Last night featured our resident Doctor/Criminologist Anne Pettigrew putting on her journalistic hat this week on the subject of Headlines/Titles. There was a lively discussion with plenty of examples of attention grabbing headlines. For example after a famous Celtic defeat the headline read ‘Super Cali Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious.’ The trick is to hook the reader in to reading more. Apparently (after perusing a headline) it only takes the average person five seconds to decide whether or not to read the article. For books the prospective reader takes longer (as they also take into consideration the book cover and blurb etc.) but devising a catchy title for your book/story is still very important skill.

There was some technical stuff about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and the use of listicles (whatever they are), questions and commands not to mention downright lies to hook/trick the reader into reading your article but I’m afraid I tuned out at this point as I found myself mesmerised by the newly installed real flame-effect gas fire in the club room. Hmmmmm so warm….

Anyway for headlines the golden rule seemed to be ten words, good 5 words better.

After tea while the slackers, eh sorry… committee members sidled off to do, no doubt important…. stuff. The rest set to work on a writing exercise. Splitting into pairs and assuming the roles of interviewer/ witness they composed articles and the catchy headings to go with them. An alien abduction was given a political twist from both the left and right, courtesy of Tony, Edith and John while Margaret came up with ‘Meat Feast at Pitza Hut’ which turned out not to be so much a menu option as a smorgasbord of body parts strewn across the street outside the fat food outlet.

Remember we are trying to see how many Scottish Icon stories/articles/poems we can get by the end of November for a possible book Even if you have done one for the competition why not have a go at another. Remember there are no constraints on these. They can be fiction or non fiction, poetry or short story and up to 3000 words in length (40 lines for a poem). If you have any (including the recent competition entries) please email them to the following address .

Ho Hum Onwards and Upwards.

Below are the winners receiving their certificates for the Scottish icon competition.