Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Cleckheaton Writers Group minutes, Zoom meeting Monday 10 August 2020

Cleckheaton Writers Group met yesterday via Zoom, Sarah, Karen, Alice, Gemma and Neil in attendance, Sam having passed on his apologies. 

The minutes from the previous meeting were passed and members gave an update on their WIP: Karen has entered a novel into the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition, applied for 3 writing jobs, submitted her first rs novel to two U.S. agents and written two new chapters for her current rc WIP (which she shared for feedback); Sarah has not heard anything back yet from the agent who requested her full MS (fingers crossed as no news is good news) and has written a further 6k words on her WIP, taking it to 15k. She has experienced a wobble in ability to write the story (all the CWG members agreed that this is normal) and is hoping that the Psychology of Character course she is starting on Saturday will kick start her once more; Alice is planning the sequel to her first MS (which is now with GEA for feedback, good luck Alice) and is concerned that she has noticed plot holes and she is only a quarter through the book. The members agreed this happens a lot when writing. Alice has designed a board to work it out (reminiscent of the police ones detectives use with string and pics to work out who dunnit) and all members were impressed with this; Gemma has completed the Ali Harper online course which has kick-started her writing (Anna Chilvers and Ali Harper normally run this course as a residential) and she has been writing 1k words a day (except for taking the weekend off) and is at 7k words using the plot planning Ali recommended of 40 chapters of 2k per chapter with a split 20k midpoint (she showed her plan which members were impressed with). She has worked out how to ramp up the tension and introduced a head butt. Coincidentally when reading Dracula for her book group, there is a chapter with a woman who gets cholera so this is great research for her character in the MS; Neil has set up his laptop and been looking into an English A level course at either Huddersfield/Halifax to get back into his writing groove. Alice suggested distance learning courses and WEA as some of these are free for the unemployed. Gemma metioned Coursera who also have free courses.

CW Comps/Workshops/Events: Gemma gave information on the Costa Short Story competition which is free to enter. Karen informed members that the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition is open until the 14th of August for free entries. Sarah had been contacted by the Caledonia Novel Award as a previously longlisted writer and this competition is open now for first novels with a fee of £25 for entry.

Feedback: Karen had shared two chapters of her rc WIP for feedback. Gemma enjoyed it and felt the chapters furthered the story. She noticed that the male MC held his breath and didn't let it go but she felt that there was great characterisation (giving examples), she laughed out loud at some of the lines (I do what? Kill one?) and also felt there was good description of characters. Sarah agreed that there was great characterisation with good pace and flow and she likes the direction it is heading. There were a couple of prose things to edit on page 3 with Rosalie's description and Georgia looking like a meerkat. She also felt that the joke about a repeated line would work just as well with it being a pop song instead of named singers. Neil had not had chance to read it yet, but said he would forward his feedback along once he had (Sam is also forwarding his feedback via email). Alice enjoyed the chapters feeling that the relationship between brother and sister Rosalie and Nate is strong but felt that Nate and Eveline agree too quickly to the change of plan when both initially say that they wont. She enjoyed the desciption details contained within conversation, making it entertaining rather than an info-dump of facts and that she feels each character has personalities of their own unique in speech and mannerisms. 

Plans for writing: Sarah is looking to write 3k words a week, Gemma 1k a day. Neil wishes to finish his short ghost story The Cubbyhole and look at courses. Alice will continue planning her sequel and Karen will plan out her rs WIP. She will also be receiving her GEA feedback during a 1-2-1 on Monday.

The next meeting will take place on 24 August but Sarah will not be in attendance as she has a weeks holiday planned.

Write Mentor courses

With details of upcoming courses with Write Mentor:

Calendar of upcoming events

12th August: #WMChat with Maria Kuzniar
4th-11th September: WriteMentor Summer Programme Agent Showcase
7th September: 15 weeks courses start date
7th September: Preparing for Submission start date
14th September: PB course start date
23rd September: #PeerPitch
23rd September: #WMChat with Clare Helen Welsh
24th September: #WMPitch
25-27th September: WOWCON

 Quarterly Magazine: August edition

The latest edition of the magazine was released on Friday!

Kit de Waal | Joseph Elliott | Emma Perry | Marisa Noelle | Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez | Jasmine Richards | J.R. Ford | Ian Johnson | Fiona Barker | Anna Moutran | The Honest Writer

Find out about...writing Young Adult fiction...publishing your first novel...life as a literary agent...representation in publishing...writing picture books...self-publishing...overcoming writer's block...plus read competition-winning short stories and flash fiction, and our celebration corner - featuring you!

Online Courses

We have a new page for all our online courses! 

We hope it's much easier to navigate now. Read below to see how you can be the very first to sign up for newly published courses.

Places are now open for our Preparing for Submission course with Aisha Bushy and literary agent, Lucy Irvine. Starts 7th September.

The ins and outs of submitting to agents
Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars and Moonchild, and reader for the Eve White Literay Agency, will lead this 6 week course, taking you from pitch to publication and everything in between.
The course outline is below, and each week will focus on a different aspect of the submission process, with the aim of building skills that will help you beyond your query package.
Aisha will provide notes on these areas at the start of each week to give you an opportunity to fine tune your own work, then you’ll post it up for tutor and peer review. She will also be there in between sessions to answer any questions you have about finding an agent, and getting your book published.
In the final week, Aisha will be joined by Lucy Irvine of PFD, who will offer feedback on your 1 page, synopsis and query letter, followed by an hour-long Q&A. 

15 week courses with Lauren James (YA) and Maz Evans (MG)
Places are available on a first come, first serve basis, so sign up now (by paying a £60 deposit) to secure your place for September.

The MG course is now sold out and only 2 spots are left on the YA course, so be quick and don't miss out.

And this round, we have added the something extra - feedback on your submission package from a top agent - click on the links above to find out more!

We will also offer 1 scholarship place on each course - the form to apply is here: https://forms.gle/GRhLwNAicPLCTr2h9
Deadline: 16th August 11.59pm (BST)

We are especially looking for applications from writers from underrepresented backgrounds.
Eligibility is self-assessed and we do not require personal details at any stage, if you don't wish to share.

Other Opportunities

Spark Mentoring

Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month. We have made the Spark mentoring package even better by including access to our 12 month novel course and the self-editing course with Kesia Lupo for all Spark mentees - do contact me if you wish to access either of these and are a current spark mentee. If you wish to sign, hit the link above for all the details.

We have introduced a couple of new mentors in recent months to give those signing up, a wider range of authors to choose from and increase likelihood of compatibility. All their profiles can be found on the website.
We welcome Melinda Salisbury, Yasmin Rahman, Alex Sheppard and Aisha Bushby.
All our mentors would be delighted to work with you!

Spark mentor Emma Read has offered to give ongoing free critiques to BAME writers - one free package per month of synopsis and 1st page.
Sign up here and she will work through the list, at a rate of 1 a month, so the quicker you sign up, the quicker you'll get some feedback.

Final word from the Jedi Master

Growth Mindset

Watch this video if you have a spare 10 minutes.

Writing a long game. It's about gradually improving over time. It's about trying to develop and get better every time we punch those keys. And it's about making sure that every story we write is better than the previous.

How do we do that?

We challenge ourselves, we make try new things that we find difficult, we (like our characters) must overcome the things that we call 'flaws', our areas where we are least strong. Our areas for development.

We also remember that not all career progressions are the same.

Some of us take several novels to grasp the basics (ME!) and others just seem to effortlessly be able to tell a whopping story. But that latter writer isn't better than you because of it - you can grow and grow and grow and become as good, if not better, than they are.

Comparisons are toxic to us as writers, and focussing purely upon our own growth, the things we can control, and our process to improve craft, are all that we can and should do.

So the next time you don't make a list, or get a rejection, or anything else…

Don't think you've failed…think 'Not yet!'

My time will come as long as I continue to develop, to learn and to grow.

Don't run from the rejection, instead process what has happened, take any feedback given, and think about how you can improve.

By doing so, you turn all the setbacks that we will definitely experience as writers, into opportunities to learn and grow and become better writers and people.

As a serial failed novelist, I can assure you that it's easy to feel like a failure, or no good at writing, or to want to give up. It happens to so many of us, so much of the time.

But I won't give up - I will continue to rise and to grow and become the writer I always hope to become - and then I'll still strive to grow further.

And so will you.

Writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.

May the Force be with you!



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Monday, 10 August 2020

Courses this week at Screenwriters University

With details of this weeks' courses: