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Plots and characters break down blocks – 29 November 2017

Few writers, whether they are very experienced or new to writing, will go through their careers without experiencing something akin to writer’s block. Being stuck for ideas can be frustrating and demoralising. Inspiration can be sought in a variety of ways. Members of the Ayr Writers’ Club, all too familiar with the challenge, have a series of Club Nights during the Season when there are...

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Recycling your Darlings: novel writing with Lesley Glaister – 22 November 2017

It was a foul November night. But it was heartening to see such an excellent turnout for a visiting speaker. I knew Lesley Glaister was my kinda gal when she said, within minutes of opening her mouth, ‘Are you she?’ I could use that on 6 December, I thought, briefly (which is when Pat is running her Pedantic Grammar workshop). Before I could pursue that idea, Lesley had grabbed my attention...

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Critiquing and Chocolate Cake Eating – 15 November 2017

On Wednesday night, Ayr Writers had the opportunity to receive feedback on pieces of writing that they’re working on. These varied, from fiction to articles, scripts to poems, and we were split into groups of four to read and critique anonymous pieces of work. Lively discussion ensued and after the tea break, it was time to feed back. Each group had three or four pieces each, so one at a time we...

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Short story workshop with Ann Burnett – 8 November 2017

On Wednesday we were treated to a talk about short stories by Ann Burnett, one of the Club members. Ann began by saying that all authors need to warm up before they start writing. Ann got the group to write about themselves for five minutes, but that what we were writing was going to be a pack of lies. This idea would have the basis of a short story with characters, plot and action. Of some two...

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Passion, a Twix and Cereal Boxes: writing non-fiction with Gill Hoffs – 1 November 2017

As a writer, I’m a bit of an over-thinker, a bit OCD, a bit careful. Maybe I’m alone in this. But I suspect (and hope!) I am not. So, what a veritable breath of fresh air was Gill Hoffs, speaker on writing non-fiction at our meeting of Wednesday 1 November. Gill brought energy, passion, wisdom, honesty and… er… torn up cereal boxes … to a talk that inspired and encouraged writing about what...

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Scottish Article Competition – Em Strang’s notes

Nature Writing – up to 1500 words How can the writer articulate the relationship between ‘nature’ and the human body, where the body is not separate witness, but integral part of ‘nature’? What might this mean? How on earth might a writer approach this? Some questions that might help bring into focus thoughts and feelings in relation to this: What even IS nature?...

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Nature personified with Em Strang – 18 October 2017

Not many speakers invited to Ayr Writers’ Club begin by emphasising what they are NOT going to talk about, but then, Em Strang was not a typical speaker. Instead she explained that she wanted to use the occasion – and us – as a sounding board for her current passion: an exploration of what it is to write nature poetry, not writing ‘about’ nature but writing ‘towards’ nature as a human embodiment...

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This Is Your Life: A Life Writing Workshop by Linda Brown – 11 October 2017

‘Everyone has a story to tell, your life is your material’. This quote by author Claire Tomalin was the perfect introduction to Linda Brown’s workshop on life writing. It was also an ideal example to prove that you’re never too old (or too young) to write your autobiography. Claire was 84 when she wrote her own memoir, ‘A Life of My Own’. Perhaps even more impressive though, is Herman Wouk’s...

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