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The Scarborough Writers’ Circle, which has been going for over sixty years, exists to share practical writing experience, encouraging both new and more experienced writers.
We meet at The Oasis Centre, Castle Road, at 7-30 pm on alternate Tuesday evenings. (See programme details for dates and events)
Our aim is to be a friendly and supportive group, and if you are not already a member, but would like to write, then why not join us? You can come any time to a meeting as a guest, and if you decide to become a member you can join later.
Members should be able to use this site as a reference, because dates, reports, competition details and members profiles will be regularly added. (If you want to add your details, such as a brief paragraph about yourself, your current projects, and previous writing successes, please contact us.
The range represented by our members is very wide. We have novelists and crime writers, magazine article writers, and some who write short stories. There are poets amongst us, and some who like to write children’s stories. Family history is researched, and our visiting speakers have ranged from successfully published authors to publishers.
Some of us just write for friends and family, and some try to earn money from their work. Whatever your interest, writing about it can be exciting and rewarding, so what are you waiting for? If you’re a member already – keep coming; keep writing! and if you have an inkling you might like to start, don’t wait any longer-come along, and get scribbling!
Contact Secretary SWC email@example.com
A Modest Proposal
I think it’s time to alter the way we judge our competitions. Putting the decision in the hands of just one member of the circle means at best you will get an idiosyncratic view of good writing; at worst, the entry will be appeal to the whim of one particular member.
I believe it’s time to post all competition entries on the website with no indication as to author. Writers then adjudge their favourite entry based on THE WRITING. They will also be in a position to make constructive comment on any of the items they have read.
This way we are simulating proper publishing rather than indulging ourselves in our own little world. You have to write to catch the eye and please the ear of Joe Public, even if it is a limited cross section of writers.
No writer should be allowed to vote for their own entry. The person previously appointed as judge would now be the competition secretary. Only she/he would know the true author of each piece and would therefore be in a position to check that no one had cheated and voted for their own entry. It would also mean, of course, that the judge could enter the competition.
I think this method would give the ultimate winner far more satisfaction, knowing that the piece written brought pleasure to the most writers.
Because all writers will have seen all entries, we would be in a position to have an amazing follow-up meeting where we actually talked about what had affected us as readers rather than a church-like atmosphere and polite applause with no one being any the wiser.
That’s what I think, anyway.
The above letter (the title was down to me – you can’t stop a former magazine editor from editing!) was received in response to my appeal for contributions to the website from members of the SWC.
You may agree or disagree with Alan’s comments, but whatever your thoughts, please don’t just sit there – let us know what you think. Do you want to carry on as before, with ‘recital evenings’, or would you prefer to actually READ what a fellow member has WRITTEN?
Nora Knox Trophy
I have been bumbling through the world of literature in many ways over the years, I have successfully written four books about the escapades of my pals in the Merchant Navy, had a book of poetry published, have had articles published in the national newspapers and made war with politicians on many subjects.
I make no apologies for being a writer, my arrogance lends much to my success. Jutta Marshall’s story, ‘My Childhood of Fear under the Third Reich’ has a different foundation that she bases her story on. There is the strong taste of a child’s fear in her written words, a taste that makes the readers mouths run dry and their hands tremble.
Her story was published by ‘Down Your Way’, one of Yorkshire’s most elite magazines. She read it out to an audience in Scarborough Writers Circle and won ‘The Nora Knox Trophy’, the Writer’s Circle’s highest award.
Nikki Barker Competition
Ann Morley presented the Nikki Barker Trophy to Dorinda Cass, for her entry titled, ‘Open or Shut Case’, an apt title for keeping libraries open, written by Dorinda Cass. It contained interesting research on ancient libraries, the benefits of today’s libraries and pertinent illustrations.
Famous Last Words
At the meeting on June 10th, Lesley Young is challenging the members to dig up (groan) quotes interpreting the phrase (in any way you wish) Famous Last Words.
Lesley is asking you to write a short piece of fiction or an informative account to read on the night of around 750 words.
Some ideas include:
An ironic comment on an overconfident assertion that may later be proved wrong:
“I told him categorically that we could never be anything more than friends.
Famous last words! Within a few months we were engaged” (Anon).
Famous last words of people on dying:
“Either that wallpaper goes, or I do” (Oscar Wilde).
Famous last words in novels or films:
“I can’t lie to you about your chances… but, you have my sympathies” (Alien 1979)
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities).
This would be a good opportunity to have the best entries shown here in the website. Come on, let the world see your work!
Fantastic Books Publishing
At the meeting on Tuesday 15th April, our president, Bill Kitson, commented on the takeover by the larger publishing houses of the smaller independents. It was therefore a pleasure to welcome the speaker for the evening, CEO of Fantastic Books Publishing, Daniel Grubb.
Dan, a former agent, explained that his small independent company, established two years ago, began with a cookery book when he realised that many old family recipes risked being lost. From his experience within the industry he expanded into other genres including crime, poetry, children’s, science fiction and fantasy, producing books in both digital and paperback formats.
His business model is simple; fairness to authors. His aim; ‘To achieve respect in the industry.’ Most publishers take ninety-five per cent of profits, but Dan believes this should work on a 50/50 split, as a fair division of labour, as without authors, there would be no stories, and without publishers, there would be no books. His authors agree to both sides contributing five per cent to charity. Larger publishing companies have attempted takeovers but Dan remains steadfast in his goal. He is currently working on the Elite books linked to a new computer game. His new division, Fantastic Books Audio, recruited actor Toby Longworth (Star Wars) as narrator and Dan intends, in time, to record the entire backlist.
During the Q & A, Dan advised members not to rely on their overworked publisher to publicise their work, but to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and their own author websites. His own website, www.fantasticbookspublishing.com is packed with information, including submission guides for would-be authors, competitions and the site will soon host a new bookstore.
The next meeting on 29th April, Geoffrey Wilson will host a session of Call my Bluff.