Feedback night: critical variety – 3 October 2018

Variety is the spice of life. That may be a bit of cliché but in terms of the reading material presented for consideration at Ayr Writers’ Club feedback night on Wednesday, it was certainly true.

With members carefully divided into four groups on arrival – so as to avoid the awkwardness of having to adjudicate one’s own piece – silence descended as we became absorbed in the clutch of anonymous pieces selected for each group to read. Following fair and frank discussions, each group recorded on the feedback sheet, points of appreciation as well as constructive criticism for the writer to consider, and as an aid for improving their skills.

What a ‘fast’ hour it turned out to be and, for my group at least, we decided to sacrifice friendly chat with fellow writers, in order to push through tea time and finish our pile of manuscripts. (Thanks, Linda, for bringing refreshments to us!)

Post tea-break, it was time to share our collective wisdom. For new members, experiencing a feedback night for the first time, it was bound to feel a bit scary – I remember, shaking in my shoes, listening to my first ‘crit’ – but as ever these nights are organised to support and encourage writers on their ‘journey’, and learning from others’ responses is always valuable.

The diverse pieces included six short stories, four poems, two novel extracts, two children’s books and two articles. The subjects and themes included a murder mystery, a friendship bench, a rotting vessel, homelessness and a hilarious meditation on the dangers of Botox. Comments and suggestions were offered on formatting issues, the nitty gritting of sentences and punctuation, consideration of target ‘audience’ as well as applause for original ideas, excellent imagery and pieces with great potential for further development.

Entertaining and educational – what more could you want!

Carolyn O’Hara


  1. Graeme St Clair

    Great blog Carolyn, I’m sorry I missed it. I thoroughly enjoyed the readarounds during the summer and I’m sure Wednesday was every bit as good.

  2. Susan Turner

    It was a very good, varied and interesting evening. I’m glad I was brave enough to share my double dose of offerings! Feedbavk and constructive criticism gratefully received (but not yet acted upon! Thank you everybody for a fun and interesting night – thank you, Carolyn for a well-written blog

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