Sunday, 25 May 2014

Falkirk Writers' Seminar

I spent an enjoyable day at the annual writers' seminar organised by Falkirk Writers Circle and held in conjunction with the Falkirk Tryst Festival.

Each year there are four categories of competition and a separate distinguished adjudicator is invited to judge each of them.  The benefit for the writers who attend is primarily the advice of the judges and the opportunity to meet with other people who like to discuss the art of writing.

We don't always agree of course.  If we did then our readers would be sadly deprived of choice. There are usually a variety of roads by which we may attempt to reach our destination.  Personally I have no skill in tailoring my entries to the perceived preferences of the judges.  I simply choose a piece that pleases me and then hope for the best.

It was very gratifying therefore to be awarded first prize in the short story section by so distinguished a judge as Evelyn Hood. I knew that I had taken a risk with this story.  Privately I had already decided that it could only be first or nowhere.  It is not the sort of story that could ever figure in the minor placings.

It remains to be seen whether the story will find a publisher.  Watch this space.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Scottish Independence - Shouting is not Truth

In economic forecasting, it is standard practice to project a range of possible outcomes, from the best to the worst case with the most likely somewhere in between.

In the independence debate, the separatists have consistently claimed that the best case scenario is what will actually happen. They portray this as 'making a positive case'.

Should any opponent point out that the most likely outcome is actually considerably worse than than this, he is accused of 'negative campaigning', whilst anyone who has the temerity to suggest that the worst case is every bit as likely as the best case is guilty of 'disgraceful scaremongering'.

The tone of the debate would be improved if everyone accepted that in the real world things do not always go as we wish them to go and other people do not necessarily agree with our view of what is in their best interests. Any sensible person hopes for the best but prepares for the worst.

It is a statement of the obvious that the single minded pursuit of a new prize may very well lose us prizes that we have already won.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Writers of the Future Volume 31, Quarter 1

I received an Honorable (sic) Mention for my latest entry in the Writers of the Future competition.  Each quarterly round of this competition attracts more than a thousand entries, so I'm told.  Just how many more than a thousand no-one is saying, but I'm pleased to have been placed amongst the top 10% or so.

This is an anonymously judged competition so names don't count and work does, which is of course a proper challenge.  I was quite fond of my story this time, though I spotted a continuity error after I had submitted it, so I think I should consider myself fortunate that it did so well.

On we go to the second quarter, for which my entry is already submitted.  I have some thoughts about quarter three, but still a couple of months in which to organise them.