Watling Street Writers

Tuesday, December 20

Have a Great Holiday Season

Just a little note from us over here at the Watling Street Writers.

We are having a break for a few weeks over the holiday season and returning in mid-January. (See the programme page for details.)

In any case we hope you have a fantastic Christmas and a happy, prosperous and productive New Year!

Take care, keep writing and see you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 7

Next Meeting - Thursday 8th December

Hi All,

This week we will gracing the White Hart Hotel with our presence from 7.30 p.m.

Look for us downstairs in a quiet corner of the bar. (Upstairs is booked up this week.)

Usual format: Manuscript Review and Catch up.

Hope to see you there as it is our last regular meeting of 2011!

Tuesday, December 6

Know Your Onions?

Are you often caught out by the historical accuracy of what your characters are eating in your stories? Have you suggested that William the Conqueror feasted on roast potatoes after the Battle of Hastings or that Shakespeare enjoyed a nice pepperoni pizza now and again?

If so you should check out the Food Timeline. It will set you straight on what food was available when and also give you countless links to other articles, websites and even recipes so that you can get the right food in your fiction.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30

Next Meeting - Thursday 1st December

Hey All,

Next Meeting is on 1st December from 7:30 p.m.

Location is the Black Lion in St Albans.
Normal format; manuscript review and general catch up.

(In case the place is booked out for a function we will likely relocate to the Rose & Crown.
However I would keep an eye on the Twitter feed in that case for live location updates...)

See you there!

Wednesday, November 23

Next Meeting - Thursday 24th November

Hey All,

This week we will be gracing the White Hart Hotel with our presence from 7.30 p.m.

Look for us upstairs in the meeting room with the skeleton.

In case we get gazumped on that room (as sometimes happens) we will be downstairs in the quietest corner of the bar/restaurant we can find.

Usual format: Manuscript Review and Catch up.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 22

Fresh Eyes Needed?

Most writers are a big fan of letting your work go cold. Leaving it for as long a period as possible before reading it again and editing or revising the work.

There are some other options for helping you do this. One common idea is to read your work out aloud (writing groups are great for doing this!)

Another idea is to change the font style or size of your work and read it again. This will help distance you from your original work and thus help you read it as if it was fresh to you.

Taking this a step further is using different colours for different sections of the manuscript. Red for dialogue, green for action etc. You can then take a helicopter view of the work and spot which sections have too much dialogue or not enough or which are bogged down by description and need an action injection. See Cristin Terrills approach here. She shows how useful it can be.

Hope one of these works for you and good luck with that second draft!


Thursday, November 17

Next Meeting - Thursday 17th November

Hey All,

Apologies for the interruption in meeting notes on the blog. In any case normal service is resumed..

Next Meeting is on 17th November from 7:30. Location is the Black Lion in St Albans.
Normal format; manuscript review and general catch up.

(In case the place is booked out for a function we will likely relocate to the Rose & Crown.
However I would keep an eye on the Twitter feed in that case for live location updates...)

See you there!

Monday, November 14

Get Your Comedy Sketch Produced by An Award Winning Director

See below unashamedly taken from a Circalit promotional email. I'm sure they won't mind.

http://www.circalit.com/projects/competitions/jason

Ever had an idea for a comedy sketch? Circalit is back once again helping talented comedy writers get their sketches produced and distributed. This time Circalit has teamed up with award-winning filmmaker, Jason Wingard, whose most recent short, “Ben and Jackie” has been short-listed for the Virgin Media Shorts 2011 and the Reed.co.uk Short Film competition. The competition is part of Circalit’s Get your Film Made series. The winning script will be directed by Jason, who has worked alongside fantastic comedians such as Johnny Vegas, and companies such as Channel K, MTV and 2-Entertain. Participants are actively encouraged to collaborate with one another to produce the best, most groin-tearingly funny piece of comedy they can. The deadline is Thursday 16th December, and submissions are being read as soon as they’re submitted - so the sooner you enter the better! For more details, check out: http://www.circalit.com/projects/competitions/jason.

Wednesday, November 2

Next Meeting - Thursday 3rd November

Howdy all - next meeting is due at the Black Lion.

Normal time 7:30 and usual format: manuscript review and catch up.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, October 25

Next Meeting - Thursday 26th October

Hey All - just a quick note to say that this week we will be meeting at the Black Lion as it is ghost night at the White Hart.

See you there from 7.30 p.m..

Wednesday, October 19

Next Meeting - Thursday 20th October

Hi All,

This week we will be back at the White Hart Hotel. See you there from 7:30 in the upstairs room.

If we get gazumped on the room, which is not unusual, then look for us loitering downstairs in the bar.

Usual format, manuscripts and general catch up.

See you then!

Tuesday, October 11

No Meeting This Week..

...so enjoy the extra writing time! See you on the 20th..

Wednesday, October 5

Next Meeting 6th October 2011

Hi all - as the White Hart has a ghost talk/walk on Thursday we will aim to meet at the Black Lion at 7.30 p.m.

Usual Format: Gossip, Manuscripts and Beer.

See you then!

Tuesday, October 4

Get Writing Conference 2012

Those lovely people over at Verulam Writers Circle have launched their Get Writing 2012 writers conference.

This conference has been running for several years and offers a day of workshops, panels and pitches.
It will be held on 11th February 2012 at the University of Hertfordshire campus in Hatfield.

Follow the link above or click here for more details and booking. Places are limited, especially for the
pitches so book early!

Monday, October 3

Read and Write Flash Fiction

If you often find yourself with a spare five minutes in the day (or the week) and have a yearning for a bit of flash fiction in your inbox, why not sign up for some?

Shortbread has regular flash fiction served up every friday and also welcomes free submissions to its themed competitions.

Not often enough? How about getting some everyday fiction? Again this site is free to sign up, submit and subscribe.

Have fun!

(And thanks to Lara for the tip for this article!)

Friday, September 30

Is your writing flabby or fit?

In a previous post I shared the link for editminion a site that will give you instant feedback on a section of work.

The writers waistline test does a similar thing and gives you a report of wether your writing is fit and lean or if it needs to visit a zumba class for a tone up!

(Its worth noting that you get better results for chunk of writing, say 500 words, than for 1000 words.)

Have a go - the results may suprise you...






Thursday, September 29

Scriptwriting Fades

If you are enjoying the slightly scary and occasionally gory teen frightfest that is The Fades on BBC3 (BBC2) at the moment you might be interested in this blog post from the writer Jack Thorne.

In it he shares some of the pain of his creative process and also the number of drafts he went through before he got the first episode right (36 versions  - there is hope for us all!)

For those of you interested in scriptwriting you can also read copy of the episode1 script. (In pdf). A useful insight on formatting etc, especially if you have been following the show and can relate it back to the finished product.






Wednesday, September 28

Next Meeting - Thursday 29th September - Cancelled!!

Just think, this time last year we took our meeting to the St Albans Beer Festival. My liver is thankful that this year we are having a normal manuscript review instead!

As the White Hart is booked up we will be relocating to the Black Lion.  Usual time 7:30 and usual format  - gossip and manuscript review.

If the Black Lion is suprisingly busy then watch the twitter feed for updates...(will probably go to the backup location of the Rose and Crown.)

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, September 27

Feeling Tense about your Writing?

Do your readers sometimes struggle with the tense in your story? Do you have difficulty understanding the difference between your past participle and your past perfect tense? 

(Were you having difficulty or did you have difficulty?! Confused? I know I am.)

However there are a few web-wise resources to get you back on track.

Danyelle Leafty has some introductory thoughts here which is worth a look if you don't have a lot of time to spare.

If you want to really get stuck in check out Corey J. Popp. He has more to say on the subject, along with some diagrams that make my head hurt!

Finally there is a good summary over at Fantasy Faction. Lots of examples to review in their arcticle Relax, its only Tense.

Do you have any other tips on tense?






Tuesday, September 20

Next Meeting - Thursday 22nd September

Hey all - our next meeting is this thursday, 22nd September from 7.30 p.m.  We have the upstairs room booked at the White Hart Hotel and it is the normal manuscript format.

I hope this week there are no double bookings (or gazumping by Phsychic fairs!) but just as a precaution keep an eye on the twitter feed for any last minute venue changes. In any case if it is there is an issue with the room we normally relocate downstairs to the bar.

Hope to see you there!



Friday, September 16

Looking for lots of writing tips?

You could do worse than to surf over to write it sideways..

As well as lots of useful articles the folks there have put together a list of the 101 best writing tips from the blogosphere.

Something to keep you busy for the weekend!


Wednesday, September 14

Next Meeting - Thursday 15th September

Hi All - hope is well in your writing worlds.

This week we will be meeting at the White Hart Hotel. Usual time of 7.30 in the upstairs meeting room.

Occasionally we get gazumped from that room and in that case we will be found loitering in the bar downstairs.

The format the is the normal one of nmanuscript review and general catchup.

Hope to see you there!





Tuesday, September 13

What's In A Name?

Those of you that have listened to me read out pieces of my work in progress have probably realised that I have had problems naming my main characters. So much so that I have renamed them and experimented with different names several times.

On that note I found this article on Caro Clarke's site: Problems With Names and How to Avoid Them

Caro gives some great examples of what not to do with character names and several tips onhow to fix those problems. There are also lots of other useful articles on the site so I recommend you have a look around!

Wednesday, September 7

No Meeting This Week - 8th September

Hey All - due to holidays (you lucky people you!) we will not be meeting up this week.

Therefore the next meeting will be on the 15th September. Enjoy the time off and hope  you get some writing done in the meantime!


Tuesday, September 6

Get Your Geek On: Worksheets for Fantasy Characters

In the last post I put a few links up about using various character questionnaires and sites that you might find useful to visit for hints and tips on creating characters.

I have had a go and found them useful, in one case finding a plot idea hidden in the answers to some of the character questions. One downside is that the questionnaires I linked to were mostly aimed at contemporary fiction (mostly romantic) and therefore some of the sections were not that useful for my current project; a fantasy novel.

With that in mind I snooped around a little to see if there were any specific resources for sci-fi/fantasy character creation. Of course many character traits are the same for protagonists based in Middle Earth or Middlesex.  However, there will undoubtedly be a few areas that will be different; magic, class, race, species, technological level, special abilities. (I could go on but I am in danger of nerding myself out!)

 A fantasy slant on the character questionnaire can be found here at creative-writing-now.

Another approach can be found at superhero nation (a site full of content about writing generally across all genres but specialising in superhero fiction. There is a huge amount of great content there -I recommend you take the time to look around.)

So check out these links, get your geek on and make your fantasy characters stand out. Good Luck!


Friday, September 2

My Main Character needs...some character

Revising my first novel first draft has highlighted something fairly major. My protagonist is a little two dimensional and is in dire need of an injection of...well...character.

By that I mean I need to give him more depth, more back story. I need to know everything about him; from his motivation and goals to how many sugars he takes in his tea. Whether or not he likes marmite. The colour of his lucky underpants. Anything else that is relevant or even irrelevant.

This last idea is something I had not really considered up until now. Many writers feel it is important to know the every detail imaginable about a character. Even if 80% of these details don't feature explicitly in a story, they may help determine how a character responds in a given situation. They may even provide some plot ideas....

So I am going to spend a little time working through some character building using tips and tools to be found out there on the wonderful interweb.

If you want to join me and have a go at the in depth approach there are plenty of character checksheets out there for you to borrow ideas from. Here are two of the longer ones:  http://www.eclectics.com/articles/character.html and http://www.charlottedillon.com/CharacterChart.html both of which have rafts of questions to help you get to know your characters better. (Also both authors are happy for you to reuse their lists.)

A much shorter approach for getting a quick summary of your characters' key attributes can be found Connie Flynn's blog. Handy if you are short of time.

Not too sure about the whole idea? Natalie Whipple discusses the pros and cons on her blog post here. Reading it might help you decide when (or if) you want to have a go.

Finally for more in depth advice about your character you could hop onto the virtual couch of the Character Therapist. There are vast numbers of character creation examples there - you can even make an appointment!

On that note I'm off to discover the psyche of my characters. I may be some time.




Wednesday, August 31

Next Meeting - 1st September

Howdy All - Hope you had a great and relaxing Bank Holiday. True to form the weather was pretty miserable for days out but on the other hand good for writing?

Hopefully this and the week's break will mean a rich vein of manuscripts for review on Thursday.

As the White Hart has its ghost tour on tomorw night we will relocate to the Black Lion. In case the Black Lion is booked for a function our backup will be the Rose and Crown (only a hundred yards from the Black Lion). Keep an eye on Twitter/this page for updates.

Meeting will start at the normal time of 7.30. Usual format: manuscript/WIP review and general gossip. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 30

Sell Your Story to Readers in 4 Easy Steps

Another useful piece of advice from the folks over at i09. For those of you that are not writing genre fiction it is still relevant.

I especially liked the bit about the usefulness of getting feedback at writers groups - I knew there was a reason I kept turning up week after week!

how-to-sell-your-readers-on-your-storys-main-ideas-in-4-easy-steps

Monday, August 22

But we were on a break...

Don't forget that there is no meeting this week. Next time we are meeting up is on the 1st September. Watch this space for details and enjoy the free time.
Hope you get some writing done!!

Thursday, August 18

Stuck for a Word?

Then try visuwords an online graphical dictionary that is captivating once you start to play with it.

Enter a word in the top right and watch as it gest expanded into a web of synonyms, concepts and attributes. keep clicking on the nodes and more will appear.

Have a go but beware - its so pretty it might distract you from your writing...

Wednesday, August 17

Next Meeting - 18th August 2011

Howdy all - he next meeting will be at the White Hart Hotel. Usual time: 7:30 p.m

Format as per normal; manuscript review and anything else you want to cover!

Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 15

Can't make it to a meeting? Then get some instant online feedback..

To be honest I find there is no substitute for a personal critique from a respected peer. These are people you trust, hopefully get on with and who have your best interests at heart. Also face to face critiques give you the chance to discuss plot ideas and hopefully get several different points of view on your work.

However, what if you can't make it to a meeting and you don't fancy posting your work online to be critiqued by complete strangers?

Look no further than the editminion. Here you can post chunks of work and it will give you feedback on your use of grammar, adverbs, passive voice and other aspects of your manuscript. Not bad if you are looking for instant editing gratification. And let's face it - we all need that from time to time.

Of course by using this and not turning up to a meeting you are missing out on two-way critiquing, plot analysis, writing encouragement and a fair amount of gossip. Oh and beer.


Friday, August 12

Write like JK..

Rowling that is. Not the lead singer of Jamiroqui..

I stumbled upon another great bog link retweeted by the mighty Angela Ackerman which discusses the way the author of Harry Potter seeds clues throughout her books.

Check it out at the link below - it makes interesting reading. (Even for those of you like me that have not read the books!!)

Harry Potter for Writers

Hope reading it helps you uncover something useful!

Wednesday, August 10

Meeting on Thursday 11th August

Hi All,

Hope all is well with you. This week's meeting will be back at the White Hart from 7.30 p.m.

Normal format of manuscript review and general catchup.

Look forward to seeing you there!

(As usual any last minute changes of venue will be posted on Twitter.)


Monday, August 8

The Web Generation

Modern life is a busy one. We all know how hard it is to find the time to create literary gold but with all the distractions of modern life come some advantages.

One such is the number of generators that are out there on the net. Web pages that will create random names, places, things and even plot points for you. All resources that may inspire or help you on your way with your latest masterpiece.

Web Generation for the web generation. (See what I did there?)

So you need the name of a chinese resteraunt in your story. (Lets face it - who doesn't?). Look no further. Serendipity has one here alongside castle creators, name generators and other world building tools.


Seventh sanctum also has a host of different generators as does Chris Pounds name generation page.

If you want a one line plot point then look here. It might just give you that twist you were looking for.

For those of you who like a visual reference of your character, try these hero generators.
Fantasy heroes, superheroes, zombies and even rockstars can be created for you to add to your novel scrapbook. (Note these need a bit of bandwidth to load up so not sure how well they work on a smartphone. Its also really nerdy.)

Finally another geeky one with a slick interface for creating spells, beasties and places is the Forge.

As always hope you find something useful or inspiring in the above!








Tuesday, August 2

Next Meeting - Thursday 4th August

Hi there - hope all is well in your writing world.

This week we will be at our alternate venue again (The Black Lion) as the White Hart is having another function.

Time: From 7.30 p.m.
Format: Manuscript review, general catch-up and hopefully an alcoholic beverage.

Hope to see you there!


PS. As last week we were caught out by a function at the Black Lion we will use the nearby Rose and Crown as a backup. Therefore if you can't find us at one venue - we will be at the other. Keep an eye on twitter for up to the second progress reports. (Honestly, this is not an excuse for a pub crawl!)


Monday, August 1

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Fight scenes. Notoriously tricky. I should know as they are a particular weakness of mine.

A good fight scene is something that makes you remember a book or a film. A terrible fight scene can make you want to put a novel down or change the channel.

So what is it that makes a good scrap?

As in all things this is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer the gritty realism of George R. R. Martin's combat, others the more romantic prose of Tolkien where blood and guts is rare.

In films think of the high style of Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, the comedic value of Michael York and pals in the Three Musketeers or the manga inspired Uma Thurman chopping off limbs in Kill Bill Vol 1.

For the more realistic there is of course the now classic Fight Club and even the ineffective wrestle between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in the film of Bridget Jones's Diary. (I know, I know -its a bit wet but at least it is memorable!)

It is worth looking at all these and identifying the things that make them work. Find the elements and style that match your story and have a go at it!

Of course the internet also has advice to offer and to save you the trouble I have scoured it on your behalf.

On Fictionpress there is an interesting thread here. There are a number of chapters to this piece so work back from the summary to find what is of most use to you.

A more succinct series of pointers can be found on writing.com whereas good and bad examples and can be found on storyhack along with a set of rules you could do worse than to follow.

As always hope the above is of some use and I hope it inspires you to get stuck in!






Friday, July 29

Punctuation Saves Lives

Well it's the weekend - or it will be by the time this post fizzes into your inboxes...

Just a little comment today for those of you who, like me, struggle with those pesky commas.

Remember: Punctuation saves lives!

Have a great weekend all!!

Wednesday, July 27

Next Meeting - Thursday 28th July

Hey there - hope you have managed to meet whatever writing challenge you have set yourself this week. If not, don't worry - you can always come along to the weekly meeting for some encouragement!

As the White Hart has its ghost night on Thursday we are relocating to the Black Lion.

We will be there from 7.30. Usual format - manuscript review, general catch up and the odd drink.

Hope to see you there!

(One thing to note - if due to random circumstances the Black Lion is packed out or booked up I will post any change of venue on Twitter so you know where we are...Good reason to follow our Twitter feed, eh?)

Monday, July 25

Absolute Beginners

Ok so we are all trying to right that perfect novel. Maybe not the first novel for some but for many it is our first stab at cranking out that Booker prize winning manuscript.

Looking for hints that might set you apart from the other beginners out there?

Then look no further..


As if that was not enough there is more at plottopunctuation who promises another 45 flaws that will expose ...well you get the drift.

In any case hope you find some inspiration in the above that may help you clean up some part of your manuscript.
Good Luck!

Sunday, July 24

Ever Read Something You Wished You'd Written?

Caught this in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday as part of their summer of fiction. A story by Jennifer Egan written in 20 minutes in the style of a to-do list.

Check it out here:


Wish I'd thought of that.

What fiction do you wish you'd written?






Friday, July 22

Character Sketching

Chatting to some of the other members at the meeting last night we briefly touched upon physical descriptions of charaters and how some of us had not spent much time fleshing these out in our current projects.

By happy coincidence here is a list of good examples of character descriptions from popular novels, each taking a different approach to the problem (courtesy of the folks at i09.)

I have to say I like Rowling's example "and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins."
Maybe I should get round to reading that Potter book after all.

In any case hope the above might be of use and gives you some ideas.
Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, July 20

To Plot or not to Plot

So I'm writing a novel. I have to admit I am a planner, a plotter, an outliner. I'm a big fan of the 'don't get it right get it written' approach but I also think I need a bit of direction to help me know where I am going.

Elmore Leonard is famous for just writing without a great deal of planning but it doesn't work for me. So in one of many moments where I do anything to avoid actually writing I was glad to come across a couple of useful plotting tools.

In Kait Nolan's blog she has something called her 'novel notebook', essentially a novel or story outline for you to fill in that will help you in your planning. Check it out or download it here.

A slightly different approach is Notecarding which I found on Holly Lisle's site.

Both of the above sites have a vast amount of useful information about writing and are well worth a visit. In addition they both link on to many other useful writing blogs and sites but be careful if like me you are easily distracted!

Hope you might find one of the above approaches useful - I'd be interested to hear if they work for you or if you have a different approach to story planning.

Good Luck!


Tuesday, July 19

Meeting on Thursday 21st July

Howday all - this week we will be meeting at the White Hart Hotel from 7.30 p.m.

If numbers are not high we may well be downstairs rather than the large upstairs room. It is best to check for us in both areas but it is not a huge place so I am sure you will fnd us!

Normal format of manuscript or work-in-progress review. As always we are happy to provide feedback on anything you bring along from any phase of your writing process. From story plans to final drafts, flash fiction to novel chapters - anything goes!

See you then.

Friday, July 15

Writing Advice Blog - Janice Hardy

When looking for inspiration and of course doing anything other than actually writing I stumbled upon this blog by Janice Hardy, a writer of YA fiction. Over 500 articles on writing subjects as diverse as finding a critique group to first drafts, revisions and submissions.

Check it out here:



Writers are Readers - World Book Night 2012

I know we are all writers but you can't be a good writer without being an avid reader!

And for those of you who are avid readers here is the chance to get some of your favourites read by people who might not otherwise get the chance.

Sign up an nominate your favourite books here...

Thursday, July 14

WSW Jane has play perfomed at the Abbey Theatre

Congratulations to Jane whose play The visitation was performed at the end of June during the Abbey Theatre's contribution to the St Albans festival.

Jane was supported by other members of the Watling Street Writers who went along to lend their support and see how the play turned out when read out by real actors in a theatre (as opposed to her fellow writers at the White Hart!)

For a write up of the event see here for the article in the Herts Ad.

Well done again Jane - look forward to getting the chance to read (and act out!) more of your scripts sometime soon.

Friday, July 8

Next Meeting - Thursday 14th July

A small turnout last meeting but in the manuscript reviews we did cover diverse topics such as the RAF, the siege of London Bridge and chapter-bites....

We also ran into the friendly folks from the Verulam Writers fresh from the launch of their anthology The Angel and the White Hart.
Head over to their website to pick up a copy or if you are passing Waterstones in St Albans I believe they also have some in stock.

On Thursday 14th we will not be upstairs at the White Hart as they are booked so we will be over at the Black Lion.

See you there from 7.30 for a normal manuscript/work-in-progress review.

Thursday, July 7

Next Meeting - Thursday 7th July

Looks like we could well be thin on the ground tonight - however come along if you can.

White Hart from 7.30.

If you can't make it can you let me (Paul) know otherwise I will be reading out to a pint and a bag of pork scratchings. Not a bad audience but I prefer real people....

Wednesday, June 29

Next meeting. Thursday 30th June

Hi All - tomorrow night's meeting will be at the Black Lion hotel on Fishpool street in St Albans as the White Hart is booked for a ghost tour.

It is the ususal manuscript review session so hope you can tear yourself away from watching Wimbledon to be there!!

See you then....

Tuesday, June 21

Next meeting. Thursday 23rd June - Cancelled

Hi All - another small and yet beautifully formed meeting lats week. topics as diverse as suicide, therapy and train delays were covered in the manuscripts. Not all in the same story!

Next week we are back at the White Hart but as some people cannot attend please let Tracey know if you plan to attend. If there is a meeting I will confirm on Thursday so watch the site for updates!

UPDATE - This meeting won't be going ahead so enjoy the free time and hope you can write something. See you ioon the 30th!

Monday, June 13

Next meeting. Thursday 16th June

Howdy all - next meeting back at the White Hart as normal.

Upstairs in the room with the skeleton from 7.30 p.m.

Usual format: manuscript review, couple of sherberts and a bag of pork scratchings.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 3

Next Meeting - Thursday 9th June

Last night's meeting was small and yet perfectly formed.

100% of attendees brought work for review and there was a definte food theme running through the texts... From beef and pickle sandwiches, to chicken legs and beer with Black Magic.

Next week the upstairs room at the White Hart is booked so watch this space for location details - likely to either be the Black Lion or downstairs/courtyard at the White Hart.
Will confirm before Thursday.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the weather and hope to see you next week!

Tuesday, May 31

Next Meeting - Thursday 2nd June

Hi All - this week we are back at the usual haunt. The White Hart Hotel from 7.30 p.m for a normal manuscript review session. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 24

Next Meeting - Thursday 26h May

What could be a better warm up to a bank holiday weekend than coming along to WSW for a quick drink and a review of your current manuscript...

We you are in luck - we will be at the Black Lion Inn
from 7.30 this thursday (note the change of venue) for a normal manscript review session.

Find us in the main bar hopefully filling up one of the nooks..

See you there!

Wednesday, May 11

Next Meeting - Thursday 19th May

Hi there - apologies for not posting for a couple weeks. This week's meeting is cancelled so please do not turn up to the White Hart tomorrow night because if you do you will be reading your manuscript out to an empty room!

Next week we will be back there as normal for manuscript reviews - hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 26

Next Meeting - Thursday 28th April

Hope you had a great Easter weekend and enjoyed some sun wherever you are...

Thursday's meeting will be at Bar 62 in St Albans from the usual time of 7.30 p.m.

The pub has a fair selection of food on which varies from nibbles to mains so you can eat as much or as little as you wish.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 18

Next Meeting 21st April

Hi All -as it is coming up to the Bank Holiday weekend we know that many people are away or busy this Thursday. Therefore if you are planning to attend Thursday's meeting please let Tracey know by email. We will post a note here in case the meeting is cancelled for Thursday. In any case if there is no meeting on Thursday, have a great Easter!

Thursday, April 14

Couple Calls for Submissions

Hi All,

Saw these on a couple of facebook threads I follow - they may be of interest to some or all of you..Not competitions but requests for submissions.

First one is for Carina press - think is an ebook publisher looking for submisisons on a variety of topics but over 15K words in length.
Here you will see everything from historic fiction,romance (including foodie? romance and zombie romance) to steampunk to caper fiction,WWII spies, detective fiction and beyond.

http://carinapress.com/blog/2011/04/editor-call-for-submissions/


Second one is sci-fi - so apologiese to you non-geeks out there. An anthology looking for hard sci-fi rather than space opera. There may be a couple of you that fancy it.
It is fairly low paying and up to 6K words.

http://www.mutationpress.com/rocketscience.html

Next Meeting 14th April

Hi All - last week we had only one manuscript to review (more antics in the afterlife) but did also get involved in a short character workshop and some lively debate about script formats.

This week we will be at the White Hart from 7.30 as ususal for a normal manuscript review session.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, March 28

Next Meeting 31st March

Hi all - just a quick note to say the next meeting will be on the 31st March at the Friends House.

We are looking at a workshop with a focus on dialogue, however there is usually time for manuscript review for those of you loooking for some feedback.

However as some people are away please email Tracey to let her know if you will be attending just so as we know for numbers.

Have a good week and hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 22

Next Meeting 24th March

Hey - great to see so many people at the White Hart last week.

Varied writing included a lamb dinner love-in, a terrifying tarot murder, a family football outing, a desterted country cottage, a kidnapping, chunkling wreckers and a literal cliffhanger of a play.

Phew! Lets hope we will be as busy this week!!

The meeting on the 24th March will be at the White Hart from 7.30 p.m as normal.

It is a regular manudscript review so bring anything you would like critiqued.

Friday, March 11

Next meeting - Thursday 17th March 2011

Thanks all who came to the Black Lion last night (10th March)

Every attendee brought some writing for review and we had varied subjects that included Football, Fortune Telling, Wrecking Ships and Broken (or was it fractured?) Noses.

Next week we are back to the White Hart at the normal time of 7.30 for more of the same.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 7

Next meeting - Thursday 10th March 2011

Hi All - good to see everyone at the meeting last Thursday.

A variety of writing was covered; competition entries, novel chapters and synopsis. Subjects ranged from Rabbits to Pirates, with some Dystopian torture thrown in for good measure.

Hopefully we will have more of the same at next weeks meeting which will be at a change of venue.

The White Hart is having a bit of a do on Thursday and so we will not have the room there. Therefore we will be returning to one of our old haunts; The Black Lion.

Hope to see you there from 7.30 - It is a normal evening of manuscript review but as usual you are welcome to bring anything along that you are looking for input on.

Wednesday, March 2

Next Meeting 3rd March 2011

Hi All! The next meeting is at the usual place: The White Hart Hotel.

It is a normal manuscript evening so bring along anything you are working on. If you are not working on anything then just bring yourself!

Friday, February 25

Sf/fantasy Competition closing in May 2011

for those of you that enjoy writing fiction of a more speculative genre..

The British Fantasy Society is running a short story competition that closes in May 2011.

Details can be found here or are as listed below.

Good Luck!


The BFS short story competition 2011 is now open to entries. Anyone can enter, regardless of how many times they have been previously published. The competition is open to entries from 1 January 2011 to 31 May 2011.
Prizes
  • 1st prize: £100, a year's membership of the BFS, and publication in the BFS journal
  • 2nd prize: £50, a year's membership of the BFS, and publication in the BFS journal
  • 3rd prize: £20
Schedule
  • Open to entries from 1 January 2011 to 31 May 2011
  • Our reading panel will then read the entries from June to August
  • The top-scoring stories will then be passed on to our judging panel
  • The winners will be announced at the British Fantasy Awards ceremony in September
Rules
  • Any kind of fantastical story is welcome. For example, fantasy, science fiction, horror, supernatural, fabulation, magic realism, slipstream, etc, or indeed any combination of those genres
  • The competition is open to both members and non-members of the society, but non-members must pay a £5 entry fee
  • Stories must not exceed 5,000 words
  • Multiple entries are welcome, but only one free entry per BFS member
  • Judging is anonymous, so stories should not have been previously published
  • The decision of the judging panel will be final

Get Writing Conference Success

Many thanks to Gemma, Tracey and Jane for updating us on the Get Writing Conference at our meeting on the 24th Feb. Those of us that didn't make it appreciate the time you took to organise your notes and summarise for us.

By all accounts the Conference was a worthwhile day of speakers, networking and pitching. It also looks likely there are some key note speakers from the conference we will be asking to come and talk to us.

Finally - congratulations to Kat for coming runner up in the Conference writing competition!!!

Thursday, February 17

Next Meeting 24th February

Hi All - because several members are attending the Get Writing Conference on saturday the 19th we are not holding a formal meeting on the 17th February. So don't turn up to the White Hart as we will not be there!

The next formal meeting is going to be at the Friends House on the 24 th February. Please see the the programme for more details or alternatively email us.

If you are going to the Wiriting Conference have a great time and hope you find it inspiring and informative.

See you on the 24th if not before..

Monday, February 7

next Meeting - 10th February 2011

Hi All -just a quick reminder that the next meeting will be in the White Hart Hotel as per normal.

We may well be downstairs as per last week, depending upon any team injuries...

In any case look for us first in the bar and then upstairs afterward in the normal room (below the skeleton).

The meeting is a normal manudscript review so bring along anything you are working on at the moment. Look forward to seeing you there from 7.30 p.m.

Wednesday, February 2

Next Meeting 3rd February 2011

All - just a quick note to say the next meeting is at 7.30 p.m at the White Hart Hotel.

It is a normal manuscript evening so as ususal bring along anything you are currently working on to read out.

Note that this week we will be downstairs rather than upstairs. So look for us in the quieter of the two bars or in the area near to reception.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 1

1st Page Competition

Saw this on the Words With Jam website...a short competition that you could enter with the first page of that novel you are writing or even just write the first page of the novel you may one day write.

You can find details on the comp via the homepage above or follow the link below:

1st Page Competition.

Closing date end April 2011.

Monday, January 31

Comedy Script Competition (BBC Laughing Stock)

For all of you who think there is a lack of funny sitcoms on British television, now could be your chance to change thinsg for the better..

Take a look at this laughing stock competition from the BBC Writersroom looking for initial sitcom and possible series for anyone who fancies their chances at scriptwriting.

Cosing date is February 21st 2011.

The BBC is worth checking out for other writing/script opportunities from time to time and also for the chance to download scripts so you can have a look at how established scriptwriters do it. The also operate a free email newsletter.

Tuesday, January 25

Mystery writing competition

Win a laptop and a writing course. Up to 7,500 murder mystery story - but the deadline is Jan 31st! Might be good to send something in if you happen to have a story lying around?

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/win-a-stateofart-laptop-and-a-bestseller-writing-course-2148507.html

Monday, January 24

Next Meeting 27th January 2011

All,
Good to see so many people at the meeting on the 20th, especially a few faces we have no seen for a while..

Next week's meeting will be held at the Friends House from 7.30 p.m NOT the White Hart Hotel.

We will be focussing on description so please bring along copies of some descriptive text you particularly like (not written by yourself!) and descriptive text written by yourself.

Given the length of time we have 7.30 p.m to 9.30 p.m we will be looking to limit the amount of text read out to one page per piece.

If possible please bring copies for others to read.

Time allowing we will be able to discuss the published text and also the work of the attendees.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, January 20

Examples of Bad Prose

Admittedly sci-fi related - where you can find all the best examples of.. e..experimental prose. Click here for a random sample - it will cheer you up when you are struggling to polish your own perfect sentences!

My favourite example the last time I looked is below...

'Somehow, the mackerel paté of memory had escaped its wrapper, skipped its kitchen dish, and turned into a flickering silver shoal, darting and twisting in terror against an empty darkness.' ('Gabriel King', The Wild Road, 1997)

Monday, January 17

Next Meeting - Thursday 20th January 2011

Firstly let me say a big thankyou to Niki for hosting us last week.

Great food, comfortable environment and also some quality manuscripts to review. The highlight has to be Jane's short play - the acting of which was BAFTA winning stuff.

Perhaps there is more scope for playwriting (and acting!) in the coming programme of events?

In any case this week's meeting will be back at the White Hart on Thursday at 7.30 p.m.

It is a normal manuscript evening - look forward to seeing you then...

Monday, January 10

Tips on Manuscript Presentation

Sue Moorcroft has a very interesting article on her blog which gives some practical hints on manuscript formatting and presentation.

Find the page on her blog (worth a visit for other bits of info) or follow this link to take you straight there...

Enjoy!

Next Meeting - Thursday 13th January 2011

All as the White Hart is booked next Thursday - Niki has kindly offered to host us at her house.

If you need directions please email her.

The night will be a normal manuscript night - for those of you that still have 'New Beginnings' work that did not get read out last week, feel free to bring that along!

See you there from 7.30 pm.

Wednesday, January 5

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all - I hope your New Year resolutions include writing more and also maybe coming along to the Watling Street Writers meetings for friendly encouragement and a review of your work.

The next meeting is at the White Hart Hotel on Thursday the 6th January from 7.30 p.m - I hope to see you there!

As per normal we will be upstairs (underneath the hanging skeleton!)

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