Watling Street Writers

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....

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