Friday, 24 December 2010


Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

The Committee and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Very Best Wishes for the New Year.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In The Bleak Mid-Winter

A little bit of weather inspired fun.

In the bleak mid winter
I thought I’d have a moan
For the roads stand hard as iron
And an ice rink we now own.
Snow has laid its blanket
The roads are far from safe
In the bleak mid winter
Kent’s only fit for skates.

Despite the council’s provision
Of grit to scatter about
The roads are all still lethal
And no one’s getting out.
If they had been wise men
A few ploughs they would own
And all us Kentish residents
Would have no need to moan.

So come on council members
While winters come to reign
Do your bit for safety
Until we’re blessed with rain.
In the bleak mid winter
Don’t leave us up the spout
Get your skates on pronto
Or we’ll need digging out.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


I decided it would be interesting to interview some of our members and publish it on our blog. What better time to interview the circle’s chairperson, Hilary Mackelden, when she is marooned in her home due to the snow. But she’s not complaining. Having been rescued by some kind hearted souls when she got stuck out in the wild Sussex countryside, home is now a very good place to be.

Hilary, when did you start writing?

I actually started writing when I was 8 years old. School reports make mention of my short stories and original poetry. But I didn't try script writing until August 2001, when the lady who ran the drama group at Church had a yen to put on a community version of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Since she knew I wrote for the church magazine, she thought I could write the play, because, after all, writing is writing is writing. Right? Right! I rose to the challenge, wrote the script, found I liked doing it and went from there. I've now completed 27 stage plays (some better than others, lol) about 100 short sketches, and 5 full length screenplays.

What inspired you?

My father. He taught me to read aged 3, and he taught me a love of books, films, plays etc. When I discovered my love for writing, I wanted to be a credit to him, which inspired me to study, do my apprenticeship, work harder and reach my fullest potential. Alas he died in 1990, so never saw my successes. I dedicated my first published play to him, and even today, I find myself thinking, "Would Dad think this was any good?"

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Is it all right to have two?

1. Never give up. Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill said that, and he was right.

and 2, which comes from 1 really. Always have another project you're working on. While the first piece is out with agents and publishers, always be writing the next. That way, when they say, "Don't like this piece but like your writing, have you got anything else?" you'll be able to say yes. Which was how I got my first sale.

Do you have a writing routine or do you only write when the creative juices flow?

I try to have a routine, though it's more of a guideline really. I try to be at my writing desk by 10am (after I've checked emails etc) and write through till 1pm. I break for lunch, walk the dog, which is usually a great chance to mull ideas over and sort them out in my head, before coming back and doing more writing in the late afternoon. If I'm not too tired, I'll carry on into the evening, especially if I have a deadline. I do this, appointments and family willing, six days a week.

However, if the muse is nagging, I will sit up and write all night.

Who are your writing heroes/heroines and why?

Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller. Both had an absolute mastery of the English language, and knew how to use the simplest words, and even pauses, to devastating effect. Plus, both had the courage of their convictions and were willing to stand up for what they believed was right.

I also like Alan Bennett, who can turn the mundane into gold, and Willy Russell, who is a very generous man. He taught me, and he was caring, willing to give his time and attention, constructive in his criticism and had a knack of putting right your flaws in such a way he made you believe the suggestions came from you. And such boundless energy!

I'm also in awe of my friend, Rebecca Lenkiewics. She knows what she wants and she goes after it, and yet she's nice and not in the least ruthless. Two years ago, she became the first living woman playwright to have a work performed at the Olivier Theatre, with the play "Her Naked Skin".

If you were to meet one of your characters, who would you like it to be and why?

This answer really changes from work to work, I suppose, since I would always love to meet the main characters of whatever I am working on. But if I had to choose just one, I'd go for Charles Wesley. A few years ago, I wrote a screenplay about John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace, and Charles Wesley came into the story. As I researched, and then wrote him, I really liked the man. He seemed to be like a favourite uncle, the type you'd gravitate towards. His brother John struck me as cold and rigid, Newton himself could be confrontational, George Whitefield seemed a prig, but Charles Wesley was lovely.

What are your goals?

To sell a screenplay in the next twelve months, and to make my entire living from my writing.

In what ways do you benefit from being part of the writers' circle?

The main benefits, from my point of view, are the feedback and constructive criticism I get at the workshops, and the friendship, almost fellowship, with like minded people. The feedback is highly valued by me, and often makes my work immeasurably better. For example, in December's script group, I received some advice on the way my screenplay was structured. I've followed that advice and the script has improved dramatically. In a novel workshop once, someone said one of my male characters sounded like a woman. I mulled that over and within 24 hours I had changed the character into a woman, which created a whole new sub plot and deepened the story.

The friends I've made at the circle are people whose opinions I respect, and with whom I can be myself. They understand the obsession with writing, the dream of making it my job.

Other benefits I've received include the chance to meet many interesting and admirable people, both members and guest speakers. I've met and gleaned valuable tips from Mills and Boon writers, agents, playwrights, novelists such as Jonathan Gash (author of Lovejoy), to mention just a few. And I've had the chance to learn from members such as Rhona Martin and the late Anne Worboys. You can't buy that kind of opportunity.

What is on your Santa wish list?

Health and happiness for my family and friends, and the ability to get my son Steve home before the big day. It would be nice if ALL children could have a wonderful and happy Christmas, no matter who or where they are. I'd also like to see our website up and running very shortly, and an increased membership for the circle over the next few months. And, of course, if he could gift wrap a contract for one of my screenplays, I'd be over the moon.

If the Christmas Fairy waved her magic wand what would you wish for?

It would have to be that a Hollywood headline actor read and liked my script and wanted to be in it. The ultimate compliment for a writer is that an actor wants to do their script, rather than they just want a part in any movie and this will do, and having a name attached obviously increases a script's chances of getting made.

You are marooned in the snow on a top of a mountain - what five things would you take with you?

Thermally insulated tent with all the equipment.
Ice resistant pens and paper, enough to last till I was rescued.
My Bible and Bible reading notes.
Food and drink.
Am I allowed George Clooney?

Finish the following ---- Martha made her way to the bottom of the garden. Pushing through the bushes she came into a clearing. She bent down and began to dig .............

with her bare hands at the disturbed earth in the centre. Beads of soil flew past her, rattling as they landed on the hard ground behind her. At first, she made little progress; each time she scooped soil from the ground, more would trickle from the sides of the hole to fill the gap, but after several minutes of frantic clawing, the ground in front of her began to open up until she hit the damp soil underneath. The earthy smell filled her nostrils and clogged her throat, making breathing difficult, and her fingers stiffened in mud gloves but still she burrowed. Her knees stung and her back ached and her eyes smarted and still she dug down, down, down, until she had to lean into the hole to reach the bottom.

She stopped and straightened and fought the urge to cry. "It has to be here," she whispered.



Eldridge Publishing (America)
If We Had Only Known (Adult Christmas Play)
Ashdown Lee (community drama)
Beyond Redemption (Adult Easter Play)
Life Support (Adult Christmas Play)

Lazy Bee Publishing (UK)
Sammy (Small cast Drama)
Price of Firewood (Small cast Drama)
Devil in the Detail (small cast comedy/drama)
The Pied Piper (Panto)
The Three Musketeers (Panto)
Rumpelstiltskin (Panto)
Ahmed and the Mummy (Panto)
Pilgrim's Progress (Community Drama)
Some sketches for Church services.

You can actually see a list of all Hilary's stage plays at

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


On Wednesday 8th of December, members of the Tunbridge Wells and District Writers' Circle braved the elements to attend the circle's Christmas party. Held at the Spread Eagle in Hawkenbury, we partook of drinks and buffet.

It was a good evening. It was good to meet friends old and new and share in the spirit of the season.

Hilary and Karen both performed plays that they had written.

Hilary’s enthusiastic traffic warden thought it fit to clamp Santa’s sleigh on his busiest night of the year. However he was very lucky he didn’t get charged for drink driving.

Karen’s snowman was rather high maintenance for a garden ornament, demanding a contract, personal insurance, public liability insurance and a snow queen companion.

I would like to thank all those who attended and for those who encouraged friends and visitors to come along - a big thank you to you also.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Thank you to David, (writers' circle member) for his contribution to the blog. Here are some of his Haiku inspired by the month of December.

December Haiku

Crisp snow underfoot
Crunching like wrapping paper
My White Christmas gift.

A bright star shining
Children's heads draped with tea-towels
Mothers' hearts aching.

An ocean of smiles
Chorus of children’s voices
‘Oh no it isn’t’

The cocky robin
Puffed red chest now deflated
Don't argue with cats

Skaters on the ice
Swimmers circling below
Two worlds colliding

Breath made visible
Swirls through scarves over noses
from lips flushed crimson

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


December is here and with it the snow. I hope you are all staying warm and safe.

December is such a special month. I always think it inspires so much creativity. Card and decoration making, baking, pantomimes and nativity plays are just some examples of how the creative juices flow during the build up to Christmas.

I wonder what inspires you to put your pen to paper - finger to keyboard? It might be a song, a picture or a conversation that you have over heard. Not that I'm encouraging you all to eavesdrop, I must add, but these little snippets we catch on the train or sitting in a cafe provide us with a window into another life. A life that can be creatively developed into a character or plot line for your writing.

Today we only need put our nose out of the door to be inspired. You might feel you want to write a poem to capture the snow in all its pure beauty. Or perhaps a short story highlighting the problems it can cause - like commuters stuck on a train for the night in Orpington. The possibilities are endless.

So in between stocking your cupboards ready for the celebrations, hanging decorations and getting paper cuts from all the present wrapping, I encourage you to write in your journals. Jot down all the images and ideas that pop into your head. These are so useful for providing you with fodder for your writing at a later date.

Why not write a flash fiction piece using December (and all that it entails) as your prompt. Send them to me at and I will post them on the blog.

Below is a story I wrote last December, inspired by all the snowfall.

A White Christmas Love Story

Blizzard’s time on this planet was short - he knew this. From his birth to his final farewell – those precious moments, where he could look out from his beady eyes and down his long carrot nose, and wonder at the brilliance of life, were to be savoured.

All about him the earth stood hard as iron, buried under a brilliant dazzling blanket of snow. And there was a peace – a pure quiet – that was perfect to his ears. He stood, like a winter monument, observing this place and its inhabitants as the soft flakes of snow floated to the earth like sieved icing sugar. The air was clean and cold, as all around him, froze in the quiet anticipation of the season.

But Blizzard was not cold, for his heart was burning with love, for the Christmas Snow Queen, that stood beside him, in quiet companionship. And how could he not love her, and stand in awe of her perfect beauty. With relief, he noticed she watched him, with eyes as deep as the driven snow and as translucent as glass, and the story they told, comforted him, in the knowledge that she too mirrored his feelings. He prayed that their romance would last, that it could withstand the elements. He sent his arrow prayer to the snow clouds, beseeching them to remain above them and sprinkle their love with white diamonds – the fuel they needed to survive.

And there they stood, watching their children - their creators - playing. Amidst the screams and squeals of laughter, as both parent and child, they observed the children’s glee, as they kicked up the snow in wondrous joy. Their parcels and presents forgotten in this Christmas dream come true.

As Blizzard’s heart burned with happiness, the first dreaded rays of sunshine broke through the snow clouds. He felt the first snowdrop fall and run down his long nose, to catch in the warmth of his woollen scarf. He looked at the snow queen he had come to love, and she returned his gaze, not daring to take their eyes from each other – time they knew was precious. He watched and felt their life force slowly trickling away, and in recognition of their feelings, they let their droplets unite and mingle into a pool of pure love. Better to have loved –Blizzard thought, as their final droplets seeped into the cold earth.

The White Christmas was over.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Brit Writers' Awards.

Thought I would share this link with you for the Brit Writers' Awards. This competition looks exciting and there is something for everyone, including songwriters'.

Awards categories

Submit your story, poem or song to the Brit Writers' Awards and be in with a chance of winning £10,000! Please read below details about the writing categories you can enter your work within:

These awards are open to all unpublished and self-published writers from the UK and across the world.A UK and International winner will be selected for each category (i.e. 2 awards winners per category)

1. Poetry (collection of five entries)
2. Short stories (minimum 1,000 and maximum 5,000 words)
3 Novels
4. Non-fiction
5. Stories for children
6. Songwriting
7. Stage and screen plays (new for 2011!)
8. Published Writer of the Year (the only category for published writers)

Young people (aged 16 and under):

1. Poetry (collection of three entries)
2. Short stories (maximum 3,000 words)
3. Songwriting

These categories are open to Key Stage 1 (5-7 years), Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) and Key Stages 3 and 4 (11-16 years) age groups.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Script Writing

For a writer the internet is such a powerful tool. It can be used to inform our writing. A writer may never need to leave their desk in order to research their novel. Having written it, they are then able to market it with the use of blogs and websites. The writer is also able to keep an eye on emerging markets, works by other authors - connect with other writers.

For script writers there is a plethora of websites where you are able to read scripts, from play, film and radio. You are also able to watch short screen plays (known as shorts), listen to radio plays on BBC Radio four or find out where the best place is to send your script.

Below are some links that you may find useful. Some of you may already be familiar with them, for those who are not; I hope you find them helpful.

Website of Steve Walker who has written 42 radio plays for BBC Radio 4. He has won many awards including two Giles Cooper Awards for Best Radio Plays. Some of his scripts can be read at the following address.

The Generic Radio Workshop – Vintage Radio Script Library.

BBC Radio Four Afternoon plays.

Film Script Writing

Scripts from well known films such as ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’, ‘Alien’ and ‘Braveheart’.

Film Network Showcasing new British Film Making.
Some great ‘shorts’ on this website.

BBC writersroom is always on the lookout for fresh, new, talented writers for a changing Britain.
If you have talent, an original voice, and stories to tell, then BBC writersroom wants to know about you

Sunday, 14 November 2010

'Inviting You To Write' Night

Last Wednesday the writers' circle came together for their monthly meeting. This month we held a "Inviting you to Write" evening. I am glad to report that it was a great success and everyone had a very enjoyable evening.

It is always good to hear stories written from the same prompts but with individual interpretations. There was a high standard of writing and a good variety of stories.
Our new member Gerry, wrote a story 'A FEEBLE CASE OF NON-CONFORMITY'. We were pleased to see 94 year old Maxine, an x member of the circle. She wrote an interesting piece entitled REBELLION, about the suffragette movement.

Our winner of the evening was Sheila Alcock with her story "MAN'S WORK".
Runners up were Phillip Arrand with "REELECTIONS ON THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JONATHON HALL" and Caroline Mazzey with "FINAL SCORE".

Monday, 8 November 2010



It will be held on Wednesday 10 November at 7.45pm - 8.00pm.

Write 250 words on ONE of the following topics:REMEMBRANCE or REBELLION or REFLECTIONS

Bring your piece along prepared to read or have it read aloud. The author of the story anonymously voted to be the best by the other participants will receive a prize. To enable everyone’s stories to be read on the night, there is a limit on numbers for this event. Please LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME ALONG. If you are not sure until the night then you will still be very welcome but those who have notified me of their interest will have priority should there be too many entries.

Many people have now expressed an interest in joining us so it should be a fun evening.

The venue is St John’s Church Centre, Amherst Road, Tunbridge Wells TN4 9LG. St John’s is the large Victorian church on St John’s Road – the main road through the centre of Tunbridge Wells - almost opposite the Shell and BP garages. It has its own car park which can be accessed via Amherst Road at the rear of the church.Directions from Tunbridge Wells Town Centre: from St John’s Road turn right into Woodbury Park Road (next to the bus depot) and Amherst Road is the first left. The car park is on your left at the other end of the road immediately before the church. Directions from Tonbridge: from St John’s Road turn left into Queens Road (beside the church green) and Amherst Road is the first right. The car park is on your right immediately after the church.We are meeting in the Church Centre which is the new building alongside the church. We will have access to tea and coffee making facilities but if members fancy something stronger before or after the meeting, the highly thought of Saint John’s Yard pub is just around the corner.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


This morning our chair Hilary Mackleden was interviewed on BBC Radio Sussex by Gavin Ashenden. Hilary spoke about the inspiration for her highly successful play Beyond Redemption and how it can speak to us today, in the 21st Century.

Her interview can be heard at the following link.

You will find Hilary's interview at 1hr 38 mins and 24 seconds - 1hr 41 mins and 40 seconds.

By popular demand the play will be performed again on Saturday 13th November at All Saints Church Crowborough. There is a matinee at 2.30pm and an evening performance at 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked on 01892 652081.

Beyond Redemption is being performed as part of the Festival of Faith Celebrations at All Saints Church.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Catriona's Graduation

Good News.

On Wednesday 20th October, our secretary Catriona Robb, officially became an
MA (with Merit), in Creative Writing from the Anglia Ruskin University (originally a College of Arts founded by John Ruskin in 1858).

In order to attain this, Catriona had to complete four modules: one called Patterns of Story - essentially the history and development of the novel; a novel workshop, a crime and mystery genre writing workshop and an independent learning project during which she worked on an historical novel.

Catriona’s dissertation was the opening of a screenplay which some of our script writers may be familiar with, from her readings at the scriptwriting workshop.

In order to complete her course Catriona commuted between Tunbridge Wells and Cambridge for weekly seminars for the best part of two years.

The graduation took place on Wednesday 20th October in the Cambridge Corn Exchange (now a theatre) immediately behind the historic Guild Hall where the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences held a reception afterwards. She joined fellow graduates from her course and their families for lunch at the famous Brown's Restaurant, opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum.

On behalf of the writers’ circle in I would like to congratulate Catriona on her achievement.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


I am pleased to announce the 2010 winners of both the Brian Darby (Victorian Vase) and Anne Worboys Prize.

The winner of the Brian Darby prize is awarded to the person, whom the circle members believe, has contributed most to the running of the Tunbridge Wells & District Writers' Circle.

It is of no surprise that Catriona Robb, our current Secretary, was voted to be the recipient of this prize. Catriona works tirelessly to make sure the Circle runs both efficiently and successfully. I am sure I speak on behalf of everybody in thanking her for the work that she does for our benefit.

Catriona, and in fact, the whole committee put many hours of voluntary work into the circle. It would be lovely if we could all support them by attending the activities they organise.

Below is the picture of Catriona with the Victorian Vase presented to her at the Literary Quiz.

The winner of the Anne Warboys Prize is awarded for writing endeavour.
This year we have a very worthy winner in Linda Smith. Linda is a member of both the script writing group and the chic lit group. Throughout the year she has been writing prolifically and has sent off her work to over 37 different publishers, the BBC Writing room being one of those. She is still waiting to hear about the success of many pieces of her work so we wish her every success with those.
If Linda can teach us anything it is to get our work out there. We will never be successful if we don’t at least try.
Linda can be seen in the picture below receiving her prize.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Don't Forget

Don't forget to come back to see the winners of the Bryan Darby Prize and the Ann Worboys Prize.


On Wednesday 13th October the Tunbridge Wells & District Writing Circle held their first meeting of the season with a literary quiz. I am pleased to report that the quiz was very well attended by both members and visitors and the happy smiles around the room bore witness to the good time had by all.

Our new venue at the St John’s Church rooms Tunbridge Wells was also a hit with attendees. It was reported that people found the room more comfortable and the building, in general, had a good atmosphere about it.

The Quiz.

Whose recent autobiography is entitled “Through My Eyes?” I asked the teams of two.

David Blunkett was the wrong answer but it did bring a laugh to the proceedings.

Sitting at the front, firing questions to tax the old grey matter, I was sure I could hear the sound of cogs turning in a wheel and the odd looks of frustration, when the answers were teetering on the tips of tongues, made me wonder if I had made the quiz too difficult?

Well not for Katrina and Maurie, who won with a whopping 20 points. Both contestants were pleased to win a book voucher for their efforts.

Their photo can be seen above, posing with the winning answer paper.

There was time afterwards to chat amongst ourselves and I feel we all gained something from the evening.

So if you would like to come along to our next meeting it will be held on the 10th November at the same venue. Remember to prepare your 250 word piece of fiction on one of the following topics.

Rebellion – Reflections – Remembrance.

If you would like to take part and have the chance of winning a prize, with your piece of writing, then e-mail me with your intention of participating and/ or coming along. You will be very welcome. (Places for participating are limited)


Friday, 8 October 2010


Our first meeting of the 2010/2011 Season will be a LITERARY QUIZ on Wednesday 13 October 2010 at 8pm. Bring a friend along or team up with a fellow Circle member on the night. The winning pair will receive a prize. Please RSVP to Karen Rollason on asap. If however you do not want to commit until the day you will still be very welcome to come along.

The meeting will start with the presentation of the Anne Worboys Prize for Writing Endeavour and the Bryan Darby Award (Victoria Vase) for services to the Circle. Please let the committee have your nominations for the recipient of the Bryan Darby Award. A vote for the member judged to have done most for the Circle in the past year will be held on the night.

A reminder too of our evening INVITING YOU TO WRITE
event on Wednesday 10 November at 8pm. Write 250 words on ONE of the following topics:


Bring your piece along on 10 November prepared to read or have it read aloud. The author of the story anonymously voted to be the best by the other participants will receive a prize. To enable everyone’s stories to be read on the night, there is a limit on numbers for this event. Please LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME ALONG. If you are not sure until the night then you will still be very welcome but those who have notified me of their interest will have priority should there be too many entries.

The venue for both events is St John’s Church Centre, Amherst Road, Tunbridge Wells TN4 9LG. It is hoped the new venue will provide a more welcoming ambience and encourage more of you to come along. St John’s is the large Victorian church on St John’s Road – the main road through the centre of Tunbridge Wells - almost opposite the Shell and BP garages. It has its own car park which can be accessed via Amherst Road at the rear of the church.

Directions from Tunbridge Wells Town Centre: from St John’s Road turn right into Woodbury Park Road (next to the bus depot) and Amherst Road is the first left. The car park is on your left at the other end of the road immediately before the church. Directions from Tonbridge: from St John’s Road turn left into Queens Road (beside the church green) and Amherst Road is the first right. The car park is on your right immediately after the church.

We are meeting in the Church Centre which is the new building alongside the church. We will have access to tea and coffee making facilities but if members fancy something stronger before or after the meeting, the highly thought of Saint John’s Yard pub is just around the corner.

Circalit and The Literary Consultancy Launch Free Competition for Writers


Circalit and The Literary Consultancy Launch Free Competition for Writers

Today Circalit launched a free competition in partnership with The Literary Consultancy aimed at aspiring novelists who are looking for the opportunity to get a book deal. The Literacy Consultancy will assess the winning scripts' suitability for publication and fast-track work it deems marketable on to agents and publishers. The winning writers will also receive an in depth editorial report from The Literary Consultancy as well as an invitation to a publishing industry event at the Free Word Centre.

Recommended by The Arts Council England and all major publishing houses, The Literary Consultancy was started 14 years ago by Rebecca Swift and Hannah Griffiths, who is now an editor at Faber & Faber. The company has since made its name as the UK’s leading manuscript assessment service, providing expert, market-aware editorial advice to writers of all kinds. The company holds a strong track record of helping writers get into print, and has helped writers secure book deals with top publishers including Penguin, Orion, Macmillan, Random House and Bloomsbury.

Rebecca Swift, Director of TLC said, “We’re pleased to be launching a competition with Circalit which is encouraging a vibrant online community. Their competitions get participants involved as they review each other's work, and vote for their favourites. We hope that this competition will uncover talented new writers.

'Circalit, which started life as a site where screenwriters could showcase their work to film studios, has already hosted free competitions with companies such as the BBC and Hollywood producer, Julie Richardson. It’s social networking features make it an invaluable resource for writers looking to make industry contacts and it is integrated with Facebook, giving talented writers the means to spread their wings and go viral across the internet.

“The idea behind this competition is to help those up and coming writers who’ve yet to make their mark in the industry or who are unsure where to take their work and need some impartial advice,” adds Raoul Tawadey, CEO and Founder of Circalit,

“That’s why we’re incredibly pleased to be doing this competition with The Literary Consultancy, who share the same ethos of helping writers through objective, independent critique. '

The competition will open on the 1st October and will take place quarterly over the next year.

The first winner will be announced on 31st December 2010. For more information or to enter your work, please visit Robert TuckerDirector of (0)7790 054 721

Sunday, 3 October 2010


You have written your short story, novel or script and it is time to send it out there. But are you ready for the resulting opinion. Whether it is just within your writing circle or critique partner or perhaps with a professional critiquing service, agent or editor, as writers we need to prepare ourselves for the criticism.

That’s not easy. Often we have worked hard, agonizing over our “babies”, trying to write something that is going to attract a publisher. For writers it feels like we are walking naked down the high street when we let others read our work. It is like bearing our soul - offering it up like a sacrifice, in order to gauge opinion.

We can be sensitive and protective of our work, so criticism can be hard to stomach. It can be painful, like grating your heart down a cheese grater, or walking over the pebbles on the beach. Ouch....
But it is a necessary evil if we are to be successful.

So what do we want from our writing circle or critique partner, when we finally pluck up courage to let them read or hear our work.

We want them to tell us they love it, of course. That they are in awe of our talent, plot, characters etc.....Of course we do.
But is that going to help us? Well it might boost our ego but get us closer to publication, it will not.

What we really need is comments on our plot etc. Is it well realized, believable? Are our characters well drawn, is our dialogue natural and clear? Receiving comments like these will help you to see its strengths and flaws.

So what can we do to prepare ourselves for the critique?

Below are some pointers that Hilary Johnson gave at the London and Southeast Chapter of the Romantic Novelist’s Association meeting in September. Hilary is known for her straight talking critical appraisals and her web site can be found here.

Hilary's key points are

1. Remember that your initial reactions aren't to be trusted! So manage your emotions, or let off steam in private.

2. Take the time to absorb the feedback - read it carefully several times, at intervals.

3. Consider the comments in a detached way, noting the good as well as the bad.4. Focus on particularly irksome parts of the feedback, in order to understand them more fully - the reader will normally back up their comments with evidence from your work.

5. Most importantly, to become a successful writer you have to turn criticism to good account - be 'your own editor' and consider incorporating at least some of the reader's advice.
* * *

Of course, it helps if our critique partner or writing circle are sensitive, yet honest, when giving their critique. Check back into the blog for an article on how best to critique the work of others.

Thursday, 30 September 2010


Creative Writing Workshops

In association with Wasafiri and The Open University, these workshops offer the chance to be tutored by two bestselling writers and be inspired by the South Asian objects forming part of the British Museum / BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the Worlds in 100 Objects.

FICTION WRITING: Romesh Gunesekera
This tutored workshop with prize-winning Sri Lankan-born writer Romesh Gunesekera offers a great chance for new writers to learn how to write and become equipped with the tools needed to develop further.
Session time: 10.30am-1.30pm £20 (limited places)

In this tutored poetry workshop with celebrated Pakistan-born poet Moniza Alvi, develop your technique and confidence in the fundamentals of form and imagery.
Session time: 2pm-5pm £20 (limited places)

To book places, please phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or visit the Ticket Desk in the Great Court at the British Museum

Wednesday, 29 September 2010



To be held at the St John's Church Centre. Amherst Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9LG.

On Wednesday 13 October at 8pm.

Bring your friends along. Teams of two. Open to members and non members.

Prize for the winning team.


To be held at the St John's Church Centre, Amherst Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9LG

On Wednesday 10 November at 8pm.

Bring along your fiction piece using one of the following prompts.


On the night stories will be read out by either yourself or someone else. There will be an anonymous vote. The piece with the most votes wins prize.

Open to members and non members. Bring along your friends.
For more details or book a place Call Karen 07976112438


Don't know where to sub your manuscript and synopsis - why not consider Penguin. They are accepting unsolicted manuscripts until the end of October.

For more information follow the link.

What are you waiting for?

Monday, 27 September 2010


When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen. But if you have not a pen, I suppose you must scratch any way you can. ~Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842

So often, as writers, we can be heard to bemoan the agonies of writing. The blank page, writer’s block, and procrastination, to name but a few. The non writer must be rather baffled as to why we do it. We are compelled to write but often it is the last thing we get around to doing. Our frustrations can be noisy, our blood and sweat, real. So we can hardly blame those, that aren’t driven to write, for wondering what it’s all about.

For me it is the thrill of creating. Of bringing into existence, characters, places and plots. I enjoy getting lost in another world, entirely of my own making. Worlds far removed from my own. I love getting to know my characters, to imagine what they would feel, what they would do, or how they would react in certain situations. I like to immerse myself in their internal battles, their external struggles and follow the path they weave to a satisfying resolution.

With each carefully selected word, each perfectly structured sentence and each paragraph loaded with conflict/ emotion/ description – we create and we breathe life into our ideas.

So what is it that makes you want to write? What inspires you? Are you a reluctant writer or a passionate one? Feel free to leave your comments.

I would like to set you a challenge. Above is a photo. Write a, 75 word, story or monologue and post it in the comments. It will be interesting to see what you all come up with.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

New Year Resolutions

The children are back in school, the holiday season is over and the nights are drawing in. The leaves are beginning to turn and Autumn in just around the corner but that doesn't mean that we should let our aspirations, in terms of our writing, wither and die.

It is like the new year, a time to re group, take stock of where we are and what we hope to achieve over the long winter months. After the winter of 2009, it is a great temptation to hibernate, to don our fluffy slippers, turn the heating up and buy in copious jars of hot chocolate. But STOP - don't curl up on the sofa and lose yourself in the TV. For the long dark nights are an ideal time to put pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard and lose yourself in your writing.

Imagine the new year having achieved your goals, having work ready to submit to that publisher or even better, that publishing deal. What a positive way to start 2011. There is no one going to make it happen but YOU.

What a crime it would be to let all that creativity, all that talent, dry up like the crisp autumn leaves.

So make those resolutions early and invest the time. It is often said that as writers we are compelled to write and yet often it is the last thing on our rotas. My advice is to look at your diary, set out your writing time and let the rest of your life work around it. Even if it means getting up with the dawn chorus.

Quote of the Week

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis

Don't be discouraged, don't be distracted, stay focused and WRITE.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Just a few notices that might interest you.

Christchurch Writers competition October 2010.

Article 800 words maximum
Poetry 40 lines maximum
Short Story 2,500 words maximum
One Act Radio Play 20 minutes duration
The Quill Poem 20 Lines Maximum.

£3.50 per item.

Closing date 8th October 2010.

All entries should be typewritten. No Name or identification marks must be put on the entries but a entry form must be completed. Queries to Competition Secretary 01425 274804


Legend Writing Awards 2010.

Open theme short stories
2000 words max
!st prize £500. 2nd £250 3rd £100 and 2x £50.

Young Writing Awards for 15 - 17 yrs olds.
£50, £30, £20

Entry £7.00 first, £5 subsequent. £3 under 18s

Falsh fiction 100 words exactly (excluding title)
!st £50 2nd £30 3rd £20 3 x £10.

Entry £3.

Anthology of last year's winning entries £4.25.

Closing date 31st August 2010

Rules and Entry form essential

or SAE to LWA, 39 Emmanuel Rd, Hastings, TN34 3LB

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Words don’t come easy, or so the song goes. And for writers that can often be the case. We are all familiar with the fear, that blank page can present us, or the panic when our muse has gone into hiding. It can frustrate and annoy us and often, at times like these, we can lose our impetus and inspiration for writing completely.
So what can we do when this malady strikes?

Well first it’s a good idea not to panic. It happens to all the best writers and a dose of wordlessness doesn’t mean it’s going to be fatal.

Sometimes it can be helpful to take a break, go for a walk or make a cup of coffee. Giving yourself space can help you come back to your writing refreshed and with new eyes.

Many writers have more than one work in progress, so that if they are having problems with one piece, they can move onto something completely different but still feel they are achieving something.

Before I write, I like to limber up. No I don’t mean pumping iron or going for a jog. When I am ready to write, I like to do some mental gymnastics. I write lots of prompts on a page. These can be words from a dictionary, off the top of my head or I ask someone to suggest some random words. I try then to come up with quick plots for each word. These are just one liners but it gets my brain into the writing gear. I find this useful to do before I enter the “Live Writing” competitions in which I have 30 minutes to write a story, from prompts that are given by the competition hosts.

Morning pages are very useful. The idea is to get up half an hour earlier than you would normally. Before you eat breakfast, walk the dog, shower, put on the radio - sit down and write. It is believed that writing at this time of day is useful because we are still in touch with our dreams and unconscious minds and can write with more freedom. The idea is not to be concerned with what you produce - just enjoy the experience of freewriting. It‘s surprising how your much your writing will improve once you get into the habit. Often, something written with abandon can inspire you to follow the idea up with more focus.

Virginia Wolfe used her diary to reflect her writing process. She saw entries in to her diary, as not proper writing and was able to write in a “rapid, haphazard gallop” (1953, p.7). She thought that this type of writing often produced happy accident s and valuable inspiration.

20th January, 1919

Still if it were not written rather faster than the fastest type-writing, if I stopped and took thought, it would never be written at all; and the advantage of the method is that it sweeps up accidently several stray matters which I should exclude if I hesitated, but which are the diamonds of the dustheap. (Woolf, 1953,p.7)

These are just some ideas to get the ink flowing. I invite you to please comment and let our readers know how you cope with that blank page.

Woolf, Virginia (1953) A Writers Diary, London: Harcourt.

Monday, 14 June 2010

AGM and The Benefits of Being a Member of a Writing Circle.

On Wednesday 9th May the circle held its 2010 AGM at the Camden Centre.
Thank you to all those members who attended and all contributors. Being new to the circle it was nice to put names to faces and catch up with writing pals. Whilst the wine flowed we were soon discussing the business of the circle.

New officers were elected for the role of Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and thanks were given, for the hard work and commitment, of those who have recently stood down.

One of the topics brought up was the possibility of us having our own web page to help attract fresh blood to the circle. This would be a real bonus for the circle. After all, if we need information these days,it is to the internet, most of us turn. A quick prompt to Google and we soon have our answer. As a new member, I had great difficulty in finding a writing circle in Tunbridge Wells. A chance encounter led me in the direction of TW&DWC. An encounter I am very grateful for.

And why am I grateful? Well I am sure I am not the only one who finds writing a lonely occupation - hour upon hour, fingers at the keyboard, tapping away at our work in progress, barely pausing long enough to eat, look out of the window or feed the cat. That is our lot as writers.

Some of us may be lucky to have family or friends who will listen to us rattling on about our characters, plots or dialogue, but most of us don’t. I certainly don’t. In fact my requests are met by a unanimous groan from my two grown up sons.

There is nothing better than being able to sit down and discuss your story, play or novel with like minded folk. People who are going to take your writing seriously and not begrudge the time you time spend writing, when you could be doing something much more constructive, like washing the car or making the dinner.

A writing circle is a great place to share your writing concerns, brainstorm ideas, and get constructive criticism from people who know what they are talking about. The advice I have been given has proved invaluable. Often, it just takes a fresh pair of eyes or ears to transform your writing. That word that has remained frustratingly on the end of your tongue is plucked from nowhere by a writing pal and you may wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before.

As writers we all have different strengths. Some of us are good at dialogue. Others, the nitpickers, can spot those tiny mistakes that would have gone unnoticed, whilst some are great at seeing the bigger picture and can advise on structure or plot. In a good and functioning writing circle it is like having a bag of tools at your disposal – a mixed bag of support, encouragement and advice.

I am sure as writers you have had times when you lacked the motivation to write. When the page remains frustratingly blank and your muse has packed its case and gone off on holiday. Being a member of a writing circle can help in these times too. It helps to keep you focussed; other members can encourage and inspire you. It can be somewhere to vent your frustrations, cry and wail if you must. Often there is goal setting to help you keep on track and not lose sight of your goals.

With so many advantages why wouldn’t you want to be a member – or attend if you are?
So, if you’ve lost contact with your writing group, I urge you to reconnect and if you are an active member – Spread the word.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Script Writing group coming on apace

Last night was the monthly meeting of the script writing workshop and as usual we met, socialised, read each other's work and gave constructive criticism.

Four members shared with us last night, although one shared news and a synopsis rather than a piece of an actual script. This is perfectly acceptable - if you want to get the synopsis right, your fellow writers can help. This member has been asked to write a script for a short film, to be made by a film maker and entered into a competition. We wish them good luck. It isn't the first collaboration between them, nor is it this film maker's first entry into the world of film competitions. We wait eagerly for news.

Another member is writing a "Movie of the Week" a very popular type of film that American TV companies favour. It isn't an easy thing to do, since they are rigidly set out and the story has to be real and believable, gripping and yet fit into very tight guidelines on timing and sequence. I am full of awe that the writer in question seems to be accomplishing this balancng act.

A third member is writing a four part TV serial, a historical story set in Italy. We've not read much of the script so far, but we're all hooked and desperate to know what happens next.

The last piece was the first scene of a stage play, which I am writing. I received a great deal of good quality feedback, good ideas for how to tweak it and make it better, things that will make it flow more smoothly. As usual, I came away fired up and wanting to write the next piece.

If you think you'd like to join us for the workshop, we meet once a month, typically on the first Wednesday. We bring a short piece of work and we ask other members of the group to read/act the character parts so the writer gets a chance to hear the dialogue in a mouth other than their own. We then criticise the piece, making suggestions and observations. We look at all scripts - sketches and longer pieces, radio, stage, TV and film. We share news of festivals, competitions and courses, and information and how-to advice with each other.

New members are always welcome to bring work, or maybe just sit in and see if they like us.

If you'd like to know more about the workshop, contact the Circle chairman at

Saturday, 1 May 2010

What's in a name?

Ordinarily, I would defer to anything Shakespeare said. After all, he is the bard of Avon and, compared to him, I am just an also-ran. But in this instance, I think he was wrong.

While it is true that a rose would smell just as sweet even if you called it a dandelion, and garlic would still be pungent if you renamed it lavender, the same just isn't true of people.

A person's name is very, very important. It can colour their character, and our perception of them. It gives away age, social status, ethnic origin; it can even display their interests and let us know which football team their parents supported.

This was ably demonstrated in the film, "Shakespeare in Love" when Tom Stoppard had the playwright penning a tragedy about Romeo and Ethel. Would Romeo's love really have stood the test of time for Ethel as it did for Juliet?

For a moment, enter the realm of imagination and try to picture the following people:

Tristan Ponsonby-Smythe
Beckham Smith

Chances are, they don't look alike. They're different ages, their ancestors come from different parts of the globe, their religious beliefs, upbringing, schooling, career choices, even what you picture them wearing, is different in each case. I'll be very surprised if Ethel is under sixty or Tristan Ponsonby-Smythe wears a hoodie and has a walk that's somewhere between a seaman's roll and an arrogant swagger.

And as with real life, so with characters in fiction. As authors, we have to help our readers identify and know our characters in the shortest time and space possible. Giving them a suitable name can cut thousands of words from your explanation and description, and can, in some instances, be the difference between your story being accepted and rejected.

There's a reason why so many fictional bad boys are called "Johnny". Patrik Swayze's character in "Dirty Dancing", Marlon Brando in"The Wild One", virtually every cowboy film villain, half the characters played by Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, were called Johnny. The name is shorthand for bad-boy-but-redeemable-and-irresistible-to-film-going-women.

Likewise, heroes tend to have short one or two syllable names. Jack Bauer, Jack Reacher, Sam Spade, Rick Blaine. No nonsense, timeless, ageless, tough. There are exceptions, but on the whole, they're short and snappy, like the stories, the sentences employed in the telling of them, and the dialogue used.

Some names suit a genre better than others. When did you last see a Mills and Boon heroine called Mabel? Even if the book was set at a time when Mabel would be a popular name. Say Marilyn, and you do not expect a big waddling woman with acne, warts and a beard. If you call your couple Fred and Florence, you might sell clothes in a supermarket, but you probably won't sell your story to a romance publisher, no matter how steamy and tear jerking it is.

Sometimes, a name can become better if we use its foreign counterpart. Vincent is not really as romantic a hero as Vincenzo, Laurence comes across differently if we call him Lorenzo. Diminutives work too. Rick instead of Richard, Will insead of William, Josh is somehow cooler than Joshua, and so on.

So, sorry Mr Shakespeare, but the answer to your question is, there's an awful lot in a name, and as writers, we need to be aware of that and choose carefully and wisely. After all, your characters - and you - may have to live with what you called them for a very long time indeed.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

In the merry, merry month of May

We have a number of things happening in May.

At our script writing workshop we'll bring scripts and the other people there read-act the lines so

a) we can hear them read and know if they work, and

b) we can receive constructive criticism.

On Wednesday May 12th at 8pm, we meet at the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells, where Sheila Alcock is going to give us a talk. Sheila is a writer of short stories and has had more than fifty published in women's magazines. This is a very competitive market and you have to be good to get anywhere just once. To rise to the top consistently is a testament to Sheila's skill.

Sheila leads our short stories and articles group and will happily give information about it. They too, meet in May.

Other meetings this month include two novel groups and a writing fiction for women group. This last is a group for writers, be they male or female, whose main target audience would be female.

All our groups are open to all writers over the age of 16, male and female. All we ask is that you are willing to accept constructive criticism and to give the same.

You can email our chairman, Hilary at for more details.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Are you stuck for something to write?

We've all been there. You want to write, you are all fired up to put words down. But you can't think of anything to write about. As soon as you have a subject or a title, you'll be away.

You cast around the room, looking for inspiration. There isn't any.

You stare out of the window, hoping something will jump out at you. Nothing moves.

You have a cup of tea and rail at the unfairness of it all.

Well, below are a couple of titles. One or more of them might just waken your Muse and start the creative juices flowing. It doesn't matter what they inspire: short story, article, novel, play, screenplay. All that matters is, you're under way.

You might find your finished piece bears no discernible relation to the title given. So what? You might not even use the title in your final version, but it will have set you off and that's enough.

And when you've written your piece, why not bring it along to one of our circle workshops, read it out and get some constructive criticism that will help improve it, and maybe even help you sell it.

You can find out about the workshops, and all other details of the circle by emailing our chairman, Hilary at

Now for those titles. I'll put up three or four suggestions every week from now on:

1. The long journey home.

2. Autumn Love

3. Sorry I'm late, sir...

4. A work of art.

Let me know if any of these inspires anything.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Writing Fiction for Women workshop

Last night saw we had the monthly meeting of the writers of fiction for women, a group that continues to grow.

It was a good, fun evening. Everyone is very friendly, and very keen to see their fellow writers succeed. Recommendations for books that will improve our writing were given freely. Ideas for markets were passed one to another.

The criticism given by other members of the group is constructive, gentle yet effective, and all the stories are very enjoyable. In fact, so much so that people have complained that they want to hear more than the four pages we said each could read at a meeting! We want whole chapters at a time.

To this end, we have changed the format of our meetings. Now, instead of each bringing along work to read, we will give a copy of the latest piece to all group members beforehand and then the members can come armed with their thoughts and suggestions for improvement. This will have the added bonus that we can comment on the writing techniques as well as the plot, character and turn of phrase.

Knowing we need to provide a chapter beforehand should also encourage some of us to do more writing in future than we have in the past. Motivation is a wonderful thing.

Forty years ago, when the first workshops of the TWDWC began, this strategy wouldonly have been possible if we'd made several copies and physically taken them to the group members. These days, email means we can send them instantly and without needing extra petrol or shoe leather, or even stamps, envelope and paper. The modern world is a great place to be.

If your writing is aimed at a readership made up mostly of women, why don't you join us? You can find out more by contacting the Circle's chairman, Hilary at

Saturday, 10 April 2010

News from the Ink Front: Script Workshop

The Script Writing Workshop was a friendly, informative and enjoyable evening last week. Five of us met and shared pieces of our scripts. Our writers write for various media - stage, screen, radio, and we each bring a few scenes. Other people in the room read the parts so the author can hear the work. It's amazing what you pick up just by hearing someone else say your lines.

Two of our screen plays are historicals, and I am amazed by the amount of knowledge of their period these writers have. They have really done their homework and it shows in every line, with the way the story rings true, the little details giving it a flavour that makes us want to move in to the world and find out more. Anyone who says writing is easy should watch these writers at work and know the effort they have put in to making it look easy.

Two more members are writing contemporary pieces, so of course, the flavour of their world IS authentic, because they're living it. But their situations ring true, their characters are alive and real, their dialogue natural and flowing. I am in awe of them.

And then there is me. I'm writing a piece for my church. It'll be two acts, and is obviously theologically based. Theological fantasy, I suppose you'd call it. Sort of Pilgrim's Progress meets Heaven Can Wait meets Clockwork. I don't know if it's as good on the page (and stage) as it is in my head, but one thing is for sure. It's better today than it was before it was read out at the Script Workshop.

If you think you'd like to try your hand at writing for performance, why not join us. You can come along and see if the media is for you, or if you already have a script, bring it and hear it read, followed by constructive and helpful criticism.

Contact me at if you'd like to know more.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Social Evening

On Wedneday 14th April, instead of our usual evening with an invited speaker, the TWDWC is having a social evening, and a chance to get to know each other a little better. Why not come and join us, get to know who we are and what we do? You'll find us friendly.

Email our chairman, at if you'd like to come.

If I only had a brain!

Of course the script writing group cannot meet on WEdnesday April 1st. There IS no Wednesday April 1st. The script writers meet on Wednesday April 7th.


OK, who picked up on the deliberate mistake?

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Script Writing Workshop

For the budding script writers, we have a workshop that happens on the first Wednesday of each month, except August. Like all our groups, it's a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with people offering constructive criticism and helpful comments.

This group started at the beginning of 2008, when it was realised that a number of writer's circle members were eager to try their hand at script writing. Some wanted to write screenplays, others stage plays, still others radio plays. The subject matter is broad as well - we've had period plays and contemporary, secular and religious, linear and non linear, big cast and little cast - even once, a play written in rhyme!

The group members bring along a part of a script that they would like feedback and help with, bringing several copies of the piece. Other members of the group then read the various parts, with the author trying to ensure they do not have to take a role, enabling them to simply listen to their work. You can make a lot of improvements to your own piece if you can listen to it being read by others - especially read cold.

Then feedback is given. People might suggest a different and better way of portraying something, or they may have found something confusing. They weren't sure what tone this character needed or where that sub plot led to. They ask questions for the author to answer. The author asks questions for the critiquers to answer. And then the author takes the piece away, having collected ideas to help with the rewrite and further development of the script.

As a member of the group, I have to say the feedback and advice I have received has been invaluable. I've been stuck, and found myself unstuck. I've thought a piece was awkward and then had a revelation as to why and what to do about it. Work I have taken to this group has grown into plays I have sold to publishers, or had performed by local drama groups.

I'm not alone in this. I know one member had a short screenplay filmed last year, and others have been made sufficiently confident to submit scripts to the BBC Writers room.

As well as learning and improving, we share information on markets, competitions, seminars, etc. And we have all become great, great friends. It's a date in my diary I look forward to each month.

The next meeting of the Script Group is this Wednesday, 1st April. If you think you'd like to join us, email our chair at and she'll put you in touch.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Writing fiction for women group

The workshops are one of the main attractions of the Tunbridge Wells Writer’s Circle. Here, writers read their work and receive constructive criticism. Each workshop concentrates on a different writing discipline, and the friendly advice and criticisms are incisive and valuable.

Until February 2010, there were four workshops: two were for novelists and catered for a wide range of works, whilst a third was for script writers and the fourth was for people writing short stories and articles. Each group meets monthly and some members just attend one group whilst others attend two or more. They are all conducted in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in people's homes.

However, speaking with writers both inside and outside the circle, we discovered there was a demand for a fifth workshop, this one based on genre rather than writing type. Some people, men as well as women, who write for a mainly female readership felt they’d be happier reading to others who wrote for the same audience, rather than in a more varied group. Thus, the fiction for women group has come into being.

The first meeting was on Wednesday February 17th and three people turned up, including one lady who was new to the circle. By the March meeting, our number had increased to five and we hope to add more.

Anyone who writes for a target audience that is predominantly female is welcome to join us. It doesn’t matter whether you, the writer, are male or female, writing short stories, articles, or novels. If you write for women, feel free to join us.

Further details from Hilary on

Tunbridge Wells Writing Circle

We're a friendly group of writers based in and around Tunbridge Wells. The circle was started over 40 years ago, and has been going strong ever since.

We cater for all writers, whether they are old or young, male or female, experienced or just learning their craft. Some of our members are published, others are not, but we all meet on an even platform here.

Among our members we have novelists, script writers, short story writers, magazine journalists, you name it, really.

Once a month we have a meeting when all members are invited to come together. More often than not, we have a guest speaker at this meeting. Past speakers have included Jonathan Gash, who wrote the Lovejoy books, Tamara McKinley, whose blockbusters sell in the millions all over the globe, and Simon Brett, who wrote "After Henry" for the BBC.

As well as these monthly meetings, we hold several workshops every month, and members are welcome to go to as few or as many as they feel they want to join. Each workshop is dedicated to a different type of writing, to ensure the advice you get is as relevant to your work as possible, and the criticism is constructive, friendly and often profound. I've come home with a comment playing on my mind, only to wake up next morning with a whole new sub plot and a much more satisfying piece of work.

The workshops encompass general novel writing, short story and article writing, script writing and writing fiction aimed at women readers.

Feel like joining us? Contact our chairman, Hilary Mackelden at, or see our Facebook Page,