The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

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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