Sunday, November 11, 2007

They either love it or they hate it

'Ayodele Campbell' wrote:

The interweaving of the different points of view really works for me, the teasing tidbits of information from past present and future timelines making the reader work towards a solution for the puzzle that is Amelias body. The intricacy of detail really held my interest. I don't think the comments others have made about the narrative voice of Caroline are viable; who hasn't been 17 or 14 ? The importance of communicating the vivid moods expressions feelings insecurities and immaturity of youth is perfectly captured in your narrative, and I would say quite definately don't rewrite your character Caroline, I found her believable; teenage is usually a bi-polar existence especially since intellectual development and physical development have to coexist in the same burgeoning potent body. I loved your narrative.

But 'Jeff' wrote:
I found Amelia's body to be fairly well written, but that the story was segmented too much. Because of this I quickly lost interest. I would also say that it was quite slow and lacked that ocassional burst of activity that keeps your interest. It seemed to plod along at one pace and never break it up with a bit of humour or action. Other than that I have little else to say except that in the line that says "That's about the size of it," she frowns, "one o'clock wev'e got to be back." I thought that the second part of this dialogue would start with a capitol letter. I say this because I have been criticised many times for doing the same thing, although a capitol should only really be used in this way if it is a proper noun. Good luck, although it's not my cup of tea.

And then 'Hecate' wrote:
This is a stunning piece of work, in my humble opinion. Okay, partly subjective in that it's exactly the kind of book I would choose to read, but the writing is flawless. Sorry if this sounds a little OTT, but it's an honest reaction.
2 miniscule 'criticisms': the repetition of 'inventoried' in the prologue, then the next section (probably doesn't matter much); and 'practicing' should be 'practising', unless you're writing in or for the US, in which case, please ignore!
I loved the structure. The POV switches worked extremely well, I thought, and the way the backstories were woven inbetween was great – so huge variety, which was engaging, yet still completely coherent and moving the story forward.
Lovely descriptions of place/time – eg in the woods, at the crime scene. I'm normally averse to descriptions of place (plus I can't write them myself to save my life) but this was just right, and said in so few words.
I thought the characterisations were brilliant – even those who appeared for the briefest moments, or said very little, eg Caroline's male friend and David, came across vividly and believably. Also, some fantastic psychological observations in even minor characters, and nice little touches, eg Dad's occasional attempts at asserting himself in the all female household. In fact, the biggest mystery at this stage is the character of Amelia – but, of course, that's great, because we want to find out more about her.
Re your query about Caroline's dialogue. I don't know whether you've changed it since previous reviews, but to me it came over as absolutely convincing. I mean, teenagers ARE adult one minute, childlike the next – and their speech reflects this. I really, really would be very careful about altering this. In fact, the scene where Caroline is talking to her friend is actually quite lengthy, especially given that she's doing most of the talking! – but it read very easily and didn't seem too long at all. And totally 'right' for a 17 year old. Ah - looking again at your comments, I see you were referring to all the teenagers' dialogue – but, really, same point – all came over as convincing to me; infinitely more so than what you can get in a lot of published novels, I think.
And did I mention that I liked this?
Well done.


So now of course I don't want to change the structure. I'm also pretty relieved because it would have meant and awful lot of work.
Love A


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