Writing Hour Roundup: 23 November 2021

writing hour

Thank you for joining us for another Writing Hour.

To those who couldn’t make it, here’s your weekly roundup!

Can you believe how quickly the last week has gone? What news do you have?

Sally Suffolk has been busy practising carols for a concert. We can’t believe it’s only four weeks to go to Christmas!

We’re so happy for Christina Hollis who has finally been able to attend her graduation ceremony after it was postponed. Congratulations on your Masters, Christina!

Some great news for Jenny Worstall this week – she’s the runner-up in the Romantic Novelists’s Association Flash Fiction competition.

Plus, her story ‘In Tune’ will be published in our weekly issue out today! Have a look at our fiction sneak peek to see who else will be featuring.

Kitty-Lydia Dye has put together a seasonal collection of some of her short stories previously published in the Friend. A chance to rediscover old favourites!

It’s a big week for Helen Yendall – her debut novel ‘A Wartime Secret’ is available for pre-order. What an amazing achievement, Helen.

How do you set out your story plotting? Do you let it unravel as you write or do you plan well ahead?

The term ‘pantser’ is used for those who like to jump into writing without a plot – because you’re flying by the seat of your pants!

There is no right or wrong answer – the only thing that matters is that it works for you.

One thing is for certain though. You can plan all you want, but sometimes your characters will grow a mind of their own and take the story in a completely different direction!

Here’s a story starter! What is it conjuring up? “The waves whispered over the sand and touched her toes, but the haunting singing was all she could focus on.”

We love reading all your different interpretations to these story starters.

Kitty-Lydia Dye replied with five tweets! It starts . . .

“Behind her were scales glimmering every shade of the dawn, swaddled in seaweed so no beachcomber might stumble upon it by accident.”

Be sure to give the rest of the Twitter thread a read – she was inspired by the Sheringham myth.

Jill Barry leaves us on a cliffhanger!

“Intrigued, Lana felt no fear as she walked towards this unexpected sound.

The voice drew her in, making her forget all her troubles. Why would she not follow it?

As she drew closer to a huge rock looming before her, a figure stepped out from behind it.”

Do you enjoy doing research for stories? Do you think background on a subject matter fleshes a story out more?

The answer is a resounding yes to both. You enjoy doing the research and a bit of background does flesh out the story more.

We definitely agree – if a story is set in a certain place or time, it’s important to get the details right.

However, as so many of you mentioned, it’s also important to get the balance right.

Helen Yendall said:

“Yes, I enjoy the research. It gives me plot ideas! But it’s important not to let the research take over.

I probably only put a tiny proportion of what I find out into my writing. Otherwise it reads like a travel guide or an instruction manual.

Story and character are everything!”

Hear, hear!

How do you bounce back from a rejection?

Rejections are, unfortunately, an inevitable part of being a writer.

The most successful authors have experienced rejection – the important part is how you deal with it.

We like Sally Suffolk’s answer:

“I read the feedback and rework or start something new.

My mum always says that ‘nothing you learn is ever wasted’. I also believe that nothing you write is ever wasted.

Sometimes I use the research to write something else, or character I like might even pop up in another story.”

Jane Burns also has some great advice:

“Have a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit . . . then get back to writing.”

If you owned a bookshop, what would you call it?

Who doesn’t dream of owning their own bookshop!?

We love Liz Filleul’s idea – “Fine Print” – an antiquarian bookshop.

Come and join us for our next Writing Hour on Twitter — 11 a.m. on Tuesday 30 November, 2021.

Or click here for our previous roundups.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.