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?

Writer’s social and BBQ

Next month Thanet Creative Writers will be hosting a BBQ. The social event is open to anyone but particularly to writers, poets, and book enthusiasts.

This is an opportunity to relax, socialise with like minded people and grab a burger (or whatever floats your boat). You are all invited.

The BBQ will be held on the 22nd of July. That’s next month and a Saturday, in case you were wondering.

The first of what we hope will be an annual BBQ and social for writers, poets, and creatives to enjoy the sun, good food, and great company. (And anyone else who thinks that this would be great company to keep).

There will be an opportunity to donate towards the cost of the BBQ at the event but this is purely optional. We just want to show our fellow writers, poets, and creative friends a good time.

This family-friendly event is open to anyone who wants to come along. Bring your plus ones, bring your kids, bring your smiles.

Find out more by visiting our Facebook event page.

Week 11: Winners

Eleven down, one to go. The second to last batch of winners is about to be announced.

Quite indulgently we asked you to write about what you loved most about Thanet Creative Writers. If I am honest, the thought “how can I ask people to blog about us” was how I ended up with “wouldn’t it be cool if we had a 12-week writing competition”. And the rest, as they say, was history.

Honourable mentions

Before we carry on, I’d like to give an honourable mention to Author Buzz. While not part of the competition there is a good post on that site all about us at Thanet Creative Writers. I know because I wrote it. Now on to the important folks – you wonderful writers.

Likewise, I’d like to shout out to L. L. Winder. Who might like to add Wedding anniversaries to the list of things that stop her writing. Congratulations guys. I wish you many more years of happiness together.

Top Three Posts.

In no particular order of sexiness, here are the three front runners for this week. Of course, that could be because there only were three entries that I found but even so…

I hope each and every one of those posts finds their way to /r/ThanetWinners2017 for the big vote off at the end of next week. (Hint, go and post them there you amazing writers)

Talking about the big vote off, if you still want to write for a theme that has passed you have one last chance to win by entering it into the big vote off. Just saying…

Winner of the best post

Here we are once again. Three great posts and I have to pick just one. Honestly, this is so hard. This section of the post has been blank for an hour now.

In the end, I had to pick one and it was the one I realised that I had liked so much that I had left a comment saying how easy it was to read.

This week’s winner, by a nose, is: It’s in the small print by Jess Joy.

Winner of the best comment

For sheer novelty value, I am going to award Benj the best comment award.

On the Night of the Hats post, his comment was not only interesting but in verse. That’s gotta count for something, right. Anyway, I liked it and so I am awarding the prize to Benj.

Winner of the most votes

As this week, the Reddit vote was a dead heat between our best post winner (Jess) and Niel, I think it is fair to award the people’s choice award to Night of the Hats, Thanet Love.

Closing thoughts

This week coming up is the last of the 12 themes. I challenge you all to write your best ever entry. Consider the gauntlet thrown down.

Over to you…

Thanet Creative Writers Tea and Chat

Hands and paper

Tea and Chat is a weekly event run by Thanet Creative Writers and hosted by yours truly.

Tea and chat is not the only writers’ group in Thanet but it is one that I have a particular fondness for. Not only because I host it but because of the wonderful people that make up the group. I don’t want to name names or embarrass anyone but we have some fantastic individuals with true talent and, most importantly, a very friendly community.

While most weeks we tend to share work and receive valuable feedback we have no fixed agenda and will talk about whatever the writers at the gathering wish to talk about.

One week, we helped an attendee revise her CV and since then she has had a lot of interviews whereas before she was getting very few. I love the fact that we were able to combine our skills as writers to truly help another person and make the world a little bit better.

We meet every Tuesday at 7.30pm. The address and phone number is at the bottom of every page. There will be tea (lots of types of tea), a cat, laughter, and a warm welcome.

Anyone is welcome to come along as we are a friendly bunch of assorted people from all sorts of walks of life.

TCW-leaflet-001-800w.png

 

 

 

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.

Three things games could teach writers about writing

Today I want to look at three very specific things that games could teach us writers about the art of writing. Things we should know and yet, somehow, seem to forget on a fairly regular basis.

Each of these three things comes with a video by Extra Credits but when they say “games” or “your game” image they are saying “stories” or “your novel”. You’d be surprised how often the exact same points apply.

Bad writing (in games)

Bad writing makes bad story telling

Before we get to the video which is both short and informative while being entertaining and easy to watch, let us talk about Sci-fi.

Sci-fi is really two entire genres:

  • Science Fiction – what might be possible
  • Science Fantasy – just accept it and have fun

One is about reality and the other is a flight of fantasy with high-tech gear in it.

A stand in for including some sort of high-technology magic, without really understanding what we are talking about, is technobabble. And while a little can be fun, most of the time all you are doing is talking nonsense.

It’s okay to ask the reader to just accept that the doodad in the green box makes the thing happen if you are happy to be writing at little more science fantasy rather than hard science. If you actually have no idea how the science works and really don’t care, then don’t try to explain it to the reader. Instead, you might want to think about showing them the exciting adventure or whatever it is that made you want to tell this particular story.

The video goes into great detail about the difference in writing style and genre between Star Wars and Star Trek and there’s probably no reason for me to cover the same ground. You can watch the video for that. However, let me point out this – The Star Wars original trilogy never explained what The Force was and it did not spoil the series.

Sometimes, in a story, a thing just is. You don’t need to explain what was happening, you just need to let the audience enjoy it.

I see in a lot of writer’s groups in Thanet and online subscribe to a cargo-cult of writing which insists that every last thing must be fully explained and work within a scientific system. Even if that thing is magic.

Sometimes, “a wizard did it” is all the explanation needed. We are not narrating an RPG and there is no need to maintain detailed numeric tracking systems for every aspect of magic, or science, or whatever fantastic element you are talking about. So long as the audience can enjoy the fantastical element of your story and you are consistent about it, you have probably done enough.

Over explaining, especially badly done which only shows that you don’t understand the science yourself, is only going to spoil things.

Guns in games and stories

Guns (and weapons in general) say a lot about the culture of a story

This second video talks about “The American cult of the gun”. I don’t plan to say too much here but have you ever considered the cultural implications of certain choices you make with your story?

In the west, we often write about a protagonist on a quest for the betterment oft he self. To get the girl, to save the day, to be the hero. Likewise, we can tend to see the gun or the car as a tool to achieve personal freedom. On the other hand, other cultures might see the sword or the gun as an extension of the self.

I can imagine that I just lost you. Watch the video and lets talk in a moment.

So what do you think? Do you still see your story in the same way? Or have you perhaps just caught a glimpse of how our culture informs the way we build characters and plots?

When we put a gun in a character’s hand, is it just a gun or is it a representation of his own power in the service of others?

That might seem like a pointless abstraction but that “pointless abstraction” can have profound implications for the character development and even the way in which we will show the protagonist using the gun.

It might be a bit much to extract from this one example the whole concept of how our culture colours ever aspect of our story telling but if this video can help you to start thinking about it, then I have done my job here.

Hard-Boiled games and stories

Why Are There So Many Gritty Video Games (and stories)?

Another huge mistake I see touted in writers groups is that to make a story more mature all you need is to make it more hard-boiled with sex, bad language, and graphic violence. The reality is that this often just serves to make your story seriously lacking in the maturity stakes.

Over the last few years, I have encountered advice from Thanet based writers that insists that it is a good idea to just cut loose with swearing and blood to tell a better story. “The more hard-boiled, the better,” they say. This is categorically wrong.

Hard-boiled writing for its own sake is writing. Just because a good story has blood and violence in it does not mean that putting blood and violence in yours will make it good. Your story will still be as good or as bad as it was before but it will now have more blood and violence and may have suffered as a result of this unneeded inclusion.

There is really only one reason to put blood, bad language, and violence into a story – if it completely makes sense to do so and the story would unavoidably suffer to avoid doing so.

Stories with violence that is completely unjustified are just splatter porn fan-fiction. Worse still adding more “hard-boiled” elements into a story without understanding what they are there for will almost certainly make your story less interesting to read. Boring stories do not sell and no one wants to read them.

That’s not to say that bad language, sex, nihilism, blood, gore, death, and all that should never be used. Like any thematic element to a story, if used well, they can be a vital part of the recipe. Used carelessly and all you have is a story no one will want to read.

Gritty does not equal better.

Over to you

Tell us what you took away from these videos

  • Do you agree with these three lessons that games can teach us?
  • Is there a vital point I missed?
  • What did you take away from those videos?

Tell us your thoughts on these topics in the comments section below.

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.

Writers’ Writing Competition: If I invented my own religion

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

But first, an apology

I admit I dropped the ball this week. I honestly thought I had everything set up and scheduled but I failed to realise where we were in the week. That is my fault and I apologise. Winners to be announced shortly too.

Week Three: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 20th. However, if you need more time because of my mistake say so and I will delay judging by a day.

If I invented my own religion

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

Ideas

This theme was invented to allow you to show how your twisted mind works as a writer. Although the intention was that it be a biographical topic, feel free to write fiction, poetry, essay, you new cult manifesto, or something entirely crazy.

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.

It is important to realise that unless you link to this post, then ou ping may not show up, and if it does, it will show up in the wrong place.

Writers’ Writing Competition: Week Two

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

Week Two: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 13th.

If I had a time machine…

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

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.