Some Free Tools for Writers

Admin User Tools & Tips lists some free “open source” tools to help authors be both creative and productive.

They include character creation & analysis, an outlining tool for creating your novel, a specialist screenwriting tool, and distraction free writing tools as well as other software for markup, as well as either desktop and professional publishing.

So if MS Word or LibreOffice are not your preferred environment check out their recommendations.

The Little Penguin

WotH Writers Writing

by Paul D.

Dressed in a puffa jacket that had seen better days the explorer watched the wildlife at the edge of the ice sheet.

A waddling mass of penguins formed a colony near the rock face, with birds squawking, flapping or swarming together in organised chaos of feathers and maturing chicks. Between the nesting area and the sea they trailed to and fro, some beaks fetching small fish or squid to feed chicks, some were taking small rocks or pebble as courtship gifts.

A little penguin waddling across the ice within the apparent chaos of the colony caught his eye.

This one had something special about it; its path or its gait, or the way that it seemed to pass on a slight diagonal to the directions that the main body of birds moved in.  Then he saw that it was meandering, following its own path, hopping up onto a small outcrop, or weaving in and out of a set of snow dunes and ice that were largely ignored by other webbed feet.

Standing aloof from most of the others, it seemed to catch his eye, the look of two common strangers in a strange land. The explorer smiled with pleasure at its own joy even before he realised that the bird was cutting a new path across that would intersect with him and his dwelling.

Standing still and hoping not to spook it, he watched his new friend cock its head as it stopped a few feet away. Hopping closer to his snow shelter, it dropped something from its beak before waddling off back on its own way.  He picked up the stone, a quartz that glinted pinkly in the midnight sun. Pressing it into the ice behind him, he felt it set off and finished the words that were pressed into his sparkly igloo.

© Paul D.

Extra Session

Admin User Event, News

But at 7:30pm on Thursday 7th, we’re having an extra (online) session to support some updates on the website and specifically to gather more for the tips section, we’d like to feature what you think really matters.

The Zoom Meeting Details

Here is the meeting link

So could you bring along your favourite quote and your favourite tip on writing?
With a brief explanation of what each of the two means to you. 
We can then use them on the website … with a link to you and your writing.

Alternatively, you could just send them to me by email … tho it’d be great to hear what you all have to say!

Look after yourselves, keep writing, talk soon

The next regular online meeting will be 7:30pm on May 15th … the writing cue for your 200 words is ‘gutter beatle’. Then Sue George is going to take us through what we can learn from her favourite author. Really looking forward it.


Absent Friends

WotH Writers Writing

by Alex Jones

To the sound of a couple of tea cups clinking: “To absent friends!”

“Indeed. How very thoughtful of you”

“It is so long since we last saw Toni, I just thought we’d reminisce”

“Good idea old chap”

“Do you remember when she used to play with us? She was so….”


“Yes. Delightful”

“So warm. So loving”

“Yes. Warm and loving”

“Oh how we used to enjoy our time together, sitting us all down for a lovely cup of tea, with her tins of baked beans. The loaf of bread. The plastic chairs. The table”

“Oh the table. The table”

“It’s such a shame she had to get all grown up”

“All grown up. All grown up, yes”

“Latest I heard she was gallavanting around the world as an air hostess. She’s way too old for the likes of us now teddie, isn’t she?”

“Way too old. Way too old”

“But wait. That sounds like footsteps coming up the stairs!”

“It’s her. It’s her!”

“She’s here everyone. She’s here everyone! She’s back home. Get ready for a tea party everyone!”

The door opens, to some very sad faces

“Not the bloody cleaner again!” said Ted. “I miss Toni. I so miss her….”

© Alex Jones, for Writers on the Heath

Just Deserts

WotH Writers Writing

by Sherree Cummings

He shifted, sliding the cardboard further under his buttocks, a bit of grit poking him in the backside. The ground was freezing. He blew on his fingers trying to warm them but they were stubbornly refusing to thaw out.

He had lost everything.  His home, his family, even the bloody flea ridden cat with its doses of worming tablets.

All gone.

If only he hadn’t taken it all for granted; been so greedy.

Now, looking back it had all been so perfect. Or was it? Had she noticed?

Playing around had seemed so much fun. ‘Variety is the spice of Life’ they say.  Spending money like there was no tomorrow, flashing the cash with his mistresses, leaving the wife to pick up after him. He… had…taken…it…all – for granted.

Now, as he looked up at the sky with its crisp, clear night-he- remembering cosy evenings at home.  Sitting round the fire eating crumpets with Brucie making them (all) laugh with his jutting out chin and comic retorts.  He recalled her last words to him as puce with rage she spat ‘I’ve had it, I’ve had enough! I’ve told you time and again, I’d let something go once, I’d let it go twice, but NEVER for a third time.’

‘It WAS your turn…to put the bloody bins out!’  **or ‘change the bloody litter tray’

He turned on his side. A sniffing stray dog cocked its leg and sprayed as furiously as the Trevi fountain.

© Sherree Cummings

WotH Member wins Silver Medal!

Admin User News

We were all delighted to hear at our last Zoom meeting that Sue Wickstead had two of her children’s books shortlisted as finalists for the The Wishing Shelf Book Awards for 2019 and that ‘A Spooky Tale’ was awarded the silver medal in the the pre-school category.

Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’ came out in print in 2014 and she followed it with a several more children’s books including more Playbus tales all based on real vehicles featuring not only Jay-Jay, but Daisy Daydream and Sparky the Dragon Bus (who offered play opportunities to disabled children and their families).

Sue works as a supply teacher (at least when schools are open) but has also worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led her to write a photographic history book about it.

She found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more, so she wrote a fictional tale about their first bus, and the number plate JJK261 gave him his name.

Sue spoke to us previously about her “blog tour” for ‘Sparky the Dragon Bus’ in February – where instead of travel an author and book is featured in online reviews. (We think those may be more popular at present for obvious reasons!)

TA Spooky Tale coverhis month Sue heard she’d been awarded the silver medal for the pre-school category for ‘A Spooky Tale‘. The book was written with her class many years ago and holds fond memories as well as spooky connections. The tag line is, ‘That’s why we didn’t feel well’ (But not due to the coronavirus)

Sue has a new book ready to go, ‘Gloria the Summer Fun Bus‘, and hopes we do actually get a summer of fun this year. Gloria is also inspired by reality, and a bus used to support children during the long summer holidays. Sue hopes that after the lockdown this kind of facility would be a good idea today for children and schools so restricted at the moment.