Monthly Archives: October 2016

Meeting – Tuesday 25th Oct 16



Ahoy there!

Another top meeting this Tuesday with five pieces in the box and a whopping seventeen members in attendance (I think the most we’ve ever had!). A very warm welcome to our newest member, Marc, who presented some great first-time crits. We look forward to reading some of your fiction very soon!

Before we get to the meeting, can I drop in a gentle reminder to everyone about donations: MadLab give us the space for free and we try to make sure that we ca give something back to help keep them afloat. We suggest £1 per meeting, though I know some people like to put in a lump sum for a number of meetings. You can find the donate link in the bar to the right.

OK, to the crits!

James presented the first part of a piece called Arthur Leyland. Members enjoyed the shock factor, striking opening, and the very very dark humour. There was lots of praise for the character moments: members felt this nicely captured the conflicted nature of loss and grief. Some questions over Arthur’s reaction at finding his father (check for a pulse, man!). Also, some members wondered whether the flashback/memories should come where they do (given the rather dark hole we are looking into!), and whether we need quite so many of them. Some members were wanting some more sensory writing: there are loads of bodily fluids, but where are the smells? (God help us!) Calls for a closer narrative voice, some more shocks, some more showing, and a little less telling.

– – – I am not putting a picture in for this one! – – –

Claire presented the first part of her children’s story, Gendry the Christmas Elf. Members enjoyed the fairy-tale style in this piece as well as the charming imagery and the mischief of our main character. Praise for the clear prose and fun style. Some questions raised over just how big Gendry is and whether raspberries really would dye a fairy purple. Also, why is the juice so horrid and smelly? Some members felt it would be useful to see how this would look in print with illustrations, this might give a better indication of the pacing. Calls to keep the writing a little more consistently fairy tale esque, to keep the rhythm bouncy, and to add in some more fantasy elements to the world (we want fairy-berries!).


Eric presented the first part of Mr. Death, a short story about an office worker with a not-so-tender touch. Lots of praise for the unconventional protagonist and his neurotic inner monologues (some members felt this could have been taken further). Some questions over Andre’s motives: why does he go out with the office gang if he doesn’t want to be around people? Perhaps we could play up the social anxiety/pressure angle? Calls for a quickening of the pace, more misanthropy, and more detail on our protagonist (is he deaf? Is he autistic?).


Tom presented the third chapter from his sci-fi epic Children of Akorest. Lots of praise here for the action scenes and descriptions of the characters and port. Lots of intrigue about the jarsens’ ‘pact’, I think all were agreed that this was a great backdrop to the species and a mystery we can’t wait to have solved. Some questions raised over whether we need to meet so many characters in this chapter. Perhaps we could meet some of them later when they’re doing what they do best. Calls for a bit more description of the setting and a slight slowing of the pace. Calls, also, for a slightly closer perspective (we want a look inside that jarsen’s head!).


To everyone’s utter dismay, we ran out of time before getting to Chris’s piece. Through the wailing and sobbing and the salty salty tears we agreed to bump the piece to the next meeting.

That’s all for now. Next meeting Wednesday the 9th November. See you there!

Pip Pip!

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Wednesday Meeting: October 12th

We had a big old turnout this week with four pieces to get through. It was a pleasure to welcome Ezeiyoke and Marc to their first meeting. It’s great to see our little (or now not so little) group continue to grow.

Chris Ovenden:

Chris presented the second part of his novel the knight of never rest:

Like the previous chapter, I think everyone really enjoyed this piece. There were lots of positive comments about the setting, and the dialogue was a real pleasure to read. There was a bit of confusion around whether the protagonist already knew the witch or not. Perhaps the author could make this a bit clearer? As with previous chapters, there were some calls for the language to be more uniform. At times the language feels very old world, where at others it felt quite modern.

Everyone is looking forward to the next chapter!



Hans presented the first part of a novel called Boys.

I think everyone enjoyed the narrative here, and there was praise for the interesting ideas on show. Most group members liked the idea of a government death department (although if it was really a department it was perhaps giving away a little too much). Some found the prose a little too cinematic, especially the chase/chess scene. This kind of approach would be great for a film, but it didn’t quite hit the mark here. There were some calls for more visualisation of the surroundings and calls for more characterization.



Tom presented the second chapter of a piece called The Fabled Winds.

I think everyone enjoyed the descriptions in this piece. The world building came across as fantastical and sophisticated, while the flora and fauna of the planet showed great creativity on the author’s part. There were some questions over how clear the protagonist’s thought processes were when she was in a life or death situation, and some felt that the injury was a little too serious for her to be moving around as freely as she was. A few members wanted to see a more authentic narrative voice, and there were some comments that piece was a little ‘told’ at times.

Everyone is looking forward to seeing what other wonders await in the next chapter.



Bryn presented the second part of a short story called An End To Forever

Lots of positive comments for the quality of the prose in this piece. There were some fantastic turns of phrase that really showcased the author’s talents. Some members felt that the story felt like two ideas crunched together. Does the first half fit with the second half? There were a few comments that the fight scene went on a bit long, and there were a few too many nameless meatshields.


Afterwards, we scooted off to the pub for a spot of libation and a chinwag.

Remember, we are currently accepting submissions for our next anthology REVOLUTIONS 2, so get writing and get submitting people!

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Tuesday 27th September 2016

Another top meeting to round off September. We had 7 members in attendance with 3 pieces to crit in the drobox (two from new members, good job guys!)

Eric presented part 12 of his novel Hellbound. Everyone was agreed that this was a very easy read with some top writing. There was a great deal of praise for Diane’s character with members enjoying her characterization (and that she is finally breaking free!). Her troubles were very believable. Some questions raised over whether some of this chapter and the previous one with Kim could be condensed into one. Calls to not draw too much attention to Oscar’s powers and to stretch out Diane’s character transition a little more over the preceding chapters

Tom presented the first chapter of his novel The Pilgrim’s Storm. It was clear that there was a very large and interesting world behind this and members really enjoyed the interesting nautical/spacefare crossover, the tension between the alien races, and the bad-ass bat monster that is Heryst! Some questions over whether we perhaps need a more relatable human-like character to get us into the story. Also, how big is a Jarsen? And is this is a prologue (boo! hiss!) do we really need so much of Alius’ backstory? Calls for a little more clarity over the species we encounter and for us to see these characters again soon! (Gief moar Heryst!)

Finally, Bryn presented the first part to a two part short story called An End to Forever. A lot of members felt this was reminiscent of Ian Banks and all enjoyed the poetic themes and the imagery (Superman approves your ice palace!). Some questions over whether we need the initial ‘prologue’ section and whether it wouldn’t be better to drip feed this throughout the story. Also, questions raised about whether the strong poetic element of this piece could be turned into a standalone piece of flash (no prizes for guessing who said this!). Calls for a little less info-dumping and a bit more characterization of our POV character: what does an eternal ice overlord look like?

That’s all for now. Our next meeting is Wednesday the 12th. See you then!

Pip pip.

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