The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

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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