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Read-a-round and Feedback Evening – 30 November

This was a well-attended evening with seventeen pieces of work brought along for group reading and constructive critique. It also happened to be the competition entry date for Flash Fiction and Maggie, our competition secretary, was kept very busy at the start of the night.

   The first part of these sessions is where the interesting work begins: initial read through, a group discussion on what is good and enjoyable about the piece, what is perhaps not clear or not working and notes on how the piece may be improved. Some perhaps required only a fine tweak. However, the emphasis is always to provide the writer with some useful comments to think about. As we are all aware, a fresh pair (or pairs) of eyes can work wonders in guiding a piece along. Following the break, feedback began and authors were unmasked.

   We had several excerpts from novels including genres of crime and science fiction, all leaving the readers asking for more. A very good sign. From the crime novel piece it was mentioned that a character called ‘Dig’ was a plastic surgeon and there was some query as to whether this was an actual name and had they pronounced it correctly. The owner of the piece (Pat) went on to explain that not only was the name meant (with a soft ‘g’) – it was given to the character,  as a shortened form of the word ‘digit’ to reflect his dark obsession of removing digits from his patients’ hands. Reserve a copy for me!

   Then we had a saucy little piece to which many of us, including myself, jumped to the conclusion that it was written by Martin. Can’t think why! Many apologies had to be offered amongst much laughter when Carolyn revealed herself as the author. A best-seller on the way!

   There were several poems which were highly commended. For me, the poem of the evening had to be the one by Tracy, written in a strong Ayrshire dialect. It was a humorous poem describing a person cycling along in the near dark when they come up against an obstruction in the road. The line states simply -‘A big stane!’ Then reading on, the ‘big stane’ turns out to be someone’s lost tortoise. Magic stuff.

   Thanks to everyone who took part and especially to a new member who was a ‘first timer’ at having work critiqued and happily managed to leave unscathed and with readers asking for more.

 Fiona Atchison

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