Meeting: 11th July

First of all I’d like to welcome Richard Garbutt who joined us for the first time last night. Thanks for your valuable contribution during the critiques. We’re looking forward to reading your work!

Before we start with the critiques, during last night’s meeting I mentioned an email I’d received from the parent of a fifteen-year-old who was interested in joining our group. As discussed, I had to turn the individual away on the grounds that some of the work we read is often quite mature. This is the second time we’ve received interest from someone this young so I’ve decided to edit our Rules page to state that we’re an ’18+ only’ group.

The parent in question raised a point that there seems to be little support for young adults who want to join a writing community. There were some excellent suggestions during last night’s meeting, so if you get the chance could you add them to the discussion on our Facebook page? We discussed that it would be a great idea if someone started a writing group for young writers, but there was a question whether this would be young adults only or a mix of young adults and adults writing YA fiction–and then there’s the whole issue over CRB-checking and, most importantly, the safety of the young individuals involved. This is potentially complicated area. I personally think that the best option would be for a local college to host a regular event with one or two CRB-checked speakers visiting. Anyway, the Facebook page is there for you to chat away or you can post a comment at the bottom of this post.

We had seven members attending last night’s meeting with four pieces of work being discussed. We started around 7pm, finished a little after 9pm and headed around to the pub afterwards where we chatted until 11pm. Great evening!

  • Graeme Cole presented the second part of his story Universal Ear. I think everyone enjoyed the humour in this piece, especially the dialogue between the protagonist and the computer. A couple of people even mentioned Pratchett. Some members were a little confused about the brief appearance and relevance of the antagonist. There was a brief debate on dog behaviour and inappropriate chloroforming technique (I saw some frantic note-taking…you lot worry me).
  • Eric presented the fourth and fifth chapters from his novel Project Nine. Opinion seemed a little divided over the relationship presented in the fourth chapter with some members enjoying the interpersonal exchange whilst others remained unsure. Again, several people stated that they enjoyed the atmosphere and tension, especially the protagonist (antagonist?) in the fifth chapter. So many film/TV references: this one for the Doberman dogs, this one for the sciencey bit and this one for the dead solders who didn’t come to tea.
  • James presented a short story called Black is the New Green. Everyone enjoyed the cyberpunk/post-cybperunk world-building: the music festival, the carbon credits (comparisons were made with The Windup Girl) and the haircut-discount-cycling. Countering this, there was a little doubt over the length of the story (too short for several people) and the level of peril/drama/conflict. Popular support for disco turtles. Ryanair as Sky Pirates: “and not in a cool way!”
  • Graeme Shimmin presented the third chapter from his novel A Kill in the Morning. Again, lots of compliments about the detailed setting and richly textured world. Members offered a slight difference of opinion over the exchange between the protagonist and Kitty, with some questioning the motives of the characters (whether Kitty was too trusting, too quickly), others wondering whether the characters would be speaking German instead of English and a couple of people not sure about the protagonist’s overenthusiastic interest in Kitty. Tenuous out-of-context film reference (due to helicopter).

Next meeting: Wednesday 8th August, 7pm start as usual. See you there!

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