Workshop: Be a competition judge for an afternoon!

Saturday September 14 2.30-4.30pm Multicultural Centre Rose Street Glasgow G3 6RE

Be a competition judge for an afternoon! Experienced poetry competition judge A C Clarke (has judged Grey Hen, Segora, SAW, Autumn Voices, Ver poemcard, Tyne and Esk Writers, Perth Writers competitions) will give some pointers on what judges are looking for and give participants the opportunity to rank poems in a ‘mini-competition’. Contact

Maximum numbers 15. Priority booking for FWS members until the end of August: non-members will be put on a reserve list until after 31 August.  Still plenty of places! FREE but donation of £2 suggested.

Olga Wojtas on short stories

The FWS Scriever Olga Wojtas has kindly made the notes she used for the May 3rd workshop in Dundee available to us. So here they are!

Using Real Life As A Short Story Prompt

Basing a short story on your own experience can be tricky, because you tend to be over-influenced by what actually happened. Here’s a suggestion for how to use your own experience as a starting point, but then free yourself from real events.

A key element for a short story is conflict. Think of a time when someone said something to you that irritated/upset/annoyed you. It could be a shop assistant, a police officer, a colleague, your best friend, a relative – or how about a school teacher?

What did they say that made you react so badly? Hone it until you’ve got a really punchy piece of dialogue, preferably a single sentence, and use that bit of direct speech as the first line of your short story.

Continue the story from “your” point of view, writing about “your” reaction to what’s just been said to you. Except it’s no longer you. Change gender. If you’re female, make your character male, and vice versa. That automatically creates a distance between the incident and your story, and lets you explore different reactions and possibilities. The new “you” can have a completely different personality from you, can take a hideous revenge that you’re much too law-abiding to consider, can be overwhelmed, disbelieving, threatening.

And you can also change the gender of the person saying the first line – if you had a horrible female teacher, make it a man. Describe the new character – are they scowling, sneering, laughing? What do they look like? What are they wearing? You’re creating someone quite distinct from the real person, which will free you from simply reporting actual events.

You can also tackle this in another way which really frees you up from how you felt and what you did. Keep that same first sentence, the piece of snappy dialogue which may be insulting, insensitive, immature. Then continue the short story from that character’s point of view. Why did they say what they did? How do they feel about the other person? Is that first sentence as bad as they get, or do they up the ante as the story goes on?

Writing based on something real gives you control of a situation that perhaps was uncomfortable at the time. You’re in control over what happens, and you’re crafting a narrative, not producing a memoir. It can be quite therapeutic!

Happy writing,


Comedy workshop – May 11th,Glasgow

When: Saturday 11 May 2.00pm to 4.00pm

Where: Garnethill Multicultural Centre 21 Rose Street Glasgow G3 6RE

Comedy workshop with Ian Macpherson who performed his one-man show, The Everlasting Book Launch at Edinburgh Festival@Assembly Rooms.The Book of Blaise is his most recent publication. ‘One of the most creative and intelligent comedians I’ve ever seen’ The Guardian.

Wondering how to make your readers laugh out loud while also exciting them with unexpected twists? In this workshop Ian Macpherson will set simple tasks to help you create comic scenes and sharpen up those set pieces that improve every piece of comic writing. As well as winning the first London Time Out award for standupIan has had many stories broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and his first novel featured on Book at Bedtime.

16 places available. FREE but donation (£2 suggested) towards room hire appreciated. To book a place on this workshop please email:

FWS Writing Workshop: Dundee, with Olga Wojtas

FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019 FROM 2.00PM TO 4.00PM


Our Federation Scriever is going on a road trip to Dundee. Join Olga Wojtas for a practical workshop on short story writing. Starting off with a free-write, it will help you use your own experiences to get the creative process started.

To book a place on this workshop please email

Workshop – Submitting your work in a professional way.

1 June at 13:00

Larkfield Centre 39 Inglefield Street, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 7AY


1st June 2015 – 1-3pm – A Federation of Writers (Scotland) Workshop offered by A C Clarke on Jumping the first hurdle: submitting your work in a professional way. Location : Larkfield Centre, 39 Inglefield Street, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 7AY £1:50 donation
You’ve worked hard at your poems or short stories. Other people say they’re good. How do you get them out there? Which should you aim at, competitions or magazines? How do you find out about them? Should you send a CV with your submission? Is one font better than another at grabbing attention? What will turn editors off your work before they’ve even read it?

Join A C Clarke, who has experience as a poet submitting work, an editor receiving work and a competition secretary for an afternoon on how to present your work and how to deal with rejections.

To ensure your place please contact Marc Sherland (