Chattering From The Chair – 27th November 2019

Our Chair, Abby Lyons, presents all the news from our penultimate meeting of the year.

Nethergate Writers – 27th November 2019 Meeting Minutes

Present: Rosie, Sarah, Rupert, Ian, David F, Abby, Ray, Richard, David C., Craig, Susan S, Sandra

Business Matters

New Project: We confirmed that submissions of up to 2500 words are due by the end of January, and that each must reference the Nethergate in some way. Those who have indicated that they intend to submit work are: Rosie, Richard, Rupert, Ray, Roddie, Susan S., Sarah, Sandra, Susie B., David C., David F., Aileen, Abby, Fiona, Fraser, Gillian and Craig. (The Chair noted that members first names appear to cluster around Rs and Ss).

NGW Constitution: David C., Susan A and Gillian have spent some time in producing a revised draft of the Constitution and recommended that the Committee review this draft by the end of the year, and the wider group review it in early 2020. This is with an aim of having it formally adopted in the 2020 AGM.

Date of Next Meeting: 11th December which will be the last meeting of 2019. Meeting dates for 2020 are still to be confirmed. Rosie is on the case and will share dates of the room bookings when they are known.

Review of submitted pieces

Rosie’s Katherine Hepburn short story: this was the first full draft of this piece for the New Project. The  narrative, dialogue, shape and story were commended. Whilst the story was found a little disturbing in the ways that it paralleled Hollywood behaviours and treatment of women, it was felt that the strength of the female characters counter-balanced this. Everyone agreed that the dialogue was outstanding and an excellent way to tell the story. There was some discussion about the middle section, which was observational rather than dialogue. The group had different views on this: most thought it worked well, though the Chair felt that the change in pace and feel was a little jarring – a possible solution of changing this section to the protagonist’s thoughts was suggested. It was also recommended that Rosie expand on the protagonist’s admiration of Katherine Hepburn because this plays a key role in the denouement. There was a query about whether the cinema would have had more than one screen in operation at that time. It was also pointed out that Green’s was a posh cinema with beautiful art deco design work.

Go Archipelago – Susan S.: Susan prefaced the reading of this by explaining that she is currently curating her portfolio of short stories into 3 collections. This story will be part of her Sci-Fi/Speculative Fiction collection. The group enjoyed hearing the story which was a real flight of fancy, with detailed descriptive passages for all the senses. All felt that they would be able to comment more thoroughly if we could see it in writing too.

Clam Shell and Hard Water – David C: This piece, it transpired, was based on a real experience of the author’s from a few years ago. The opening line from the farmer was killer and was resolved very nicely in the closing sentences. The NGW’s resident farmer remarked on the authenticity of this character. In between was a wonderful story brought alive by the author’s observations of the natural landscape. The reality and immediacy was felt to have come through very effectively, with some lovely turns of phrase, eg “tang of height” and “ …a shutter drops”. There was some discussion on how well the two elements of action and reflective gelled, as well as the tense changes and encapsulated reflections from further back. Some ‘nows’ were found confusing by some but minor points easily addressed through editing.

A Couple of Pints in the Pipe – Roddie: Roddie had submitted this instalment of his Canadian Bar stories by e-mail and it was ably read by Craig. The group agreed that the story really drew the reader in and that it had lots of atmosphere and intensity. Danny was felt to be more likeable than in some previous instalments, possibly because he was more in his element, and the bar itself was skilfully described. The story would benefit from some copy-editing, eg one section had too many ‘waves’. No-one got the expletive at the end.

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