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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 Mar 20, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Well, it was another fascinating workshop at the club last night when our own Suzy captured and enthralled with her wealth of knowledge of writing myths and magic. Suzy’s power-point presentation was brimming with wonderful facts. ‘Realistic fiction can always do with a bit of magic and vice versa.’ Suzy gave us an overview of Legend, Folk Tale, Fairy Tale, Fable, Myth, and the importance of Magic and Defining Magic. We heard that fairy tales were a sub genre of folk tale,  told orally then written. We heard about Little Suck-a-Thumb’, a...

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Posted by on Mar 12, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

On Wednesday our joint presidents, Linda and Gill, hosted a sci-fi themed writing evening.  If, like me, the thought of writing anything sci-fi is daunting and alien, excuse the pun, then Wednesday’s workshop would have allayed your fears. With the prompts for setting the scene, creating characters and creating conflict the attending writers had free rein when, where and in what world they would set their story line. And so our trip into the near, distant and unknown future began.           Of...

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Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Despite inclement and unpredictable weather – Kathy and I had left Narnia behind in the Irvine Valley (OK, that’s maybe a slight exaggeration) – we had a good turnout of members for Nigel Ward’s article writing workshop. Of course, those of us who’ve attended one of Nigel’s workshops before knew it would be worth pulling on our snow-boots and trekking to Ayr. Nigel began by quoting from the work of venerated sports journalist, Kilmarnock-born, Hugh McIlvanney who died on 24 January. One quote caught my attention – McIlvanney wrote that...

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

It takes a certain degree of chutzpah to employ punctuation as a fashion accessory. Pat’s traffic-calming exclamatory knitwear demanded attention for an enthusiastically-delivered interactive evening of all-embracing editing advice (which included minimising the use of adverbs and employing hyphens to reduce word count). As a well-known member of the Group, Pat has published three novels with Bloodhound: Till the Dust Settles, I Know Where You Live and One Perfect Witness. In a well-attended session, Pat took us through five (self-)questions...

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Classification: public – non-fiction with Bill Coles – 23 January 2019

Posted by on Feb 12, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

Our speaker to talk about writing non-fiction articles was Bill Coles – journalist, adventurer, dad, gamesman, storyteller and writer (not necessarily in that order.) He has written for numerous papers including The Sun, The Wall Street Journal, The Mail and The Scotsman. During the course of the evening he talked of his time writing for these papers, some of the stories he worked on and much more. Bringing in stories to a newspaper is what defines a journalist, so how do you find stories? Contacts are very useful but can take a long...

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A Bard’s Advice: drama workshop with John Binnie – 6 February 2019

Posted by on Feb 11, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

‘I’ll have grounds More relative than this – the play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.’ Hamlet’s frequently quoted words on the power of theatre persistently lodged in my brain as I tried to find the words to encapsulate the pleasure provided by John Binnie’s workshop on Wednesday night. Open, friendly, encouraging, stimulating , thought-provoking……I need a thesaurus to find all the appropriate adjectives to reflect upon the success of his third visit to our club. John’s opening gambit was to encourage us to...

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Ayr Writers’ Club Join Raconteurs In The Bachelors’ Club

Posted by on Jan 23, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

By Tracy Harvey   As we approach Burns Night, orators and raconteurs the length and breadth of Scotland will be narrating the tale of Tam O Shanter, addressing that great chieftain o the puddin race, the haggis, and praying along with that auld hypocrite, Holy Willie. For spoken word has long been the tradition of Scotland, going back to the days where most folk had never been taught to read or write and had little, or no, access to books. So stories were passed from one generation to the next in the form of story, rhyme or song. Burns’...

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Posted by on Jan 16, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

By Fiona McFadzean   As a long-time member of Ayr Writers’ Club, it was a shock to my system when circumstances meant that I was unable to attend the weekly meetings. I could still be an online member of the club, keeping in contact via the e-mail Google group. It just wasn’t the same and I soon developed Writers’ Block, that affliction dreaded by all writers. Ideas wouldn’t develop, leaving blank pages. Reading other members’ work as an incentive only produced frustration. Although I had already been published in magazines, anthologies,...

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Christmas Night at Waterstones – 12 December 2018

Posted by on Dec 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

An enjoyable and entertaining evening was had by all who attended Ayr Writer’s Christmas night held at Waterstones Ayr. Firstly let me extend a huge thanks to the committee members for their hard work organising and hosting the evening. The evening kicked off with a leisurely browse round the well stocked shelves of Waterstones, picking out that special Christmas gift or buying a treat for oneself. Raffle tickets were also on sale at a £1.00 a strip, all monies raised going to club funds. David the manager at Waterstones gave us a short talk...

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