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Welcome

Welcome to the new web site for Brevard Scribblers. We hope you like the new look, which has been designed to offer ease of navigation and reading. Whether you are an existing member or you would like to join us, everything you need is here. Use the menu – on the top or left side of this page – depending on whether you are using a PC, Tablet or Mobile Device/Phone – to find meeting dates, competition and publishing opportunities (including how to submit work for our own annual anthology) and contact details for committee members. If you are interested you can also read about our history, as a club in Brevard County, which stretches back to the early eighties.

This is our blog page where you can find regular posts about our most recent activities and what we are planning in the near future. Please follow us using the link at the bottom of this page to keep up to date with all of our news and activities.

Scroll down for our blog updates, which will include reminders of upcoming meetings. Blogs will become archived once we have published a certain number of them, so you will always be able to see the most recent blogs in their entirety on this page (below) and refer back to older ones if you want to.

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What’s in a poem?

Ask anyone to define poetry and they will struggle to give a concise definition. We probably think we can recognise the look or the sound of a poem, but what exactly is a poem? How is it different to prose? Are there any rules? If there are, should there be?

A consideration of these questions can be useful to would-be poets and even to very experienced poets who can always benefit from re-evaluating how they write poetry.

It is helpful to think of these questions in terms of art first – because some of the issues and debates that come out of understanding how we describe ‘art’ apply equally as well to poetry.

If you ask people to describe art, you will get a wide range of answers, but most people will tell you what they don’t like and what they do like, or more specifically, what they would buy and hang on their own walls. That might, however, be the one factor that separates art from poetry. The fact that it has, over the centuries, been increasingly associated with value and wealth, has tended to affect judgements about what constitutes ‘good’ art. Some artworks carry price tags of millions, but does that mean it is ‘good’? How do you define ‘good art’? Taste and monetary value can often become confused. Not so in the case of poetry, of course. Poetry is the poor relation to prose as photography has often been thought of in relation to art. It is difficult to make a living from poetry alone and no poem, as a singular artefact, has ever been valued in the thousands let alone the millions.

As we consider these points about ‘art’ we may be thinking of framed 2D pictures but art can be separated into several distinct categories – fine art, illustration, graphic design, ceramics, textiles, photography, culture and digital art which then sit within the broader art categories of music, dance, theatre, literature, cinema and architecture. It is fairly easy to recognise the broader categories and even to define them; similarly, we can almost certainly define the differences between, say ceramics and textiles. So why is it so difficult to define poetry and why are there so many ‘debates’ about what constitutes poetry?

Within the category of ‘literature’ – it seems to be widely agreed that there are five broad forms:  Fiction, Nonfiction, Drama, Poetry and Folktales. These can then be sub-divided into more types and also into genres (such as thrillers, sci-fi, horror, romance, historical etc).

Why do we have these labels? What function do they fulfill? There are at least two immediate answers to that. The first is that humans have, since classical times, categorised and classified everything in the world as a means of identifying and understanding it. The second answer is the commercial one. It is much easier for advertising and marketing companies to target specific products to people who have demonstrated an interest in those specific products – think of Mills and Boon and the romance novel. So placing literature into forms and genres makes profitable sense. Authors write within genre so that they can produce works that are familiar to a ready-made audience, who will buy those works because they contain the features they really like.

All of this makes complete sense when we think of prose (fiction and non-fiction). But poetry doesn’t tend to fall into marketeable genres in quite the same way so, in book stores, all the poetry tends to be grouped together in one section, despite the fact that it could be classified as: Epic, Ballad, Elegy, Epigram, Limerick, Haiku, Ode, Sonnet, Satire or Villanelle – or even, more simply, Epic, Lyric and Dramatic with Comedy and Tragedy as sub-genres of Dramatic.

So, if the mainstream publishers and retailers don’t see the finer distinctions between different genres of poetry, as they do with prose, it is not surprising that they are reticent about publishing poetry at all – unless it is written by very well-established writers (who often have a reputation in other types of writing too) or it is classical poetry that has achieved elite status and longevity. However, none these facts seem to be off-putting to the thousands of enthusiastic and ambitious poets who turn instead, to independent publishing houses and, increasingly to self-publishing (especially on Amazon), which used to be known by its less savoury title of vanity publishing.

Amazon was not slow to recognise the profit potential (for them) in this new approach to publishing but another phenomena that occurred at the turn of the twentieth century, changed the face of poetry and could, potentially, have led to a crisis in its identity.

If there were traditional forms and structures for poems up to the end of the nineteenth century (and it is generally agreed that there were), the twentieth century saw a rejection of those traditional forms and structures for poetry, marked by a questioning of the purpose and meaning of poetry and of distinctions between poetry and prose, particularly given examples of poetic prose and prosaic poetry. Modernism had arrived and poets freed themselves from the tyranny of tradition (e.g. forcing a line to end with a specific word, just to achieve the rhyme but compromising meaning in the process). Rhyming verse gave way first to free verse and then to blank verse. Form became more flexible and less structured.

Forty years or so later, modernist poetry was replaced by post-modern poetry, which often included themes of restlessness, written in a very free format. Line breaks and structures could be erratic or seemingly meaningless to indicate the shapelessness of the world. The very form of this poetry served to reinforce the idea that forms are meaningless and that purpose cannot be imposed upon the work.

In this climate we could be forgiven for thinking that this new approach to writing poetry opened the floodgates to an ‘anything goes’ approach. Anyone, anywhere can be a poet. Poetry is no longer the preserve of the traditional and classical poets. There are no rules any more. Anyone can write a poem, simply by placing a series of lines on a page.

Here’s an interesting exercise to test this theory. Consider the ‘poem’ below:

I must not fear
fear is the mind-killer
fear is the little-death
that brings total obliteration
I will face my fear
I will permit it to pass
over me and through me
and when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye
to see its path
where the fear has gone
there will be nothing
only I will remain

It looks like a poem. If sounds like a poem. But, is it?

The immediate and short answer is no, because it was taken from Frank Herbert’s novel, Dune. It is a piece of prose that was made to look like a poem by simply splitting it across lines of even length. Capitalisations and punctuation were removed in the interests of the exercise. So why is it not a poem even though it looks and sounds like one?

The longer answer can be that it isn’t a poem because it doesn’t present any of the characteristics that are still considered to be necessary to the form, despite its evolution. It is interesting to analyse the lines by referencing the key difference between prose and poetry:

Prose is about sentences, paragraphs and chapters. Poetry is about individual words.

In prose, meaning is derived from the structure, order and content of sentences and paragraphs. In poetry, every single word matters. If a word is superfluous to meaning it can be removed. After that, the length, ordering and ending of lines (and possibly stanzas) is vital.

So if prose is about sentences and paragraphs and poetry is about individual words, all we need to do is remove any words from the above example, that could be construed as superfluous, and we really do have a poem. Or do we?

The answer to that can take into account re-evaluations of the work of modernist and post-modernist poets, which have concentrated less on the thrill of its rebellious qualities, and more on its form and structure. Such studies have acknowledged that in order to subvert long-accepted features of form and genre, the modernists and postmodernists poets had to understand them really well and in the revisions they made, they actually drew attention to those rules and traditions in many cases. What had been mistaken for rebellion for its own sake was now recognised as a new form of poetry that experimented and played, knowingly, and often reverently, with established rules. Many examples of the modernist poetry of the 1930s through 50s, in the western world, for example, reveals that it was infused with poetic diction, rhythm and tone even though that might have been established through non-metrical means.

It is worth bearing in mind that significant challenges were also made to the form and structure of the novel at the turn of the nineteenth century (as indeed they were to every type of art and culture). Stream-of-consciousness writing was pioneered by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, for example, but none of these or any other revisions to the narrative structure of the novel, changed it beyond all recognition. The individual elements of the novel have been experimented with but the novel is still recognised.

And so it is with poetry. It can be written in verse or non-verse, in rhyme, free or blank verse but it is not prose. It has not become dissipated or subsumed into that or any other literary forms. It still has its own distinct characteristics that have endured despite all of the experimentation with it. Its long history (four thousand years) is evidence enough of that.

So, is there a way of distinguishing ‘pseudo’ poetry from the real thing? Is it wrong to frame a question about poetry that way? Should we accept that anything that is presented as a poem is a poem? How can anyone write a poem if there are no rules and no defining features? There are no absolute answers to these questions but they would make for interesting debates within writers’ groups, book clubs and even literature and creative writing classes.

What might be helpful to the novice poet (who might be wrestling with how to write a poem in a climate of ‘anything goes’) would be to return to the explanation of the way that poetry can be differentiated from prose:

Prose is about sentences, paragraphs and chapters. Poetry is about individual words.

So the starting point might be to consider the words and the arrangement of those words in lines; to think about the length of the lines and, in particular, to consider where a line should end; should a sentence be carried over to the next line (enjambement)? Should it be punctuated (and in what way)? Does it need to be capitalised at the beginning of the line? Are the lines going to rhyme? If so, in what structure? Will there be any verses? Will the verses have a pattern? If these elements are paid attention to, in a way that will be obvious to the reader, then a poem is in the making. None of these points were taken in to consideration when turning the Dune extract into a series of lines.

Another aspect of poetry, that has remained constant, is the way in which it is meant to evoke an image or series of images for the reader and an emotion or range of emotions. This is achieved through the use of very specific aspects of poetic language and when literary critics, or students of poetry, analyse it, they tend to look for these types of poetic language:

  • Aesthetic Qualities, such as Phonaesthetics and Sound Symbolism
  • Literary Devices, such as Assonance, Alliteration and Onomatopoeia
  • Stylistic Elements of Poetic Diction, such as Ambiguity and Irony
  • Figures of Speech, such as Metaphor, Simile, and Metonymy, which create Resonance between otherwise Disparate Images

Regardless of how few or many of these literary devices are employed, poetry should have, ideally, rhythm, meter and intonation – known collectively as prosody. Rhythm and meter are different, although closely related. Meter is the definitive pattern established for a verse (such as  the famous iambic pentameter which is created through a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables – feet – across a set number of lines), while rhythm is the actual sound that results from a line of poetry – the timing that is set through the use of accents, syllables and intonation. Put very simply, we could say that:

Rhythm (tempo and pace) is the flow of sound while meter (the measured beat established by patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables) is the pattern in the sounds.

Poets who write in free verse often either de-emphasise or ignore meter and focus instead on refining and tuning their natural speech rhythms to suit the poem’s tone and content. Ezra Pound suggested that they ‘compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome.’ However, even free verse needs to understand basic metric principles and it can be detected when these are not in evidence because certain lines will not ‘feel or sound right.’ Scanning a line to identify and fix the problem might involve replacing a one syllable word with a two syllable word, for example. Metric awareness is particularly important when writing in the blank verse form. The absence of any rhyming pattern at all could result in a series of random and incoherent lines that require rhythm and metre to compensate. If not, they will end up looking and sounding like the random sequence of lines in the extract from Dune above.

Another point to consider in the question of what defines a poem, is highlighted by what happens when someone reads their poem aloud. The poem might not be particularly well written, with many of the above characteristics absent, but the writer might, sub-consciously, compensate for that by the way they read it. Significant (or even dramatic) pauses, and undulations in volume and tone at various points, can mask some of the weaknesses in the poem. It is even possible to suggest a different line structure, simply by the way the poem is read. In other words, the writer might read the poem they wanted to write, but didn’t achieve because they didn’t pay attention to the elements that need to be in place. Getting another person to read the poem back to the writer will potentially flag up any issues. The objective ‘other person’ will scan it as they read it, pause where it has been correctly punctuated, and articulate rhythm and meter where they can.

So, although there is not a list of official rules for poetry and there is no organisation policing the production of ‘proper’ poetry, there are some recognised, distinct and defining elements of poetry that distinguish it from other literary forms. This principle can be as useful to the novice poet as it can be to the seasoned poet or even judges and publishers.

Comments and feedback about the ideas presented here are welcomed so that we can continue this discussion about what makes a poem and poem – and in so doing – keep poetry well and truly alive.

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We’re Back!!

We are delighted to announce that we are now meeting in person again at the Eau Gallie Library on 1521 Pineapple Ave, Melbourne, FL 32935. Initially, we are holding one meeting a month here, on the second Saturday of every month, and one meeting a month on Zoom, on the fourth Saturday of every month, for those who are still not ready for face-to-face contact. At the library, we keep the chairs well-spaced, and the room has very decent air conditioning. If you want to read your work to us, you can stand at the podium, and you will be a good distance away from your audience. There is a microphone provided so you don’t have to work too hard to project your voice.

Our next meeting, on Saturday July 23rd, will be on Zoom, and we will send all members and interested visitors a link, a short while before the meeting starts, at 9.30 a.m. If you haven’t used Zoom before, and you would like some help with setting it up, just email us at brevardscribblers@outlook.com. We will be happy to help.

We have lots of exciting events in the pipeline. Our 2022 writing competition has closed now, and the entries are going through the judging process. We will announce the winners, in the poetry and short story categories, in September, and the anthology will be published in October.

Additionally, we are planning to issue an updated second edition of our Christmas anthology, which will be available on Amazon in time for Christmas presents and stocking fillers. We are also planning to produce something for the Halloween season – more news on that later!!

We are gaining new members all the time and, as more and more people move into this part of Florida, we are keen to make sure that budding and established writers know about us. We are a lively and diverse group, comprised of writers of every level of experience, format and genre, and we concentrate on helping each other to improve our work and make it marketable. A good percentage of our meetings are devoted to readings and feedback, and we’re sociable too. We like to network and we meet up on other occasions for food and good conversation.

To all members, old and new, and to anyone in Brevard County, that has an interest in any style of writing (from professional to complete novice) do join us at our next meeting. We will be delighted to see you there.

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Our Short Story and Poetry Writing Competition 2022

We are delighted to announce that our annual short story and poetry writing competition is now open for entries. The deadline is midnight, May 31st 2022. Entry is electronic, by email, and you can make as many submissions as you like. Payment is per manuscript entry. Please go to here to read the complete rules. The first three placed winners, in both categories, will automatically be published in the Written in the Sun: Brevard Scribblers Anthology 2022 with an introduction to their winning entries, and will also receive a free print copy of the anthology, when it becomes available for download from the Amazon bookstore in Print-on-Demand and Kindle formats.

If you would like to download our advertising poster so that you can display it somewhere you work or socialize, please click here.

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Written in the Sun

We are delighted to announce that our latest anthology, Written in the Sun: Brevard Scribblers Literary Anthology 2021, has now been published. The date of first publishing was the 9th October 2021.

The book is available as a paperback or digitally, via the Kindle Reader. it was designed primarily for the Kindle, but can be read on Tablets and Mobile Phones too, with a Kindle Account. The formatting may vary according to the device you use.

To order either of these versions, please go to our page on Amazon where you can make your choices. Please review the anthology as well. We will be delighted to read your feedback.

Remember to update all your Kindle books regularly, from your Amazon accounts page, as authors/editors do make changes to content, from time to time.

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Anthology 2021

The Scribblers of Brevard are delighted to announce that their latest anthology will be published in the fall of 2021. They have also taken the momentous decision to change the name of the anthology. The change in name was prompted by a review of way the anthology is now published (print-on-demand via Amazon and by Kindle download) and the implications of that i.e. how people search for and find books that they want to purchase from the Amazon bookstore. A simple search for the word ‘Driftwood’ yielded pages and pages of results. Our Driftwood was drowning in a sea of other Driftwoods. It was time to choose a new, more unique title that would enable our anthology to stand out from the others and be found more easily. We are therefore delighted to announce that the title of our next anthology is: Written in the Sun: Brevard Scribblers Anthology 2021. We will never forget Driftwood and all the past members of the group, from all the previous years, who contributed to it. There will be an acknowledgement to this effect in the new anthology and we will make sure that the old title can always be tagged to the new one.

The entries in our next anthology were evaluated by a panel of three literary judges, who adjudicated the work in four categories: Short Stories, Poetry, Autobiography/Memoir and Fifty Word Sagas. Using a specific set of criteria for each category, they scored the entries in five areas that were relevant to each category. We published the criteria in advance here.

The standard of entries for the competition was generally very good with some of the entries being exceptional. The winners of the Scribblers of Brevard Writing Competition 2021 gained automatic entry to the anthology as part of their prize. They were:

Short Stories

  1. Cindy Foley for Metamorphosis
  2. Elayne Kershaw for Somatosensation
  3. Richard MacNamara (Mac) for Dinner Surprise

Poetry

  1. Norm Davis for The Ring
  2. Linda Paul for Venus Flytrap
  3. Kit Adams for Lady Margaret

There will be over forty entries in the new anthology and, as ever, they are as diverse as the profiles and writing styles of their authors, so it promises to be a wonderful collection. We will announce the publication with links to access the book as soon as it is available.

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Competition Winners

Scribblers Writing Competition 2021

The Scribblers of Brevard hosted their first ever Writing Competition this year, which was promoted widely in the county, on our Facebook page and here on our web site. The deadline was June 30th 2021.

There was a wide range of entries for the two categories: Short Stories and Poetry, and the judges concluded the judging process by mid-July.

We are delighted to announce the results as follows:

Short Stories

  1. Cindy Foley for Metamorphosis
  2. Elayne Kershaw for Somatosensation
  3. Richard (Mac) MacNamara for Dinner Surprise

Poetry

  1. Norm Davis for The Ring
  2. Linda Paul for Venus Flytrap
  3. Kit Adams for Lady Margaret

These six winning entries will be published in the next Scribblers’ anthology (more exciting news on that in a separate post) and each received cash prizes. Many congratulations to them.

Driftwood XXXVIII

Published on Amazon

Print-on-Demand and Kindle eBook

Driftwood XXXVIII – the thirty-eighth annual anthology produced by The Scribblers of Brevard – was originally published in print by Blue Note but this year we decided to venture into the world of online, self-publishing, provoked in part by the impact of Covid-19. In pre-Covid years, the group has enthusiastically marketed the anthology at various literary and community events in Brevard County, Florida with great success but social distancing and isolating made that almost impossible in 2020.

Online publishing, via print-on-demand services and ebooks, provided the solution to the problem of how to promote and distribute the anthology and, despite the negative press that Amazon often receives about its monopoly of this publishing market, it was the logical choice, as a platform of distribution, because at the moment it’s the one everyone knows.

Preparing a manuscript for print and ebook on Amazon can be challenging as a first-time experience but once the process has been learned, it’s very easy to replicate for subsequent manuscripts, and it facilities an extra skillset for whoever takes on the task.

Ten Top Tips for Publishing on Amazon Kindle and Print-on-Demand

  • Format your source manuscript so that the font type and size, body paragraphs, punctuation and line spacing are uniform throughout.
  • Make sure your work is proof-read independently before publication.
  • Print out all the instructions provided by Amazon and follow them in the order they provide them.
  • Prepare images in an image editor like Photoshop so that they fit Amazon’s recommended sizes.
  • Use the provided Amazon templates to create the print-ready book pages.
  • Make sure that the size of your dust-jacket is the same as the size of your book.
  • If you design your own dust-jacket, remember to create bleed-areas at edges and folds.
  • Make sure that any images you use are your own or they are free of any copyright issues.
  • Choose book titles carefully – try to use an original title.
  • Market your book across your social media sites at regular intervals.

Driftwood XXXVIII is available on Amazon here.

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How to Format Dialogue

Formatting dialogue can be tricky, but consistency and familiarity with convention are essential to proficient writing. Use these nine formatting rules to structure your dialogue on the page.

1. Use Quotation Marks to Indicate Spoken Word

Whenever someone is speaking, their words should be enclosed in double quotation marks.

Example: “Let’s go to the beach.”

2. Dialogue Tags Stay Outside the Quotation Marks

Dialogue tags attribute a line of dialogue to one of the characters so that the reader knows who is speaking. Dialogue tags stay outside the quotation marks, while the punctuation stays inside the quotation marks.

Example: “There was blood everywhere,” Karen explained.

If the dialogue tag comes before the dialogue, the comma appears before the first quotation mark.

Example: Karen explained, “There was blood everywhere.”

If the dialogue ends with an exclamation point or a question mark, the tags that follow begin in lowercase. The dialogue punctuation still goes inside the quotation marks.

Example: “There was blood everywhere!” she explained.

3. Use a Separate Sentence for Actions That Happen Before or After the Dialogue

If an action occurs before or after the lines of dialogue, it should be given its own sentence. For instance, if Daniel gasps and then speaks, it would look like this:

Example: Daniel gasped. “You’re dying?”

4. Use Single Quotes When Quoting Something Within the Dialogue

If a character is quoting something or somebody else within their dialogue, use single quotation marks to indicate that the character is quoting someone else.

Example: Sam started to cry. “When you said, ‘I never want to see you again!’ it hurt my feelings.”

5. Use a New Paragraph to Indicate a New Speaker

Any time you change speakers, you should begin a new paragraph with an indent. If the speaker performs an action after speaking, you should keep that speaker’s action in the same paragraph. Then, move onto a new line in the next paragraph when someone else begins speaking. This helps the reader know who is speaking and who is performing the action.

Example: “Danny, I’m going to need you to take a look at this,” said Captain Mark. He gestured to the photograph on his desk.
“My God,” muttered Captain Mark. His eyes darted from the photograph to his empty coffee cup. He knew it was going to be a long night.

6. Start With a Lowercase Letter If Action Interrupts Dialogue

If action comes in the middle of a sentence of dialogue, the first letter of the second fragment should be in lowercase.

Example: “At the end of the day,” he bellowed, “there’s always more soup!”

7. Long Speeches Have Their Own Rules

If a person speaks for a long enough period of time so as to necessitate a new paragraph, the dialogue formatting rules are slightly different than normal. The opening quotation marks are placed at the first part of the first paragraph as well as each subsequent paragraph. The closing quotation marks, however, are placed only at the end of the last paragraph.

Example: Jasper took a deep breath and began. “Here’s the thing about sharks. They’re vicious, vicious creatures. They only know how to do one thing: kill. Have you ever seen a shark in the open water? Probably not. Because if you had, you’d already be dead.

“I saw a shark once. I was scuba diving off the marina, looking for starfish to give to my sick wife. She believes that starfish are good luck. Well, one man’s fortune is another man’s folly. All of a sudden I found myself face to face with a great white. My heart stopped. I froze up. I knew that was the end. If it hadn’t been for that pontoon boat, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

8. Em Dashes Indicate Interruption

Em dashes (not to be confused with hyphens) are used to indicate interruptions and abrupt endings in dialogue. When formatting dialogue with em dashes, the dashes should be placed inside the quotation marks.

Example: Bethany began to speak. “I just thought we could—”
“I don’t want to hear it,” interrupted Abigail.

9. Don’t Add Additional Punctuation When Using Ellipses

If you’re writing dialogue that ends with an ellipsis, you should not add a comma or any additional punctuation. Ellipses are used to indicate the trailing off of dialogue.

Example: Lindsay let out a low whistle. “I guess this is the end of the line…” she said, her voice trailing off.

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-format-dialogue-in-your-novel-or-short-story#how-to-format-dialogue-in-a-story

https://self-publishingschool.com/how-to-write-dialogue/

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From 2020 to 2021

What a year it was. Like so many other people, families and groups who were used to meeting in public places (inside or out), we were suddenly faced with the question of how to keep meeting under the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. There was a seismic shift towards the use of Zoom technology as the primary way of continuing to meet safely online. Some of us were already familiar and comfortable with video/audio conferencing while for others it involved acquiring new skill sets (social and technical). Kit (President) very kindly agreed to purchase it rather than rely on the free version, which often throws everyone out of the meeting after about forty minutes.

We launched our first Zoom meeting on Saturday, April 18th 2020 after a slight hiatus (the previous meeting having been held in the Eau Gallie Library on February 22nd, 2020). Teething troubles were minor; consisting only of whether or not we could change our background (from our ‘boring’ interiors to an exotic beach or even outer space) or remember to hit our mute buttons when someone else was talking. Some members have said they prefer this method of meeting together for its convenience (you don’t have to leave home and you can cunningly disguise the fact that you may still be wearing your pyjamas) but I think most of us miss the coffee, the Dunkin’ Doughnuts, Gloria’s home baking and the conviviality. The experience of hugging someone warmly whilst looking at their face is an irreplaceable tactile feeling that generates communal joy. The consensus is that Zoom is an excellent substitute for physical meetings but it is still that – a substitute.

Attendance at the Zoom meetings has been good and the readings have been of a consistently high standard. David Clarke introduced us to his novel: From Dove Creek To Who Knows Where and Lou Kicha tantalized us with extracts from his upcoming novel: Girls Don’t Play with Dinosaurs (working title). Kay Williams and Linda Paul took us into the realm of musicals and songs; Kay sang her musical to us and Linda played the ukulele as an accompaniment to her poetry. Mac entertained us with his nostalgic, autobiographical tales of life in Florida and the Keys, on a motorbike, whilst Norm wove magical spells with his evocative and deeply personal poetry. This, of course, is just a sample of the many fine works that were presented for opinion and feedback. On average, twelve readers present their work each month across two meetings and some of them read four or five poems – so a lot of writing has been presented to the group and enjoyed. Criticism is, as always, constructive and helpful without being unkind.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, it has been a productive and exciting year for the Scribblers of Brevard. We launched our anthology (XXXIX) and an associated writing competition – with a deadline of April 1st 2021 (see the menu to link to details of those) – and there have been several publications. Lou Kicha published Permafrost Rising on Amazon (see the previous blog for details); Peggy Insular published Waiting Rooms also on Amazon and Scott Tilley published his collection of writings on the theme of the virus, entitled Pandemic (also on Amazon). Several members had contributions included in this book, including Nancy Clarke (I Had To); Anne-Marie Derouault (Borders); Nicholas Kaplan (What New Normal); Carolyn Newby (A Most Unusual Year) and Scott Tilley (Covid-19).

In the pipeline: we are planning to launch our own You Tube channel that will feature audio recordings of our work, accompanied by music, backdrops or even video. We also plan to publish a collection of Christmas-themed Mini-Sagas (fifty words) and a collection of Tributes to Our Mothers for Mother’s Day. Scott Tilley has put a call out for work on the theme of ‘what next after the pandemic’ – aptly entitled Aftermath and several members will undoubtedly contribute to that.

It’s been a year. We start 2021 full of optimism. The vaccination programme has started. We have a new president and a change of ideology in the government. We are starting to make tentative plans for holidays and trips to see loved ones, friends and family. Maybe these longed-for events can take place in late summer or autumn. All of this hope and anticipation provides us with plenty of stimulus for writing projects. So now that we have turned our back on 2020 and look forward to the rest of 2021, let’s keep writing and sharing our efforts – the pleasures and the frustrations of writing!

We extend a warm welcome to old, lapsed and new members. Please use our contact page if you would like to find out more about us and sample one or two of our Zoom meetings before joining us. You will find us to be a very friendly bunch of people with one common interest and lots of other interesting talents and skills too. Our next Zoom meeting will be on Saturday January 23rd, 2021 at 9.30 a.m. for chat and 10.00 a.m. for readings. All details are on our contact page (there’s a link in the menu if you surf away from this news blog page).

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Lou Kicha on Amazon

One of our members – Lou Kicha – has been attracting some fabulous reviews on his Amazon page, where several of his novels are available to buy or download to your Kindle. Check out this latest review of his novel Permafrost Eruption, which is very timely but did in fact pre-date Covid-19:

“Once again Louis Kicha has proven to be a wonderful writer with a scientific background. Permafrost Eruption is an important read as we deal with a global pandemic. The work could not be better or worse depending on your outlook.
Mixing the science of a virus and adding just enough character development is a special talent. Kicha has it in spades and has proven it in his two previous works.
Permafrost Eruption is the story of a discovery in the Arctic of ancient humans who have been buried for thousands of years and are newly found because of climate change. After a series of events, one body releases a toxic virus that threatens humankind today.
Fast paced, the science will not make your head spin as researchers discover the source of the virus and then rush to find a cure.
In today’s world where people do not respect or acknowledge the benefits of science, especially government leaders, Kicha waves the scientific flag high. He also does not shy away from acknowledging that humans are flawed and have an agenda not always in line with the public good.
The book is a page turner. Your heart may skip a beat or two. That’s the sign of a great writer.
Kicha continues to be a great writer who walks the fine line between not too much science and not enough about characters. He’s up there without a net and he is splendid.
Even without Covid-19 wreaking havoc, you should read this book.”

Reviewed by Judy Clay