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Writer's/would- be Writer's Forum - who would be interested?

37 replies

AussieSim · 13/04/2004 12:24

I thought we could do general stuff like give encouragement, share news etc as well as perhaps more specific things like writing excercises which we could share for feedback if people felt comfortable. I have a few ideas and would be willing to administer if there are enough people who want to participate. I know that there are some 'proper' writers on here too, and it would be great to get hints and tips as well. What do you think?

OP posts:
Helsbels · 13/04/2004 12:28

I think it's an excellent idea - don't know what my boss would think though!! Luckily, I go on maternity leave soon so will be at home - keep us posted

SenoraPostrophe · 13/04/2004 12:38

yes! I was going to suggest this myself as I have just been inspired to write my first story in about 10 years. Have written 1 para so far...

papillon · 13/04/2004 12:48

Knew this would be you!!

I´m keen

Janstar · 13/04/2004 12:52

Yes, I'm definitely interested.

Pennypocket · 13/04/2004 14:15

Me Me Me!!! I want to be a writer but work in mortgages at the moment. Where did it all go wrong sob sob!!

Pennypocket · 13/04/2004 14:16

PS - have written 2 chapters of a novel but am studying for exams at mo so it has taken a backseat lately. Need some motivation!!

Flip · 13/04/2004 14:19

I've been writing since I was twelve and it goes into the thousands of pages. But I've never wrote seriously. Just for my own place to hide from reality. What sort of thing do you have in mind Aussiesim?

AussieSim · 13/04/2004 17:12

Flip, I thought I would check on the level of interest and then if it was enough (and it is looking pretty good so far), then I would ask about the kind of things people would value and expect from the group and then take it from there.

I started a Post Grad Diploma in Writing briefly before moving to Germany and so I have a few ideas from the kinds of things we did in class. I was a bit freaked out at the beginning of the course as we shared each others writing with either the whole class or smaller groups of three or four every week, but by the end of the first semester I thought it was the best part of the course and my fellow students taught me so much and it felt so great to be sharing with them.

I subscribed to Writers Digest (American Monthly Journal - a bit corny/commercially orientated, but motivating none the less) for a year and so have some ideas from there too.

I am not an expert though, just have this fantasy that one day I will be published, or that I might be able to earn a few bucks from writing instead of going back to HR. I wrote a short story during my studies which was a really good experience and which I was quite pleased with, but at the mo I am just journaling, writing letters for DS and day dreaming story lines and making note of things that I might be able to use in characters in the future.

Anymore interested MNers?

OP posts:
spacemonkey · 13/04/2004 17:13

I'd like to join. I used to belong to a writers' group a few years ago and I really enjoyed it.

popsycal · 13/04/2004 17:14

me too....

neetsmassi · 13/04/2004 17:26

I'd like to join - no experience though - hope that's ok

Janstar · 13/04/2004 17:36

I have been writing for years but have never been published (although I've never seriously tried). I've attended a writing group on and off for over 12 years with the same tutor who is absolutely wonderful. In his opinion I would be able to run courses myself and have been thinking of trying to get into it recently.

I write poetry and fiction, at the moment am attempting a novel, so far have written about 14,000 words.

I informally edited a friend's childrens' book which has been accepted by penguin and is being proofed now.

I'd like to help others with their writing and to have some kicks up the bum to motivate me to get on with mine!

I'd also welcome news of writing competitions, book signings and literary events.

expatkat · 13/04/2004 17:53


Can I be so bold as to recommend a different US publication for writers. . . Poets & Writers. It's the must-have for US writers. . .a good source of info, advice, with a complete "deadlines" section in the back for upcoming writing contests that tend to be above board & respectable, whereas Writers Digest lists the scams, unfortunately. You can check out the online version of P&W, which I'll put up a link to in a second. . .and see if you like it. It does have the disadvantage, though, of being geared for American writers, though the advice & topics tend to be universal.

expatkat · 13/04/2004 17:56

Janstar: Poetry London magazine has begun to do a "contest deadlines" section--just for poetry, though. Might be worth taking a look in there from time to time. It's not available on their website, though, just the print version, unfortunately.

expatkat · 13/04/2004 17:59

Poets & Writers

AussieSim · 13/04/2004 18:00

Gee Janstar, sounds like your participation will be invaluable. 14000 words is lot - you must be really onto something. I tend to get bogged down just thinking about what I'll write about. I really need the discipline of deadlines I think.

I was hoping you would respond Expatkat! I know WD is not great - hence having not renewed my subscription and am very grateful to hear about other better journals.

OP posts:
Janstar · 13/04/2004 18:07

Thanks for that link, expatkat, had a quick look, looks interesting.

expatkat · 13/04/2004 18:20

Aussie, I used to subscribe to Writers Digest myself. You're so kind to have hoped I'd respond, but I just don't have much to offer except for these silly little practical recommendations. I have no idea myself how to find the motivation to write. I write poetry, which I gather is a different kettle of fish to fiction: fiction seems to lend itself to more daily plugging away. I write a poem when I have an idea, which is once in a while at best.

I also write nonfiction occasionally, which is totally different--you just get something in for the deadline.

Janstar are you based in the UK? I have no idea what magazines/journals are good for publishing poetry in the UK except for the big name ones like Poetry Review, PN Review, Arete, etc. So I can't help with that stuff (maybe you can help me!) but I HAVE spent a large portion of my life sending out poems for publication, so if you ever wanted help on how to phrase a cover letter maybe I can give some advice? Can't promise it will be good advice, though.

I admire your trying to write a children's book & novel--both seem SO hard to me. Can your writing tutor give you pointers for publishing the poems? I remember that last year someone who was part of a writing group in Surrey or somplace like that was the winner of the Poetry London contest. She hadn't previously been published a great deal, if at all. . .I think it's time for you to put the work out there if your tutor has been so encouraging.

expatkat · 13/04/2004 18:28

And here's a link for Poetry London , Janstar and anyone else who might be interested. There is info on the home page about their upcoming annual poetry contest, June 1st deadline. It's a very respectable contest--I recommend it. (But I'm also full of sour grapes about not winning it last year ) Do you read a lot of poetry Janstar? That's always helpful. Going to readings can help you keep a finger on the pulse of contemporary poetry, too.

Janstar · 13/04/2004 18:33

Yes, I'm in the UK. I haven't really bothered to try and get my stuff published - I don't really want to get involved with the kind of poetry publishing some of my friends have used, which is more or less 'vanity' publishing. They are really good poets, but there is not much call for it.

My friend's book, which I edited, is for children, but my novel is adult. What I would like to do is finish that and try and get it published, and then try with the poetry, as I feel it would be easier to get established with the novel, and then hopefully get my poetry taken seriously!

Thanks so much for your advice and tips.

AussieSim · 13/04/2004 18:34

Things to share:

How many words/pages you wrote today/last week What you are working on Good books on writing Good websites on writing Good writing courses/groups Writing competitions meeting authors at book signing etc Going to writers festivals How to get motivated Researching tips

More serious stuff (that I haven't had any personal experience of) like:
getting an agent how to write a proposal/query letter and other stuff I feel uncomfortable even typing here

Then we could actually do exercises (they wouldn't be that long maybe 200 - 1000 words.
Stuff like: Listen to music that you haven't heard in ages. Write about the memories that come back to you. Write a birth story with the baby as narrator. Imagine you just won an award for best mum of the year and write your acceptance speech. Write a description of the room that your computer is in.

Maybe we could take turns at setting the exercise to make sure we get good variety.

What else would you guys want to do? Or is there something I have suggested above which isn't thrilling you?

OP posts:
Janstar · 13/04/2004 18:35

The great thing is, that when my friend's book was accepted she was asked, 'How come it is so good already?' and she kindly mentioned me. So I am hoping that if I can complete my novel soon enough, her agent will be good enough to give my ms a second glance while my friend has helped me get my foot in the door!

Janstar · 13/04/2004 18:39

I think your ideas sound very thorough and well-thought-out.

AussieSim · 13/04/2004 20:07

Bump. Any more interested? Any thoughts on the suggestions so far?

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expatkat · 13/04/2004 21:09

I think your ideas sound great, Aussie. I probably won't participate in the exercises b/c I've always been crap at assignments andanywayI'm not working on fiction like most of the rest of you. . .but I'd be happy to offer practical advice from time to time if there's something I happen to know about. I'll peek into this thread once in a while to see what's happening.

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