Monthly Archives: April 2011

Meeting Postponed: Tuesday 3rd May

Just a quick post to inform everyone that the meeting next Tuesday 3rd May will be postponed. We only have two submissions in the DropBox so far and several people have mentioned that they won’t be able to make the meeting or they won’t have time to write anything. The next meeting is therefore Wednesday 11th May. See you there!

And only a couple more days to vote for the new website banner. Get clicking!

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Website Banner Vote: May

Which glorious banner would you like to see on the Manchester Speculative Fiction website for the month of May? Click on the images for a closer look and then cast your vote accordingly. Do you have anything to say about the new poll? Just add your comments below. Happy voting!
















Are you a member of Manchester Speculative Fiction? Would you like to see your own work up here? Just add an appropriately sized image (770 × 200 pixels or thereabouts) into the Resources folder in the DropBox. I decided not to list my own images for this vote as one of my banners has been in use for the last month. Any questions, just drop me an email to my personal address or via the contact form on this website.

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Meeting: 13th April

Another great meeting last night. We had six stories to workshop, we started at 7pm and we were still going at nearly 10pm. Then we headed around to the pub afterwards where we continued to chat – mostly about dialogue if I remember rightly.

All six attendees submitted work to be discussed. The submissions were as follows:

  • Chris presented the first half of a comic-fantasy short story called Ralph. The story was funny and comparisons were drawn with the Discworld stories. Everyone liked the use of the old protagonist, although questions were raised about his suitability in a piece intended for a YA audience. The casual gayness was enjoyed by everyone, although questions were raised about the quantity of leather.
  • Guy presented a further chapter from his novel Night Work. Everyone enjoyed the piece. Several people commented on improvements over previous chapters. Questions were asked about Sam, his black collar, who he is – lots of questions! There was a general lack of popular support for the bubble-wrap-popping. Everyone likes Sacred Cowboys. Some people liked the BHS juxtaposition, others didn’t. Some people liked pool-table-as-weapon, others didn’t.
  • Craig presented another short story from his Caliphate world, called Incarnate. Everyone seemed to enjoy the story: the neat length and the imagery. There was a good old GEV debate and lots of feedback on the nitty-gritty phrasing of narrative. Questions were raised about body disposal.
  • Dave presented a short story called St. Dragon and the George. Several people found the use of language quite poetic. Some people liked the formatting, others didn’t. Some people liked the lightning, others didn’t. Everyone enjoyed it, though one person wanted more of a “ball-shot” (I’m going to pretend I don’t know what that means). There was a great observation that the omniscient voice in the story could actually imply that England herself was the protagonist.
  • Ben presented the first two chapters from a new novel called Mammals. Everyone enjoyed the Wotsits (in the story, not a snack). Everyone liked the Rhino. Everyone liked the Dolphin-Lemur sex scene – don’t deny it, you did! – and they found it very funny. The implied Rhino-Bat sex seemed to work less well. And I’m writing this blog post, so I’m going to mention King Julian: “Frow ‘im in the volcano!”
  • Rob presented a further chapter from his novel. Everyone enjoyed the characterisation and the additional background this gives us on Seth. Most people seemed to think the chapter would be better placed later on in the novel, as opposed to right at the beginning, and we discussed in medias res (see how pro we are!). Several people liked the ‘crack in the bubble’ – although a couple of people saw the mayor enjoying  the crack a-la-pipe. There was a hearty debate about including first and third person views in the same novel – conclusion: we’re probably not allowed (yet).

Next meeting should be 7pm Tuesday 3rd May. I’ll send out an email when I have this date confirmed.

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Meeting: 5th April

First of all, I’d like to welcome Paul Birchenough and Chris Behrsin who joined us for the first time last night. You both gave excellent feedback and we’re looking forward to reading your work at a future meeting. We also had a surprise visit from Ra Page of Comma Press who dropped in to give us a free copy of When It Changed to pass around. Thanks Ra!

Present at the meeting:

Summary of the evening’s critiques as follows:

  • Craig presented a short story titled Refugees. Everyone enjoyed the despair, however there was a little disagreement about whether there should be more tension or not. No one liked the info-dumping first paragraph – it will be edited!
  • Guy presented a further chapter from his novel Night Work. Everyone liked this chapter. A couple of people requested less muscle-clenching. Everyone seemed to like the Admiral, though they disliked her dialogue info-dump – somebody even wanted to see a little more effort over the de-clothing. Get a cabin! And: dialogue punctuation.
  • Rob presented a further chapter from his (still unnamed?) post-apocalyptic novel set in Manchester. Everyone enjoyed the bike ride and the twist at the end. Then we followed through with a discussion on third person omniscience, ambient night-time lighting and decomposing bodies.

As usual, we ended up in the pub afterwards. I seem to remember talking about podcasting and reminiscing about RPG games. But I’m sure we talked about writing as well at some point.

Next meeting is just one week away: 7pm Wednesday 13th April

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