Having thrashed out their ellipses, The Red Wine Writers group has published its first book, Plonk.
It’s an anthology of short stories and poems contributed by the seven writers who meet monthly at the Riverbank Studios in Spalding.
Disputes over critical points of grammar – such as the dots used in text to indicate an intentional omission, or ellipsis – were done good-heartedly within the group.
They have become used to debates of this kind since they first started meeting to “support each other” to take their writing further, as writer Siân Thomas puts it. The group has also become toughened to criticism from one another.
Chris Dickinson, who contributed poetry to the anthology, explains that the editing process has been painful for all of them.
She said: “Theoretically, we have all read each other’s work probably three different times and we have all read the final book.”
Each stage of the process involved publisher Terry Martin – who set up The House of Murky Depths publishing company in 2007 in order to produce science fiction/fantasy magazines, comics and short stories.
Terry, who designed the cover, had the task of collating all the proposed changes, deciding on their validity and making sure the original writer agreed.
That process reflects the nature of the relationship that has grown between them since the group evolved from a create writing class some of them attended about eight years ago.
Jane Crane says: “We are very honest and that comes from having known each other for a long time. We have been through the process together so you know you are going to get honest feedback, whether you like it or not.”
Adrian Lazell adds: “It’s all done with a sense of humour.”
It’s also done over a glass of red, and in fact red wine was the one common theme for contributions to the anthology.
Stories vary from Terry’s alternative future and Mark Badham-Moore’s fantasy narration to Jane’s ghost tale. Also included is work from former Lincolnshire Free Press reporter Julie Williams, who writes about human relationships, and Siân’s is a study of man and the landscape.
Plonk (£7.99) is being launched with readings and book signings at Bookmark in Spalding, on December 9 (7.15pm) – tickets £3.50.