I am a teuchter but speaking in Doric was not encouraged while I was growing up. My enthusiasm and understanding exceed my own speaking ability. However, after a great day at Granite Noir on Saturday, I was keen to have a go at writing a dark story with a Doric flavour. A parking machine had swallowed up two of my pound coins and I was in the mood for murder.

John Boland and Shane Strachan welcomed a small group to Aberdeen’s Central Library. Short, effective presentations on the components of noir and the use of the Scots language in contemporary fiction left lots of time for a well-thought out writing exercise. Plenty of resources were available and we were all assigned some interesting noir words to wind into our story including taraneeze (to torment), scomfished (suffocated) and kistit (laid in a coffin). Maybe it was because it was Sunday morning but drink certainly featured pretty heavily in what was produced. Those who felt comfortable shared their work and hearing Doric spoken in Irish and Polish accents was a beautiful bonus.

Shane made a point of stressing that people shouldn’t get hung up on spelling Doric words and to only use as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. There was interesting discussion around the difficulties of getting Doric work published wider afield and maybe this is something public bodies will be able support local writers with in the future?

What a bonus to leave a book festival with the beginnings of a creative piece to develop as opposed to an overworked credit card. Shane and John both shared their contact details and I feel I have two new sources of support to take forward my fledgling Doric writing. It was affa rare.