Thanet Creative: New name; new site

The sun is setting on this website – we are moving off to Author Buzz UK. Don’t worry, all the best bits of this website are coming with us.

Our new name, in case you have not guessed, is Thanet Creative which means our work for writers is now Thanet Creative: Writers. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In the year or so that the Thanet Creative Writers’ blog has been here, we have had a fantastic competition and I’ve written some really fun articles. As a charity, we have struggled with the fact that all the most relevant domain names were being cyber-squatted by mean people. We know who – they said something that told us without ever realising they did.

As a charity, we have struggled with the fact that all the most relevant domain names were being cyber-squatted by mean people. We know who – they said something that told us without ever realising they did. However, as a wonderful side effect of a recent simplification of our name, we have been able to snag much better domain names and can now set up a dedicated website.

I talk about that a bit here.

Meanwhile, we are in the process of moving over to Author Buzz UK and if you check out our new site, you will see it is a lot like this one. All of our projects are listed there already. WordPress.com has been a wonderful host and looked after us very well but it is time to spread our wings and play with more powerful toys.

I will continue to post updates here until we are fully settled in and then this website will be left as an archive to point people to our new site.

I hope that you will join us at our new home. See you there.

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Call for Contributions

Thanet Creative Writers are looking for fresh voices to showcase. All contributors will be generously linked and promoted but we cannot offer payment at this time.

Call for Contributions

  • The benefits of finding the right writers’ group
  • The best places to write in Thanet
  • One of Thanet’s famous writers
  • Tips for writing lively dialogue
  • The benefits of blogging for writers

We welcome pitches about any other writing or locality related topic.

Formatting

  • Plain text (with or without HTML) or Open Office Document, please.
  • If sending an email please attach any image separately to your article.

How to get in touch

There are several ways to answer this call. Option one is best for those who plan to write more than one thing.

Option one: Use the application form to become a regular contributor. Once accepted you can present articles whenever you wish. Use the comments to remind someone to check the inbox.

Option two: Use the comments to tell us your idea.

Option three: Get in touch with us via Facebook

Nathan McGrath: spam or fan?

Nathan McGrath is, by all accounts, an author. His site (to which I am not linking shows he has written 3 books. So why is he scraping out content?

I first noticed Nathan McGrath when I saw an unusual ping on another WordPress blog I write for. What was unusual was that the ping title and body were content I had written.

When I followed the link home, I discovered that Nathan McGrath (or whoever runs Nathan McGrath’s website) had taken articles from Thanet Creative Writers and reposted them on his blog. As he kept the links intact his blog pinged the links. Which is where we came into the story.

It did not take me long to realise that Nathan McGrath’s blog had a lot of our content. Some of it seemed to fit while other parts made no sense for him to have. I’ve worked with things like this before and every time it is the result of something called automated scraping. How that works is a script pulls the content and then posts it.

I’d be tempted to think Nathan McGrath was a fan of our charity had he bothered to link to the source of his article but that, of course, would ping the people he was stealing content from.

I’m really not sure what to do next. On the one hand Nathan McGrath’s books sound somewhat interesting but, on the other hand, I refuse, point blank, to support content theft.

What do you think?

A Round Robin of Writer Blog Posts

Every now and then I like to publish a list of cool things to read on other people’s blogs. This is not quite one of those posts but there are links to other people’s blogs.

However, there are a few posts on those other blogs, that I have written along with other people’s [psts on similar topics. I did something sort of similar with 5 Writer Blogs you Should Definitely Read.

Author Platforms

Sometimes it seems Author Platforms is all I talk about. I promise this is not the case.

First up, for Author Buzz UKA Comprehensive Guide to Author Platforms really is very comprehensive. Hopefully, it is the most definitive explanation of Author Platforms that will ever be needed.

Other posts on author platforms worth a read:

How is your author platform going? Got any questions?

Scary Stories

I recently published an article titled “The thin line between scary and hilarious” on my own Author Buzz network blog. I took a look at how humour and horror were essentially the same things.

I don’t have a list of other writers blogs with scary stories on them. Maybe because I have not found many indie author blogs with scary stories on them. Other than The Legend of Spicer Cove by L. L. Winder, I got nothing.

Can you recommend an author blog with scary stories on it?

Author Earnings

Talking of scary stories, what most authors earn is scary. Scary low. Ever since Author Buzz published the “The Shocking Truth about Author Earnings“, it has been bothering me that we authors do not earn that much. Here are some other views on the subject.

 

 

What do you think about the state of author earnings?

Plotting or Pantsing: What is best for me?

And so we come to the last theme of our competition. One last hurrah and then the big vote off. Back when I was thinking up this idea I thought that ending on a reflection about if planning or discovery writing was best was a great idea for platform building. You guys have taken things in an interesting direction and I have no idea what you will do with this one.

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 29th.

Plotting or Pantsing:
What is best for me?

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to. If you are new to this and joining us late welcome, thank you for joining us, please see week one’s post and the FAQ if you need more information.

Pantsing, for those that don’t know, is where you make up the story as you go and “fly by the seat of your pants”. The opposite is plotting, where you plan the plot out in advance. I used to be a pantser but I am more of a plotter these days.

How to win

There will still be a “best post” and “best comment” but as you might have realised by now, we no longer have a “most comments”. Instead, there will be a “most votes on Reddit” section. This week, and going forward for the last few weeks, the Reddit section will be a special one created for the competition. This is also where the grand, overall, winner will be chosen by you.

Sometime after this post goes live I will be picking out winners. I hope you guys have written something great for me to read (I’ve seen some of them so I know that you have).

The thing I love most about Thanet Creative Writers

This is, if I am honest, the one I have been looking forward to the most. Finding out what about Thanet creative writers (the blog, the group, or the charity) that resonates best with you guys.

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 22nd.

The thing I love most about
Thanet Creative Writers

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to. If you are new to this and joining us late welcome, thank you for joining us, please see week one’s post and the FAQ if you need more information.

I am particularly interested to see if the fiction writers can turn this into a fiction prompt or if you will write a more tranditional blog post. This posts image was actully taken during a Tea and Chat meeting. You can use it for your post if you want.

How to win

There will still be a “best post” and “best comment” but as you might have realised by now, we no longer have a “most comments”. Instead, there will be a “most votes on Reddit” section. This week, and going forward for the last few weeks, the Reddit section will be a special one created for the competition. This is also where the grand, overall, winner will be chosen by you.

Writers’ Blog Train: Stop number one

Toot, toot. The blog train is pulling into the station. Kickstarting a weekly roundup of blog posts that will move from blog to blog.

<<< Previous Blog Train (actually the “about blog trains” post)

To help me get this first entry in the blog train written I am going to be working from the Directory of Thanet Writers’ blogs. When the train lands on your blog, you don’t have to stick just with the blogs listed there, but it can make a good starting point.

Jess Joy

Jess is a relatively new blogger. As far as I knew her first attempt at blogging was as part of our competition. She’s really great at it and always a joy to read. It turns out, however, that Jess has written blogs before. Lots.

Jess often posts short form fiction. One worthy pair of posts worth a mention features the same character. They are both competition entries and very clever twists of the theme at that.

Jess recently turned an obvious biographic prompt into a fantastic short story. “Something to write home about” is definitely worth a read.

Thanet Star

I’m letting this blog in on a technicality. While not about writing Thanet Star is written by a writer (me). Topics tend to cover Broadstairs (and what a nice place it is), Manston (and how it should not be houses), and local politics. Also, when the mood takes me, I write about writer news such related to Thanet.

AUTHORity

Another regular participant in our competitions. Irving Benjamin not only writes but maintains a list of his favourite reading, and useful links for writers. Irving is also a poet and you can find poems he has written in a handy-dandy drop-down menu at the top of his site.

  • Just Don’t – which was a competition entry
  • My Canal – which was also an entry for an entirely different competition

Author Buzz

Author Buzz is a project to try and help writers and readers find each other. It’s still pretty new and a lot of work is still needed. Author Buzz needs some beta testers if you are interested in helping out.

Stories from the edge

I hope this blog has not gone into long term hibernation as the author has been a regular participant in the Thanet Creative Writers competition. The last post was In Response to the Prompt ‘Who do I admire?’ at the end of march.

Night of the Hats

Night of the Hats is a relative rarity among Thanet based or connected writers’ blogs (I know we are not really all from Thanet) in that it is hosted on blogspot. The last post was a competition prompt containing not just a little advice.

Thanet.Blog

That’s not a typing mistake, that’s the domain this blog is hosted on. not a writer as such (aside from the obvious fact that the blog is written) but an example of good writing nevertheless. Thanet spirit quest part one: The theatre of dreams is a travel log style ramble about Thanet and a good read too.

Writer Without a Clue

This is a blog written by a Thanet Creative writers founder and regular attendee. Criminally I have failed to award any competition wins to this blog even though it is very deserving. (Not to self, change that).

If you want to read an example of realistic and well-written dialog I suggest you check out Second Trust.

Kentish Rambler

Subtitled, “Writer, walker and rambling writer in the Kent countryside” that should tell you everything you need to know about the Kentish Rambler blog. The last post made at the start of May and titled March Ramblings contains a stunning array of beautiful photography.

Matthew Munson

Matthew Munson is a Thanet based author with at least two published books under his belt. He writes on a variety of topics and recently talked about homeschooling.

Aside from being a successful author and having a cool name, Matthew is also a really nice bloke. He is also far better at grammar and spelling than I am.

Matthew D. Brown

One blog you might not be familiar with is my writing blog. It’s pretty new and part of why there had to be a pause in the competition (it turns out even I have limits). The Matthew D. Brown blog is also host to serialised stories which come out roughly each week (give or take a bit).

Currently, there are two stories:

  1. That story with a cat in it – a sci-fi spoof
  2. Legend – a fresh take on fairy tales and fantasy

I’d really appreciate some attention in the form of comment so I know if the stories I am posting catch your interest or not. I am probably going to tailor things based on the feedback I get so your comments matter a great deal to me.

A writing prompt

I though it would be nice to end the train this week with a writing prompt. We’ve been publishing them most weeks so there are plenty to choose from. I thought I would pick a personal favourite of mine – “And then the murders began“. Do with that one what you will.

Over to you

I hope I have shown you something that might be worth a read. Feel free to copy the general pattern of this post (and the images) for your own train posts or, when the train is with you, mix it up as you see fit.

I nominate Jess Joy to host the next blog train. Jess, over to you. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to anywhere near as verbose as me).

(this will be linked up when it is live) Next Blog Train >>>

My favourite book ever

If you ask me what my favourite book is I am likely to tell you that it is whatever amazing book I am reading at the moment. That said, I am quite likely to quote you such books as “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. Our theme this week is favourite books.

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 1st.

My favourite book ever

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to. If you are new to this and joining us late welcome, thank you for joining us, please see week one’s post and the FAQ if you need more information.

How to win

There will still be a “best post” and “best comment” but as you might have realised by now, we no longer have a “most comments”. Instead, there will be a “most votes on Reddit” section. This week, and going forward for the last few weeks, the Reddit section will be a special one created for the competition. This is also where the grand, overall, winner will be chosen by you.

Just like last week, to get “best post” you need to have linked to this post (unless you write something which is unequivocally orders of magnitude better than all the rest combined).

Thanet Writers: A general Statement

I need to discuss, publically, a very difficult topic. This post is not about writing and if you came here for a writing post can I suggest this or this.

Normally when I write for this blog, I do so as Matt – a guy who loves writing. Today I am writing as Matthew Brown, chair of the Thanet Creative Writers charity. With my chair hat well and truly on, I have to point out that I am speaking only for myself – this is not an official proclamation by the charity, just an expression of sadness.

We recently updated our listing of Thanet based writers’ groups. Almost immediately there was aggression and abuse over content relating to one of the many groups called Thanet writers’ (or something similar). Someone actually went to the trouble of registering a new WordPress blog just to express their hate.

To clarify which Thanet writers’ group jennykettle was trolling for: I am not talking about this Thanet Writers who (as far as I know) launched their website at the same time Thanet Creative Writers formed and I am not talking about any of the Thanet (insert word here) writers’ groups (honestly, check the listing, there are a lot of similarly named groups). Back when we were the same group we met in the chapel. That specific Thanet writers’ group, which might or might not meet in the chapel now, is the group in question. They, like others, go by the name Thanet Writers.

In the year since they parted from Thanet Creative Writers, individuals have periodically taken it upon themselves to attack us on their behalf. That’s not good for anyone. The trustees of Thanet Writers have written to assure us that they are not behind the attacks and it is nothing to do with them.

I have said it before and, because it apparently needs saying again, I will say it again. I wish Thanet Writers all the best. Anyone working to support local writers is doing a good thing. If those who wish to enjoy writing are helped then this is a win. I’ve even recommended that particular Thanet writers’ group to people I’ve met who live in Broadstairs. There is no war to fight here, people. I am at a loss as to what else to do.

The entirety of the trustees of Thanet Creative Writers are at a loss to explain why some local people have gotten a bee in their bonnet about our two groups but please leave us (both groups) out of it. We have had to endure spiteful rants from local creatives on Facebook; a hate filled diatribe published on the blog of a local publisher filled with all sorts of misinformation and non-facts; and now, trollish comments on our blog. Even giving the first question of the ask us hard questions series the benefit of the doubt, enough is enough.

I have no idea who is out there trying to stir up hate but at Thanet Creative Writers we are all about peace, kindness, and respect. Thanet Creative Writers exists to foster creativity, to enable people, and to help those that want to enjoy writing to jolly well enjoy writing. We are pretty sure that this is what Thanet Writers are all about too. All this other nonsense is doing no one any good. Please stop.

Yes, I know that the details (in our listing) for Thanet Writers is sketchy at best. This is because their website (at least what was their website when we were the same group) does not load for me. All I have to go on what I remember, hear on the grapevine, or find on other websites.

Clearly, this was not good enough for jennykettle. A user who is now the sole occupant of the site’s blacklist.

I’m at my wits’ end with this. This website exists to raise awareness of the good works of Thanet Creative Writers as a charity and support writers in the joy of writing. The aim of publishing a listing of writers’ groups was to help people connect with other writers. It is not here for petty individuals to start fights. Take your school bully mentality somewhere else – it is not wanted here.

In light of this ongoing abuse, I have come to an editorial decision to carry no further information about this particular Thanet based writers’ group. Thanet Writers, I truly am sorry that your loudest fans seem to be loud and obnoxious but I cannot keep dealing with this aggression from parties unknown. It is really not worth the hassle.

This policy will stand until such time as the board of trustees directs me to change the policy or another, better, approach presents itself. Future editions of the comprehensive listing of writers and poets groups and events will carry a link to this post but no details at all. Unless the trustees want to write to me with definitive details of when and where they currently meet in which case I will include that information.

So if in the future, there is no information at all about Thanet Writers, it is because of the bullies and the trolls. Congratulations I hope this makes you happy, mean people.

Seriously, though, I do not want to disadvantage one group because of a hate filled minority but I cannot and will not keep putting up with this bullying.

I appeal to the trustees of Thanet Writers to join us in taking a stand against bullying and aggression. The aims of our two groups overlap extensively – work with us so that the trolls cannot win.

Thanet Creative Writers and Thanet Writers are siblings and that, in so far as writers’ groups go, makes us family. Family should stand together. Between us, we must surely have more than enough active supporters and volunteers to pack out many of the smaller functions rooms at local venues. Imagine the kind of events we could run if we work together.

Let us write a new chapter in which the small-minded and mean-spirited have no place and writers new and established can work together.

To avoid ending this post on a downer. Here is a fun video about not feeding the trolls.

Do unto others as they should do to you…

Anyway, this is me signing off and wishing you all peace, love, and a joyful writing experience.

Update

What do you know, commonsense has prevailed.

Screenshot from 2017-04-23 20:15:08.png

Thank you for your change of heart.

Lots of Winners

Is it Friday already? Wow. Where did my week go? I honestly figured I would have the winners list published by Wednesday at the latest. This week’s theme of what stops us writing seems oddly appropriate now.

Last week we switched things up and pushed you to start using new social media outposts.

Best Post

Oh ye gods, this is the bit I do not find easy. You are too talented by half. Seriously, very few of you had ever written a blog post before much less ran an entire blog and written for it each week. I am so impressed with all of you that words fail me. Really they do. And, if you know me, you know that words rarely fail me.

This week, I have given up trying to pick one winner and have selected a handful. One overall winner and several category “prizes”.

In the category of most meta post

The award for most meta post of the contest so far goes to Artimis Blake who writes:

I will finish this later…

We have all been there, I think.

In the category of best reflective post

The award for the best reflective article (with a meta twist) goes to Night of the Hats. [1]

[1] Spoiler: I have read the entire thing.

In the category of experimental writing

The award for experimental writing goes to Braidy Spice. Along with this award, comes a link to our guide on linking.

In the category of Romance and Relationships

The award for best post goes to Kentish Rambler. I’d say Kentish has what it takes to write for the large women’s magazines market. This is a top quality entry in this category.

In the category of crime drama

The award goes to ProfBenJ. A great example of well-paid-off foreshadowing. There were some Dirk Gently moments there.

And the overall winner is…

The overall winner this week is Jess Joy with a well-executed sequel to her lady of letters. I am reminded of Irene in “A Lady of Letters” from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.

Best Comment

For best comment this week I am going to award the prize to the most prolific commenter: ProfBenJ. Seriously, you seem to be everywhere. Well done.

Reddit voted top post

This is the feature that replaced the “most comments” section. The idea is to vote for what you liked best. The community voted top post was a tie between Niel, ProfBenJ, and JessJoy who all got two votes.

Either you loved each other equally or no one voted for anyone else. I’m going to go ahead and assume the love was flowing freely.

I’m feeling talkative right now and am going to let you in a little secret. After the 12 weeks of this contest are over, there will be one grand winner. The final winner will be chosen by you out of all the posts written for the contest over the entire time it was running. Even ones that were written by me (I’d love to know how you think I stack up).

This final contest will take place here. That is a special Reddit set up just for us and this contest. You may post as many of your entries as you wish, vote for as many as you want, and you may do so from now. (Let’s see who was paying close attention, eh).

Over to you

Everyone who took part did a great job and deserves as much comment, upvote, like, and share love as you can give. Go show these amazing bloggers some serious love.