Another long meeting last night with an extremely detailed level of critique. Half as many people attending as the previous meeting and we still overran!
We started by discussing a few agenda items:
- New meeting formats. We will keep an eye on both the open and the closed groups to make sure we haven’t broken anything.
- Word limit for the closed group. Everyone present seemed comfortable with allowing up to 3500 or even 4000 words for pieces of work submitted to the closed group meetings. We’re going to be flexible about this, emailing or tweeting if we’re not sure. Word limit for the open meetings is still 3000 words.
- Open meeting rules. We chatted about whether to make any further changes to the open meetings, but the general consensus seemed to be to leave the open meetings as they are for the moment.
- Summer attendance. We mentioned that the number of people attending meetings might dip a little over the summer with holidays.
- Regulars attending the open meeting. We discussed that it was important for regulars to attend the open meetings.
Of the five attendees, four submitted work for discussion:
- Hakim presented a short story called Pool of Life. Everyone loved Mrs Magursky and her licking lips. A couple of people wanted to see a longer story – or they wondered whether this was the start of something bigger. Everyone enjoyed the quality of the writing, the Liverpool setting, the amateurish cultists and the lack of the Z word.
- Guy presented the eighth chapter of his novel Night Work. Everyone loved the opening paragraph and several people duplicated each other’s comments on specific lines of narrative that they particularly enjoyed, such as the tin can trundling over the roof. There was a heady debate about dialogue, especially the scene with the Admiral, with most people saying they didn’t enjoy all the interruptions – though one person correctly identified the experiment that the author was conducting.
- Rob presented the ninth chapter from his post-apocalyptic novel. Several people mentioned that they thought this was the strongest chapter so far. We again discussed dialogue with several people saying that they enjoyed the interaction between Raj and Henry. The chip butty and shiv were both well received. A few questions were asked about whether the rubble in front of the pub should have been tidied up and whether those bits of paper under the table legs would have been noticed by the protagonist.
- Craig presented the first chapter from a new novel he has just started called Seven Souls. Several people liked the first line, the squirming ci shen and the researched details such as the officer’s debt and the bounty. Yes, a lot of research will be required for this period piece. There was some confusion about the relationship between the protagonist and the girl. Hakim mentioned that Stross chap and whether this piece was ‘Revisionist Mundane Steampunk’.
As usual, we popped along to the pub afterwards. This time we watched Hakim and Guy duke it out to the death over a game of chess. Then I remember chatting about male authors writing about female characters and we finished the evening by deciding – well that’s me, Guy and Shirley – that we would pop along to Eastercon next year and do the fancy dress thing. Did I really agree to that?
Next meetings are:
- Open meeting: Wednesday 13th July
- Closed meeting: Wednesday 27th July
- Open meeting: Wednesday 10th August