Betty McKay’s Workshop – 12th May, 2012

Being late was not a good start, especially when the first item on the programme was tea/coffee with handmade chocolates from Lime Tree Larder. Luckily, the other participants in Betty McKay‘s workshop had restrained themselves and left me a lovely selection of yummy treats.

Betty introduced me to 6 members of Largs Writers and one other solo writer, though we didn’t feel on our own for long. We were all here for Betty’s ‘Writing Short Stories for Women’s Magazines‘ workshop.

We quickly settled down to business and the morning flew past. We discussed the various magazines that still accept stories and what they are looking for then moved on to the serious business of finding ideas. In no time, story plots were coming faster than I could write them down. We may have been aided by the bowls of dark, milk and white chocolate nibbles lined along the table – truly inspirational!

The rest of the morning was spent discussing how to corral the basic idea and actually come up with the first draft.

Lunch was a chance to find out a bit about the other participants. It was a sunny but cool day as we sat outside and chatted. We’d bought our own food but Lime Tree Larder provided us with tea, coffee, ice-cream tasters and even more chocolate!

Then back to work, discovering how to turn that first draft into the best it can be by using dialogue effectively, considering different viewpoints and the infamous ‘show, don’t tell’. Throughout the day, Betty led us through all aspects of writing and submitting short stories for magazines. She motivated and encouraged us with examples from some of her own published pieces. Finally, Betty looked at how best to submit our short stories – and what to do when they came winging their way back!

We all promised to let Betty know WHEN our stories were successful and to look out for each other at SAW next year.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without stocking up on chocolates and ice-cream from the farm shop for even more inspiration in the future!
Janice Johnston

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