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Sarah’s Scoops – 31st July 2019

Sarah Boath has the details of our latest meeting – including a last minute change of venue!


Present: Abby, Craig, Ian, Sue, David C, David F, Gillian, Ray

Guests: Martin Day, Rupert Williams

Apologies: Rosie, Aileen, Susan

Abby welcomed everybody to the meeting and as there were two new members, everybody introduced themselves and spoke a little about their writing interests and experience. Martin and Rupert had joined for this meeting to see if they would be interested to participate regularly. Both had discovered Nethergate Writers through googling ‘Writing Groups in Dundee’, for which NGW returned as the top hit.

To make best use of time Abby suggested the following agenda order as both David F and Ray had to leave at 8.30:

Share the writing submitted by group members who were present
Cover Business Items
Discuss any other writing shared by group members who were unable to attend this evening.

Fugitives by David C

David read his piece, Fugitives, which was well received by the group who felt it was an atmospheric and timely piece. It was not based on any one person or event, but inspired by current events. Some group members had already shared feedback via email. Feedback included that the young age of the main character could be made more explicit, and there was some discussion about the merits of first versus third person.

The Approach of a New Year (Chapter 5) by Sue

Some members had already heard other chapters of this historical novel length piece Sue is working on, set against the backdrop of the Tay Bridge Disaster. The dialect was effective and felt authentic to the group which all agreed can be difficult to get right. There were some queries about the pacing and it was generally agreed that a lot happened in a short space of time and there was room for expansion of the chapter.

Breeks by Craig

Craig read a poem inspired by the recent passing of Alastair ‘Breeks’ Brodie of Grouchos. It inspired several members of the group to reminisce about their experience of Grouchos. It was suggested that Craig submit it to the Courier or Tele and that it should also possibly go on the Nethergate Writers website. Craig will circulate to the whole group via email.

Business Items

Gillian updated on the room booking confusion (the group had to repair to Tinsmith as the Dalhousie Building had been locked up). The University had no record of tonight’s booking and as Rosie was not here tonight we couldn’t check with her.

Action: Abby will follow up with Rosie to double check the bookings for future meetings.

Class Project. For the benefit of the new members Abby gave a summary of previous class projects, including the most recent 50 Shades of Tay and that the current agreed class project had been agreed. This was that members of the group would all produce short stories, or poems, of up to 2,000 or 2,500 words to be included in a publication on the theme of the Nethergate. Abby also updated on the possibility of accessing the City archives to assist with research.

Action: Abby will arrange a committee meeting before the next Nethergate writers meeting to agree a timetable, date and actions to progress the class project

Action: All members of the group to begin writing their Nethergate stories

Any Other Business. Abby summarised for the two new members how the meetings were organised, the fortnightly frequency and both Craig and Abby explained that new members were able to come along for a couple of meetings, and if they then decided to join then the current fees are (no more than £20) – Rosie would confirm if there was any difference in the dues when joining through the year. Craig highlighted that David C’s last piece – Winter’s Journey – was now on the website

David F and Ray left the meeting

It was agreed, given the time left, that group members would send back feedback to Susan on her two stories as there wasn’t enough time left to read through them, and group members took turns to read Roddy’s poems.

Behind the Clown read by Abby

All agreed it was a familiar subject and whilst some felt it could only be one person others thought that it could be taken to be other people, depending on perspective. Although the line You guessed it – fear of clowns was thought to be not part of the poem, it was felt to be a good parting shot.

The Mask of Pain read by Gillian

This was a poignant poem the physical shape of which seemed to diminish like the subject.

Dr Settled & Mr Jive read by Craig

The group enjoyed the imagery but did wonder if a boozy artist was really unusual. The Narziss and Goldmund reference was not understood by most of the group without explanation and so wondered if that would be the case for a wider audience?

Self Portrait in Oil Pastels read by David C

This poem had a mixed reception with some members feeling the reference to Clint Eastwood jarred and stood out against all the other arts references.

Group members agreed to feed back comments individually to Roddy via email.

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