Troon Writing Games – Summer Readaround – 17 August

The golfers were gone. Troon was no longer in the eyes of the sporting world. It was already Day Twelve of the Olympics in Rio, yet the day lacked in sporting inspiration: Team GB collected no medals. However, in Anne’s garden room, a dozen writers showcased their creative skills. True to the Olympian spirit, it was all about taking part: no medals, no anthems and nobody would have been expelled for word-doping.

Anne sought feedback on how effectively the character of her narrator emerged as he entered the surroundings of a country house. Distant laughter melded with culinary smells from below stairs as he pondered the elegant nape of a retreating lady’s neck.

The eating habits of Maggie’s young monsters had already been touted round the Frankfurt Bookfair. Green warty noses wriggled and squiggled as they devoured rattles, spoons and bowls; then we learned of their parents’ favourite tasty snack.

What are you prepared to sacrifice to save a bob or two? The spirit of Greta’s character left us chilled and questioning our understanding of cost, value and life itself.

Insincere retirement celebrations and crocodile tears at a funeral appeared in another of Pearl’s intriguing legal settings. Her exclamation, “No way was I a mourner” entertainingly conjured up wry smiles and less than sympathetic emotions.

A collage of observed and overheard phrases, culled from Chris G’s colleagues and workmates, rang bells, created characters and suggested plots in ways that were both descriptive and poetic.

Carrie was the evening’s raconteur. She preceded her black-dog tale of someone’s recurring depression with an entertaining anecdote that shouted out to be written. Just be careful if you find yourself on a ride at Flamingoland.

Was the only way Essex as Chris P’s book review of The Essex Serpent mixed memoir and review. The enduring image of his nan being extracted from her bath by the fire brigade almost eclipsed the book’s sense of place he praised from the novel’s depiction of misty marshes of Magwitch’s Dickensian haunts.

Chloe shared two drafts of her poetry in which she explored the emotional impact of those wrestling with sexuality and relationships. As ever, strengths were seen in each, diverse views were presented and she was left pondering how to incorporate the feedback.

Dorothy admitted to salvaging a piece from the skip: a euphemism for that draw full of first drafts and early scribbles? Much of the resulting discussion centred around a single phrase, showing how important each word is in a short, powerful poem.

We learned more about the criminal underworld of Mauchline and the team investigating a serial killer as Martin shared his latest chapter. Strangely named dogs and mysterious photographs that don’t match the workplace image twisted the plot further.

Finally, Janice read a book review that was welcomed for the way in which she dealt with the negative. Rather than simply heaping praise on the writer, criticism should be couched in a constructive way, highlighting shortcomings and the way they affect the reader’s enjoyment of the book. And beware: don’t inadvertently slip in a spoiler.


So, the Summer Readarounds came to an end for 2016. Yet again they have been a popular part of the club’s calendar and an informally social way to keep the writing going before the new programme starts in September. I’m already looking forward to next year’s.


Nigel Ward

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Posted by on Aug 9, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

What better way to start a readaround than to listen to a piece directly inspired by the writer’s experience of the previous readaround? Marion’s City Girl versus Country Girl was a fun fusion of memoir, nostalgia, life writing and creative non-fiction. Packed with imagery and humour, she compared her youthful enthusiasm for the bright lights of Glasgow to the rural bliss the woman with jacket and hood finds in the Carrick Hills. We all agreed Marion should submit this piece to be published in the club’s Write Stuff column of the Ayr...

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Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

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Competing with the lawnmower: Readaround @ Carolyn’s – 27 June 2018

Posted by on Jul 9, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

It was a beautiful sunny evening when we headed for the Ayr Writers’ Readaround at Carolyn’s. It’s not often we see such good weather in Scotland so we headed for the garden to enjoy the warmth around our circle of friends. Carolyn kicked off the evening reading a memoir on behalf of Yolanda. Poo Sticks was the title. This started off light-hearted about a friendly game. But as the story progressed, we realised that there was something much more sinister. It turns out the NHS poo sticks that came through the post, saved Yolanda’s life. We are...

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On a wet summer evening … Readaround – 13 June 2018

Posted by on Jun 25, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

The rain rattling down on Maggie’s conservatory roof belied the description of the evening being part of a “Summer Readaround.” On the other hand, the range and quality of contributions more than made up for the lack of sunshine: words and creativity shone through. A scene from the latest instalment of Martin’s Mauchline crime novel was set in Crosshouse Hospital, culminating in the chilling question, “should I be scared?” Beware of the next person you see wearing blue trainers. Susan’s portrayal of recently retired and widowed Sarah gave us...

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Full House at Pat’s Pad – 30 May 2018

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Q: How many writers does it take to fill Pat’s living room? A: A whopping sixteen – including our generous host herself. Actually, we were extremely fortunate the first AWC summer Readaround of 2018 didn’t take place on Pat’s sun-drenched driveway, thanks to a delayed French flight. But our intrepid host made it to her ain pairty by the skin of her teeth, tanking home from the airport to find eager Readarounders already chappin at her front door. Not to be deterred by her last minute arrival, Pat popped open the champers (for the non-drivers)...

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Glad rags, gongs and gavels: Annual Awards Dinner – 9 May 2018

Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

While the Oscars, the BAFTAs and even the Nobel Prize for Literature might be mired in controversy, the club’s Annual Awards Dinner for 2018 stood proud and unblemished. A groaning table of trophies The Savoy Park Hotel fed a clutch of local writers all hungry to share and celebrate their successes. With certificates a-plenty awarded to those whose writing merited commendations, third and second prizes, let the photographs of grins, smiles and handshakes tell the story of the evening as each first prize-winner received something to put...

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An AGM? Res ipsa loquitor – 2 May 2018

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

How do you assess the health of a club that has been running for nearly 50 years? Our club’s Annual General Meeting last week may have provided a few indicators. In the first instance, approaching thirty members turned out for a gathering that could hardly claim to be the most alluring of our weekly meetings. There was still however the usual buzz and exchange of stories that precedes most meetings. Secondly, the retiring President’s comprehensive report provided ample evidence of a club continuing to flourish with a packed agenda of keynote...

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Posted by on Apr 23, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Nigel Ward’s travel writing workshop was, as expected, entertaining and informative but definitely not for slackers! There was much furious scribbling going on. As one member said, because of other commitments, this was the first actual writing she had done in months. After a brief flow-writing exercise, Nigel gave us many useful tips and ideas such as the ‘nut-graph’. That is the ‘grabber’ paragraph that encapsulates the nub of your piece. This should capture the reader’s interest in what will be later...

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Such talent from Ayr Writers – 11 April 2018

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

We had a good turnout for our read-a-round evening on 11 April, with four groups enthusiastically discussing the pieces submitted for scrutiny. For those of you who don’t know what these evenings consist of, the instructions tell us to bring along four copies of a piece of prose or poetry no longer than 1,000 words. The pieces are anonymous and usually each group of reviewers does not read their own work. However this time we did it differently, with each group discussing two or three items written by its members. This worked very well, with...

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