Merry Christmas everyone! Last night was our final meeting of the year. We had eleven people attending and five submissions to critique. There was a bountiful supply of mince pies, mulled wine, orange juice, carrot cake and some rather spicy home-made tuna snacks. We also had a surprise visit from the MadLab Mouse. High drama! We completed the critiques on four submissions so Ian’s piece will carry over to the next Tuesday meeting in January.
Before I get started with the critiques I just want to repeat the announcement made on Facebook yesterday that we have just donated £90 to MadLab. These are your donations from throughout the last year, so well done to everyone who was able to give money in these financially challenging times. And please don’t worry if you weren’t able to donate. You can always help MadLab by boosting the signal for their revenue earning courses during the coming year with a share here or tweet there:
MadLab’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/madlabuk
On with the critiques!
- Emma presented the first two chapters from her novel Westralia. Some confusion about the setting for this story, whether it was alternate history or sci-fi (author: sci-fi). Lots of people enjoyed the scene setting at the start. Suggestions to dial down the info-dump delivered by the teacher. A couple of people weren’t sure about the mention of Bluetooth, but the remote receptionist was a great idea! Excellent voice and dialogue, especially the slang.
- Bronwyn presented the first chapter from her novel Green. Everyone seemed to enjoy the opening paragraph and the poetic turn of phrase used throughout. There was some confusion about the number of characters and changes of names, whether we were shifting viewpoint or not. Further confusion with the dream sequences at the end. Comparisons made with Coralline. Great narrative voice, very immediate. Questions asked about plot and/or hook during this initial chapter: enough to grab a new reader?
- Rob presented a second chapter from his novel Markanvay. Compliments from several people for the scene setting although a couple of people wondered about including more busyness in the city itself. Questions asked about transportation, the suggestion to use carts instead of walking. Some confusion caused with the introduction of several characters at once. Great dialogue. Great viewpoint. Rather too much info-dumping for some folks. Calls for more world building from some people and less from others.
- Len presented the first part of a short story called An Uncertain Future. I think everyone enjoyed the concept of exploring the grandfather paradox in this time travel story. Plenty of compliments for the opening scene. Great voice, even if the character was not entirely likeable. Questions were asked about the time travel logic being used. Further questions asked about whether this is a locked room mystery (yet) as this is then required as justification for shooting the cops. Lots of gun questions.
What an amazing year. Several of our members have been published, some for the very first time. We’ve also published our own anthology. It will be interesting to see what 2016 will bring. We have Eastercon coming to Manchester and who knows what else? For now I’ll sign off with another Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you all in January.
Next meeting: Wednesday 13th January