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Jonathan’s Jottings 1st December 2017


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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 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.

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.

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Jonathan’s Jottings 1st September 2017


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.


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 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.

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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 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, 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, 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. 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,

Diana hasn’t sold her website business yet, although she has revamped it to make it more marketable. She has spent an inordinate amount of time transferring huge numbers of reviews from the previous site, 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 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, 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 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.

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