Twenty three Writing Buddies came to this meeting, which was tinged with sadness as we said farewell to Karl, who has been taking notes for us for the last eighteen months. We wish him well as he moves on to pastures new.
James Williams' new play, Who Killed Hercule Poirot? will be produced by The Dalian Players in July.
James Marsh has completed his first gangster book, and is on to the fourth chapter of his second book. He has been accepted by the Society of Authors.
Bill has had a piece selected by a magazine for the blind. The piece was called Tea Break Brother, which he read out.
Janet Turner has her first novella entitled Legacy Of Guilt out on Kindle.
Lisa mentioned a publishing opportunity through Headline, for writers who are not published, or self published. Click the submissions link.
Jacqueline mentioned ALCS (Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society), which looks after the rights of writers and ensures fair distribution of payments from the various uses of writers' work. It costs £36 PA, or free if you are a member of the Society of Authors.
SO:To Speak, Southampton's Festival of Words, (Twitter@SOToSpeak15) runs from 23rd October to 1st November 2015, with a day for writers on 30th October.
Scribbers' Script Update
Advertising: £3 for 50 words.
Deadline: 10 April 2015
Exercise: Write a Covering Letter
Write a cover letter to an agent or publisher:
• Remember it would be opened first, so it is to introduce yourself.
• Do your research by finding out who you are sending it to, and address it personally to them, i.e. Dear Mrs. Robinson, not just the editor.
• Give your name, and authority to write on the subject, outlining your professional qualifications and experience in the field.
• Focus on any good previous material you have produced, articles in trade journals, published material.
• Really sell yourself, think why would they WANT to read my material, talk about target audience, why it could be commercially viable.
• Remember to conclude courteously.
Guest Speaker - Ann Victoria Roberts: My Life As A Writer
• Best selling author of Louisa Elliott and Liam's Story.
• Ann was traditionally published, but now self publishes.
• She writes up to 14 hours a day when she is coming to a deadline.
In 1995, and overcoming her fear of being hacked, she bought her first laptop, and soon realised how much easier it was than using a typewriter, and how she could do research at the click of a button. All she needed now was inspiration.
By chance, whilst cleaning out an attic she came upon a battered old box with a skull and crossbones on the front. Inside was a collection of old photographs and a World War 1 novel. They were some of her mother's mementos. Along with that was a manilla envelope containing the diary of a soldier. Inside, in tiny, scribbly writing, was mention of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. She realised what a precious item this diary was. The soldier was killed in 1917, but the diary survived. Research on the writer led to her first book, Louisa Elliott, set in the 1890s. This book, and its sequel, Liam's Story were the subject of a six figure bidding war, which was won by Farago Press.
For a housewife from a council house in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the whole experience was surreal. She appeared in The Sun, page three, next to a topless model, with the caption 'Mum makes millions from first book.' She disputes the sum mentioned. She was interviewed on the radio by Derek Jamieson, and the irony was that the term, 'like winning the lottery' was used - actually writing the books was, in itself, a gamble. Family responsibilities keep her feet firmly on the ground.
Ann's writing tips:
• Be Aware - writing is hard work, particularly when deadlines are looming.
• Authors have to do a lot themselves, so there are positives and negatives to consider when weighing up whether to stay with a traditional publisher or to self publish.
• Observe, use your eyes to look carefully before you are creative, and research facts.
• Successful writing is usually lifted from life, because it contains essential truth.
• Be prepared to learn something new.
• History is about people, so nothing is new, but the facts can be interpreted in a new, different way. So we can take a fresh look at something, by viewing it from a different angle.
• Be passionate about what you write, it's often not what the readers expect.
The next meeting is on Friday 10 April - note change of date due to Easter.