Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Sutton Writers Circle

It is always a pleasure to talk to fellows writers and on Friday 14 May I was not disappointed. I gave a talk at Sutton Writers Circle on Writing and Placing Articles - not an easy subject today with markets dwindling at an alarming rate, but it is not all doom and gloom and with a few sideways steps and some imagination most articles writers can come up with something new on an old subject. I talked first about one's attitude to publication, with is very important.
  • Treat your writing as a business and always act like a professional writer.
  • Be prepared - good supply of paper, envelopes, stamps and a GOOD quality cartridge in your printer.
  • Only submit your best work.
  • Be motivated and be determined to succeed and you WILL succeed.
Article writers, in some ways, are more fortunate than short story writers, because far more articles and published. The secret is to specialise in a couple of subjects at first and build up. There are plenty of markets out there, for example:
Newspapers - daily, weekly, regionals, nationals, Sunday supplements, local freebies.
Magazines - a glance along the shelves in your local newsagents should bring in a wealth of ideas.
Trade Journals - always a good source. The competition is less fierce and editors are often desperate for the right sort of material.
Don't forget the English speaking markets either Ireland, America, Canada, Singapore, etc.
Religious and Inspirational writing.
Food and Travel Magazines
Children and Teenage publications.
County Magazines
Seek out a new market and see if you could write for this publication. Thank you Sutton Writers for inviting me.
Saturday I attended the second of my 10 session courses on historic Worthing. This week the session included the great and the good of the town -Town Officials, Councillors and Aldermen. Chris Hare packed a great deal into the session and I have come away with a great deal that I would like to research further.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

I had the pleasure of visiting Chichester Writers Circle on Tuesday 4 May to judge their short story competition and talk about short stories in general. I received a very warm welcome and hopefully most gained something out of the evening. The competition was for a modern day fairy story, not an easy subject, but I am pleased to say that all the entries stuck to the brief resulting in a varied bunch of stories. What I was looking for in each story was:
1. An original idea.
2. Believeable characters.
3. Conflict.
4. Dialogue.
5. An interesting title
6. A story that had a beginning, middle and an end.
7. A story that held my interest to the end.
8 a satisfying or believing ending.
I must say the majority ticked all the boxes, but a few could have found better titles. Titles can be so difficult. Each person went away with a tip sheet on writing short stories, which I hope was useful. Well done to Chichester Writers for a most enjoyable evening. Wednesday saw me back at my desk working on my Gower book, which is almost ready for the final proofread. Thursday was a day of pleasure as I attended the SWWJ south east regional lunch at the Birch Hotel in Haywards Heath, and besides meeting up with old friends it was good to chat to two of our newer members from the Worthing area. Monday 10 May I travelled up to London for the SWWJ Council meeting, always a long day, but especially enjoyable because as membership secretary I had 18 new applicants to present to Council. The SWWJ is going from strength to strength. If you are a writer, do have a look at the Society of Women Writers and Journalists website and consider joining us. Our up-coming event is our Summer Festival which is to be held at The Royal Overseas League in London, always an enjoyable event.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Although I say it myself, my Day for Journalists and Nonfiction Writers at the Writers House in London last Tuesday 27 April, turned out to be informative and helpful for all. One of the items under discussion was Interviewing for Journalists, which is an extremely useful skill for any writer to acquire. It is the best primary source of first-hand information, and by preparing for an interview it helps the writer to focus on the job in hand and think of all aspects of the subject. It is also one of the delights of writing because writing can be a lonely business, but interviewing brings the writer directly into contact with people. Each delegate was asked to interview the neighbouring person for five minutes and then introduce the neighbour to the rest of the group. Although no one had prepared for this session, it worked very well and it was surprising how much information could be gleaned in just five minutes. Other subjects covered during the session were preparing to write a feature (the process of development), preplanning and setting up the interview, venue, interviewing techniques, problems one may encounter, ending the interview and writing it up. The second main discussion point of the day was how to write a Nonfiction book proposal, which more and more publishers are asking for these days. We discussed the purpose of a book proposal, points to think about before approaching a publisher, thinking about your target reader and a tick list to help with your book proposal. Other subjects under discussion were some general tips for nonfiction writers, a saleable knowledge probe where writers were encouraged to look at themselves - what makes them tick, their likes and dislikes, favourite subjects, hobbies, etc - for inspiration for ideas, the general state of markets today, and fees. The feedback from the session was good with plenty of ideas for the next day, which will be held in October.
As we move into May I have a busy month ahead of me - what's new I hear you ask! In the background I am working on the final edit of an update of The Story of Gower and sorting out the photographs, which has to be with my publisher by 30 May. A the same time I am gathering material for Shipwrecks along the South Coast, which has a deadline of 30 November, and I shall look forward to exploring the south coast in the summer months. On the 4 May I will be talking to Chichester Writers Circle about their entries for a short story competition (modern fairy tale) and announcing the winners, and giving some general tips for writing short stories, which I am looking forward to. It is always enjoyable to visit Writers' Circles and chat to fellow writers about their projects. Thursday 6 May is the South East Regional lunch for the SWWJ at The Birch Hotel in Haywards Heath. It is good to have a day away from the desk, and I am looking forward to chatting to fellow writers and listening to our surprise guest speaker. 14 May sees me in Surrey talking to Sutton Writers Circle on the subject of Writing and Placing Articles, which I know I shall enjoy very much., although the markets for articles seem to be dwindling by the week. The following day, 15 May, is the second session of my course on Secret Worthing run by Chris Hare, a local prolific author. This session is on the Great and The Good of the Town - Town Officials, Councillors and Aldermen, and I know I am in for a treat.