Monday, 15 February 2010

The latest from The Writing Buddies

The Latest From Writing Buddies - thanks to Jacqueline Pye for writing this in Penny's absence.

On February 12th, ten members met at the Art House, and once again the meeting was lively, interesting and enjoyable. Founder Penny was unable to join the group this time, and was greatly missed.

Christine had sent a short story in for the regular Writers’ Forum competition; she received a critique which was very favourable, and which said the story should find a market. A story has also been submitted to Write Space, and she had read at the short story slam held at the Discovery Centre in Winchester. She continues to look for a market for her book on bringing up teenagers, and wonders if it is too long; possible markets were discussed with several ideas suggested. Christine also mentioned that Writers’ Forum magazine is welcoming its new fiction editor currently by offering free entry to their short story competition and a free critique – well worth a try for anyone working on short stories.

Elizabeth continues to write short stories, and is concentrating on competitions and also – for now – smaller circulation magazines. It was generally agreed that the national magazines provide only very limited markets for short fiction these days. Elizabeth has also been writing poetry of late.

John has written many poems over the past year, and has recently been to a number of open mic poetry evenings. He has been meeting with artists who are producing work inspired by his poetry; an exhibition of both is planned to open on March 16th at Goblets, which is just a few doors away from the Art House.

Richard has been asked to edit the newsletter for the Totton branch of the University of the Third Age. He is confident with this, as he has previously edited similar publications, and he plans to contribute the odd poem or short piece of his own. He talked a little about his poetry and how he presents and frames individual poems.

New member Sharon was warmly welcomed to the group. She is keen to write and be published. She works in complementary therapy, and already produces information on this in written form for interested groups, so this is an area she would like to develop more widely. She also feels drawn towards writing children’s fiction.

Glen has now set up her blog and is keeping it up. She has read one of her poems at a recent meeting, and this was well received.

Jimmy still awaits payment for his feature in January’s Best of British magazine. He sent his autobiography, to the History Press; they recommended reducing its length and resubmitting, and he is working on adjusting it to the required word count. Meanwhile he is working on a short story with a paranormal theme. Nicola from the History Press discussed with him the possibility of a book on the history of Eastleigh; the group noted that this had been done a number of times by other publishers, but the History Press still seem interested.

Marsha was another new member, and again the group were very pleased to welcome her. She is currently working on a book which was outlined to the group, and possible approaches, markets, and sources of information on agents were discussed.

Pam distributed leaflets about the Ashtara pamper day for writers on Saturday June 26th, 9.30am-4pm. Any writers interested can e-mail Pam attended the central library talk by Gordon Griffin and his publisher about his work recording audio books. Gordon has a long and distinguished CV as an actor and has recorded around 500 books – the full unabridged texts. Pam has learned that two of her poems were read out in Coventry cathedral just before Christmas, and one of these she knows has been sent from person to person all around the world. She is thinking of having more copies of her booklet of poems printed as she has sold almost all of the first print run.

Jacqueline had also been at the talk by Gordon Griffin, and found it interesting and enjoyable. Gordon works often in Hamburg, where audio books in English are popular, and he agreed to provide contact details for another member of the group who attended his talk, and whose work is proving popular there. Jacqueline has had her feature on comic teddy bear postcards “accepted for possible publication” by Best of British magazine. They will not commit to what payment might be if the piece were used, as apparently “the editor decides on publication”.

The group discussed areas such as the legal implications of using slightly altered but possibly recognisable names of friends in books, even with written consent, and the desirable length of novels, as well as possible markets for individual members’ work. Unhelpful website hosts were given the ‘thumbs down’, and other hosts mentioned, and the difference between blogs and websites was again of general interest. The meeting was lively and very positive – with hopefully more of the same next time – Friday February 26th, 2pm.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Twelve Writers at Writing Buddies

The Writing Buddies meeting at The Art House on Friday 29th January was an interesting one. Twelve Writing Buddies turned up, including three new writers who were welcomed into the fold.

Fiona had been enjoying the Creative Writing course run by Kate and Greg Mosse at West Dean, near Chichester, Sussex. The first of three, this one was on plot and characterisation and was, Fiona said, a 'huge revelation'. She said that the course had taught her some hard lessons and she was now going to undertake a massive revision of her novel's 30,000 word skeleton.

Jacqueline has set up her own blog and has been busy practising. She has also started working on setting up a website, but has had trouble with the host and is in the process of trying to sort this out. In the meantime, she has been busy and has sent off an article idea to Best of British magazine, about her collection of teddybear postcards. She has also submitted two poems for critiquing by Writers' Forum magazine, receiving mostly positive feedback. She has also written a memoir and submitted it to a publisher for possible publication.

Tessa was pleased about a very enthusiastic review of her book,
The Dohlen Inheritance, in a German newspaper. German readers, she said, love the book. Legend Press want to see it and she is currently working on the second book, soon to be published in the UK.

John was welcomed into the group. He has recently started to write poetry and is 160,000 words into a trilogy. He has a column writing drama reviews for a local newspaper.

Elizabeth has submitted short stories to Write-Space and to Hampshire View.

Bethyn, another new Writing Buddy, writes short stories, poetry and novels. She commented that when she recently reviewed her work over the last five years, she noticed that her style of writing has changed.

The Writing Buddies welcomed Wendy Hughes as a guest. Wendy has been writing since 1989 and has had over 1700 articles published. She is currently working on her next book, Haunted Worthing. She has recently set up her own website and blog, following her move to Sussex from Walton on Thames, where she founded the Walton Wordsmiths.

Jimmy has sent his autobiography to The History Press, at the request of commissioning editor, Nicola Guy, who was a recent Writing Buddies guest. He has also now finished his sci-fi story, which has twenty chapters and 92,000 words.

The Writing Buddies welcomed Carina, an IT teacher in Southampton. Carina has been writing about British history for a Russian language magazine published in London. Her first book, Legends of World History will be published in Russia in March/April. She has also been commissioned to produce a novella on Boudicca's story, the Queen who revolted against Roman occupation. Carina noted that there was keen interest in history and historical fiction in Russia and the New States.

Penny is busy working on her next book, which has been renamed Southampton Then and Now. She asked the Writing Buddies if any of them had archive photographs of any aspect of life in Southampton, or if they knew of any groups which might be able to help. Several suggestions were forthcoming, which she was grateful for.

The Writing Buddies discussed the local newspaper and its limitations. It was felt generally that it was not sympathetic to writers. It was noted though, that times are hard in the publishing world and advertising revenue is vital to the continued survival of many local papers. Other local publications were also discussed and it was felt generally there there was a shortage of arts coverage in the area.

It was suggested that the Writing Buddies might like to put together an anthology of its work, as a vehicle for publicity, with a local launch. This was discussed but will need much further discussion to make a decision as to whether or not it is viable. Wendy said that this was what Walton Wordsmiths had done and it was very successful. This led to a discussion on self-publishing, copyright issues on the internet and the value of Google alerts.

The subject of website publishing was discussed again. Fiona mentioning that she was very happy with the fact that she had entrusted her site to a professional, which meant that she did not have to worry if there was a problem. It would be taken care of for her.

In all, it was a lively meeting. The Writing Buddies would like to thank our guest, Wendy Hughes, for coming to join us and for the staff at The Art House for having us.

The next meeting is on Friday 12th February at 2pm at The Art House, Southampton. Everyone is welcome.