Hi everyone! Fantastic meeting last night with 14 people attending and that included 3 new members. I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Niall, Hans and Ian. You delivered some great critiques — just remember to balance your constructive criticism with positive feedback. There’s always something good to say about every piece of writing. The term we often use is ‘Crit Sandwich!’, a slightly nicer variation of that other popular phrase.
We had 5 pieces of work to critique last night, however Terence emailed beforehand to say that he’d either be late or wouldn’t be able to attend. Terence, no worries, your piece will be carried forward to next month’s meeting.
On with the critiques!
- Eliza presented a short story called Kikinasai. A number of people said that they enjoyed the quality of the writing in this piece as well as the atmosphere and the imagery, especially the tattoos and the tattoo parlour. Several members wondered about the number of similes and metaphors, and there was a 50/50 opinion over the swearing (fitting for the rock-and-roll setting or OTT). The priest perhaps seemed to pop up out of nowhere and there was a question about obfuscation (or editing?) over his tattoos and missing arm which also appeared later on. Weird in a good way for the readers who like the weird.
- James presented a short/flash story called Chav Tales. Quite a bit of push-back on this piece, especially with regards the vernacular narrative (though a couple of people were in two minds about this). Several people suggested that the title caused problems and should be changed. Funny. Sweary. Universal praise for the foul-mouthed goblin with calls for another piece featuring him. A couple of people wondered why Bell didn’t just “Glass the fucker!”
- Chris presented a short story called Toil and Trouble. I think everyone considered this piece an easy read and well-written. Several people said that they enjoyed the circular narrative, though there was some confusion over the identity of the girl in the final section. This confusion caused some polarity in opinions over the ending with some commenting on the ‘schmaltzy happiness’ (those who thought the girl was new) or creepy (those who correctly identified the old girlfriend). A few Americanisms. Hipster wizard was loved by all.
- Eric presented the first chapter from his new novel Hellbound. Most members found this piece readable with an intriguing final section. A few concerns were raised over the omniscient viewpoint at the start which reminded a couple of people of a TV/film panoramic zoom. Calls for a tightening up on the viewpoint throughout (head-hopping with Oscar and Olivia later on). Drop the shapely thighs. Several members disappointed that Oscar didn’t die (would prove a challenge if he’s a major character).
After the meeting we headed over to Common for our usual chat. I huddled in the corner to discuss the Revolutions! anthology with Graeme and Eric. If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on with the anthology just head on over to the Revolutions! Anthology Facebook page. We’ve sent out the first rejections for those pieces that didn’t qualify under the submissions criteria and we’re busy reading the rest. We are very happy with the submissions we’ve received so far and we’re looking forward to those that are still have to land. There are 3 or 4 stand-out pieces so far. Plenty of room for new submissions. Keep them coming!
Next meeting: Wednesday 10th June