Another great meeting last night with 11 attendees and 5 pieces to crit. I think everyone was in agreement that this was a very strong dropbox, and we managed to get through all five (albeit one was at the pub!). Also, for the first time I believe, we had more female members in attendance than male! Hopefully this is a sign of more gender-balanced times to come for the group!
On to the crits:
- Angela presented her short dystopian tale, ‘Born to Die’. Lots of praise for the representation of disabilities in this piece, and some exceptional moments with Ollie playing superhero in a mask. Some questions over the logic of the world: would the eugenics program only target those manifesting genetic traits, or the carriers of these traits? Calls for some further development of Ollie’s character, a greater presence of the dystopian government, and for the short ending paragraph to be either expanded upon or cut entirely.
- Tammy presented the first chapter of her gritty fairy-tale noir Out of the Woods. Lots of praise for the great voice, backstories of different clans in the world, and the bad-ass protagonist. Some questions raised over Lang’s characterization, which seems to shift mid-way through the chapter, and over the nature of the protagonist’s species. Calls for more gambling in the casino and for the backstory of the old-world trees and the protagonist’s beginnings to be introduced earlier.
- Eliza presented her short horror, ‘Datsue-Ba’, telling the grizzly exploits of a nightmarish character from Japanese myth that you just have to look up to believe. Lots of praise for the strong writing, world building, and horrific climactic scene. Some questions raised over when the fire actually starts, and also how the judgment by Datsue-Ba actually works: does the branch have to break the water’s surface? A few concerns over Shunsuke’s characterization, perhaps too much of a bad boyfriend to be believable, and some questions over whether the judgement was particularly air on him. Calls for potentially expanding the time-frame of the story to a weekend-break, more screaming, and more horror from Eliza! Further calls from Luke for a kotatsu table for his birthday.
- Emma presented a short piece about our obsession with technology, and the disconnection it causes, entitled ‘Commuter Block’ (working title). Lots of praise for the great writing, general premise, and the relationship between Finn and Olivia. Members universally enjoyed the bitter-sweet ending, although some calls for Finn to also be distracted by tech too so that it gets in both their ways. Some questions raised about the time period, also what has been turned off at the beginning, calls to make this clearer from the outset (perhaps by staring at the tube station with the Tannoy message explaining).
- Chris presented his time-travel flash piece, ‘Dinner at the Dodo’. We’d run out of time for this piece, so crits were delivered at the pub. Praise for the short and punchy length, characterization of the waiter, and the paradoxical ending. Some questions over the ages of the younger and older Mr Braithwaites. Calls for some more inventive menu items at the Dodo, and for Chris to get the next round in.
Once again, a great session with some excellent and balanced crits from all attendees. A very strong set of submissions that tells of some good reading ahead!
Finally, some congratulations are in order for Eliza, who’s piece ‘The Water Museum’ has recently been published in Holdfast magazine. Check it out at http://www.holdfastmagazine.com/the-water-museum-issue8/4591833033
[Craig: My thanks to Chris for taking these notes and to Luke for the photo.]
See you at the next meeting on Tuesday 22nd March.