Skip to content


Club Night – Wednesday 25th October 2023.

  • by

Pictures, proverbs, and patter

Our joint captains were at the helm this evening, to launch us into the choppy territory of, principally, writing for women’s magazines, or ‘womag’, but also to provide us with inspiration for flash fiction or poetry.

Carrie provided some background information about writing for this fiction sub-genre: uplifting, positive, humorous stories, to keep readers entertained, with modern themes approached sympathetically, and anything dark or edgy frowned upon. There was a bit of myth busting too – these publications may be called ‘women’s magazines’ but are read by all genders, and writers responsible are often men. Ayr Writers’ Club boasts a few male competition winners in this category over the years.

Then it was time to get down to the business of writing. We were given a variety of images, and members were encouraged to choose one which appealed, and write a short piece, in the allotted ten minutes.

Some of us lost vital writing time, absorbed in conversations in our groups, but when the time for feed back arrived, we were treated to three diverse pieces – an individual about to run a marathon, a student on her last day at a part time job, and a couple camping in the woods. Although each piece merely introduced the reader to the characters and plot, each writer did have an idea of where the narrative would lead, no mean feat in ten minutes!

Our second prompt came in the form of a collection of proverbs offered to each table, with the same instruction: choose one and write for ten minutes. In this task, the proverbs selected included ‘a stitch in time…’, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’, ‘birds of a feather…’, and ‘never too late to learn’. These proved a rich seam to mine for intriguing characters and plots, though some members did stray into ‘dark’ territory.

After our tea break, our third and final prompt came in the shape of dialogue one-liners. With the content of women’s short stories dialogue-heavy, this provided an excellent practice for those who struggle with this element of writing. The content of the offerings included retribution in the form of deflated tyres, characters with mixed memories of visiting Paris, a profile picture which proved disappointing, and a hamster in a bookshop!

The evening was rounded off with a general discussion about the importance of following the guidelines provided by magazine publishers when submitting, the danger of giving away the copyright of your story, and declining opportunities in this market.

Finally, we were encouraged to enter the A.W.C. Women’s short Story Competition (theme – The Proof of the Pudding is in its Eating) which is to be adjudicated by Anne Stenhouse of The People’s Friend. (deadline December 13th)

Another useful evening – thank you, Carrie and Linda.

Carolyn O’Hara

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *