Thursday, 1 August 2019

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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Garden Party and Prize-giving 21May 2019.











ERSKINE WRITERS COMPETITION WINNERS 2018-19


Children’s Competition      Albert Hammond Award

First place                 “The Ghost Bear.”                       Elizabeth Gillespie

Second place            “What Shall I Be?”                      Wilma Ferguson

Third place               “The Lost Egg.”                           Sandra McGruther

Highly commended  “Little Green Man.”                     Elspeth Munro


Poetry Competition       Betty Munnoch Award

First place                     Lilac                                         Kate Gordon

Second place                The Smell of Stone                   Pete Marrison

Third place                    Hospital                                   John Hughes

Highly commended 1     A Whiff of Envy                    Kate Gordon

Highly commended 2     Survivor                                Sandra McGruther

Highly commended 3     The Smell of Christmas        Elspeth Munro


Women’s Short Story     QUAICH

First place                         The Correct thought   Kate Gordon

Second place                     Love Taxi                              Hilary Stevenson

Third place                       The Perfect Partner                 Elizabeth Gillespie

H/commended                  A Good Turn                          Wilma Ferguson


Article                   Erskine Bridge Hotel Cup

First               “Don’t Shed a Tear for the War Babies”  Pete Marrison.

Second           “Loving Care”                                           Joan Frondigoun

Third              “The Killers in the Garden”                       Kate Gordon.

Commended   “Flu Past the Post”                                    Hilary Stevenson.


Presidents Cup                                     Kate Gordon.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

14 May 2019. Who Done It?


At this weeks’ meeting, seven members had brought manuscripts which were randomly circulated to be read to the assembled group.

The ten attendees had to guess the author of each of the readings.

All the readers made an excellent job of reading aloud documents which they were seeing for the first time.

Each of us had a slip on which to note the title of the piece and then write their calculated guess of who had been the author.

As the meeting progressed guesses were frequently reassessed and finally President Hilary was the only person with an all correct set of answers.

Among the entries were five stories, an article and a poem. We were all looking for clues particularly in style and subject

Everyone enjoyed the interesting and challenging exercise.


Next week  - The garden party starting at 12.30pm.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

7th May 2019 Dialogue and Dialect Workshop

At the meeting this week, Wilma delivered a workshop on ‘Dialogue and Dialect’

After a jumper and glasses malfunction, Wilma delivered a very informative session to the group.
She described how dialogue is conversation between characters in a story. This adds interest to the piece and moves the plot forward.

Wilma highlighted how punctuation should be used in dialogue and we were given an exercise where we had to rewrite a passage of text, punctuating the dialogue and using contractions where appropriate. This still proved to be challenging for the group but very worthwhile.

Wilma then focussed on what makes good dialogue. eg it’s always clear who’s speaking, develops the story and introduces new information while sounding natural with vocabulary used that’s appropriate to each character. The use of body language was also mentioned.

Wilma provided dialogue examples from popular books;
Exposition from a Christmas Carol.
Characterisation from Pride and Prejudice.
Humour from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

We spent the final part of the workshop on dialect and accent. Looking at dialects and accents from around the world.

Wilma then gave us a final exercise this was to be entirely in dialogue, involving three characters, allowing each person to speak but not using tags. Making each individual speech different in some
way to show that it showed their character.

Jacklin read an article from the Writers Magazine article which was a rejection letter from a Chinese Publisher which was pretty damming stating her effort was so poor that they would hope that they would never see anything as bad in the next 1000 years. There’s hope for all of us.

Hilary reminded us that next weeks meeting  will be the ‘Who done it?’Either a short story (500 words) or a poem. This will be anonymous, with each of the group selecting a reading and then we will try and establish who wrote the piece.







Thursday, 25 April 2019

Monologue - 'You missed yourself' 23 April 2019.


“You missed yourself”   (loosely meaning 'you should have been there - you missed it.")

Joyce’s monologue was in the form of a letter to her sister saying how much she had enjoyed a 60’s music concert which included stars, groups and songs from a bygone era. Dave Bery, Peter Noon, Vanity Fair and Hermit’s Hermits’ “I’m Henry Eighth I am.”

Pete spoke to a nature loving friend about the TV programme ‘Blue Planet II” which showed wild life on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. He then tried to making him envious by describing his own visit to the same idyllic island.

Kate used Glasgow patois to describe her excitement about a forthcoming ‘do’. i.e. A party night out. Even natives of Auld Reekie might have struggled to understand the language.

Elizabeth explained her initial frustration over the new vocabulary and etiquette when she first took up bowling. Her mood turned to delight as one of lucky shots helped win the game for her team.

John H described how, as a youth, he planned and schemed to attend a Pink Floyd concert with some pals. His persistence on the night paid off. Some of his pals weren’t so lucky.

Sandra’s gave a fresh slant on Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection as described told by an observer using modern informal Scottish dialect.

Hilary’s was the envy of her fellow passengers when the bus broke down. She was able continue enjoying her Walkman player, whilst lack of a satellite signal for their mobile phones was driving others to distraction.


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John S looked for comment as he read a chapter from his work-in-progress novel. A father agonised over how to tell his three year old daughter that her mother had died.

Similarly, Elizabeth had a revised version of her SAW entry ‘The perfect dancing partner’
She had attempted to incorporate the changes suggested in the feedback from the SAW adjudicator.

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Next week  30 April 2019  -  Approval of the draft 2019/20 Erskine Writers Syllabus

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Catch up - - 16 April 2019.


There was discussion regarding the mainly successful running of the March 2019 SAW Conference in Cumbernauld.

Also a report from Hilary following a recent SAW representative’s meeting in Perth. Problems exist with electronic communications between the Writers Association and the Clubs.

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Further readings from January/February’s Article Competition.

Joan Frondigoun’s “Loving Care” came second in the competition.
This was an article about the legal, emotional and financial problems arising from dependant men or women becoming attracted to their carers. This could be initiated either by the patient or sometimes with ill intent, by a carer.

The Police are sometime unable to label certain suspect actions as crimes and the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, struggles to cope.


Kate Gordon’s “Killers in the Garden” came third.
It tells of a dog suffering a mystery illness due to its own inquisitiveness.

Many popular garden flowers can be harmful to pets and even fatal. A mini detective saga was required involving owner, gardening expert and vet to trace the source. The medical and scientific knowledge is available but insufficient pet owners are aware of the dangers.


Joyce Summerville read “Thank you for the days”.
This was a biography of singer/songwriter Kirsty McColl who had success in the 1980s and 1990s.

Her parents were Scottish, but she was brought up in Croydon.

Her most successful hit was “They don’t know” and her albums included “Tropical Brainstorm”. She worked with “The Pogues” and Tracy Ullman and was married to Steve Lillywhite,

She was tragically killed in 2000 in a controversial boating accident in Mexico.

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Below are further readings from the SAW Conference.

Joan Frondigoun.   Poem.    “Achilles.”
The classical hero from the Iliad struggles in his dispute with Agamemnon and his reluctance to engage in war with Troy.  

Joan Frondigoun.   Poem.    “The Pauper.”
    A celebration of the many and varied ways of expressing ones love.

Donnie McGruther – General Article. – “Partnership Matters.”
Recession brought a massive growth of insolvency accounting. A quirk in the law lead to corporate golf competitions for those accountants. The need for an annual prize created English confusion over the pronunciation and meaning of the Scottish word ‘Quaich.’

Hilary Stevenson – General Short Story – “Life Strands.”
A dark Sci Fi story. A future geologist discovers a strange mineral crystal on a far away planet.

The initial pride in the discovery turns to despair as exposure to the crystal creates leper like symptoms. None of the medicines and remedies in the galaxy can cope. Terminal isolation is the only solution.


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Next week:-   Bring monologue.   “You missed yourself.”

Saturday, 6 April 2019

SAW Conference March 2019, Cumbernauld



About a dozen members of Erskine Writers attended the 50th Anniversary Conference held at the end of March in Westerwood Hotel. We were delighted to meet up with former member Rosemary Gemmell who was adjudicating the Pitlochry Quaich Competition for a Romantic Novel.

Keynote Speaker for the Gala Dinner was our own Alex Gray, who gave a moving and gracious speech in which she charted her own journey as a writer and encouraged us to keep writing and keep submitting. Thank you, Alex!

Members attended various workshops, including Writing Short Stories, Becoming a Children's Author, Achieving Your Writing and Publishing Goals, Writing  Novels, Poetry, Feature Writing and Reaching Your Readers Online.

Other events included a quiz, a talent show (Bill Daly represented us well!), a super-sleuth play, delicious food and the opportunity to chat and relax. Hilary Stevenson was one of those chosen to face the Dragons' Den and gave an excellent account of her spy novel, Hush-Hush’.



                           Erskine Writers won the following awards:

Non-Fiction Book
2nd place Judith Vallely for Struggle and Suffrage in Glasgow: Women's Lives and the Fight for Equality’
On a dark January night in 1914, Glasgow’s iconic Kibble Palace at the Botanic Gardens became the target of a bomb attack. The police concluded it was the work of militant suffragettes after discovering footprints of ladies’ shoes…and an empty champagne bottle and cake.
The attack was just one of many incidents as the women of Glasgow battled for the right to vote. One hundred years from when some women were finally able to go to the ballot box, this book examines the inspirational women of Glasgow of the time and their quest 
for equal rights and improvements in all areas of society. 


Short Story for Children under 7.
3rd place  Morag Moffat for ‘Chickens, Scrap-iron and a Fiddle’,
About a Romanian  child moving with his family to Scotland. The adjudicator praised the title, the storyline and the message, the child's voice and the insight into the life of the family.

Commended - Wilma Ferguson for ‘What Shall I Be?’
About a child dressing up as various professions. The adjudicator, Caroline Clayton, loved the title, the creation of a magical make-believe world, the language and rhyming and the good use of the child's voice. 



Largs Shield for 3-5 min sketch.
3rd place Morag Moffat for ‘Show, Don't Tell’.


The adjudicators (Perth Writers) enjoyed the setting and the play on words. Morag appreciated the splendid acting of Erskine Writers when they presented the sketch.


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Next meeting  -  16 April – Open Manuscripts.