Last night’s meeting was, I think, the second busiest we’ve ever had with 16 people attending with two new members: Quentin and Elliot. A warm welcome to both of you. And thanks to Luke and Quentin for the cake and biscuits. Happy Birthday Eliza!
Before we get started I just want to thank everyone for the concise delivery of last night’s critiques. We comfortably managed to discuss 4 pieces which is around 60 critiques in total. That’s well above the usual maximum of 50. Well done. Keep it up!
Next: I’m afraid I won’t be able to make next month’s meeting. Graeme has kindly offered to take the chair instead. Cheers Graeme! That also means there will be a delay to the usual blog post but everything else will tick along as normal.
Finally, there were a couple of suggestions for minor rules changes last night. It’s excellent to hear these being suggested and discussed. Keep them coming; this is your writing group. If you have a suggestion that is supported by other group members and benefits the whole group then it could be something that gets implemented.
There was a suggestion last night that I’d like to discuss. I’ll start a thread going on the Facebook Group but if you don’t have access to Facebook please add to the comments below or drop me an email and I’ll make sure your voice is heard. Last night a group member suggested that those who arrive late should have their submission bounced to the following month. This isn’t meant to be a punitive measure but the success of our writing group has always relied upon an amicable exchange of critiques in both directions and in equal measure. It’s also important that members who arrive on time don’t feel as if they’re being inadvertently queue-jumped by someone who just happens to sit down at a particular place around the table. I’d like to second this suggestion. The discussion can continue over on Facebook.
Now…on with the crits:
- Graeme presented the first chapter from his new novel Our Secret Ways. I think everyone enjoyed the protagonist’s voice in this piece as well as the quick and brutal fight scene at the end. A few people wondered whether the fight should have taken a little longer to get started, perhaps with a higher word count for the whole chapter. Antarctic scenery was much appreciated. Good pace. I think everyone knew what a skua was…except me.
- Eliza presented a short story called Sensing The Dust. Plenty of compliments for the Hong Kong scene setting in this piece as well as the description of the glitter ball playroom. We had an interesting split in group feedback with only a minority identifying a link with Asperger Syndrome. A few people weren’t sure about the viewpoint shifts: combine all three into one or make the shifts clearer. Questions raised about the un-demolition of the Walled City. Tangle explanations not required (probably).
- Hans presented a prologue and first chapter from his young adult fiction novel Boys. I think plenty of people enjoyed the clean prose in this piece as well as the intrigue suggested at the mention of the ‘Institute’. There were rather a few questions raised about the flashback in chapter one and whether this resulted in a prologue that wasn’t actually a prologue at all. Formatting. Calls for a closer viewpoint. Further calls for a chapter two that might be the new chapter one. Dogs don’t give up.
- Terence presented the fifth chapter from his novel Gourmet to the Stars. I think a lot of people were pleased to see the plot now coming together although one or two members wondered if it should have come sooner. A rather confusing chapter for some. Calls for more comic delivery from the protagonist. Compliments for the back-story and setting.
We managed to discuss Eric’s submission — a new chapter from his novel Hellbound — over at Common after the meeting. Critiques were also handed over to Truong for the first chapter of his novel The World Behind Us as he won’t be able to make next month’s meeting.
That leaves an empty DropBox. Have fun and get scribbling!
Next meeting: Wednesday 12th August