By MATT CRANE
Area writers looking to test out new works should look no further than Starkville’s own community theatre.
Approaching the beginning of its seventh season, Fourth Fridays at Starkville Community Theater provides local authors the chance to get quality feedback and creative inspiration.
Fourth Fridays committee member and frequent discussion moderator Thomas La Foe said he believes the writing group offers a valuable service to creative members of the community.
“I think it’s important because it reaches a different audience than just those producing shows and gives the community an outlet to create their own pieces,” La Foe said. “The feedback we give is an encouragement to keep writing even if they haven’t written before.”
Operating on a fall and spring schedule, Fourth Fridays will begin its newest session 7:30 p.m. next Friday with flash fiction.
Flash fiction, or micro-fiction, La Foe said is the term used to describe short stories that use less than 1,000 words.
“It’s cool because we tried to do novel excerpts, but with flash fiction, we can get a whole story in there with a beginning, middle and end, so it’s contained,” he said. “Also, we can read more entries and get a lot of feedback in, and it fits in the time limit.”
La Foe said a set time is given for feedback between works, but some discussions may last longer than the allotted time.
“Some pieces can generate a lot of discussion, so it’s sometimes a challenge to keep it on track,” he said. “I try to encourage new people to offer new viewpoints.”
Amanda Clay Powers, the chair of the Fourth Fridays committee, said the original intent behind the writing group was to workshop pieces from different playwrights, including local, published playwright Kris Lee.
“Initially, we were concerned with just plays because that seemed like an obvious connection,” Powers said. “Eventually though, you run out of plays and it evolved into supporting local writers and developing talent.”
Powers said SCT has recognized Fourth Fridays as vital outreach program for the theater.
“It attracts a different crowd from those who just to come to the plays,” she said. “A lot of people have gotten involved with SCT because of Fourth Fridays.”
Powers said the format of flash fiction is well suited for Fourth Fridays and the writers it attracts.
“We are meant to be a support and a tool for writers,” she said. “Also, it’s about having a community to hear their work read out loud.”
Aside from flash fiction, Fourth Fridays will have sessions focused on poetry, plays and the recently implemented format of song writing, which Powers said the group will revisit in the spring.
“We’re always open to new ideas,” she said. “If there’s another form of writing we have left out, we would be happy to hear it.”
The Fourth Fridays committee consists of Powers, Lee, La Foe, Abigail Voller, Damen Peterson and Shalyn Claggett.
Writers interested in submitting works or volunteers wanting to read submission aloud should email firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline for submissions is Thursday at 5 p.m.
For more information on Fourth Fridays, visit http://www.sct-online.org .