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.


  1. Sounds as though you have a very lively group of writers, there! Perhaps - grandparenting schedules permitting - I'll drop in one Friday. In the meantime, I'll be following events via the blog.

  2. You'd be very welcome to join us Martin! Hope to see you at a meeting soon.