David’s Dispatches – 26th February, 2020

David Carson brings you all the details from our most recent meeting.


Present:  Rosie, Sue, Ian, Rupert, Richard, David F., David C., Gill, Aileen, Susan

Apologies:  Craig, Abbey, Jurgen, Sarah, Fraser, Sandra

Sue in the chair.

1.  Business.  Ties to the Tay, involving NW and the geography department of Dundee University during 2015/16, was a collaborative project where some of the stories in “Watermarks” were made into short films to be used by the University. The project remains unfinished, and could be resurrected in the context of our contacts with Pitlochry Festival Theatre.  To be raised on 15 March at our meeting with Elizabeth Newman.

2.  Writing.

Anthology pieces to be sent to Craig by 29 February, marked with author’s name, title of piece, and Final Draft.

The first three pieces read had been seen and discussed by the group previously. They are almost at final draft stage.

Sue’s story, December at the Theatre Royal, was the first story read. This is a convincing ghost story, with lively dialogue and engaging interactions between the girls, and then with the boys they meet up with. The characters are revealed and developed in striking detail.

One comment concerned the use of the word ‘dating’, perhaps not in use at the time of the story.

Next up was Oh Miss Hepburn by Rosie.  A few punctuation changes were suggested, and the use of ‘ducks’ was questioned. 

Rosie mentioned that where appropriate, an indication of where on the Nethergate the stories in the anthology took place would come at the end of each.

We very much enjoyed this story and commented on the continuing relevance of its themes.

Aileen’s Chimera, with Kippers is set in a fish and chip shop in cyberspace where Churchill and Shackleton meet and converse.  The dialogue fairly zips along, and the two protagonists, much alike in character, are distinguished one from the other in a most skilful way.

There were comments about clarifying who was speaking on occasions. A highly enjoyable and enjoyed story.

Sweet Streams. 

‘We’ve all been there’ – was the first comment after Richard had read his story – a musing on insomnia which developed into a tense drama – but with laugh out loud humour. There were some questions about the shifting view point, and the overt naming of the character, but this was a story that was hugely enjoyed by all of us.

There was no time to discuss Fraser’s and Craig’s final drafts, but members were asked to send comments directly to them.

The meeting finished with Rupert’s Exclusive:  New Deaths Revealed.  There was insufficient time too do justice to this dystopian vision of a highly topical theme – a pandemic out of control – and the fateful consequences for society.  Rupert has written this as part of a course he is doing, and the topic was ‘what makes you afraid’. 

The descriptions are both detailed and chilling, with no appearance of an optimistic outcome.

Our next meeting is on 11 March.  Richard will chair, with Rupert the Note taker.

David C.  2 march 2020.

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