Meeting: 10th October

Great to see everyone again last night. We had a fully packed evening with seven people attending and six pieces of work being discussed.

Before we get started I’d like to discuss a few topics…

Formatting

Please submit .DOC Word documents to DropBox. This month we had a mix of RTF, DOCX and DOT documents and whilst this isn’t a major problem it can sometimes cause difficulties for other members who might be opening files in non-Office applications.

Whilst we’re on the topic of formatting it might also be worthwhile looking at the formatting inside the document itself. Most editors out there are going to want to see something along the lines of Shunn formatting (though the preferred font seems to be Times New Roman nowadays rather than Courier). That’s double-line spacing, first line indents, 12-point font as well as the author’s name, title of the piece and the page number on every page. Group meetings present the perfect opportunity for members to test this out on each other.

It’s also useful to include the title of the piece and the author’s name in the DOC filename itself.

DropBox

One of our members unfortunately had to remove their submission from DropBox and this was done at the last moment once most members had already invested time in reading the submission. As mentioned in the rules this is frowned upon. We understand that difficult situations can arise from time to time making it impossible for members to attend a meeting that they had planned to, but if this is the case please try to leave the piece of work in DropBox for the following meeting. If you still think you’re going to have problems with this then please try to inform other members as soon as possible.

PayPal

The balance in the donations PayPal account is currently standing at £37.79. This is pretty good considering we started donating in March and since then we’ve had approximately 35 member attendances over six or seven meetings. This equates to a little over £1 per head per meeting. Some members have donated in advance, so this is likely to dip a little below £1 in the next few weeks, but it’s still great news as not all members can afford to donate and some members are instead placing cash donations in the box in the room.

Once the balance hits £50 I’m planning on making a donation to MadLab. You can donate here or by clicking the button over on the right hand side. Thanks to all members who have donated so far: both PayPal and with cash. You’re doing a great job!

Anyway, on with the critiques. With seven members attending and six pieces of work being discussed we had a fully packed meeting but we still managed to finish in a timely manner just after 9.30pm . . .

  • Craig presented the second section from his short story/novelette Three Harmonies. Several people mentioned that they preferred this piece to the first. Comparison made with William Gibson’s version of future Tokyo (which makes me very happy). Some confusion/intrigue as to where this story might be going and whether we’ve already had the reveal. A couple of members seem to think there might be another twist coming . . .
  • Graeme presented the sixth chapter from his novel A Kill in the Morning. Several members mentioned that they really like the new character Canaris. A few questions were raised about the length of expositional dialogue between our protagonist and Molly: calls for less political debate and more flirting (you lot have been reading too much Fifty Shades). Further compliments paid regards the research and quality of writing. And those quotes at the start of each chapter: author advises patience.
  • Richard presented his short story The Relationship Calculator. Several compliments paid about the protagonist in this piece and comparisons made with Sheldon. A few questions raised about possible POV-shifting and the ending. Debate on the use of a database to store interpersonal responses. Advice on the question ‘What are you thinking?’: bad answer ‘Football’ vs good answer ‘You’.
  • James presented his short story Wood Chip. Several members really enjoyed the humour in this piece. A few questions were raised about the punchline ending and whether the science stands up to scrutiny. New political phrasebomb to drop at your next wine & cheese party: ‘Ecofascist Police State’.
  • Pat presented the first chapter from her new novel. Several members commented that they really enjoyed the first line / first paragraph as well as the concept of a ghost that ages. A couple of members mentioned that the male narrator seemed to have a rather female voice (a good thing, in my opinion, but pesky in this instance). Some questions over the amount of exposition. And a couple of people picked out that phrase from Sixth Sense.
  • Eric presented his short story Cold Heaven. Several members complimented the pace and poetic use of language. Also the names of the characters. Some questions were raised about the number of religious people left in this world and whether there might be more. Debate about religion versus immortality.

We popped around the corner as usual for some drinks and a chit-chat. Topics ranged from 3D printing to martial arts to literary agents and novels to pandas and a certain MMO (again). And then we huddled around to watch this . . .

Next meeting: Wednesday 14th November

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