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.
Portsmouth Festivities’ 2016, the theme was Electricity, and for ten days the city celebrated Arts, Culture and Heritage. This year was a special event because my idea was in the programme, Portsmouth Plugged In, a collaboration between writers and filmmakers.
It was the first time I have ran a creative project of such size, eleven writers used film footage as a writing prompt and then produced monologues which were performed and filmed. You may want to check some of them out.
I thought it would be useful to write list of some of the things I have taken away from working on a project of this size.
Procrastination does not work. After assimilating the relevant information, decisions need to be made. Wrong decisions can be salvaged, if discovered early; but right decisions cannot be postponed.
When things go wrong, know who you can turn to for help.
The success of a project is largely dependent on the skills and strengths of the people involved. Therefore, a project needs to have a dedicated, talented set of individuals working towards a common goal. I was extremely lucky to have a fabulous team around me. http://www.portsmouthpluggedin.uk/our-team/
Some people are difficult, but most are fabulous, don’t sit in difficult peoples shadows.
Celebrate – things may not have turned out the way I imagined when I put the concept together, but I was extremely proud of the finished project.
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 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!