Summer Scrawling and Socialising in the South West

Lesley Moss
It was a scorching day in Exeter when a few of us met for a Scrawl Crawl and Summer Social, organised by Yona Wiseman. We were grateful to get out of the heat and into the cool, quiet Royal Albert Memorial Museum. New members Jennifer Moore and Clare Welsh joined us with Clare’s lovely plus-one and his pet snake!

As usual the writers-talking-over-coffee part took longer than scheduled, but at last we set off round the museum, inspired by the strange artifacts and fabulous displays. Some of us were inspired with new ideas, others found a missing link for their WIP and some of us tried on strange headgear!

Amelia Mansfield admires Lesley's hat.

This was hungry work, so we moved on to an Italian cafe for a terrace lunch and of course, more chat, celebrating Jennifer’s upcoming ‘book birthday’ for her Space Pirate Panic series along the way!

Birds inspired some of us

Amelia Mansfield: It was such an inspiring day - wandering around the museum with a group of writers and a creative remit makes you see even little things (iridescent butterflies and historic shoes for example) in a totally new light. And finishing the afternoon with an al fresco lunch and writing chat was perfect! 

Coming soon in Exeter...

Our first Exeter masterclass with author/editor Lil Chase!

Lil says: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the first draft was the final draft? Unfortunately, this never happens. As well as discussing the reasons why this could never happen, this workshop will look at ways of reducing the time spent on redrafting by going through some editing techniques. The workshop will consist of a number of practical exercises – from big picture editing, to detailed tweaking – which will help to develop your editing skills until your original draft is polished up into publishing gold.

Editing Alchemy
from first draft to gold

Saturday 19th October


Lesley says: I’m excited to welcome Lil to Exeter, where we have many keen writers, both experienced and just starting out, who are always eager to learn more about the editing process. As we all know, good editing is vital in rewriting, and useful in critiquing each others’ work. I’ve been to one of Lil’s workshops, read her work and had a one-to-one critique with her, so I can say she really knows her stuff and is a pleasure to work with.

 Please contact Lesley at with ‘EXETER MASTERCLASS’ in the subject line for details of how to book and pay in advance. The class costs £20. It is advisable but not mandatory to have at least one finished draft to gain most benefit. The venue is close to Exeter Central Station. Open to all SCBWI members, although priority will be given initially to the South West Network. If you’re keen to come along, please get in touch.

 All new for September in Bristol ...  

The tribes are gathering in Bristol this September. There will be an inaugural daytime Social on Saturday 14th September, organised with the help of lovely SCBWI member Jo Thomas, with input from Pippa Roberts and local members. It’s free, but buy your own refreshments – good food available.

Please contact Lesley for details with ‘BRISTOL MEET-UP’ in the subject line. Those who have already expressed interest will be contacted and/or details posted on the Ning and Yahoo groups.

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. Sounds like a busy time in the South West, Lesley but someone should have taken a pic of the snake too! It's great to read about all these thriving networks. Good luck with all your upcoming events which sound fab and good luck to Jennifer for your book birthday!

  2. Thanks Liz! I tried to take a picture of the snake but it slithered away too quickly!

  3. Sorry to have missed such a great event, Lesley, but really looking forward to seeing everyone at Lil Chase's masterclass.

  4. Thanks Liz!

    I'm going to use some of my museum ideas from the scrawl to open my next book I think, Lesley, including a nice big stuffed bird! Just need to crack on and start writing now... Really looking forward to the masterclass next month.

  5. Hi Rowena and Jennifer - the masterclass sounds great; really glad you're coming. Alchemy is exactly what editing is, so I love Lil's description, and hope to learn to make my own manuscripts much more shiny!

  6. It's wonderful to hear how it's all happening in the regions as well as London. A museum visit is an inspirational idea.


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