Important Announcement from ‘Pens or Erdington’

You may be aware of the changes that are happening in the Birmingham Library Services in recent months, unfortunately, these are also effecting the Library of Erdington where Pens currently meet.

♦   Although not all the plans are known yet, one thing that we do know is that, because of these changes, we are having to move out meeting day to a Tuesday for the time being. The next regular Pens meeting will now be on TUESDAY the 4th April, still in the Community Room and still starting at 1.00pm ’till 3.00pm and still the comfort of tea and biscuits.

♦   As a group, we are having to look at other aspects of how we work, including, frequency, finances, and possibly other venues sometimes, but, these matters are not yet finalised but we will let everyone involved know as soon as we can.

♦   Please don’t think that this is the end of the group, NO! In recent years, we have gained so many new members with amazing creative work, we intend to continue this growth and development and, as our much-loved leader often says, ‘go forward bravely’.

♦   Please watch your in-box for further updates via email and also ‘Follow’ the website at the top of this page for the latest News as it happens.

Thank you all

Jude and David

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Pens Meeting Report 07 August 2018

A hot day in the weather was matched with hot writing in the Pens circle today!

With summer strawberries and cream, thank you Jude, and other treats, the writing was as diverse and fascinating as ever, despite the singular focus for Historical things.

  • Nori took us on another journey in his Pirate Adventure, historically accurate research bought together a vivid tale of intrigue and daring do; we look forward to other chapters.
  • Ann took us on a Viking plunderers journey from her research for another historic tale.
  • Christine, relayed her story from the Pens outing to the zoo with spectacular observation and satirical commentary resulting is a mischievously funny article.
  • Elizabeth retold her personal experience as a ‘£10 Pom’ as they were called, for people who took the very special priced passage to Australia in the 1960’s. Shock and awe was the general feeling of this early foreign travel halfway round the world.
  • Val stayed at home but delighted us with the terrors of fruit picking in the local area in the intense heat, fruitful collecting but an effort to make it so.
  • David read a piece he wrote for an Emancipation Day event recently. A hard look at the slave trade and its often unseen consequences for so many.
  • Jude shared an extract from a developing work based on her life and experiences, this one was a less than exotic boat journey to Trinidad in her early twenties.

Thank you to all who shared today and the stimulated conversation and discussion all the writing.


Other events for the diary:

Jude is performing at the Two Towers Brewery, part of the Gunmakers Arms, Lancaster Circus on the 20 August at 7.00

Val is having a book launch and signing event for her recently published and wonderful autobiography, ‘On Call’, at Waterstones book shop in Sutton Coldfield on 20th October; time to be confirmed. Copies available directly from the author Dr Val Inchley.

The next Pens meeting will be on the 21 August hopefully with Petra and her writing as an appreciation of a piece of art; to be confirmed but we meet anyway.

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The Benefits Of Writing Shorter Outlines

A Writer's Path

by Angela DeRiso

There are many ways to outline and write a story, and knowing the road map for where you’re going is something most of us need. Sometimes it’s a vague idea with key events, other times it’s a complex web of plots with details filled in. However, when we know the extant of our own plan we can end up bored or lacking the inspiration to complete the project.

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Stuck With Your Story? Why You Keep Hitting Walls and Dead Ends in Your Writing

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How to Protect Against Plagiarism If You Post Fiction Online

A Writer's Path

by Sarah Pesce

Let me start this off by saying plagiarists are the WORST.

Unfortunately, plagiarism is made easier than ever with self-publishing these days. If you post your work online – on fanfic forums, on Wattpad, on critique sites, on your own website, etc. – you run the risk of that work being stolen and put up for sale as an ebook, with someone else potentially making money off of your labour.

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The Best Piece of Writing Advice I Ever Received

A Writer's Path

by Meg Dowell

You don’t know which projects are going to succeed, and which ones are going to fail.

Many people assume that because I’ve been writing for a long time, I now do so professionally, and I give advice on my blog, I’m the expert who knows it all.

And with that point of view comes the assumption that I’ve already learned all I need to learn to be a successful writer.

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Pens Meeting Report 17 July 2018

This meeting was to be the creative thoughts from the outing to Dudley Castle and Zoo a few weeks ago. You couldn’t have easily predicted the diversity of those thoughts, unless you knew the members who shared them as well as we do.

It was the general consensus that it was a great day out, not wholly because of the venue which raised many issues for people, but imaginations were stirred and the wide variety of ideas and thoughts were as follows:

  • Val in absentia, shared a well-researched and comprehensive story of the involvement of the residents of Dudley Castle and the connections to Sutton Coldfield near where the group meets of course. The intricacies and double dealings of the monarchy and church were beautifully woven into the tale of one man’s ordinary life.
  • Elizabeth gave a full and factual account of the day in an article style that could grace any magazine or paper, well done.
  • Mike wove his interest of all things in the mind, around the historic ruins of the castle to intrigue us and stimulate the brain, all really fascinating stuff.
  • Ann also write in a reporting style but included many historical, ghostly and zoological asides which brought the day alive in listeners minds.
  • Irene, who was unable to join in the expedition, never-the-less recounted a visit purely from her imagination and fifty-year-old memories. It was amazingly accurate and the inclusion of those that did go, made it almost as if she had been spying on us.
  • Nori had constructed a more fantastical, or was it a more realistic view of the surrounding and venue’s management. I considered piece which had as many questions as answers; a good sign in a written piece.
  • Jude enthralled us with a skilful poem on the sadness of animal collections which had, within its rhythm and metre, much to make you think of the absurdity of such things.
  • David recounted his view of the day with snippets of the good the bad and the unfortunately ugly which had caught his eye around the hilly estate. Read Here

All the articles stimulated great discussion on both the subject matter and questions raised. Wonderful as ever!

Next Meeting 7 August as this is a five Tuesday month remember!

 

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The Odds of Advertising Your Book

A Writer's Path

by Richard Risemberg

This is the way it is: if your book does not enjoy extensive publicity, it will not sell.

This is not a hard and fast rule, as miracles do happen through word of mouth, but the odds favor ads in this word of white noise that we live in. Sure, Moby Dick is a classic now, but it was a flop in Melville’s lifetime, even though he had already published two bestsellers!

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Why You Should Rewrite and Not Edit

A Writer's Path

by Teagan Berry

Congratulations. You’ve just finished a novel. You’ve taken some time to decompress and relax, away from the world of writing, but now you need to dive in and start getting your piece ready for publication.

The first edit. That’s a term I’ve mentioned before, even written a whole post about it. Though looking back on the process I went through then, I should have probably titled that blog post The First Rewrite. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what it really was.

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A Good Idea Isn’t Always Good Enough

A Writer's Path

by Meg Dowell

There’s more to an idea than just a thought process.

Before I rebranded this blog in 2015, I thought long and hard about a name and tagline. Finally realizing I wanted this to be an informational and inspirational hub for writers to Do All The Writing Things — and not just me talking about myself all the time, ugh — helped me create my blog’s simultaneous tagline and purpose statement:

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Pens Summer Outing 2018

The heat of the previous weeks was both a blessing and a disappointment for our trip. ‘Why’, I here you think?


The joy of public transport bought the ten of us together and then whisked us way out West and the delights of Dudley.

The long twisting journey through the multicultural suburbs was helped by conversation stimulated by both reminiscences of, and hopes for the city. Eventually, the towering ruins of the castle appeared proudly flying the cross of St George against the clear azure blue of the summer sky.

Despite knowing that the venue was not the pinnacle of Zoological exhibits, we hoped Dudley_Zoo_entrance,_pic_2,_Englandthat the combination of the castle ruins with its rich history, would give the visit something for everyone.

The steep ascent to the main attractions could be by a slow but long walk, although for those that could, we took the chair-lift; personally, I closed my eyes and grittZoo07ed my teeth as I’m not good at heights or rather the drops into the baboons below!

Once at the top, it became obvious that the heat would play against us for the Zoo06appreciation of the wildlife; you forst had to find it to appreciate it. Overhearing that most of the animal activity came around dusk didn’t help, but we pressed on although it was clear that there would a game of ‘spot the animal’ in most enclosures.

Having broken up into smaller groups, progresses was at various paces to suit each and we didn’t all meet up again until lunch-time at the top of the hill.

This was the closest encounter with any of the residents and the displaying Peacock was a spectacular backdrop for a bite to eat and a much-needed drink. Topped off by ice-cream for most, lunchtime chat was fascinating as usual.Zoo02

Lemur walkThe afternoon bought out a few more animals which improved the interest and, for those who reached the top and the castle ruins, its rich history punctuated with mice and ratZoo04displays to accentuate the delights of living at the zenith of its age.

Zoo05A final gathering for those who had not already had to leave us, had a shared drink and welcome sit down.

Sealion feeding nextZoo08 to the picnic area was short but at least a degree of action from the residents of the pool.

A last downhill stroll saw various exhibits with the cute and the not so homely, again with most taking shade from the still intense sun. With the required exit through the gift shop, merchandise was perused, picked up and mostly put down again but with the odd purchase, the bus stop was calling us home and those that were left, left.

A hot and equally long alternative route home brought us back to the city centre and departure on to our various homes.

There was lots to consider if you are a conservationist or a historian with both positive and questionable thoughts bought to the fore, all of which we hope will stimulate the group in one of the  aims for the day, to be inspired to write.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the day.

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