Thursday, 31 May 2018

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2018/19 Syllabus and Writer's Notes

The Draft Syllabus for season starting in September 2018

 is now available.



The June 2018 issue of Writer's Notes has been added.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Talk to the hand. 15 May 2018.

For the last session of the season the topic was “Talk to the hand” (the face ain’t listening).
It is an obnoxious expression from the nineteen nineties often accompanied by the palm of a hand extended towards the speaker. Fortunately, it appears to be dropping out of use.

Members interpreted this awkward subject in several imaginative ways. 

Kate created a monologue rant to an unreceptive daughter who lived in that other world which teenagers inhabit. Diana’s poem took on a similar theme.

Margaret’s poem imagined a hand being the speaker’s sole audience.

Wilma reminisced of a near accident many years ago as a traffic policeman’s white gloved hand commanded her to stop.

Elizabeth ranted over someone trying to persuade her to take her most hated form of transport ie a bus.

Joyce wrote of ventriloquists of years gone by, literally talking to their glove puppets.

Pete’s piece was of a person who listened to everything, but absorbed nothing.

Hilary imagined a conversation in which one party used different hand gestures instead of words as a way of communicating.


Kathleen read two poems; one of springtime and one of the day when world records can no longer be beaten.

Joan Fr. wrote of a thoughts and make belief conversations with a sad lost friend Charles.

Diana’s poem was of two strangers discussing the very different reasons for them being in a psychiatrist’s waiting room.

Hilary read her article which had been submitted to the March 2018 SAW Conference. It described the wonders of a visit to Sky Tree communications tower building in Tokyo.


Following on from last week’s talk on editing, Joan Fl. circulated a sheet about the software package “Hemmingway App” which is used for analysing passages of writing.  

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Writers' Workshop at Fruin Farm, Weds 20th June 2018

Save the date! A full programme of writing workshops has been organised for next
 month at a ridiculously low cost of £10, which includes refreshments and a light
 lunch, in a picturesque setting.

The venue is Fruin Farm at the Cross Keys roundabout on the A818, Helensburgh, 
G84 9EE(


10.15 am Robin Lloyd-Jones  Building a character

11.15 am Coffee

11.30 am Mary Edward Editing

12.45 pm Lunch                                                                                                                    

01.30 pm Ann MacKinnon  Poetry Workshop

02.30 pm Tea break

02 45 pm Paul Kelbie Features and Articles - Preparation and Pitching

The fee for the day is £10. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come,
 first served basis. Bookings should be made in advance. 

Please email or telephone 01389 729279 for any queries, 
details of payment and full directions.

Editing workshop with Joan Fleming, 8th May 2018

Joan gave the group some insightful pointers on this challenging and thought-provoking topic 
and provided members with a comprehensive handout on publishing to study in their own time. 
She presented several examples, including one from her own novel, and expanded on the headings 
from her notes on publishing.

Joan urged the group to try the writing competitions site for practice on the art 
of concise and precise writing within 160 characters.

She reminded members that, to improve their writing, they should always check grammar 
and style and not be satisfied until they have honed it to the best of their abilities, not forgetting 
to read it aloud.

Web tools also have their place and can be used to help in the editing process; however, they 
do have their limitations so we shouldn’t rely on them too much.

Joan recommended keeping up to date with new trends in publishing but stressed the importance 
of being consistent, whatever we did.

The session concluded with a practical exercise involving editing a few sentences Joan had 
provided for the purpose. We then had the option of checking against Joan's suggested solutions. 
Although not all members totally agreed with the proposed solutions, the exercise had at least 
made everyone think about the importance of editing. 

All in all, a worthwhile workshop - thank you, Joan!

(This report was compiled by Diana Devlin from notes taken on the day by Hilary Stevenson.)

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Approval of Syllabus for 2018/19.

Each item of the draft syllabus for next season was discussed and approved.

The only significant change from the draft was to include a Sci Fi / Fantasy Workshop to be given by Billy Thomson on 20th November. Several speakers have still to be arranged or confirmed.

The venue for the Annual Dinner is confirmed as being the Ingliston Country Club on October 23rd

In the half hour remaining there were four readings.

Kathleen told us a story from her school days when two young girls were told by their teacher to go and wash their mouths out with soap and water for swearing. And they did, with yellow soap.

Pete described some of the changes in the male/female divide over the past centuries and fantasised about what could happen next.

Diana looked for comments on an extract from her novel-in-the making about people trafficking. Diana left with plenty of food for thought.

Similarly Jill (visitor) read of a reluctant mother and disappointed wife of a Scottish laird, trying to rid herself of both problems simultaneously. Again plenty of feedback was forthcoming.


Myra warned anyone intending to attend the Bute Noir festival on the first weekend in August, should book well in advance. A major event relating to the speedboat 'Bluebird' is also happening that weekend on the island.