When you first shyly, eyes firmly on your shoe laces, whisper that you fancy becoming a writer, one of the first bits of advice you get is to join a writing group. I didn’t take this advice straight away – surely they’d be full of – well – proper writers, and I didn’t know if my prize for a story I wrote for the Brownie magazine several decades previously would quite count. So I sat down and wrote a novel. I’ve never tried to get it published – it’s at the back of a cupboard somewhere, and I’m too embarrassed even to look at it again. But what I proved to myself by writing it was that I could start a piece of work and keep going to the end. That is to say, I could write! So I joined the local writers’ group nearly five years ago and still go regularly.
We’re a mixed bunch, age range 18 – 80 plus, 50:50 male:female, some well established writers and poets, some just starting to get published, some still looking for publishers or experimenting with self publishing, some only writing in response to exercises set at the meeting, some just coming to listen. Skills within the group, apart from writing, include proof reading and editing, printing and publishing, marketing and using social media. There are two essential ingredients to making the group work: a willingness to ask for (and accept) advice and criticism, and a willingness to share information if something has worked for you.
Those with experience are pleased to share their knowledge and experience with, for example, workshops on dialogue, or writing cover letters and synopses, among many others. Together we have produced, printed and marketed two anthologies: Coventry Tales and Coventry Tales 2.
Both available via my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO or
We have also taken part in the local literary festival for several years, which is a great way of finding out if your work sounds good to an audience. The group meets every month and I still pick up useful tips every time I go, which is why I keep going.
Sometimes it’s not so much what you know as who you know. At our last meeting, Ann Evans a much published children and romance novel author, and founder member of the group, brought her writing friend, Karen King. Karen also writes for children of all ages and romance novels for adults and, like me, has had a YA novel published by Solstice.
Apart from joining in the general discussion and offering constructive criticism to those of us reading out from our new works, both Ann and Karen have agreed to feature on my blog during April. So look out for them here over the next few weeks.