Writing their way to success

July 28 2016

No matter how much a writer imagines their book in print, the process of writing it involves hard work, long hours and more than a little isolation. Joining a writing group can help, providing practical workshops, advice and encouragement to budding authors.

No matter how much a writer imagines their book in print, the process of writing it involves hard work, long hours and more than a little isolation. Joining a writing group can help, providing practical workshops, advice and encouragement to budding authors.

Bristol North Writers is an open group which meets twice a month on Thursday evenings at the Inn on the Green in Horfield. They have an active membership of 25, of which about 15 are regulars, including the Bristol’s Literary Festival organiser, Pete Sutton. There is a wide range of ability and talent in the group including published authors, Ian Millsted, Roz Clarke, Joanna Hall, Suzanne McConaghy and Kelvin Henney. 

As well as publishing a group anthology, 'North by Southwest', the group performed three times at Sanctum in 2015. As a result of that, they have been booked to read at Farmfest in late July. Members of the group come from all over north Bristol and are currently working on a collection of ghost stories to be published later in 2016. 

Ian Millsted’s latest book is a departure from his usual science fiction theme for this Horfield-based writer and teacher. He’s written a Western, ‘Silence Rides Alone’, published by Sundown Press under the name, Charles Millsted, which he hopes will be the first in a series. 

Ian said: “I always liked Westerns as a child and I started the book in an attempt to do something different as there aren’t that many Westerns around. One of the main characters is a East European migrant which reminds me of the mix of people that made up the people of the old West.“

Ian has had stories published in a number of anthologies including the Bristol themed 'Airship shape and Bristol Fashion’, a collection of steampunk stories set in Bristol. Interestingly, the book sold well in America. 

The bi-monthly meetings are designed to encourage budding writers and build an outward face to the public, including spoken word performance. Maria Herring said: “My confidence has improved since coming here as I never wanted to talk to others about my work before.”

Margaret Carruthers added: “You can’t rely on family members to critique your work as they want you do well. The members here really want your writing to improve.”