Our treasurer, Rosie Baillie, has a rundown of the events at our latest meeting.
Note of Nethergate Writers – 11 September 2019
Present: Martin, David C, Ray, Susan, Aileen, Rosie, Craig, Gillian, Zoe, Cathie, Sandra, Ian, Scott
Apologies: Sue, Rupert, David F, Roddie, Fiona, Sarah, Abby
We had a great meeting on Wednesday night with an excellent turnout of members, old and new!
The first piece we looked at was Clothes Horse by Susan Storrier. This was a wonderful piece and definite candidate for the Nethergate anthology. It told the tale of a family of weavers displaced and forced to move into Dundee in mid 19th century. The group enjoyed this short story and felt that Susan had done a great job in capturing the mood of that time period and these bleak circumstances. Many agreeing with Susan’s point that there were direct correlations with the world we currently live in. The group suggested that Susan had got the balance just about right in terms of her use of Scots dialect; and they also spoke very positively about the language and phrasing used, and the structure of the story which jumped back and forth yet slowly pulled all the pieces of the tale together.
The next piece was Martin Dey’s Middleton & Guthrie – A Dish Best Served. This was another Nethergate-themed story, written with a view to be included in our next book project. This described events in Dundee of 1651 relating to the covenanters; and was an excellent example of a story with two protagonists. The way that the story weaved between the two characters, with their situations switching back and forth was agreed to be most effective. The group made a few suggestions about the pacing in the latter part of the story and a possible change to the title, but all in all it was another excellent piece.
Those present who had not yet begun a Nethergate-themed story (myself included!) felt very inspired to have had sight of these excellent works – hopefully the creative juices will now flow for us all!
The third project piece was Roddie Mackenzie’s Dug Boay on the Auld Main Drag. This was a very different piece of work but had a great contrast to the two pieces which had gone before – it was a classic Roddie tale with sparky quick dialogue and lots of style. This story was told by Gnasher of ‘The Beano’ fame – who doesn’t like the idea of a talking dog?! And as the story ensued, Gnasher took in the sights of the Netehrgate and had cause to chat to many of the street’s landmarks along the way. Although it had a light-hearted feel, its themes were poverty and homelessness, and these came through in good contrast to the more comedic idea of a talking dog. The group felt the dialect needed a little work as it seemed to combine Dundonian and Glaswegian, but we were aware that this was very much a first draft and that Roddie had plans to refine the language used.
The group then had a chat with one of our newer members Cathie who was looking for advice in relation to how she might get started on her writing journey and she had particularly asked for advice for creative writing with dyslexia. The group advised and encouraged Cathie greatly – the main suggestions being, ‘just go for it’, and ‘don’t worry about mistakes – just get your ideas down on the page!’ We look forward to reading some of Cathie’s work in the future!
After a short break, we looked at Martin’s recent poem, Britain I loved you. A damning piece in response to recent political events. It was well received and warranted a round of applause at the end! Gillian reminded the group that even in times of great political distress and turmoil, one good thing is that times like this tend to trigger great writing and creativity!
The last piece we looked at was David Carson’s Nearest and Dearest. This was a short story written to David’s usual high standard – an engaging tale of two thespians fallen on hard times working in a costumier’s shop. It had a bit of everything: humour and warmth, a great central friendship, but also pathos and sadness as the story unfolded. There was a suggestion to perhaps differentiate between the two central character’s voices a little more, but beyond that, the group really enjoyed the piece which was described as ‘very elegantly written’.
The meeting concluded with a short business discussion. Rosie gave a brief rundown of the project brief for the Nethergate Anthology and agreed to resend the project brief for any newer members who weren’t on the mailing list; alongside a copy of the group’s constitution.
Gillian had achieved great success in creating a new amazon sellers account and breaking the link with eh old account which had been linked to Esther Read. There followed a great discussion about doors now opened to the group, e.g. e-books (of Fifty Shades and the forthcoming anthology), the print on demand option; future audio books. The group also agreed at a later date to consider the group’s official status and whether adopting charitable status might be beneficial given our selling function and the complications of KDP royalties and payment of tax via amazon.
All in all, I think a great night was had by all!