Open Meeting: 13th July

First of all I’d like to welcome Kate and Donald to the meeting last night. Great to meet you! We’re all looking forward to reading some of your work in future.

We had eight people attending with five pieces of work discussed as follows:

  • Chris presented a short story called Second Hand Wings. Several people said they enjoyed the detailed descriptions in the narrative, especially the house and the first paragraph. Everyone commented upon the wings–most people loved them, there was a call for more detail and a disagreement about whether to lose the burning leaf smell or not. A few questions were asked about the reveal midway through the story, about whether to give away the reveal with the title and whether the story left too many unanswered questions.
  • Craig presented a short story called Memory Fayre. Several people said they enjoyed the period setting–the frock coats, the trams and the Manchester setting–as well as the first and last lines. But the story felt like it needed to be bigger. A few people weren’t sure about the snowglobe and one clever person scored a point by spotting the Cylon. Questions were asked about yellow terracotta gargoyles and the author admitted that he might have fallen foul of some over-research on this one!
  • Ben presented a series of three linked short stories called Buntings & The Other Side, Another Case for Buntings! and What Ho Buntings! Everyone thought the stories were funny and the protagonist was disagreeable. One person (I can’t remember who now) drew a parallel between the protagonist and that Boris chap. Several people liked the walnut desk simile, but a few people said they thought the language elsewhere was a little too old-fashioned.
  • Rob presented the tenth chapter from his post-apocalyptic novel. I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed watching the author squirm–or was that just me? Everyone enjoyed the language, the fast pace and the protagonist’s realistic (though rather disagreeable) inner dialogue. The protagonist revealed himself to be “an egotist (but insightful)”, “not a chauvinist (he just hates everyone!)” and a big hint was dropped about a secret plot. We chatted about different ways to build a nuclear device (as you do) and we had a great debate about ‘likeable characters’ versus ‘characters the reader wants to read more about’.
  • Guy presented the first chapter from a new novel he is thinking about starting called Hold The Line. Several people commented that this felt like the start of a military sci-fi novel and that this reads better and the setting is “more cohesive” than the author’s previous work. Much more so. Several people said they liked the dialogue between the two soldiers. There was a little confusion about naming and a call for a name for the unnamed solder. A few people said they weren’t sure about the first line or perhaps the slow start and there was calls to change to how the story begins with several suggestions for dropping the reader right into the action.

We headed around the corner to the pub afterwards–and I have to be honest, I can never remember what we end up talking about! I do remember talking about Paul, Spaced, Hot Fuzz, writing groups, MA courses and Siberia. I didn’t get the chance to chat with Donald about Glorantha…not yet.

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