Friday, 29 October 2010

Writing Buddies, 22 October 2010

Many thanks to Jacqueline Pye for writing up this edition of the blog.

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House on October 22nd to swap news, and to discuss individual and group writing issues.

Jimmy continues with his Sundance series of novels. He has an imminent deadline for his autobiography, Growing Up In Southampton: Someone Else’s Trousers; it’s nearly ready but he is having to do more work on the photos.

Elizabeth was pleased with the feedback on her anthology entries. She has spotted a common thread, and is taking this on board to revise her work. She was congratulated by the group on announcing that the magazine Hampshire View has just accepted one of her stories.

Jacqui has just had a blog published in Woman’s Own; she happened to see the magazine while on holiday abroad, and was surprised and pleased to see her piece included. She is making progress on her Writers’ Bureau course for novel and short story writing.

Christine H has begun a writing course with Barbara Large in Eastleigh, which she thinks will be very useful.

Tessa is working on publishing the Buddies’ anthology, Wordfall, through her Thorn Press. She now has an ISBN number for it and a publication date of January 4th. Meanwhile she continues with the third book in her trilogy – Ladybird Soar – and her wildflowers book.

Mo is going to Berlin where an actor will record her work to accompany some art works.

Richard is a new member. He is interested in poetry and children’s books, and has written and filmed a comedy sketch. He has had a piece about Vaughan Williams published, but currently he’s keen to get started on a natural history book about marine life.

Sylvie is still working on her sci-fi book, as well as the publicity for the Portsmouth Chorus choir event. Since last time, she has entered the ‘Spooky Hallowe’en’ 50-word competition, and has provided a short story for the Southampton Area Talking Echo magazine.

Christine (a different one) is working on a new poem. She has entered poetry competitions before, and may enter this piece when it’s ready. She still has an academic article on hold, too.

Joe is another new member. He has been writing for years, including dark horror, fantasy, short stories and novels, but feels unsure about whether his work is worth submitting. The group felt he should be really encouraged that Random House expressed an interest, and urged him to follow this up. It was suggested that, if still unsure, he might try some of his work on writing sites on the internet.

Catherine has added a further 4,000 words to her romance novel. Slimming World magazine has published her letter in the current issue, and she has had interest in her social network project from the publishers of the Bluffers Guides. She is entering a non-fiction piece in the current competition from How-To-Books, and has been improving this blog site, including working on expanding the Shelfari element (see right).

Siobhan was welcomed back to the group. She has a wide interest in writing, from blogs to novels.

Josephine has nearly finished her text book. She is working on the subject of staff management advice for people who find themselves with responsibility for others but no formal authority. The group mentioned work by Karen Brady and also mumsnet as a possible outlet, and felt there was a market for this type of advice.

Jacqueline is ready to deliver another news script to the Talking Echo, and is planning an article on random decisions, while awaiting the outcome of two earlier pitches. She has nearly 50 articles on suite101 now, and revenue is creeping up. She mentioned a useful paperback, 50 Ways to Make Google Love Your Website.

John has written a new poem, which he read at a Candle Club open mic session at Talking Heads. He is now putting Buddies tags on Amazon, and has sent round info on this via the Yahoo Group. He also explained how this works. His poetry book has started to sell on Amazon, and he mentioned the Nielsen booklist where all new books will appear if they find out about them.

Group discussions included how to approach a publisher and make use of contacts, ensuring all members knew how to get to this blog and join the Yahoo Group, and burning CDs. Catherine reminded those of us with published (or about-to-be) books that the cover can be featured on our blog bookshelf via Shelfari. She suggested passing on to her not only the cover but any reviews available. All members can put in reviews of books already on the shelf, and this helps not only people who are seeking a review, but also the author and the general Google profile of the blog site.

The next meeting is on November 5th, 2-4pm at The Art House, Southampton. All writers, published or not, are very welcome.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Nik Morton at Writing Buddies!

It was good to see twenty people at the Southampton Writing Buddies meeting at The Art House on September 24th. We were very pleased to welcome author Nik Morton with his wife Jen who is also a writer; they had come over from their home in Spain. Nik had kindly judged the fiction entries for our recent anthology competition, and was able to give us all some advice about writing fiction and making our work as good as it can be. He also presented certificates to successful writers who had been unable to attend last time’s awards meeting.

Elizabeth is about to start further work on her novel, including decisions about the names of the characters. It’s a romance with a touch of mystery, with the plot covering about a century.

Sylvie is still working on her sci-fi children’s book, but is having to give time to the publicity for her choir’s forthcoming anniversary event.

Glen continues to write for Express FM’s soap Conway Street, broadcast three times a week from Portsmouth. She has received very positive feedback for the episodes which she writes alone. She was featured in a paragraph in September Writing Magazine, as a winner of a number of writing competitions.

Pam was glad to be back at the Buddies’ meeting after a break, and had been surprised to learn that she had won several awards in the anthology competition. The awards have inspired her to keep up her writing.

Nik had begun his serious writing by taking a course. The first of his 11 published books so far came out in 2007 – but he assured us that some were based on work honed over the years rather than in just the last three. His range includes westerns as well as other novels.

Mo has provided the first few pages of her graphic novel to her illustrator. She remains unsure whether the new man at the publishers will honour her contract to publish her latest book. She has been busy with her blog.

Christine attended a self-publishing workshop set up by publisher Antony Rowe and led by Barbara Large. It seems that the process is expensive, and the author must have edited the text to be absolutely ready to print. (Other members reported knowing of publishers who appear to be less expensive.) Christine is considering this route to publishing her book on bringing up young people in their teens.

Richard was welcomed as a new member. He has been writing since his teens, including short stories and poetry, and has one novel currently finished and one nearly done. He also produces cartoons which are published regularly, but would like to concentrate on novels.

Barbara competed for the recent Scroll Award at Southampton Writers’ Circle. She continues writing her daily diary and also writes in her local church magazine.

Tony first wrote for his school magazine. He has had short stories published since then, and was very pleased to have won the latest Scroll Award from Southampton Writers’ Circle.

Chris was another new member. He has written a sci-fi novel and is looking for a publisher. The group suggested some possible contacts who produce books in this genre.

Jimmy reports good progress with editing the length of his novel Growing Up In Southampton, Someone Else’s Trousers. It is now down to the length the publishers require. He is working on the website for his fantasy novel and his Sundance Gang fiction, and is hoping to take them to the next London Book Fair.

Tessa is working on Ladybird Soar, the third novel of her trilogy, as well as her non-fiction book for children, Forget-Me-Not. She is discussing with Penny the publication of our anthology through her Thorn Press.

Eileen was another new member. She is currently working on a novel, and attends a writing group run by Della Galton.

Monica enjoys writing stories for fun, and has submitted a children’s story for a competition. She is working on a course with the Writers’ Bureau, and writes articles on her personal health issues for a magazine. She was pleased to gain an award for a non-fiction article on this topic in the anthology competition.

John showed the group his newly published booklet of poems and associated art works, and it was mcuh admired. It is on offer to members at a reduced price. He was pleased to have already sold copies to Blackwell’s book shop.

Jen, our visitor, has written short stories and has now finished the novel which she began some time ago. It is set in Spain, and at a little over 200,000 words it needs a suitable publisher.

Catherine has sent off a proposal to How-To Books, for a work provisionally called A Writers’ Guide to Social Media. She has entered the Daily Mail competition for the first 150 words of a novel, submitted a short story to Hampshire View, and completed the first draft of a story for a Writers’ News competition.

Jacqueline was about to finish her latest script for the Eastleigh Talking News. She reported that the Talking Echo magazine will be looking for original short stories, 500-800 words, and upbeat poems. More details will follow. She is back producing articles for suite101 now that they have changed some of their terms.

Penny is fighting with her computer after updating her operating system, but is discussing with Tessa the publication of the anthology. The title has been chosen – it will be Wordfall. Penny continues with her editing job in London. She learned that she had gained a certificate in the recent Scroll Awards at Southampton Writers’ Circle, and Tony presented it during the meeting.

Other areas of discussion included computer troubles, the website which is similar to authonomy, query letters, Portsmouth BookFest (Oct 25 to Nov 13), and learning computer skills for those who use only longhand. The magazines Freelance Market News, Writers’ News, Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum were discussed and compared. We also reminded ourselves that, “If you write, you are a writer.”

The next meeting is on Friday 8th October at the Art House Cafe, Above Bar, Southampton at 2pm. Everyone is welcome.