Welcome to the first ever Greenwich Writers' Newsletter!
This is an exciting time for all of us here at Greenwich Writers as we begin our journey, growing our group through wider involvement in our local community.
We want to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of our amazing community.
As well as informing you of our upcoming Meetups, we will also give you easy and direct access to our special events and competitions.
Each month we'll have interviews with some of our very own writers as well as some special guests.
So, put your pens down, just for a moment, and enjoy what we have to offer.
Many of us here at Greenwich Writers visited our friends at the Greenwich Book Festival on May 28th, where Lucy Atkins, former Editor and Bestselling Author, gave us somewhat of a masterclass on how to polish our manuscripts.
How to Get Your Book Published: A Writers’ masterclass with Lucy Atkins
1. Change the typeface of your manuscript. The change of aesthetic will help you spot those pesky mistakes and other pitfalls your eyes may have grown used to!
2. Print it and read through it. Everything feels different in hardcopy.
3. Read it aloud, especially the dialogue. You'll hear what's really written, rather than what you think you're reading.
4.Make sure there are no typos, syntax errors etc.
5.Format your manuscript to the EXACT specifications that the agent wants, nothing more, nothing less. You can usually find these on the agent’s website.
6.Let people read your manuscript. Make sure it's someone you can trust to tell you the truth, e.g. Not your mum.
Interview With A Greenwich Writer: Karen Morse
Karen is a founding member of the Greenwich Writers' Group. She contributes an enviable pool of knowledge and her superbly crafted writing is a joy to read. I have asked her a few questions on her particular writing experience.
Hi, Karen. Can you tell me what you are writing?
I’m at the first draft stage of a novel but it still needs a lot of editing. It’s mainly set in London in 1947 during one of the coldest winters on record. The story follows two main characters, John Fenwick, a journalist, and Violet Tanner, a young woman new to London. It has echoes back to the war, and if I had to give it a genre, I’d say it’s a thriller. I want to write more novels with the same two characters, it’s such an interesting part of recent history.
That sounds interesting. How do you go about researching something like that?
I started off using web-based material. I’ve used resources from the British Library, for example. I’ve used Mass Observation records and my local library has access to the Times from the period. There are also Metropolitan Archives of war damage. The National Archive at Kew has files of secret war operations, and, although my novel is set a couple of years later, it reflects on Fenwick’s war. At one point, I photographed locations featured in the book. I enjoy doing the research, but remember that I am writing fiction. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I want a realistic story.
Do you plan your writing time? Like, an hour a day? Or is it more spontaneous?
I would, ideally, have a regular writing time, and it works very well for me. Then life gets in the way! My best time for writing is very early in the morning. I can’t make much sense late at night if I’m tired. I do try to write something every day.
How has being a part of the Greenwich writers helped in your writing?
Just being able to talk to people about writing is good, and I love the way we’ve become a community. And it’s good that people really know their stuff, and are prepared to give considered constructive feedback. I often write something and think it’s awful, and it’s reassuring to have other people say it’s not awful, or if it is (not that they’d be that blunt!), how I can improve it. I think we’ve all got writing tics, too. It takes someone else to notice that, and someone reading my extract will always notice something I haven’t.
Who are your influences?
Kate Atkinson, William Boyd, Ian McEwan amongst others, and I really like crime fiction, especially Mark Billingham. I can’t claim they’re influencing me a lot – I wish. I’d give a lot to be able to write as well as any of them.
Do you have any tips that you can give us?
Write! Someone once told me, you can’t edit an empty page. Another tip that works for me – and I have been published before, just not for fiction – is always stop at a point where know what you’re going to write next, which makes it easier to resume.
Thank you, Karen, that was very informative. As always, a pleasure talking to you, I look forward to reading your finished manuscript. To see an excerpt of Karen’s novel and to read more about her, visit her GW page here.
Hunter S. Thompson:
July 18, 1937- February 20, 2005
“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I'm not sure that I'm going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says 'you are nothing', I will be a writer.”
PIece of The Month!
This month's piece is a flash fiction from GW writer, Andrew Buglass. You can read an excerpt from his YA novel and learn more about him on his GW page. If you've got a short piece, or an extract you'd like to share, get in touch!
It was a task he so utterly reviled. Simply to touch it filled him with disgust and a desire to bathe. His eyes faltered as he stepped into the night and darkness consumed his vision. The load was easier to drag on wheels, but the noise as they scraped along the concrete was deafening in the otherwise still air. The putrid stench assaulted his senses; the flesh had begun to rot and through the blackened surroundings paranoia began to ensue. Quickly, what if someone comes? What if somebody had seen him? Lights in nearby houses flickered on and off; he froze. A car drove past the street and he flung himself to the wall as its headlights scanned the night seeking him out. Moments later all had calmed. He had reached a decent spot. His head flinched from side to side – he was alone. The cool dark air taunted his bare skin, whispering to him ‘they can see you’. He had to get home; it would be quicker now with no extra weight. He ran, flatfooted, stumbling over rocks, inhaling sharply to hide his pain. No one must see him. His hands faltered as he nervously fumbled to lock the back gate. Next door’s security light awoke, blinding and intrusive as it glared down on him. Running through the yard he thrust open the kitchen door and stepped back inside, locking it. ‘Never again’ he thought. ‘Next time I put the bins out, I’m getting dressed first.’