Novel Nights Virtual Cafe 2021

Over coffee this morning, we acknowledged the new world order as we find it in January 2021 – the end of the warmest year ever, the pandemic, Trump, insurrection at the Capitol, BLM. Then we set these matters to one side to concentrate on our work as writers and our ambitions for the months ahead. 

Here are some of the observations made by our community of writers:

Some want to be more adventurous or more playful, step out of their comfort zone, experiment more.

Others want to knuckle down, focus, get the big project finished.

Everyone agreed that Novel Nights provides an important sense of community; they welcome the chance to be heard as well as to listen.

A self-published writer shared a lightbulb moment: her novel only really became fully a novel when others started to read and talk about it.

And some words of advice:

The first draft is just you getting the story down. Not the time to fret about the elegance of the sentences or where the tension will come from. 

Don’t get lost in research, but focus on what you need to find out about and keep writing. Maintain momentum.   

Let go the fear.

Try not to self-censor or  edit as you go.

Set clear goals to write daily and deliver a pre-determined word count.

Or don’t, if that doesn’t suit your way of doing things.

Some of the books we are reading:

Middlemarch, George Eliot

The Doll Factory, Elizabeth Macneal

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

The Girl Without a Name, Suzanne Goldring

The Wild Silence, Raynor Winn

Outline, Rachel Cusk

Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

Kindred, Octavia Butler

Word Perfect,  Susie Dent

Secrets of a Devon Wood, Jo Brown

One Two Three Four, Craig Brown

A Tomb with A View, Peter Ross

Is This Anything, Jerry Seinfeld

Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury

Words are My Matter, Ursula K Le Guin