Eastercon Diary - Saturday 26th March 2016 – Arrival – Crit Sandwich

Photo taken by me – The view of Manchester from the Beetham Hotel venue used for the convention.
Preston, England
March 30, 2016 12:27pm CST
This was my busiest day at the Mancunicon Convention as I had active parts in a few events as well as being in the enthusiastic audience for others. I needed to carry my large heavy laptop round all day too as it was needed in the evening events. The first event for me on the day was prepared by Manchester’s Speculative Fiction Group who organize highly detailed critiquing of writer’s short stories and extracts from novels. With limited places available advance signing up was required which I happily did. I posted extracts from a novel I have in progress to allow the four critics to read my work in advance. For some reason, the event was not listed in the convention programme so finding the room was difficult but I got there early enough and my work was the first of three critiqued. The presentation of feedback followed a set structure known as the Milford School System which I have heard of but not seen in action or directly faced before. It involves the critics receiving the work to be assessed in the post or electronically, reading it and critiquing it privately, without discussing it with either each other or the author prior to the meeting. At the meeting each critic in turn reads feedback – (not the story itself) to the author, who listens without interruption or counter-critiquing, though the author is allowed a 4-5 minute right to reply after all the selected critics have spoken and this is offered without interruption once the critiquing is completed. in the book, Interestingly some of them liked my story prologue while others were less impressed. Some things they asked about are answered later in the book, but may need drawing in earlier as readers want the information sooner but the story is already heavily info-dumping too so the rewrites will need to be quite radical. I have received constructive criticism before though never this intensely. It can feel like vivisection but the feedback was quite encouraging. Many felt that my complex world building of a strange alien planet was very well handled. My weakness lies in character voices as everyone, including children, sound as if they have the same voice, namely mine. I clearly have a lot more work to do but the work is far from unworthy to see the light of day. I listened as two other authors received their feedback which was just as comprehensive though without having read the two pieces studied I could only listen but it was a tremendous experience. A massive thank you to everyone at Manchester’s Speculative Fiction Group. I hope to attend more of their Manchester based events very soon. Arthur Chappell
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@acelawrites (10866)
• Philippines
30 Mar 16
Then you can refine your work based on their feedback. Good luck on your work.
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• Preston, England
30 Mar 16
absolutely - it was invaluable advice - thanks @acelawrites