Merry Christmas everyone! And a big welcome to Bronwin and Matt who attended their first meeting last night.
Excellent meeting with thirteen attendees and five pieces of writing to critique. We also enjoyed copious quantities of mince pies and hot mulled wine. There were four submissions discussed during the meeting itself and a fifth over at Common afterwards. That leaves a clear DropBox for next month’s submissions.
Just before we look at the critiques, following on from a brief discussion on our Facebook group regarding crosstalk and critique balance I thought I saw a subtle improvement last night. What did everyone else think? Feel free to add a comment below or over on Facebook.
On with the crits!
- Eric presented another chapter from his novel The Autumn Man. I think everyone enjoyed the flashback with the bodies in the trees though a few people suggested that there might be a few too many characters and perhaps too much information. The phone call dialogue scene towards the end was also enjoyed. A couple of people picked up on the lack of a description for the noise (howl). Good insight into Edward’s character with his interior dialogue at the start. Unusual film reference juxtaposition: Up and Predator (NSFW).
- Rob presented the prologue and first chapter from his novel In Service to Dangerous Men. Plenty of compliments for Eska’s character with a fairly even split between those people who favoured the older version of Eska and those who preferred the younger. Suggestion that there could be two novels here. Compliments for the world building and the Red Sail crew members. Further difference of opinion amongst the group over the action sequence at the start: some enjoyed it, some didn’t. Confusion over chapter order now cleared up.
- Malcolm presented a short story called Grandfather Paradox. Compliments for the twist at the end of this story as well as the first line / first paragraph / first page. There were a few questions asked over the amount of back-story at the start as well as the omniscient narration and whether this could be drawn in to a more limited viewpoint with the son’s character. Suggestions that there might be a longer story or even a novel here. Also: the Moon is always a cool setting.
- Graeme presented the first two chapter from a new novel Ultima Thule. Several people referenced Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness for the chilly setting. Compliments for all the descriptions and the atmospheric setting, the weather, the Viking longboat, the frozen mutilated bodies. The various characters were generally well-received though a few questions were asked about the Professor: whether she was a little too crazy and whether the seductress scene worked or not.
- Chris presented three flash fiction pieces: Macaroon Dreams, I, Robert and Closing The Loop. The critiques for these pieces were given over at Common so I didn’t take any notes, however, I do remember much hilarity over the suggestion (a couple of times) that Closing The Loop was similar to the film Looper (author fervently denies). I, Robert was perhaps the most well-received piece with several people enjoying the dark conclusion and the internal dialogue. Several people enjoyed the premise behind Macaroon Dreams though there were a number of suggestions for changes such as dialling up the macabre or avoiding the info-dump.
Quick reminder that next month’s meeting will be at Federation House again. See you there!
Next meeting: Wednesday 14th January