorism strategy in Ottery St Mary, talking birds in Dorset, succulent beetroot rolls in Brixham, audio narration in Normandy (Get it play on surname do I really have to explain!!!), writing fantasy from the banks of the River Exe, teaching that the Hood is good and Guv scurrying through the list of gigs that include the bookonistas of exmuff and a stock of pigs
in north devon!

All in all, the monthly family reunion went smoothly..the coffee costa lot, the wevver was wild and everybody had a smile on their faces.

A good result on a miserable day! #biznisasusual!'

 by Richard Lappas

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AUTUMN RAP by Richard Lappas

That time of year again  as layers of leaves all golden and red
they rustle in doorways and swirl above our doubt that
autumn is turning the air cold and blue, everyone prays they won't catch the flu!

Despite the bluster of the wind and rain, EAA writers are gathered again
to talk of their pens being mightier than the sword, plots planned, chapters
edited, work submitted, these guys are sharp and won't be outwitted

When it comes to creating their works of art, they do so with a passion that is as true as a dart
round the table we start with Jen B, her work is so embracing, a poet laureate one day you'll see

Then onto Tracy and me, we have done our edits and are feeling free! Then 'Rich the Doc' who
makes the best beetroot rolls, asking advice on book covers, "which you like" he calls as he scrolls

Next up is Brian, talking about his talks as ever growing in confidence, he is walking the walk!
Lovely Susie who working hard on book three, if you are ever bored writing is the key!

To the final three who are Tracy, JK and Guv, all working hard with good humour, they are all such a luv

The Ship is called the EAA and its crew are hard working most every single day and once the work is done
by every girl and every chap, it's time to call for a cuppa, it's an autumn rap!

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A Summer of Events

The summer, dare I say it, is almost over – and what a busy couple of months it’s been. From children’s writing workshops, to freezing cold festival fields and a singles club- I’ve encountered them all.

There’s no doubt that summer is my busiest time of the year- and the most rewarding.

This year I was lucky enough to teach three children’s writing workshops for Devon libraries (Cullompton, South Molton and Crediton), as part of the Summer Reading Scheme for 2018, on the subject of ‘Mischief Makers’. I was heartened and impressed by the range of stories the children created and I’m happy to report that the next generation’s imagination is alive and well. (They also have a much firmer grasp on the stories of Dennis the Menace than I do- my memory of the Beano has certainly slipped with age!)

The children of Barnstaple also proved their imagination is in tiptop shape, when I taught a creative writing class at St Anne’s Community Centre (a 10 week series of writing classes for children begins there in September- email me at for details).

Last weekend I, along with many of my fellow Exeter Author Association members (PJ Reed, Richard Dee, Tracey Norman, Mark Norman and Susie Williamson), returned to Chilcompton for their annual fringe festival.

In 2017, when we attended Chilcompton, it was so hot that some of us suffered from heat sickness. This year that was never going to be a problem. To say it rained doesn’t really do the persistent and heavy downpour that lasted all day, justice.

Dressed as characters from out books, we all looked the part; from elf, to steampunk man, to medieval lady and we were freezing cold we rather overdid the layers. Six layers in my case- and you can tell!

Never ones to give up easily, the EAA carried on regardless! Our talk audiences were rather smaller than usual, but the smiles were still wide. I had great fun talking to this little gathering about Robin Hood. Fingers crossed for a mild dry day next year!

As well as my usual workshops, my summer events finished off with an author talk to the Young at Heart singles club in St Sidwells, Exeter. Chatting away about how my writing career began was great fun. It soon became clear that a couple of the ladies in the group had always wanted to write, but had never been brave enough. By the time I left one had written the start of a short children’s story, and another had told a whole story via answering random questions. Fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who has hosted both me and my fellow EAA members this summer.

Now- if you’ll excuse me I’d better go and edit my next novel...

Happy reading,



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Inspiration Points!

The start of a story, that moment when an idea begins to form and then explodes into a million different characters, places, and events is one of the most exciting times for an author. 

It arrives naturally and sometimes you have to be patient but when the creative spark hits your life changes forever. You enter a whole new reality and embark on epic adventures.
So where does this creative spark come from?
It could be a memory, gossip whispered by a friend, a daydream or even an image captured in your minds’ eye. Something in these events acts as a catalyst and sends your imagination into overdrive.
For example, one morning I nipped into Costa for a cup of tea and a slice of chocolate tiffin, as I am particularly partial to any food with chocolate in the title and my life changed forever. A story unfolded before my eyes like a movie and I dived into Torcia, the first fantasy world I ever created.
I saw the main character of the story, a warlock sitting in ragged clothes in a dingy, cluttered garret clutching onto the side of a medieval-looking wooden inn. He was sitting quietly on his favourite armchair by the fire, but something was very wrong in Torcia as even from the inside of his lodgings he could feel his people's suffering as the invasion of Torcia accelerated. It was all very exciting as I didn’t know what was going to happen next, I just sat down at my laptop and my fingers typed the images which flashed across my brain. One hundred and twenty words later the land of Torcia and Mivir had been born.
After writing ‘Defiance’ the first instalment of The Torcian Chronicles I was set to write the sequel, which everyone told me was the most logical thing to do. Unfortunately, logic and creativity are distant cousins at best. When Brian, a Gothic poet, told me of how he saw a black cockerel hung upside down from a village signpost swinging in the midnight breezes.
I knew immediately that was going to be my next story. It was going to be based in Witheridge, a village in the moors which I changed to Witherleigh so not to offend the villagers. The first thing I saw in my mind when entering Witherleigh was a young man from London making a new start in the countryside, driving down the twisting country lanes in his ancient car. I later found out he was a church youth leader who no one trusted because of his antisocial habit of witnessing ghosts and demons. Writing this book has been quite challenging because of the research into the Bible, church organisation and services and the voyage into Latin.
So far, the manuscript is at 31,000 words - complete with town map, a glossary of daemons, and a chronological list of missing curates.
All this arrived from one comment about a cockerel!
Therefore, when inspiration hits – grab that spark with both hands and prepare to entire a new, ultra-exciting universe.

Click here to enter the Kingdom of Torcia 

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