We had a late start last night with several members arriving late due to problems with the traffic. No worries, it happens. Graeme Shimmin sent his apologies that he wasn’t able to attend as planned, so his piece has been bounced to next month’s meeting.
Now, as it happens, we have quite a few pieces to carry through to next month’s meeting. With nine people attending we were originally hoping to critique seven submissions, six with Graeme’s piece slipping to next month. With the late start and some extremely detailed critiques we only managed to discuss three pieces. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The time slipped away from us so we were obviously having a great time. I certainly took away some detailed notes and I thoroughly enjoyed the feedback. A couple of people were surprised when 9.30 rolled around; two and a half hours that disappeared very quickly.
I’m suggesting that we don’t accept any submissions for the August meeting other than what we already have in DropBox, namely:
- Graeme Shimmin’s novel chapter from A Kill in the Morning.
- Eric’s novel chapter from Autumn Man.
- Charmini’s first chapter from her as-yet-unnamed novel.
- James’ piece The Vanishing City.
- Graeme Cole’s piece The First Second Time Song.
At the end of the last meeting we had a brief discussion about the amount of time we are starting to use to critique each individual piece. Is this OK with everyone? Should we look to be more concise? Or perhaps we enjoy this level of critique? What about restricting the admission of new members? Perhaps we need a maximum number of members and a waiting list to join after that? Feel free to discuss this topic over in our Facebook group or post some suggestions in the comments box below.
As mentioned, I’m afraid I won’t be able to make next month’s August meeting. Please meet as normal. If someone could take a few notes and email those through to me for the blog that would be great. A few bullet points is fine. A photo would also be nice. I’ll post the blog on my return.
So, on with the critiques!
- Craig presented the first chapter from his novel Canton Station. Lots of positive feedback on multiple counts: the sci-fi/Chinese supernatural setting, the world-building, the introduction, the lack of info-dumping, and the characters. Several members made comparisons with Studio Ghibli works. Questions were asked about Jiao: how can she interact with the world if she is a ghost? (Author’s answer: you’ll have to wait and see!) A few tell-not-show moments, some compulsive number-crunching and a glut of film references: Neverending Story, Minority Report, Tron, Firefly
- Luke presented the first part of a short story called Intervention. Plenty of positive comments on the world-building in this story, especially the heat, with a few members asking for more of this. Several people enjoyed the strange fauna, though the fire-snake seemed easy to tackle in the end. A couple of members wonder about the formality of the language, though opinion was a little divided over this. A few questions were asked about the solider’s violent reaction, but I think most members enjoyed (if that’s the right phrase) this brutal closing scene. A couple of members remain convinced that there’s a novel here.
- Alan presented the first chapter from his novel Charnel Butterflies. Resounding appreciation for the drowning scenes in this opening chapter. A couple of people questioned the use of a prologue (and then a flashback within this prologue). I think several people found the switching from one scene to another to be a little confusing and there was a call to focus on the drowning scene. Comparisons were made by several people to works by Gene Wolfe. The droids at the end came as a surprise to several readers — I guess they weren’t looking for them.
Next meeting: Wednesday 14th August (see you all in September!)