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Jonathan’s Jottings 4th August 2017


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.


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.


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Members Musings July 2017


Martin MorrisBy Martin Morris

A story idea 11/7/17, 8.30ish PM.

We were discussing blank pages at our last meeting and where ideas come from, so I thought I’d share the first one that hit me and how I’d start shaping it. Hopefully it will resonate with people.

While washing up the multitude of dishes, left after tea with my two ravenous monsters (or young adults to be more PC), my mind drifted. I thought about a daughter confronting a man, who had led to or actively caused her mother’s death in some way.

I imagined the daughter would be angry and full of a need for revenge. I also imagined she may not have been around for some reason. Perhaps in an institution because of her perceived mental problems. I imagined the problem was not one of a broken mind, but a mind becoming stronger or of growing in a different path as a child.

A conversation in my mind.

“You cannot hide, but you will see my mother’s face in every place you turn, you cannot run far enough that she will not find you.

You will see her on the street, the shops and the church that you seek sanctuary in. You will not sleep, she will hound your slumber and fill your day dreams with nightmares.

Who is the girl? How will the act of haunting take place from small beginnings to a last horrible retribution, that will be the form of his only last escape?

When is my protagonist dreaming, what is reality?

Plot line

‘Callum’ our protagonist at the Funeral of his wife, viewed from his perspective and then daughter’s arrival, revelation and accusation of his actions. She curses him.

First hauntings – The feeling of chill breath and being followed. Callum sees his dead wife, with the wounds of her death on her dead skin. He sees her on side of road, in a shop, on a train.

He goes home to hide and get drunk. He wakes up to his dead wife in bed with him. Terror causes him to flee towards his brother’s home and safety – On the journey, all seems well, no more sightings, he stops to rest, exhausted. He falls asleep.

He awakes to cold dead lips kissing him, wakes to find himself in the embrace of his dead wife.

He tries to flee up the road and other dead figures appear (past friends, acquaintances, and family who have died). They carry their wounds and their rot.

The daughter is among them, she is smiling as she tells him ‘The dead have come to claim their own’

 In terror, he is pressed to the edge of a road bridge and as the dead close in, he leaps to his death.

A twist – Callum’s realization that his death, is not an escape.

I think looking at a blank page is the problem. Stop looking at it, get away from it. Let your mind find the story in its own time. My advice for what it’s worth.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 7th July 2017


7:00pm Friday 7th July 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend, last Chocolate Twist. Awesome.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 4th August 2017, Costa Ryde.


Maggie, Martin, Jenny, Piers, Diana, Lucy, David, Tony, Martin, Jonathan, Jonathan, Aidan, Freda, Fred, Erica, Fiona, Krissy, but not necessarily in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

Expect a horror-filled Member’s Musings from Martin next month.

The sad news is that Carol and Bob Bridgestock have decided to emigrate to the island off the north coast. They’re returning to their roots up North. We wish them continuing and increasing success with their writing.

Charlotte Begg has asked for poetry or art submissions for Eye Flash Poetry journal. See her item on our Facebook page for more details.

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.

Thank you Krissy, for doing such a good job with the Musings for the last two months. You were modest about it, when in fact I was worried you’d want to take over the job because you did it so well.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Mary is offering her latest book, Hidden Chapters, for 99p on Amazon. Grab it quick, because this offer is only for a few days. See her item on the website for details.

She enjoyed attending a reading by Isabel Ashdown at Waterstones, featuring her latest book Little Sister, a dark psychological thriller based on the Isle of Wight.

Jenni is writing her first book. Sensibly, she’s avoiding the genre trap. It’s a family/drama/thriller, and she’s mapped out the chapters. Good luck, and keep at it.

Piers is away for the next 3 months, sailing the Old Gaffer to the Scilly Isles. He expects to continue perfecting it, and would like to be published by Christmas. He’ll be approaching Caroline Sheldon, or consider self-publishing. Good luck, and I hope it’s all plain sailing.

Diana attended a self-publishing symposium, and referred us to Big Magic, an inspirational book by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. This turned into a discussion of the merits or demerits of Eat, Pray, Love, which seems to be one of those Marmite books. I’m sorry I didn’t catch everything Diana said, because of the acoustics in Costa.

Lucy has given her YA time-travel book to various people to read, and has taken Swaying (not Swirling or Swinging – those might come later) off Amazon and has gone digital. We were very interested in that. Good luck with it.

Proceedings broke up somewhat here, for a discussion of the difficulties of starting to write. We all share the same problems, and many of us spoke of our efforts to overcome this most common and little-understood writer’s condition. There were lots of suggestions, including dressing-up, stopping in the middle of a good bit so you’re anxious to finish that next time, and provoking the characters by making them murder each other. We then agreed that the second hardest thing to do when you’re writing is making ourselves stop…

David was cold-called by some unfortunate person who tried to sell him a washing machine. He persuaded them that nobody on the island owns one, because we have no electricity and we take all our dirty clothes down to the sea. He was also inspired by seeing his neighbour’s underwear on a trestle table at a boot fair, and he read out a very funny poem based on that. Thanks. It was great. He also entered four poems in the Writing Magazine competition.

I disrupted the meeting here by pointing out the cover photo of Katherine Webb, who joined my first writing group several years ago before being published. She’s an excellent writer who deserves her success, and should be an inspiration to us all

Tony received a script from David Harfield, containing lots of gratuitous violence, and is thinking about illustrations for it. He’s going to have a table at the Isle of Wight ComicCon later this year. He talked about the difficulty in designing a Lego costume that would have usable hands. We look forward to Tony’s resolution of this problem. Martin has got him a gig painting Superman on the shutters of a well-known ferry company. He also talked about a Dinosaur Isle car paint job, numerous CD covers, each of which caused the immediate break-up of the band, and how much he likes painting tigers on car bonnets.

Martin is rewriting his latest book. He’s just finished Chapter 11. He had a short story about a surgeon published in Horrorwriters.com, received another 5-star review, and is currently writing another short story.

We had another discussion about short story competitions. Bob and Carol will continue helping with the Isle of Wight Society for the Blind short story competition, but there are no plans for Wight Fair to hold a competition. I talked about previous groups I had been in, where we organised internal competitions, where everyone who entered became a judge too, with nobody knowing who wrote each story. There was a mixed response to this idea, and Maggie suggested we could do this as an off-shoot activity. If anyone thinks this would be a good idea, please get in touch with me and we could discuss the practicalities.

I expressed my admiration and thanks for Krissy’s Jottings while I was away, and talked about my weekly column on onthewight.com, but mainly I want to write novels, and I’ve been busy but that’s no excuse, so I gave myself a challenge to write a novel by the end of the year. I have no idea what it’ll be about, and I haven’t thought of a genre yet. So that’s public, and you can all sneer at me if I fail.

Aidan sadly lost one of his cats in a tragic accident, and this affected his output. A computer upgrade also broke his PC. He wrote two short pieces for his facebook page, one about his cat and another for his brother’s wedding.

Freda talked about her love affairs with street cats. She says she dreams and writes, and is over-confident, then contradicted herself by describing attending a church service in memory of the tenants of Grenfell Tower, when she was asked to write and read a poem, just 30 minutes before the start. It was such a success that it was published in the County Press. Well done.

Fred lost his hard disc, including 27,000 words. He has rewritten them though, and he thinks they’re better. He will now housekeep properly, and make back-ups. He told us of a recent visit to a shop, where he picked up a book by Joanna Trollope, and the Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. His wife asked him what he brought back from the library, and he was delighted to be able to tell her he had brought back a trollop and a tart. The Goldfinch is also a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.

Erica has just finished her first novel, called To This Day. She says it’s about the impossibility of ever knowing anybody. It’s written entirely in dialogue, and revolves around events that will now never be resolved, because the person who knows is now mute and suffering from dementia. It sounds amazing. She asked for help in getting it published, and we offered her our best advice. Helpwithpublishing.com was mentioned, as well as connecting with various dementia charities. Otherwise, get on social media and keep trying everything. She’s already 15k into her second novel. Good luck.

Fiona went camping on Lundy, but didn’t take the campervan over on the ferry held together with duct tape. She’s still struggling with her travelogue. It needs trimming a lot, and she has struggled with extracting detail and description from the author.

Krissy had hardly anything happen this month. She has cut down her hours working for West Wight Sports Centre, Inkyeverafter Press is becoming a full-time occupation, with a client book launch and a new client who has written many scripts for her favourite TV shows, she has been marketing and prepping and sub-editing, and working with Zoe on various projects, including a family colouring book, preparing for the Lit Fest, and Open Studios. She is consequently making slow progress on her own book, a romance with at least two murders.

End notes

It was great to come back, and we had a fantastic meeting, full of enthusiasm and discussion and new information.

Back up your work. You can keep it on a USB stick, or a CD or DVD disc, or an external hard drive. You can keep it on the Cloud, or just email it to yourself. Nobody wants to lose their hard work and precious words. Back up your work. Just do it.

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 9th June 2017


Wight Fair Writers meeting 9th June


Maggie welcomed a rather smaller than usual crowd to the meeting.  Carol and Bob had hoped to attend tonight but unfortunately they couldn’t make it. They are sadly leaving the Island and going back to live up north. Thank you to Val for member’s musings and recounting her unfortunate encounter with a herring gull! She also revealed that we don’t have a branch of the RSPB on the Island. Fred volunteer to do July’s musing which will be available on the website on 1st July.

Maggie passed on Anna’s thanks to all the members who supported her author event at Cowes library. It was a great success. She is keen to do it again and promote local authors, so if anyone is interested in doing a workshop, talk, reading etc, they should get in touch with Anna.

Next meeting will be 7th July.


Bev was inspired by the last meeting and has been reworking her novel. She asked if anyone would like to read it. It is a YA – a diary of a girl living in a dysfunctional family. Bev was interested to know how members backed up their work and got lots of different answers! There was also a variety of responses to her question of whether people keep different versions of their stories. Several members said they did keep each draft separate so there is the option of going back to an older version if needed.


Val has been working on a piece about her lovely day out to the Old Gaffers Festival. She has also been collating little anecdotes and may put them together in a book. She has 30 so far. Maggie encouraged Val to send in her Gaffers piece so it can be put on the website for everyone to enjoy.


Star is working on a piece of speculative fiction. She is on the second draft of her first novel and feels ready to send it off. She has been getting lots of good reviews from beta readers. It is a civil war ghost story entitled The Dark Wood. However she is looking forward to moving on to her next book which is a fantasy novel and has been doing research at Quarr Abby. She is also planning a third novel about a serial killer! And finding time to write short stories and would like to get back to writing poetry.


Freda has been busy getting a poetry book together call Precious. She is very much enjoying writing it. It will be her 5th book. Her others have been bought by the local library. Maggie encouraged Freda to put her short stories on the website.


Fred’s had a mix bag this month! The good is that he was shortlisted in Writing Magazine. The bad is that he had technical problems sending it off. However there was more good news in that his novel is coming along very nicely. He took on-board the advice he received from the group last month and found it much more useful to stop trying to edit as he goes along. He’s still having some problems with characters and isn’t sure how one of them will turn out, but the group encouraged him to just let it play out. She will tell him what she needs to do! Fred also sparked an interesting debate on how writers can unintentionally offend with their descriptions of people.


Krissy’s life been taken over this last month by the Isle of Wight Festival of Running which she was in charge of organising. It was a great success but she’s glad it’s over and she can now get back to the serious business of writing and promoting Inkyeverafter Press – an author services business that was founded by Zoe Sadler. Krissy did manage to fit in the time to support Zoe at the Cowes author event and the pair were featured in this month’s Style of Wight Magazine which featured Inkyeverafter Press as one of the items on the up on the Island! She is still slowly working away on her romance novel, though has been suffering with writers block due to the exhausting workload of the Festival.


Zoe has had another busy month. She just found out she won an international competition run by the Alliance of Independent authors for her book cover design of The Lighthouse Keeper – A Cautionary Tale. She has just finished illustrating a book for Oxford University Press, while the next in a series of school books she is illustrating for a local publisher has just been published. Zoe is working on a colouring book which she will publish through Inkyeverafter Press and showed samples to the group. Very cute was the overwhelming consensus! This month Zoe also did her first school visit to promote her 2 books and her monster messages project. She is now busy getting ready for Open Studios in July, where she will be doing book readings from her garden in Freshwater Bay.


Mary has had an exciting month. Her audio book for Catching the Light has just come out. She is running a competition on Facebook which links to the website and you can win a free copy. She has done some promotion on Kindle which has gone well and got into Amazons Top 100 of free short stories. She used this to promote the novel by including an extract. Mary is busy working on the draft of her next novel The Image of You which is set on the Island and reveals how appearances can be deceiving….


Aidan has been working on the final chapter of his novel which has been difficult but he managed to get through it. He is also working on other chapters but not in order. He is aiming for 5000 words a chapter for this book which is a sci fi/fantasy. He managed to complete 3 pieces of prose for his prose a month challenge and is world building for his next novel. He has lots of other ideas he is working on at the moment. He finds writing action easier than dialogue and several members of the group agreed.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 5th May 2017


Wight Fair Writers – Minutes 5th May


Thank you to Karen for this month’s members musing. A wonderful peak into the hectic life of a mum of 5. You know if you have to wake up with 2 alarm clocks you’re in for an interesting day! Please everyone take a look and share if you are on Facebook

Val has offered to do the June musing. She has not written in a while and hopes this will inspire her.

Mary has mentioned there may be a new literary festival in Cowes, running alongside the main festival. Please let Maggie know if you would like to do something as part of the group, for example have a stall to sell members books, promote the benefits of being in a writers group. It might inspire others to start their own as we are currently full.

Next meeting is 9th June.


Several of Aidan’s short stories are now on the website. Members described them as wonderful and spin tingling. Aidan is busy writing. He is posting one prose piece a month to his Facebook account and also presented a piece at his brother’s wedding.  He is currently working on his second novel and over half way towards completing his goal. He is enjoying coming up with plots and ideas though sometimes gets so engrossed in world building he forgets to write the story. Aidan explained he likes to write long hand before typing his work up on computer.


Fred is now 68,000 words into his historical novel which he has been working on for 6 months. He is editing as he is going along but is finding it a bit thin and worried he might be overworking it. The group advised that he finish the whole novel before attempting to edit it, and assured him it was okay to use fictional street names.


Sadly Val has been unwell lately. She is still having a bash at writing short stories but having trouble finishing them which is very frustrating but she is determined to try again. Maggie suggested sending it to members of the group who might be able to come up with some scenario’s to help inspire her writing and get them finished. She has been writing an open letter to her sister in Australia, recounting their early life together.


Sue had some wonderful news this month. The Amazon God’s have chosen her new book for the monthly deal. Now it’s cheaper Maggie has said she will buy it! Sue has also been hanging out in the charts alongside Eddie Izzard. She has finished her 2nd draft of the third book which is a time-travel/time-slip plot, but the pesky part time job is getting in the way of writing.


Piers is busy with his novel about an old man on a boat and revising it. He has finished part one and working on parts two and three. He feels it would benefit from illustrations depicting parts of the boat. Piers wants to include song lyrics which his characters are singing and this prompted an interesting debate on copyright. The consensus of the group is that it is best not include lyrics.


Zoe is working on the illustrations for a book to be published by Oxford University Press. It is a version of Robin Hood. She has also been working with her first client through Inkyeverafter Press. She is an Island author/illustrator and Zoe has been helping her with book layout and cover design. It is due to be published later this month. Zoe is now up to £2,000 in her crowdfunding campaign for her second picture book ‘Chasing Butterflies’. She is finding it much harder this time as so many people are now using crowdfunding as a means to get their projects funded.


Krissy has also got her first client through Inkyeverafter Press. It is the same author Zoe has been working with. Krissy has been helping her with marketing the book and will organise a blog tour once it is published. Due to work commitments, Krissy hasn’t had much time for writing but has been doing a little editing on her romance novel when she’s had the time and energy.


Anna received her first rejection this month, however it wasn’t all bad as it was a personal response from Caroline Sheldon. She has now sent it out to a second round of agents. It is suggested you send it to 10 a month for a year before you give up! Anna’s first book is a young adult novel called ‘This is Real’. She has also finished the first draft of her second novel ‘A Thousand Days’ and is working on a trilogy. Anna invited everyone to come to her Meet the Author event at Cowes Library on 27th May. Several members of the group will be having stands.


This month Martin has been experiencing deep feelings of well-being having finished editing chapter 7. He hopes these will continue as he starts to work on chapter 8. There are 22 chapters in all and he tells us it’s been an enjoyable experience. He has even found time to start writing two short stories.


David has already started work on Decembers musing about Santa. He has been busy doing poetry readings including one in a care home. Sadly the audience fell asleep, but he’s not taking it personally.  He is attempting to write a poem a week and some of his work is up on the website. He delighted the group with a reading of his poem about Sydney the smooth talking snake.


Mary has finished a course with Curtis Brown which she found very useful. She used her WIP and is changing what she is writing, making it more racy! She feels she need to get into the mind-set of her protagonist.


Fiona has set herself a challenge to read 17 books in a year as she is finding it difficult to write at the moment. She is on book 7 and writing a review.


Tony has been busy doing work for other people this month including TJ’s gym where he had to work through the night in the spin room. He found it interesting as the paint was drying as fast as he could spray it! He’s hoping to get back to his working on his own stuff soon.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 7th April 2017


Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 7th April 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend, Bakewell Tart. Nice cherry.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 5th May 2017, Costa Ryde.


Maggie, Jonathan, Karen, Anna, Fran, Mary, Lucy, Diana, Piers, Roy, Freda, Irene, Fiona, Tony, Georgina, Sue, Karen, Bev, Aidan, Fred, Zoe, Krissy, but not necessarily in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

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 plenty of 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.

Next month’s Musings will be written by Karen. Thanks for volunteering.

Next month’s Jottings will be written by Krissy, who has volunteered because I’ll be away. She has also bravely volunteered to produce June’s Jottings. Thanks for that. My holiday will not be ruined now by worrying about the jottings. I’m sure Krissy will do a far better job than me anyway.

There will be an event at Cowes Library on Saturday 27th May featuring published authors and their work. Several of these will attend, and they’ll be glad to dish out advice and answer questions.

For the time being, there will be no New members section, because we’re full-up.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Anna has been sending her first novel to agents, and is feeling slightly traumatised by the experience. It’s too early to report any progress yet, but we wish her luck. She has been getting on with her second book, YA fiction.

Fran has been working on the structure of her second novel, and she has also been creating a dream drawing every day, illustrating each night’s dream when she wakes up. She’s not sure what these will become, but she’s enjoying doing this very much. Various members were inspired by this.

Mary has been attending a course at Curtis Brown and is finding it interesting and useful. She has set up a website, and is creating an audio book with Amazon AX, in conjunction with a professional reader. There was a lot of interest and discussion about audio books.

Lucy also set up a website, http://lucindablanchard.co.uk/

Diana hasn’t sold her website business yet, although she has revamped it to make it more marketable. http://ukchildrensbooks.co.uk/. She has spent an inordinate amount of time transferring huge numbers of reviews from the previous site, wordpool.co.uk. Now she wants to retire from websites and publishing and concentrate on writing. Good luck with both of those.

Piers is getting on with his novel in four parts about an old gaffer who likes boats. He has produced 200 pages so far, and is wondering just how long the final version will be, and what form it will take. There is a lot of interest in this from Japanese people, apparently.

Roy has completed his mammoth A1 map of Bembridge, and has posted it in the ex-museum next to Bembridge Library. He hopes many people will see it and purchase the A2 copies that are available. His children’s books now have twins as main characters. He distributed a picture of them which he selected from a clipart site. These books are progressing.

Freda has been side-tracked by Life. Despite annoying events and family crises, she continues to write her very personal and emotional poetry.

Irene has had similar problems, with a lot of work continuing to come in, and a complicated move, but is looking forward to a few weeks’ time, when hopefully she’ll be able to give more time and concentration to her writing.

Fiona has been distracted by the loss of the Acacia tree she used to stare out at whilst working. She thought the chainsaws were there to trim it, but they took the whole thing down instead. She feels its loss keenly, and her productivity has suffered. She is up to about 80,000 words for her travel memoir book, and expects this to rise to 150,000. Meanwhile she’s networking to get review work on social media.

Martin was with us in spirit rather than body, although he wrote something on social media about fiery balls of idiocy.

Tony is very busy. He talked about once being a geologist, and the fact that we on the Wight have missed out on the Jurassic Coast idea, because ours is better than that one on the other island, and has produced more dinosaurs. He’s getting involved in something called the ‘Fossil Art Trail’, with various organisations, to try and make more of it. It’s an exciting project. He also initiated a long discussion on Instagram. Apparently there’s manoeuvring in the social media world, with some software companies arguing with others and changing their algorithms so we can’t see messages from those friends we used to see all the time. Apparently we now have to be cleverer, and use Instagram ‘stories’, and respond much more to people if we want to see their messages. It’s all rather depressing.

Georgina has finished the first draft of her book. She spent several minutes describing the plot and themes, and we’re all agog. It starts with a black tree in a desert… and takes on all human and inhuman life, and the stuff of dreams, and runs amok in the realms of fairy tale and fantasy, and if her writing is half as good as her talking style, it’ll gain cult status in no time. Good luck.

Sue has now written 103k of her third book, and has gone back to work part-time. She has a list of words and phrases she uses too much, and has gone through the whole thing ruthlessly excising them. She has put it away for a couple of weeks, and will read it right through again then.

Karen is seriously thinking about writing again, despite her other activities threatening to swamp her. She’s going to write the Musings next month. We look forward to that.

Bev has been living in a house suffering from long-term refurbishment. She has no kitchen. However, she has managed to write 30,000 words of her YA novel about a 13-year-old pregnant girl. We are assured it’ll be a best-seller.

Aidan hasn’t managed so much writing this month, mainly because he has been abandoned in his house with a very needy puppy. I can understand that.

Fred is 66,000 words into his third novel, a family saga set in Bournemouth. He’s been worrying about having so many characters elbowing their way into the story, and he thought they might end up taking over. We were all delighted and somewhat jealous, and he was surprised at our reactions. Generally, the consensus was that he should just write it all down, and think about what to keep or lose in the editing. Sadly, the judges of various short story competitions were all incapable of recognising the greatness of his writing. Keep at it. One day they will.

Zoe has raised the first £1,000 in crowdfunding on Kickstarter.com for her new book. Only £11,000 to go, but she has high hopes of succeeding. The book is going to be called ‘Chasing Butterflies’, and investors receive special editions and other goodies. Also, Kickstarter is allied to Penguin, so there’s a door that can be opened. She says it’s really hard work, but she’s up for it. Good for her. She passed round one of her notebooks, filled with lovely illustrations.

Krissy has helped West Wight Sports Centre get Lottery funding for a Training Café, to teach kitchen skills. She is writing her blog, and has had an article accepted by Writing Magazine. Krissy and Zoe have started West Wight Writers too, and they’ve recently joined ‘Book Fairies’, a revolutionary movement dedicated to leaving good books all over the place for people to pick up and read. They are also starting a small press publishing company called ‘Inky Ever After’, and expect to print, publish and market books, for themselves and others. It’s been a bit of a quiet month…

Jonathan is still writing his weekly column for onthewight.com, and occasional reviews, and these jottings, and hasn’t yet begun writing anything else, but his novel that breaks every rule is calling again. He recently became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, for no discernible reason, and has asked them if they would accept blog entries on their website. They said he could try, but he’s feeling rather terrified about it. It’s not quite the same thing as the onthewight.com columns.

End notes

A fantastic meeting, filled with enthusiasm and discussion and new information. And so many members! We’re a success!

I had so much fun I’m thinking of cancelling my holiday so I won’t miss any of it.

See you in July. I can’t wait. Over to you, Krissy.

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

pJonathan's Jottings | Comments Off on Jonathan’s Jottings 7th April 2017

Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd March 2017


7:00pm Friday 3rd March 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Latte, Old Paradise Street blend, lemon muffin. Both much admired. Tasty.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 7th April 2017, Costa Ryde.


Maggie, Jonathan, Tony, Piers, Freda, Aidan, Fiona, Irene, Martin, Sue, Fred, Lucy, Diana, David and 4 new members Connor, Zoe, Krissy and Anna but not necessarily in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

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

You can also send any writing you would like to appear on our new page, Fair Members’ Shorts. Several people will read each item.

Maggie thanked Jamie, our webmaster, for all his hard work, undertaken for love rather than money. She gave him a mini-hamper on our behalf, and he was pleased.

Maggie also mentioned that so many people have asked to join that she has closed the door for the time being. So all of us are lucky to have arrived in time. She’ll keep a waiting list in case people leave.

New members

Connor has always written, and has a wild imagination. He is a Youth MP for the island, and was one of those rare people who manage to go straight from a pupil at a school to a job there. He works with younger children in a support role. He’s working on his first novel, set in a fantasy world with various creatures who are controlled by an alien intelligence. He wanted to know how we plot our books and whether we plan or allow them to grow and take charge of themselves. The answer is, of course, both, or some entirely different way. Our advice was, as always, to write, and keep writing, and he’ll find out how it works for him. Good luck, and welcome.

Zoe is an illustrator of children’s books, and works for an Island publisher. She met Maggie at the IoW Literary Festival, and financed her first solo book through crowdfunding. We were all fascinated. It’s called ‘The Lighthouse Keeper: A Cautionary Tale’. Google it on Kickstarter.com. She wants to write longer books. Welcome too.

Krissy started writing from a very early age too. She recently found her very first effort, ‘Crumble Castle’ after years in hiding, and thinks it’s not bad, really. She’s led a full life, in PR and Marketing, she works for West Wight Sports Centre, she worked for a time for Caroline Sheldon, well-known literary agent, and spends a long time on social media. She’s restarting her writing now, and that’s why she joined us. Welcome too.

Anna works at local libraries. She has an English Literature degree and finished her first YA novel. She’s interested in writing a trilogy, and also writes poetry. Welcome too.

Current members

Tony wrote (and illustrated) this month’s Musings. They were excellent, and showed that inspiration can come from anywhere, even someone’s continuous suffering. He has been busy working with a group in Sandown Bay to paint derelict buildings. So far he has created art on an empty kebab shop and a toilet block, and he has works up and planned in various galleries. I really like the shark that can be seen on social media.

Piers is getting on with his novel in four parts about an old guy who likes boats. He wanted to talk about what software to write with, and how to send out parts into the world for people to read. There was a lot of discussion about this, with most people most easily copy-and-pasting into Word, and attaching to email. But there are many ways…

Freda stated that she has no contact with social media and ignores the preconditions of publishers but just sends it in anyway. She believes in Magic. She’s not going to write any more novels, but will continue with her poems.

Aidan is working on his second novel. He has contributed three short pieces to his facebook website and is hoping to invite submissions from other writers soon.

Fiona is continuing to work on her ghost-written travel book, completing chapters and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 60,000 words completed so far.

Irene has been a member for 10 years, and is returning to regular attendance because she is writing a one-act play. She has a published book called ‘One Wren’s War’, about a friend and neighbour. She has dedicated a lot of time recently to her drama group in Brading, and expects to spend a lot less time writing legal documents and more to plays.

Martin is working on the second draft of his second novel, also Horror, involving insects with hive minds.

Sue has written 103k of her third book, and spent a whole week thanking people on social media during her blog tour to raise her profile ‘out there’.

Fred is 60,000 words into his third novel, a family saga set in Bournemouth. He’s loving it, but wondered how he could interest publishers in taking it up without social media. The consensus was that you’ve got to be on social media nowadays to get any attention at all. Not everyone agrees totally with that, but most do.

Lucy has just finished her YA time travel novel. It came in at 75,000 words. She’s going to let it rest for a while, then reread it before starting to market again. We wish her luck.

Diana talked about her books for princesses with pony obsessions, and plotting. She talked about her experience in animation and storyboarding, and explained further about her course and next book about plotting, using a wild young plot to illustrate the process. She talked about her website – wordpool.co.uk, and her hopes for a service to create websites for authors.

David is still writing ‘silly poetry’, and read us one of his latest ones about hats.

Jonathan is still writing his weekly column for onthewight.com, and occasional reviews, and these jottings, and hasn’t yet begun writing anything else. He is enjoying his reviews on Youwriteon.com.

End notes

A fantastic meeting, with new members, lots of discussion and new information.

Fred has agreed to provide next month’s Musings, and Freda the month after, so she can bring it the April meeting to be typed up.

I can’t wait. See you next meeting.

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


pJonathan's Jottings | Comments Off on Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd March 2017

Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd February 2017


7:00pm Friday 3rd February 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Hot Chocolate, no marshmallows, Raspberry and white chocolate muffin. Sweet.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 3rd March 2017, Costa Ryde.


Maggie, Jonathan, Piers, Roy, Diana, Mary, Martin, Fiona, Freda, Aidan, David, Tony, Lucy, Sue, Fran, but not necessarily in that order.

Maggie’s Announcements

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

There’s a new page on the website for any member to post work for reading and/or review. We expect to call it Fair Members’ Shorts. Thank you for that Martin.

There was a request to put a link to the website on the Facebook page so anyone can find it easily.

Various competitions were mentioned. I’ll try to put a list at the end of this.

New members

Piers likes to write love stories involving sailing, but not sex or violence. He has had a full and interesting life in the medical profession and now he’s turning his attention to writing. We look forward to reading some of his work on the new Fair Members’ Shorts page.

Roy has also had an interesting life, involving the making and publishing of maps, including Guernsey, Jersey, Malta, Gozo and the Isle of Wight. He has also made many village maps. He’s complied a life story that goes back to 1585, he has edited various magazines, and has now turned his attention to writing stories for children, set in specific places and a particular time, because there’s a gap in the market. He brought many examples of his work to show us.

Diana has written over 40 books for children and Young Adults, including picture books and a series involving ponies and princesses, which has been wildly successful in Japan. She brought some of these to show us. She is now writing a book about plotting which is taking the form of plotting another book whilst discussing the process. A novel idea.

Current members

Mary has written and self-published two Women’s Fictions novels. She’s working on her third novel.

Martin is working on the second draft of his second novel, also Horror.

Fiona is working on her ghost-written travel book, completing chapters and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Freda is having fun, writing what she wants. She has tantalised us with a story about a lady of mature years and interesting morals who could be described as not so much a creaking door, but a creaking whore… On the other hand, she was very pleased and surprised by the reaction of a church group to her retelling of the story of Noah. I’m just relieved she didn’t read them the wrong story.

Aidan is concentrating on write short proses on a monthly basis, and he’s developing a website for anyone to complete and post some work every month based on a task or suggestion. We all thought this was a very interesting idea.

David is still regularly writing ‘stupid sad’ poetry and sending it off to the Daily Mail. He read his latest poem, which was enjoyed by all.

Tony is creating at least one painting every day. He described the extent of his reach on social media – approximately 2 million people. There are apparently many secret societies of painters sharing their work, about which we know nothing.

Lucy is marketing her novel and writing her second book, a YA time-travel novel. She’s on Chapter 28.

Sue is rewriting her third novel and marketing her first two. Watch out for her Blog Tour, starting 20th February.

Fran talked about her Diorama Exhibition, currently showing at Quay Arts, and has started a third novel in the first person.

Jonathan is still writing his weekly column for onthewight.com, and occasional reviews, and these jottings, and hasn’t yet begun writing anything else. He is enjoying his reviews on Youwriteon.com.




For those already published:

http://www.booktrust.org.uk/prizes/1 (short stories up to 8000 words).

For those already published on Kindle:


There are no doubt many others.

End notes

We had a very full and busy meeting this month, with new members, lots of ideas and information. Tony has agreed to provide next month’s Musings. It should be interesting. See you next meeting.

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

pJonathan's Jottings | Comments Off on Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd February 2017

Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd January 2017


Jonathan DoddJonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 3rd January 2017, Costa Ryde. Large Old Paradise Latte, Bakewell tart. Nice.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 3rd February 2017, Costa Ryde.


Maggie, Jonathan, Jane, Freda, David, Tony, Fiona, Fran, Fred, Lucy, Martin and  Michelle, but not necessarily in that order.


Sue, Aidan, Claire, Mary, Jenni.

Thank goodness we all have different names.

Maggie’s Announcements

She’s updating the website.

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

She’s going to split Present and Past Members into separate pages. Please contact her if you find yourself in the wrong category.

The last Achievement Page was in 2014. If you’ve achieved anything in the last two years, please let her know.

She’s going to remove references to competitions, and tidy up our friends and links list.

New members

Fran has self-published a novel called ‘Pencil Lead‘ and a children’s book called ‘How We Choose to Play‘, which she also illustrated, with help from her children. She passed these round with fliers She’s also an artist, and is featured in the Quay Arts Café for the next two months.

Fred has written two and a half novels and about 60 short stories and 60 poems since he retired. He has won at least one short story competition. He describes his style as ‘light’ and is currently writing a family saga based in Bournemouth. He has agreed to email his first novel to Maggie if anyone wants to read and review it.

Current members

David is in Santa recovery. He wrote the December Member’s Musings, about songs that have been important in his life. He had a poem called ‘Pardon My Ignorance‘ about a Teacup Chihuahua rejected by the Daily Mail but we loved it.

Lucy talked about her efforts to market her first novel ‘Swaying‘. She brought fliers for this, and she’s currently completing the first draft of her second novel.

Martin has finished the first draft of his second novel ‘Susurrus’. It contains more horror, and will be considerably expanded from its current 40k words.

Tony has gone back to 1979 and his love of Punk fanzines (rough drafts containing images and writing, in a punk style – think Sex Pistols). He talked about being a punk in Camden and selling zines on the pavement, and he wants to try the same sort of thing. He also talked about contributing to the Dinosaur Isle booklet.

Jane published her 19th book (!) this month and finished three more. She brought the latest one (I apologise for not noting the title) but didn’t hand it out because it’s controversial. She’s having to split her time between working, her degree, and her writing. Phenomenal.

Michelle hasn’t done much writing recently. She was half-way through a novel about highwaypersons in Stuart times, but became disheartened by the need for historical accuracy. Various suggestions were put forward, including ignoring historical accuracy entirely, adding vampires, making it an alternate reality story, and just writing a complete draft before deciding what to do with it. Hopefully she found some of this encouraging.

Freda talked about falling over in dark alleys, bacon sandwiches and Love. She talked about acting and/or writing, her stories and poems, and she said she wants to write two beautiful lines of poetry to be remembered by.

Fiona has reached Australia, the climax of her ghost-writing travelogue itinerary. She has set herself the challenge of reading 17 books in 2017.

Jonathan continues to outpour his column for onthewight.com every week, and is screwing up his courage to start writing another novel.

See you next meeting.

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

pJonathan's Jottings | Comments Off on Jonathan’s Jottings 3rd January 2017

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