South Manchester Writers' Workshop is a creative writing group based in Didsbury. We are open to writers of all types - novels, plays, poetry, short stories...
Peter A and his wife are still trying to get into pub management. Applications go out, then finally a reply. After an initial interview the couple have an appointment to visit a pub, see the routines, learn the ropes. It is not far from their normal stamping grounds so they are not surprised to see a few familiar faces.
Without really saying so, Brett may be starting a series of stories on taboos. Marcel is preparing for a meal - a special celebration using the ingredients they used on that island after the shipwreck. Remember Harvey. He was an important component.
Tiras is aiming to meet up with the injured Leaf, accompanied by a party which includes trackers and seers. They have seen the trail so far, but where did they leave the road? Peter's two warring sides are getting perilously close.
Mark T offers a psychological thriller. We are introduced to Joe, a failed opera singer. In the pub he avoids the posse round the jukebox - no trouble - and joins old but safe Fred.
The army and the demons face off, the demons' war mage standing on a car roof to command. Suddenly they attack and Harris needs an extra weapon. Luckily he has some fairy flying dust to hand and is able to mow a good few down with a flying car. Nobody thought Andy would use it that way.
All Elmore knows is that his destiny is at Land's End. He has reached Penzance. Then John K takes us back to Goran the pugilant, accused and tried for failing in the task he was given, then given a final chance with new weapons.
Brett turns his attention to Coronation St, touching on Elsie Tanner's secret life as a philosopher and chess player, Ena Sharples harking back to her days at Bletchley Park and chemist Minnie Caldwell's latest batch of Viagra for Albert Tatlock.
Sabtay is a healing wizard dispatched to care for the unfortunate Leaf with his forest guide Manas. But Peter Br has taken them too close to the magically protected Western capital - Sabtay cannot call his staff and may have lost his powers.
Fallon is looking back beyond his own past by following the history of his blade. At one stage he relives his father's life. John K's tale nears its end - the final battle looms.
The boy in black struggles with the devil - far from his first battle and certainly not his last. He has shielded Sarah thus far but the voice is always there - kill your sister and become a god. Mark M has begun again.
Paul and Andrew line up for the start of the bogie race but Andrew is distracted by his mother, apparently in the arms of another man only a year after his dad's death. So much so that he is late to start and he can't concentrate on his steering line. Chris plays the turmoil in his head as the speed increases and the bend at the bottom of the hill looms.
Cliff gives us a rapid introduction to Magellan, where the parliament is voting on controls over theose with no mental metapowers. Then we meet Alan, who has been regenerated and may need some reshaping.
A TV report into people who worship the creator Gilbert Snodgrass (the other gods think he's crap). Geoff introduces some of them - they claim to be a native American tribe but look rather like a northern family of five.
Harris and party hurry back to the portal. Andy's tale is building to a major battle, with the demon army milling around sniffing out this new world. But they form into battle groups when the British army arrives. This is somebody they can fight.
At the end of the cryptozoologists' conference the building is suddenly flooded. In Ruth's penultimate chapter we see Jess trapped in the watery chaos and Harris falling through the sodden moor into a chamber where he encounters something long and black. It wraps itself round him as the water rises and flows fast. He struggles then realises the thing is protecting him.
Peter A tells us more about the way the pub sector works, with character studies of management and union officers, and shenanigans like serving short pints because the brewery made an incomplete delivery.
In the second part of one of Pater Ba's short stories about love, Mary is resolved to meet the man from her memories but she has to tell someone. It won't be husband Paul so she goes to see the vicar's wife, who delivers the expected disapproval and some unexpected chemical aids to wake Paul up in bed.
James is leading a discussion about what can be achieved. The local volunteers are too timid to join in - is it just rank or colonial hangover? Then at last a more personal contact with Regina.
Ann's anonymous woman continues her less than fulfilling life. She goes to college but is not caught up in the learning. She meets men but they're a let-down. She finds a job with a weird manager and no inspiration. She volunteers at a women's refuge - her own experiences make her sympathetic.
Fallon prepares for the final battle by undergoing a process of knitting his senses together to give a total awareness. John K traces the marshal's own past then goes further back, to ancient Rome and the manufacture of the archetype of his murderous falcata.
It's 1981 and Ed shows us a group of friends at coffee break in the middle of a band practice. The leader is frustrated with their lack of progress.
Peter A's memoir of the pub life continues with the tale of a handy trick to syphon the takings on the pool table away from the brewery by way of some simple pipework under the baize.
"Even Picasso paints fake Picassos" reported Orson Welles. Brett presents the story of forger Sean Greenhalgh, with the argument that it's the fakers who are the best artists.
Harris tries to avoid questions but a call of "Are we all monsters?" reaches him. Jess escapes from an unpleasant encounter in the toilets to see him surrounded by angry faces. Then he loses hold of the glass float which is all he has left to remind him of Jonty and his childhood image of the beast which killed him. Ruth is nearing the conclusion.
Cassandra has brought fresh clothes for Harris, but she is fazed by his account of the fairy royals' visit. Apparently the army has arrived, but unfortunately it is the demon force. Andy too seems to be building towards a final battle.
Jenny is starting to open up to Claudia as John W takes them further into the forest. Her guard is down now but suddenly she is grabbed and bundled into a helicopter, and Dieter is too far behind to do anything.
Mark's chapter brings Edward and Jessica together at her college. He flares up in racial hatred on discovering that his love is dating a vampire.
Mary receives an email from an old friend and thinks back to the afternoon they met, walking with friends, pairing off naturally. Peter Ba is writing a quartet of love stories, and this one appears to turn out well.
Brett takes on the history mantle with a brief account of Eric Laithwaite's time in the public eye, from pioneering work with gyroscopes - "maths isn't enough" - through to TV series - Laithwaite the performer - and a professorship.
Paul, one of Chris's Butcher boys, is kept in the house for weeks following his beating. When he is finally allowed out - the bruises have faded - he hurries round to see his friend Andrew.
Rival spells hang over the land. Those at their destination cannot locate the shapeshifters' party because the magic which conceals them is stronger for now. Peter Br shows the undersecretary lamenting the lack of new shapeshifters.
A child looks out of the window, taking in the wonders of nature. She writes a poem which makes her smile, perhaps this one, by Rana.
John K takes us back four thousand years, to see Ricardo's class dispersing to all corners of the world. He is held back, to be informed that his liaison with Lysea was planned. Their child will feed future history, leading eventually to one Elmore.
The antibiotics are working and James comes out of hospital. This is the last week for getting volunteers in place but boss Craig is rather African in his attitude to time, arriving rather late in the agreed bar.
announces a complete piece of work. It involves a man sits in a chair all day, addressing the world through the part which is doing the sitting, a man with a chicken on his head and a massacre with fly swatters.
We see Jessica at university. She resists a flirt. This is Edward's view from afar. Mark's wizard can't shrug iff the Voice's view of her - a weak idiot.
James goes down with stomach trouble and is bundled off to hospital. He is seen before other patients - because he is white or because it may be serious?
Peter Ba's history continues. As Salford grows so do the travails of the poor. Campaigners write pamphlets on the condition of the working classes (enter Friedrich Engels). When cholera sweeps down from the north-east the handles are removed from pumps in some areas.
Tergil joins Harris and shares more detail about the demons, who have raised a cross-race army of those with a grievance and aimed it at the human world which has treated them so badly in the past.
John W takes Jenny to Wartburg castle where she encounters Claudia. Her friend from Sheffield is not around but the newcomer leads her into the forest to find her, with Dieter following at a distance.
Settling in in Tanzania, James meets the other volunteers and compares poorly in his grasp of Swahili. Trying to build up the number of local volunteers he meets the quiet Regina, who is going to be important later.
In the forest, Peter Br shows us that the fugitives are encumbered by carrying Leaf, and they don't even know how alive she is. But they are still too close to the city and the brotherhood and must press on.
Another of Brett's adaptations - me and Brother have all the food we want and the freedom of the land, but there is one tree whose frruit is not for us, Father told us. Along comes a silver-tongued snake and the rest is history.
Scott's jewellery box has suddenly given up a hairbrush which his daughter loves, but Hans shows the other children shunning her - "she is not Heather". After another scary dream he throws the box in the bin, but now Heather will not wake.
Ann's odious man is a solicitor, the sort who despises his clients. He's having an affair, probably with that Italian woman, and he strings Gary Whippet along with unctuous advice.
Peter A's time in hospital comes to an end after the difficult removal of pins from his leg. A new life is required, and when he remarks that he could run a pub better than the incumbent the response is "Well try.".
New books by members of the group have found their way onto the shelves:
After John Waterhouse's run at various theatres with How to relax in Andalucia and others, he has now been awarded Arts Council funding to enable him to take the same play out on the road.
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The Chav Killer by John Keane (now doing well in the US)
Egotist by Chris Gill
Illusions of Grandeur and Other Stories by TS Gwilliam
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