Friday, 16 October 2009

Writing Buddies welcomes Richard Ashman

A record number of Writing Buddies turned up at Borders in Southampton to welcome Richard Ashman, the Manager of the huge Central Library in the City.

Richard was able to give us an insight into the library's policy on buying library books as the library 'tries to have a representative collection'. Several of our members were somewhat shocked by the news that readers do not often borrow books of poetry from the library. Richard also told the group about the changes to the library service that new technology has brought. Many people now research online and only come to the librarian when they need expert advice. Richard also told the group about the reading groups he runs.

The group had a lively discussion on the topic, 'What is the essence of a good story'. Opinion was divided and this could be revisited on a later occasion. The importance of taking criticism on the chin also set heads nodding amongst the group.

Fiona had taken advice given at the last Writing Buddies meeting and ordered some business cards. She has now written the first 9,000 words of her novel and said that she had been 'inspired' by the Writing Buddies group. 'I'm on a roll,' she said. She attended the latest meeting of Writers in Southampton.

Ash too was inspired by the previous Writing Buddies meeting and is now working on a marketing idea based on his work. He has signed up for workshops at Guildford Literary Festival.

Jimmy has had positive feedback about one of his Sundance Gang books, which he was pleased about. He is now busy polishing a sci-fi story.

Pam has written two poems recently and presented them to friends. She has also been in discussion with the owner of the holistic centre in the New Forest about the Day for Writers there to be held in June.

Tessa is busy editing the second book of her trilogy and writing the third one.

Richard said that apart from writing angry letters to his MP he has not written anything recently. He has decided to join The Plaza Theatre in Romsey, as they need volunteers.

The Writing Buddies welcomed Glen, who came along for the first time. Glen says she 'will have go at anything', which is just what the Writing Buddies like to hear! She is waiting to hear if her poems will be in a Portsmouth anthology and is currently re-writing a stage play following advice from Stella Duffy.

Donna has decided that Fiona's tip from last meeting, that of gardening to gather your thoughts together, is for her, much to her garden's appreciation. She has had her first poem published and this has spurred her on to write more. She has also now launched her own blog.

The Writing Buddies also welcomed Philippa Lawrence to the coffee table. Philippa is a poet and a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Her latest work, From Memory's Wardrobe has just been published. She told the group that she found taking to free verse 'difficult, but I think I've got it now.'

Jacqueline P told us of her new idea to gain inspiration for her work. She chose a novel and then particular page numbers, line numbers and word numbers. This led to a list of words which she used towards a short story. She is currently working on this. She is also thinking about writing a pantomime.

Jacqueline R told the group that she has enjoyed her second visit to the Southampton Writers' Circle. She had enjoyed the writing exercises there at the first visit. The Greensleeves short story competition is coming up and that she said was to her a 'scary zone'. The Writing Buddies wished her luck and await reading some of her work on the group's email loop.

Barbara had been writing her diary, as she has been doing for more than forty years. As Secretary of the Southampton Writers' Circle she has been involved in setting up the Greensleeves competition.

Penny has been working on her Folklore of Hampshire book, she won the Scroll Award at the Southampton Writers' Circle and is working on the next edition of The Woman Writer magazine for The Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She gave a talk to the Society's Hants/Wilts/Dorset regional meeting on digital photography and journalism. She is about to chair a Panel Discussion on getting into print at the Bournemouth Literary Festival.

In all, it was an action packed meeting! The Writing Buddies send their thanks to Richard Ashman for taking time out of his busy schedule to come along and join in the writing talk.

I (Penny) was touched when Jacqueline P gave a vote of thanks to me, on behalf of the group, for my work with the Writing Buddies. She made me promise to minute this on the blog, so I am being good and doing as I was told! Thank you, Jacqueline.

As an aside from the above meeting notes, I think that the way this group is blossoming is marvellous. When I started the group, with Pam's valuable assistance, I had little thought of the long term effects it would have on those who came along. I hoped they would see some benefit, even if it was just to get them away from the computer for a while and actually talk to other writers, rather than sit in a lonely garret. What has come of it is far more. Beginner writers have gained confidence in their ability to write, writers are trying new genres and widening their horizons, the meetings are acting as a stimulus to producing work to tell the group about, we have pooled our experience to help those with problems, we have shared successes, made new friends and realised that there is life out there beyond the garret! We have attracted professional writers who have shared tips and inspired us and our guests have completed the picture, with advice and insider knowledge that has been invaluable. I can only say a big 'Thank You!' to all those who have come to the Writing Buddies meetings and made all of this possible. Long may it continue!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, where would I/we be without Writing Buddies. As always, a wonderful afternoon filled with advice from the pro's.

    Thank you