Bad weather has been good for writing, and I’m forging ahead with the WIP. Today I ignored the hint of spring in the air, having promised myself a whole day in. Typically I ran out of steam after a couple of hours, but a break during which I washed my car (I did think it might fail last week’s MOT on grounds of invisibility) was enough to get me going again.
I must say I’m impatient to know that my plot will work out and for now I’m skipping through scenes at a great rate. When things grind to a halt (as they do from time to time) I’ll reread and decide what needs to go and what needs writing up into something more solid.
Last night’s meeting of Bristol Women Writers (I missed the last one) also provided encouragement. Another member has now found an agent – that’s two in the last year.
Which goes to show that if the writing is strong enough, it can be done.
Despite the freezing weather, January is bringing some unexpected reasons to be cheerful. One of these is that A Fork Less Ordinary is going to be read out by my sister at the first 2009 meeting of of her local W.I. so I may not be published but I am to be performed! I hope the ladies of West Suffolk enjoy the experience. (Note to self – send over a copy of the Fork sequel, just in case there’s a request!)
I have no seasonal photo of Wickhambrook (or the W.I. hall) to hand, but here’s one of the local playing fields and that great Suffolk sky taken last summer (believe it or not!)
Meanwhile, foll0wing the lauch of Jean’s book, I’ve been helping her put together a website which is now up and running, complete with order form for Vagabond Shoes. Do take a look. On Thursday Jean and I will be joining Bristol Women Writers for our ‘Christmas’ meal. It’s at Jamie’s Italian . I have decided that January is not all bad news.
This is the excellent strap line for a writer friend’s self-published travel book launched today. Vagabond Shoes by Jean Burnett won a grant from the Winchester Writers’ Conference towards publishing costs and is definitely not in the vanity category, but Jean (fellow member of Bristol Women Writers) will be the first to tell you that the path to (conventional) publication was fraught with unexpected problems. Today was a great time to celebrate and enjoy the surroundings of the Grant Bradley Gallery in Bedminster. In the background you can see part of the current exhibition (Size Really Matters by Rianna Lane – portraits of rugby players) which added to the ambience.
More on Vagabond Shoes anon (website under development!)
Eighteen months ago, I heard about Bristol Women Writers, and when I was lucky enough to be invited along, I was immediately impressed by the experience and commitment of the members. These are all writers who are good enough to be published - and most of them have been in some form or other. I was nervous for the first few meetings but I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every one and have benefited from lots of moral support as well as serious criticism.
The group has a mixture of poets, novelists, short story, feature and travel writers, with several of us working in more than one genre or style. This year alone, one member has won two travel writing competitions, another was placed second for a short story, and a number of us have been commended or short-listed. Nor should we forget the member who finished her M.A., and her novel, and has already obtained that must-have accessory, an agent of her own!
I’ve since discovered that the group has been in existence for at least fifteen years, which no doubt accounts for its breadth and depth. We’re about to plan our Christmas outing – one of the few purely social events in our year - and so I think it’s time to wish everyone Happy Christmas and to look forward to (even) more success in 2008!
Today I found myself on a trip into central Bristol for a meeting with a consultant for the Arts Council South West who had invited local writing groups to discuss ways of supporting writers. The meeting turned out to be a lively and enjoyable chat over a cup coffee at the Arnolfini. Alec (the consultant, also working for Arts Matrix )had a number of proposals, mostly based on models developed in other regions, particularly Scotland, where he began his career in development work. We batted around his ideas and added a few of our own, but it soon became apparent that the South West is badly off in this respect. We listened open-mouthed to tales of how groups elsewhere get help with setting up websites, publishing chapbooks, or meeting published writers. I think we also impressed him with how resourceful we are as a group and how much we’ve achieved on our own (which isn’t to say we would turn down any offers of help!)With this in mind, I’ve decided to make my next post a celebration of Bristol Women Writers. (Next stop a website?) So Alec, good to meet you, and if you do stop by, I hope you’ll check back in a couple of days!
I’ve had to take a break from the WIP in order to flesh out (literally) my second main character, Ailsa’s mother, Lorraine. She suffers from a medical condition called lupus which I had already looked up on several websites but I felt I needed more in-depth knowledge. Luckily I found Talking About Lupus by Triona Holden, which covers the medical stuff but also gives the patient’s point of view. I feel much more able to get inside the character and the disease. I’ve also decided to read the new novel (currently called Her Father’s Daughter) at Bristol Women Writers, which I attend fortnightly. This is an excellent incentive to produce some quality writing compared to the verbal scribble of my first draft.
With the novel lying fallow I’ve been writing a short article for Golf Monthly’s Clubhouse Chat column. Glad to say that’s also done and dusted, so now I’m hoping work will now progress at a more encouraging speed.