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Funny Bones at the Ready

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Photo courtesy of Cameron McDonald of McDonald Images

Last evening we welcomed Lynne Mortimer, much-loved columnist with various newspapers in the Archant family.  For those of you who were unable to attend, you missed an amusing and inspirational talk from Lynne about her 25 years as a journalist.  Lynne gave us a comprehensive ‘heads-up’ for how to tackle the next competition for the much-coveted Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.  In view of the number of absentees I hope you will find this information useful and I encourage you to enter even if you were not there last evening.

Her first job was as a mature mum of 35, writing for the Evening Star in Ipswich.  During her children’s teenage years she wrote under a pseudonym to save their blushes!  Lynne spoke about the panic of working to strict deadlines and of having to come up with 1,000 words every week on a different topic.  She explained how her inspiration comes from her own life, the importance of writing the truth at the core of every column and how she scours newspapers for ideas when she is stuck!

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Photo courtesy of Cameron McDonald of McDonald Images

In the past her stories have covered Waspi Women, weight-loss, public toilets, the Menopause (both female and male), the abuse of Parent & Child parking spaces, grammatical errors, energy saving light bulbs, her husband, grandchildren and her mother-in-law!  But never Brexit, religion, death, disability or mental illness. She certainly has her own “red lines” and always tries to keep her columns light-hearted and entertaining.

The Competition:

“Take one small frustrating life incident and expand it into a humorous article of 1,000-2,000 words.  It can draw upon similar frustrations or veer off somewhere else, but at the end of the piece it should return to the original incident, featuring a final pithy sentence or two.”

The deadline for entries is Tuesday 7th May, which is our next Manuscript/Critique evening.  If you are unable to attend please be sure to mail or email your entry to our Competitions Secretary Marian Pearson.  Details can be found at this link.

https://norwichwriters.wordpress.com/competitions/guidelines/

Good luck everyone!

On a different topic, your committee will be meeting next Tuesday to agree the arrangements and menu for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Launch Night on Tuesday 16th April, when we will be offered gin tasters courtesy of sponsor Black Shuck Ltd of Fakenham, and meet our adjudicator Piers Warren, author of Black Shuck: The Devil’s Dog.  Do bring your partners and friends to our party. £7 door fee for non-members includes light buffet with wine, teas and coffees.

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A Talk to Go Down in History

On Tuesday 19th March we welcomed the award winning historical fiction writer Rory Clements to talk to use about his books, his writing process, and what led him to write historical fiction.

 

When asked whether he considers himself to be a historian or a novelist first, Rory commented:

“I’m definitely a novelist first. I’m no a historian. I didn’t go to university, I didn’t study history. But I’m very widely read – I read huge amounts of history and when I fix on a subject – say like the Babington plot, I’m probably one of the worlds experts for a few months on that subject and then I forget it all … But I do a lot of research, I do take it very seriously trying to get the historical background as close as I can to what I think it is.”

Clements explained that he had been inspired to write by his uncle, who ran away at a young age to become a sailor. He wrote many books about his adventures, which made Clements want to be an author.

He started out as a journalist, but soon moved on. During this time he read extensively, which helped him become the writer he is today.

Clements went on to talk more about historical fiction:

“Historical fiction vs history … I went to Oxford University to argue with a lot of historians who were sort of knocking down historical fiction. I think it has a real place in out life. I think we fill in the skeleton. History is a skeleton. There’s a lot missing from it … the fiction writer can fill that in and hopefully bring history to a lot more people in that way.”

After answering a variety of questions form the group, Clements has some excellent advice to offer anyone thinking of writing historical fiction:

What you’re trying to find first and foremost if you’re writing about a time long ago is you’ve got to find a voice …  you can’t write in  Elizabethan English you can’t write in Shakespearean English, because nobody would read it. They simply wouldn’t. Nor can you write in twentieth century English slang. You have to find something in the in-between… you don’t want it jarring to the reader.

The NWC would like to thank Rory Clements for his frank and open advice and intriguing stories. We’d also like to thank everyone who attended and had plenty of questions to ask.

Norwich Writers' Circle, Uncategorized

Prepare to self-edit!

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Our next meeting will be on Tuesday the 5th of February at 19:30 at Chantry Hall, Norwich. We are to welcome back Kathy Joy of Fine Tune Your Fiction, a professional critique service, this time to run a workshop on self editing.

Rather than focusing on grammar and spelling, etc Kathy will run through how to edit the content of your story and look critically at establishing a strong point of view, character development, plot, showing versus telling and so on.

In order to participate, please bring a 1500-2000 word excerpt from a current work in progress (fiction only). Ideally you should bring a hard copy, double space, but you are welcome to work from a laptop or tablet, though please be advised there are limited plug sockets.

It would also help to bring some paper or a notebook,and plenty of pens and pencils so you can make notes.

business college composition desk

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us:

norwichwriters@hotmail.com

We hope to see you there.

 

Norwich Writers' Circle

Meet Ralph Jackman

On Tuesday 4th April, Ralph Jackman, author of Actium’s Wake, is coming to give a talk to the NWC.

Ralph will be talking about his career and answering any questions.

If you would like to meet him, and chat and with other writers at the group, please come along to our meeting at Anteros Arts Foundation on Fye Bridge Road Norwich.  The meeting starts at 7:30 PM.  Light refreshments will also be served.

anteros-map

Don’t forget, Ralph will also be out adjudicator for the Olga Sinclair Short Story Competition.

We hope to see you there!

Norwich Writers' Circle

A Productive Evening

Our manuscript evening on Tuesday 21st February was a success.  We welcomed three visitors and one new member.

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We tried a slightly different format than usual, breaking off into smaller groups.  Those who brought work waited for each member of the group to read it and then received feedback.  Overall, the evening was productive, enjoyable and informative.

We had the pleasure of reading poetry, fantasy, historical fiction, young adult, comedy, biography, academic and science fiction.

Our next manuscript evening is 20th June.

In the meantime, our next meeting is Tuesday 7th March.  Not only will we be launching our third competition of the year, but S. E. Craythorne, the adjudicator, will be giving a talk about the joys and struggles of working with an unreliable narrator as well as exploring how ‘reliable’ any realistic narrator can be.

We hope to see you there.

Norwich Writers' Circle

The Anthology Is Ready

We are pleased to announce that Stepping Out, our new anthology, is finally ready.  Anyone who filled in our interest form should be contacted shortly.

We can confirm the cost is £7.00 plus postage (where applicable).

Books will now be available to buy at our meetings.  Alternatively, you can order them online:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23019691.html

front-cover

Norwich Writers' Circle

A Promising Proposition

On Tuesday 17th January we had our first meeting of 2017.  We kicked the new year off with a bang when our very own Phyllida Scrivens and Gill Blanchard launched the third competition of the year: Impressing the Publisher.

To begin, Gill and Phyllida offered some excellent advice on how to create a proposal with a good hook that will pull the publisher or agent in, offering samples of their own proposals to help.

The evening was capped off with a workshop.  First we wrote the start of our proposal synopsis, focusing on ‘the hook’. Gill and Phyllida advised that the hook could be a quote, the first couple of sentences or short an extract from the book that conveys something of what it is about and makes the reader want to know more.

Next came the hard part: giving and taking criticism from the group.  This went very well, with many participants receiving helpful pointers and suggestions from their peers.

Finally, Gill and Phyllida rolled out the competition.

To enter the competition you must submit a proposal for either a fiction or non-fiction book.  The guidelines are as follows:

1,000 words maximum

These 1000 words should consist of:

1). Synopsis: 200 – 300 words

  • Chapter outline & synopsis of plot/premise

2). Author Biography: 50 to 100 words

3). Marketing 50 to 100 words

  • Concept, audience, social media

4). Sample (remainder up to 1,000 words)

  • If you choose to submit a proposal for non-fiction, your sample should consist of a detailed chapter plan.
  • If your proposal is for a fiction story, your sample should be an extract from first chapter.

The maximum size of your sample will depend on how many words you used for the synopsis, author biography and marketing.

For example, if your synopsis is 250 words, your biography 100 words and your is marketing is 50 words, you will have used 400 of your 1000 words, leaving you 600 words for your sample.  There is no minimum for the sample, so you could write less than the amount of words you have left, but you need to ensure that what you have written has a good hook and captures your story.

Phyllida and Gill also offered a little advice on what publishers and agents are looking for when considering a proposal:

  • Originality.
  • Fresh voice and new insight.
  • Why you, and only you, can write this particular story.

If you want to enter the competition, email your entry to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

The deadline is 21st February.  For more details visit the contest page.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Anthology Cover Revealed!

Back in October, we announced we would be launching an anthology.  We had hoped to release it mid-November but there have been several delays on the way.  The good news is we are almost there and would like to reveal the cover:

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We are now in the final stages.  Copies should, all being well, be available to buy at our next meeting on 17th January 2017 (and every meeting thereafter) or via a link we will provide.  Anyone who filled in one of our interest forms will be notified as soon as they are ready.

The anthology will cost £7 plus postage.

Norwich Writers' Circle

31st July 2015

WordPress Mustard Text

The second and final deadline for our inaugural Short Fiction Competition will be soon.

We will be accepting competition entries online up to and including 31st July. Simply send us a story – 2,000 words maximum – that references ‘mustard‘ somewhere within the text, to the e-mail address quoted here.

Ashley Stokes of Unthank Books will be adjudicating all the entries, before the winners of the £500.00, £250.00 and £100.00 are announced at a Gala Evening later on this year.

Good luck! We look forward to receiving your competition entry very soon.

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The Big Launch

Lots has been going on in the build-up to this week’s launch of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Fiction Competition. Our guest for the evening will be prize winning short story writer (and “fledgling” novelist) Lynsey WhiteLynseyWhite.

Lynsey will be giving members and visitors her winning formula for their entries. Not that all can be winners, of course, but deciding to attend her workshop could set you at the front of the pack.

Starts at our usual time of 7:30. Door Fee: £4

For more details about the competition click here

In addition to her own writing, Lynsey is currently running her own writing course at the Maddermarket Theatre, and has a couple of writing exercises for everyone on her website: lynseywhite.com