Friday, 3 October 2014

Writing Buddies, September 2014

The regular monthly meeting of Writing Buddies took place on Friday 5 September 2014, at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel, High Street Southampton. The meeting was introduced by a fit-again Penny.

Good News

There was a lot of good news shared at this meeting, which was great to hear. 

Josephine writes for The Voice, produced by a group of Wessex writers, whose tag-line is 'bringing writers and readers together'. At present there is no website/blog for this publication as it is sent out via personal subscription.  If anyone is interested in receiving this in pdf format, please contact via the Writing Buddies blog.
   The Writing Buddies were very pleased to hear that Josephine has had her piece 'Sunday Afternoon' accepted for publication in the annual edition of This England magazine. This England is a quarterly magazine, with a special annual edition in October. Competition to be published in this edition is fierce.
   Josephine is looking at ideas for articles, and is willing to block off a whole week to look at them without interruption.

James, maintaining his new 'gangster' image, has started work on a gangster novel and, in just ten days, has got to the fourth chapter.
   He is also pleased that his latest published book, A 1940's Childhood has reached 186 on the Amazon Best Sellers List.  The Writing Buddies congratulated him on this achievement.
   James is also trying to get a new Jayden the goldfish children’s book out, Christmas In The Pond. His team is currently producing a copy illustrated in black and white, with some colour.

Jacqueline gave a talk at Portswood library, about her life and works, with particular reference to her book Bottles and Pots. She signed copies of her books after the talk.
Jacqueline Pye book signing copies of 'Bottles and Pots'

Penny had attended the Ultimate Speaker Camp, a three-day course run by a John Lee, a self-made millionaire at 32. It was one of those American-style highly motivational speaker events, where she learnt 'how to give and receive' when public speaking.
    Penny attended the Society of Authors (SoA) lunch on 4 September, in Ferndown, Dorset. This is always a good opportunity to network. The SoA is ostensibly a Trade Union for writers, and if you have had full-length work published you are eligible to join. The fee is £95, which entitles you to discounts and preferential rates on many things, including Public Liability Insurance.
   Whilst at the lunch, she met best-selling author Pam Fudge, who has just launched a new course for writers.  
   Penny gave her personal thanks to both Jacqueline and James for stepping in to run Writing Buddies’ meetings while she was recovering from the accident she suffered in July.

Welcome to Newcomers

Hazel is just beginning her writing journey and her genre is memoir and family stories.

Helen is drawing upon her experiences in property to produce Property Developing for Blondes. She has plenty of ideas but admitted that she is just starting and needs a push. The Writing Buddies will be happy to oblige!

A warm welcome was extended to them both.

General News

Bill mentioned that the new local television station, That’s Solent will soon be available on Freeview TV (re-tune to Channel 8), which means we will have access to local broadcasting. This could be an opportunity to contact the wider population.

Writing Buddies have access to an internal email information loop and Jacqueline reminded those present of her regular listing of the many competitions available to enter. She asked if it was of use and was assured that it was. Several members regularly enter competitions.

Josephine offered a review service for Writing Buddies work, which was immediately taken up by members.


- Competition
  • You want a pay-off of some kind (even an entry in an anthology)
  •  Adhering to all the criteria is essential.
  • Understand the theme and the audience, and researching the publication will give you many of clues to this. A magazines target audience doesn't change overnight (or month to month).
  • Do adhere to all restrictions (e.g. If maximum 800 words, do not exceed that)
  • It is best to use standard spacing - double line more pleasing on the eye, and easier to read.
  • Keep a log of what you enter, and although the odds are often long, remember somebody will win. 

Penny mentioned that when she recently judged a competition, a quarter did not follow the guidelines and so were rejected. The winner followed all the criteria.

Advice Sought

Helen had sent out copies of her unfinished property book to readers for feedback. She was told to re-jig it, chop it up and cut sections. She had been told to put it into two sections, i) background and experiences, ii) how to succeed. As the book was still unfinished, she was not happy with the feedback she has received.
   She was advised to 'get it out of her head', and onto paper or a computer screen. She should stop editing what she had written and finish the book (so you keep the flow), then re-visit in whole structure and edit it. She should then re-read the complete manuscript, whilst reminding herself of her mission statement – have you achieved what you set at to do?

Useful website for writers

Penny Legg was the guest speaker, on Photography for Writers.

  • You do not have to be a professional photographer to sell photos
  • With a little thought you can produce good results an editor will be delighted with
  • Always fill your viewfinder with the subject
  • Take a deep breath, or breathe out, before you take the shot
  • Be prepared to take several shots to get the right one and make sure that you have a data card big enough for the days shooting            
  • To allow your photograph to be seen clearly and sharply as possible, no matter what the picture size, take them at 300 dpi (dots per square inch) or higher
  • If you set your camera to the highest resolution, you will take fewer shots, but they will be better quality
  •  Most software will allow you to save images in a variety of formats and so check with your editor which format he uses.
  • Useful books: The Digital Photography Handbook by Doug Harman (Quereus, 2012) and Photography for Writers by Simon Whaley (Compass Books, 2014).
The next meeting will be on Friday 3 October at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel, Southampton, at 2pm. The speaker will be Martin Pavey, Central Librarian, Southampton Library Service. Everyone is welcome.


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