Away Day at the Crown Spa

On Saturday 20th May, several circle members enjoyed a day in the company of bestselling author, Margaret Graham, who charmed us all with her warm and lively personality as she led us through the components of the common structural form of the short story, expanding this into novel writing and publishing.

The Plotline used for guiding writers was based on the Cinderella story and the structure of this enabled us to identify plot points within the writing we produced on the day, to aid us with future writing, and indeed to apply to any work in progress.

The day was full of fun and laughter, with a balanced mix of teaching and interaction. There were lots of tips for how to vary content within the plotline to make it effective and how to keep the reader interested.

It was a great experience writing as a group in a different setting other than our usual monthly 2-hour session at Scalby Library and it gave us a chance to get to know one another a little better.

Members came away feeling they had learned something valuable from Margaret and enjoyed her company to boot!

It would be good to repeat this practice, perhaps in a different venue, and we will look at the possibility of that at the AGM in November, depending on available funds.

Submitted by Julie Fairweather, Member

Photos courtesy of Ros Jones, Member

Margaret asked that her fee be donated to Motor Neurone Disease



An Evening of Romance

At the monthly Writers’ Circle meeting on 9th May 2023, Dorinda Cass talked about writing romance in both genre and general fiction. She illustrated it with examples of novels written in different eras, from the 19th Century to the latest publications. This led to a lively discussion which included a regard to sub-genres within the romantic fiction publication market. It was emphasised that romantic fiction is a multi-million pounds industry and worth a writer’s time in researching which sub-genre their work fits into – if they are interested in writing it. Enhancing the mood of the evening, member Nola York played the keyboard and sang a selection of romantic songs.

The next meeting of the Writers’ Circle will be on Tuesday 13th June at Newby/Scalby Library, Scalby Road, Scarborough (7 pm for 7.15 start) when Adrienne Silcock will announce the result of the Nikki Barker short story competition and members will share their stories with the group.

Non-members (over 18 years) are very welcome to attend as a guest for £4 (plus £1 to the library for refreshments if required).

Report submitted by Dorinda Cass

Whose point of view is it, anyway?

On 11th April, sixteen writers attended the circle’s writing craft session led by author Kate Evans. Her most recently published books are A Wake of Crows and Drowning Not Waving, the first two crime novels in what will be a series of three. The third, No Justice, is due to be published in hardback in June 2023.

Members were informed that ‘the point of view in writing is the perspective from which the story is being told’ and that ‘having a compelling point of view hooks the reader and keeps them coming back for more’.

Kate set three short writing exercises as an opener. Members were invited to write the same paragraph in 1st person (I), then 3rd person (she/he/them) and, finally, 2nd person (you). An interesting discussion ensued regarding the different effects these had on the writing, the writer and the reader.

Further guidance was offered in choosing povs for particular types of writing, depending on what the writer wanted the reader to experience. The pros and cons of each pov were elaborated on by Kate and she suggested experimenting with different povs when approaching a piece of writing.  For example, if a writer usually uses 1st person, she suggested trying it in 3rd person to gauge the best fit for the effect the writer was trying to achieve. A lively discussion ensued around this.

After the break, Kate answered numerous questions from the group about using pov and writing in general until the meeting closed with her reiterating that, in short, the choices for pov perspective are single character viewpoint; multiple viewpoint; second person singular and omniscient. She distributed a handout to remind us of the evening’s content.  

It was a buzzing session enjoyed by all.

The next session will be held on Tuesday 9th May, 7.15 pm (to approx. 9.30pm) at Scalby Library, 450 Scalby Road Scarborough, YO126EE. Dorinda Cass will take the lead on ‘Romance’. Do come along to learn more about this interesting theme. If you think you don’t write romance, you’re in for a surprise. There’s a lot more to the genre than you think!

Report submitted by Julie Fairweather, SWC Member

Scarborough Writers’ Circle 14th March 2023

The Arthur Hastings Short Story Competition

The evening was introduced by member Julie Fairweather, last year’s winner, who set and judged the idiomatic-themed competition ‘A Word in Season’. The twelve short story entries were divided into four groups for members to read out within each group and offer author feedback, after which the circle gathered together for general commentary, the results announcement and the reading of the winning stories by the authors.

Result of the Competition with Judge’s Comment

The winner of the Arthur Hastings Trophy was Dorinda Cass for ‘Red Mist’. The provocative language and use of senses to portray emotion were especially beautiful, the gut-punching twist at the end dynamic. This was a good example of how to utilise the required elements that make up the short story form. Perfect.

In second place was Jill Boyes for ‘To Everything, there is a Season’. A dramatic portrayal of a whole life in a short space, which is unusual for a short story. The character evoked such emotion without feeling sorry for himself that listeners couldn’t help but have great empathy for his regretful realization of a wasted life. It was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the last line. Wow!

Third place went to Stewart Ashton for his story ‘Cold Reflection’. The many images, words and phrases used added a superb level of suspense to this unnerving atmospheric story with its mysterious happenings. There was full engagement with the character’s emotions, which were enhanced by using a teddy bear as his protector. An unexpected shift at the end knocked us off guard. A creepy story well told.

Stewart Ashton (3rd), Dorinda Cass (1st) and Jill Boyes (2nd)

As is always the case with these in-house competitions, it’s a difficult process sifting through each story’s world to find a winner. All stories submitted were a worthy read and Julie urged those who hadn’t been placed to take note of any worthwhile feedback offered by others and endeavour to find a home for their hard work.

The next meeting will be held at 7pm on Tuesday 11th April at Newby & Scalby Library, 450 Scalby Road, Scarborough, YO12 6EE. Published local author, Kate Evans, will be leading us in a session on writing craft, namely ‘point of view’.

We look forward to welcoming members and non-members alike. Our fees have not risen for several years and remain at £36 per year membership and £4 each month for guests, with an additional £1 to the library for refreshments if required.

Please see our diary page on this website for future sessions.

Report submitted by Julie Fairweather, SWC Member

Valentine’s Night at the Scarborough Writers’ Circle

It wasn’t clear how many writers had forgone the chance of a candlelit Valentine’s dinner to attend our February meeting. Suffice it to say, there was an excellent turnout of sixteen members and two visitors at the Newby and Scalby Library venue.

The session involved an exercise in which attendees were asked to write for ten minutes about an object that appeared before them. Each person had been asked to bring a small object as a source of inspiration. The diverse collection included a motherboard, a ‘devil’s toenail’, sweet pea seeds, a tiny green bottle, a duck with the face of the bard, and many more. The results, when read out, were variously funny, sad, enlightening, and one even rhymed. During the second half of the session, writers with books to their name related their publication experiences, both through publishing houses and self-publishing.

Julie Fairweather, Diana Campbell, Ros Jones, Liah Thorley, Liz Jones and Nola York with books displayed on table by Lel Meleyal and Jean Martin.

The Circle will next meet at 7pm at Newby and Scalby Library on Tuesday 14th March. It will prove relaxing for some and nerve-wracking for others as we hear the entries of our spring competition being read out. The winner will be awarded the Arthur Hastings trophy. 

Visitors will be welcome and only be asked for a meagre four pounds. There will be an opportunity to become a member on the night.

Keep an eye on this website for updates and lots of useful information.

Report submitted by circle member Jill Boyes who led the session

Photograph by Judith Woodroffe, circle member and library trustee

Nibbles and Drabbles

The Scarborough Writers’ Circle December meeting involved a lot of nibbles and cake and the reading out of festive ‘drabbles’ – that is, complete stories told in 100 words. We also congratulated Anne Morley on becoming a Circle Lifetime Member in recognition of her many years of active support for the group. Writing hopes and plans for the forthcoming year were shared and a festive time was had by all.

The Writers’ Circle meets again on Tuesday 10th January at 7:15 at the Newby and Scalby Library.

Our exciting 2023 timetable is available to view here and includes sessions on writing craft, writing content, guest workshop facilitators and competitions.

Guests £4:00 but membership is open and we very much welcome new members.


The November meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle focused on writing craft. Members were invited to bring short pieces to read out and accept feedback on pace, energy, interest and story arcs.  The theme for the evening was ‘Fire!’ and what a wonderful assortment of writing we heard.  There were stories of dragons eggs, of school pranks, feisty witches and the gunpowder plot. We had poignancy of a mother coping with autism and lots of crackle, woodsmoke and flame. Discussion was lively with lots of helpful feedback given and generously received.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 13th December at 7:15. Members are invited to bring a festive 100 word story to share.  There will be nibbles!

Attendance is £4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable see our website pages (

(submitted by – Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC)

Beginnings and Omens at the Scarborough Writers’ Circle

At 19:13, on the 13th of September, 13 members of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle met and discussed the importance of opening paragraphs and the power of omens. Members shared the beginning of their own work, along with examples from established writers, to demonstrate the variety of ways in which writers can arouse the interest of today’s readers. The meeting concluded on the hour, but disappointingly, the clocks failed to strike thirteen – perhaps leaving that omen for a night about endings.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, the 11th October 22, at Newby and Scalby Library. The evening will be a read-through of the entries to the Shirley Waite Poetry Competition, in celebration of National Poetry Day, followed by an announcement of the winner. The evening will conclude with an examination of rhythm and what fiction can learn from poetry.

Attendance is £4.00 for non-members, but membership is open so please browse the website for further information at

Report submitted by Stewart Ashton. 

A personal reflection of the August session led by Felix Hodcroft entitled ‘Environment’ can be found on Julie’s Personal Website here.

July at the Circle

The July meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle focused on writing craft, specifically dialogue. It was a lively discussion covering how dialogue adds pace, how it can be used to add depth to characters and how ellipses and the ‘Em dash’ can be used to increase drama and tension in a story. We concluded the evening with a demonstration of a story plotting plan and how it had been used in planning a novel.  

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 9th August at 7:15. It will be a poetry workshop facilitated by local poet, Felix Hodcroft.  The Shirley Waite Poetry Competition will be opened and guidelines for submissions announced.  

Attendance is £4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable browse this website.

June’s Circle Session

The June meeting of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle celebrated the awarding of the Nikki Barker Prize. The trophy was won by local poet Adrienne Silcock for her evocative short story ‘The Girl in the Lemon Dress’.  Adrienne delighted the attendees with a reading of her story. The quality of competition submissions was, as usual, to a high standard and judging was challenging but the well-attended group agreed that Adrienne was a worthy winner.  After the reading, the group discussed their current works in progress.  The Scarborough Writers’ Circle is a lovely mix of both published and beginner writers and the sharing of story ideas and ‘how to beat procrastination’ proved to be a lively and enjoyable discussion.

Our next meeting will be at Newby and Scalby Library and Information Centre on 12th July at 7:15 where the group will be discussing writing craft, plotting, dialogue and publishing requirements.

£4.00 for non-members – but membership is open and we very much look forward to welcoming new members and non-members alike. For more information and our year timetable see Diary.

Report submitted by Lel Meleyal – Chair SWC

Lel Meleyal awards the Nikki Barker Shield to the winner, Adrienne Silcock