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The First Summer Pot-Pourri – 22 May 2019

So the club has closed for the summer, what are we to do now? No more writing, no more competitions, no more meetings. Aye right! The summer break is one of the busiest times for Ayr Writers’ Club. We may not have the usual venue but writing still goes on. We gather in members’ houses to read and discuss drafts or perhaps polished entries for upcoming competitions. Others read extracts from their novel, hoping to turn a pipe dream into a reality and become published authors.

The first of the meetings kicked off in Carrie’s lovely house with a warm welcome and delicious cool drinks for the thirsty guests on a warm, glorious evening. And bless her, Carrie even baked cakes for the hungry travellers.

Peter set the ball rolling with a reading from his novel on a sequel to Oliver Twist. The character is now in his thirties and has come to Scotland. It’s a book full of villains, prostitutes and a little bit of love. Although it was felt that some of the language may be too contemporary for the era in which he was writing, the story was interesting and left us keen to know what happens next. 

Eddie was next up with his short story about an acquaintance who had once worked at Bletchley Park and how she had contributed to the research on the film, ‘Enigma’. It was a good story with a lot of interesting information. However, it was felt that there could be more focus on the protagonist. Eddie explained that it was just a first draft that was created at one of the group’s writers’ retreats. It was great to see that some excellent work is produced at these organised events.

Susan’s excellent young adult novel is set in the future where earth has been spoiled by radiation. A woman is washed up on the shore. Is she alive? Is she contaminated? Is it safe to touch her? Some of the questions coming up within the piece of writing. Another interesting story which had us all intrigued. Pleased to say, Susan is in the final stages of polishing her completed novel for a publisher. Good luck, Susan.

Another body was found, this time in Linda’s book. Who was this woman? What happened to her? This extract certainly had some very descriptive scenes and left us wanting more. Linda stumbled across this idea when she was working on some family history research and left her wondering whether to write the book as fact or fiction. It was suggested that perhaps she could write it as faction allowing room for some dramatic turning points created from her own imagination.

Carrie, our hostess, certainly used her imagination with her fantasy, young adult novel. A castle, a dungeon, a trap door, gigantic insects and beetles were among the descriptions. All of which we were certain would appeal to Carrie’s targeted audience. It had us all gripped and we were left with a brilliant cliff hanger.

Jeanette brought us back to reality and the everyday world in a hairdresser’s salon. Her short story was considered to be an enjoyable monologue. It was a good piece of writing but we would like to hear more about the conflict between the main character and her boss.

The penultimate reading was from Carolyn who read two poems. The first one was based on a washing machine and its various shapes and sizes throughout the years. A common everyday appliance that flagged up our own memories and gave us all a good laugh. The poem was another good result from the recent writers’ day.

Carolyn’s second poem was about a child gradually becoming independent and the mother’s fear of separation. Another lovely poem with a good ending. Carolyn’s inspiration for this one came from a workshop in the club run by Alison, one of our past presidents.

Chris, our new president for the new coming season, was last up for the night with his short story on a train journey back from London. Chris was hoping for a quiet trip and expected to relax and read a good novel. An interesting conversation by nearby passengers soon had Chris tossing the novel aside and reaching for his notebook – it was just too good to miss. What an opportunity for an incredibly funny short story.

To round off, Nigel, one of our members and a past president, couldn’t make it along to the first readaround and sent his contribution via email: an article on his amazing achievements in climbing the Munro mountains in Scotland:

That was it. Last story told. Ten o’clock. Time to go. Although I didn’t contribute with any readings this time, I left fully inspired and keen to get to my computer to churn out some fiction for the next readaround in a fortnight’s time. No doubt it will be another most enjoyable evening.

Gail

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