Monthly Archives: July 2016

Wednesday Meeting: 13th July

Meeting 13th July 2016

Just three stories for us to get through this week. But we had a fab turnout and some great critiques. Thanks to all those who attended.

Eric:

Eric presented the second part of a military horror called ‘No Man’s Land’.

Everyone enjoyed this playful horror romp. Quite a few members felt the plot lent itself better to a film rather than a short story given the emphasis on visual descriptions. Some felt the glasshouse recruits were an odd choice given the sensitive nature of the mission. Would it not make sense to have such a sensitive operation staffed by specialist forces rather than unskilled grunts? A couple of the more militarily minded members questioned whether a dog (even one covered in armour) could withstand heavy machine gun fire. There were times that the POV slipped from limited into omniscient and there were calls for a tightening up. Do we need a character cull? Lots of positive comments on the fantastic imagery, and the Romeroesque ending.

Sir Pooch

Tammie:

Tammie presented a short piece entitled ‘Getting it Together’.

I think everyone enjoyed the zaniness of this piece. The idea of a blind date with a Lego person was hugely original and there was consensus across the group that the story hit the right humorous notes. There were big questions for some readers whether the ending works. We go quickly from a very light-hearted piece into something that seems to take a serious literary edge. The two sections either side of the two characters leaving the bar seemed too incongruous for some.

Lego Bar

Angela:

Angela presented a short piece called ‘New Gladys’.

I think everyone was intrigued by this YA piece. There were some questions over the size of the characters. It seems a bit odd that they are big enough to ride bats and squirrels, yet small enough to ride bumblebees. Given that the protagonist’s primary motivation for achieving her new rank is helping her terminally ill mother, it might make more sense for her to have a bigger role in the story. Some members commented that actually getting to know the mother might give the melancholic ending more oomph.  Is letting an elderly woman with dementia leave the community a good idea? Some comparisons with Avatar and Fern Gully. But lots of nice comments about the quality of the imagery, world building, and readable prose.

A might steed

I know there was no Chewbacca in the story. But a picture of him riding a squirrel was too much to resist!

As usual, we nipped across to common for a few swift ones. A few interesting developments for all you fiction scribblers. Algorithms have been crunched and equations computed, the Computer God has awoken from its power down and hungers for fresh spec fic. Keep an eye on his/her electronic shrine for more news.

See you all next time!

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Tuesday 28th June

Another great meeting last week with 11 members and five pieces critted (that must be some sort of record!

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Arthur presented a witty short story called ‘RTS’ that many members felt was reminiscent of a Douglas Adams like jaunt into space. There was much praise for the ideas in this piece: hoovering up zombies to put them on the moon was a clear hit, though members were split on the final pun. Some felt the piece was telling, not showing too much at the moment. There were also some questions about the general logic of the piece and motives of the characters; however, given the humourous nature and length, most were agreed that these points didn’t hamper the piece.

 

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Eliza presented the first half of a short story called ‘More than one zodiac in highschool

There was a great deal of praise for the writing and characterisation here, especially the writing of Amy’s mum. Members also enjoyed the foreshadowing with Tegan’s drawings, Amy’s relationship with Long, and the dark tone of the piece. Some members were worried that the piece was a little too reminiscent of Phillip Pullman. The general consensus, though, was that the story could be made different enough not for this to be a problem, provided the spirit animal concept was made clearer.

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Kate presented the first part of a short story called ‘The Sad Bird’, which turned out to be a Russian folk-law meets noir detective story, with some definite cosmic horror vibes.

There was much to praise here amongst both the writing style and the very original ideas. Members had some questions over just how much under the protagonist was  under the creature’s spell and that they would be more shocked to discover such a creature exists. Some members also felt that the reveal that the client is a magical creature could be held back longer for effect. Also, a different profession for the protagonist than a Private Eye might be better. Some further calls to convert the narrative summary into dialogue. But so far everyone is enjoying this.

Graeme presented a short piece called ‘She’s Behind You’. Some members found this reminiscent of Donnie Darko, and all were in agreement that this was a very disturbing and creepy read, and in that respect entirely successful. Much praise for the ambiguity, clipped style, and use of the second person in this piece, and especially for the cold and distant voice of the POV. Some questions raised over why not every character has a ‘shadow’, and what goes on in the woods. Is our POV disturbed, or does he go through with the act? Again, though, the ambiguity was generally enjoyed by most members.

 

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Finally James presented a short piece called ‘Surfing Zombies’, which turned out to be a punchy read about a mysterious trashy video from the early 90s. All members agreed that the thought of zombies in speedos is utterly horrifying Praise for the hook and intriguing plot and the nods to 80s and 90s culture. Some members found the piece reminiscent of ‘the Ring’. Others raised questions about the rather sudden ending: Is he going to watch it again? Is it a curse? Will it affect our POV? Could the watching of the tape come parallel to other events in our POV’s life perhaps (we watched this crazy movie at a house party and…)? Calls for a bit more of a twist and a bit more showing rather than telling. Cowabunga!

 

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That’s all from us for now. Our next meeting is on Wednesday the 13t, 7pm at MadLab. See you there dudes/dudettes!

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