It’s been an exciting week on the writing front, requests for full MS, one of my short stories appearing in The News, and lots of support for The Writers at Lovedean writing competition. However, as delighted as I am with the input of good news, I am aware that I couldn’t have done it alone.
Since Tessa Ditner took over running Portsmouth Writing Hub, there has been a flurry of opportunities for creatives. If you suggest something to Tessa, she does her best to make your idea a reality; I believe a member made a comment about collaborating with The News, and now hub member’s stories are in print. All writers understand the thrill of seeing your words in front of an audience, but there is always behind the scenes hard graft to any printed piece of work. Portsmouth Writing Hub is a fantastic resource for artists, but you get what you put into the group. Although there is support for book launches and writers angst, it is mainly a home for positivity, a spot where creatives can discuss plans for creating art and liaising with others to make something new and awesome. You only have to look at the projects that are supported by the hub to see that, Darkfest, Day of the Dead, Dark Cities, and the Edward King Cityscape Project. These aren’t the activities of naval gazing writers lamenting how hard it is to get published; it is an energetic and vibrant mix of creatives wanting to push the boundaries of their work. My advice, don’t sit on the sidelines jump in and see where the opportunities take you!
I was delighted that Solent TV invited two members of The Writers at Lovedean into their studio to discuss our first charity short story competition. Long-time member Lynne Stone and relatively new member Jackie Green bravely stepped in front of the cameras. These two ladies are examples of what real creatives can do; they are delightful members of the group with such an inspiring ‘what can we do to help’ attitude. I know they were both terrified at the prospect of appearing live on TV, but they did a fantastic job.
Due to a family emergency, I wasn’t able to perform at last year’s Day of the Dead event, and I was gutted. But I am delighted to be performing in this year’s event. If you haven’t been, I can recommend a great evening of song and spoken word. Dress up is welcome and at this year’s event, I believe there is a photo booth to have a bit of spooky fun.
Stories and songs to chill, thrill, and amuse from Hampshire’s most talented. The evening includes the launch of the Day of the Dead Anthology.
Yes, I know, they have used the American spelling for ‘color.’
Over twelve months ago my dearest youngest daughter announced she would like to do a colour run. However, I wasn’t going to let my daughter do it alone, so I trained hard for 12 months to be able to run the rather small distance of 5K. Twelve months later I was ready, and my daughter was no longer interested in running! Typical.
Part of being an anxious bod means that when I start something, I find it hard not to complete – so I decided I would still do it. At the same time, a dear friend of mines daughter had just been diagnosed with MS, so I did a sponsored run.
I would just like to thank all the people who sponsored me. We now have an amazing £170 to donate to Portsmouth MS Society!
I am wildly excited to be performing in this year’s Day of the Dead. This is the brain child of author Will Sutton, and it’s great fun. I do hope some of you will be able to come along.
Day of the Dead iv: Shhhhh
6pm Sunday 30 Oct, Square Tower, Broad St, PO1 2JE
Stories to still shaky souls.
Refreshments. Costumes. Poisons. Stories.
Tickets £7: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375714
or £4 concession: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375715
Refreshments at the The Square Tower.
Books from Blackwell’s in Portsmouth.
Poison bottles by James Waterfield from Lawn of the Dead UK.
Costumier advice from Tony and Zoe of Head Case Curios.
Pixel Art with Kendal James of Eyecandy.
Unbeatable line-up of writers & musicians.
See you there.
I first met Matt Wingett in 2012 on a ReAuthoring Event. Since then I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in creative projects where Matt’s been on the team. I was so pleased when he came and gave The Writers at Lovedean a talk about his time as a scriptwriter for the BBC.
On today’s vlog Matt shares his top five writing tips.
The dissertation has been weighing me down for months. And actions to complete for my dissertation has been cluttering my ‘to do lists’ for a long time. Each crossed-out task is the visible proof that I’ve done my duty, but also reminded me of how much more was needed. References, books to read, editing. And at last, it was done.
My husband’s car was being serviced, and he booked the day off, so he drove me into Winchester to have ‘the damn thing’ as it has been referred to for the last eight weeks bound. It was still warm when I handed it into the office, and she stamped my receipt.
Giddy with the realisation that it was finally over I headed to the Winchester Hotel and Spa for a champagne cocktail and to make a slightly boozy vlog. Also, I tried my first Chamcham which was delicious.
I have completed all the required coursework for my MA in Creative Writing for Children, and marking it done felt fantastic!
Writing a novel, it’s like falling in love. You get this great idea. If you are like me, the not strong and silent time, you tell your friends about it. You go off on research trips, pour over the words, and make notes on all your characters. And then after months of pain, you finish your first draft.
So what do you do when you reread it and find out it is rubbish? Now I know that all first drafts need lots of rewriting. The question I’m asking is what do you do when you reread it and know deep down that this is complete junk. You kissed the frog and ended up with a frog. Not all first drafts are diamonds in the rough; some are destined to stay hiding under the bed.
But fear not, it may not be a waste. I tried my hand at writing a sci-fi novel; it was terrible. However, a year later I did see a writing competition, and I used one of the themes of my novel. I knew my sci-fi world so well that writing the short story was enjoyable. I won first prize, a pleasing sum of £150 pounds!
Then there was an opportunity to write a story for an anthology, once again I dug out some ideas from my discarded novel.
The moral of the story is that a 70,000 plus novel under the bed isn’t always the failure you may think it is!
If you do decide to drop by my Youtube channel, please forgive the noise in the background.
I constantly nag the members of my creative writing group, The Writers at Lovedean, on the importance of keeping your writing bio and headshot photograph up to date. So imagine my shame when Tessa Ditner from the Portsmouth Writing Hub asked me for an up to date photo. I also realised that my storytelling website is woefully out of date. I last updated the site in 2009, where does the time go!
So I decided the time had come to get a professional shot done. I chose Oliver McNeil from Legend Photography.
On Thursday morning I got up at 6 am and jumped into the car and headed for the sunny South Coast Emporium, to be interviewed by the Southsea Lifestyle Radio programme. It was a last minute booking and incredibly exciting.
The host James Kirby invited me back for Saturday’s show! I got to have some great laughs with the team and enjoyed the company of fellow guest Canon Peter Leonard. We talked about the Portsmouth Food Cycle team, the A Level results and how much I miss chips and gravy!
The truth is that strange and unexpected opportunities present themselves if you are willing to jump in and help community projects. I’m a member of the Portsmouth Writing Hub. If you are a writer in the Pompey area, you need to get yourself down to these meetings. It’s a chance to mix with other writers, find out about the events and opportunities in the city. Best of all you can join in with the fun.
Through the hub meetings, I met local author Will Sutton; which resulted in me getting involved in the ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘Valentine Massacre’ spoken word events. When the Southsea Lifestyle Radio team were looking for guests, Will put my name forward. I never expected to be involved in other community projects when I volunteered to read at a spoken word event. Saying yes, getting out of your comfort zone and mixing with people who share your passions is a brilliant way of attracting more opportunities.
Writers are known for working alone, but that is one aspect of writing. There are other things to consider, editing, submitting, and meeting and working with other creative people.
So I would recommend saying yes once in a while. You never know where it may lead. Today a radio interview, tomorrow the upcoming DarkFest.
Thanks to Will Sutton, Kevin Dean of Southsea Lifestyle, John Pryde, Colin on the machine and South Coast Emporium.
Today, I was lucky enough to get an incredibly talented young writer to come and give a writing session at The Writers at Lovedean. Damon L Wakes novella is looking for pledges on the Unbound scheme. Not sure what that is? Well, Unbound is a crowd funding project, where writers have the opportunity to get published by Penguin. Damon came to the group to explain how the scheme works and to ask for pledges for his novella, Ten Little Astronauts, an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery novella set on board an interstellar spacecraft. He also explained why it is a good idea to blow up dogs in his five great writing tips!
I do hope you will check out his page on the Unbound and think about pledging!.