South West Writers At Large

Report from Lesley Moss

Some of us from the South West SCBWI group came out of our writing caves to meet for an impromptu Exeter Café Write-In just before the Easter break.
Our group included three Undiscovered Voices winners and one Cornerstones Wowfactor winner!

We also welcomed Sandra Greaves, a UV 2012 winner and soon to be published by Chickenhouse to her first Write-In.

And I finally got UV 2009 winner Lucy Jones to sign a copy of her latest publication, Rise Of The Shadowmares, for me.

Maybe a Talk-In is a better description of this particular meeting! 

When writers get together after working on their own for several weeks or months, there is always a lot to discuss, and so it proved.
We had a lively discussion on ways to tackle structure in novels, ranging from screenplay models – UV 2010 winner Yona Wiseman is a film-maker as well as a writer - to Chickenhouse editor Imogen Cooper’s excellent Bookmap© tool.  (You can learn more about Bookmaps© by attending courses with Imogen’s Golden Egg Academy, based in Frome, Somerset: a great new resource for writers.)

There's always a lot to discuss...

Next, Ellen Renner provoked an interesting chat about contemporary publishing, sales and marketing, and why most of our editors are women.
I asked everyone what they had brought to work on. Ellen (a Cornerstones Wowfactor winner, now multi-published) is completing final edits on her latest book, Tribute: a YA epic fantasy, to be published by Hot Key Books in March 2014.

Lucy is working on an exciting new teen mystery/fantasy, and Sandra on The Skull In The Wood, coming out in September 2013 with Chickenhouse.
Amelia Mansfield is researching material for her YA crossover historical fantasy, set in the Regency period, which is part of her Creative Writing Phd (sounds fascinating!), and Yona is continuing on her YA Urban Fantasy. I'm digesting some editorial feedback from the Golden Egg Academy on a middle-grade novel …

All too soon, after much tea and cake had been consumed, and ideas for future meetings discussed, it was time for us to leave.
Later this year we plan to follow up our Write-Ins with Edit-Ins – a natural progression! We will be sharing editing techniques and thinking about how to apply them to our own work.

Our Socials Organiser, Yona will also be arranging another social meet-up very soon

If you can’t make it to Exeter but are a SW SCBWI_BI member who would like to meet up with other local members in your town, do contact us Ellen Renner or Lesley Moss and we will try to help - email southwest AT
Or you can come and join our South West Ning Group, where we arrange our meetings and chat.  

Lesley Moss joined SCBWI in 2003 and over several years has volunteered as an e-critique group moderator for Picturebook Too! and the original poetry e-critique group, and as SW Joint Co-ordinator. She is a member of and writes picture books, funny poetry and 8-12 fiction. She originally studied art and design and spent some years in community arts, including a spell as a mime animateur, working creatively with children of all ages, and much more. But her first love is writing. 


  1. Thanks Lesley for sending your report. Hopefully, now Spring is here (am I being too optimistic?), you'll all come out of your caves more often. Tea and cake is always enjoyed more in company.
    Happy writing!

  2. Thanks, Lesely. The SW Write Ins are great events, and it's so good to be able to talk to such a warm, welcoming bunch. I'm only sorry that they've clashed with other commitments so often this year. Should mention the food is pretty good at the trad venue too. Always a bonus!

  3. Great write up Lesley thanks. I must get cracking with organising our spring social!
    See you for the next write-in on Friday!

  4. Wow, you all sound really busy! Good work :-)

  5. Gosh, makes me wish I lived in the South West!

  6. Accomplished lot in the South West. Oh Yes.


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