Happy Birthday to us! This month’s meeting marks our third birthday. This is a huge achievement that’s only been made possible with the continued support and enthusiasm from all of our members both past and present. Well done to everyone! I’d also like to thank MadLab for providing such a fantastic venue.
We’ve seen a number of success stories over the years with many of our members achieving publication for the very first time and most (if not all) members stating quite equivocally that their writing has certainly improved since joining the group and continues to do so with every meeting. It’s often difficult for a writer to identify a singular cause-and-effect that has led towards an improvement in their writing, but I think all members (myself included) believe that the group has certainly contributed towards this goal. I’m personally looking forward to the next three years and more beyond that!
Before we get started with the critiques I’d like to welcome Brian Clarke who joined us for the first time last night. We’re all looking forward to reading your work at future meetings. I’d also like to thank members who made generous donations via PayPal after the last meeting. Once we hit fifty quid we’ll make another contribution to MadLab.
So, without further ado, on with the critiques. . .
- Graeme presented the 13th chapter from his novel A Kill in the Morning. As this was a flashback chapter we had our usual debate over they’re necessary or not, with questions raised over the subsequent flashback-within-a-flashback. Several members mentioned that they liked the character of Reg. Unanimous approval for the action and pace in this chapter. A difference of opinion over the chocolate. First film mention of the night obviously goes to Heroes of Telemark.
- Kate presented the first half of a short story called Petr, Husband of Fevronia. I think everyone enjoyed this folk tale story, particularly the characterisation of Fevronia. Some members weren’t sure about the opening and they wondered if the dialogue further into the story wasn’t a little choppy or perhaps in need of additional narration. Several compliments paid regarding the quality of the writing and the use of simile and metaphor. Also, great boils.
- Eric presented the 8th chapter from his novel Autumn Man. This chapter is split into two scenes with each half attracting some interestingly unanimous critique. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed the second section, notably the pace and imagery. Several members weren’t so sure about the initial section with members wondering if there weren’t too many similes and/or metaphors and whether there was too much focus on knees. Saying that, a number of people stated that they enjoyed the theme of classical horror, particularly the fingernail scraping at the window and the image of the coffin.
- Rachel presented the first chapter from her novel which is currently called Superheroes, Inc. Several compliments were paid regarding the characterisation in this initial chapter, though some members wondered if there weren’t a few too many characters this early in the story — although it’s understandable that the author wants to assemble the team. Several people raised doubts over whether the info-dumps are needed. many compliments paid regarding the quality of the writing. Some people not so sure about the popular references, notably the one about that Gaiman chap. And we of course have another film mention: Kick Ass
After the meeting we headed around the corner to the Marble Bar. I remember making lots of excuses about why I haven’t been writing much lately: mostly to do with paint.
Next meeting: Wednesday 12th June