The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

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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