Medway Libraries/Uni of Kent Creative Writing courses

I did this and the follow-on course a few years back. I strongly recommend it to all aspiring local writers. The experience is superb and it is also FREE. So get signed up asap!

Rochester Literature Festival

Following on from taster sessions in September, Medway Libraries and the University of Kent offer beginners the opportunity to develop their writing skills.

Uni Kent Writing Oct 16

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Medway Adult Festival of Learning Taster Sessions

Lots to learn about in Medway over the coming weeks.

Rochester Literature Festival

MACLS Adult Learning Tasters

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Trouble With Your Plot? Three Reasons to Kill Your Little Darlings

If you are a member of one of my writing groups or just writing your own novel at home – you may find this advice helpful – she’s a little mad but boy, Kristen Lamb knows her stuff!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson

I love helping writers and one service I offer that’s been particularly valuable is plot consult. Writers who are struggling to finish or who start off with one idea after another only for that great idea to fall flat? They call me. Querying and getting nowhere? Again, contact me.

I’ve busted apart and repaired hundreds of plots. Thus far I’ve yet to meet a plot I couldn’t repair.

But, in my many years of doing this, I’ve seen enough troubled plots to note some common denominators for a failed story. One ingredient for plot disaster stands apart.

Little darlings.

As writers, we are at risk of falling in love with our own cleverness. The “cool” idea, the super amazing mind-blowing twist at the end. We get so caught up in how smart we are that we fail to see that we…

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Introducing: Bookmark’d at Live’n’Local

A Weekend of pure indulgence for book lovers and the writing community. Come and join us.

Rochester Literature Festival

Bookmark'd (1)

We’re pleased to host our Bookmark’d event again this year, albeit in a slightly different format to last year.

Taking place in Sun Pier House on Sunday, October 11, we have a selection of authors and publishers who can read and discuss their work with visitors in the intimacy of their own table space, located in between the cafe gallery and the main speakers gallery.

The cafe is open from 10am with free entry, and Bookmark’d will run until approximately 5.30pm.

Authors and publishers taking part are:

Urbane Publishing

Urbane Publications is a new and exciting independent publisher dedicated to publishing the books you want to read – hip, contemporary, groundbreaking  fiction and fascinating non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage.

Wordsmithery

Wordsmithery is an independent literary arts organisation and micro-publisher run by Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall. They specialise in literature events and projects and began micro-publishing in 2013, with…

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Give me a feather and I’ll fly

angelsghost BlogSpot.com

credit: angelsghost BlogSpot.com

This is the title of a short story written by my writing friend SL Russell, known to our writing group as Sue R. The story now features in an anthology of creative writing from our group called The Write Idea.

The book is called A Wealth of Words, and has been published by us through the superb self-publishing website FeedaRead.com. Our writing group meets monthly in North Kent at Leybourne Village Hall. if you would like more details and perhaps consider joining us, please email: thewrite.idea@yahoo.co.uk and be assured of a warm welcome by our current members.

The Write Idea was the first such social writing group I joined around 16 years ago. Belonging to this circle of fellow writers – guys and gals – all with a love of creative writing, first launched me into this stimulating activity, one I had wanted to follow since school days.

I believe story-telling is almost an instinctive human need – part of the extra ingredient bequeathed to man by the creator – so we had the tools to decide our own destiny; part of what makes us human. At differing times within various cultures around the world, there was no written language. Stories would be told within the family or community and become part of that culture. We usually picture this as round a campfire or in a long house. Perhaps beside a lake teeming with fish, or in a forest bountiful with fruit and game. Maybe in a barren land where food was difficult to find.

whatsupwiththat.com

Credit: whatsupwiththat.com

Most tales had a moral message and from this various religious themes, myths and legends evolved. The pattern seems to have followed a similar pathway throughout the world, whether communities were interactive or totally isolated. Anthropologists tell us our collective ancestors all originally walked out of Africa, so the common thread must be in all our genes, spawning a common need to devise and tell stories. Told to a captive audience they would be memorised and handed down from one generation to the next, tweaked no doubt by each storyteller, to suit the lives of new listeners.

When written language began within each culture everything changed. Acquiring the skills of reading and writing means the individual can make their own decisions, not so dependent on the community. Yet community activities continue; within education, our working lives, families and social groups.

And so, to come full circle, it is wonderful to experience community within a writing group. It is a long time since we used the feathered quill but yes, we write our stories down. We also share them, sometimes reading them out loud. At such moments I revel in the joy of belonging to the local writing community, experiencing a deep connection to my companions, who have joined me on this journey first begun centuries ago.

main-aur-mera-mann BlogSpot.com

Credit: main-aur-mera-mann
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SL Russell’s story Give me a feather and I’ll fly is featured in a new anthology of creative writing from The Write Idea Writing Group.

A Wealth of Words  is available now to view or buy from Feedaread.com on this link:  http://www.feedaread.com/books/A-Wealth-of-Words.aspx

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Get Creative – Get Writing!

Delighted to reblog this post on Rochester Literary Festival. Lots to see and do if you love Creative writing and the arts.

Rochester Literature Festival

Supporting GetCreative pink (2)

We’re hosting 4 themed writing workshops during our 2015 festival, Live’n’Local, as part of the BBC’s Get Creative campaign – a year-long celebration of British arts, culture and creativity.

Get Creative aims to boost creativity in the UK, as well as celebrating the millions of people already doing something artistic and creative everyday. The campaign was launched 19 February 2015, by BBC Arts in partnership with cultural movement What Next? and leading arts and cultural organisations across the country.

The RLF is joining hundreds of organisations nationwide in becoming a Get Creative Champion.

This year’s festival will run across the weekend 10/11 October and features a sense of people and place, mixing workshops and talks inspired by landscape and cultural heritage.

Our workshops on Saturday at the Guildhall Museum feature The History Magpie, Rachael Hale, who – inspired by the museum’s wonderful collection of artifacts – will guide you…

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Where do inspirations for books come from?

Book cover with my time-slip characters

Book cover with my time-slip characters

It is several years since the publication of my debut novel Lighter Than Air, but I am still asked about my motivation in writing a story about giant airships. The writing began back in the year 2000, culminating in its publication in 2008.

Lighter than air is the name given to gasses like hydrogen and helium. They have been used to give buoyancy to balloons and airships for around two hundred years.

In my book, Lighter Than Air, the term is also used in its romantic sense. The love a man and a woman have for each other that never dies. Their love transcends human mortality and moves through time barriers, to continue a love story that is everlasting.

The Hindenburg airship disaster happened nearly eighty years ago and those involved have all disappeared into the pages of history.  I wanted this to be a story that would connect the present with the past and fuse them into one event. To write a modern story that would bring the participants in the Hindenburg’s history back to life.

The Hindenburg airship on its last fatal flight

The Hindenburg airship on its last fatal flight

Also to recreate the atmosphere and magic of those incredible journeys, undertaken by men and women all those years ago, but seen though the eyes of a twenty-first century airman. Lighter Than Air is that creation. The story also re-examines the facts surrounding the construction and operation of the (still) largest man-made form of air transport ever to fly and its terrible demise.

The Gramps lived in a flat like this with a shop on the corner

The Gramps lived in a flat like this with a shop on the corner

My fascination with airships began in the 1950’s when my family, of which I was the youngest child, went to visit the ‘Gramps’ during the summer holidays. The ‘Gramps’ were my mother’s parents and Grandma’s sister, Great Auntie Sue, (I am her namesake). During our visits to their small, dark, ground-floor flat in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where there was no electricity – only gas-light, we children were entertained by these ancient relatives with their memorabilia.

This black range cooker is similar to the one in Grandma's  flat. With the fringe covered mantle shelf.

This black range cooker is similar to the one in Grandma’s flat. With the fringe covered mantle shelf.

Exhibits would be brought out from cupboards and draws and taken down from high mantle shelves to be pawed over on the big kitchen table in front of the vast black kitchen range, complete with roaring fire (even in August).     Old photographs, knick-knacks and mechanical toys from the Victorian and Edwardian era delighted our young minds. Amongst the hundreds of old postcards and photographs was one of an airship which Aunt Sue used to tell us the story of the Hindenburg.

Comic hero Flash Gordon's spaceship

Comic hero Flash Gordon’s spaceship

As she told us the history of that great floating hotel in the sky, in which passengers travelled to and from America, I imagined them like space travellers out of a ‘Flash Gordon’ movie. (I knew them from visits to Saturday morning pictures.) My eyes became wide with wonder and awe that such journeys had really taken place before I was born. That in ‘olden days’, when many on earth still travelled by horse and cart, there were flying machines shaped like futuristic spacecraft, taking people around the world.

Even though I was only seven or eight years old, I experienced a feeling of connection with this recent past. Space travel was the thing of comic books and films, but this was true – this had really happened.

‘Where did they go, Auntie Sue? Can I still see them?’

The Hindenburg explodes over Lakehurst near New York in May 1937

The Hindenburg explodes over Lakehurst near New York in May 1937

Aunt Sue shook her head and looked thoughtful. ‘One day the Hindenburg, the biggest airship the world had ever seen, went to America. But before she could land – POOF! she burst into flames and fell to the ground in ashes.’ Aunt Sue threw her arms up in the air and let her fingers flutter as she brought them back down again.

‘But the people?’

‘Burnt to cinders,’ she said, pursing her lips in a representation of sadness and shaking her head. ‘No giant airships were ever allowed to fly again; they were all broken up.’

Now, I know this was not quite true, but at that time it was to me like destroying all the spinning wheels, lest the princess prick her finger and die. I remember thinking how sad, destroying all those beautiful floating ships, and secretly I hoped perhaps one or two had been hidden away somewhere.

Aunt Sue brightened up. ‘But now people fly in aeroplanes, so we don’t need airships anymore.’

Even so, I held in my heart the connecting feeling that all this had really happened. I was filled with an almost joyous emotion that the past and the present were all the same time; all one life. That I could reach out and touch the past within my own mind and bring it back to life.

In that moment, I did not comprehend exactly what had happened within me. It would be many, many years before this would truly manifest itself, as the desire, the need to write it all down. This was the story I had to write. I hope others will view Lighter Than Air as the story they have to read.

The Airship dream is still alive

The Airship dream is still alive

 

Lighter than Air by Susan Pope is available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. An Audio book version on 10 cd’s read by the author  is also available.

http://amzn.to/1Ts0lX7

http://amzn.to/1LY3QlN

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