The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

Jonathan’s Jottings 2nd February 2018


Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 2nd February 2018, Costa Ryde. Medium Latte, Old Paradise Street blend again. Nothing to eat, sadly, because of the rather tasty Macaroni Cheese I consumed beforehand.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 2nd March 2018, Lord Louis Library, Newport. See below.


Maggie, Sue, Jenni, Aidan, Jonathan, Mary, Piers, Lucy, Diana, David W, Martin, Erica, Freda and (the other) David.

Maggie’s Announcements

We congratulated Maggie for her Musings, even though they weren’t on the website at the time of the meeting.

Jonathan agreed to write the next Musings.

Maggie announced some changes to the website, and we’re all invited to think about how we would like it, and then to report back to Jenni with our ideas.

The important news this time is that we’re changing our venue. Anna has done a deal to get us the use of Lord Louis Library in Newport from now on. We’ll be able to meet in peace and quiet, without the noise of the steam whistle, in a location that’s fair to everyone. I believe we’ll be using the back door at Lord Louis, and we won’t have to rush to finish because people are trying to clear up and get home.

We’ve enjoyed using Costa very much, and they’ve obviously enjoyed having us, because they said they would be willing to start again if we need to come back. Aren’t people good!

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.

We had a talk about new members, and generally we decided that we should allow people to turn up or not, until or unless we really do get crowded out. Jonathan’s suggestion to taser anyone who didn’t turn up consistently, or Martin at any time, wasn’t taken up. Sadly. Maggie is quite right, we are inclusive and welcoming. That’s one of our main strengths.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

The meeting started a little late because of Sue’s sandwich. Her third book has gone out for review, and it will be published on 26th March, and the title will be revealed then. It has had good reviews so far, and she’s hoping for a load of sales. She will be embarking on the blog tours and other marketing ruses when all that kicks off. We wish her much luck, and many new readers.

She has written 10k of her new thriller, and is thinking about approaching another agent or publisher, partly because it’s a change of direction. She likes her present agent, but she’s looking for someone more vigorous, and more willing to try new approaches and media. Good luck with that too.

Jenni has been researching for a book she’s trying to get down on paper. She has sent out details of a drama writing competition, passed to her by Maggie. If you missed them, please email and she will send them again. Or you could google She will set up a ‘Competition Page’ on the website so we can post competitions there when we spot them.

She talked again about making a book of Christmas short stories, and other contributions, getting it printed locally, and selling it, to make some money, to get some recognition, and to spread the work. We would give any profits to a charity chosen by the group. We all thought it was a great idea. Watch this space.

Aidan has become fed up with not writing his novel, and has thought of another approach. He’s going to write a new novel, about an imaginary world with its own mythology, and he’s going to write fortnightly pieces about the background of the characters on his Facebook website, as well as working on the story itself. You can find him by going to Facebook and searching for ‘Aidan Finch’. His avatar is a drawing of a helmet, and his photo contains kittens.

At this point we discussed putting our various website URLs and Facebook and Twitter account details on the website, as well as any other useful contacts or places to visit. Jenni will be looking into it, and you can send yours to her in the meantime if you want them put in there.

Jonathan still hasn’t got over winning the competition. The weekly column on is still going strong, and he’s going to get restarted on his NaNoWriMo project soon. He had a bad back, visited an Osteopath, and has had some thoughts about audio. Watch this space.

He also talked about having another short story evening at Ryde Library, and the joy of reading your work out loud, or of getting someone else to read it and listening to your own work. Here’s another space to watch.

Mary had a sad moment when she had a rejection from HQ Digital. They liked her book, and wrote some very encouraging things about it, but they decided not to option it. Fools!

She spoke of her concerns about losing reviews on Amazon. They’ve just disappeared, and she doesn’t know why.  But she’s soldiering on and enjoying her writing anyway, despite not being properly appreciated by the wider world. We appreciate you Mary. Keep it up!

Piers has self-published his sailing book and talked about the joy of being recognised as a writer. He has had very good feedback, and learned a lot. He entertained us with stories of Scrivener, the software he uses for his manuscripts. And the things he got right and wrong while setting it out for publication in various media. He talked of his loathing for predictive text, and doesn’t want to find out how to turn it off. But he will.

He talked about his new book – Rites of Passage – about two young people setting off to travel the world. It’s nearly finished. Then the conversation veered off towards Charles the First, and I briefly lost the plot, or maybe I just fell asleep and dreamed it. Sorry about that. Please fill me in if it was important, and I’ll add it in next time.

Lucy has been beta-reading for other writers, using the Tracking facility in Word. You can edit with it, and it shows your changes as well as what you’re changed it from. It’s very clever, or annoying, depending on whether it works for you. Lucy is an expert. You can find it in the ‘Review’ section of Word. Just switch it on, and it’ll record your changes. When you’ve done, return the doc, and the writer can accept or reject each change.

She has been considering a course in Copy Editing. We were all encouraging, and discussed the difference between Copy Editing and Proof-reading. Apparently Copy Editing is looking at the actual language, and Proof-reading is more about the look of the book when it’s published. Please tell me if I got that wrong, and I’ll correct it next time.

Mainly we wanted her to carry on writing for herself, and she talked about her next book. Good luck with that.

Diana has finished the first draft of her Plotting Book, and is very pleased with the result. It’s being proof-read at the moment. She also has a new revised website – It’s full of details about her and her work, as well as advice and free giveaways! Check it out. It’s good.

She has got tough with her publisher over her Japanese publishers, and they’ve been stirred into action. She’s very big in Japan, and she’s agreed to write several more stories. We were asked to suggest other animals for the next books. They’re going to think about relaunching her previous books here too. Great news.

She also talked about her next book for writers, which will be about Scenes and Sentences.

David has thought about writing a thriller about a writer’s group, where the numbers are declining owing to one member being a serial killer. It’ll end in a thrilling finale with the only two members left alive, one of whom is the killer! That would be good. I’m only surprised it hasn’t been done before. He has written and read poems, done some gigs. He reads us his latest poem about Trump. Excellent.

Martin is having trouble deciding whether he’s writing Chapters 21 and 22, or just Chapter 21. He thinks it’s too long, but doesn’t know where or how to split it. We suggested writing it all, and then deciding. He’s had a bit of January Blues, so he bought a bike. I can relate to that.

Erica will surely welcome the move to Lord Louis, because she suffered from a cold draft and had to leave early. Her agent loved her book, but isn’t going to publish it. They said it was really good, but not exciting enough. Sigh!

Freda isn’t going to write a novel again. She’s nearly completed her preparation for her book of poems, and loves them all. She’s looking for an illustrator. She told us of a character who may or may not be someone she knows, called ‘Diamond Lil’, who is apparently giving up the life of selling her body, even though she obviously has a great talent for it. I rather hope she changes her mind about writing novels, and writes this one.

David talked about his collaboration with Tony. He writes the text for graphic novels, and then waits for Tony to produce the artwork. We have seen some on social media, and it’s marvellous. There’s a story about a Bug Collector, and there’s an idea for a book that’s composed entirely of pretend covers of comics. It sounds intriguing.

End notes

We had another fantastic meeting, full of energy and triumph and courage in adversity, and, as always, the hard work and striving and hope for that elusive publishing deal. Keep up the good work!

Please remember not to turn up at Costa next month, because we’re going to be at Lord Louis Library in Newport. It will be on Friday 2nd March 2018. See you then. 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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