Writing Hour Roundup: March 14, 2023

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“The People’s Friend” Writing Hour is held every Tuesday at 11 a.m. on Twitter. It’s a time when we can get together with writers for a chat and it’s always heaps of fun!

Every week we summarise everything that went on right here for those who missed out.

Given the recent Roald Dahl debate, what’s your opinion on amending older works to reflect modern audiences?

This is our upcoming Talking Point topic in the magazine so we thought we’d pose the question to our readers and contributors! This one definitely riled and most of you were of one mind of leaving them alone.

Leave well alone. Speaking as a former teacher, classes would often read (eg) Enid Blyton – as well as being great stories, they are a piece of social history – children were fascinated with the values of the time as portrayed in her books.

— Audrey Mary Brooks Writer (@AudBrooksWriter)

Though some of you did have a softer approach.

It depends upon who wants to make the changes. If it is the author or their family, then I think they should be free to do so.

— SallyAnn East (@SallyWriteType)

And a couple thought it’s time to give new writers a chance!

Leave in past. Give new writers a chance.

— Misha Herwin (@MishaHerwin)

Who is your favourite children’s author ever?

Enid Blyton was possibly the most popular answer here. A few mentions of Elinor M Brent-Dyer and the Chalet School series. Most struggle to pick just one favourite!

Would you ever like to write children’s stories, or have you ever written children’s stories?

We realised at this point that this theme of questioning was starting to make people think we were working up to asking for children’s story submissions — unfortunately, we are not! Children’s stories is something the “Friend” used to do once upon a time but moved on from, and no longer reflects what The People’s Friend is. But we appreciate the interest in this!

Majority of you had written for children before, or tried to. It’s generally accepted that it’s harder than it seems!

I’ve never tried, but I’ve heard they are very difficult to get right, because children are a hard audience to please! Still, never say never.

— Marian Myers (@MarianJMyers)

We loved this answer from Jill about verbally telling stories rather than writing them down. A traditional way of telling stories!

I prefer telling a story to a child rather than writing one down. This must have come from my mother who got me interested in listening to stories and reading children’s books.

— Jill Barry (@barry_jill)

What’s the quickest and the longest length of time it’s taken you to write a complete story?

It’s important to remember that there’s no average or right amount of time to write a story and everyone works differently! But sometimes it can be helpful to see how long it takes other people.

It depends if we’re including editing time, as editing can take much longer than knocking out the first draft.

Quickest: 3 hours one Sunday afternoon. There was then a bit of editing. Longest, about a year, editing, rewriting, tinkering. To be honest, I’ve written drafts of novels quicker than some short stories.

— Louise McIvor (@lou_mcivor)

Usually I have been mulling over an idea for some time, so when I sit down to write it comes easily – as long as there is nothing else planned that day! It’s the editing that takes forever.

— Angie Keeler (@keelerangie)

What’s your favourite genre of story to read, and what’s your favourite genre of story to write?

Lots of varied answers to this but historical fiction popped up pretty regularly, as well as romance. Lots of you love a crime mystery too!

I love reading cozy crime and contemporary romance. I really enjoy writing my 1930s set mysteries.

— Helena Dixon (@NellDixon)

And quite a few of you don’t have a favourite for genre for either, enjoying trying new things.

I don’t really have a favourite genre. I like to try different things, whether I’m reading or writing.

— Alison Wassell (@lilysslave)

What’s your writing or general goals for the week ahead?

Almost everyone is continuing with writing projects – whether that’s sitting down to actually write, finishing short stories or continuing pocket novels.

We’ll see you at our next Writing Hour on Twitter — 11 a.m. on Tuesday 14 March, 2023.

Or catch up on our previous roundups.

Jacqueline Munro

Jacqueline is the Digital Content Editor at "The People's Friend", looking after our website, social media channels and podcast.