It was a scorcher this Wednesday and there was plenty of people making the most of it in the NQ. While everyone else was slurping on craft ale and preening their lumberjack beards, we were cooped up on the second floor of MadLab getting ready to crit. We only managed to get through three of the four pieces in the end (grumble grumble) so Arthur’s piece will be carried over to the next Tuesday session. On with the Crits!
Eric presented a horror piece called ‘No Man’s Land’.
I think everyone was intrigued by the genre mash-up of horror and military fiction in this piece. Lots of comparisons to The Dirty Dozen were made and a few questions raised over the sheer number of characters in the piece. Is the story simply too short to sustain such a busy roster? No one seemed to get on with the Irish regional dialect and the general consensus was that the story would not suffer without it. A few logic questions were raised over the Artillery being used as a distraction when it could be used to kill the werewolves. A few members are hoping for a twist on the werewolf mythos given the lack of interesting directions the genre has gone down lately (bar Stephen Graham Jones’s excellent Mongrels of course). The highlight of the piece for many was the strong sense of place coupled with Denby’s happy-go-lucky characterization.
We all look forward to reading the second part next time.
Bronwin presented a chapter from her novel ‘Air’
I think everyone enjoyed the strange and wonderful world in this piece and there were lots of positive comments about the spiders vs fairies theme. A lot of readers found that the descriptions lacked clarity and called for a more perspicuous prose style, especially given the piece is aimed at a young market. The group was split down the middle as to whether the pictures worked or not, some enjoyed the interactivity while others felt they dragged the reader out of the story. Some questions over speaker dialogue. More speaker tags required for clarity? A couple of members picked up on the large info dumping regarding the historical conflict between fairies and spiders.
Everyone is looking forward to finding out where the story is going.
Emma presented a chapter from her novel ‘Westralia’.
There was lots of praise for the writing in this piece. The protagonist’s parents were a particular highlight for a lot of people. A common critique seemed to centre on the large info dump in the centre of the piece. All the information about Zeke and his father is delivered in what feels like an unnatural way. Calls to break up the POV? Perhaps Zeke gets his own viewpoint? Lots of nice comments about the hybrid plane and the little witticisms peppered throughout. Some questions over how Suzie knows the protag is going to Westralia and some questions over how a school can issue a visa for a foreign country. Some members didn’t see the logic in the father being held captive, and the expectation that the brother taking his place will solve the problem.
In sad news, Emma will be leaving us for a while as she travels back to her native Australia. Fingers crossed she’ll be back soon, we need to read the rest of her novel!
As usual, we jibbed across for a few swift ones over at Common. We’re looking forward to the next meeting already. Get scribbling all!!
Thanks to Eric for preparing these notes. Apologies that I wasn’t able to attend but I was triple booked with a visit to see my eldest son’s GCSE drama presentation taking precedence.
A short meeting today. Very few pieces in the Dropbox but still enough to hold a meeting. Unseasonal weather may have contributed. We would like to welcome Alice who was attending for the first time.
Hi everyone! We’re all very busy with Mancunicon right now so here’s a quick set of notes from Tuesday’s meeting…
On with the critiques! Continue reading
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: Continue reading
My thanks to Luke for taking the following notes:
It was a quiet night at the group this week with only two pieces being critiqued. A massive welcome to Peter and Angela who were joining us for the first time — we’re normally busier than this guys, honest! Continue reading
Hello again everyone! Another excellent meeting last night with 12 people attending and three stories to critique. Eric sent his apologies, he was ill and unable to attend, so we will bump his submission to the next meeting on Tuesday 23rd February.
Before we get started I just want to pass on the enthusiasm expressed by Eliza and a number of our attendees (myself included) that last night saw our first meeting with the majority of submissions from female members. In fact with Eric’s absence that majority turned into a neat 100%. This is, I believe, a step in the right direction. Who knows, perhaps one year we will look back over the preceding months to see something of a 50/50 average.
Happy New Year everyone! We had another great meeting last week with three submissions and 10 attendees. In previous years this has often been a very quiet time of year but this is the second January in a row that we’ve hit double figures. We rock!
Before I get started with the critiques I just want to mention the Revolutions anthology. It’s doing really well! We are selling actual copies! We would really appreciate some boost to the signal on either Facebook or Twitter or your chosen social media platform. Word of mouth goes a long way. A glowing Amazon review would be awesome! Here are a few links if you’re looking for an easy share…
A tweet from Craig:
A blog post from Graeme:
Another tweet from Eric:
Revolutions is available to buy from Amazon in either paper or Kindle format.
On with the critiques! Continue reading
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
Apologies for missing yet another meeting due to illness this time. Excuses, excuses. I would say ‘see you at the next one’ but who knows, perhaps I’ll be abducted by aliens this time!
Thanks to Eliza for taking the following notes . . .
Twelve members attended the group on the dreary Wednesday night at MadLab. We managed to get through 4 pieces with Emma’s “Westralia” being the only one left for the next meeting. Continue reading