Edinburgh Writers’ Club began life in 1947 and still goes strong today. I’ve written about the club elsewhere, Lothian Life. so I won’t recap. Last night was the first night of our new season and we found ourselves in The Wash Bar.
The Wash Bar may be the sixth venue I’ve attended meetings in over my association with the club. It’s wonderfully apposite as it sits at the foot of the steps leading from The Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s House.
This season’s syllabus is directed at participation. You’d be surprised how many folk come along to a writers’ club, but never write or, if they do, never send anything out. so encouragement is us this year and we got off to a flying start with a visit by Shirley Blair, fiction editor of People’s Friend.
Shirley posed a few questions about what we thought the 230,000 readers in their weekly circulation were seeing and surprised us by the changes in acceptable subject matter. People’s Friend remains a feel-good and gentle read, but the boundaries of social acceptance have shifted more than a little.
Then it was time to sharpen our quills and write a scenario based on three people in a given situation. The aim being to show characterisation. Three or four brave souls shared their work and Shirley was able to explain her reaction to it.
As with any magazine read several issues before submitting. People’s Friend Writing Guidelines can be found here.
Top Hint from the Fiction Ed: longer pieces are less submitted and therefore stand a better chance. She’s very interested in young romances at present and the word count that sets her pulse racing is 3,200 or 3,000.
Next meeting is on Monday 6th October. Historical Writing – Authenticity and Accuracy and is a talk by prize winning author Margaret Skea. Margaret’s book, Turn of the Tide is available here.
6th October is also the deadline for our Members’ only poetry competition.
http://goo.gl/pASdjp Mariah’s Marriage amazon US
“Oh, Mariah, let us not quarrel. We will be married within the month. At least your papa’s house contains plenty of books. You may practise throwing them.” anne stenhouse
http://goo.gl/NxYxj5 Mariah’s Marriage UK
http://goo.gl/PKptQg Bella’s Betrothal US
…a solitary figure ahead among some gorse and shrubs. Charles thought she made a beautiful picture in her riding habit with the exquisite hat Jenny Menzies wished to inherit. He thought the girl might get it sooner rather than later if he followed his instincts. At that precise moment, he wanted to shake Bella hard. Then he would lock her in the castle in Strath Menzies and hold her forever. anne stenhouse
http://goo.gl/5RBzIm Bella’s Betrothal UK
Worth saying about the next meeting, Anne, that the two Joans and I attended a talk by Margaret Skea about a year ago on exactly this proposed topic in historical fiction and it was excellent. I still have my notes which I thought of writing up and submitting to the Newsletter, but didn’t get round to and since it wasn’t an EWC talk as such thought it probably wasn’t appropriate. I loved her novel and she really knows her stuff.
Thanks for such a glowing recommendation, Gillean. It’s always good to know there’s quality ahead. Anne
It’s great to get back to meetings, Anne – Perhaps Shirley’s talk will have inspired many to have a go!
Hi Ros, yes, it was quite a buzz. Always good to hear an editor in person as it cuts through the layers of myth that build up around preferences. Anne