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Jonathan’s Jottings June 2018

June11

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 1st June 2018, Orchard House Care Centre. Make-it-yourself coffee and tea, nice cakes and biscuits. Some of them were reputed to be sugar-free. Or maybe fat-free, or perhaps nutrition-free. I tried them all, of course. Very tasty.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 6th July 2018, Orchard House again.

Present

Maggie, Jenni, Sarah, Mary, Erica, Anna, Jonathan, Freda, Julie, Fiona, Fred, Tony, Diana, Aidan, Martin, Irene, Bev, Lucy, Andrew and David.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie thanked Anna for finding Orchard House for our new regular venue.

Jenni read out some emails, and announced that we currently have 6 potential members on the waiting list.

There’s a talk by Rebecca Alexander at Lord Louis Library (not The Library) on 16th June, about her writing life and how she got published. She is also willing to meet us if we want.

The response to using Orchard House was generally positive, although some of us forgot that we start at 7:00pm rather than 7:30, and there was some confusion about getting in and what room we were supposed to meet in. Apparently the manager was off sick, and was the only person with the keycode, but we were very comfortable in the restaurant. It was good to be able to get our own drinks, and we were undisturbed for the duration  of the meeting.,

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Sarah Blackwell talked about her portfolio and passed a lot of brilliant drawings around for us to appreciate. They were very good. She wants to find ways of collaborating with writers and getting published if possible. She likes drawing monsters, and does good wildlife pictures too. She also mentioned Workaway, where you can arrange to go and stay somewhere, like a farm, and work for free for a while, to gain experience and creative stimulation.

Mary told us about her book, doing fine on the internet, making sales and getting good reviews. She is 10 chapters into her new book, and working hard. It’s a whodunit, and she’s enjoying the process very much. She hopes to be finished and published by the end of the year.

Erica has gone back to the drawing board for more research, because she has realised that her new book is going on a new direction. She’s writing short stories for practice. Her first book was dropped by her agent despite initial interest. It needs a good edit, apparently. Her solution is now to start her own publishing house. We might all be sending her our books soon. Imagine the complications in deciding who to publish and who to reject ! That would be a minefield. Good luck with all that. She also mentioned White Lines, a monthly event at Quay Arts, where anyone can go and read their work, either poetry or short stories or excerpts from their WIP. She said there are not enough prose writers. The next one is on 6th June, and they’re monthly.

Anna applied and received funding for a writing retreat in Yorkshire, run by Steffie Buckland. She’s really looking forward to it. Her first book is still with the agent, her second book is being edited, and her third book is still in draft.

Jonathan explained that life became rather complicated last month, and apologised for last month’s jottings being so late. There was a house move, and various life complications, which isn’t an excuse. He also missed several weekly columns. The problem seems to be the desire to write a great novel, but reading many wonderful books, which dampens the expectation of getting anywhere. He just needs to buck up and get on with it. Hopefully once the new house is sorted out, there will be time to do that.

Freda isn’t going to write any more novels, because it’s so much effort to get the thing written, and she can’t face the idea of having to get it published, so she’s going to stick to poetry, unless someone can be persuaded to turn her book into a sitcom. Her Royal Wedding poem was published in the County Press, but they thought it was two poems.  She also wrote the lyrics for a song, but can’t write music. She did that once before, and found a musician to put her words to music. The only response was that it was a great tune but the lyrics were rubbish! I’m glad she wasn’t put off by that though.

Julie has been writing travel pieces, mainly about Italy. She has had two accepted for the National Express magazine, and for Around the World in 80 Pages. She has been writing 50-word flash fiction.

Fiona is back from her epic trip around the Outer Hebrides. She’s now doing R & D for articles about it. She made good contacts with the editors of Country Walking and Countryfile magazines, who are interested in her pieces. Good luck with that. Apparently they don’t usually ask for photos, because they prefer to use their own stock photos. She brought in 72 old Writing Magazines for anyone to read or take away. Thanks for that.

Fred has now been upgraded to the Nottingham Shortlist rather than the longlist. Well done! He entered a humorous poem in  an Irish competition, and he’s going to enter his latest book in the Richard and Judy new novel competition, to be announced on 16th June. The first prize is apparently £30,000 and a publishing deal. Watch that space! He’s now 70k words into his fourth book. The man  is a writing powerhouse.

Tony was travelling with Fina. While he was away, much of his fantastic work for the Beach Cafe was destroyed because the Council condemned he stairs to the upper terrace, so he’ll have to repaint a lot of it. Apparently there was no disability access. While away he revisited Glasgow, and the Print House Gallery there. He’s been asked to contribute a painted sheet for the fence of the One Life Festival. He’ll be providing a workshop on Street Art at Lord Louis Library (not The Library) on 9th June. Should be good.

Diana has been very successful with Plots and Plotting in the U.S.A., but not over here. It has been published by amazon.com, instead of amazon.co.uk, which doesn’t help. The Japanese don’t like foxes, but hedgehogs are good, as well as squirrels, so she’s going to write a book featuring a hedgehog and a squirrel, and one with a cat and a Highland Terrier puppy, which will take up all her summer. She’s having a problem with her English publisher about re-releasing her previous books, because they insist on putting fluffy kitten photos on the covers, whether they’re appropriate or not, unlike the Japanese, who use very good relevant illustrations, and consequently sell very well.

Aidan showed us the published version of his wedding book, and is planning to sell them himself. He’s looking for venues. Ryde Bookshop and Babushka Books in Shanklin were mentioned. He has been writing flash proses, which will appear on his website soon.

Martin is still slogging away on his epic rewrite, now on chapter 26 of 30, so he’s near the end. Good luck with it. May the reviews be excellent! People who have read it so far are all positive about it.

Irene has handed over the Lottery money to Brading Drama Club, and isn’t going to be involved any more, because she wants to concentrate on her writing. She’s written 5/6 chapters of her new book.

Bev had an idea, and is working through it. She has written 12k words so far. Her main problems are creativity peaks at 3:00am, and an antediluvian PC that keeps crashing. Her daughter has taken it away to attempt some kind or reboot or repair, so she’s making slow progress. It’s about an urban couple arriving in a village, and the inevitable clashes and complications.

Lucy hasn’t achieved much with her time-travel novel, but the good news is that I did see it in the shops last time I time-travelled myself. Sadly I wasn’t able to read it, because I only get Economy time-travel, which is observation only… She is writing the first chapter of her egg-donation novel, but she hasn’t set up her website or done her editing course yet. It’s all in the future!

Andrew has written two novels but neither has been published, so he’s concentrating on short stories for competitions and magazines. He’s continuing his writing tutor work, but his blog feels dry and unexciting, and he wonders whether anyone reads it. There was a discussion about blogs, and the need to write for yourself, and make sure it’s varied and interesting, otherwise it can become a chore.

David has been writing his poetry. He has been donating his CD to the Hospice shop. He‘s been going to Waterstones to read, and he had a poem printed by the Daily Mail, although they mis-spelt his name and got the title wrong. He read us hoi sates poem, called A Thing of Beauty, about the life of a banana. Very moving.

End notes

We all managed to have time to talk about our progress and news, and we finished on time even though our start was delayed, so it was a good meeting, with lots of things mentioned to think about. We all liked the new venue, and it’ll be easier next time, because we’ll all know where to go and what to do. Hopefully we’ll have a room to ourselves too. We welcomed a new member and the return of a previous member, and we were all stimulated in a creative way. We had our photo taken too.

 The next meeting will be on Friday 6th July at Orchard House. See you then. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings May 2018

May28

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 43th May 2018, Lord Louis Library, Newport. Make-it-yourself coffee, nice cakes and biscuits. Can’t complain.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 1st June 2018, New venue – Orchard House Care Centre, 189 Fairlee Road, Newport  PO30 2EP

Present

Maggie, Jenni, Diana, Tony, Fiona, Jonathan, Andrew, Sue, Martin, Anna, Yvie, Aidan and Freda.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie announced that Maggie Currie will have children’s stories read on Vectis Radio.

We had a discussion about changes to the website, including a page for competitions, and the need for all members to do a blurb and a photo for the member’s page. We discussed the possibility or advisability of changing the software, or finding a way for others to be able to make changes.

We talked about all; the people queueing up to join our group, and whether we really are full up – e.g. people who are member, or seen as members, but who don’t turn up very often. Various ideas were discussed, ranging from the tazering option favoured by Jonathan, to more gentle and serene thoughts.  We agreed that we should encourage new members to join, whilst recognising that too many people would compromise the freedom and comfort of those wanting to talk about their work during the meetings. This will be a continuing discussion.

There is to be a new venue for our meetings. See above. Jenni has visited Orchard House, and met the manager, Rebecca Alexander. They seem very helpful and caring, and are offering a room, parking, and refreshments all free of charge. They also won’t have windows open to the view of the public, and comfy chairs, which will be a relief.

I’m sure this is a great solution.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Firstly, I want to apologise for the lateness of these Jottings. Since the last meeting I’ve been away twice and moved house. I lost my trusty pad somewhere, and I’ve been searching for it. Now it has come back to me, I can only hope that my memory is as god as I thought it used to be, although it’s quite true about moving house being even more traumatic than nervous breakdown, divorce, or mother of all wars. I’m slowly regaining my faculties, and I apologise for not incorporating everything or getting things wrong. Please let me know if I need to amend these jottings.

Normal service will be resumed next time.

Jenni announced the change of venue. She mentioned another potential member called Sarah Blackwell, and showed us her portfolio of drawings.

Diana is delighted with the response to her new Plotting book, especially on the web in the U.S.A. We decided that they like books like that much more over there than here. She’s having to reread her Pony books, because she has committed to write at least two more. Given some following wind, it might all get republished and redesigned, and who knows what else might happen? Excellent news.

Tony has been painting. He’s going to be off the map and out of contact for a month, because he’s accompanying Fiona on one of her 50 Challenges, wild camping somewhere in the Outer Hebrides. There was a lot of discussion of the weight of items, since they’re going to be carrying everything they’ll need. Blimey!

Fiona confirmed that they’re going to follow the Hebridean Way, a new pathway opened up over 180 miles, from Barra to Stornoway. It’ll take 3 weeks. Good luck.

Jonathan went on again about columns, although he’s started skipping them, which feels like the start of a slippery slope. He reads a lot of great books, and would like to be in that number, but doubts himself and his abilities too much, and there are always so many other things to do, and so little time.

We welcomed Andrew, not so much a new member as an old member returning to us. He won a short story competition in 2011, wrote a novel, did the usual publishing thing, and after it all went quiet, he started to write a YA novel, and has finished the first draft. He teaches writing, he works for a charity that helps people who are isolated, and he has a blog, called Andrewwrites.co.uk.

Sue’s third novel has reached the heady height of No. 713 in the charts. She has had lots of good reviews. She wrote a short story for the People’s Friend and sent it off. She worries about being a one-trick pony though, and was hopefully reassured by us all that she has multitudinous skills and talents, and her new work in progress is a departure from her usual style and genre.

Martin has reached Chapter 25 and 95,000 words. It’s going to be marvellous.

Anna gave us a list. Her 1st novel is with 2 agents. They asked for changes, she made them and resent. Waiting to hear. 2nd novel – She’s typing a third round of edits. She’s getting involved with WriteMentor, a 3-month process that gets a publisher showcase. 3rd novel is in 1st draft. She has applied to the Mike Howley Fund for money to put towards going on a writing retreat. She has secured this. Well done. Have fun there. She was looking forward to the Local Authors event at Lord Louis Library.

We also welcomed Yvie, who has been on the waiting list for a while. She has a novel that she’s been working on for several years. She has been attending West Wight Writers. Her novel references her Irish ancestry, and she has put extracts on social media. It’s the first book of a trilogy. She mentioned the Pin Drop Award Competition at the Royal Academy, and talked a lot about social media, especially Instagram, and how important it is nowadays to use it.

Aidan showed us his first copy of his book for his brother’s wedding. He’s going to have it printed by Crosspoint – 100 for £170, and that will also give him an ISBN number and a barcode, so it’ll be a proper official book. We hope to see the finished product.ewHe’

Freda talked about Apricot Harrison, the heroine of her latest and raciest novel. She’s looking for someone to produce some artwork for it, including a cover picture of the notorious naked walk up Ryde Pier for the arrival of some Royal, whist wearing only a Stars and Stripes flag, for a reason I haven’t yet fathomed. But I’m intrigued. She’s also looking for a scriptwriter who can turn it into a six-episode sitcom. That would be good. She says she just wants to be remembered. I’m quite sure she will be.

End notes

It was a good meeting again this month, with new members and lots of stimulating things to discuss and think about. Changes are afoot, and there’s a new energy loose. It feels good. We’re a great group.

Please remember not to turn up at Lord Louis Library next month, because we’re going to be at Orchard House. It will be on Friday 1st June 2018. See you then. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings April 13th 2018

April17

Jottings for Meeting April 13th.

Date for next meeting is Friday 4th May.

Saturday 5th May Local Author Day with various workshops at Newport Library 10-1

Apologies for errors, misspellings, omissions. The meeting opened with thanks to Anna for arranging the Newport Library as our new venue, so much quieter, and Maggie dispensed tea, coffee and cakes. Yum.

A decision was taken to continue Musings on an Ad Hoc basis whenever a member felt like sharing,

Emails received: Aesthetica – poetry and short story completion; entry £12.  Roz Dickenson –“Typo Terrier” proof reading services prior to publication.  Maggie to forward emails to JC for dissemination to members.

Carol & Bob Bridgestock at Quay Arts Thursday 19th April.

Maggie Curry would like to speak to Authors of children’s literature as IOW radio is looking to do a serialisation. Contact Maggie C directly or via Maggie J.

FREDA: Writing but having to rely on daughter to get typing done.  Having numerous requests for writing for special occasions; weddings, funerals, graduations etc., completed a poem for Harry and Megan and received acknowledgement/thanks from Buck House.

FRED: Finished his 3rd novel today; a pre and post WW1 family saga.  Asked “should I pay for editing or not?” majority suggested sending to agent (of the genre) if like book most agents will edit, a synopsis was very important (be sure of requirements as can vary) agents  will act as advocate.  Freda felt it best to get the book edited.

Members advised using Writers & Artists Year Book 2018 (currently in reference section of Library, older copies available for loan).  Writing magazines often have articles about publishers and will mention whether or not they will take unsolicited manuscripts.

DAVID:  Has been doing readings of his poetry at various clubs, had a number of successful publications.  Read out “Did she let sleeping dogs lie? Dream on!” a poem that been published in the Daily Mail.  Due to visit Lymington’s WI next week asked for members to come rescue him if he didn’t return!

TONY: Continuing work on the graphic novel with Dave which was quite complicated.  Involved in publishing a Franzine for the Urban Art market, and is procuring more and more work of the type he wants.  Supports Free Art (started in London with displays of art on the walls of Brick Lane and Shoreditch – still continues today) recently had exhibition in St Mary.  Successfully selling art from Sandown (Beach hut??).  Will be running a workshop in June, for 10 to 18 year olds, at Newport Library.

AIDAN:  writing a major piece of sci-fi/fantasy work (plotted up to 10 books in the series) still suffering writers block, producing short works posted on FB page.  Tony took the plots to read.  Currently busy producing short prose commission by his brother and his fiancée, prior to the wedding.  Trying to decide whether to use a publisher on the mainland or the Isle of Wight.

PIERS: Self publishing his 2nd novel in the Autumn – a biographical fiction based on log book of a trip to Isfahan in Persia. Wondered about copy editing. Melanie did proof reading, Lucy has started.  Maggie had information on another and would forward email to JC for dissemination and email Mel.

FRAN: Continuing her “Daily Dream” drawings and will publish in a book when completed.  Sold 8 paintings.  40,000 words into novel, looking to use an agent.  On judging panel of competition for 18 – 30 year olds to win a £25k grant from the Mike Howley(?) Trust.  Quay Arts involved; categories are Writing, Acting, Dancing, Technician.

MARY: her dark family drama “Behind the Smile”; set around Island’s longstone is getting reviews, currently on Amazon Kindle for £1.99.  Selling copies of printed book in local shops in Brighstone. Has book signing event on Saturday 14th April at St Olav’s in Gatcome.  The book cover was designed by Ryan @ Love Covers (from a picture that Mary forwarded).  Mary used “Creative Space” for her publishing; buys small numbers to sell on.  Printed in Poland £6 sells at £7.99 – the minimum price Amazon sell at.  All arranged by her husband who, we suggested, should come and give a presentation!!

JULIE: new member who has been on the waiting list for some considerable time.  Came to Island 2 years ago, retired 18 months ago.  Focused on academic writing; mainly travel, with a few successes in competitions.  Has a piece of work published in on-board magazine of National Express “Senior Moments in Sergovia”.  Voluntary work at Osbourne House gardens.

MARTIN:  belated birthday wishes proffered.  Now on to chapter 24 with 93,500 words under his belt. Reviewed by a few of the group who are eager for next chapters.

MICHELLE: Writing short stories.  Sent off “True Ghost Story” to publishers a few weeks ago.  Received email that it had been received, but nothing further.  Reassured by members that this was but a short time.

ANNA: Manuscript with 3 agents.  One asked for a redraft, and after contacting a second agent they have now asked for a redraft.  Spent the last 2 months making requested changes and resubmitted about 2 days ago. 3rd agent rejected manuscript but interested in any future work.  Book is for young adults.  Sent out to family and friends as Beta readers to spot errors prior to submission.

FIONA: Finger in lots of different pies; travel writing, copy editing, 50 challenges; 1st marathon due at Southampton in a weeks’ time, raised £438 through “Just Giving” website for charity, in County Press for New Year’s Day Swim.  Working on Fiction novel for children; “The Grumpy Zoo Keeper”.  Volunteer work at IOW Zoo provided a lot of interesting material with no political correctness!  Still waiting to hear whether or not commissioned book she wrote, based on journals provided, had been published.

JENNI: Finding it difficult to stay with one piece of work; writing short stories and chapters in 3 different books of different genre.  Considering creating a blog to publish reviews and own short stories to kick start media recognition.  Completed Melodic Choir flash mob raising money for Wessex Trust and raising awareness of plight of NHS.  Choir due to perform with Tenors UnLimited at medina in June.

NEW MEMBERS: Carol and John arrived hoping for membership:  John returned to island after 10 years in London working in theatre. Enjoys creative writing ; fantasy, Sci-fi, historical and nonfiction. Involved in Napoleonic re-enactments. Carol came back to the Island from USA via Kent, 13 years in personnel and finance for Chamber of Commerce. Working on historical research of IOW, written and had published short articles but would like to do definitive article on Island to show richness diversity, inventiveness, social aspect, evolution and the people.

An additionally request from an artist for membership.  Sarah Blackwell whose amazing drawings can be found at https://flickr.com/photos/138376280@N08/sets/72157690009409902

Unfortunately membership is currently around 30 so Carol, John and Sarah have been added to the waiting list.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 2nd February 2018

February5

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 2nd February 2018, Costa Ryde. Medium Latte, Old Paradise Street blend again. Nothing to eat, sadly, because of the rather tasty Macaroni Cheese I consumed beforehand.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 2nd March 2018, Lord Louis Library, Newport. See below.

Present

Maggie, Sue, Jenni, Aidan, Jonathan, Mary, Piers, Lucy, Diana, David W, Martin, Erica, Freda and (the other) David.

Maggie’s Announcements

We congratulated Maggie for her Musings, even though they weren’t on the website at the time of the meeting.

Jonathan agreed to write the next Musings.

Maggie announced some changes to the website, and we’re all invited to think about how we would like it, and then to report back to Jenni with our ideas.

The important news this time is that we’re changing our venue. Anna has done a deal to get us the use of Lord Louis Library in Newport from now on. We’ll be able to meet in peace and quiet, without the noise of the steam whistle, in a location that’s fair to everyone. I believe we’ll be using the back door at Lord Louis, and we won’t have to rush to finish because people are trying to clear up and get home.

We’ve enjoyed using Costa very much, and they’ve obviously enjoyed having us, because they said they would be willing to start again if we need to come back. Aren’t people good!

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo to Jenni so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

We had a talk about new members, and generally we decided that we should allow people to turn up or not, until or unless we really do get crowded out. Jonathan’s suggestion to taser anyone who didn’t turn up consistently, or Martin at any time, wasn’t taken up. Sadly. Maggie is quite right, we are inclusive and welcoming. That’s one of our main strengths.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

The meeting started a little late because of Sue’s sandwich. Her third book has gone out for review, and it will be published on 26th March, and the title will be revealed then. It has had good reviews so far, and she’s hoping for a load of sales. She will be embarking on the blog tours and other marketing ruses when all that kicks off. We wish her much luck, and many new readers.

She has written 10k of her new thriller, and is thinking about approaching another agent or publisher, partly because it’s a change of direction. She likes her present agent, but she’s looking for someone more vigorous, and more willing to try new approaches and media. Good luck with that too.

Jenni has been researching for a book she’s trying to get down on paper. She has sent out details of a drama writing competition, passed to her by Maggie. If you missed them, please email and she will send them again. Or you could google  www.theatre503.com. She will set up a ‘Competition Page’ on the website so we can post competitions there when we spot them.

She talked again about making a book of Christmas short stories, and other contributions, getting it printed locally, and selling it, to make some money, to get some recognition, and to spread the work. We would give any profits to a charity chosen by the group. We all thought it was a great idea. Watch this space.

Aidan has become fed up with not writing his novel, and has thought of another approach. He’s going to write a new novel, about an imaginary world with its own mythology, and he’s going to write fortnightly pieces about the background of the characters on his Facebook website, as well as working on the story itself. You can find him by going to Facebook and searching for ‘Aidan Finch’. His avatar is a drawing of a helmet, and his photo contains kittens.

At this point we discussed putting our various website URLs and Facebook and Twitter account details on the website, as well as any other useful contacts or places to visit. Jenni will be looking into it, and you can send yours to her in the meantime if you want them put in there.

Jonathan still hasn’t got over winning the competition. The weekly column on www.onethewight.com is still going strong, and he’s going to get restarted on his NaNoWriMo project soon. He had a bad back, visited an Osteopath, and has had some thoughts about audio. Watch this space.

He also talked about having another short story evening at Ryde Library, and the joy of reading your work out loud, or of getting someone else to read it and listening to your own work. Here’s another space to watch.

Mary had a sad moment when she had a rejection from HQ Digital. They liked her book, and wrote some very encouraging things about it, but they decided not to option it. Fools!

She spoke of her concerns about losing reviews on Amazon. They’ve just disappeared, and she doesn’t know why.  But she’s soldiering on and enjoying her writing anyway, despite not being properly appreciated by the wider world. We appreciate you Mary. Keep it up!

Piers has self-published his sailing book and talked about the joy of being recognised as a writer. He has had very good feedback, and learned a lot. He entertained us with stories of Scrivener, the software he uses for his manuscripts. And the things he got right and wrong while setting it out for publication in various media. He talked of his loathing for predictive text, and doesn’t want to find out how to turn it off. But he will.

He talked about his new book – Rites of Passage – about two young people setting off to travel the world. It’s nearly finished. Then the conversation veered off towards Charles the First, and I briefly lost the plot, or maybe I just fell asleep and dreamed it. Sorry about that. Please fill me in if it was important, and I’ll add it in next time.

Lucy has been beta-reading for other writers, using the Tracking facility in Word. You can edit with it, and it shows your changes as well as what you’re changed it from. It’s very clever, or annoying, depending on whether it works for you. Lucy is an expert. You can find it in the ‘Review’ section of Word. Just switch it on, and it’ll record your changes. When you’ve done, return the doc, and the writer can accept or reject each change.

She has been considering a course in Copy Editing. We were all encouraging, and discussed the difference between Copy Editing and Proof-reading. Apparently Copy Editing is looking at the actual language, and Proof-reading is more about the look of the book when it’s published. Please tell me if I got that wrong, and I’ll correct it next time.

Mainly we wanted her to carry on writing for herself, and she talked about her next book. Good luck with that.

Diana has finished the first draft of her Plotting Book, and is very pleased with the result. It’s being proof-read at the moment. She also has a new revised website – www.dianakimpton.co.uk. It’s full of details about her and her work, as well as advice and free giveaways! Check it out. It’s good.

She has got tough with her publisher over her Japanese publishers, and they’ve been stirred into action. She’s very big in Japan, and she’s agreed to write several more stories. We were asked to suggest other animals for the next books. They’re going to think about relaunching her previous books here too. Great news.

She also talked about her next book for writers, which will be about Scenes and Sentences.

David has thought about writing a thriller about a writer’s group, where the numbers are declining owing to one member being a serial killer. It’ll end in a thrilling finale with the only two members left alive, one of whom is the killer! That would be good. I’m only surprised it hasn’t been done before. He has written and read poems, done some gigs. He reads us his latest poem about Trump. Excellent.

Martin is having trouble deciding whether he’s writing Chapters 21 and 22, or just Chapter 21. He thinks it’s too long, but doesn’t know where or how to split it. We suggested writing it all, and then deciding. He’s had a bit of January Blues, so he bought a bike. I can relate to that.

Erica will surely welcome the move to Lord Louis, because she suffered from a cold draft and had to leave early. Her agent loved her book, but isn’t going to publish it. They said it was really good, but not exciting enough. Sigh!

Freda isn’t going to write a novel again. She’s nearly completed her preparation for her book of poems, and loves them all. She’s looking for an illustrator. She told us of a character who may or may not be someone she knows, called ‘Diamond Lil’, who is apparently giving up the life of selling her body, even though she obviously has a great talent for it. I rather hope she changes her mind about writing novels, and writes this one.

David talked about his collaboration with Tony. He writes the text for graphic novels, and then waits for Tony to produce the artwork. We have seen some on social media, and it’s marvellous. There’s a story about a Bug Collector, and there’s an idea for a book that’s composed entirely of pretend covers of comics. It sounds intriguing.

End notes

We had another fantastic meeting, full of energy and triumph and courage in adversity, and, as always, the hard work and striving and hope for that elusive publishing deal. Keep up the good work!

Please remember not to turn up at Costa next month, because we’re going to be at Lord Louis Library in Newport. It will be on Friday 2nd March 2018. See you then. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings 5th January 2018

January15

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 5th January 2018, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend again. I ate before the meeting, so Sorry Costa, no snacks. Shucks.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 2nd February 2018, Costa Ryde.

Present

Maggie, Anna, Jonathan, Fred, David, Tony, Aidan, Fiona and Martin.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie thanked Fiona for her excellent Musings. Maggie agreed to write the next Musings.

There were a couple of questions about the web site, now Maggie and Jenni are sharing the pain of running tis rabble. They’re going to get together and make some management decisions. Watch this space.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo to Jenni so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Anna’s book is still being scrutinised by the same three agents. She’s going to start sending it out again, and remind them that they’re not alone, and they should snap it up before they miss out. She’s going to keep going for a year or 100 submissions, and then take stock.

There’s going to be another Local Author’s event at Newport Library in April. Watch this space.

Jonathan was all puffed up and still full of his triumph at the Isle of Wight Blind Society Annual Christmas Short Story Competition, and went on embarrassingly about it. A few days after the event, there was an opportunity to read the story aloud at Ryde Library to a real audience, and it was wonderful. Everyone should get the chance to read their stories out. It’s thrilling. The Christmas stories are now on our website.

There was a moment of panic when someone tore a strip out of his notebook.

Fred has nearly finished his Bournemouth-set family saga. He’s deciding the fates of his characters. He’s still struggling with the usual emotional roller coaster. One day everything he’s written feels awful and rubbish, and then it seems rather good, and so on. We’ve all been there, and there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. We learn to live with self-loathing, being misunderstood, and ignored by publishers. We are too good for this world.

On the other hand, one of his stories was published in an anthology in Ireland.

There was a discussion about remembering and forgetting, and about writers who carry notebooks. We decided that everything is remembered, but the great difficulty is how we retrieve these memories. Jonathan suggest his Soup Theory of memory and writing. Apparently everything seen and heard and experienced, and all thoughts and ideas and dreams get poured into a deep tureen of stuff somewhere in the brain, and it gets stirred occasionally. Writing a story is a matter of dipping your spoon in and out pop the appropriate ingredients.

David performed songs and poetry at Carisbrooke Castle, including his School Reunion poem. He read his Library poem to an audience which included a librarian called Joyce, who luckily saw the funny side of it. He sat on King Charles’s bed, and caused the alarm to go off. He submitted his poem about tights, which was rejected, but it apparently caused an entire office full of women to cry. He’s definitely doing something right.

Aidan has started his website, and published one new story on it. He’s working on the idea of setting himself targets. Her really wants to get on with his novel. And he will.

Fiona is getting on with her Year of 50 Challenges. She has already made some bread, and doesn’t like dough very much. She has written a press release for Tony. She has been having trouble finding a story idea for her Literature Challenge, but has been inspired by several pieces on this subject in Writing Magazine, and thinks they have worked. Something about a grumpy zoo-keeper, maybe. Good luck with that.

She also wants to learn to say Thank you in 50 languages, and ride a unicycle. She wants to sleep in a lot of bothies. Apparently there’s a Bothy Association, and she’d going to get in touch with them. Watch this space.

Martin had a Good Christmas, with lots of writing. He has written/rewritten three more chapters, and is on Chapter 21 now. His tame readers are reporting back to him, and he’s pleased with the feedback so far. Keep up the good work.

End notes

Because it was so close to Christmas and the New Year it was a small meeting, but that didn’t affect the quality of our discussions or the interesting items and topics that we all brought to the table. Maggie is still at the helm, which is very good, and she and Jenni will forge a good partnership to steer us through another great year, with lots of books being finished and submitted, and with lots of good angst along the way.

The next meeting will be on Friday 2nd February 2018. See you then. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings 1st December 2017

December14

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 1st December 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend again, one of those mince pies with a star cut into it. Festive.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 5th January 2018, Costa Ryde.

Present

Maggie, Fiona, Sue, David, Jenni, Fred, Aidan, Roy, Anna, Erica, Jonathan, Martin and Tony.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie thanked David for his excellent Musings. Fiona agreed to write the next Musings.

It was only three weeks since the last meeting, so nothing much seemed to have happened, except that many of us have been phoned by the Society for the Blind, and warned to be present at Newport Minster on Monday 18th for the prize-giving, because a lot of our stories have been awarded prizes. We don’t know whether they’re major prizes or just honourable mentions, but we’re quite excited about it, and we’ll make a good showing.

Good luck to everyone who has been phoned, which includes me for some extraordinary reason, despite my assumption that having people get injured or dying or having car crashes should be a component of any good Christmas story.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo to Jenni so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Fiona has set herself 50 challenges for next year, including running a marathon, writing a short story and submitting it to a competition, and reading and reviewing 18 books. Good luck with all the challenges.

Sue has finished editing her 3rd book and sent it to her publisher. It’s currently being raked over by 2 proof-readers. It may be published on NetGalley. The title is a well-kept secret and won’t be revealed until the publishing launch. She’s continuing with her dark psychological thriller, and is enjoying writing it, not knowing what’s going to happen. She’s secretly worried it’ll turn itself into a romcom, with a murder in it. But you never know.

David is waiting to start work as Santa in Busy Bees. He has been reading his poems out in public, including one venue where he frightened the audience, who were convinced that he had actually deep-fried his goldfish, and needed calming down. Who says poetry has lost the power to move people? He read us his latest poem, about a fancy-dress party, with the usual delicious sting in the tail. And he wrote an excellent Musings.

Jenni is trying to read Martin’s chapters. She’s enjoying them very much. She has temporarily given up on her current book, because she can’t get the first chapter right. We suggested she should skip to Chapter 2 and return to Chapter 1 later, but she has become more interested in another book. Good luck with that.

Fred won £10 for an honourable mention in a short story competition. He’s happy with that, but he really wants to win, preferably in Writer’s News. We’re all sure he will one day. He has reached 106k words in his Bournemouth family saga, and expects it to be about 120k when it’s done. Nearly there!

Aidan had a wonderful time in the Philippines. He posted his December short on his website before he left. He’s now going to try to become more proactive with the social media, but he feels stuck in the Writers’ Block. That’s somewhere we’ve all been. We suggested writing more short things, and setting deadlines, as in one item per week on Facebook, shorter but regular as clockwork. He’ll see how it goes. Good luck. You usually need to carry a torch, a compass, and lots of sandwiches in the Writers’ Block, in case you get stuck in it.

Roy brought in his books about the Temple Twins, in the mock format he has submitted to various publishers. They travel the world back in the 60s, and it’s illustrated with Roy’s own photos. He has had them read in local schools, and has been given valuable feedback from that experience. He hasn’t been able to buy his guidebooks, but they have been sold on, so they will continue to be published and available, although sadly by someone else.

Anna reported that her first book is now with 3 agents. She’s still waiting for any of them to respond, and is considering letting them all know of the existence of their rivals, which might make them buck up a bit. It’s positive, but very frustrating. She’s still editing her 2nd book, and is at that stage where she hates it. It’s darker than the first one. There are several more to go, so it’s going to be a long-term project. Good luck.

Erica is 80k into her 2nd book. She will finish it soon, and start the process of pushing it out to agents. Her first book is still with 2 agents, who are also taking their time. Good luck.

Jonathan hasn’t done anything much since the last meeting. His NaNoWriMo novel turned into a NaNoWri3Days, after losing his job. But he has been heartened by writing several short stories recently, and the good reception they have had (Thanks for your kind words), and a phone call from the Blind people. The novel is alive, and he knows what’s going to happen next, although not what’s going to happen after that. He needs to get a job or grow some self-discipline, so he can shape his days and achieve things.

Martin has been writing. He has sent out several chapters to various people, and is pleased that they like it. He’s pleased with his progress, especially his fantasy characters, which he hasn’t really done before, and he’s very pleased with the ‘Shift’ that occurs within the book. He’s currently on Chapter 19 of 29, so he’s going well.

Tony has been remembering Pink Rubber Ball Magazine from many years ago, which suggested he should paint at least one picture every day, and he has been doing just that ever since. He described his incredible work-rate and dedication, and there was a good discussion about how an artist’s lifestyle and output can be compared.

There are many great differences, but underneath there’s the desire to create and the determination to get on with it and be successful. We all pondered the idea of becoming fitter through practice, so the energy or creativity flows easier and faster through the mind and the muscles working together like a well-oiled team.

Maggie has finished her house at last, or so she says. She’s looking forward to writing new stuff in 2018. We wish her success, and we’re looking forward to reading it. Good luck.

End notes

We had another fascinating and lively meeting this month, with stimulating discussions and a lot of news. Many of us will be irresistibly drawn towards Newport Minster on Monday 18th, hoping for Prizes and Glory. Or should it be Glory and Prizes? I don’t care both, I’ll take them whichever way they come. I’ll be there, in a state of amazement and excitement, whatever the result.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and we’ll assemble again like small change at the bottom of an old handbag on Friday 5th January 2018. It’ll be a New Year, and good things are going to happen!

See you then. I can’t wait.

P.S. Thank you to Anna, who pointed out that I confused Mary and Fran in my last Jottings. I apologise to them both. Either Anna is the only one who reads them, or everyone is very kind, and didn’t want to mention it. I shall hope to do better in future.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 10th November 2017

November24

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 10th November 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend again, nice cake.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 1st December 2017, Costa Ryde.

Present

Maggie, Jenni, David, Martin, Fiona, Anna, Diana, Jonathan, Dave H, Freda, Tony, Aidan and Fran.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie made her new updated announcement. She’s going to stay in as undisputed leader, and Jenni is going to be her deputy, sharing the duties and boring bits so Maggie can get on with writing. She was pleased to announce that she has written and submitted a Christmas story for the competition. Everyone was very pleased.

Fred was thanked for his remarkably good musings for November, even though he didn’t show up this month. David has volunteered to write them for December, and Fiona has volunteered for January.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo to Jenni so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

David is waiting for a call to be Santa. He has sold several CDs and handed money to the Hospice Shop. Well done. He wrote a poem about a turkey, and sang us a song by Richard Stilgoe about ‘Joyce, the Librarian’

Martin has sent out some of his latest book for us to read and critique. He’s pleased that this time he has created a new world for the first time. He has written 18 chapters and 80,000 words. Maggie Currie has read it so far and has reviewed it positively.

Fiona has been exploring the sights and landmarks of Portsmouth free, as part of an invitation to write about them in various journal and websites. She particularly enjoyed the climbing wall at the Old Dockyard. She has read and reviewed 15 books this year.

Anna went to the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, and watched Krissy and Z in action there. She is editing Book 2, and writing Book 7. Apparently, she has Books 3 to 6 waiting in the wings, but we didn’t know that. There was general astonishment. Blimey! She has three agents looking at her first novel. None have come back to her yet.

Diana has a new printed version of ‘A Special Child in the Family’, if anyone wants to buy one. She has a new grandchild. Her book about plotting, based on plotting an actual book, now has a new order so it feels like it’s in the right shape. She has written 27,000 to 30,000 words so far.

Piers brought in his book, ‘Rivers’, and regretted not bringing more with him, because it was immediately snapped up by Freda. He talked about using Scrivener and Amazon and Kindle, and thinking he had ordered large format by mistake. He talked about his 50-year-old travelogue, and the sameness of many days, and how to avoid describing the breakfast every day.

Jonathan talked about writing a short story and three Christmas short stories and joining NaNoWriMo, and writing 4500 words, then discovering that his role at work had been made redundant, so he was feeling a bit shell-shocked. But very glad to be writing again nonetheless. The short story is in the Shorts section of the website if anyone wants to read it.

Dave hasn’t been for a year, and it was good to catch up on his news. He’s been writing a comic script with Tony about a Tower Block. He has had 2 scripts recently published on Future Quake Press, and another called Something Wicked. He’s writing a NaNoWriMo screenplay, and he talked about writing a comic made up entirely of comic book covers.

Freda has been having printer problems. She has had some requests for poems, and says she needs a secretary, because she has so many pieces of paper that need typing up. She talked about having a photo of her and her son in the County Press.

Tony talked about Comic Con. It was over-subscribed, and the venue wasn’t large enough, and the BBC and ITV turned up to cover it, but nobody from the County Press. He said he had a wonderful time, and sold lots of artwork, and it was a really successful first convention, that was bound to be repeated, although they could do with a larger building. We didn’t know of one on the island though.

Aiden was excited to be going to the Philippines for an extended diving holiday.

Fran has been bubbling along. She had a letter from Harper Impulse after submitting years ago. The letter had a lot of things to say about her work, which had been looked at properly. She was turned down, but there were lots of comments. No news from HQ Digital as yet. She’s working on the new novel, and walking the dog a lot.

Jenni has written two short stories for the Christmas competition. Good luck to her and everyone else who has entered.

End notes

Maggie’s announcement made a happy start to a lively meeting this month. Lot of us are writing and submitting, and we’re all full of ideas and enthusiasm and energy.

Good luck with the Christmas short stories. Sorry, Martin, it’s too late.

See you in December. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 6th October 2017

October12

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 6th October 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend (lovely!), millionaire’s shortbread. Gorgeous. Not big enough. Totally addictive. I want more. Groan.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 10th November 2017, Costa Ryde.

Please note: this is the SECOND Friday in November.

Present

Maggie, Krissy, Zoe, Jonathan, Mary, Fiona, Bev, Aidan, Tony, Fred, Freda, Val., Erica,

Anna, Martin, {Piers, David, Diana, and Lucy, in no order at all.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie announced her intention to step down as leader of our group. She has been the leader for four years, and she has been the rock and heart (simultaneously) of the group through many changes, and is leaving us with a large and very enthusiastic membership. We were all shocked. Everyone expressed their surprise and gratitude and hoped that she would continue to be a member.

Maggie’s reasons for leaving are that she wants to concentrate on her writing, because events and commitments have completely filled her life recently, and she needs to slow down, take a break, and start writing again. We wish Maggie all the best, and hope she refills the batteries and writes successfully again soon. We look forward to hearing about it in future meetings.

Maggie announced that she’ll step down after the 2nd December meeting, and that anyone wishing to put their name forward should let her know. If more than one member steps forward, there will be a vote.

Maggie’s going to be a hard act to follow. Please give it some thought, and contact her if you’re interested.

Maggie, you will be missed.

Fred has volunteered to write the musings for November.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Krissy has left her job. She’s going to work full-time as a writer and continue to build up Inkyeverafter. She’s been preparing for her appearance at the Literary Festival. She wants to finish her novel and publish it by Christmas, and then work furiously on the next one. Good luck with these ventures.

Zöe brought some copies of her new colouring book for us to look at. It’s beautiful, and the pictures are just crying out for colouring. Waterstones has given her a window, and there’s going to be a colouring competition with prizes at the end of October. There’s also a lot of social media interest.

She’s going to be running workshops at Newport Library, and she’ll be at the Literary Festival.

Jonathan managed to write more columns for Onthewight.com this month, and the Musings, and a few other short pieces, but is looking increasingly towards the hills where the wild novels roam, still sticking stupidly to the end-of-year new novel deadline, and wondering if he should get back to the impossible novel he’s half-written instead. Sigh!

Mary started another novel, about a car crash and a dead husband, and a gradual understanding by his grieving widow that someone she knows did it. Violence and murder will ensue. It takes her mind off not hearing back from HQ yet. No news isn’t bad news.

Fiona has finished her travel memoir, and delivered it, and has been paid, more than agreed. The client is more than pleased, and she is pleased that it’s finally over, and the she won’t have to be involved in publishing. Result!

She’s so pleased that she’s entered for a marathon, after her recent efforts seen by all on social media. Go Fiona!

She has been copywriting. She asked us all to look at her website/blog and tell her what we think. Here’s the url.

http://www.fionatrowbridge.com/

Bev has started something new too. She has it all running through her head, like a film, lucky thing. She just has to sort it out and write. It’s a story where people disappear, and will be told from the viewpoints of some disappearing people, and some who are the victims of disappearances. It sounds very good.

Aidan has been busy writing a battle scene for his book, and has now finished picking apples. He had success with a short story project with the cubs in his local Scout Group. They were all encouraged to write ideas for stories that could be read out at Camp. He was very pleased with the results.

Tony is getting ready for Comic Con. He has been working on his costume for as-yet-unnamed character, and now has to produce lots of artwork for his presentation.

He has three Island Heroes figures currently on show at Quay Arts. They look good.

Fred brought good news and bad news. The good news is that he has had three short-listings, two in Spain and one in Ireland. He has not won any competitions yet, but lives in hope. We are all amazed and delighted that he has so many short-listings…

The bad news isn’t so bad. Fred over-edits. He can’t stop himself from re-editing while he’s supposed to be writing, and he’s finding that his wordcount has dropped to 200 words per day. Also, his wife complains that he’s doing nothing else, and he’s worried about spending too much time at his desk.

A short discussion ensued, in which various ideas arose. Getting a dog. Getting a stand-up desk. Taking breaks. Not worrying too much about editing or creating. Just getting on with what works for him. There are no rules.

Basically, we all agreed that everyone works differently, and if this is what Fred is doing now, he shouldn’t worry too much about it, because he’s still working on his book. We beat ourselves up so much already, because it’s part of the territory when you’re a writer, and there’s no need to add more beating up if it’s not absolutely necessary.

Keep writing Fred. You’re doing really well.

Freda has been working hard. She has completed her fourth book of poems, and is nearly ready to send it to the printer, although she’s still trying to sneak in an extra poem or two.

She won four silver cups in a raffle, and she’s going to get them engraved to give to her three children and one grandchild, to thank them for being wonderful, and helping her with her writing (even if they haven’t).

She has written an article for the County Press, to accompany a photo she found, of herself and her son near Shanklin Pier. She took it to the County Press office and they accepted it. Look out for it when the 150th Anniversary of Shanklin Pier (that is no more) comes up. Maybe this week or next week.

She has decided she isn’t a novelist, so she isn’t going to work on her latest novel for a while at least. She also wrote two short stories.

Val had a month full of builders, hospitals, doctors, and dentists. She’s still thinking about the Old George story, and has a thousand ideas.

Erica is still waiting to hear about her first book. She has written 55,000 words of her second novel. She is becoming very interested in heredity and puppetry. She even mentioned pear wood. She started writing a Daft Book (Ed: Is this a new genre?). She’s so organised about everything she writes, and this is where she throws all the rules away and just writes for the hell of it. She’s also thinking very seriously about the Twenty Deaths book, in which she’s going to joyfully kill off various people who have annoyed her. These are the books I want to read!

She has had to revise her opinion on the complete waste of years and years of teaching, because she has been extravagantly complimented on her wonderfulness as a teacher.

Anna has had a request for a full text from an agent. She is ten chapters away from a full Book Two edit. She doesn’t know whether to get on with writing the next one or finish this one first. She might build up a big backlog of boring bits. We all work differently. She’s really enjoying her puppy, and enthusiastically recommends a dog for writers, because of the walks.

Martin has started rewriting Chapter 17. The original draft was 60,000 words. Chapter 17 is halfway-through, and he’s now up to 84,000. It’s going to be a big book. Or it’ll need to be rewritten again to make it shorter.

Piers has returned from his sailing trip. He has published the details in the Gaffer’s Log, and made it more reader-friendly on his website/blog on twitter, and he has called it ‘Fair stood the wind for France’, because he went there instead of the Scilly Isles. His first novel will be available on Amazon/Kindle on 1st November.

He talked about a road trip to Isfahan in 1969. I’m sorry that I missed whether it has been written or will be. There was a lot of breakfast, I recall, although I can’t imagine the Afghans being able to muster up a ‘Full English’. This could be good.

David’s book ‘My Goldfish’ has been reprinted. He’s seen some copies in charity shops, which could be a cause for joy or disappointment, or both. He has offered several copies to the Hospice shop to sell, along with copies of his CD. He read us a new poem, about ‘Stuff’. Basically a storage-horror poem (new genre?) inspired by a visit to an under-bed space.

Diana has finally sold her business. There is now a paper version of ‘A Special Child in the Family’. She has submitted her audiobook, read by an actor friend, to ACX and Author’s Republic (which is used by libraries). She has been contacted by Pony Magazine and asked to provide £100 of stuff as prizes in a competition. She will also have to post these prizes. This is worth a lot more in publicity.

Her Japanese-translated Pony books are selling so well that they’ve just sent her £15,000, and they want more books. There was talk of animation series and a game, and even a movie. This could be big bucks! We can’t wait to hear more.

Lucy has had a busy month, but has managed to do some editing.

End notes

Despite Maggie’s bombshell, we had a splendid meeting this month, full of interesting news, and varied successes, and even those of us who didn’t manage to feel happy with our current writing output were inspired to make new beginnings and finish things, and to submit. We even love editing!

I’m looking forward to hearing all about it next meeting. I’m preparing the buffing tool, or is it the bluffing tool, for my own contribution. If it’s shiny, it won’t be so bad.

See you in November. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings 1st September 2017

September6

7:00pm Friday 1st September 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend (again!), goat’s cheese and sweet chilli panini. Scrumptious.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 6th October 2017, Costa Ryde.

Present

Maggie, Anoushka, Lucy, Fran, Aidan, Jonathan, Freda, Erica, Fred, Val, and Roy, definitely not in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

Several members were absent for various reasons, mostly on holiday or preparing for immensely successful events or new jobs, or just wondering where the summer went.

Maggie talked about a self-publishing pamphlet she found, and the success of the event in Ventnor Library, where various members combined to market their books.

Martin was congratulated on his Musings, which turned out not to have been published yet on the website. I’m glad to say that they are there now, and if you haven’t read his story yet, you should read it now. Or, rather, tonight, in the woods, under a blanket, with a torch. It’s good.

Jonathan was volunteered to write the musings for October. I don’t know how that happened.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Anoushka visited the group, because she’s over here to visit family. She has settled down very well in Dorset, and she’s studying for the ministry. She’s still running her shows, and she’s currently editing an old script for another show. She’s contemplating writing a fantasy novel. It was good to see her. Good luck.

Fred has reached 90,000 words in his latest book. He completely lost a character for two years, and managed to weave that seamlessly (he thinks) back into the narrative. He wondered if anyone else had lost any characters like that. He has finished two books, and is nearing the end of his third, and he hasn’t started marketing or set himself up on social media yet.

This prompted a discussion about publishing in general and social media. We came to no great conclusions, but there were interesting stories about Jack Higgins, who also wrote as Harry Patterson, his real name. Then we moved to J K Rowling and her Post-Potter novels, especially her detective books, currently being televised. We also discussed how it’s possible for some truly terrible authors to be published at all, and then become best-sellers. There was much gnashing of teeth on this subject, and various authors were mentioned in a sort of house of authorial horrors.

Val has had Family, a Wedding, and a Holiday. So her output has been affected. She has had some ideas, and she has in mind a story about a baby. She also talked about a story involving a pub called ‘The old George’, with a father selling it when his daughter thought she would take over the business, so she ends up on the streets (as opposed to on the street). She working out where it goes. We made various unhelpful suggestions. Good luck with this idea. It could be good.

Roy told us a sorry tale about his map publisher retiring and telling him he should take over the business. He has made heroic efforts to raise enough money, including crowdfunding, contacting celebrities who are from, or own property on, the Isle of Wight, and he’s stated a company, but he has had no success so far. If any of you out there have spare cash lying around, please contact him urgently. Good luck, Roy.

His Temple Twins historical travel books for 10-12-year-olds have received some interest, particularly from a Gozo publisher, but they only want the last book. For some reason they’re not interested in the others.

His illustrated family history book has reached 200,000 words.

Erica Went to the theatre at Ventnor Fringe and watched a wonderful play, called The Submission, all about trying to get published. She also received a most impolite rejection from an agent who obviously didn’t bother to try to understand the context, and grabbed entirely the wrong impression. We did our best to cheer her up with equally gruesome stories of submission and rejection. She said she was happier afterwards.

Freda talked about her first book review, many years ago, and the responses of an agent and an actress to a play she wrote. The actress hated it, but the agent thought about lots of people she could show it to, but Freda didn’t do anything about it then, and it’s a long time later now. She said she’s happy writing, and pleased that sometimes book appear.

She is nearly finished with her new poetry book, and her daughter has not reacted badly, so she thinks it might be a goer. Good luck.

Jonathan had nothing to add. The onthewight.com column continues relentlessly, the novel hasn’t been started yet. It’s early days though. Really. Please ask him every time you see him whether he has finished it yet. Go on. Rub it in.

Aidan has been collecting proses for his brother’s wedding. It’ll hopefully be collected and printed, so it’ll become a book, at least for the wedding. This could be a nice little earner, because people do get married a lot. He likes the idea of putting it on Kindle and adding the new facility to print as well.

He hasn’t written much. His novel has been scuppered by his parents’ absence, a puppy, and the need to pick an enormous number of apples and then them into cider. He also needs to prepare for the Philippines.

Fran has also suffered from Holidays and Kids, with the addition of Moving House. She now has a writing room, with a desk facing the wall. Her second novel is plotted.

She’s going to be involved with the Lit Fest, running a workshop and marketing her children’s book. She has also started her daily Dream Drawing again.

Lucy had the same story about the Summer, and Holidays, and Three Kids. She has been on Facebook, gaining some sales from a new contact, and she was at the Ventnor Library event. She explained the Dubious Portrait with the authors dressed as if they were in Downton Abbey. She was sad that it didn’t turn into a gift, but was kept by the artist for himself. We would have liked to get a good look at it.

End notes

Despite so many absences, we had a very good meeting. We were able to discuss a wide range of subjects, and we all came away full of bonhomie and inspiration for the coming month. The summer is always filled with non-writing activity, so when September comes, and the start of school again, we’ll all be able to write reams of excellent prose. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it next meeting. I’m already polishing up my own particular trademark excuses.

See you in October. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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Jonathan’s Jottings 4th August 2017

August8

Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 4th August 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend, Warmed-up chocolate twist. Gooey. Just what I needed. Nom nom.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 1st September 2017, Costa Ryde.

Present

Maggie, Karen, Sue, David, Fiona, Tony, Erica, Jenny, Mary, Freda, Aidan, Anna, Jonathan, and Martin, but not necessarily in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

Several members were away on holiday, or otherwise engaged in fireworks or some such activities. Lindy Cowes. What’s that? Good thing their sponsors aren’t Madd Industries, that’s all I can say. That’s it for jokes.

Maggie told us that Bob and Carol have emigrated now to the island off the North Coast, although they’ll still maintain various contacts and activities with the island, including the short story competition.

Something happened to Martin’s Musings, but they will appear as soon as the document can be opened. He was so inspired that he wants to write a second part, so he’ll write September’s Musings too. We look forward to both.

Krissy will be hosting the Kidzone at this year’s Literary Festival in October.

Roy’s map publisher is retiring, and he’s trying to raise money to take over the business of Perry’s Guides, partly through crowd-funding. Good luck.

If you haven’t yet done so, please send a short bio-blurb and a recent photo so you can appear in the Members page.

There’s still room in the Fair Members’ Shorts page for your short stories or poems or, in fact, any other type of creative output. They have already provided much pleasure.

No New members section, because we’re still full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Karen has a new job at the 6th Form College, involving teaching in the Fashion and Fabric Department. She’s still so busy to write, but her turn will come.

Sue also has a new job, as a Receptionist at Medina House School. She’s trying to edit her third novel, expecting to publish Easter 2018. She’s thinking the next one will be a thriller, with twists and turns. She’s been reading On Writing, by Stephen King.

There was discussion about her old creative writing tutor, who changed her name when she started writing thrillers (sorry, I didn’t write either name down), and whether that’s a good idea or not. J K Rowling’s post-Potter books were mentioned, as well as some others who have changed or kept their names

David hasn’t had an answer from Writing magazine yet about the comic poems he submitted. He read us his poem about his washing machine insurance phone sales experience. It was great. He has sent it to the Daily Mail, without response as yet. He read us part of a ballad he wrote and set to an old tune for his band.

There was discussion of what a ballad is. We ended up with a sort of definition that it’s a verse poem in 4-line format, possibly in ABAB form, that tells a story in the romantic vein, that can, but doesn’t have to be, be set to music. There was general agreement that Country and Western or popular music doesn’t always follow these rules. David’s ballad was excellent, although I only wrote down Ailsa, and not her surname.

Fiona resurrected a five-year-old tablet and has been editing with it while travelling. She has nearly finished the travel memoir, and is down to 137k words. She wants to finish so she can get on with a new project. She has read and reviewed 8.5 books, and has been invited to stay at a Franciscan monastery, where she hopes to get lots of work done.

Tony has also been travelling. He has found lots of work, and is looking forward to Comic Con in November, which is now sold out. He’s experimenting with a costume for this, which includes a Morph Suit, an X-ray suit and an Evil Eric Guard’s uniform. This will be interesting.

He would like to be getting on with illustrating the other David’s Comic Book script. He’s looking forward to interesting creative discussions because his illustrations refuse to correspond with the official descriptions.

Erica is still waiting for a response from her hoped-for agent, who hasn’t had her book for long enough yet until despair sets in. She has had rejections with good comments though. She is a quarter of the way through her next book.

Jenny has discovered that Costa will give you two cups of hot chocolate, the first free if it’s too throffy. Someone had free hot chocolate as a result, and that’s a good thing. She writes things down on bits of paper, and asked how she could prevent a disaster or a drowning in paper. We all chipped in with our ideas, which included – Using a hole punch and putting them in a large file in order. Writing a coded title stating which part of which chapter at the top of each. Photographing them and printing them out (this helps when there is writing on both sides).

We had a good discussion on whether we write chronologically or in chunks, seemingly at random. We agreed that both are possible, but the non-linear version needs much more management and organisation.

Mary won a professional edit by Phoebe Morgan, of HQ Digital, and received the results this month. It was very positive, and she understands why the comments are good, even though they’ll cause a lot of rewriting. She’s been writing a Twitter pitch for HQ Digital, which is the digital arm of Harper Collins, along with Carina.

Freda pressed a random button her laptop, which caused the letters on the page to become huge. I can report that this problem has now been solved, without loss or damage. She has now put her novel on a stick, but doesn’t know what will come of it. She’s assembling another book of poems, mainly feel-good poems, called Precious, and she’s hoping a copy will go to Newport Library.

She talked about a play she once wrote for Patricia Hayes, about Dementia, long before it was even called that. Apparently Ms Hayes hated it, even though her agent encouraged her to read it. She thinks a charity might be interested in it, and we encouraged her to develop this idea.

Aidan is writing Chapter 6 of his book. He has written short pieces for his website.

Anna has a new job at Newport Library as a Senior Librarian, and a puppy called Odie. She has received 20 rejections from agents, who she is targeting by following them on Twitter. She’s thinking about writing a weird crime book. Sounds exciting.

Jonathan admitted to writing only these jottings and his column in onthewight.com. He’s wondering whether the column is what he’s supposed to write, and has no ideas for the novel he has promised to write by the end of the year. He admitted to writing the weirdest column yet, in a grand tradition of weirdness, and was surprised and pleased that people seemed to be listening.

There was a short discussion about the columns containing the equivalent of a novel each year, and the difference between writing short pieces and novels.

Martin is editing Chapter 11, still and again, and it has now grown into two chapters, one of which is the new Chapter 12. What will happen to the old Chapter 12? Stay tuned, for the next episode…

End notes

We had a wonderful time full of inspiration and energy, and ideas. We discussed lots of writing-related issues, and we lived deliciously for a couple of hours in each other’s writing lives.

We also used Google creatively, finding out about lots of related things, like Patricia Hayes, the Royal Court Theatre, ballads, folk music and many others.

See you in September. I can’t wait.

As always, if you’ve been mis- or under-represented, please let me know and I’ll correct it next month.

wwjonathan@googlemail.com

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