Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Serendipity at Southampton Writing Buddies – February 24th, 2012

We met once again at The Art House to discuss our work, questions, ideas and concerns. Jimmy chaired the meeting in Penny's absence.

Firstly, Mo was presented with a book token, the prize for her winning slogan in a competition run on Twitter and Facebook by another of the Writing Buddies but judged independently. She received an enthusiastic round of applause.

Glen had been delighted to receive a consignment of her new book, Voices of Eastleigh, and she'd brought a copy for us to see. She is holding a launch party, and will be signing at Waterstone's in Eastleigh on March 17th (likely 11am - 2pm). A salesman at The History Press has told her that copies are 'flying off the shelves', and Keith Hamilton of the Daily Echo has agreed to mention it in the paper.

Tessa has had to resubmit our anthology, Wordfall, for consideration for an award, as the organisers had evidently mislaid the carefully constructed entry, but it is still in time for the judging.

Mo has had much interest in her recent blog post about her earlier recovery from addiction, including from her publisher, and there may be other platforms for it. Some students are making a film of her story, 'Teddy Boys Picnic'. The American film director continues to seem interested in filming one of her plays, involving her in the screenwriting, but as yet there has been no firm offer of the film or of payment.

Jacqueline is working through her online course on short story writing, and is keeping up. She was taken aback by a lengthy, mainly negative critique, from a co-student, of her story which was to be just a first draft, but members were very supportive about this. Other critiques were kinder. She now has a writer's page on National Flash Fiction Day's site, and has started a new blog about vegetarian food. She has pitched a biog piece to The Lady magazine.

We then heard from Ricky Tart, who happened to be at The Art House and who helped put up the tables for our meeting! He is writing a novel but teaches poetry in local schools. He is helping people to put up iBooks (for the iPad), and spoke of the necessary preliminaries such as linking with a book company registered in the USA and creating an account at iTunes. He is going to send useful links, which we'll put on the loop.

Janet is still working on some short stories on a nursing theme.

Karen continues with her novel, but she has unearthed some earlier short stories, and is now editing them for possible submission.

Lynn has been thinking of a fantasy scenario which involves the physical shifting of a whole country, but she wasn't sure of the target audience. The group felt that almost any fantasy scenario is worth working on, especially if there is a planned placement for it.

Jimmy feels that his own photographs for his Southampton Miscellany have not been sufficiently professional, so he is working on these skills. He has had huge disruption with alterations in his home, but has found that he is able to block out the noise and concentrate surprisingly well. Other members wished they could do the same.

During the following discussion, Glen read out the review of Wordfall from the new edition of the SWWJ newsletter The Woman Writer. This was a positive review, and singled out two pieces for particular praise, one by Catherine and the other by Monica. We also discussed the pros and cons of having an agent for a book, and went through the options for the writer, such as agent, self publishing, direct approach to publishers, and eBooks or iBooks. We chatted a little about the nature of addiction and about a promised new version of Kindle involving colour and better pictures.

The next meeting will be on Friday March 9th, 2pm at The Art House, Above Bar, Southampton. We are pleased that Ben Ottridge of SelfSelfSelf will be explaining the arrangement whereby he will publish writers' work as an eBook for a percentage of any net profit but no upfront fee, spreading it to all the usual platforms. There will also be a general discussion on e-publishing. Anyone with an interest in writing is very welcome to join us.

Blog notes by Jacqueline Pye

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