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.