Monday, 31 May 2010

Happy Birthday, Writing Buddies

The Writing Buddies celebrated their first birthday with a huge cake, a glass of wine and a lot of laughter. It was good to see so many of the Writing Buddies all together for the anniversary.

Pam Whittington, Penny's partner in crime when setting up the group, and Jimmy Marsh, who has attended virtually every meeting, brought a blush to Penny's face by telling the tale of how the group was set up and the strides it has made since. Penny replied by thanking them and all the Writing Buddies for the support they have given, which has made the group such a success.

The Writing Buddies welcomed several guests, including Pat Alderman and John Pye, who were made welcome.

Glen was pleased to announce that she has been accepted to the Society of Women Writers & Journalists. She is busy working on a jingle for the Blue Sky Choir and is attending a writing workshop at Chawton House.

Dee has been busy writing her 21st novel. This is about the blitz. As she put it: 'I was evacuated, I describe it first hand.'

John, former science writer for the Yorkshire Post, attended as a guest and the Writing Buddies were pleased to meet him. We hope he will come again to future meetings.

Jacqueline has submitted and been published by Suite 101. She has found getting the style required difficult. The Writing Buddies discussed Suite 101, which offers regular publication but the rate of pay is low until you have built up a large body of work.

Rich had nothing to report but was happy to be at the party.

Mo has two readings at Waterstones in London on 4th July.

Pam is relaxed about her writing at present. She is concentrating on her local history work on Marchwood. She has had a poem shortlisted and another will be published in an anthology.

Christine has written 150 words for The Guardian and has entered the Write Space competition on the theme, 'The Lie'. She will attend Winchester Writers Conference and is looking forward to the publication of the second edition of her book on child and adolescent mental health, to be published by Hodder Headline in June.

Wendy travelled up from West Sussex and reported that she has finished her book, Haunted Worthing and is busy updating her book, Story of Gower, which was first published in 1992. She is now working on a book of shipwrecks on the south coast.

Pat is an editor and writer and the Writing Buddies were very pleased to welcome her to the meeting. She sub-edits The Woman Writer magazine for the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She worked for many years for national magazines and is now much in demand for her proofreading and copy editing skills. She championed membership of the Society of Editors and Proofreaders. Pat has just finished working on a 'Teach Yourself Anglo Saxon' book, which interested her very much as she has studied the subject in the past. In the meantime, she is looking forward to hearing the outcome of a proposal for her book of Buddhist stories, which a Hong Kong publisher has shown interest in.

Elizabeth is busy working on stories to submit to Write Space.

Silma is working on short stories and a poem. Her children's book is under consideration with a publisher, who is looking to fill their 2011 list. She is writing a short story for teenagers.

Jimmy and Penny had been out taking photographs in the New Forest for Jimmy's Sundance Gang website, which will shortly be up and running. Jimmy is now up to chapter 19 of his sci-fi novel and is busy looking for names for some of the demons he has invented for the book!

Peter has a week booked at the Edinburgh Festival, 23-30 August, for his poetry. He has experimented with Microsoft Powerpoint to make displays and presentations and hopes to trial these at his local community centre soon.

John has reviewed a play for the Daily Echo. He is also intending writing for the Writing Buddies anthology. John asked several questions about the Writing Buddies competition and this led to discussion of the competition entry requirements, as not all the Writing Buddies had understood the rules and did not want to accidently find themselves disqualified!

Barbara has decided to edit all her unpublished stories and to submit them with her application for probationary membership of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

Penny is still working on her latest book, Haunted Southampton. She had been on a ghost investigation of Romsey's Plaza theatre. This was great fun and resulted in a lot of material for the book, some of which she intends to use for an article about the theatre.

As much of the meeting was taken up with cake cutting, wine drinking and photo taking, there was not as much discussion as is usual for a Writing Buddies meeting! Subjects which were discussed were how to get into proofreading and copy editing and how the Writing Buddies meetings were inspirational as shared experience was useful to learn from.

The next meeting of Writing Buddies is on Friday 4 June at The Art House, at 2pm. Everyone is very welcome.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Writing Buddies, 7th May

Southampton Writing Buddies met at the Art House in Southampton on May 7th. The meeting was, if anything, more lively and information-packed than ever.

Jimmy doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. His book subtitled Someone Else’s Trousers is due out next May, and he is now well advanced with his sci-fi fantasy book and is working on the synopsis for it. He has also been asked to run a workshop for Southampton Writers’ Circle on writing a synopsis. He has learned that his recent feature about the Vindi Boys in Best of British magazine has generated a lot of interest in the Vindicatrix Association.

Tessa has heard from Legend Press that they are interested in her trilogy The Dohlen Inheritance, and she is currently writing the blurb for the second book. She mentioned a useful website on how to publish e-books – (both his novels are now available as e-books).

Catherine continues to write book reviews for WHSmith on the internet after they contacted her via Twitter. She has just had an article published in a national magazine, and has submitted some flash fiction entries for the Bridport prize. She has also begun the second draft of her one-act play, and posts huge numbers of tweets.

New member Jacqui was welcomed to the group. She has enrolled with the Writers’ Bureau, and is studying fiction. She is still considering which path to take with her writing; she has submitted some short stories to women’s magazines but recognises the narrowness of the market. She had a travel article accepted by a magazine, but much later the editor changed her mind about it. The group talked about the fact that the work was initially accepted, which is a breakthrough and meant that Jacqui can clearly write publishable articles.

Christine has been asked for a second edition of her book on child mental health, and the publishers want to convert it to an e-book. She attended the London Book Fair and discussed print-on-demand for her book on bringing up teenagers. Tessa suggested chipmunka. Christine has begun a book on marital therapy; she has also sent two stories to Writers’ Forum for critiques, and both were highly commended.

Eileen joined the group for the first time. Her first novel (crime) is coming out in July, and the second is ready; Robert Hale publishers want to see the second and third books. She was originally a playwright, and submitted a script for the Orange Prize competition; from the critique she received, she decided to turn it into the novel.

Jacqueline was just completing her latest script for the Eastleigh Talking Echo. She had submitted an article to suite101 and was advised that the content was suitable but alterations to picture captions were needed.

Mo has problems with her publisher; her latest book seems not to be publicly available, and there is ongoing discussion about editing it. She feels that her writing has been slow recently but she is now keen to return to serious work.

Penny is currently working on a book, Haunted Southampton, and has been inundated with contacts via Facebook, both national and international. She has the proofs of Folklore of Hampshire, which is out in July, and is working on a book about Winchester. She has successfully joined suite101 as an author, and had already had two articles published.

There followed general discussion about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and suite101. There are still places on the Ashtara Writers’ Pamper Day on June 26th – time 9.30-4, £35, which the group felt was good value. The newly opened Writing Buddies Anthology Competition for entries of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and one-act plays was discussed.

The next meeting, on Friday May 21st at 2pm at the Art House, marks the first birthday of the Writing Buddies. To celebrate, there’ll be wine and cake! New members welcome, too, of course.