Join writing groups, classes and associations to improve your writing and make new friends.
Going back to writing groups has helped me so much. Being with friends and listening to their work, and discussing it, has been a great help. Hopefully, I'll soon get back to finishing the first draft of The Loophole.
A good night at Reading Writers on Wednesday. It was manuscript night. Stories of dragons, death, dystopia, dragging-on affairs and a poem on a love affair that may or may not have ended. Then to the Great Expectations pub for a relaxing half of Mr Bumble!
Tomorrow, Tuesday morning, our Creative Writing group meets chez moi. It's always a stimulating and happy meeting. I'm reading a chapter at a time of my third crime novel, the Loophole to them. I know many writers wouldn't let others hear their first draft, but I find it really useful, as you get a feeling from the group, if that chapter has worked, or not. We trust each other and don't pull punches, but it's all done with goodwill and friendship. I'm very lucky to belong to such a group.
Last night was the last Summer Drinks meeting of Reading Writers. We met at trendy All One Bar, in Oracle, Reading. Good craic and food with lovely people. I'm looking forward to when our meetings start in September. Fly in the ointment: I haven't started my entry for the autumn competition - prompt word - food. I ought to be inspired! I love cooking and eating!
It's been good to meet up with friends from the South Chiltern Writers for an August lunch before we start our meetings in September. I can't tell you how important these writers have been to me, both as friends and as supportive critics and exchangers of good craic! Do join a writing group.
The South Chiltern Writers and Jeeve Publishing
At my Creative Writing class I met four other women, equally keen to improve their writing. We went to Swanwick Summer School in Derbyshire with our tutor. We're still good friends and we've written, published and sold three books of short stories. Along the way we've had a great deal of fun - some I couldn't possibly tell you about. If you want to know more go to www.jeevestories.co.uk.
We've had lots of local publicity, sold over two thousand books, given talks in libraries, schools, The Henley Literary Festival and at Swanwick, and have raised over five thousand pounds for our local air ambulance. As part of our publicity campaigns we wear T-shirts advertising the books. How would you like to walk round with The Virgin Sardine on your chest?
Here we are, sans T-shirts, at The Henley Literary Festival.
Eve, Elaine, Eileen Julie and Vera.
The Creative Writing group folded due to funding cuts but we formed our own group with our tutor, The South Chiltern Writers. We meet on Tuesday mornings; we read work in progress, receive constructive criticism and support. We rotate houses, the host provides coffee and biscuits and our tutor still tutes and sets us interesting subjects for free writing. We've all found these short pieces of writing often morph into longer pieces of work.
Four of Jeeve Publishing belong to this group and we even have a man, a lovely Scottish gent, who writes delicious love poetry. What more could you ask for? And it doesn't cost us a penny - don't tell the Government!
Julie, Eve and Eileen and I joined Reading Writers. This group meets fortnightly in the centre of Reading. We've all enjoyed going to the meetings: there is a great age range from teenagers to oldies; nearly equal numbers of men and women; manuscript evenings with penetrating criticisms; workshops and social meetings; most importantly, at the end of each meeting, a visit to the pub downstairs, Great Expectations, for further literary gossip in the library. Visit www.readingwriters.org.uk for more info.
The Romantic Novelists' Association.
I joined the RNA with Julie and Eileen, my Jeeve friends on The New Writers Scheme. after switching to crime I had to abandon my membership. I learnt so much as a member, especially the ability to write and redraft a novel in a year. I miss the meetings and the camaradarie.For more information: www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org