Wednesday, 6 December 2017

    Welcome to Erskine Writers.
 Use the headings above to navigate the Site.

  Scroll down this page for the latest Blogs. 

Open Manuscripts, 5th Dec 17

Morag, Diana and Elizabeth were each looking for feedback on improvements they had made to previous writings. Elizabeth took control of a discussion on suitable outlets for writer’s work. Some magazines were still soliciting stories from past contributors whilst several companies did not welcome contributions from previously unpublished authors.

The website was mentioned for helping to find outlets and tracking the progress of work already submitted. There were differing views on the topic having stories published without payment as a means of getting your foot in the door of being an author.

Kate and Joyce respectively, set us reminiscing over grocery shopping of yesteryear and world events and personalities of the sixties.

Morag and particularly Joan Fr. seemed to be having trouble with underwear, but for different reasons.

Pete read a couple of his stories from a “For sale, Baby Shoes, never worn” anthology whilst Senga schemed to get exactly the Christmas present she wanted.

Hilary reminded us that it was “Mince pies at one” next week. As well as bringing edible goodies, each member to bring just one Christmas card, personalised with a few lines of verse or prose. There would then be a lucky dip for each to pick a card.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

500 Words or Poem – First Impressions. 28Nov17.

Eight members submitted 1200 word features/articles to Kate on current affairs; for the Erskine Bridge Hotel Cup. To be judged by Jean Rafferty. (Results in two weeks time).

Hilary reminded attendees about the ‘Mince Pies’ meeting at 1pm 12th December. Indications needed for next week of ‘who is contributing what.’
This week’s topic was “First Impressions.”

Diana’s short, unfinished poem ‘Gatherers’ sparked off a welter of comments and suggestions.

Senga’s hundred word Jeffery Archer story, did everything but reach the competition organisers.

Pete tried to wind a story around childhood barbs regarding people’s faces.

Joan Fr.’s free verse told us the story of a happily poignant moment in her life.

Morag wrote of a ‘not so welcoming’ first visit to a writing group.

Kate’s piece showed a real lack of appreciation for unreal cooking programmes.

Hilary told us of her and her friends’ fascination for ducks. It later became a metaphor for folly.

Joyce gave us an article on how we are often deceived by first impressions.


Joan Fr. and Pete read their (also ran) pieces from the 2000 word General Short Story competition.

To show his contrition at not producing a story to match the day’s topic, Donnie gave us a totally unbelievable (but true) story of two battling clients from his former professional life.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Adjudication and Readings of the General Short Story. 21/Nov/2017 -

A change to the syllabus – Feedback from the SAW Conference is put back until 17 April 2018.

Myra provided details of the Glasgow Herald - McCash Poetry Competition. Due date 31st December 2017

Fifteen members were present including a returned Sandra McGruther who was able to tell us of success with her “Still Dark” paper backs. They have been available in the main supermarkets since 3rd November and sales are up relative to comparable figures from 2016. Sandra also provided anecdotes from her promotional tours in North America.


Ann MacKinnon had selected her ‘first five’ from the fourteen entries for the 2000 word General Short Story Competition. For the first time, the Erskine and SAW selection of 2000 as the numbers of words coincided; These same entries are therefore also available to enter competitions at the Scottish Writers Association Conference in March 2018. As a result of that, no details of the authors, titles or subjects are being included in this blog.

The five stories were read out in order of:- commended, highly commended, third, second and first.
With readings and comments, there was only sufficient time for those five entries. If the quality of the first five is anything to go by, we can still look forward to hearing the remainder at another time.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Jean Rafferty - The structure of a feature

Jean's background is predominantly in journalism and she described the necessary ingredients for a piece to be bought, from a freelance writer, by a newspaper or magazine which already employs staff feature writers. The newspaper industry is short of cash, why would they pay for something that their own people could produce?

On Tuesday the introductions to four features by Sam Woolaston, AA Gill, Suzanne Moore and Amelia Hill were examined to discover what captured the interest of the reader. What was their hook?
Members discussed possibly suitable topics from items in recent newspapers.
e.g. Italy's despair at its departure from the soccer world cup, Brexit, Social Housing in Kilbarchan or Day dreaming as a key to fame.

For each topic Jean was looking for a unique HOOK which would attract an editor. Apart from the internet, what research would you carry out, WHO would you speak to and which different aspects could be addressed?

PLAY with ideas, find NEW ANGLES, do not necessarily present ALL sides of the argument - have a RANT. Maybe take the opposite position to the one normally portrayed.

Jean condensed a normal day's lecture into a hard two hours. It is hoped that members absorbed sufficient material to be able to produce a 1200 Current Affairs Article for 28th November 2017.

More about Jean Rafferty at


Members are reminded of the Saturday 18th November deadline for entries to the SAW 2018 Conference open competitions

Monday, 13 November 2017

Meeting 7th November 2018

Eight interesting topics today, which allowed the group to contribute with memories, questions and debates. Jack being the sole male put a positive spin on several of the more controversial stories.

The titles were varied, from Dialing God, Bonfire Night, the News,
Midwifery, “Prologue” to the new Bute Noir (Myra), Glasgow the friendly city, Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot and Kathleen’s story about visiting her daughter, which was on “hold that thought mode,” as her printer would not print out more than the first paragraph. We wait in anticipation for the rest.

New members, who are going to S.A.W conference next March. Or contemplating going. Are asked to please mark on your registration form "First time delegate."
Any members who would like to join Erskine Writers Facebook page. (Closed page only for our members,) please advise Hilary.

Posted by Hilary Stevenson

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Myths and Legends followed by Open Manuscripts

Yesterday was the deadline for entries to the 2000 word General Short Story Competition. These same stories can still be eligible for entry to the March 2017 SAW Conference short story competition.

The theme for this meeting was set to coincide with Halloween. As to be expected there were some truly terrible stories and poetry. The President had to appeal for light relief at one stage.

Topics covered included illegal immigrants, guardian angels, Smarties, death and dreams in many forms, Robin Hood, guisers, St Mungo's fish, Hieronymus Bosch, dementia, the Flintstones and the emotional roller coaster of spouses, families and cockatoos.

A massive seventeen pieces were read and still with time for comment and critique in between.

Had it been a competition between Dark 'n Gloomy Rovers versus Light 'n Ridiculous United, the Rovers would probably have won 3 - 2 in extra time.

We were left to ponder; in these days of equal opportunities, is it still correct for 'death' to always be portrayed in the guise of a man?