ROCKINGHAM — A homegrown spinner of Southern-fried fables is starting a writers’ club for aspiring authors, short-story writers and poets in Richmond County.
J.A. Bolton, whose “Storyteller” column appears each Wednesday in the Daily Journal, said he wants to cultivate a forum where writers can share their work and swap advice and support. Bolton developed the idea while attending Anson County Writers’ Club meetings in Wadesboro.
“We’re trying to start one in conjunction with the Anson County Writers’ Club,” Bolton said. “We get input from each other like, ‘What do you think about this?’ ‘How can I change my character?’ It’s about swapping ideas.”
All writers are welcome, Bolton said, from beginners to published authors. The group is for writers of any and all original work — prose, poetry, song lyrics and other formats.
“Everyone’s got different ideas,” Bolton said. “Mine might not be yours and yours might not be mine, but overall, it helps you. I think it would be a good thing for Richmond County.”
Bolton plans to publish a collection of columns he wrote for the Daily Journal and is still seeking a literary agent and publisher, he said.
The fledgling club hasn’t settled on a permanent home and regular meeting dates, and Bolton said new members would be welcome to offer input. The first meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 8 at the Richmond County Daily Journal office, 105 E. Washington St., Rockingham.
Writers can read selections from their stories to the group, ask for advice and offer suggestions to fellow writers, Bolton said. Future meetings may include special presentations on writing and publishing from guest speakers.
Bolton said writers also can help each other by sharing ideas for stories and characters. Authors find inspiration in a variety of places.
“I write a lot of animal stories,” he said. “I go out to the river and I sit around and just think a little bit.”
The Anson County Writers’ Club meets at 3 p.m. the fourth Sunday of each month except July and December at the Anson County Chamber of Commerce in Wadesboro. Bolton said some members may attend the first Richmond County writers’ meetings to help the group organize.
Bolton also is a member of the Story Spinners Guild, which meets on the third Monday of each month from September through May at Laurinburg’s Storytelling Arts Center. He said his introduction to the creative community came in 2009 when his wife encouraged him to enter the Bald-Faced Liars Showdown, a storytelling competition.
Organizers told Bolton he was the last to enter and may not even get to share his tale if other entrants ran long. He got his chance when four other contestants dropped out, and though he was apprehensive at first, Bolton and the audience quickly warmed to each other.
“I finished fourth, and a Methodist preacher won the Bald-Faced Liars’ contest,” Bolton said. He’s been involved with the Story Spinners Guild ever since.
To find out more about the Richmond County writers’ group or RSVP for its first meeting, call Bolton at 910-997-4658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-997-3111, ext. 13.