Another great meeting last week with 11 members and five pieces critted (that must be some sort of record!
Arthur presented a witty short story called ‘RTS’ that many members felt was reminiscent of a Douglas Adams like jaunt into space. There was much praise for the ideas in this piece: hoovering up zombies to put them on the moon was a clear hit, though members were split on the pun on the final line.
There were some questions about the general logic of the piece and motives of the characters; however, given the humourous nature and length, most were agreed that these points didn’t hamper the piece. Members were worried, however, that the story became very told with uite a bit of info dumping.
Calls for more showing, names we can actually pronounce and to get our protagonist more involved in the story.
Eliza presented the first half of a short story called ‘More than one zodiac in highschool’
There was a great deal of praise for the writing and characterization here, with members unanimously praising the writing of Amy’s mum. Members also enjoyed the foreshadowing with Tegan’s drawings, Amy’s relationship with Long, and the dark tone of the piece.
Some members were worried that the piece was a little too reminiscent of Phillip Pullman, especially with the idea of splitting children from their spirit animals. The general consensus, though, was that the story could be made different enough not for this to be a problem.
Calls to make the spirit animal concept a little more clearer (do Westerners use the same zodiac?), tightening up the pace, and bringing out a stronger sense of the plot to come.
Kate presented the first part of a short story called ‘The sad bird’, which turned out to be a Russian folk-law meets noir detective story, with some definite cosmic horror vibes coming though in the background.
There was much to praise here amongst both the writing style and ideas. Members particularly enjoyed the harpy’s song sustaining our POV, the meeting in the woods and the two harpy’s powers
Members had some questions over the level of control that is being exerted over the protagonist. Why isn’t our POV a bit more concerned by the existence of this creature? Some members also felt that the reveal that the client is a magical creature could be held back longer for effect, whilst others noted that the POV doesn’t really seem suited for their profession.
Calls to make the piece a little longer and give it space to grow, and to perhaps start the piece with an investigation into the spreading depression in the city. Some further calls to convert the narrative summary into dialogue and for our POV to put more questions to the harpy: ‘what the — are you!?’
Graeme presented a short piece called ‘she’s behind you’. Some members found this reminiscent of Donnie Darko, and all were in agreement that this was a very disturbing and creepy read, and in that respect entirely successful. Much praise for the ambiguity, clipped style, and use of the second person in this piece, and especially for the cold and distant voice of the POV.
Some questions raised over why not every character has a ‘shadow’, and what goes on in the woods. Is our POV disturbed, or does he go through with the act? Has he done this before? Also questions raised over whether out POV is actually clairvoyant, and what is going on with the kiss on the neck. Again, though, the ambiguity was generally enjoyed by most members.
Calls for a bit more description of the surroundings, and a strong drink and rom-com to watch before bedtime (for us readers!)
Finally James presented a short piece called ‘Surfing Zombies’, which turned out to be a punchy read about a mysterious trashy video from the early 90s. All members were agreed that the thought of zombies in speedos is utterly horrifying
Praise for the hook and intriguing plot in this piece with members enjoying the writing, voice and nods to 80s and 90s culture.
Some members found the piece reminiscent of ‘the Ring’, also ‘the Shining’, though this was by no means a bad thing.
Some questions raised over what the upshot of the story is: Is he going to watch it again? Is it a curse? Will it affect our POV?
Some members worried that the story was a bit told and could feel a little infodumpy in places. Could the watching of the tape come parallel to other events in our POV’s life perhaps (we watched this crazy movie at a house party and…)?
Calls for a bit more of a twist (just not the obvious stuff) and a bit more showing rather than telling. Cowabunga!
That’s all from us for now. Our next meeting is on Wednesday the 13t, 7pm at MadLab. See you there dudes/dudettes!