Where is poetry going in Thanet?

Does poetry in Thanet exist in a bubble or is it more outward looking? Is it something solid that is growing or something that is over-inflated and will soon go pop?

I think most of us would probably answer that poetry in Thanet is substantive, outward looking, and has a bright future. I know that I would.

What is that bright future? Do we know? Can we know? Even if we can’t know, can we help decide what that future is?

Thanet Creative Writers is holding a Council of Poets to combine the sharing of verse with discussion about where we want to see poetry in Thanet going next. This gathering, I hope, will be the first step towards establishing what form the proposed new Poetry Circle will take.

The council of Poets will take place at our usual venue (address at the bottom of most pages) at half past seven on the 30th March. Places are limited and they are going pretty quickly. So make sure you reserve a space by asking me in person or just set yourself as “going” on the Facebook event.

We will consider the following questions (in between sharing our own poetry).

  • What do we poets in Thanet need?
  • Does poetry in Thanet have a future?
  • What is the future of Thanet’s poetry?
  • How can TCW help enhance the local poetry scene?
  • Do you want to make this a regular event?

Mostly, I imagine, we will be sharing rhymes and drinking tea.

Where do you see Thanet’s poetry going in the near and not so near future?

Why I write in my genre

Here is this week’s theme for the writing competition that also builds your author platform. For full details please see week one’s post.

Week Four: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 27th.

Why I write in my genre

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to. Bonus points (which don’t count towards anything other than enhanced bragging rights) if you can include both the original Greek classification system and the art history usage of Genre Paintings without it seemingly the least bit forced.

Ideas

This theme was designed to give you an opportunity to share your love of your preferred genre (or genres) with your readers. Talking about the general classification of your work can help you show up on the radar of the type of people that want to read that sort of work. However, feel free to argue that genres are a terrible idea, and show why your genre-busting novel is amazing without them. Or, you know, find some awesome way to spin a fiction around the theme. It’s your blog after all

However, feel free to argue that genres are a terrible idea, and show why your genre-busting novel is amazing without them. Or, you know, find some awesome way to spin a fiction around the theme. It’s your blog after all.

You can probably guess my favourite genre from the picture I chose this week. It was that or an image of zombies.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget to link to this week’s post so your entry is (much) easier to discover. You may find it easier to get more comments if you also share your post to your Facebook friends or on Twitter. There is now a guide to linking (and link sharing), if you need it.

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.

Why Thanet Creative Writers exists

I am a contradiction – my grammar is poor, my spelling is horrendous, and my grasp of the English language is rudimentary at best. But I love writing.

I love talking about writing with other writers. I love seeing writers succeed – seeing good writers walk the path that takes them to being great writers.

More than that, I love seeing people who never thought they could write go on to realise that they are writers.

That last point, seeing writers realise they can, was an eye opener for me. I never realised how much I would love seeing that happen until the day I first saw it happen.

One day I might tell that story but all that love is not why we formed Thanet Creative Writers but it is a large part of why we keeping doing what we do.

So why did we start?

Back in 2010, I started saying to people “do you want to start something for writers?” I did that one very simple reason – I love writing but being a writer alone is hard.

Skip forward to 2013 and four people, all of whom had toyed with writing, got together. We did that not because anyone was making us but, like me, those other writers did not want to be writers alone.

Being a writer alone means that when you get stuck with a plot point there is no one to ask for advice.

Being a writer alone means that if you don’t quite get how to write strong dialogue, there is no one to nudge you in the right direction.

Being writer alone means having no peers to give you feedback or to learn from.

Being a writer alone means that you never, ever, get a chance to see inside the creative process of another writer. You get to see finished books on shelves and are left wondering – “how do I get there?”

Being a writer alone means that you have no way to know if what you are writing is any good or how to make it good. More importantly, you have very few options to get help figuring out how to keep improving.

I knew full well that writers groups existed in Thanet. My dad used to take me to poetry circles when I was young. The chances were that there were more somewhere.

I had no idea how to find these groups. It was hard work to find even a clue of other groups and, at the time, what I did find online was so old I could not be sure that the group still existed. None of those few groups had Facebook, Twitter, or even email. That suggested to me that the people in those were probably a lot older than I was.

When I was a child, all the writers seemed to have been doing the same thing for a long time and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Whereas I, quite clearly, had no idea.

So I did what anyone else could have done. I called on my Facebook friends and three people answered the call. Then a few more. Then a few more. That was how Thanet Creative Writers was founded.

What we do is enable people to come together and share their love of writing. What we have is a vibrant community of people not only closer to my own age, but all ages. That gives us all the benefit of youth and aged wisdom at the same time.

That same vibrancy is present in our in-person events, in our social media “forums”, and in our wider writer’s community.

Whatever we do, it comes back to the same thing – we love writing and we want to be with other people who love writing.

If you love writing then come and join us.

Whatever you do, don’t be a writer alone.

What do you like to write?

We are all different. We all write our own stories but even so our stories tend to be of one type or another. Tell us about yours.

Please feel free to expand on your answer in the comments. Tell us about your work.

What are your top tips for dialogue?

Nice hat

Writing is a craft that we never completely master. There is always more to learn, more to understand, and more to say. This is especially true when it comes to dialogue.

The breadth of technical and artistic skills needed can be a steep curve for new writers. That was part of why I compiled a list great articles on the subject of writing dialogue. You can read the list on my personal blog – 5 must read articles for dialogue writers

Self-promotion side, what I’d like to do now is to throw open the doors and invite everyone else to have a say.

Using the comments form, tell us what your top tips are for dialogue writers.