We want to help our members produce published works

We want to help our members produce published works. A simple sentence and yet such a huge and complex goal.

How does Thanet Creative help Thanet’s writers get published?

We have three area that we focus on between our blog, online communities, and live events.

  1. Training and tutorials
  2. Critique and feedback
  3. Support and encouragement

Training and tutorials

Our training is not so much about a few authors saying “we know everything so pay attention” but about writers sharing things that they have learned. Very much in line with “hey, did you know this cool thing? I think its awesome and I’d love to tell you about it.”

Most of our teaching is put up on the website. We do run live seminars and events but not anywhere near as often we post blogs.

Critique and feedback

The two main places to get feedback and critique are our Facebook group and our live events (like Tea and Chat).

For me, the live critiques are by far the most powerful tools for my writing. Sometimes the most useful insights don’t actually come from established writers. The critiques I value most are from people who really engage with the material like a true fan would. That’s pure gold.

Just this last week I trialled a poem at the Tea and Chat. No one at the event had heard the poem before. In the past, feedback (from poets) had been wholly positive. The discussion after the reading was very telling.

For starters, not being poets, the people at the event felt no compunction about calling me out on a line that sounds great but fails to really communicate very much.

Someone piped up, “what does this bit mean?”

Although I was able to explain, I could also see that it did not mean all that much. That line is going to get some close attention. The emperor needs some real clothes.

Support and encouragement

This is where I feel that events like Tea and Chat really come into their own. They create a safe space and an intimate community that developing writers can grow within.

Support was why we created the original Facebook group (the one that got taken over before we learned to be careful about who we gave admin rights to). Our current Facebook and Author Buzz UK groups are still places you can come to for support and advice.

There is something wholly satisfying about being able to help a writer find their own voice. We’ve got a whole lot of plans and I would love to tell you about them. I’m not going to because of the Thanet Canute. I’ve learned that until this cyber-bully grows up, there is no value in talking about things until they are ready to go. For me, support means protecting people from this sort of childish nonsense.

Anyway, enough of the dark stuff. Thanet Creative is a place to encourage writers to, well, write. If you are local to Thanet and want to join a vibrant and friendly community of writers, why not come along to one of our events.

Tea and Chat 2018

cup and pens

This week sees the return of our weekly informal gathering of writers – Writers’ Tea and Chat.

The event will be switching back to the original Thursday evening. As before, we kick of about half seven in the evening (1930hrs).

About Tea and Chat

Tea and Chat is open to anyone. The event is informal and while we sometimes apply a theme to the evening, most of the time we go with the flow. In this way, no two events are exactly alike.

Most weeks, our writers bring work to be read and be given feedback on. If this is your first time, we will invite you to go first. That’s not to embarrass but to make sure that you definitely get the most out of your visit with us.

The group is generally made up of a good mix of ages, genders, and ability levels. We try and make it a safe space for the shy and socially anxious.

More information

You can add the event to your calendar via Google, with this link or via the events section in our Facebook group.

I look forward to catching up with you all in the coming weeks.

This is the year your writing gets better

Your writing will only ever be as good as you let it become. This year (2018) your writing gets better. Just follow our simple guide.

For as long as you continue to write in the same way and tell the same sorts of stories, you will get the same sort of writing. To grow as a writer, you need to try new things. Your writing will improve as you do.

You don’t even need to be any good at the new thing.

It’s true. When you first try something new with your writing, you may not be as good at that one thing as you are with other areas. That is normal. It is to be expected. What matter is that once you try that new thing, you keep trying it.

5 new things to try with your writing

1. Try a little tenderness

coupleThis year, why not sprinkle in a little romance? A longing look, a tender moment, maybe even a kiss.

I’m not suggesting that you convert your next high fantasy epic into a Mills and Boon title – although I am sure that’s a thing already. What I am suggesting is that you allow love and romance a little screen time in your next story.

I’ll admit, this is an area I find a little tricky to write myself. What I have found is that simply factoring in, from the start, that certain characters have feelings (often in secret) for other characters gives me a foundation to build from.

The first time I tried to use romance as part of a plot that part was limp and unimpressive. Over time, I’ve gotten better. Not a lot, but I have improved.

That improvement has widened my repertoire when it comes to talking about feelings in general. For me, that was a significant victory.

2. Explore the world around you

mountain bikingIf you are a person that focuses on action or dialogue, this might be the year to add descriptive prose to your skill set.

I’m not suggesting that you write pages of pure description. That would be boring, no matter how good you are. Instead, focus on the one or two features that differentiate one room from another. For example, my living room has a desk and a fireplace with an electric fire. Pretty much everything else you would expect to find – coffee table, sofa, and armchairs don’t need to be mentioned because they were to be expected.

One technique that can really help to bring to life your writing of description is to give a character an orange. It does not need to be an actual orange. It just has to be something they are holding.

You can then break up the “he said, she said” with a short sentence updating people what the character is doing with their orange. This gives you the chance to show all sorts of subtle evidence of the internal state of the character.

  • Are they peeling it nervously?
  • Could they be squeezing it angrily?
  • Perhaps they are tossing it in the air as though bored?

Just show us a little more of the world. If you are new to this, your first attempts may need a lot of work later. I can assure you though – it gets easier the more you practice.

3. Lighten up a little

Ball PitHave you ever tried your hand at crafting a genuinely funny moment? Humour is not as easy as some writers make it seem. However, that is no reason to not try it.

I’m not suggesting that you try to pack a story full of jokes but that does not mean you cannot have a humorous moment.

An ideal place to start is dramatic irony. Start by introducing something that the audience can know but the characters remain blissfully unaware of. Dramatic irony is easiest with third-person omniscient but can be done with all perspectives.

Now your audience will be able to see the coming collision between what the characters know and what reality.

Comedy writers use this dramatic irony technique all the time. That moment when a character goes blundering into a situation and makes a fool of themselves. Usually, it happens because they do not know something the viewer knows.

You can use dramatic irony for added tension in a story as well as for comedic moments. Dramatic irony is flexible like that.

4. Pants on your head

pantsGenerally, people describe themselves as a pantser (discovery writer) or a plotter (one that plans). Which ever one you are, try switching it up.

If you plan extensively, let yourself go and just discover a scene as it unfolds. You may find that granting yourself a degree of freedom helps you open up your own ideas and let inspiration in. At the very least, your experiment will show you why you plan.

If you pants – that is, discover as you write – try a bit of plotting. I’m not saying strangle the freedom you enjoy but perhaps give yourself a framework to write within. I started as a pure discovery writer and have, over time, added more and more planning. It was hard at first but now I can write more and faster too – with no loss of creativity.

In short, however you write – try a different approach.

5. Bring home the magic

fantasyHave you ever tried adding a world of magic to your story? I’m not talking elves and goblins but some form of the fantastical can give a story a whole new shape.

For those of you that write urban or high fantasy this will be second nature but for those who write romance, literary fiction, or something else devoid of spells and wizards, this could be the new territory you have been looking for.

For example, if you write stock romance, how about a woman that discovers a locket that will show her the location of her soul mate? The magic need not solve any problems – in fact, I can see it making all sorts of difficulties.

If you write literary fiction, how about a ring that lets you live another person’s life?

If your thing is science fiction, the magic might be sufficiently advanced aliens. Sci-fi buffs know what I mean.

Try a little magic.

What are you going to try this year?

There are so many new things to try in your writing and I have only suggested five. Use the comments to tell us about something you plan to try.

Can you suggest more things for writers to try? What have you tried in the past (and how did it go)?

If you find yourself getting stuck while trying something new, drop by the Author Buzz forums or our Facebook group.