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Chichester Writers' Circle

  the meeting place for Chichester’s writers


August 2022

Eight members attended this evening's meeting to hear Robbie speak about Blogging.  We welcomed a visitor and prospective new member, Tracy.

Robbie started by explaining that a blog is 'a regularly updated website typically run by an individual or small group with an informal or conversational style.'

Blog rules are fairly loose.  A 'blogger' (someone who bloggs) can write about anything, but Robbie emphased that attention has to be captured or the writing is wasted.  Robbie advised to avoid politics or anything controversial.  She suggested including pictures and ensuring that there is a feedback option on the bottom of the page.

There followed an open session on how a blog might get promoted - there is no point in blogging if no one reads it.  Discussion turned to options for marketing and gaining followers.

Robbie reminded us that Karen Stevens is giving a talk on 7th Septemnber at the Oxfam bookshop in East Street, Chichester.  Our chairperson, Christine, closed the meeting at 9:30pm.


July, 2022

Local celebrated poet, Geoffrey Winch, took this evening's meeting.  One of the poems we read on 6th July 2022 in our brief study of Walt Whitman was ‘Sparkles from the Wheel’ in which the poet describes the scene of a knife grinder at work on the street. 

Geoffery said that in the past most, if not all, of us will have watched or witnessed street traders of all types – market stallholders, ice-cream sellers for example – or entertainers of different kinds – buskers, pavement artists etc.

For the competition he asked us to write a short piece, either prose or poetry or a combination of both, describing a street trader or entertainer, and this can be either factual or fictional account.  When he judges, he will be looking specifically at how the overall scene is described; why the poet was drawn to it; the detailed actions of the protagonist, and the reactions of other people watching and/or listening (and/or those just passing by) and poet's own reactions – whether they felt compelled to make a purchase or a donation.

Geoffery will judge the winner to be the entry that makes him most feel as if he missed out on something rather unique or special!

June, 2022

The speaker at the June meeting was short storywriter Tracy Fells who has had many short stories published as well as winning and being short-listed in national and international competitions. She is also a judge and reviewer.

Seven members were present for her lively and interesting talk on how she got started and how her work has progressed over the years. She stressed that we should never give up and keep submitting.

Although the magazine market has shrunk in recent years there are still many outlets for short stories. Competitions and requests for submissions to anthologies are often listed in the two writing magazines – Writers Forum and Writing Magazine. Tracy showed us examples of some of the publications she has been published in.

Questions and discussion followed. Tracy was presented with a bouquet of flowers and thanked for an interesting evening.

Afterwards, Johnathan and Sharon each read from their work.

There was a lot of discussion and we learned a lot about self-publishing – print on demand etc.

May, 2022

Member Johnathan Kaye was our speaker talking about ‘World Building in Fiction Writing’. His advice mainly concerned fantasy and science fiction writing but was fascinating even to those of us who had never attempted this genre.

He said that an imaginary world should take in things like climate, technology, and culture as well as the geography of one’s fantasy world. The writer should have a  complete picture of their world and the people who inhabit it.

Johnathan said that maps are useful and showed us with handouts how to compile a map or picture of our world.

I felt that his advice was useful for other fiction writing – for instance when creating a historical background based on fact but with a fictional location.

Before the talk Robbie announced the winner of the poetry competition set by Joan Secombe, a previous.speaker. Piers Rowlandson’s poem ‘Perfection’ was chosen from six entries.

The meeting ended with readings from the competition entries and a poem from John Smith.


April 2022

Christine took the chair for this evening’s meeting, in the absence of Robbie.  Christine introduced Sue Shattock, a retired TV scriptwriter, who gave us a short bio.  Sue always wanted to be on TV, and she started her career making tea for TV directors and producers.  After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Sue went on to stage management.  On the spur of moment one bank holiday weekend, she decided to write a script.

Sue always starts a TV script by writing headings – like chapters in a book.  To promote her script she wrote a one paragraph synopsis.  She emphasised that for writers to promote themselves they must to be able to write a synopsis in a single paragraph.  When she toted her synopsis around she was told at first that it was rubbish.  Having spoken to her spiritual teacher she re-wrote it and then the reviewers loved it.

About 30 years ago Sue decided she had had enough of the cut and thrust of submitting work and having to wait months to hear whether it was loved or rejected.  Sue now concentrates on writing poetry and she loves it.

Sue read a poem for us entitled ‘Tricks of the trade’ taken from her new book – ‘My voice in verse.’

After our tea break Sharon read her work entitled ‘Number 3 Erskine Gardens.’  Members discussed Sharon’s ideas with interest.  Then John read his work ‘The Angelus Bell.’  Christine read out Ten tips for writers and to wrap up the evening we listened to another of Sue’s poems, from her work in progress, entitled ‘Peace.’ 


March 2022

The AGM was held on March1st when we welcomed a prospective new member, Shirley, a playwright. There were apologies from Joe, Piers and Janet.

It had been a successful year with several prospective new members two of whom had since joined.

Treasurer Nicky reported that we had higher reserves in the Bank due to fewer expenses this year, mainly because of holding several zoom meetings.

There was a discussion about the website and how we could publicise it more.

Robbie outlined the programme for the coming year with several known speakers returning and discussion and workshops led by members. A varied and interesting programme.

The main business of the evening was the election of officers and committee. John stood down as Chairman and Christine was elected to take over. Robbie had said she wanted to stand down as Secretary but there were no nominations. She agreed to carry on for the coming year but wanted to ‘farm out’ some of the jobs she does as she was finding it difficult to cope. She had circulated a list of what was involved and it was decided to discuss this at the forthcoming committee meeting.

The John Murray cup was presented to John in recognition of his long spell as Chairman.


February 2022

Eleven members were present for the February meeting where we discussed Self-Publishing. There was no speaker and members who had experience of self-publishing shared their experiences.

Lesley explained how she went about it for the publication of her late husband’s book and more recently her own young adult novel ‘Idwal’s Bell’.

Johnathan also spoke about getting ‘Shadow Walker into print and Barbara passed round copies of her children’s books about Chestie Nut, a squirrel, and talked about illustrations.

There was a lot of discussion and we learned a lot about self-publishing – print on demand etc.


January 2022

There were only six members present due to illness and Covid shielding.

The speaker was Joan Secombe a poet and former creative writing teacher. She spoke about her experiences as a teacher and how she encouraged and motivated her pupils, encouraging them to read their own work aloud. Everyone present read some of their own work and after Joan left there was time for some discussion. 

Joan set a competition to write a 12 line piece on the topic of an animal or a landscape to be handed in at the February meeting.