Nethergate Writers Go Online – 14th October 2020

Last week, we held our second online meeting, and here is one of members, Fraser Malaney, with all the details.

It was a fast-paced but rather chaotic meeting, interrupted by feedback and people dropping in and out of Zoom. These notes are an attempt to impose some kind of structure, but the events didn’t necessarily take place in this order.

In attendance: Gillian Duff, Fraser Malaney, Craig Mudie, David Carson, Sandra Anderson, Roddie McKenzie, Abigail Lyons and Sue Baxter

Chaired by: Gillian Duff. Secretary: Fraser Malaney.

Apologies from Rupert Williams, Aileen Cook, David Francis

Craig Mudie briefly discussed the last minutes and how Abigail Lyons was to contact Elizabeth Newman from the Pitlochry Theatre. David Carson commented that the way that Pitlochry Theatre have presented Shades of Tay online is very effective and recommended that Nethergate writers have a look at it.

David led a discussion of the agenda for this meeting. The outline is below: –

  • Anthology Report
  • Pitlochry Update
  • Preparation for the AGM.
  • Writers’ Contributions

Anthology Report.

Fraser Malaney and Craig outlined a number of action points from the last steering committee meeting.

Contributors have been asked to add a brief commentary to add a personal dimension to their work. The remit has been left deliberately wide with a 100-150 maximum word limit and no minimum. There’s a provisional deadline of 28th October 2020. We’re thinking of placing the author commentary after each story.

Fraser has asked everyone from Nethergate Writers to contribute ideas for a title and there’s been an impressive response. We briefly discussed the titles which have been contributed, and there’s a possibility the final title will be a composite of the ideas which have been expressed. Authors are encouraged to continue providing titles, that all contributions are welcome, and that no judgements will be made. Next steps will be decided at the next steering committee meeting.

Fraser’s been working on a running order which he’ll finesse before the next steering committee meeting. The aim is for the stories to flow and contrast with each other to intrigue the reader.

Craig is working on a blurb for the anthology and we’re also seeking a ‘celebrity’ introduction. Ideas for celebrities include local author Andrew Murray Scott, and daytime TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, as well as Elizabeth Newman from the Pitlochry Theatre.

Design, formatting, costs, and pricing are closely linked, so we’re not in a position to comment until we’ve obtained more quotes. Rupert Williams is currently sourcing a printer to help with this.

The next anthology steering committee meeting is on Thursday, 29 October 2020, 6 -7 pm. Fraser agreed to send an email to notify all Nethergate Writers so they can contribute ideas and points to raise.

Pitlochry Update.

Abby phoned into Zoom. She’s trying to pin Elizabeth Newman down by phone and email, but she’s proving elusive! She will try to arrange a time to talk with her on the phone and report any findings back to the group.


A date, place and time for the AGM has to be arranged three weeks in advance. Having to operate via Zoom will influence the location, but a date of November 11, 2020 was set.

Any proposals from members of the group should therefore be submitted three weeks in advance. David outlined some constitutional changes to be ratified, and it was suggested by Abby that he send a summary of the constitution with the changes highlighted. He agreed to do this.

David added that a quorum (i.e. 25% of the group) of people are needed for an AGM to take place and Craig commented that this would be approximately five people.

All the members who govern the Nethergate Writers Group will be standing down, so others are encouraged to apply for their roles.

Writers’ Contributions.

Farmer, an extract from Qhuarrance by Susan Storrier, and the next chapter of Amulet by Roddie were discussed; it was noted they are both long and would be difficult to read out in full. David said that he’s satisfied with the feedback he’s received so far for Run Rabbit Run and that others have been reviewing Susan and Roddie’s work via email: this may be a better forum for long pieces like this. There was a brief commentary on software to help send writer’s documents to e-readers to make them easier to read; Calibre and Email to Kindle were mentioned.

Roddie surprised us with his lovely singing voice as he regaled us with The Covid Special, a satirical poem about an infamous covid-ignoring Scottish MP from his Days of Contagion diaries. The experience was only marred by some strange intrusive feedback via Zoom, but perhaps that added to its charm!

The next meeting was set for Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 7pm, and will be our AGM. Gillian Duff may not be able to attend but agreed to work to ensure it can take place via Zoom as normal.

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