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Critique Part 2

Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses and interest in having the first page of your WIP critiqued. I picked at random a page to review from one of our loyal blog readers, and have now done that and am ready to share the results with you. Bear in mind this is completely subjective, and only my opinion. There is no right way to write a novel or critique one!

Regarding the material itself, I thought there were a lot of nice elements that set up the story well. I tried to be specific if there were places where I felt things could be done differently to better explain the situation or maximize the impact. Every word counts so choose each one carefully. You can click on the screen below to increase the size and take a look at my notes on the first page, or click this link for a PDF. Hope it’s helpful.

Despite some technical difficulties in figuring out the best way to share the feedback with all of you, I hope this is a valuable exercise. I certainly enjoyed hearing from so many of our readers who are eager for feedback on their work. We will definitely offer this kind of thing again since it clearly struck a chord with so many of you.

 

4 Responses to Critique Part 2

  1. Lynn says:

    Thank you, Stacey, for taking the time to do this. I think seeing your comments here is helpful for our own WIP. This is proof positive why it’s so important to let other eyes see our work and why beta readers are crucial before we query. We’re so involved in our own story, we sometimes take things for granted that need to be clarified for the reader.

    That said, there are a few comments I would like to make:

    I agree with comment 12, the reference to time is overdone here.

    In comment 14, I was confused as well when Charlie first made his appearance.

    However, in comment 15, I think Jenny was showing that the MC had made the choice to stay with Nick logistically because her feelings were still with Charlie. (Or am I totally wrong here?!)

    In comment 16, I think the MC is talking about the present moment. Rather than “At that moment” I think she meant “At this moment, all I could think about was….”

    (Just my two cents’ worth.)

    Good luck, Jenny, on your story! And thanks again, Stacey, for doing this!

  2. Hillsy says:

    Firstly, much appreciated for doing this. As writers I guarantee you we’re all scrabbling around for a little more insight into the entry level needed to start ‘thinking’ about querying, let alone querying anything we think actually has a chance!

    I’d like to know you’re thoughts on the line editing side. For example there are 6 unnecessary “that”s in there: Is this something you’d leave to the editors at the publishers to deal with? Is it something you’d expect the author to clean up in later revisions? Do you do a thorough line edit yourself? If it reads well enough as it is, do you even care about neatening up the prose to Strunk standards?

  3. Jenny Boodro says:

    Stacey, thank you for taking the time to give me feedback. I’m so entwined with the story that it’s easy for me to take for granted references that may be unclear to the reader. Taking extended breaks from this novel helps give me distance necessary to catch some things, and so does reading out loud…but there is no substitute for a fresh set of eyes! I’ll work on clarifying the characters and tightening up the language.

    Lynn, you’re right on with comment 15. I was trying to show that she made the choice to stay with Nick for the wrong reasons and should have followed her heart. And yes also to comment 16 – at that moment is the present moment. Because there is a time travel element introduced later, tense has been one of my struggles in telling the story.

    Thanks again, and I appreciate any and all comments!

  4. D. C. DaCosta says:

    Great parallel construction. I especially liked that the narrator used sentence fragments: much more like a real person telling the story.
    I am, however, not a great fan of beginning a story with an explanatory flashback. Is it possible, I wonder, for this opening to concentrate on the narrator and the debacle with Nick, and then, when we understand them, to introduce Charlie later…next chapter, perhaps?
    Also…”Australia” is very vague. Can we have a town or university name (fictional or not).
    Nice work.

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