Saturday: or why it's best to have an entire day devoted to this where no one has to travel.
Manuscript critiquing in the AM, with 1 hour per person which spilled over into lunch. We only allowed for the summary and 1 chapter read aloud. Why aloud and not hand out pages? Because you only have a few moments to catch a reader's attention. Most people read at least the first chapter, possibly the first few pages of chapter one, before deciding whether or not to buy your book.
So by reading out loud, I, as the listener, have a better chance of telling you what does and does not work. What catches my attention and what doesn't.
Then we ate (always important).
After lunch, we did two versions of fast plot rounds:
What about this plot does or doesn't work? What did we, as the reader/listener, like about the plot, can the rest of us see where this plot is going and agree with it? Are there research problems? Not just historical but other issues. Even in a contemporary world, you can't know all the ins and outs of everything.
What did you want to work on next? Then the rest of us threw out crazy, zany, or possibly workable ideas for plots based on the author's criteria. As with everything, some work and some don't. Weeding through great, funny, oh this is brilliant ideas might elicit a gem or two, but they also might not be workable beyond chapter 4. Things to think about when plotting.
All this took us well into the night, when we finally crashed.