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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Getting Over Yourself: Advice for Novelists

A Writer's Path

by Richard Risemberg

There are many ways to become a good writer, but one of the best ways to become a great one–besides giving yourself a thorough grounding in the mechanics of language–is to get over yourself. The fact of the matter is that, even though you’re writing the book, the book is not about you. This is especially true of fiction. You write about the things you know…but no one really knows themselves, because who, after all, can be objective about the ultimate in subjectivity?

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Exhibitions featuring Petra’s work

BAC_POSTER_OCT_2017 - Copy

Birmingham Art Circle at the RBSA -16th-28th October


Sutton Coldfield Pop-up Exhibition Space
Click HERE to see this one

Sutton Coldfield Society of Artists at the Sutton Coldfield Town Hall
11th-19th November

Midlands Potters Association at the Woodbridge Gallery B13 9DZ
25th November- 3rd Decembeer

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Free Editing Comes to AWP Writers Club!

A Writer's Path

Hi all!

I’m pleased to announce that A Writer’s Path Writers Club has partnered further with Liam J. Cross Writing & Editing to offer free editing services exclusively for AWP Writers Club members.

AWPWC offers lots of free things, such as free blurb coaching, free book promotion, etc., but now we can bring editing into the fold, which, as you all know, is incredibly crucial to writing and publishing.
I’ve negotiated a situation where Liam will offer editing for free in 5,000 word portions at a time at no cost to members.

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16 Ideas of How to Promote Your Book Before and During Launch

A Writer's Path

by Anna del C. Dye

To promote or not, that is the great dilemma. If you are an author, you have to promote your book or no one will know it is there. Besides, even if you are traditionally published you are expected to promote your book. If you ask me, promoting is the least fun thing you do as an author. After all, you want to move on into your next book, not spend hours convincing people that they should buy your book.

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How to Find a Good Editor for Your Book

A Writer's Path

by Emily Nemchick

We all know how it goes. You write a knockout book, but that’s only the beginning. Getting from The End to publication can be a real headache, and a big part of that headache is finding an editor who is affordable, professional and available when you need them.

There are simply thousands of editors to choose from. Post a ‘Need an Editor’ ad on any forum or message board and you’ll be inundated with folks eager to help you out. But. How do you know if they are actually any good?

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Editing 101: The Price of Editing

A Writer's Path

by J.U. Scribe

Free editing anyone?

That was the question I found myself asking when it came down to editing my own story, Before the Legend which I’m merely weeks away from publishing. This post is long overdue, mainly due to my very busy schedule, but I have editing and life to thank for that.

Things are coming along nicely with the novelette and are slowly falling into place. Yet there are still many choices one has to make, and it’s critical that one makes the right choice to ensure the best possible outcome for their book. Before I share my updates on where I’m at with the story, I would like to discuss one of the most important steps other writers including myself have to make.

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Finding Writing Fascination (and Inspiration!)

A Writer's Path

by Shelley Widhalm

I don’t know why, but I’m absolutely fascinated with the ducks at the lagoon in downtown Loveland, Colorado.

This fascination reminds me of my fascination with writing. I have to visit the ducks—twice a day if I can, once on my way to the gym nearby and a second time when I’m taking my dog on a walk—just as I have to journal, write poems and stories, and do the more serious writing of blogs and articles.

I like watching the ducks speed race across the water to grab bugs out of the air, just as writing takes grabbing the moment and getting yourself going in that creation. Writing begins with inspiration (or with discipline and routine), giving you the needed motivation to start the process.

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Announcing A Writer’s Path Writers Club: Creating Benefits For Writers

A Writer's Path

I’m happy to announce our new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, I noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

I wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches I’m looking to solve:

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Pens Meeting Report 19 September 2017!

A very different meeting this time, but none the less exciting and stimulating for the brain.

With great thanks to our very own Mike, who had expended much effort in the preparation of the event, we were enthralled by several challenges to aid our creativity.

Dice ManThe first part of Mike’s presentation was an insight into the use of ‘dice’ in decision-making and it is certainly worth looking up. Some people have used this decision-making method for the many things of life, simple day-to-day matters; even if they are sometimes extreme. Also for fiction writing things such as story lines and character development; especially when that big blank wall of writer’s block is starting to show its self. An interesting place to read more about this is here: ‘The Dice Man’thinking

The next part of the afternoon was based on Probability and Decision Making, both of which are often a great part of good creative fiction writing. The exercises are reproduced below for anyone to have a go at; the idea being that, if you can think about these things in your own life, you can make similar decisions and assumptions for characters and situations that you create in your writing. Anyone can do them, if only for fun!

Activity 1:
What is the most important decision that you have ever made?
Use the following questions to make your notes:

  • How old were you at the time?
  • What options did you consider?
  • What were the likely outcomes for each option?
  • Who else was involved?
  • How did you make your choice?
  • How certain did you feel that you had made the correct choice?
  • In retrospect, would you have made same the same again?

Activity 2:
How good is your appreciation of Uncertainty? Rank these events in order of probability. First the most likely, last, the least likely:

  • Winning the UK lottery jackpot
  • Becoming Prime Minister
  • Fighting in a war
  • Getting away with murder
  • Being the victim of murder
  • Breaking a world athletics record
  • Being struck by lightning
  • Going to prison
  • Winning the Nobel Prize
  • Making a hit record
  • Getting married

Activity 3:
This is a terrific way of creating the outline for characters in your writing if you get stuck for people; you will need a pair of dice for this. We did this and were then asked to write something about the characters we had built from it.

Use the dice to generate two characters following the steps below:

  • Gender –  Male (1,3,5)   Female (2.4.6)
    throw both dice and use one number for each character
  • Age – Throw both dice and put the numbers together for each character
    e.g. 3 & 4 can be 34 or 43,   1 & 6 can be 16 or 61
  • Marital status – Single (1)   Married (2,3,4)    Separated (5)    Divorced (6)
    throw one dice for each character
  • Body type – Slim (1)   Average (2,3,4)   Plump (5,6)
    throw one dice for each character
  • Conflict area or story subject – Romance (1,2)   Money (3)   Work (4)   Illness (5) Holidays (6)
    throw one dice for each character

Other ways of getting help with writing and other matters can be using dice and card games such as Story dice, Tarot cards, Games dice or maybe Spin the Bottle (not the kissing game) for choosing objects in your home or a set of circumstances written down and placed in a circle; e.g. the murderer used a Plant Pot, Stature of Mozart or a telephone cable, to dispatch his victim.

story-dice.jpg     tarot card           games dice

You can use any of these methods for all sorts of fictional characters or story lines if you are at a loss for someone or something.  Good Luck, it’s fun!

The group goes from strength to strength with a wide variety of writing related elements plus lots of sharing of members wonderful work where there is help, support and constructive criticism if needed. See the meeting schedule for exciting future plans.

Answers to Activity 2:
1   Getting married
2   Making a hit record
3   Being struck by lightning
4   Fighting in a war
5   Going to prison
6   Being the victim of murder
7   Getting away with Murder
8   Breaking a world athletics record
9   Winning the Nobel Prize
10  Becoming Prime Minister
11  Winning the UK lottery jackpot

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How to Begin to Write Poetry

A Writer's Path

by Diana Raab, PhD

Poetry is the voice of the soul and is often considered a free-flowing form of expression. Poets help us see a slice of the world in a way in which we might not have observed it before. They highlight details to cast a light on a feeling, an image, or an event. Poetry also helps offer insight into both the human psyche and human behavior, and it is a place where the imagination can roam free.

Letting go and writing poetry is about just allowing life and experiences to unfold as they are meant to unfold. When writing poetry, try to release or let go of your rational mind and let your sensations and emotions take over. Letting go is also about slowing down and pausing while being mindful of what is stirring inside you.

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