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 www.nanowrimo.org. 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 www.sate.org.uk. 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 www.redhotpress.org.uk who are artistic printers and run book binding courses, and also www.blurb.com.
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.
Notes by Elizabeth Streatfield.