The Wight Fair Writers & Artists Circle

A Place for Isle of Wight Authors, Writers and Artists

Jonathan’s Jottings May 2018


Jonathan’s Jottings

7:00pm Friday 43th May 2018, Lord Louis Library, Newport. Make-it-yourself coffee, nice cakes and biscuits. Can’t complain.

Next meeting

7:00pm Friday 1st June 2018, New venue – Orchard House Care Centre, 189 Fairlee Road, Newport  PO30 2EP


Maggie, Jenni, Diana, Tony, Fiona, Jonathan, Andrew, Sue, Martin, Anna, Yvie, Aidan and Freda.

Maggie’s Announcements

Maggie announced that Maggie Currie will have children’s stories read on Vectis Radio.

We had a discussion about changes to the website, including a page for competitions, and the need for all members to do a blurb and a photo for the member’s page. We discussed the possibility or advisability of changing the software, or finding a way for others to be able to make changes.

We talked about all; the people queueing up to join our group, and whether we really are full up – e.g. people who are member, or seen as members, but who don’t turn up very often. Various ideas were discussed, ranging from the tazering option favoured by Jonathan, to more gentle and serene thoughts.  We agreed that we should encourage new members to join, whilst recognising that too many people would compromise the freedom and comfort of those wanting to talk about their work during the meetings. This will be a continuing discussion.

There is to be a new venue for our meetings. See above. Jenni has visited Orchard House, and met the manager, Rebecca Alexander. They seem very helpful and caring, and are offering a room, parking, and refreshments all free of charge. They also won’t have windows open to the view of the public, and comfy chairs, which will be a relief.

I’m sure this is a great solution.

Achievements, Confessions, and Excuses

Firstly, I want to apologise for the lateness of these Jottings. Since the last meeting I’ve been away twice and moved house. I lost my trusty pad somewhere, and I’ve been searching for it. Now it has come back to me, I can only hope that my memory is as god as I thought it used to be, although it’s quite true about moving house being even more traumatic than nervous breakdown, divorce, or mother of all wars. I’m slowly regaining my faculties, and I apologise for not incorporating everything or getting things wrong. Please let me know if I need to amend these jottings.

Normal service will be resumed next time.

Jenni announced the change of venue. She mentioned another potential member called Sarah Blackwell, and showed us her portfolio of drawings.

Diana is delighted with the response to her new Plotting book, especially on the web in the U.S.A. We decided that they like books like that much more over there than here. She’s having to reread her Pony books, because she has committed to write at least two more. Given some following wind, it might all get republished and redesigned, and who knows what else might happen? Excellent news.

Tony has been painting. He’s going to be off the map and out of contact for a month, because he’s accompanying Fiona on one of her 50 Challenges, wild camping somewhere in the Outer Hebrides. There was a lot of discussion of the weight of items, since they’re going to be carrying everything they’ll need. Blimey!

Fiona confirmed that they’re going to follow the Hebridean Way, a new pathway opened up over 180 miles, from Barra to Stornoway. It’ll take 3 weeks. Good luck.

Jonathan went on again about columns, although he’s started skipping them, which feels like the start of a slippery slope. He reads a lot of great books, and would like to be in that number, but doubts himself and his abilities too much, and there are always so many other things to do, and so little time.

We welcomed Andrew, not so much a new member as an old member returning to us. He won a short story competition in 2011, wrote a novel, did the usual publishing thing, and after it all went quiet, he started to write a YA novel, and has finished the first draft. He teaches writing, he works for a charity that helps people who are isolated, and he has a blog, called

Sue’s third novel has reached the heady height of No. 713 in the charts. She has had lots of good reviews. She wrote a short story for the People’s Friend and sent it off. She worries about being a one-trick pony though, and was hopefully reassured by us all that she has multitudinous skills and talents, and her new work in progress is a departure from her usual style and genre.

Martin has reached Chapter 25 and 95,000 words. It’s going to be marvellous.

Anna gave us a list. Her 1st novel is with 2 agents. They asked for changes, she made them and resent. Waiting to hear. 2nd novel – She’s typing a third round of edits. She’s getting involved with WriteMentor, a 3-month process that gets a publisher showcase. 3rd novel is in 1st draft. She has applied to the Mike Howley Fund for money to put towards going on a writing retreat. She has secured this. Well done. Have fun there. She was looking forward to the Local Authors event at Lord Louis Library.

We also welcomed Yvie, who has been on the waiting list for a while. She has a novel that she’s been working on for several years. She has been attending West Wight Writers. Her novel references her Irish ancestry, and she has put extracts on social media. It’s the first book of a trilogy. She mentioned the Pin Drop Award Competition at the Royal Academy, and talked a lot about social media, especially Instagram, and how important it is nowadays to use it.

Aidan showed us his first copy of his book for his brother’s wedding. He’s going to have it printed by Crosspoint – 100 for £170, and that will also give him an ISBN number and a barcode, so it’ll be a proper official book. We hope to see the finished product.ewHe’

Freda talked about Apricot Harrison, the heroine of her latest and raciest novel. She’s looking for someone to produce some artwork for it, including a cover picture of the notorious naked walk up Ryde Pier for the arrival of some Royal, whist wearing only a Stars and Stripes flag, for a reason I haven’t yet fathomed. But I’m intrigued. She’s also looking for a scriptwriter who can turn it into a six-episode sitcom. That would be good. She says she just wants to be remembered. I’m quite sure she will be.

End notes

It was a good meeting again this month, with new members and lots of stimulating things to discuss and think about. Changes are afoot, and there’s a new energy loose. It feels good. We’re a great group.

Please remember not to turn up at Lord Louis Library next month, because we’re going to be at Orchard House. It will be on Friday 1st June 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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