Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Writing Buddies - 27 January 2012

Writing Buddies met once again at The Art House Cafe in Southampton on January 27th, 2012.

Tessa has now written her latest book, The Girl from the Land of Smiles, and is currently editing it. She has proofreaders ready, both locally and in Thailand, and the book should be published in the summer. She is also preparing to publish a book of paintings for her son.

New member Jo has always been a keen writer. She has concentrated on writing for business in the past, but is now planning a book about her trip to Mongolia. This project is proving complex, and the group discussed ways for Jo to produce the work, perhaps both as a travelogue and as the basis for fiction.

Karen is continuing with her novel, though she finds that since the story is so familiar already, she finds it hard to be consistent in writing. She plans to enter some flash fiction competitions in the meantime.

Janet is working on her nursing stories, using her background knowledge and also consulting relevant magazines.

Ray’s memoirs are still in progress; he has been working on them for some time, but mentioned that he finds the Writing Buddies meetings useful and motivating. This raised a cheer in the group!

Lynne, another new member, is a literature and language teacher and has always been an active writer. While training she had to critique other writing, and wonders if this has made her hypercritical with her own work. She made some useful suggestions in the discussions.

Mike still awaits a response from the publisher about his aviation book. He has a co-written book coming out in March, Shipwrecks of the Cunard Line.

Alan is halfway through his second mouse book for preschool children. He has also been working on sketches and a sitcom, helped by his experience on the comedy stage. The group thought there is a good current market for television comedy.

James is still hoping that the Daily Echo will review his book, Growing up in Wartime Southampton – Someone Else’s Trousers . He had a letter in the Echo that week, citing a relevant quote from his book, though the reference was removed before printing. The work may be made into an audio book. James continues with Southampton - a Miscellany and his books for young children, and plans to send off a Sundance Gang book to an agent recommended to him.

Jacqueline’s flash fiction piece about Miss Havisham will appear in the next edition of What the Dickens internet magazine, out on February 1st. She has entered a short story competition online, and will be entering two flash fiction competitions. She has enrolled for an online short-story writing course, which starts next month.

Penny has been to the National Memorial Arboretum to take some final pictures for Under the Queen’s Colours, though the Royal British Legion has not given permission yet for their use. She has recently finished editing the first edition of the new magazine Life to the Full, and is hoping for offers of admin help and sponsorship to enable the second edition to be published. She has nearly finished her book Eastleigh Then and Now for The History Press.

The general discussion was wide-ranging. Topics included how to kick-start a stalled project, ways of keeping up motivation with writing, and whether a Buddies magazine might be a possibility. A stand to sell members’ books at The Marlands is still being debated; this would be for the run-up to Christmas, and volunteers, exact venue and good marketing would be needed.

A new ebook publishing service was discussed. This is described at www.SelfSelfSelf.com by a digital consultant who takes Word-document books and converts them to ebooks for all platforms, with no up-front fee but 15% commission on net takings after other costs. It was decided that some members would take a look, and perhaps check the presentation of ebooks already published by this means.

The next Writing Buddies meeting will be on Friday February 10th at The Art House Cafe, Southampton from 2pm. Anyone with an interest in writing is very welcome.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Writing Buddies, January 13th, 2012

Our first meeting of 2012 was very well attended, and members had been busy over the holiday.

Rich belongs to a London-based writers’ group, and he submitted a piece for them to perform in a pub. They will be performing his monologue/narrative poem in February.

Glen’s commissioned book Voices from Eastleigh (The History Press) has now been submitted and the launch is to be scheduled. She is attending a song writing weekend, and one of her compositions has recently been well received.

Christine D has nearly finished her second novel. Publishers Weidenfeld & Nicolson liked her first book – Jump Derry - but thought it needed some adjustment before being taken up. Christine is working on this. She has entered short stories for both the Fish competition ( www.fishpublishing.com) and the one run by Chapter One Promotions who have several comps on their site.

Patricia has sent a story to BBC Opening Lines via Writers’ Room. She has also submitted a 30-minute play and a monologue script, and is now working on another play about Adam and Eve. She is trying out some nursery rhyme illustrations with agents, too.

Ray continues working on his memoirs. Through Writers’ Forum magazine he contacted Jean Henderson who said she would be able to advise shortly. Ray is keen to develop this contact, and will send her some work.

Janet was at Writing Buddies for the first time. She has just finished a Diploma in Creative Writing with the Open University, and has submitted to magazines and entered poetry competitions. She would like to start a novel, but is unsure whether she has enough material. This was discussed by the group.

Josephine is about to start a textbook on staff management; this links with her connection to Park Radio (New Forest area). She has been a programme assistant there, but is now promoted to co-presenter. She has been asked to run a workshop on her subject.

Annette is collecting ‘First Day at School’ memories for an article. She is also looking for a possible market for her piece, ‘My First Parachute Jump’, and several magazines were suggested by the group. Her first article for The Scots magazine was published in December, and the next will be in August. She has an article appearing in The Countryman this spring.

Karen told us she has contracted ‘the writing bug’ over Christmas, and is starting to work on a novel, which she’s had in mind for some time.

Catherine has now rewritten 30,000 words of her novel, being advised by the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers Scheme. She has met an agent/editor who wants to see the book. In February she is giving a talk to Writers in Southampton on the subject of social networking.

Member Janet is writing short stories; she has hospital experience and may check some nursing magazines to further inform her work. She is interested in travel writing, too.

Jimmy’s story for preschoolers, Jayden’s First Adventure, has been submitted to The Thorn Press, and he has a sequel in mind. He is planning the last book in his trilogy, Gerry’s Quest. Work continues on his commissioned Southampton Miscellany (The History Press), and he is working with Penny on a book about 1940s Southampton. The magazine Best of British will be reviewing his book Growing up in Wartime Southampton – Someone Else’s Trousers.

Jacqueline will have a short story in Hampshire View. Her poem appeared in the first issue of What the Dickens, and she has submitted flash fiction for the next. As yet she has not had any news about her children’s book, she may approach agents or publish as an ebook. She is giving a talk to Writers in Southampton in March on how to write and sell magazine articles.

Tony published his military history book We Spared Not the Capital of America in September with Authorhouse, and it is selling quite well on Amazon. It is available as a book or an ebook. He is now targeting military history and re-enactment societies to publicise it.

New member Mike has written books about Southampton docks, and has another co-authored book coming out on the subject of Shipwrecks of the Cunard Line.

Penny finished Under the Queen’s Colours for The History Press, and it is to be published in May. Current projects include an Eastleigh archive book and a grisly history of Southampton. She recently launched Life to the Full, a magazine for Age Concern, Southampton.

Vijay continues to work on the novel which he began for NaNoWriMo, and sees his way forward with the plot.

General discussions then worked around the need for blogs and websites as a personal showcase, and how to set them up. On the topic of how to start a novel, suggestions included blogging, setting targets, developing from a short story, creative writing courses, NaNoWriMo, and not stopping to edit but just ‘getting it down’. For marketing, ideas included Facebook and Twitter, making friends with local bookshops, and using LinkedIn (for professional people). The session ended with ideas for where to place particular articles and how to choose and write for a charity. Future meetings focusing on self-publishing and on ebooks are to be considered.

The next meeting will be on January 27th at The Art House, Southampton, 2pm. Anyone interested in writing will be very welcome.

Post by Jacqueline Pye.

Writing Buddies, 9 December 2011

Southampton Writing Buddies met at The Art House, Southampton on December 9th. There were a good number of us, and Penny treated us to wine and mince pies.

Josephine is now involved with Park Radio's weekly "Working Lives" programme - with her business background she is the ideal person to research for them. The Chartered Management Institute is starting a quarterly newsletter, and Josephine is writing a Q-A column for them. She is also currently working on a book on staff management, and hopes that Hodders might take it up, as they have published her work previously.

Jacqueline is working with a relative's WW1 diary from the front, matching it to facts about surrounding action and aiming for an article, possibly for military history magazines. She has feedback from children about her novel, which has now been submitted to a publisher. The new internet magazine What the Dickens included her poem about snow.

Tessa is busy producing Ann Victoria Roberts' book The Master's Tale, published by Tessa's own company The Thorn Press, as an ebook. There have been problems with the vagaries of the programme, now sorted. Tessa continues writing her next novel, The Girl from the Land of Smiles.

New member Shirley was welcomed to the group. She writes short stories and novels, and is 75,000 words into a sci-fi novel and looking for an agent. She has had many stories published, and has been very successful in competitions, including a top ten place out of nearly 1,000 entries for The Glass Woman Prize. Her website is www.shirleygolden.net

Ray continues work on writing his memoirs, which start just after the end of WW2. He is currently 1,500 words into the project, and he discussed various aspects of it with the group.

Mo has been enjoying the work of punk poet Attila The Stockbroker. One of her short plays is to be filmed, and her publisher is aiming to go for print-on-demand for her novel A Blues for Shindig and may make it available on Kindle.

Catherine has replanned her novel following feedback from the RNA's New Writers scheme. She has a helpful writing partner who is also on the scheme, and has revised 6 chapters (17,000 words) so far. She is still entering writing competitions.

Jimmy has been book-signing at an authors' meeting at Waterstone's, and has further dates at October Books in Portswood and ASDA Chandlers Ford. He is writing the third in his trilogy of fantasy novels, and is working on a pocket miscellany of Southampton commissioned by The History Press. His book for preschool children, Jayden the Naughty Goldfish, is nearly ready.

Jan graduated recently in Fine Arts at Solent University. She is working on future plans for her writing.

Karen has also graduated in Fine Arts. She illustrates children's books including preschool, and is working on stories for teenagers, the first of which is well on its way.

Alan continues with his children's stories featuring Sniggles the travelling mouse. He is currently on the second of these.

Penny has completed her latest book, Under the Queen's Colours, by the deadline. During the week after the meeting she was due at the Centre for the Third Age, Cranbury Terrace, for the launch of their new magazine Life to the Full. Her book Folklore of Southampton has been mentioned in a video 'Wessex Boy' by folk singer Frank Turner.

During the following discussion, the need for writers to manage (and fund) their own publicity was discussed. Many thought this inappropriate - we just want to write - but it was agreed that in the current climate writers have to accept it. There are people who will take on the marketing, but it can be expensive. Building up a readership by maintaining an active blog was recommended. The possibility of a stand at West Quay in the run-up to Christmas was discussed, but the cost is thought too high. One member is considering volunteering at a library (otherwise to close), and wondered about offering borrowers a short writing course. This was thought a good idea, and there were offers of talks by other members.

The next meeting will be at The Art House, Southampton on Friday January 13h 2012 from 2pm. Anyone interested in writing is very welcome.

Post by Jacqueline Pye.