Syllabus 2018-2019

Syllabus 2018-2019
September 2018
3 welcome/reports/programme/circles and folio.
Great Expectations/Game On
10 Adjudication of Short Stories: Doug Johnston Competition
Read Your Own Work
17 “Revisiting the Short Story”
Sarah Graham/Ross McCallum ( set competition )
24 Library closed. Outing to Cowal Open Studios

1 Angus Livingstone Memorial Day- Humour
8 “Writing with photographs”. Alison Green
15 Read Your Own Work
22 Young Adult Fiction:Susan McVey ( set competition )
29 “Ghost”- Workshop

5 “Setting the Scene”- Skelmorie Aisle: Sarah Goldie
12 Live Literature
“You the Jury”: Douglas Skelton
19 ” A Book with Character ”
26 Short Story Adjudication
Hand in Young Adult Fiction

3 Poetry: Alison Craig ( set competition )
10 ” Letter Writing ”
17 ” Christmas Crackers “/ Christmas Lunch
Christmas Holidays: 24th and 31st

January 2019
7 ” Presenting the New Year ”
14 Young Adult Fiction Adjudication
Hand in Poetry
21 Burns: Angus Middleton
Read Your Own Work ( Scottish Flavour )
28 Adjudication of Poetry/ RYOW

4 Oran Mor
11 Drama: Soliloquy/Monologue: Jack Muir
Hand in Article
25 ” Not just Burns- singing the unsung Poets of Freedom”: Alan Dickson
Hand in Quest/Pilgrimage- Special Category Competition

1 ” April Foolery “: Drew Cochrane & George Whitestone
8 Adjudication of Article
15 A.G.M
22 Easter Holiday
29 Adjudication of Quest/Pilgrimage

6 Garden Party/Drama Day. (June- Poetry Day [to be arranged]

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Hold the front page!

We were in the local paper: here are all the smiling faces (you’ll need to click the link I’m afraid – most vexing!).

Photo L & M 12 04 17

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Falkirk Writers’ Tryst Seminar 2017

Please find a link to the Seminar Programme and Guidelines for this year’s event which takes place on Saturday 27 May 2017 below. All are welcome to attend and submit entries for the various categories of competition.

More information on what’s happening and a registration and entry form can be found here.


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Happy New Year and Short Stories

A Happy New Writing Year to all,

Our guest speaker at the first meeting of the new session proved to be just the tonic for banishing post-festive lethargy. Laura Fyfe, an English teacher now running creative writing classes in Stirling, demonstrated her gift for language and communication with a presentation and workshop which had the audience fully engaged from start to finish.

Using examples from various well-known short story writers and encouraging members to share and discuss their own favourite short stories proved to be a winning formula. Some of the key elements of successful short story writing described by Laura were:-

  • Try to write the story in one go. This helps to maintain consistency of style, content and characterisation.
  • Keep it simple – there is not enough room in a short story for complex plots.
  • Try to avoid the “twist in the tail” approach as a deliberate device.

For the competition, Laura has set a challenge to write a short story of from 500 to 1500 words on any preferred theme, but focussing on a single character or incident. Entries, in the usual format, to be submitted by February 20, with adjudication on April 3rd.

Best of luck!

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Books Which Have Influenced You: September 26th session

Members told us about the following titles which have influenced their thoughts in some way. Listed here (in no particular order) for your interest:

How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

Guide to the Munros – Ed Bennett

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach

The Last Grain race – Eric Newby

My 60 Memorable Games – Bobby Fischer

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting – Kevin Powers

Real Lives, Half Lives: Tales from the Atomic Wasteland – Jeremy Hall

A Life of Extremes – Jeff McMullan

The Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

A Cinder Glows: The Story of a Remarkable Life – Mary Morton Hardie

1984 – George Orwell

Fatal Passage: The True Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot – Ken McGoogan

Various books by Mary Stewart

The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong – Laurence J Peter, Raymond Hull


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Alison on the Article

Following Monday’s stimulating and informative presentation on the subtle psychology and dark arts employed by retailers and online suppliers to part us from our hard-earned cash, Alison’s set an article competition.

Write an article on any aspect of the retail world / shopping. Maximum 1000 words.

Here are some ideas:

  • The Good Shopper’s Guide
  • A male/female perspective on shopping
  • High Street Shops versus Online Shopping
  • How to Survive Shopping
  • The Tricks of the Retail Trade
  • Supermarket Sleuth
  • The Lowdown on the Car Booty

But you don’t have to take up any of these options. Choose your own angle.

Submissions to be handed in by 28th November, adjudication 23rd January.

Best of luck!

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Donny O’Rourke on poetry

On 3rd October we had a superb presentation and workshop from Donny O’Rourke which you will be able to read about fully in Keith McIvor’s report in this month’s issue of The Pencil.
Here is just a flavour of what we enjoyed, as described by Keith:-
“This is a man who does not waste words but is an eloquent wordsmith, does not overpower yet is unafraid to give constructive criticism, having no time for the ‘bubbling jacuzzi’ of insecure praise – in short he provides what every writer needs; a kick up the backside performed in such a professional manner that it feels like a handshake. We were privileged to have his company.”
At the conclusion of this fascinating talk Donny set us the challenge of using iambic pentameter (10 syllables, 5 stresses per line) to write a poem on any topic of choice with a maximum 20 lines. Entries in the usual format – preferably hard copies – should be submitted to Alison Green by November 7, with the adjudication scheduled for December 12.
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Second session back: 12 September 2016

A two-part morning: Al Watt gave a very thorough talk on how to set about entering writing competitions and submitting work for publication across all kinds of media. Al’s detailed handout will be a valuable resource for members who want to see their work in print.

After coffee was Read Your Own Work. The result was an amazing creative medley ranging from the profound to the lighthearted. Contributors included newbie Ann Devlin, Alison, Ian, Harvey, Cara, Jim, Sheila. To hear about seafaring, cot death, growing up amidst a posse of aunts, love, a holiday boat trip and a crime scene on the platform……all in under an hour…. packed quite a punch!

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Brief report on the first session back: 5 September 2016

A new session, a new venue, and new members – a great start with a turnout of 31 people.

Jack welcomed all and outlined the season’s syllabus. He also mentioned the splinter groups (circles and folios) which give more opportunities for members to discuss their work.

The committee seems to have chosen a good venue in the library: more light, less noise, helpful staff and I.T. on hand.

Judith gave details of this session’s running competition in The Pencil: short diary entries inspired by local life. Get in touch for more details. Other fairly short pieces by members are also welcome for The Pencil.

The morning finished on a light note with us inventing ‘funny definitions’ for unusual words.

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Largs Viking Book Festival this weekend

Morning all!

In case you’re not already aware, it’s Largs Viking Book Festival this weekend, with a really interesting lineup of authors and a publisher, mostly talking about their Viking-related books.

You’ll find more info about most of the talks here*, all events are FREE, and at the Woodhouse (unless otherwise stated). Here’s the basics:

Vincent Atherton, Sat 27th 10:30am
Prof Stephen Harding, Sat 27th 7pm
Etta Dunn*, Sun 28th 10:30am
Margaret Elphinstone, Sun 28th, 2pm
Robert Harris and David McPhail, Festival Site Arena Stage, Sun 28th 3.30pm
Tim Hodkinson, Sun 28th, 4pm
and Paul Bristow, Sun 28th, 7pm

There are also writing workshops on Mon 29th and Tue 30th with Lee Montgomery at Cafe Bon Bon, 2.30-4.30pm…

AND an open mic event at The George on Wed 31st 7.30pm (don’t make me go by myself). Share your own work – poems and short stories only.

*Etta Dunn is a late addition to the lineup and replaces Siobhan Clark in the programme. We just got more information on what she’ll be talking about this morning, and it’s here, for your delight:

Etta’s background in writing, acting and editing, and being an award winning publisher, makes her an ideal person to present ‘Publish and be damned’, She will discuss the pros and cons of several, often confusing, different methods of publishing now available to authors seeking to have their work published for the first time. So come along, all you aspiring authors, and published writers too – find out how to succeed in the ever changing world of publishing.

Personally, I’m going to everything… See you there?

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