Wednesday, November 07, 2007

6th and 7th

'Dragongirlanonymous' wrote:

Wow. Perfect 5 on every point. I could find absolutely nothing wrong. At all.I love the splintered view points and the rapid-succession time changes that lead from findings of the post mortem. Effortless transition. Her story is not told linearlly but from a thousand viewpoints across time and space, all somehow connected with her life. Very, very cool.Don't worry about the dialogue. I found it very realistic. A lot is also inferred about the characters without going over-board. Subtle, sharp, and poignant.Again. Perfect. Wowza. EXCELLENT job. And nice job subtely slipping it into Brittain. Standing ovation. Possibly the most unique story I've ever read. I want more!

I really needed this. I'd just had another one saying that my structure was crap, so I altered the 50-word synopsis on the front page of my extract on YouWriteOn.com. I took off the bit saying that the book was aimed at both adults and older teenagers, leaving just the 'adult' part, and I added a few words to prepare the reader to expect my attempt at a 360-degree POV structure. I hope that this 5* review won't turn out to have been a one-off. Anyway, when I get review no.8 I hope it'll be good enough to allow me to delete 'ronmcmillan' who gave me all those 2s back at the beginning (and thereby increase my average and also my chances of getting into the top ten this month).

Also, 'sunny' wrote:

Bottom Line: You write well, but the story's structure and the large number of characters leads to confusion.
The story's strengths:
1) Amelia is immediately interesting. She is both the murder victim and perpetrator (she didn't deserve their love).
2) Interesting character detail, about how Amelia paints her little toe although it has no nail.
3) Also interesting that Caroline's baby has a problem with her little toe (and she should have been named after Amelia)...however, unless the baby ends up being Amelia reincarnated, how does this move the story ahead? (It is hard to tell since I've only read the first ~10K!)
4) You write well. Each part of the story flows well, but I don't know why they are important or how they fit together.

Suggestions:
1) "At this moment, or maybe this, but she did not resist." Is there a typo in this sentence?
2) When you initially switch to the scene in Leicester, you state the date is 1991. We have no frame of reference for what this means since you don't immediately share the year of her death. In addition, explicitly indicate each switch in POV to alleviate confusion. I suggest starting every change in POV indicating the name/age/time in a consistent fashion.
3) "Rose is complaining again that Amelia won’t do voices for the different animals. She says Amelia always does them when they’re on their own and it’s just because I’m here that she won’t do them now. Amelia is denying this completely. Rose says if Amelia’s going to be stupid about it we can both get out of her room right now." You can do this with dialog.
4) Do teenagers really want adult POV?
5) I suggest examining each scene/POV change and determining whether it moves the story forward. Remove any that don't.

On your writing style:
1) You switch between past and present tense. This is a bit unsettling. Switching tenses might work if you purely used present tense for the investigation and past tense for the past.
2) Stick to said/asked as much as possible. Whined, calls, cajoles, etc. are distracting.
3) Mostly use active voice, but a few times slip to passive (e.g. a weak sun has risen)
4) You do a lot of telling. I would enjoy more scenes with Amelia, showing her personality.

There are some fair points in this one, but two things I definitely don't want to do are to add more descriptive detail to the 'Investigation' chapters, or to flesh out the character of Amelia (the murder victim). Here's why: 1) in my head I see the Investigation chapters in black & white - almost like a documentary - the 'life' is in the other strand, the Post Mortem strand. If it were a film, only the PM strand would be in colour. This point of style is very important to me. 2) Amelia is NOT the central character - Caroline is. I like the idea that it will take readers a little time to see this.

Still plodding on,
Love A

1 Comments:

Anonymous Hecate said...

After reading others' comments on your book (not in detail, but enough to get an impression), I felt I had to track you down and leave a comment somewhere! I think a lot of the criticims are absolute rubbish, frankly. Obviously, it's all very subjective, and you'll see from my review that i adored this extract; but I would be careful how you take or act upon those criticisms. Just to be clear, I'm not a published writer,and don't have any writing 'credentials', so I'm talking purely from personal opinion. But I've read a lot of WIPs on another website (which i would thoroughly recommend, btw, for getting a different kind of feedback), and yours was easily one of the best I've read. For example, one criticism i noticed was that you 'tell' too much. I disagree completely. I think you've developed a very distinctive and effective 'story voice', and that when you 'tell' it works brilliantly; it's part of the style. Anyhow, as I say, just my opinion and it's all very subjective, but don't let these reviews put you off. If the writing's this good over the whole novel, then it'll be a cracker.

1:58 pm  

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