Thursday, 30 March 2017

Young Adult workshop with Cathy McSporran

Cathy McSporran visited the club this week and she provided an entertaining and inspirational workshop on the background to young adult literature.

Many of the group felt it was a topic they would have difficulty tackling, not knowing anyone between the ages of 13-16 years. However Cathy made it clear that it was the writing that was important. Making the main character the same age as the reader or a little older was the key. This encourages the reader to identify more closely with the story.

Writing for this age group should not be an exercise in protecting the reader from disturbing aspects which can happen in society; see stories like Harry Potter or War Horse. This age group is well aware and would feel patronised if the story were watered down in any way.
Readers of youth literature expect a well formulated and challenging novel, so don’t be afraid to make the story “dark, serious or downright disturbing.”

We were left with a challenge of writing a story on ‘Bullying’ and if we were to complete this Cathy would be interested in reading it.

Contact her online if you wish to send her your stories. Her email address and website are on the hand-out sheet.

Hilary Stevenson

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Poetry Competition Results 2017

Michael Malone adjudicated the recent in-house Poetry Competition, providing helpful, constructive comments for all who entered. The results are as follows:

3rd                    Hilary Stevenson            The Storm

2nd                   Sandra McGruther          Sunrise

1st                    Morag Moffat                 Child of Allepo

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Scottish Association of Writers Conference 2017

Members of Erskine Writers were delighted to attend the annual Scottish Association of Writers Conference at the weekend, although our numbers were a little decreased. The wonderful Westerwood Hotel did us proud again, with an endless supply of meals, tea and coffee, as well as delicious fruit drinks and cakes at coffee time.

There was a very good range of workshops and adjudications with something for everyone no matter what our writing interest, including novels, short stories, articles, poetry, inspiration, YA, children’s. Our after-dinner speaker this year was the funny and approachable Helen Lederer who kept us well entertained.

Amongst the competitions, our own Cathie Devitt was commended in the Pitlochry Crime Novel. Well done to Cathie! Myra Duffy and Victoria Gemmell were both adjudicators this year and delivered excellent critiques in their categories, as well as each running a workshop over the weekend. One of our members, Pete Marrison, carved the beautiful trophy shown on the front of the programme! Myra was also on the Dragon’s Pen Panel, for which the trophy was awarded, so our club was well represented.

Roll on next year when we hope to have even more members attending.


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Articles and Poetry

The recent Article Competition was adjudicated by members of the SAW (Scottish Association of Writers) committee and lovely secretary Jen Butler and treasurer Jacqueline Murray came all the way down to Erskine to deliver the welcome results and comments.

Congratulations to all!

Winner                    Peter Morrison
2nd                          Marjory MacKellar
3rd                           Kate Gordon
H. Commended      Wilma Ferguson


Last week, we were delighted to welcome poet and novelist Michael Malone to the group where he delivered a very interesting workshop on poetry.

Using examples from his own and other work, he covered:

  • the human connection and using emotion 
  • finding the right (specific) word 
  • an imaginative use of nouns and verbs
  • the difference between abstract and concrete words and phrases
  • using rhyme carefully - imagery and metaphor can make a difference
  • write poetry regularly - and read it
  • write fast without editing, then go back and find the right word and phrases
  • poetry can misdirect the reader - apparently about one subject but may have a subtext
  • lose empty words like 'was', 'that', 'had'

And now to put it into practise, members should submit their poems to the competition Michael will be judging by Tuesday 7th February.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Celebrating a 90th Birthday!

The other afternoon, several members of Erskine Writers were delighted to attend an Afternoon Tea in celebration of the 90th birthday of one of our long-time members, Kathleen Hammond.

Her family arranged an excellent spread to rival any posh restaurant and people from the various areas of Kathleen's life had been invited to celebrate with her. Along with tea, coffee and beautiful tiers of sandwiches, cakes and scones, we were given a glass of Prosecco or Schloer with which to toast the birthday princess.

A special extra touch was the pretty little individual box with a cup cake inside that was given to each guest to take home. I've posted a few photos I took of some of our members.

Kathleen and her sister Freda
Kathleen receiving flowers at Erskine Writers - taken by D. McGruther

Here's to you, Kathleen, and long may you continue to delight us with your wonderful nostalgic articles about life in a gentler age.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Looking Forward

A reminder that the writing group restarts for 2017 on Tuesday 10th January with Open Manuscripts to which you can also bring the first chapter of a novel for constructive feedback.

The first workshop of the year will be on 24th January when we look forward to welcoming poet and novelist Michael Malone.

All power to your pens in 2017!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Competition Results and Christmas Goodies

Tuesday saw the writing group's end of session for 2016 and a good time was had by all those who managed to attend the Christmas meeting. As always, there were plenty of yummy goodies to eat and the only problem was knowing when to stop!

We have two competition results to mention - congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all who entered.

Memoir Competition - Adjudicator Brian Whittingham

Highly Commended     The Lamplighter by Myra Duffy
                                     This is About Me by Morag Moffat

Third                             Crocodile Tears by Hilary Stevenson

Second                          Missing by Joan Fleming

Winner                          Birthday party by Kate Gordon

Short Story Competition - Adjudicator Alex Gray

Commended                 Hilary Stevenson

Highly Commended     Elspeth Munro

Third                             Elizabeth Gillespie

Second                         Wilma Ferguson

Winner                          Judith Vallely

Have a great Christmas and we look forward to seeing everyone ready to start writing again on January 10th 2017.