Tag Archives: Canvey Writers

Writing Prompts

We had a great meeting last night at Canvey Writers.

I set out with three different types of writing prompt: one envelope called Plotting, one called Sculpting and one called Subtext. The idea was no one knew which was the more fiction one, which was more memoir and which was screenplay and they then all had twenty minutes to work. The ones who chose the Subtext one, of which I needed four, had to go elsewhere to work as a team.

It was really interesting to see how people got on and what we learned about each of them as a writer through the work they produced.

I will share some of this with you later in the week, but first, let’s look at what each prompt was and perhaps some of you might like to play along at home!

  1. Plotting: each person who chose this had three questions on a piece of paper. Here are some examples:
  1. Who just snuck in through the window?
  2. What were they carrying?
  3. Where were they going?


  1. Who is Ethan?
  2. Why is he crying?
  3. What is he going to do about it?


  1. Whose house is Julia leaving?
  2. Why was she there?
  3. Where is she going now?


  1. What is Alfie’s big idea?
  2. Who does he share it with?
  3. What is their plan of action?


  1. Why is the dog barking?
  2. Whose dog is it?
  3. What happened to the owner?


  1. What big secret did Maisie overhear?
  2. Who will she tell first?
  3. What will happen next?


2. Sculpting:

In any order, time-wise write out five life-defining moments.


3. Subtext:

In a group of 4 we will explore ‘subtext’ in a scene through action and reaction.


Person one: Employee

Person two: Boss

Scenario: Employee is asking the Boss for a pay rise.

Person three: the thoughts of Person one.

Person four: the thoughts of Person two.

Create the scene, location, time of day, brief visual on the two characters speaking.

Write their dialogue (actions as direction based on how you would act out the dialogue: hands to face, looking down etc.)

Person three and four must narrate the internal dialogue after what is said.

Create a scene that time permitting can be acted out!

So how did they get on… find out later this week!

The Canvey Writers hard at work…

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Writing Groups

Last night the Canvey Writers met for their monthly meeting.

The group was established by yours truly in January 2015 and it’s hard to believe we will be four soon! Last year we launched our special charity anthology for Havens Hospices which to date has raised (with our showcase evening) close to £500.

This year we have been quieter as there is a lot of work involved in that, but I am sure we will come up with something else. We do have a short story prize set up in honour of one of our members who sadly passed this year.

The problem I have is in keeping the ideas flowing and keeping it fresh. Last night, to emphasise the importance of reading, we looked at the books people have loved and asked them to read some extracts and tell us why that book captivated you. I think, as writers, it’s important to embrace our reading and when a book grabs you and won’t let you put it down, then ask yourself why. What has that writer done to achieve that? The exercise of this critical analysis is a great tool for your own writing. So I urge you all to do the same.

So have a think on what book you would have chosen?

I would love to hear from you!

Have a great Tuesday!

Dead Zone

I loved this book, I have always liked Stephen King’s mastery of character, but the premise of this novel is what captured me so much when I first read it years ago. 

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Filed under Acknowledging who we are and why we write, Behind the Lie, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Blogging, Book Review, Canvey Writers, Uncategorized

I am still here!

20170913_183446 (1)

Still very much alive and kicking!

This is probably the longest I have not blogged since I set this writing blog up.

I just wanted you to know it’s just the new programme at the gym (very early mornings!) and lots of lovely work commitments that have made me decide to post only sporadically. This will be for at least another week or two and then I should be back on track with my writing advent countdown, so all things writerly! Yay!

I am currently busy with more editing for other people than writing right now but that’s okay and it will change for sure in December! I am ready to work on Chutney (renamed now too). Yeah!

So, in other news…

Earlier this year, I was asked by my lovely business partner, the FAB Gill James, to contribute a short story to a new Bridge House collection. This time it was commission only, and it was a kind of Brexit reaction about identity. The collection is called Citizens of Nowhere.

This collection is finally out TODAY  (whoop!) and so I am sharing the link with you all. While the remit was stories of about 3000 words this one is the one that ended up being closer to 12K. Yikes. But Gill liked it enough to still want to publish it — thankfully. That makes it the longest short story I have in a collection to date! It’s called Boarding House. I guess you could call it a kind of half-way house for lost souls! It is a bit different!

So, this year has seen me in four collections no less… including the Canvey Writers one we launch this Friday! Wow! It is an incredibly busy week for me! But, mid-Cornerstones ‘interim report read’, I decided to have a quick break and that I needed to touch base!

I will be back and blogging about the book launch later this week and will share photos etc. next week… still time to come if you’re local! Or not so local! Use this link to reserve your eTicket. This is the first time a lot of the group have read like this and I know some of them are nervous but I am sure people will appreciate that and I know they will all do FABULOUSLY!

Here’s the link for tickets and to find out more!


Poster Upper Room

And here are the book links for you… HOT off the press…

Citizens of Nowhere

Buy me!


And this one below that we launch on Friday! It’s all happening! Get it for £5 special price at the launch! Or use the link to get your copy from Amazon!


Buy Me

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Dates and Plans and Love


❤ ❤ ❤

Well it is the day for lovers, but not everyone has that someone, nor should there be a day for it, if you love someone just tell them every day. Right? But this is not a post about love, unless you count doing what you love, every day and then it is a post about love. Oh yes. The love of writing that we celebrate here every single day.

Last night the local writing group that I run, had it’s Feb meeting where we unveiled our exciting plans for the year ahead that include a paid workshop (open to all), a group anthology and a showcase evening at the end of the year to celebrate all local authors as well as launch the book… and all for charity!

❤ ❤ ❤

We have a plan with dates for critique groups and sessions for the whole of the year!

But I will kick-off with this… open to the two Canvey Writers’ groups… as well as other locals on and off the island who might need some help editing… workshop

There are limited spaces and there is a PayPal button on my website if anyone wants to come along. While priority is given to the Canvey writing groups, we do have the larger hall so I can accommodate others… but book early.




Happy Valentine’s all and continue doing what you love ❤

Every day.

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Celebrating all things writerly

Just a few photos from the Canvey Writers’ Christmas meal.

I think it’s really important, as writers, who naturally tend to work alone, to come together to share the experience and our work.

This year we were at a local pub for a meal … thanks Half Crown!

Roll on Christmas!


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The Gliterary Tree

Yes I know it’s November…

Last week, short notice I know, we were asked at the writing group if Canvey Writers would like to bring and decorate a Christmas Tree as part of the St Nicholas Christmas Tree Festival as we have our meetings in one of the rooms at the church. So I asked fellow scribes, having had the idea that we could call it the literary tree but in my festive wisdom later felt gliterary was more apt! So we made words, punctuation marks, baubles dedicated to deceased famous writers, book covers for favourite books and ones we have had published, quotations we like, bookmarks and put ribbons and bows on books to place like gifts around the tree. We also left fliers for writers who might be inspired and a book for people to tell us their favourite book! I am  chuffed as for such short notice and given that apart from some lovely donated red baubles, and some bought red tinsel and beads, the rest is all hand-made!

I rather like this idea and themes can be developed on this for other years if we do it again… trees with only literary villains or heroes, just female or half female, half male, Harry Potter tree or fantasy tree (Tolkien) or chick lit tree, or classics Jane Austin style tree… in fact the list is endless. But for a first attempt I think we did okay!

We did have a lovely snow-covered 3-foot tree lent to us but, in the end, we had too many things so then we had a 4-foot tree instead, small but love it!

The trees are all on display this weekend, and tonight is a special cheese and wine event to celebrate and the lighting on the memory tree so I will add tags for Lee and Mal’s dad and John, people we miss ❤

So (shame there is a ladder on the wall behind but never mind) I present to you The Gliterary Tree in all its finery… spot my book there of course!










Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Power of the Critique

Canvey Writers new logo


Short post this morning as much writing to do but I wanted to say well done to all of the lovely writers at Canvey Writers who took part in their first full-on crit session last night.


The table was set and we worked on three shorts and poems by five different writers…


Canvey Writers 2

I had provided some guidelines on critiquing and the work was shared a couple of weeks in advance… I said be kind, be honest, be constructive.

If done well then a good critique session will empower the writers…

But we must be mindful that we are all at different stages in writing but, as such, we can help one another AND  it really is the only way to grow. The group has been going for eighteen months now so it’s time to step up the game and learn.

I learned a lot about poetry crit from the wonderful Gini who led that session for us. Normally I would hold two groups, one for prose and one for poetry but this time we joined forces and that way I think we learn more!

Great evening and as usual we just about fitted it all into the two hours!

And now to write…


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Happy Birthday Canvey Writers

Short and sweet message this morning! Canvey Writers, the writing group I started for writers on or near Canvey, now celebrates its first birthday! Whoop!

When I think about this time last year when it was all starting I had no idea how many people would show and if they would still be part of it all a year on, but I am delighted to say that they are! I think only one or two have decided they are too busy but they still want to be part of it at a future date. So we have something close to 25 members and going strong!

So as we celebrate tonight we will set some goals and challenges for the year ahead.

It’s a great reason to celebrate all that is writing!


Canvey Writers new logo

We meet the second Monday of the month at St Nicholas Church, 7.15 for 7.30 start, writers of all levels and experience!

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Great Meeting of Canvey Writers

I will keep it short and sweet this morning as I need to write, but I wanted to say what a great meeting we had last night. We indulged in a writing exercise (last month’s prompt) borrowed from something we did in Bangor, and that was to write a letter to your sixteen-year-old self. What I hadn’t considered was just how much thought had gone into the idea that even if you could change something, would you? Because if you warned yourself not to marry the bad man for example, would you still have the same children?

It actually not only created the most heart-felt and openly honest pieces that helped us really understand one another more, it also set up the kind of questions that are real fodder for the story; time travel paradoxes. What interesting discussions this yielded. We were taken on journeys that made us think and made us laugh and in places made us cry. So thank you to all those who took part. Wow, I was so proud.

I think this little (well not so little) group has gone a long way since its conception in January and I am proud to stand aside such talented writers.

That is all. Have a great day everyone.


Canvey writers pic 14 Sept 2015 Peter Goldsworthy (pictured Jim Sainsbury, Colin Wyatt (my dad) & me!

Canvey writers  Meeting: 14 Sept 2015. Photo by group member Peter Goldsworthy. (Pictured left to right:  Jim Sainsbury, Colin Wyatt (my dad) & me!)


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Don’t Forget To Be Amazing Today

What a talented lot my writing group are and they rose to the challenge last night with the opening chapter of a new Harry Potter with his son at Hogwarts, what happened after the final page of Fahrenheit 451, a new Dickens courtroom drama with some wonderfully Dickensian character names, a Game of Thrones new episode etc. I did also write a new scene from Time Traveler’s Wife although I didn’t have time to read it. It’s a great exercise in looking at how other writers write and then thinking about how to use characters you know and some you don’t. Of course, this is where fan fiction was born, but as a writing exercise looking at how other writers do it can have its benefits.

We also heard writers read other work and interestingly I read the opening of the first thing I had published Jigsaw and then the opening of the latest hot off the press story I wrote for the Costa. For me, as I tried to demonstrate, it is all about the voice.

This leads me to something else I was pondering, as you do. Mum and Dad have recently been reading offerings by Judy Finnigan after we met her this year. Both said they couldn’t help hear her voice and think about her because of the use of the first-person and that perhaps that’s a downfall if you know the writer. NO. I tried to explain that in the first person more than any other you are the  character. When you read my novel and indeed any of my short stories, it isn’t me you should hear. Yes if you come to know my style then you will know there is a way I write, sure, that’s my author voice. But what you should hear is the character. Writers who write in their own voice are not challenging themselves, or at least that’s how I feel. I think what Dad said makes sense; it’s a skill that has to be learned. I will say no more on that.

So my challenge to you today is to write a short piece and think about voice. As inspiration think about Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads and monologues. See what you can capture in a short scene. Capturing character through strong voice will really give your work energy and take it to another level. Honest.

Oh and don’t forget to… be amazing today.

That is all.



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