Meeting: 11th September

Last minute change of venue with this month’s meeting to a room over the Terrace bar just next to MadLab. Bit noisy, but we managed. Before we get started with the critiques I’d like to say hello to Michael Vaughan who joined us for the first time last night. I’d also like to offer a belated hello to Phill Campbell who actually joined us for the first time in last month’s meeting, but I forgot to mention this when I posted the notes last time, what with the whole ‘me not being there’ thing going on.

Meeting: 11th September

We had five pieces submitted this month with nine members attending and we started a little late due to travel problems and with the changes to venue which not everyone knew about. The weather always seems to affect travel time this time of year so no worries — I was 10 minutes late myself. I will leave earlier next month!

Anyway, without further ado, on with the critiques . . .

  • Eric presented the first part of a story called Time Warp. I think pretty much everyone enjoyed the third section in this piece, the encounter between Sanguine and The Warp. A few members weren’t so sure about the initial section, perhaps the number of characters. Speaking of characters, several people mentioned that they liked The Warp (even though he seemed a little Iron Man), but not so much Lilly. Cosmic scale of this piece had a number of people intrigued and wondering what was coming next.
  • Phil presented a short story called Baby Blue. Several members thoroughly enjoyed the world-building in this piece. Some confusion about the plot and ending. A few questions were asked about viewpoint, which seemed to jump around, and the level of exposition. A couple of members asked questions about the subbys and wanted to see more of them.
  • Graeme presented the 16th chapter of his novel A Kill in the Morning. Lots of positive comments about this chapter but scattered about across a number of different areas: that we enjoyed the reveal about the mine destroying the ship, the dark humour, Kaltenbrunner’s surprise deceit, the lead into the sex scene and the depth of Molly’s character (though there were calls to make her tougher). Main complaint: our unnamed protagonist’s male-orientated internal dialogue (though we had an idea what the author was working towards). Also: no whimpering!
  • Craig presented the second chapter from his novel Canton Station. Lots of positive feedback on the world-building and the reveal about the protagonist’s past. Several members liked the firecube. A few people wondered if Kel’s dialogue could be cut, though the encounter between him and the old woman had exactly the right level of threat. Too many corridors, too much walking.
  • James presented a short story called The Domestic Fractal. Fairly unanimous appreciation for the setting and concept with references to House of Leaves—And He Built a Crooked House— and Cube (not sure I have the correct film version there and that link is NSFW and quite possibly also Not Safe For Your Sanity). Formatting had gone a bit bonkers. A few members suggested that the viewpoint drifted out or even popped out into omniscience at moments. Several members liked the rope. A few too many characters perhaps?

A few members headed off afterwards to the Marble Bar. I had to dash, but I’ll be certainly be hanging around as usual after next month’s meeting. Talking of which . . .

Next meeting: Wednesday 9th October. See you there!

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