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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Critique Mode

Over the past few years as I've become serious about my writing, I've learned a lot about how to write well. And since joining ANWA, I've critiqued a few manuscripts which has helped my own writing a lot! But sometimes when I put down a manuscript and pick up something to read for fun, my brain doesn't switch modes readily. So last night I started wondering how I would have commented on some classic stories and some of my favorites:

Brandon, I love "Fablehaven!" I really want to live there now! I have a couple comments on your narrative. It flows very smoothly but you need to show more than you tell. Also, you have too many speaker tags. Change them to actions to keep the readers engaged.

Jane, I'm a total sucker for a happy ending so I adored "Pride and Prejudice!" I love the witty voice! One thing--your sentences are very long and complicated at times. Try to keep it simple so readers don't get frustrated. Also, check out ssa.gov for naming. You have too many Toms, Janes, and Marys.

Charlotte, your novel was...interesting. I'm still not sure about it. I have a couple problems with the plot. If Mr. Rochester doesn't care about what people think, why doesn't he just divorce his mad wife? Perhaps he can still take care of her, but sever their marriage so he can marry Jane. Also, you often interrupt dialog for long, internal ramblings. Try to cut those down. They slow the action.

Charles, "Bleak House" is the second MS of yours that I've read and I have the same problem I had with the first. There are too many characters to keep track of. Although I do like "Bleak House" much better than "Great Expectations," your narrative is very slow. You may find readers putting your books down for months at a time if you don't pick it up a bit.

Stephanie, "Twilight" was sincerely addicting. I'm not the usual type to get into the whole vampire thing, but you've changed my outlook there. I did notice that you often use the same adjectives to describe Edward--marble, ice, chiseled...I know you've probably started to run out of ways to describe his "stone" figure, but consider just deleting them.

:) Have a good day!

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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