April 2019 – Grab Every Opportunity

and if there isn’t one – make it!

As I packed for our longed for cruise to the Canary Islands I remembered a previous one where I met Sandra Howard who was travelling with her husband Michael Howard, one of the official lecturers. As an after thought the Cruise Director had invited Sandra to lead a series of Writers’ Workshops and I wondered if anything like this would happen again so (hang on to your dreams) I added some notes and a couple of short stories before I locked my case. On the first evening I during the after dinner entertainment I saw the Cruise Director sitting on her own to one side so I tiptoed over and asked if there was any room to add a Writers’ Workshop to the programme?


If you choose to go to the Canary Islands by sea during the Spring Equinox you have to cross the Bay of Biscay and you can expect (to quote Kipling) that the ship will go ‘Wop with a wibble between’ and it did, but most people got their sea legs remarkably quickly. On day two about eighteen of us gathered for a Writers’ Workshop, an extra item on the programme. Most confessed that they had thought about writing, and had been told that ‘most people have a book inside them.’ Some had been asked by their families to write a family history and one lady had been begged to write down the stories she had told her children when they were small. A man who had done National Service during the Suez Crisis kept us spell bound as he called back his memories and finally another confessed that he had completed an e-book and self published it on Amazon to discover too late that it was full of typos and worse, he hadn’t noticed that he had changed his hero’s name half way through the book! We all agreed that to complete a book is a triumph but I took the opportunity to explain that we all need a professional editor and proof reader whether we are going down the traditional route with an agent and publisher or are taking the increasingly common indie route. Friends and family members can be wonderful supporters but if we are serious we need more than a kindly ‘that’s brilliant dear!’

The would be writers met a second time and we discussed the dangers of being conned by rapacious vanity press publishers and I suggested that the first step is to start keeping a journal . When are we too old? Never!

A proof reader and editor who I would recommend very highly is Judy Manville, in my opinion she is perceptive, knowledgeable and efficient and even if you are a complete beginner she will edit your work ready to publish at a professional standard without destroying the presence of your voice. https://judymanvilleproofreader.wordpress.com

Here are some of the useful sources I promised last month:-
Https://creative-writing-now.com
Https://annerallen.com.  Through this web site you will find Anne R Allen’s blog with Ruth Harris ‘Writing about writing.Mostly’
Https://thecreativepenn.com.  Joanna Penn publishes a Podcast every Monday, a regular blog with resources for writers and authors as well as writing novels herself and running courses from time to time.
www.dyingwords.net/author/garry.Garry Rodgers is a retired Canadian homicide detective and forensic coroner with a regular blog. I find his blogs very stimulating.

I’ll be back at the beginning of May

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