Another busy meeting this month with eleven attendees. Just a quick reminder for potential visitors reading this post to get in touch before you attend to allow us to arrange access to DropBox. You should also familiarise yourself with our house rules. Saying that, it was very nice to meet Graham, who dropped into the meeting. I hope you understood a little of what was going on!
Apologies from Eric who wasn’t able to attend due to a cold. Hope you get better soon. Your submission, which has already been carried over one month, will be carried over again to next month’s meeting.
Before we look at the critiques just a couple of reminders about house rules . . .
We had a repeat submission this month — a piece submitted a second time after editing. That’s against our rules, but with all the confusion over me being away the month before last and the carried-over submissions from last month it was too late to do anything about it by the time that I noticed. Apologies from me for that. The reason for not allowing resubmissions? Well, we’re all here to improve our writing, not just to focus on the production of a single piece of work. No more repeat submissions please.
Formatting will be important when it comes to sending work out to potential markets so it makes sense to get started with submissions into the group DropBox. A lack of proper formatting can cause problems for other group members: incorrect page sizes can result in pages not printing out correctly, a lack of names or titles on pages can make it difficult to work out who wrote which piece. This month we saw RTF and DOCX submissions, non-A4 page layouts, as well as a lack of page numbers, names and titles on pages. Please note, as per our house rules:
1. All submissions should be submitted as a Microsoft Word DOC file.
2. Use an A4 page layout.
3. Double line spacing, reasonable margins (one inch by default).
4. Every page should include a page number, the title and your real name (not a pseudonym).
5. The filename should include your name and the title of your piece.
- James Harben presented a short story called Giant Insect Job Centre Story. I think everyone enjoyed the humour in this piece with various readers complimenting the back-story, the Kafkaesque theme and the sombre ending. A few readers queried the formatting and punctuation. A couple of people wondered about the start of the story and whether it took a while to get going. A few people wondered about mantis in the world: commonplace or not?
- Daniel presented the prologue for a novel called The Creators Project [sic]. Plenty of constructive feedback given on this piece, especially relating to punctuation and the technical side of writing (adverbs, dialogue tagging etc.), though several readers felt it had improved on the first draft (please note, as already mentioned above, that we do not usually accept resubmissions). Some good dialogue. A couple of readers mentioned similarities with Star Trek.
- James Hodgson presented a short story called MiNI. Resounding positive feedback on the quality of the writing in this piece as well as the descriptions of the grimy conditions in the trenches. Questions were asked about the setting: World War I or not? Is the sci-fi element needed at all? Perhaps post-apocalyptic? A couple of readers wondered over the strange dialogue quotes for MiNI. Doubt about the ability of a bullet to spill guts. The Minnie/Mickey Mouse mention was jarring for a couple of people.
- Shakeel presented the first chapter from a novella called Boys Who Cried Wolf. Compliments for the emotional content delivered in the narrative. A couple of readers made comparisons between the narrative voice and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Concerns over the level of repetition. Formatting needs some work. Is there a genre element? Author replied that there was, later on in the piece.
- Len presented a chapter from his novel The Journey Home. Plenty of compliment for the action towards the end of this piece with several readers calling for this to appear earlier. Some confusion over whether this was chapter one — author replied that it was chapter four. A little too much exposition from Alain for some readers. Criticism of the quality of the banditry.
That left two pieces from Damien and Eric to carry over to next month. Damien offered his apologies in advance that he won’t be able to attend next month’s meeting so he asked whether handwritten critiques could be handed over. A few of us ended up offering impromptu critiques on his submission — a short story called Hordes — at the pub after the meeting.
And a final mention for Graeme’s novel A Kill in the Morning which will be published with Bantam Press this month. Congratulations again! Well-deserved. It’s an excellent read!
Next month’s meeting: Wednesday 9th July