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 >>>

Wanted: Articles

When we first set up this blog it was with the intention that it be written by a range of different members. While I am fine with writing (it is something I love to do) I would love to see some other takes on topics.

That’s why we have a contact form sections encouraging you to become a contributor.

For those of you with a blog, a guest post (the odd post for another blog) can help gain you new readers and gives the blog you write for a bit of variety.

This is a list of topics that we would love to publish an article about. If you think you can do one of these justice, then we would love to hear from you.

  • How to choose first person or third
  • Writing with the present tense
  • Tactical use of offensive language
  • How to approach publishers
  • What is the three act structure and should I use it?
  • How to write compelling female characters
  • Using smell as an emotive part of description
  • How to get started with poetry
  • Chapter sizes – how long or short should chapter be?
  • Getting started with self-publishing
  • Techniques for writing dialogue
  • How to write lively dialogue
  • Does the monomyth really apply?
  • How to write for the young adult market
  • How to make a Time Travel fresh again
  • When and how to use gore in horror
  • Time and place – using real locations in fiction
  • An introduction to the editing process
  • What are serial rights and why do they matter?
  • Overcoming writer’s block

That’s not a hard and fast list of topics. If you have a good idea then please come forward with it.

As and when these topics are covered by me or by you, I will link them so you know that there is already at least one article on the subject. Even if there is already an article on the subject I would bet that you have something new to say on that subject.

We need you to write for us.

Preview of coming attractions

Jump into your time machine and take a trip with me to three weeks ahead. That’s how many weeks are left in our competition.

In a dramatic break with tradition, I am going to disclose the themes for the next three weeks early. I will still post the theme post, for you to link to. Nevertheless, here is a sneak peek at what those themes will be.

  • What mistake do I make most with writing?
  • The thing I love most about Thanet Creative Writers
  • Plotting or Pantsing: What is best for me?

When the themes are all done, we will have a public vote for the best overall post. That will take place at a dedicated Reddit forum which you can find if you look hard enough. (Hint, I’ve linked it in another post).

So, that is what is coming up. Hopefully, this will help you turbo charge you creativity and finish the 12-week competition with a bang.

Thanet Writers’ Groups (Updated)

pens in a row

Last year we posted a list of writer groups that take place in Thanet. Thanks to the wonderful feedback from readers, we expand on that list. This is an updated listing of all Thanet Writers’ Groups.

We have tried to list all Thanet writers’ groups and poetry groups. I am still convinced that there are plenty more out there to find out about but I hope that this is enough to help you to find a writers group in Thanet (or close to Thanet) that will provide the support that you are looking for.

Thanet Writers’ and Poets’ Groups

Ageless Thanet has free activities for people aged 50 or over who live in Thanet. These groups include Creative Writing, Life Writing, and a Film Project. For more information about any of the activities please call 01843 601550

Arts in Ramsgate run writing classes priced at £7.50. Facilitators for this are Karen Bellamy and author Katerina Dimond. They meet in Harbour Street Ramsgate. You should book in advance. More details about the event.

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Rumour has it that this is the longest running Thanet writers’ group.

Chapel Open Mic Night welcomes spoken word poetry and readings and runs at the Chapel pub Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8pm.

Dead Island Poets meet in pubs around Thanet mostly in the Ravensgate Arms for open mic poetry nights and are run by Penny. Dead Island Poets don’t have a site or a Facebook page but Thanet Creative Writers members often post events like these to the Thanet Creative Poets Facebook group.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December). We can’t tell you much else about this Thanet writers’ group so if you are involved or go along please tell us more.

TCW: Poetry is an as yet unnamed poetry group that Thanet Creative Writers host. The focus is on helping new poets find their voice but all poets are invited to come along and read their poetry. People who simply love hearing poetry are also welcome. Events are always posted to the Thanet Creative Poets Facebook group.

Thanet Blogging Writers are a loose association of writers from Thanet that blog. A lot of them take part in our writing competitions. Check the directory listing for more on these great bloggers.

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers’ gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) called Writers’ Tea and Chat. This Thanet writers’ group has no fixed agenda and is there for whatever writers feel they need to talk about. This tends to be review and feedback. Sometimes the cat joins us.

Thanet Script Writers are a group that meet in The Ravensgate Arms in Kings Street Ramsgate. Their focus is “writing box sets”. We understand that Thanet Script Writers don’t meet every week but we hear that they meet on a Tuesday about once a fortnight. If someone can update us with more accurate information that would be fantastic.

Thanet Write On is a Thanet writers’ group that has a few mentions about the web. Run by one Philip Cowlin by all accounts. Philip can be reached on 01843 293167 according to my sources.

Thanet Writers’ Group is a writer’s group founded around the same time we were (2013) that seems to be quite interested in sharing writing competitions. We don’t know much else about the Thanet Writers’ group. May or may not be connected to other groups of almost exactly the same name.

Thanet Writers (a group forked from, but not affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) They used to meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel (while open mic night is happening) to critique work and discuss the running of their website. We did hear a rumour that they had relocated to the Ravensgate Arms but cannot confirm this. Not to be confused with Thanet Writers’ Group. Why all the hate? I don’t need this stress.

Thanet Writers & Artists is a website project that I understand is being set up to promote writing and creativity with daily interviews, videos, and advice columns. According to an email I received, Thanet Writers & Artists are in the last stages of planning and launching. There is an associated group of creative types that meets for critiques and all that but the email did not say where or when they meet. I’ll update you when they update me.

Thanet Writes Right are another group that we have only recently heard about. The word is that Thanet Writes Right are a Thanet based writers’ group that meet in Margate Old Town somewhere. If you know more then please get in touch.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join this Thanet writers’ group so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Westbay Writers gather for writing exercises and support at Westbay Cafe Tuesday mornings 10am to 11.30am. Westbay Writers is hosted by Susan Emm who you can contact by email on westbaywriters@gmail.com

Writers of Thanet are an online link sharing group hosted by Reddit.

Writing Matters run paid causes in creative writing around Thanet. Prices seem to be about £80 for 8 weeks. Check the link for more information.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information about this writers’ group.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second Monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list. Huge thanks to the numerous local Groups and Forums that have helped compile this list with wonderful feedback.

Start your own Thanet writers’ group

Maybe there is nothing quite like what you need here? Perhaps you are looking for a group focused only on horror, hard Sci-Fi, romance. If that longing leads you to you starting your own group please do let us know and we will add you to our listing.

Too hard?

Members of Thanet Creative Writers’ charity are able to access free support setting up groups and events as well as being able to count on us to provide free promotion for the group or event. Join today.

Updates to this Thanet Writers’ groups post

  1. I could really live without the passive aggressive attacks. I am trying to provide as much information as I have regardless of any personal relationships. If posting nothing about one small group will stop the hate, that is what I will have to do.
  2. Added Westbay Writers. Keep them coming you wonderful people.
  3. Corrected the Dead Island Poets entry. I first met them in the Chapel and thought they used more than one venue. My bad.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell us in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.

Week Two: posts for you to comment on

As you know, I have been watching with great interest as the Week Two Theme posts are going up.

This is a list of all the posts for this week’s theme that I have seen so far. I will update this post as more show up.

More to come as you publish them…

Opps, I missed one.

And there’s more:

Some posts for you to comment upon.

Each of these are posts related to our writing competition. I’ve gathered up all the posts I could find. If I have missed you out then make sure to shout loudly.

In this post, I shall refer tot he authors of these posts only by the name of their blog, or a by any handle they give. While I know who the people are behind most pen names, I feel it is up to each writer if they want to give their name.

Some of you forgot to put in a link which would have stopped WordPress (or whatever) from pinging us. However, the biggest challenge this week, for our writers, will have been just setting up a new blog in the first place. Everyone who managed to do this, especially those who did it for the first time, deserve a round of applause. This was not an easy first step.

Remind me to write a short tutorial on how to add links.

The posts

What Gets Me Writing? By Jess Joy holds the distinction of being the very first entry to successfully ping this blog by being published with a link on a platform with the ping feature enabled.

What gets me writing? by Kentish Rambler. This entry is interesting in that it is the first entry I have seen in poem form.

What Gets Me Writing. by braidyspice addresses what it is like to write as a pantser.

What Gets Me Writing by Ansteysp is also an entry that took the theme and spun a narrative around it. I think it was about the time I read this one that I realised judging the entries was going to be a tough job.

What Gets Me Writing by Irving Benjamin. Irving is one of a few writers who has chosen to use a narrative style to address this week’s theme. I am pretty sure I found the right link for the post but Irving seems to prefer a no comments format.

What gets me writing? by Artimis Blake tells us that Artimis’ art is powered by boredom and coffee. A potent combination.

What Gets Me Writing; Or, I Am Easily Distract… by Neil W is written on a blogspot blog. Those of you still getting to grips with WordPress should not find it too hard to figure out how to comment here.

What gets me writing? by Lord Matt (me) is not in the running because I wrote it. However, it is still a valid place to practice posting comments. This is not in any way a WordPress site either.

Remember folks, you still have until midnight tonight to enter the competition and you have until sometime tomorrow morning (when I start reading them all again) to post comments in order to win the best comment section.

Best of luck writers. You have all done a damn fine job.

Platform Building Jargon Buster

Helping people get set up for the writing contest has caused me to realise just how much I take for granted. Not everyone knows what I know, which should be obvious.

The aim of this post is just to help you navigate what can be some confusion terminology for something that should otherwise be quite a lot of fun.

Author Platform

This is the sum total of all the people paying attention to you. Your audience, in other words. Not to be confused with your blog or website.

Blogging Platform

Blogging platform has to be the most confusing name anyone gave anything. This is just your blog, or rather, the technology that runs your blog.

I try to avoid using the phrase “Blogging Platform”. Instead, I like to call it blogging software or blog system which is a bit easier to understand.

Reach

This is usually a measure of the number of people you can reach. Also known as your audience. Some places, such as Facebook, have their own spin on what it means.

URL aka URI aka link

At the top of your screen is an address bar. It probably says something like http://www.example.com/stuff&#8230; most of the time. If you are asked to post a link, that is what you are being asked to share.

To share a link to a post, for example. Navigate to the public version of that post (WordPress and other systems often have a private version for you to edit and so forth). Then copy and paste the text from the address bar.

To add to the confusion, links my be referred to by any of the following names:

  • URL or URI
  • Link
  • (Web) Address
  • Web link
  • Web path

Whatever word you prefer it all amounts to the same thing.

Comment love

Comment love is a term bloggers often use which means to show appreciation for a blog post by posting a good comment. It can also mean to get traffic back (through the link your comment makes) due to leaving a good comment.

Leaving helpful comments that add value to a post can be a good way to grow your readership (and thus your author platform). Try to move beyond saying “nice post” to actually explaining what you liked or engaging the topic and other commenters in a discussion.

These days it is very easy to keep your comments to facebook but taking a moment to post directly on a blog is a way to show love and appreciation for the writer.

Pings and trackbacks

This is not one thing, but rather a bunch of technologies that do more or less the same thing. It is a way of saying “hey, I mentioned you”.

If you are using WordPress the pingback settings are found under settings, in the Discussion section and probably look something like this.

ping-backs

The exact system differs from system to system. For example, in NucleusCMS (which I use for my personal sites) this is an added feature which requires a plugin.

Like comments, pingbacks and trackbacks often need to be manually accepted on most sites. Which can mean that they take a little while to show up. Not all blogging systems support them and those that do might not send them. If yours does not, it is not the end of the world and I really would not worry too much about it.

For example, Tumblr and Blogger accounts generally don’t have that (they may have similar systems for internal use).

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. To be honest, until you are comfortable just writing good content and publishing it, don’t worry about SEO. SEO, is for the most part, about creating quality content.

There is a bit more to SEO than that, but quality content is the cornerstone of all SEO.

  • I have written a lot more about SEO here.

Guest Blogging

Again this is something that you don’t want to get stuck into until your own blog is well established. Once you are well established occasionally writing for another reputable blog, or having a blogger of good reputation write for you, can be a nice change of pace.

Outposts

Some experts describe things like your social media presence (pages, twitter accounts, profiles, etc) as your social media outposts. This is a way of simply recognising that your social media is not the centre of your platform but more like an outpost on foregn soil.

Thus, it follows, your best stuff should always be saved for serving to your own guests, at home. Most blog systems allow you to send a link out to your outposts when you publish. This can be very handy and cut down on your workload.

Spam

We all hate spam email but there are also spam comments and even spammy blog posts. They are just as devoid of value and reak of desperation. If what you were about to post feels “spammy” it might be time to rethink.

Spam is anything that is low quality and of no value to another human being. Spam is bad. Don’t do it.

Link love

Link love is a term bloggers often use when talking about linking to another blogger. Links are like votes to Google so by taking the time to link to another blog you are showing them some love by voting for them.

Link love is great and you should be fairly generous with it when you find a deserving blog or blog post. Don’t go silly. Remember, your readers need to understand why you posted that link and it needs to fit with what you are saying. However, spreading the love around makes the world a nicer place.

An appropriately placed link says to your readers, go here and read this. Make sure that is a deserved recommendation and your readers will thank you.

Bad neighbourhoods

This is a Google idea that has some merit. It is a way of describing those bits of the web which are low quality and spammy. You are unlikely to have to worry about bad neighbourhoods unless you being a bit shady yourself.

Your readers will not be happy if you link them to such nasty bits of the web and Google takes a dim view of it too. However, if you follow the recomendation to link to things that deserve it, you will almost never link to a bad neighbourhood.

Domains and Domain Names

Domain names are usually the part of a URL that you remember. Like facebook.com or thanetcreativewriters.wordpress.com. If you are willing to pay for it you can get a custom .com or .co.uk (or whatever).

Custom domain names are probably something you can leave until later. Unless, of course, you want to set up a custom website or self-host your blogging software.

Anything else?

Have I missed anything out? What else would you include in this list? Share your insights in the comments below.

Over to you.

Competition FAQ

Our competition has raised a few questions on the Facebook group. Here are as many answers as possible. All in one neat and tidy list.

Who can enter?

Anyone at all. Absolutely anyone. Charity members, group members, people who go to other groups, people that write, people that might like to write one day… Anyone who would like to can join in.

I’m not from Thanet, can I join in?

Yes, please do. Admittedly, when the theme is Thanet related you might need to do some homework but please don’t let that put you off.

How do I enter?

To enter the contest you need somewhere to post your entry. There are a lot of free sites that are ideal for this. By the end of the competition, you will have laid the foundations for a strong presence as a writer.

I already have a blog, can I use that?

Absolutely, yes. You will get the most out of this competition if the blog is wholly or mostly about you as a writer but feel free to use whatever you have.

I don’t have a blog, where do I post my entries?

There is a whole load of free services that you can use. They all count but some are easier to use than others.

Here are some ideas:

  • WordPress (will ping us with your entry)
  • Tumblr (remember to enable replies)
  • Quora (very easy to use)
  • Blogspot (popular but not always the best place to start)
  • Medium (the Facebook of blogging)
  • Weebly (a popular newcomer)

Do I have to write for all 12 themes?

Not if you do not want to. Although you will get the most mileage out of this competition by making an attempt at all 12. Each week is a sperate contest so there is no commitment to take part every week.

Do I have to comment on other people’s entries?

Of course not, however, this contest is all about building a sense of community and by giving a little love to others you will be more likely to receive love back. Love, in this context, being helpful feedback and nice comments.

Can I post a video instead of writing my entry?

Yes, if you want to. A video can be a great part of an authorial presence. I recommend posting a transcript if you can but you don’t have to.

Do I have to link to Thanet Creative Writers?

Linking is not an obligation as such but it does make it more likely that your platform will ping us to let us know about the post. A link also explains to your readers what you are doing and why you are writing for that topic which saves you from having to explain each week.

I’ve just made a WordPress blog for the contest, can I post other things too?

Absolutely, yes. The idea of this contest is that you get to build up a presence. If you have additional ideas then you should run with them.

Can’t I just post to my Facebook page (or my wall)?

You could and I will probably see it, but you will miss out on establishing a wider reach that owning your own content space provides. It is not very hard to set up a free blog or content space and publishers look for writers with an established presence so this should help you down the line.

I chose a platform that doesn’t ping, how do I make sure you see my entry?

Don’t panic. If you are not sure I have seen your entry at judging time, you can always share a link in the Facebook group or use the contact form to give us a heads up.

What do the winners get?

Winners get what everyone else gets – the joy of writing with the added benefit of building something to help you find a publisher down the line. Winners also get bragging rights, a prominent link, and probably everyone (or at least a lot of people) taking a look at their work to see what was so great about it.

What happens at the end?

When all 12 themes have had their winners announced I will explain how we are going to vote for an overall winning post. More on that later.

Do I have to keep my blog going after the competition?

That is up to you. Even if you post something once a month until the next contest you may find that having a creative outlet like that helps you stay focused on writing. Try it and see how it works out for you.

Any more questions?

If you have any more questions, please do feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer them all.

5 Great Sites for Writers

When it comes to writing advice there is a lot of junk out there. There is also a lot of really good content hidden among the junk. If you are willing to search, there is truly amazing advice that will supercharge your writing with its insights. Here are five (ish) links that I think you will definitely want to bookmark.

1. Bane of Your Resistance

Bane of Your Resistance is a blog all about overcoming resistance to writing (such as writers block or being too busy to write). The tag line actually says so you can stop feeling guilty and really enjoy writing again.

Bane of Your Resistance is written by Rosanne Bane, TEDx speaker and general expert on such things. Rosanne Bane is a creativity coach, writing and creativity instructor, speaker and author. In other words, she knows what she is talking about.

If you struggle with not writing, and we all have at some point, then Rosanne Bane is the person that you need to be reading.

2. Funds for Writers

Funds for Writers is a website all about getting paid as a writer. It tells you all about grants you could apply for, competitions that pay well, and much more. While this would be of more use if you like American dollars and live in, say, the USA, it is nevertheless a great place to get inspired to think outside the box about funding your writing.

This will not be a site for everyone. Taking what you learn on Funds for Writers and the American market and applying it to the UK is going to take some personal effort and for some of us, that effort is just not worth it. For those us willing and able to put in the time, Funds for Writers can be a great source of inspiration.

3. Writers Helping Writers

Some of the best advice for writers I have read was found on Writers Helping Writers. If you are looking for advice on creating vivid characters, demonstrating motivation, dealing with difficult issues of pain in a story, or any other topic (those were just the ones on the front page when I looked just now), I assure you that you will come away feeling inspired and educated.

As the title of the website says, this is a site where writers offer advice and help to other writers. All of the articles are geared this way and the quality of advice is very high.

I have seen plenty of “me too” sites where the drive for daily content has resulted in a declining quality of articles and a general desperation that drives the editors to publish any half-baked junk they get sent. Writers Helping Writers is just the opposite. It is a website packed to the nines with high-quality advice. Advice that you could and should read.

4. Better Novel Project

The Better Novel Project is a blog that deconstructs best-selling novels scene by scene to show you why and how the novel works the way it does.

Take, for example, How to Write a Fight Scene (in 11 Steps). This is not just one writer’s personal opinion but a breakdown of how such scenes work in best-selling stories.

Before I wrote this guide I had not seen the fight scene breakdown. I stopped writing this guide and read the fight scene article intently. I can honestly say I have a better idea of how to write a fight than I ever did before.

If you only read one new blog this year, read this one.

5. Stack Overflow, no seriously.

“Can you really mean that?” you might be asking. “But Matt,” you might say, “SO is a geek website all about computers.” (Which it is).

Stay with me for a moment because I am about to let you in a secret. There are subsections of SO that are just perfect for writers. The first is called Writers and the second is Worldbuilding. I get lost reading these sites sometimes and have had some great feedback on many complicated issues. For example, the conditions under which a moon could be terraformed.

For example, in World Building, I got very good scientific insight into the conditions under which a moon could be terraformed and how that process might actually work in a very specific scenario.

Before you go and get stuck in, you need to understand that this is not a forum and chit chat is not well tolerated. SO is a question and answer site. The idea is that the best questions and the best answers rise to the top and the community is very active towards that goal.

Writers and Worldbuilding can be powerful friends to help you plan and write you great novel but it is worth taking the introductory tour first.

A bonus mention

With so many great sites that I could recommend (and a few I could recommend you avoid) there were always going to be ones I had to leave out. Here is a bonus link: Writers in the Storm it is a blog, every bit as good as the others I have already shared. With a title like that, I had to include it anyway.

Thanet’s Writers’ Groups: Early 2017 Summary

pens in a row

Last year we posted a list of writer groups that take place in Thanet. Thanks to the wonderful feedback from readers we have been able to expand on that list.

Like our 2016 list, this is every writers’ group we could find. Some cost money but most are free, some are selective about who can come, some are open to the public, and some only meet sometimes. No matter what your level of writing or the distance you can travel there is bound to be a group that is a good fit for your needs.

Thanet’s Writers’ and Poets’ Groups

Ageless Thanet has activities free for people 50+ who live in CT9, CT11, and CT12. They include Creative Writing, Life Writing, and a Film Project. For more information about any of the activities please call 01843 601550

Arts in Ramsgate run writing classes priced at £7.50. Facilitators for this are Karen Bellamy and author Katerina Dimond. They meet in Harbour Street Ramsgate. You should book in advance. More details about the event. (A big thanks to Thanet Poetry Posse for some solid fact-finding there).

Broadstairs Writers’ Circle meet on the first and third Monday of the month (except August) at the Brown Jug Inn; 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Dead Island Poets. We know they meet in pubs around Thanet for open mic poetry nights and are run by a lady called Penny. As I still couldn’t find a page to link to your best bet is to follow the Thanet Creative Writers group were Dead Island Poets events tend to get shared. Next meeting is at the end of the month.

Hilderstone Writers’ Circle is, as far as we can tell, run by Maggie Solley at Hilderstone Adult Education College, Margate. I don’t have any further details but the contact number is 01843 860860.

Isle Writers gather 2.00pm – 4.00pm on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) at Broadstairs Library.

Inspirations hold their meetings between 11am and 1pm at Westgate Library on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December).

TCW: Poetry is an as yet unnamed poetry group that Thanet Creative Writers are looking to establish. The focus is will be on helping new poets find their voice.

Thanet Creative Writers hold a number of events throughout the year. Matt hosts a weekly writers’ gathering at his home each Tuesday at 7:30pm (address at the bottom of most pages on this site) called Writers’ Tea and Chat. The group has no fixed agenda and is there for whatever writers feel they need to talk about. This tends to be review and feedback but not always.

Thanet Poetry Posse are an online only group where people share Thanet poetry related things.

Thanet Writers (a group founded by, but no longer affiliated with, Thanet Creative Writers) meet every Thursday at about 8pm at the Chapel to critique work and discuss the running of their website.

Third Thursday Writers’ is run by Peggy Rogers and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. There is a waiting list to join in so you’ll need to make contact in advance.

Writers’ Circle is run by Maria Brown and is a University of the Third Age (U3A) group. You should probably use the contact form to find out more information.

Writers Unleashed meet in the Ravensgate Arms, King Street, Ramsgate at 8pm on the second Monday of the month. The group is aimed at writers of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction, and Song to read or perform or listen to others.

I’ve tried my best to get as much useful information here so you can find a writers group that suits you. Things change and the details were as reasonably accurate as the sources I was able to look them up on when I wrote this list.

Over to you

  • Have I missed any writers’ groups out? Then tell me in the comments.
  • Do you go to a writers’ group? What’s it like?
  • Anything else? You know where the comments are.