Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Writing Buddies, 4th June

Southampton Writing Buddies met at the Art House in Above Bar on Friday June 4th, and it seems that the Buddies have been busy.

Glen continues with her novel; as an exercise she has tried writing the last part before the rest is finished. She found this interesting, as did the other Buddies – none of us had tried this before.

Christine continues to have a brain busy with loads of writing ideas which need organising. She has, however, now finished editing her novel, and is currently typing it all.

Jimmy was disappointed with the version of his Sundance novels produced by lulu.com some time ago and so has withdrawn them. He is now working on the second of his cyber novels; he will use a slightly altered name for these. He has completed his autobiography.

Patricia has recently written a short story in English, and has started a novel in French, her first language. She has also begun collecting an archive of her family’s favourite recipes for a possible cookery book. As part of her work she has been writing up tours around local park involving maths content for children.

Jacqueline continues to contribute to suite101.com and has eight articles published. She has submitted a feature to Saga magazine; they invited submission but stressed their features are mainly written in-house. The Southampton Area Talking News (for blind and partially sighted people), for which she is an editor, are looking for short original stories to include on their magazine tapes, and a note was circulated to Buddies. Four had so far replied offering stories, and she will get back to them as soon as SATE lets her know how they would like them submitted.

Barbara was welcomed to the group as a new member. She writes poetry and short stories, but has not submitted them as yet and is considering self-publishing. She currently attends a creative writing workshop, and also assists in running a children’s creative writing group.

Mo was contacted by a Hollywood director who had seen her work, to discuss involvement in a film, possibly as an adviser on 1950s style. However, she was then asked for some details including date of birth, and contact suddenly ceased – she thinks this might be an ageist problem, and it was agreed that if so, it should be pursued. The Society of Women Writers & Journalists are expected to include the topic in the next issue of the magazine. Mo has also been blogging and has a website established –www.mo-foster.co.uk . She is sending a story for a BBC competition. In early July in London, there will be an art exhibition at which an actor will be reading some of Mo’s work.

Tessa has been away, but she has sent a novel to various agents. One said there was no space in their list currently, but invited her to be their writer of the month. She is still enjoying her Kindle e-reader, finding it easy to use. She mentioned a self publishing organisation called Quercas Publishing who are apparently able to offer a free service, and this is to be pursued as a possible route to publication of the Buddies forthcoming anthology. Tessa has, like Mo, found that giving her date of birth in relation to her work has resulted in interest or offers being withdrawn.

Penny had previously written for the Diplomatic Service Families Association's magazine, Carousel, and she has been delighted to be offered a post working as staff on this magazine and editing its sister, the information magazine, The Bulletin – the group enthusiastically congratulated her on this, and thought it was an example of Penny being able to stretch the working week at will! She will also contribute to their web presence. She is still working on her book Haunted Southampton, and her folklore book is due out in a couple of weeks. She has had a commission, too, to write a piece for Writers’ Forum on setting up a writing group.

There was then general discussion about various issues, including ageism in publishing. Penny had just attended a SWWJ event – she had gained a place in a recent competition and received her prize. At the meeting there was an excellent talk by Sheila Crowley, an agent with publishers Curtis Brown. She mentioned that some agents are starting to boycott arms of publishers who strike too poor a deal for authors. She told the audience that a website is a must for writers, and that Twitter and Facebook have huge marketing potential. Digital publishing is on the rise, especially with non-fiction, and e-book royalties are generally much higher than for printed work. Crime and thriller books are doing well just now. When submitting manuscripts, the advice is to find the name of the person to whom they are aimed; if the work is addressed just to the firm, it is likely to end up in the slush pile. The Buddies discussed this further, and most are already doing this.

This was a productive and motivating session, and the Buddies look forward to the next meeting on Friday June 18th at 2pm at the Art House. Everyone, as always, is welcome.