Join writing groups, classes and associations to improve your writing and make new friends.
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