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Comments and competitions: Feedback Evening – 20 February 2019

On Wednesday we had one of our Feedback/Readaround evenings. Prior to the main agenda, Gill presented the Scottish Article Competition results. These were as follows:

1st place Shiela Grant for Always Look on the Bright Side
2nd place Jan Walker for I Had To Smile
3rd place Chris Palmer for A Footnote in History

Highly Commended
Catherine Lang for Nature’s Balm
Eddie Phillips for The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Movies

All to much deserved applause.

The Feedback/Readaround then followed with the members splitting into five groups of three to five as decided by Gill’s complex numbering system, involving picking a piece of numbered paper from a bag. After picking and thereby being allocated to your group by number, these numbered pieces of paper were carefully retrieved, no doubt for use at our next Feedback/Readaround meeting – who needs computers?

The aim of the evening is to give valuable feedback to members who have submitted a short piece of writing of up to approximately 1000 words. There were nine pieces presented and two or three scripts given to each group with more than one group commenting on some of the scripts. There was a lively hubbub of chat and discussion in the groups as the scripts were analysed and dissected with care. This took us to the coffee/tea break.

The feedback after the break was both incisive and supportive of the pieces submitted and the contributing writers. There were some ‘novice’ pieces presented and these gave rise to very encouraging comments. Many of the pieces were, of course, extracts from either larger sections of the authors’ writing, or ‘starter’ pieces for an intended longer story. The scripts covered a wide range of genres from children and young adult pieces through to some darker stories and also a Sci-Fi story starter. The feedback was welcomed by all of the authors and was accepted as extremely helpful. Comments varied from layout to punctuation and sentence length suggestions. Many of the pieces clearly had the readers in the groups wanting to read more and eagerly await the next instalments.

From a personal viewpoint, I found the whole evening both fascinating and encouraging. The wide range of imaginative pieces were most enjoyable to read and the care and thoughtfulness of the commentators highly instructive. The supportive nature of the feedback will certainly encourage me to submit a piece for the next scheduled Feedback/Readaround evening.

Alan Haughey.

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