The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

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.

posted under Jonathan's Jottings

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