Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Keith Havers

My guest today is womagwriter and novelist, Keith Havers

Always On The Lookout

I had the pleasure of meeting Patsy a few weeks ago and an off-the-cuff comment by me over the coffee and biscuits is the basis of this post.

I happened to remark that, as an almost full-time writer, I consider myself to be at work during all my waking hours. By that I don't mean that I'm constantly writing or that my mind is consciously working on stories, but I am always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration.

I think this stemmed from a few years ago when I had just begun sending off short stories to competitions and magazines with very little success. My wife and I were walking along the seafront at some English resort and watching the activity on the beach. It was a cold day and there weren't many people about but my wife challenged me to concoct a story based around some of the things going on. I actually managed to come up with two stories, one of which was eventually published.

From then on I was constantly aware that there are story ideas all around and almost anything can be used as a basis for fiction. It has now become second nature for me to latch on to an overheard conversation, an unusual event or a news item on TV and begin to turn things over in my mind.

Since then I have had published stories based on TV shows, family life, national events and many more. Since becoming a writer I've become more observant and a bit of an eavesdropper but it has paid off.

You can find my blog here.

Keith has recently self-published Youthtopia, a children's adventure story aimed at 11 to 13 year olds. It features seven youngsters from diverse backgrounds who have to work together to outwit a criminal mastermind.

A sequel is in process.

Are you like Keith, always on the lookout for story ideas, or do you switch off from your writing when you're away from your desk?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Guest post by womagwriter Tracey Walsh

I'm joined today by womagwriter and pocket novelist, Tracey Walsh.

This week's #writingchat (Wednesdays 8pm-9pm on Twitter) was on the subject of Writing Tips. I was slightly off subject when I tweeted:

Bought PF mag today. Showed shop assistant my story. Her response: "You wrote it? Why did you do that?" Discuss! #writingchat

It had been niggling me all day. Whenever I've had a story published before I've had overwhelmingly positive comments. The only other odd comments were things like:

"Do you make them up in your head?"


"They pay you?!"

But the lady in Tesco really took the wind out of my sails. The next day I nearly headed to another shop for the morning papers but I decided to be brave. After serving me the (same) sales assistant asked, "Did you show your story to anyone else?" 

So, come on folks. Share some of the interesting comments you've had about your stories.

Monday, 17 April 2017

New address for The People's Friend

As of today, anything posted to The People's Friend should be sent to 2 Albert Square, Dundee, DD1 1DD (That's not too hard to remember, is it?)

All other submission details are unchanged.

UPDATE Those who already have an editor at PF might have been given a different postcode. If so, they should use that. This address is for those who've not yet been assigned an editor there.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Taking a break?

Good Friday is a traditional time for gardening and the weather is lovely, so that's mainly what I'll be doing this Easter.

These pictures are all from my garden. Can you guess which is my current favourite flower and see why so many of my stories feature plants?

How about you - will you be gardening, writing, or doing something else this long weekend?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Plots, plans and pals

There haven't been many posts lately, but I have managed to come up with an excuse perfectly valid reasons for this. Firstly there doesn't seem to be a great deal of womag news about (if you have any to share, particularly good news, please get in touch).

Secondly I've been out in the campervan (aka mobile writing retreat) meeting writing friends and making plans. At the end of March I met up with Anne Rainbow (we're considering running a residential writing course next spring).

Then more recently pocket novelist Susan Jane Jones popped into the van for a quick cuppa and long(ish) chat about (amongst other things) our current novels in progress.

On the same trip I visited Alfie Dog editor (and co-author of From Story Idea to ReaderRosemary J Kind. We have an idea for another writing book - if we can fit it in around our other projects.

Then it was off to Nottingham where I met up with Keith Havers, Linda Sprott, Maria Smith and Carol Bevitt.

It was a gloriously sunny day and we'd been on a walk around the lakes, so we really did need to sit in the shade and eat ice creams, even though we'd started off in the cafe. (If you want to see the 'informal' group photo, take part in tomorrow's #writingchat.)

Is that too much name dropping for one post?Not quite I don't think ...

My last meeting was with People's Friend author Enid Reece. Niddy and I have known each other online since we both started writing but this is the first time we've met for real.

We chatted over a cup of tea and hardly any cake, before going for a walk.

It was lovely to meet up with so many writing friends and I'm now full of enthusiasm for my current, and future, writing projects. Thank you all for your company and inspiration.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Any luck?

I have a story in the current (May!) issue of Woman's Weekly Fiction Special - and I'm delighted to be issue buddies with several of my writing friends.

My story is about a lucky red pen. One of those wouldn't help me as I do nearly all my writing straight onto the laptop, but when I submitted work by post, I tried to use lucky postboxes to drop them into. Sometimes it worked!

Do you have anything which you consider lucky or helpful when it comes to your writing?