Another busy meeting this week with 14 people attending and six submissions to critique. We managed to discuss three submissions so the other three will pass over to the next meeting. Because of this we will have a temporary embargo on new submissions until after the next Tuesday meeting to allow us to clear the backlog.
Before we get started with the critiques I wanted to mention a discussion we had at the end of the meeting about the increasing number of members and submissions. We obviously had another busy month. Do we let this continue? Is this just a temporary spike? Are we OK with the current system? Is a seven submission maximum still acceptable? Should we limit the critiques somehow: a limited amount of time per critique, for example?
Yes, we’ve had a busy month. Yes, I think we’re seeing a gradually increase in the number of members attending each meeting across a series of months. The second monthly meeting doesn’t seem to have done much to spread the load: we’re still seeing about the same number of people attending the more popular Wednesday meeting. Saying that, the second meeting is doing well — there’s enough demand to keep it running.
This is good. I guess we’re doing something right! 🙂
We’ve decided to drop the limit on submission from seven to five. I’ve amended the house rules accordingly. I’m not entirely sure if this will achieve much as it’s the number of non-submitting attendees (who deliver critiques) that’s on the rise. I don’t think any of us want to implement the Milford rule of ‘if you don’t submit, you don’t crit’. We will just have to see how it goes. We could do with more people shifting over to the Tuesday meeting. Have a think and if you have any more suggestions please add a comment in Facebook when this post appears over there.
On with the crits!
- Wendy presented the start of her novel Dead Cities. Plenty of people enjoyed the mix of science fiction and the supernatural in this piece. Good tension. Great action towards the end. Nice tech. A few people weren’t sure about the use of cameras in the van at the end, whether it separated the viewpoint too far. A little tell-not-show leading up to this action scene — perhaps this meant it took too long to get going. Starlings dropping out of the sky is always a good thing.
- Craig presented his short story After All The Bright Days. Lots of appreciation for the concept in this story: the star going nova. Good characterisation. Nice world-building dripped in. Several people weren’t sure about the clipped narrative, whether it was over-styled. Generally positive feedback on the open ending though a few people wondered if this was the start of something longer. Questions were asked about the motivations of the protagonist: does he decide to jump off world too easily? The alien’s voice, too much like Yoda, it is.
- Chris presented his short story Abuja 52. Good tech, great descriptions though-out, solid prose style. Nice opening, although a few people weren’t sure about the deliberate obfuscation of the character Kitty as narrator/protagonist. First dream sequence was enjoyable; some people not sure about the second. Comparisons made between Kitty and Molly Mirrorshades character in Gibson’s Neuromancer series. Questions asked about Kitty’s motivations at the end (felt a little forced). Talking about murder in a restaurant: possibly not the best idea.
Next meeting: Tuesday 26th April
See you there!