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.

The one piece of advice I feel qualified to give

The advice I feel qualified to give today is this: Don’t run a competition. Actually, that’s not entirely true – competitions are fun but they are also taxing and this week’s theme is up late.

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 24th.

The one piece of advice that
I feel qualified to give

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.

Details

There will still be a “best post” and “best comment” but there will not be a winner for the most comments. Instead, there will be a “most votes on Reddit” section. This week, the Reddit section will be Writers of Thanet. Entries that take part in this new section will be given preference in the event of a tie (and let’s be honest, you are all very good). You will need a Reddit account for the grand finish so if you have not yet joined, it might be time to push yourself again.

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. If you need help with links see this post and if you need general WordPress help see this post.

What stops me writing?

This week our competition hits the half way mark and comes with a twist in the tale. 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.

As with every week, there is a theme. As with every week, there will be three winners. This week, however, things change a little.

There will still be a “best post” and “best comment” but there will not be a winner for the most comments. Instead, it is time for us to push ourselves and enhance the platform we have been building with our blogs. Entries that take part in this new section will be given preference in the event of a tie (and let’s be honest, you are all very good).

Additionally, 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. If you need help with links see this post and if you need general WordPress help see this post.

But first the theme, this one is a sequal:

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 17th.

What stops me writing?

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

A bonus will be awarded to any writer that manages to link back to their own “What gets me writing” post (week one) in a way that fits with the post and seems natural. If judging is as hard as it normally is, that bonus could help.

How to really win this week

In preparation to our big finish, you will need to step out of your comfort zone once more. This time, however, it is not such a big step. If you can sign up for Facebook, then you can do this too.

Have you ever used Reddit? You will need an account there. It is free to sign up and free to use (just like Facebook or Twitter).

On Reddit is a section called Thanet Blogs. I created it a few months ago and it has been mostly dormant for a while now. That makes it perfect for our new competition element.

Once you have published your blog post, you will need to post a link to the Reddit. WordPress users, that means making sure you post the public URL and not your private one.

The winner will be the post with the most up votes (down voting by competition entrants is not allowed). Aside from us, anyone who uses Reddit could come and vote. You could, for example, get your friends to come and vote for you. You might want to be sporting and vote for each other too.

If you use WordPress (or Google analytics on Blogger) you may see traffic (that is visitors) being sent to you from Reddit. This is good. Once you are comfortable posting on Reddit you might feel like extending out from the sandbox of this particular subreddit and finding larger communities. Writers of Thanet, for example, or the global Writers, if you are feeling brave. There is even a Thanet Creative Writers (which is just about Thanet Creative Writers).

Getting your links out into relevant places is part of establishing and growing your platform. (The opposite of getting your link in irrelevant places – which is spam).

The answer to the question “what stops me writing?” might now be “reading reddit”. You have been warned.

You will be needed your Reddit account for the total lack of grand prize and the Overall Winner selection at the end.

Writing Competition: If I had wings and could fly

Another week, another great theme for our writing competition that also builds your author platform. 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.

Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 3rd 10th (oops).

If I had wings and could fly

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

Take flight with this open-ended theme

This theme is designed to be very open-ended. If you have been writing biographically for the competition then this might be a time to talk about your dreams or, equally, a chance to engage in some fiction. The sky, literally, is the limit this week.

As always, we strongly encourage you to link to this post. This lets your readers know why you are writing this but also lets us know (most of the time) that you have entered this week’s competition.

For winning that coveted most comments award, your best bet is to publish early and then to share it on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to reading what you write.

Last week’s winners

All things being equal I will be compiling a list of last week’s winners. as you might have realised, this is really hard as you are all very good. I will try to publish that list as soon as I can. That said, this is a busy week for me so there may be delays. If I keep on top of everything, the winners will be posted today. If not… Well, they will be published eventually.

Thanet’s Writers

Creative Writers of Thanet and nearby areas have a lot to say about all sorts of things. I thought it might be an idea to experiment with creating a semi-regular post giving an overview of what other writers of Thanet are saying.

So as we amble gently past the 50 posts count, let’s go through the list of local writer’s blogs (found in the directory) and see what everyone has been saying (that’s not a competition entry).

There is a lot of good writing going on in and around Thanet and by in and around, I mean linked in some way to Thanet if only by virtue of participation. Location, when it comes tot he web, is as much a state of mind as a state of location.

Writer’s Tea and Chat regular, Artimis Blake has not posted anything on his blog aside from his competition entries but he has been vlogging, or video blogging.

His last post was about procrastination. Something we writers all suffer from sometimes. If you follow this blog (or my other blogs) you will realise I have a huge procrastination problem myself.

Jess Joy has been posting some very emotive fiction. Most recently Wave Cloud which I have struggled and failed to describe without spoiling. Just read it. When you are done with that, leave her a comment and then read Russian Doll. Anything I say will fail to do it justice so, again, just read it.

Nestled among the competition entry posts on Kentish Rambler’s blog is a poem: Home. It is not about what you think it might be about.

Brady Spice takes a look at the topic of the hook within a story. The hook is a vital part of the story crafting art. Hooked on reading is a good introduction to hooks and how they affect a reader. Some solid advice for writers there.

Local Author, Matthew Munson, last blogged about his fire walking experiences. So if fire walking was something you wanted to write about in your fiction, but you have never tried it, this very well written report on Matthew’s experiences may be valuable research. If you’ve not read his blog before, remember to leave a good comment so he knows that you were there.

Night of the hats looked most recently at the question of solving 3,000 year old crimes. Neil takes us through the steps of constructing a mystery plot and examining the science and logic of the solution. He also dishes up some solid advice on removing coincidence and unexplained unlikely events from a plot. After all a story, unlike real life, has to make sense.

These are not the only great posts on the blogs I have linked to. Get in there and see if you can’t find some more. Perhaps write about your five favourites in a blog post of your own.

A question for you “Thanet” writers.

So what do you think? Did you like this little review of the local writer’s blogging scene? Should this be a somewhat regular post that we make here?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.