Tessa Ditner Literature’s Marmite

Guest speaker Tessa Ditner, Contributing Editor for Skin Two Magazine, gave a workshop on writing erotic fiction at The Writers at Lovedean on Friday. I’ve never written erotic fiction, in fact, I haven’t even written much in the romance genre, so I was a tad apprehensive.

Tessa handed out some examples of badly written sex scenes.  The range of euphemisms from mangos to red hot lava left the group giggling or cringing. It was a fabulous ice breaker. Once I bravely overcame the giggles, we got down to the real work of the morning. I’m not sure why I was surprised to find that badly written sex scenes are the same as badly written fiction. Common problems include losing the characters voice. If the characters start to use words during a sex scene that they – well, wouldn’t, it jars. Bad dialogue, too many clichés are other common problems.

Next we had an interesting discussion about bad sex compared to badly written sex scenes. I have to say I was unaware of the difference. We looked at some erotic fiction already on the market, a few examples of Skin Two and the latex scene.

This all led up to the moment I was nervous about…writing a sex scene. But, with the help and encouragement from Tessa, I went for it. Alas, I wasn’t brave enough to read mine at the session, but it was extremely empowering to have a go. And I have to say, reading my rushed attempted before blogging, I was not displeased with the result.

Will I rush off and start writing erotic fiction? No.

But I don’t think I will be as apprehensive about having a go in future.

I hope Tessa come to the group again.



Literature’s Marmite: Why we all need to master writing erotic scenes.

I’m excited to annouce that Tessa Ditner will be teaching a writing workshop on;

4th March

10 am

The Writers at Lovedean

Lovedean Village Hall
6A Lovedean Lane



Tessa Ditner spent many years working at Skin Two Magazine, selecting erotic stories and photography, while complementing her knowledge of the literature with Erotic Bookclub readings and discussions.

In this workshop she will introduce you to iconic erotic scenes vs. Bad Sex Award worthy writing. Then we will do erotic writing exercises including: using the everyday vs the outlandish for world building, erotica as a tool for revealing characterisation, and introducing a wild card into your plot.

Your writing from this workshop might slot into a larger body of your writing in any genre, could inspire a non-fiction erotica project, be turned into a short story in its own right, or why not be a belated Valentine gift to a loved one.

Further reading:
No prior knowledge of erotic literature is required, just bring a pen and paper! In case you would like to read some of the books that will be mentioned in the workshop, here are few fun ones:
House of Holes by Nicholas Baker
My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday
Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch


Valentine’s Day Massacre

Valentine’s Day Massacre

Sunday 14th February

The Wave Maiden

36 Osborne Road



£6 pounds entry.


It is fast approaching my first spoken word event of the year. I admit I’m nervous. Which some might find surprising, afterall I am a professional storyteller and between Easter and October, I’m usually booked. Except that is mainly children events.

It was only when Will Sutton sent out an email that I realised I will be standing up, performing before or after, some pretty awesome writers. Maggie Sawkins, you know from Zones of Avoidance, you may have read about it in The Guardian? Diana Bretherick, who’s just, finished her second book. Zella Compton children’s author and script writer.

So no pressure.

And I will be standing up with my silly fun piece that I wrote for my hubby in the hopes of making him laugh. He’s currently training hard for a bodybuilding show and occasionally needs a no carb day, which we all understand to be a depressingly difficult thing to do. Especially since my man loves himself a thick slice of bread…

Nerves, and second thoughts don’t you just love them?

But it’s all for a good cause, Portsmouth Bookfest.


I do hope that you can come along.




NaNoWriMo: You have permission to feel like a winner!


The goal is to hit 50,000 words in one month, which means at least 1,666 words per day for thirty days. Be warned, 50,000 words doesn’t necessary mean that you have a full novel, even short YA novels tend to be 60,000 plus. But you should have the start of something which could become a draft of a novel.

This is the first year that I didn’t finish the word count in the 30 day limit, I pressed on and reached just over the 50,000 word target and completed the first draft of my novel on the 4th of December. The wonderful thing about NaNo is that it gives you the push, a target, and support of a group. But what if writing 50,000 feels like an unachievable goal? Well, I could point out that NaNoWriMo is about the quality of words, not the quality of words.  Or I can make another suggestion. Give yourself an achievable target. It doesn’t have to be 50K if that feels too much, in fact, why should it be about putting the words on the page? Why not read that book on writing? Or edit those stories? Or finish that anthology.


At the Writers at Lovedean, we set our own NaNoWriMo targets, after all November is a good target setting month. It’s the last opportunity before the New Years resolutions come round again to meet those goals that you’ve put on the back burner during the year.

Celebrating NaNoWriMo

Celebrating NaNoWriMo

I was really proud of the members of the writing group, everyone who signed up to our own NaNoWriMo project managed to get move forward on their goals.

So here is the honour roll!

Margaret Jennings: 50,000 words in the 30 days!

Me: 50800 words in 34 days.

Lynne Stone: completed five short stories.

Barbara McMeekin: 10,000 words in 30 days.

Linda Hadfield: editing goal completed.

Jackie Green: editing goal completed.

Jules Garvey-Welch: completed and self-published her anthology, Beyond the Bell Tower.



JGW anthology


Zella Compton’s Scriptwriting Workshop

It’s been an exhausting week. So today, I was glad that I invited Zella Compton to run a scriptwriting course at The Writers at Lovedean. How marvellous to be able to sit back and enjoy the workshop?

Zella is a children’s book author, newspaper columnist and has just sold a play Girl in the Hood, to an educational publishers. Her play Five Beaches has just finished its run in Southwick after nearly a year-long tour, which I think is quite an achievement.  So, I was delighted she agreed to come along to the group to give us some writing tips.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Zella in a couple of literary festivals, and not only is she a talented writer, but she’s good fun to be around.  Today was no exception, Zella had made a list of deaths listed on gravestones. She then numbered them.  We picked a number and found a death to write about. Mine was ‘lashed to the mast of ship.’ It was an excellent starting point for a monologue pieces. Other exercises helped us to hone our opening lines. We even manage to write and perform a few short pieces.




It was hard work, and definitely forced most of us to write outside our comfort zones.  But best of all, good fun was had by all.

Zella’s book,  Ten Rule about Skimming can be found here:



Girl from the Hood




‘Thinking through drawing and writing’ with Tiffany Robinson

I had such a delightful morning on Thursday. I attended a ‘Thinking through drawing and writing’ course at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts with Tiffany Robinson. It was wonderful to meet the artist and hear about her residency at Kingley Vale.  Tiffany guided me through some of the exercises she used during her residency to create her work.  She even made some recordings of the sounds she heard in the forest, which was a very unique starting point for creating a piece of artwork and then on to a poem.

She encouraged me to just make marks on the paper and connect to how I was feeling physically in my body. I was hoping to do the exercises again this weekend while walking the dog in the forest – but it has been such a rainy day!




Zella Compton: Scriptwriting Workshop at The Writers at Lovedean

Script Writing Course

Zella Compton, author, scriptwriter and newspaper columnist will be providing a Script Writing Workshop at The Writers at Lovedean.   Zella was also Havant’s Literary Festival’s Writer in residence. Recently, she’s had several plays  published including Girl in the Hood. Why not check out Zella’s website to see all the exciting things she’s been up to?


Girl in the Hood can be found at Resources 4 Drama http://www.resources4drama.co.uk

 Scriptwriting Workshop

Date:  27th November 2015

10 am until 12:30

Lovedean Village Hall (Between Tesco Express and The Bird ‘th Hand Pub on Lovedean Lane)

160, Lovedean Lane



Sessions cost £4.50

I first met Zella during a workshop in 2012 and her performance really stood out from the crowd. Since then I’ve been privileged enough to perform alongside her at a few festivals such as The Day of the Dead, and The Alver Arts Festival: Gosport Ever After. I’m a great fan of her work, my kids loved The Ten Rules about Skimming, an exciting, action-packed adventure that mixes science fiction, horror, mystery and intrigue.




I actually can’t wait for this workshop! I’m so exciting.


Writing Course at the Oxmarket Chichester



The Oxmarket is excited to present this 10 week creative writing course with author Charlotte Comley. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For more information on Charlotte visit www.charlottecomley.com If you would like to book your space please use the contact page or telephone us on 01243 779103.

What is the course about?

This is an exciting opportunity to fit creative writing into your hectic week.

What will we cover?

We will be experimenting with fiction, memoir and poetry, working with dialogue and descriptive language, finding sources of inspiration in unexpected places and playing with editing techniques.

What will I achieve?

By the end of this course you should be able to…

– appreciate how to get new ideas for writing from a wide variety of sources
– seek out new sources of inspiration
– have the confidence to push your own writing boundaries
– enjoy sharing work with other students
– understand how literary techniques can be applied to your own work.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is for writers of every level of experience. While it is designed to appeal to those who want to practice writing in the same way as musicians practise the scales, it is also suitable for complete beginners wanting to discover the writer within.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be introduced to new ideas through discussion, confidence-building class exercises and by looking at the work of established writers. Optional homework assignments will be set regularly to share in small groups. However, you will still get a lot out of this course even if other commitments mean that this two hour long session is the only time you can devote to writing.


Write out day to Southwick Village

"Thatched cottages in West Street - geograph.org.uk - 1056530" by Basher Eyre. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thatched_cottages_in_West_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1056530.jpg#/media/File:Thatched_cottages_in_West_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1056530.jpg

“Thatched cottages in West Street – geograph.org.uk – 1056530” by Basher Eyre. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Lynne Stone writes:

Ten aspiring writers booked to go to Kim Louth’s Writing Experience. The idea was to spend the morning in Kim’s beautiful garden and be inspired by Kim to write. As has happened many times with most of our well organised Write Out Days the weather changed all that. Rain, rain and more rain! So we resorted to plan B which was to take over Kim’s dining room.

This proved to be huge success, helped by the atmospheric 500 year old cottage. Stunning, full of low beamed ceilings and books, tempting titles but we were there to write and write we did.

Kim wasted no time in setting us to work, we were set a series of seven varied tasks, all cleverly thought out to inspire short stories. Our esteemed leader Charlotte Comley is expecting stories for Friday 21st all to be put into our next anthology. I for one thought at the beginning of the morning that she was being far too optimistic, but I was wrong. Kim’s prompts were well thought out and without exception we all wrote like fury.

The prompts were timed and two of them I really will complete and submit to the anthology.

First we were handed a train ticket with an opening or closing line “The doors slide shut, three seconds and the train would move.” That will be my first story.IMG_2561

The second was a selection of old betting slips, the names of the horses/dogs were for us to use in either a poem or a story. My names were bizarre but its amazing what can be made of “Salvatore Fury” and “Wak A Turtle” when you have ten minutes to write.

This was followed by a thimble, a plastic curler, a Monet picture, shell and finally 6 wooden figures in positions which we had to pick a couple and write two stories , one happy and one sinister about the two figures. We all agreed that it was easier to write the sinister story than the happy one. What that says about us writers I am not sure.

Kim kept us provided with water, tea, coffee and cakes and biscuits and best of all inspiration. For that I thank you Kim for a truly worthwhile writing experience I for one will be first on the list if you do another one. Thank you Charlotte for organising.


 Barbara McMeekin writes:

Today the Writers @ Lovedean spent the morning on a retreat in the wonderful setting of a thatched cottage in Southwick, where Kim Lough ran a professional workshop enjoyed by us all. We were given a series of exercises, all of which began with an object or sentence. Ample time was given to anyone wishing to read aloud, which we did with confidence. For me it gave me motivation to write, and even though I normally need time to reflect before writing, I found I was inspired. I was pleased with a lot of my writing, some of which I aim to complete at a later stage. Many of us will have ended up with at least one piece of work we can add to our anthology. Our host made us very welcome and provided us with refreshments before we began, midway and at the end of the morning.



The Writers at Lovedean by David Dunford

My heart is bursting with joy. The reason? One of the members of The Writers at Lovedean agreed to do a guest post on my blog. I must admit to being thrilled by his kind words.

David writes:

David recording intros at Angel FM

David recording intros at Angel FM

It was with some trepidation that I went to The Writers at Lovedean for the first time some years ago. I shouldn’t have worried because I was made very welcome by Charlotte, the very able leader of the group. I found a very spirited group of men and women of all age groups full of help, encouragement and helpful advice, more of which can often be found on our Facebook page. Our ‘work weeks’ cover many topics ranging from checklists to children’s fiction and editing to endings. On ‘reading weeks’ we listen to each other’s work, read our own (or ask someone else to) and offer advice, opinion and comment. I personally find this extremely helpful and my own work has benefitted beyond measure when their comments are taken into account. There is encouragement, enthusiasm and where necessary constructive criticism, all from some very intelligent and able writers, and the Friday morning sessions are something I always look forward to and we all benefit from it.

Since joining I have been involved, amongst other things, in write out days at places as different as Tangmere aircraft museum and Wittering beach or Stanstead Country Park and Southwick village. We have read at Waterlooville’s 200th anniversary celebrations, undertaken work on Groundlings theatre projects and even podcasting with a local radio station. All active, hands on tasks that require participation and enthusiasm, encouraging writers to search for inspiration. The group publishes a yearly anthology where Charlotte ensures the group get a chance to publish their work if they wish and it is often very encouraging to see your own efforts printed in a professionally finished book. Competitions are also regularly held within the group with not only a prize for winning but also for taking part. The winner is chosen by secret ballot amongst the other group members and is often a very close run thing.

I have learnt about flash fiction, nano rimo, back plots, and plot holes – not to mention the importance of a good title, good presentation when submitting your work and the pitfalls of vanity publishing, and all for a very reasonable weekly fee, which also includes a chocolate biscuit – an essential stimulant to all budding writers creative juices. Magazines are swapped, competition websites suggested (or not!) and ideas generated. What more could a writer want.

All levels of ability are involved and writing implements ranging from laptops and tablets to pen and paper all get used to write poetry, prose, play or panto (yes! We have attempted a panto) – Friday mornings – Lovedean Village hall – don’t miss it – don’t even be late!

waterlooville 200