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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 Nov 12, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

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Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

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Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

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Posted by on Sep 30, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

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