Scriblist collaborative novel

Cathy has been telling me about a collaborative novel at a site called

"The competition starts on 1st January 2007, when we will invite all aspiring authors to submit the opening chapter of a story based either on an original idea or the plotline supplied by us. The first book published by will contain 5 stories, so 5 opening chapters will need to be selected and YOU will have the chance to influence which chapters are chosen. You can Read and Rate each submission and the chapters with the highest votes at the end of the Read and Rate week will go before our panel of judges for the final selection of the 5 winners.

Once the 5 winning chapters have been chosen, they will be published on The second submission window will then open and you will be able to write what you think should happen in chapter 2 in the story of your choice. You could of course try to write a second chapter for all 5 stories….This process will be repeated until we have 5 complete stories of approximately 6 chapters each."

Cathy had submitted her version of chapter 2, and although it was not selected, it was shortlisted. Someone from the site sent her a very nice email, providing feedback specific to the content of her chapter whch she found useful, and encouraging her to submit a chapter 3 (which she’s been doing today). Impressive.  See the scriblist site for advice for writing, details of timetables and how to submit.

New denarius, and iron, for old, or scrap

From Friday’s (2 March) Times, with the heading "A Rolling Stone gathers a very early silver denarius", complete with picture (of coin, not author):

Sir – Since leaving the Rolling Stones I have developed a keen interest in metal detecting, and have been fortunate enough to have built up a large and diverse collection of ancient coins, jewellery and artefacts, many of which are featured in my book "Bill Wyman’s Treasure Islands".

Your article "Coin arrived before Romans" (Feb 26) featured a photo of a Roman silver denarius. Fourteen years ago I found a very similar Roman coin, right, which was recorded and identified at my local museum in Bury St Edumnds, Suffolk. It almost exactly matches the date of the one featured in the article.


(In the online version, one commenter has asked: "Were you around to see it mined?")

The same day’s paper features a story "Is this a work of art or just any old iron?" about how the writer, broadcaster, doctor and polymath Sir Jonathan Miller asked a passing scrap metal merchant to remove a rusting bath from his front garden — only to find his three metal sculptures had also been over-enthusiastically taken.  An unnamed newspaper is quoted as reporting "Only a philistine [sic] would take these rusting lumps of metal for discard[ed?] car parts abandoned by some sociopath and phone the council." But Sir Jonathan was philosophical: "It would be nice to have them back or if anyone wanted to buy them I would be happy to sell them. They were made from junk and now I suppose they are returning to junk."