Swanwick 2014

Just back from my ‘white badger’ week at Swanwick (first time visitors are given a white name badge and everyone else gets a yellow one).

There was a packed program plus lots of friendly people to meet. After all that ‘busyness’ and chatter the following points stick in my mind:

  • Three great talks from People’s Friend fiction editor, Shirley Blair. She told us a lot about the magazine’s requirements and how to improve our chances of success, including the fact that 3,000 to 4,000 word stories are particularly needed and that the magazine is willing to ‘push the boundaries’ on some of their previously taboo subjects.
  • Tips on novel editing from David Hough, including the advice to get the novel printed as a proof paperback at Lulu.com for the final read through – seeing the manuscript in this different format should make the errors jump out.
  • Meeting some of my virtual acquaintances ‘in the flesh’ for the first time and re-establishing contact with people I’ve met at other writing events and courses in the past.
  • The stress of creating an improvised play for public performance with only a few hours to prepare it.
  • The peace of morning meditation around the lake.
  • Never sit at the end of a table in the dining-room because you’ll have to serve the meal (and make sure everyone gets equal portions!)

Bead Roberts (who writes for the womags and is also a creative writing tutor) was one of my ‘re-establishing contact people’. She’s a lovely lady with a wealth of experience to pass on and is tutoring a weekend short story writing course in Leeds on the 26th to 28th September at Weetwood Hall (a great venue – I went there last year). Details can be found on the Relax and Write website.

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  1. #1 by Anne Harvey on August 15, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, Sally. As it’s fairly near here, I’ve toyed with the idea of going as a day visitor on the Saturday but somehow have never ‘got around tuit!’

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on August 15, 2014 - 4:25 pm

      Check out the program next year, Anne & see if there’s anything you fancy. Everyone is welcoming.

  2. #3 by juliathorley on August 15, 2014 - 3:15 pm

    Sounds like you had a very rewarding time. Swanwick is on my ‘to do’ list.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on August 15, 2014 - 4:26 pm

      Yes – I’ve now been able to cross it off mine!

  3. #5 by Tracy Fells on August 15, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    I would love to have met and talked to Shirley Blair – she comes across on her emails as a really lovely lady. Thanks, Sally, for sharing the tip on word lengths PF need right now. And yes you soon learn NOT to sit at the head of the table!

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on August 16, 2014 - 6:48 pm

      Yes, Tracy, Shirley is lovely and very encouraging.

  4. #7 by susanjanejones on August 16, 2014 - 9:46 am

    Hi Sally, what a lovely name, Bead…. and interesting to hear the P.F. requirements. I do look on their website now so we have a much better chance of getting published than ever before, so off to write now. Thanks for sharing your experience, and hope to get there sometime.

  5. #9 by blogaboutwriting on August 16, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Hi Sally, glad to see you got home safely! (tried to see you on that bus but the windows were tinted! So, sorry if you were waving and I didn’t wave back!). It was nice to spend a bit longer than a couple of hours together but it already seems like a long time ago!

    • #10 by Sally Jenkins on August 16, 2014 - 6:50 pm

      Couldn’t make you out in the waving crowd, Helen – so don’t worry!

  1. I Am Back from Swanwick | Blog About Writing

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