A warm welcome to Graeme Cole who joined us for the first time last night. With eight people attending we had six pieces of work to discuss. Apologies from Guy who wasn’t able to attend after getting himself double-booked with the excellent Tales of Whatever–although he popped along to join us at the pub afterwards.
Thanks to Dave for his impromptu tiddlywinks demonstration. Luckily the cup of tea was pretty much finished. Slam-dunking at that range is a 3-pointer in my books . . .
On with the show!
- Rob presented the second part of the twelfth chapter from his post-apocalyptic novel Industrial Revolution. Several people mentioned that they liked the changes to the Roosevelt character. And plenty of positive comments about the elevator scene, the ‘lights’ room, the blend of darkness/horror/comedy, the computer at the end and overall pace. A few people wondered about the ‘wind gusting’ dynamics at the twelfth floor and a couple of people mentioned similarities with the toys in the ‘lights’ room and JF Sebastian from Blade Runner (though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
- Craig presented the fifth chapter from his novel Seven Souls. Fairly unanimous support for the pistol stripping scene–a very pleasant surprise! Several people unsure about the dialogue between the two characters, whether it was too stilted or lacking consistency. And repetition. Several positive comments about the level of detail, realistic setting, research and pace. And repetition.
- Eric presented a short story called Blood of an Englishman. Everyone seemed to enjoy the the first unicorns line and the urban fairy tale theme. There was a resounding ‘Noooo!’ to the ending with numerous suggestions for alternatives–followed by an admission from the author that he had needed to wrap it up under the word count. Suggestion for a market: Penumbra eMag and their call for ‘Fractured Fairy Tales’ until December 31st. A few comments about info-dumping, dinosaur sizing, Minotaur suitability and suitable accessorising. And the obligatory film association is Newt from Aliens.
- Ben (or Benjamin) presented a short story called The Bay. Several people enjoyed the first line as well as the imagery at the end in the salt marsh. Interesting balance of people who knew about Unity Mitford and those who didn’t–and the story seemed to work well either way. Not much in the way of critical comments. A couple of minor comments about the speed of erection and the slightly travelogue-y part.
- Dave presented a short story called Scenery. Lots of comments about the narrative: a few people found the first page a little confusing, but they all seemed to enjoy the use of language and the poetic form. Lots of people enjoyed the humour, the imagery and the association with virtual worlds (Second Life & ‘that MMO‘ were both mentioned). A couple of people were a little lost by the end. ‘Pitter patter’ was much appreciated.
- Kate presented another piece from her novel Body of Dwaal. Several people said they were now enjoying the pace of the story. A few people commented on the two characters–some that the relationship was clearly becoming stronger; others that they weren’t sure that the bond would have developed so quickly. Lots of comments about the fight scene: mostly positive though a couple of people asking about the choreography and speed of the encounter. Couple of people not sure about the ‘ink face’ remark. Also: indents and formatting.
Couple of discussions this month about formatting. It might be worth considering how your manuscripts are presented. First of all, you can make it easier for other group members to identify your work and know which page is which (if any pages are mixed up but also during the workshop itself). Second, it’s good practice for when you start submitting your work to markets.
Make sure you have your name, story title and page number on every page–my personal preference is to present this at the top of the page. You could also get into the routine of setting out your work with double (or at least 1.5) line spacing, perhaps a standard font like Times New Roman or Courier, and as already mentioned you could consider indenting and correct section breaks.
I always advise writers to follow Shunn Formatting, a fairly standard formatting method referred to by speculative and non-speculative markets alike.
Anyway, thanks again to everyone who attended. Have a great Christmas and see you all in the New Year!
Next meeting: Wednesday 11th January, 7pm start.