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AWC on tour – Summer Readaround in Beith

The second read-around of the summer took us via the highways and byways of North Ayrshire to John Eden’s home in Beith. Many of the usual suspects were there and there was a strong trend towards competition entries (even those that had already been submitted) or extracts from ‘work in progress’ novels.

Nigel began with a piece originally written for a flash-fiction competition. The main character is returning after a long absence and wonders what kind of reception to expect on returning home. We guessed (correctly) that the absence was due to the character having been in prison, but completely failed to pick up on the fact that the character was a woman not a man. (More clues please Nigel!)

John read an excerpt from his novel ‘Fifty percent’ which graphically showed us the main character’s difficulties in coping with ordinary life and hoping to hold onto a responsible job after a diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. The novel is set pre 1989, before there was a proper test for Huntington’s.

Janice gave us a very entertaining piece called ‘No George Clooney,’ which began as a writing-group exercise in writing erotic fiction (the fact that the writing-group was based in The Dick caused a certain amount of amusement.) This was erotica well laced with humour (the best kind!)

Martin continued his crime novel of murder and mayhem in Mauchline We are now up to chapter nine where we are given, just to muddy the waters, a glimpse of the personalities and guilty secrets of members of the police investigation team.

Maggie (that would be me) read her competition entry for one of the ‘Writers’ News’ ‘Win Your Way To Swanwick’ competitions – a children’s story on the theme of ‘keeping safe.’ The story ‘Safe Home’ has recognizable characters – a small girl visiting Grandma; woods; a wolf and a woodsman to the rescue. However, the outcome is not as you might expect. I can reveal this as the competition is now closed. Maggie has since discovered the story was actually placed second. No free place at Swanwick then, but hey – still quite chuffed!

Chris gave us another competition piece, this time for one of the S.A.W. Solstice Competitions – a 500 word story on the theme ‘surprise me.’ As the competition is still open I’d better not give too much away but can only say it showed that surprises aren’t always good.

Linda is also on the competition trail, this time for The Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Secrets and Confessions. Again, under wraps as the competition is still running. Suffice to say Linda’s guilty secret is a work of humorous, mathematical genius!

James is aiming for another S.A.W. Solstice Competition, a 2000 word story on the theme of ‘what happens if…’ Lips once again are sealed, but James says that the idea came to him out of one of Fiona Atchison’s Sci-Fi workshops. (If it wins money, maybe you should demand a cut Fiona.)

Barbara read an extract from her latest novel (how great it must be to be able to say that!) This is set in Perth in 1884 in an insane asylum. It gave us a grim reminder of the way people, particularly women, were ‘treated’ is such institutions.

Janice (Johnston this time) made an appeal for more contributions for Ayr Writers’ Club’s weekly slot in ‘Ayr Advertiser.’ This is too good a ‘blowing-our-own-trumpet’ opportunity for the club to miss, so we need a steady supply of contributions.

So, two read-arounds down already and the next one scheduled for July 6th chez Pat Young – that is if we can winkle her out of France! Hope to see you there.

Maggie Bolton

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