Nothing Like The X Factor – 2nd October, 2013


The room is full of aspiring talent but Readaround Night at Ayr Writers’ Club is anything but a weeping-fest. There’s no booing, no arrogant judges, no one is chewed up and spat out.

Instead, in true Ayr Writers’ tradition, Dorothy creates a positive atmosphere which encourages sensitive reading and supportive feedback.

On Wednesday, new members of the group may have felt a bit nervous about sharing their writing, but the guaranteed anonymity of the distributed scripts helped to soothe initial anxieties. The Presidents, Wilma and Dorothy have come up with a useful format.

Seven numbered groups were formed when members picked their number at random. Written feedback sheets ensured that writers had comments to take home. Dorothy reassured all writers that the choice was theirs – they could use some or all of the advice from their peers or they could choose to read it and leave it at that.

According to one new member of the Club, benefits of the Readaround also included the opportunity to get to know others in the group, to cross-fertilize ideas and get different impressions of a piece of writing.

“Even getting personal feedback didn’t feel too bad…”

“Maybe we need fewer pieces to read – our group seemed to rush…”

After tea, one of the Readaround pieces, a poem, was read aloud.

Before the contributors collected their pieces, Dorothy shared advice which came up most frequently, for example:

•    Show, don’t tell
•    use variety of language in your descriptions,
•    different sentence-lengths can be used to vary pace.
•    proofread
•    characters reveal themselves in dialogue

Don’t forget, further good advice is always available on the Members Only section of the AWC website.

Rhona Anderson & Yvonne Jack

One comment

  1. Dorothy Gallagher

    A very encouraging blog, well done. If you held back on the last feedback night, I hope this encourages you to slip a toe into the water next time.

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