Saturday, 27 August 2011

Writing Buddies, 19 August 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 19 August. Although a smaller group than usual, due to the holiday season, the discussion on writing matters was as varied as ever.

Tessa proudly showed the group the cover of Ann Roberts' book about the Titanic. Her company, The Thorn Press, is publishing the book, The Masters Tale. It will be released for sale on 20 September 2011 and the book explains how the disaster happened. Tessa's own book, Ladybird Fly is due for release and she is thinking about where to hold her book launch.

Karen attended the last meeting and found it to be beneficial. She is, at the moment, thinking about two stories which are half written. One is about her grandmother's life and someone at university has inspired her for the other. Karen has done some very clever illustrations for Alan's story about a mouse which he talked about at the last meeting.

Jan has written about 400 words about growing up in a mining community. She has checked at the library and found an organisation interested in stories from the 50s and 60s so she will decide what to do with her writing. She was congratulated on taking her first steps into writing.

Elizabeth is continuing with The Writers Bureau Course, more slowly than anticipated as she is finding trawling through magazines to be a time consuming experience. She has also sent a letter, via email, to Sainsbury's magazine.

Jimmy mentioned that the Echo are still ignoring him and Tessa kindly said that she will write to them on Jimmy's behalf. Following his email to Best of British magazine they have confirmed that they wish to do a review of his book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers. He has now written three stories about Jayden the Naughty Goldfish and received an email from The History Press asking him if he is interested in writing a Miscellany of Southampton. He has accepted and is also continuing to edit his other books.

Debs called into the Art House Café for a cup of coffee and saw the Writing Buddies advert. A friend is putting together a play about Deb's life. Debs has been keeping a journal for some years. She transcribes dreams and is a Life Coach by profession, being paid by a charity to do this.

Lyn has edited charity newsletters in the past and started a journalism course with The Writers Bureau two years ago. However, she needs to get motivated into a writing routine as she feels that she is now ready to start.

Mo has sent the first three chapters of her latest book to two potential publishers. Her new book, her third, is about two women who fall in love. Mo is also writing with a friend and feels she needs to focus more on Southampton instead of London.

Penny has appeared on the Katie Martin show on Radio Solent for five consecutive days. Each day a different one of her books was featured with the book she is currently writing, Under the Queen's Colours, being featured every day. She was able to get a plug in for Writing Buddies. Listeners contacted the show with their stories. BBC radio want Penny to broadcast on location. She interviewed a service man she met in Weymouth for her diamond jubilee book, Under the Queen's Colours.

It has now been agreed that Tessa will typeset the Writing Buddies Anthology Wordfall. Penny's book Voices of Southampton will be launched at Waterstones, Above Bar branch on Saturday 20 August.

During general discussion, self publishing was debated and it was generally agreed that this is changing fast. Penny mentioned that Writing Buddy member Lisa Scullard has very successfully self published on Kindle. Tessa explained that every writer needs an editor but you have to believe in yourself. If you do go down the route of self publishing then you have to be aware that you must approach book shops yourself to get them to stock your book.

Lyn has many interests and the How To articles might be a solution for her. Suite 101 was mentioned as there are masses of articles on all subjects and this may be another idea for Lyn, to practice her writing. Caution is needed, however, with advertisements asking for payment. Lyn mentioned that she has an opportunity to write for an on line newspaper for no fee. Penny suggested that if no fee is offered then she should make sure she has a link to her website or blog. Motion on Line is also a good way of practising article writing.

Penny mentioned to the group that Josephine still requires more Pet Hates for her book.

The next meeting will be on Friday 2 September at 2.00pm.

Blog post by Elizabeth Streatfield.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Writing Buddies, 22 July 2011

The Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House Café on 22 July and welcomed Chris Litton from the Southampton Are Talking Echo, who was joining the group to talk about the organisation.

To give time to our guest the Writing Buddies gave a brief account of their writing experiences since the last meeting:

Vijay writes fantasy and has started plotting for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in which he will write 50,000 words in a month. See The Writing Buddies will give him every encouragement and support.

Rhiannon is finding that her writing is very fluent at the moment and she is considering starting NaNoWriMo as well.

Janice is continuing with her poetry.

Tessa showed the group the cover of her third book of her trilogy which is titled Ladybird Fly and is due out in August.

Ann has completed the non fiction part of her Writers Bureau course. She has had success in getting four pieces of work published.

Christine Donovan joined Writing Buddies for the first time She has self published her book Jump Derry and is writing more novels.

Jacqueline has had major problems with her computer and lost most of her work. She is, however, soldiering on and has been pitching to Woman magazine and Yours magazine. Her sleep article will be published in the August edition of Yours.

Glen is more or less on target for the deadline, in about five weeks time, of her book Voices of Eastleigh. She is working on the photographs now and getting good feedback from friends who have seen her work.

Christine has edited the latest version of her book Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the publishers are interested in reprinting shortly. She is now on her second assignment with The Writers Bureau.

Lisa is trying to wean herself from writing about zombies and has started to write a romantic novel. She reported that 150 copies of her books have sold on Amazon.

Josephine thanked the Writing Buddies for their response to her request for pet hates. She is considering either putting these into sections or using them in one bigger book. She is considering writing an article on presentation for Writers' Forum magazine.

Pat is writing for Humble Boy and continuing with her poetry.

Jimmy is currently editing all his books. He announced that his book Growing up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers is selling well and he has had some wonderful feedback from local people who have read it. His interview with Andy Dyke on Radio Solent was very successful.

Elizabeth is continuing with the third assignment for The Writers Bureau.

Janet has a degree in Fine Art taken at Solent University and she undertook a creative writing course some years ago and is hoping to blend the two together.

Mo advised that she sold seven books at the reading at Shoreditch. She will try rewriting a script. Sanctum will sell her book as part of the ticket price but Mo will have to watch she gets paid.

Penny enjoyed the Buckingham Palace garden party and her husband, Joe, chatted with Prince Philip. She received a phone call from Radio Solent who want her to record over a period of five days. This will be looking at one of her published works each day and there would be a general chat with presenter, Katie Martin. It will be an opportunity to raise the profile of Writing Buddies and plug books. The Diamond Jubilee book is coming on. In July 2012 a military event will take place at The Kings Theatre, Southsea and they have invited Penny to be their an guest author, with Under the Queen's Colours.

Chris Litton from Southampton Talking Echo gave some background of the charity. It has been running for 37 years as a registered charity providing local information for the blind and sight impaired. There are currently 80 volunteers who record information. This used to be recorded onto an audio cassette but a memory stick is now used. The listener is sent a green wallet which encloses the memory stick and this is then plugged into the supplied play back speaker (a computer is not required). Articles covered are gardening, cookery and local history and once a month other information is included. The listener receives the memory stick every fortnight and this is almost three hours of recording and is a free service. The organisation produces news letters to generate income.

Chris is hoping, as a way of increasing the variety to the listener, that authors from Writing Buddies would be willing to record their own work, but, readers can be available if that is the authors' preference. The stories required should take 15-20 minutes recording time (1500 – 2000 words) on any theme. Submissions can be fiction, non fiction or poetry and there may also be the possibility of serialisation of longer pieces of work. Chris advised that a typical listener is female between ages 60 – 90 but they do have some younger listeners.

Jacqueline, who is a volunteer herself, is willing to co-ordinate. There are sufficient readers at the moment but editors and sound engineers are being sought - see Writing Buddies would, of course be mentioned on the recording. Chris demonstrated how the machinery worked and confirmed to those not familiar with recording machines that, should the reader make a mistake, it is only necessary to pause for a moment and then continue. The continuity will then be taken care of and when they edit, the reader will have a copy to listen to. 'Book at bedtime' is a theory they may pursue.

The Writing Buddies expressed their interest and thanked Chris for his very informative presentation.

Further general discussion took place and Janet advised the group that she used to be a nurse in the 1970s. She would like to write about her nursing experiences. The art degree she has is in book binding and she informed the group about Red Hot Press who are artistic printers and run book binding courses, and also

Ann wondered if she should ask for a particular rate when pitching to a publication. The general practice is not to do that but instead, check current rates before pitching. The NUJ offer guidance to freelance rates.

Penny reminded the group that The Art House window display must be cleared today.

The next meeting will be on Friday 5 August at 2.00pm.

Notes by Elizabeth Streatfield.