How I Crit – by John Moran

For me, critting depends a lot on the thing being critted. I’ll tackle a piece of literary flash fiction differently from a romance novel and a romance novel differently from a hard science fiction story. More than anything else, I like to ask, “whatever this work is trying to be, is it the best possible version of that?” and if it isn’t, the process of critting is me trying to work out why not and putting that down on paper.

So if I’m critting a plotless 500 word piece, I’ll tend to focus more on ideas, theme or language, rather than plot. Plot isn’t really what short fiction is aiming for and I want to do whatever the piece needs rather than one-size-fits-all.

Pen & padHowever, assuming we’re talking about long-form plot-driven adventure fiction—a category that covers most of the novels I read, from the Dresden Files to Harry Potter—then for the first pass, I’ll sit down without a notepad and just read.

I’m hoping that I’ll get caught up in the story like I would in a good book. If I reach the end without looking up, that’s the writer’s job well done and I’ll want to tell them that. Usually, I’ll write something like, “I was pulled right through from beginning to end.”

If, on the other hand, I lost interest at any point, I’ll try to work out why. However it goes, the idea of the first pass is to get to grips with my unvarnished reaction as a reader and then let the other person know what that is.

On the second pass, I want to approach the text more like a writer. In order to do that I’ve developed a number of questions that help me zero in on where it is or isn’t working. So I read it again and try to answer the following:

In this piece:

  1. Who is the main character?
  2. What are they trying to do?
  3. What’s stopping them from doing it?
  4. What do they do about that?
  5. How does it resolve?
  6. What would happen if they just gave up and didn’t bother?

If there’s a problem, I can usually track it down from the answers to these questions:

  1. If I can’t identify a main character (or characters), then the story will feel unfocused to me.
  2. If I’ve identified a main character, but they aren’t trying to do anything, then I’ll usually comment that they seem quite passive. Usually, if the character doesn’t care about the story it’s hard for the reader to care either.
  3. If the main character just wanders around without the forces of darkness pushing back on them, then there’s a danger that the story can turn into a travelogue. Not every part of a novel needs to have conflict, but if I don’t find any conflict over an extended piece, I’m going to suggest that maybe the writer ought to be meaner to their hero.
  4. If the character has motivation, tries something, hits conflict, but then backs off, then I’ll look closely at why. One of the main driving forces over a whole novel is the ability for a character to fight against adversity and keep pushing forward. Characters can be reactive at the start of a novel, but if they don’t fight back at any point, there’s a danger the story will feel mechanical – because plot is happening to the character from above rather than flowing out of their motivated actions.
  5. If a character powers through conflict, then, win or lose, something should change as a result. What I’m checking for here is that actions have consequence.
  6. Finally, it’s possible to have all the above, and for the story to still feel a bit thin. If someone rushes into a life or death conflict where they didn’t need to, then the story may well be lacking concrete stakes. The danger here is that it all ends up feeling like nothing mattered very much.

There’s more to a critique, of course. I’ll also take a look at pace, structure, clarity, world-building, theme, emotional content, and voice. But, for me, these all come afterwards, because before I can look at those things I need to know more than anything else what the story is all about. Working out who the main character is, the actions they take, the conflicts they face and how everything turns out, is, for me, the key to knowing this.

creating short fictionHaving assembled the material for a crit, the last thing I look at is how to put it all together. Here, I’m indebted to Damon Knight’s book “Creating Short Fiction,” in which he points out that a story is composed of the following layers:

  • surface
  • form
  • materials
  • idea
  • impetus

You write a story from the bottom up, so in this way of thinking it all starts with an impetus (I have to write about X), that turns into an idea (I’ll do it this way). The story is told via certain materials invented for the purpose (character, setting, background), and these are given form and structure (a novel or a short story; the relationship between chapters). Finally, everything is put down on paper in words (prose, dialogue, descriptions).

The idea is that it’s never any use to critique a story at a level higher than the lowest one that has a problem. So if the characters are paper-thin, there’s no point in suggesting the dialogue be fixed. Likewise, spelling mistakes don’t matter if the story has problems with the setting. The prose will have to change anyway, and only when that’s right does the spelling need to be addressed.

Finally, out of all the above, it’s time to put it all together. I usually want each crit to contain the following thoughts:

  • What I thought was good about the piece.
  • Whether I read all the way through easily, or stopped somewhere.
  • What I learned from the questions above, filtered according to the most useful level this can be said.
  • How it affected me emotionally.
  • How I feel about it overall.

… and then it’s done, and time to start reading the next one!

 

John MoranJohn Moran has been an industrial chemist, programmer, art shop owner, IT security consultant and nuclear physicist. He lives in the North West of the UK with his wife and a vegetable garden that is increasingly resembling the Amazon rainforest. Although it is not currently on fire.

 

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The Milford Report, 2019, by Russell Smith

Good day, and welcome to a special edition of The Milford Report, covering the release of 15 authors on to a rural environment in north Wales with nothing but their wits, several bottles of booze and all the pesto they could manage at their disposal.

Our season started with the arrival of each of the writers from across the globe, whom for (not necessarily) legal reasons we shall name each of now. There was Jacey, Tiffani, Powder, Sam, Mark, Victor, Tania, Sue, Kari, Steph, Tina, Terry, Pauline, Liz and myself.

The crack team of scribblers landed in a thoroughly suspecting Trigonos which, of course, being ready for us pacified us with copious quantities of food and cake for the entire duration of our stay. Inevitable desk rearrangements aside, most of us met up on the Saturday evening to make introductions, enjoy our first meal and prepare ourselves for an intense week of critiquing a wide variety of written work from our chosen crew. My phone notifications would not let me forget which day it was in at least three different ways, though thankfully I managed to get just a step ahead of it by heading across to Kari’s place, whereupon I was guarded by cats, fed delicious stir fry and be all set for a sensible launch time in order to make it in good time for the week’s adventures.

Russell by the lake

Russell Smith by Llyn Nantlle

On Sunday we commenced this task, following breakfast and in my case, a tradition which commenced that very day, I took a walk to the incredibly picturesque nearby lake. This day brought us the kind of weather that to be honest I was expecting to be the norm for the week – grey with a constant sheen of drenching drizzle. The thing I learned the hard way, though thankfully pretty fast, was that the bright footwear I wore, whilst ensuring I would be easy to find even in those conditions, provided the kind of wet weather protection which made me wonder why I didn’t just venture down there barefooted and have done. Still, the tranquility once I got there proved a way of starting the day I simply refused to go without for the rest of the week. And so, it wasn’t long before every single writer there knew my morning routine as soon as I did.

After a few hours to ourselves, usually either taken up by resting off the breakfast, exploring the local sights or certainly in my case, catching up on/revising our reading, the first round of crits began, and it wasn’t too long before we all got into the swing of things. A table sat in the centre of the room bearing snacks and chocolate, mostly there for energy hits but occasionally for those moments in which one of the authors giving a critique had to pay the ‘stress toll’ of having a lot to say to the writer in the hot seat about their piece. Dragon’s Den had nothing on this at times.

Crit room 02We of course also discovered that we were far from alone in the room where it happened (the room where it happened, the room where it happened…). By the wide windows in the corner, wasps the size of fingers of Fudge could be seen communing with their brotherhood on the Other Side of the Window (great album) and otherwise failing to be bothered about either getting out of the room or the kind of sugar supplies you could build a five year nest plan around. Instead this of course meant that the writers themselves would occasionally be buzzed, no hint of requests for writing advice nor any care for their works in progress, but instead basking in that reaction that only they could bring out of some of us. Windows were opened, doors were closed and bargains were struck with neighbouring spiders to protect us for the rest of the week in the way that spiders are a symbol of protection of the UK in general just now (too soon? Or a precise grounding of this post in time? You decide).

The day survived, the Great Feeding began. Turns out four rounds of intense crits do wonders for the appetite on the whole, and nobody knew this better than the wonderful catering crew at Trigonos. Should you require my many food and menu pics, rest assured they are available, but we did eat delicious food often. I sampled some of the local beer and got a photo of a book from the onsite library which will only be funny to the niche group within the small card game which I play. But it went down well with that lot, and so we continued through.

Lake Nantlle - Smith

Llyn Nantlle by Russell Smith

From here, a routine was very much entered, at least from me. We’d have breakfast, over which comic book discussions could frequently be heard, I’d take my walk to the lake, where I would find a difference in environment every single day for the rest of the week from the previous day, and we’d go at the crits for the rest of the afternoon following daily soup. Wasp flight patterns evolved into different angles of menace, and a set of boots far more resistant to the dewy antics underfoot turned up and aided my daily walk immensely. Coffee, cake and critiques. Could open a cafe with a name like that – oh, no wait…

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Russell Smith, Liz Williams and Victor Ocampo shortly after capturing Caernarfon Castle

On the third day, some of us branched out a little with our morning adventures. Wonderful as the lake was, it was time to get out to Caernarfon whereby myself, Liz and Victor would put into practice the castle storming practice I deliberately hadn’t mentioned thus far as, aided by butterflies on the wheels of our chosen chariot, we achieved wondrous views, purchased plush dragons and pulled the odd superhero pose. The weather went on a glorious run of sunshine and so altered the landscape of the lake once more as we enjoyed scones whichever way we chose to decorate and on this night of the full moon, went on the hunt for the infamous Were-Squirrel. Sure, we’d love to have bagged photos of Nessie in a different location, but on this night, this became our quest.

Our Wednesday AGM saw many momentous things occur, not least our illustrious committee surviving for another term but new posts being created as well. The following day found some productive marketing conversation about all of our works in their various stages as well as the last round of crits, which our exhausted yet plucky adventurers survived! Our reward was a trip to Criccieth on the Friday whereby we made full use of our expert Welsh Medieval castle guide, Kari, and gained a tour of the castle in question, as well as questioning a small boy spy and in some cases, installing ourselves as the ruler by right.

Kari & Sam Titanic at the castle

Kari and Sam: Titanic at Criccieth Castle

Trivial stuff aside, we also utilised the time properly to shoot photos for the hottest album of the year, various movie trailers including a version of Titanic we’re pretty sure you don’t need to see, and the Braveheart spinoff – ‘Longshanks’. After that, we went to Dylans, a lovely restaurant by the sea, and enjoyed various fine lunches between us. Mostly mussels, but not always. Finally, a wander through the town which gained us trinkets and wool as per our individual needs.

And just as quickly as we had made our way there, Saturday came around and saw us all making our way out of the delightful week at Trigonos and on our various destinations out of our quiet little spot away from the rest of the world. On this day, Mark joined me for my little ritual walk and we said goodbye via the not-so-secret Secret Garden. You can see us bursary types, myself and Tania, perched on the wall by the river as we said goodbye to the place for now.

Tania & Russell

Mbozi (Tania) Haimbe and Russell Smith

Speaking of such, you know Tania and I were the recipients of the 2019 Milford Bursary for Writers of Colour, right? No? Okay – well thanks to a bunch of people strongly suggesting that I might apply for it, and the results being successful, I had my entire time at the conference covered as well as full-board accommodation for the week. This meant I could get there at all, for a start.

I hope it has been abundantly clear that I personally found the experience not only highly enjoyable, but also utterly valuable when it came to going forward with the work in progress I took along. I had some exceptional encouragement and every one of the crits I got back will aid me greatly in some way with the next stage. When you have folk like that urging you along, you know you’re going to be just fine. Better than fine. I can’t speak for Tania as to her time at the retreat, but I can certainly tell you her work in progress is going to be quite something when it’s finished. If you are eligible and thinking about applying, honestly, do it.

I’m missing the place greatly already, that peaceful clanking of writer’s bottles and speak of adventures too numerous to mention in here, but I can tell you now the June writing retreat back to Trigonos can’t come around too soon in many ways. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit such a wonderful place and can’t recommend my time there enough. I certainly intend to be back.

This has been Russell Smith on the Milford Report, signing off.

The whole Milford 2019 group L to R: Steph Bianchini, Sue Oke, Mark Bilsborough, Mbozi (Tania) Haimbe, Russell Smith, Terry Jackman, Tiffani Angus, Sam Tovey, Tina Anghelatos, Kari Sperring, Jacey Bedford, Powder Thompson, Liz Williams, Victor Ocampo, and Pauline Dungate.

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Writing Under Fire by Gaie Sebold

No, I’m not. I don’t want to exaggerate.  I’m not crouched in the trenches scribbling a last note to a loved one on a scrap of torn paper bag while the mortars rain down around me.

I am, however, trying to write in a time of immense political, social and environmental upheaval.  A time where my country is constantly on the brink of an act of massive, probably irreparable self harm which will literally kill some of its most vulnerable citizens, has already empowered others to let their inner Nazi flag fly merrily in the howling gale of bigotry, and will utterly impoverish our economic, social and cultural life for decades to come.

And that’s just my country.

Trodden Soldier 1

All around, the world is on fire.  The most powerful act with greed, malice, stupidity and contempt but, apparently, without consequence.  The planet smokes, boils, seethes with toxins, chokes on a locust-plague of plastics.

Writing  seems barely possible, and often entirely pointless.

Among all this, how do I continue to write?  And indeed, why?

I suspect that the answer to the first lies in finding the answer to the second.  But to deal with the first, first: I have to force myself to look away.  And that is extremely difficult to do.  We are shambling plains apes programmed to keep an eye, an ear, a nose cocked for where the damn tiger is crouched to spring.

We no longer, for the most part, shamble the plains, the tiger has taken new and myriad forms, but we’re still on the alert for whatever is likely to tear us apart.  And there are so many things, and paranoid ape-brain insists we must keep watch on all of them, all the time.

So I put an app on my phone that locks me out of the Internet for hours at a time, and a programme on my computer that does likewise.  (I use Appblock and Sprintwork, there are almost as many others as there are distractions).  And then I have to remember to turn them on, and set them to Strict Mode, because otherwise I won’t be able to resist that tug to look, to check, to see if the tiger is still in the bushes or in mid-leap for my throat.

Sometimes it helps. Other times I sit at my computer, locked away from looking for tigers, still utterly stalled by my own sense of futility.

In the face of this, I search for a powerful enough why. 

I have written almost since I could read.  I wrote because I was in love with words, with what they could do: with how I could use them to take something meaningful but formless out of my head and embody it, as best I could, on the page.

I wrote because I wanted to amuse, because I wanted to make people think, because I wanted to understand what I was thinking.  But mainly I wrote because writing is a magic portal to take you to other worlds.  I wanted to go there, and take other people with me, to see through other eyes and be in other bodies.

But now?

There are plenty who will say, writing matters.  Even in the worst of times, and perhaps especially in the worst of times, it matters. 

But how do I convince myself that my writing matters?  I’m not weighing in on the day’s politics, I’m not providing solutions or even new insight into the horrifying mess.  If one person gains a fragment of knowledge, a brush of empathy, a smidgin of compassion, from something I’ve written, it’s a bonus.  There are others with wider reach doing it far better.  Mostly, at my best, I’m providing a little escape.

Escape for others and, when I can write, for myself, too.

To quote Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House: “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”  Especially when the reality is as loud, and terrifying, and as apparently broken as this one.

Everyone needs a break, in order to cope.  People take them as and when they can.  Some people hike, some people paint, some people play computer games or solitaire or tennis…and some people read.

Some people read stuff like mine.

I don’t think my work is ever going to change the world.  But perhaps if someone, somewhere, reads it, and has a break, and gets away from everything for a few hours, maybe they’ll go back to their work refreshed.  Maybe they’ll have a bit more strength to campaign or protest or research and they’ll help make a breakthrough.

Or maybe they’ll just find their day a little easier.  I know that when I do manage to write,  to go through the portal for a few hours, I find my day a little easier when I come back.

And maybe, sometimes, that can be enough.

 

Gaie SeboldGaie Sebold’s debut novel introduced brothel-owning ex-avatar of sex and war, Babylon Steel (Solaris, 2012); followed by Dangerous Gifts. The steampunk fantasy Shanghai Sparrow came out in 2014 and  Sparrow Falling in 2016. Her stories have appeared in a number of venues, including the BFS Award shortlisted Fight Like a Girl. She is a freelance copy editor, a graduate of Milford SF Writers’ Conference, and was a judge for the 2017 Arthur C Clarke Award. She lives in leafy suburbia, where she grows vegetables and haunts charity shops. Her website is www.gaiesebold.com and you can find her on twitter @GaieSebold

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Milford Retrospective by Jacey Bedford

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Milford attendees gathering in the library on Day 1, by Victor Ocampo

Milford has come and gone for another year.

Fifteen science fiction and fantasy writers submitted close to 200,000 words between them – a total of twenty pieces, which we critiqued at the rate of four pieces per day.

We will soon be posting the official 2019 Milford Report, always written by someone new to Milford. Russell Smith has volunteered and you should be able to read that on next Tuesday’s blog.

Nantlle Valley 2019

Nantlle valley looking towards Mount Snowdon by Jacey Bedford

This year we had fabulous weather. After a little rain on the Sunday, the sun came out and bathed us in warmth for five days. Those of us who had attended Milford before wondered what this ball of brightness in the sky could possibly be. “For this is North Wales,” we said. “Land of clouds.”

Those  new to both Milford and North Wales said, “Lo, it is the sun in the heavens, and will not harm you. Here, have this Factor 30 and walk forth in sunlight!”

Dinner Bianchini

Food! By Steph Bianchini

Take fifteen writers, stick them in a remote location for a week and, no, you don’t get them disappearing one by one in suspicious circumstances, you get them bonding into family. There were ten writers who’d been to Milford before, though not necessarily at the same time as each other, and five Milford virgins, some of them who had passing acquaintance via conventions, and others completely new. By the end of the first day new friendships had begun and everyone gelled over writerly conversation and bad jokes.

I’m not quite sure who started the dick jokes, but there were many, as you can see from some of the quotable quotes below, taken out of context – just because we can. I think it might have been Powder who started it with his comment on someone’s attempt to write somewhat delicately about… well, you’ll see…

“I don’t think you should pussyfoot about the fleshy object. I just think you’re going to call a penis a tallywhacker and have done with it.” Powder Thompson.

“In outer space: doggy style and reverse cowgirl.” – Victor Ocampo

“I absolutely love lizard-boning. It’s one of the nicest insults I’ve come across.” – Terry Jackman

“I was a bit worried about jizz. Did they find some in the soup or what?” – Sam Tovey

Dick jokes aside, here are some random images from Milford 2019.

Library 03 Bianchini

Victor, Russell, Sam and Powder in the library at Trigonos by Steph Bianchini

Crit room 02

The stage is set. Crit room minus writers by Jacey Bedford.

Trigonos sunrise Powder Thompson

A Trigonos sunrise by Powder Thompson

Criccieth 03

Our day out – Criccieth from the castle, by Jacey Bedford

Milford Group 01

The whole Milford 2019 group L to R: Steph Bianchini, Sue Oke, Mark Bilsborough, Mbozi (Tania) Haimbe, Russell Smith, Terry Jackman, Tiffani Angus, Sam Tovey, Tina Anghelatos, Kari Sperring, Jacey Bedford, Powder Thompson, Liz Williams, Victor Ocampo, and Pauline Dungate.

Milford departure 02

Last day. Waving goodbye to the folks heading for Bangor Station, by Jacey Bedford

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Live blogging from Milford #8 and final.

Kari Sperring
The beer is pink and tastes of strawberries. It’s almost enough to compensate for missing cake — and a trip round one of my favourite castles on a day with clear skies and fine views was definitely enough. It’s Friday, and we went out for the day: twelve sff writers loose in Criccieth, stir-crazy after 5 intense days of crits, and silly with it. In the castle bailey, Victor becomes our Director, arranging various of us in poses appropriate to our mood and setting. Sam leads out from the prow of the Engine tower, held back by a conga-line of writers. I climb a wall and recline, channeling my inner disdainful Tory MP. “Less centrefold, more snob,” says Victor. Out on the beach below assorted dogs chase waves, try to round up recalcitrant humans and look hopefully at the ice cream vendor. Tiffani glances at his board and later is able to recite the whole list of flavours.

It has been a good week, full of unexpected angles and observations. Aside from Sunday, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) presides gracefully over the end of the valley and our crit sessions. His lesser companions form perfect images in the calm surface of the lake. Yesterday, Liz, Jacey, Tina and I went up to Trefriw, to watch the woolen mill in action. The A5 is unexpectedly closed, and we turn up the Llanberis pass. “Murder on the highway,” says Tina, darkly. A great iron sword rises out of the bank of the lake in front of Dolbadarn Castle: I wonder, as ever, what Llywelyn ab Iorwerth would have made of it. It is not, perhaps, the symbol he would have chosen, the blade slicing down through the lands he inherited and the lands to which he also laid claim. Heredity is rarely simple. There is always more than one version of any story.

In the library, we are sleepy and talk about the weather. Powder has been disturbed by strange noises from the roof: Pigeons, we opine. But then again, maybe not. The land around Trigonos is vivid with jackdaws; up along the valley, Lleu Llaw Gyffes waits in eagle shape for Gwydion to find. The lake is restless: perhaps the afanc is stirring.

One of us reveals a super-power: things happen around them.

The wind listens.

Terry Jackman
I really missed Milford last year, now that we can’t attend more than two in a row, so it was great to be here again, and to know that I’ll be back in 2020. I’ve been the odd one out, almost, this time, as between crit reading and crit giving I found myself disappearing, not into the mists of Mordor behind us but into my room, to write. Trigonos is quiet, and feels so far away from the rest of the world, that I can unravel how to filter a whole new third thread of a story into the two-thread plot I thought I was writing. At home, there’d be interruptions and I’d have got lost about where and when a scene had to go, where who was when, how to get five sets of characters to the same end destination at roughly the same time AND MAKE SURE ALL OF THEM HAVE A GOOD REASON TO BE THERE. Here, even when everyone else was around, I could concentrate, and on the day almost everyone else went out it felt like I was the only person for miles.

Do I act like this every time I visit? No, but the option is there, to walk down to the lake, to sit and stare at Snowdon, to climb the looming mountain of slate we’ve christened Mordor, to go off on serious hikes – or sit and talk about so many new subjects, cos there are such a variety of minds around me.

Next year, maybe I’ll just chill out, or even talk writing.

Powder Thompson
Milford is an experience unlike any other I have had,
Inspiring, peaceful, beautiful, productive, delicious, and utterly
Life-affirming, particularly in such a time of turmoil and travail.
Fantastic, in so many ways, from the stories written in that mode, to the feedback graciously given.
Otherworldly, wrapped in mist and the wet Welsh mountains.
Ranging through Middle-Earth in microcosm, the landscape singing,
Do I really have to leave already? I don’t want to go.

Russell Smith
It’s a damn good thing I have reasons that getting back is going to be good for me because I’m not sure I’m ready for this being my last day yet. Today was our field trip, in which I got to walk up a castle, eat fine fish, sit in a throne (not Iron this time; sorry George!) and make a pilgrimage to the Purple Moose. I am now equipped with my first bottle of the delicious Black Mountain blackcurrant and apple brandy in several years and have some amazing pictures from the week. Not least of these pictures is one pretty much every day of my wanders down to the lake and the happiness this brought me. Most of this is just thinking about today.

I’ve plenty to take away from this week; ideas, inspiration, copious notes and encouragement from the best possible sources. I’m hoping to carry some of the momentum I’m leaving with forward, particularly in some quite uncertain times, but I’ve left here more or less thinking I can do just about anything. That’s a lot down to the company, though I suspect the excellent food has probably also worked wonders…

More of this sort of thing, please, and anyone thinking about this in the future, just do it. I’m really looking forward to the chance of being back for the writing retreat in June, for sure.

Mbozi Haimbe
Last night of Milford 2019. Spent the day reflecting on the week and the invaluable experience of being critiqued as well as critiquing. I also got some writing done out in the sunshine looking out on the breath-taking scenery. Now spending the evening winding down in the library with my fellow Milfordians. A wonderful week of fellowship, laughter and debate. I feel enriched by my Milford experience.

Steph Bianchini
Here we are, closing another great edition of Milford. Not the first time I’ve attended and not the last, I expect – because it is always awesome to be here. I had the pleasure to see old friends and meet new ones, in seven days full of crits and stimulating discussions. We’re finishing it up in the best possible way, in the library playing ‘Sussed Wonderlands’ and discussing about the most unlikely superpower or what we would like as starship captains…See you all next time!

Jacey Bedford
Well, that’s all folks. We’ve critted and eaten and talked and drunk our way through a fabulous week, but now it’s (almost) over. Once more sleep and then breakfast tomorrow before we all head off in different directions.

 

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Live Blogging from Milford #7

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There may be wine involved

Thursday 19th September

Jacey Bedford
Today was our last day of formal critiquing. The week has gone well. Submissions were all high standard and so were the critiques. My story was last up and I received enormously helpful feedback. This evening we gathered in the library after dinner for a session on markets and marketing, initially with suggestions for where and how ro market the pieces we all submitted, but then it expanded into a useful chat on publishing and agents in general.

Apart from a couple of people who are going to stay at Trigonos tomorrow and write, we’re all going to Criccieth for lunch and a visit to the castle. Wheee! A day off!

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Live Blogging from Milford #6

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Lake Nantlle panorama by Victor Ocampo. (The lake at the bottom of the garden.)

Wednesday 18th September

Jacey Bedford
Tina arrived last night, only able to take part in the last part of the week due to unusual circumstances, so now we have our full fifteen writers. We might have cracked a bottle of wine and stayed up a little later than usual, but that’s what Milford is all about. Well, that and writing, of course.

Wednesday night is always the AGM. A new committee is elected to run Milford for the following year. That committee has been fairly static for the last couple of years and was reelected unanimously with one addition. So the Milford committee for the coming year is:

  • Dave Gullen – chair
  • Jacey Bedford – Secretary
  • Liz Williams – Chair in charge of vice
  • Tina Anghelatos – Treasurer (together with her minion)
  • Kari Sperring – in charge of shouting about the blog
  • Jim Anderson – egregious token male
  • and new for this year…
  • Tiffani Angus – links with academia

Blame them for anything you don’t like.

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