Last week my small (then 6 now 7) daughter picked at her dinner, gagging, then refused to tidy her room so was sent to bed with no pudding. Cue massive tantrum that lasted over an hour in which she kept repeating just one line "I want pudding. By half 7 she was curled up in bed, face wet with tears whimpering, but she still wanted pudding. That was me yesterday over the callback list.It was internal but just as messy "I want it to be me" I shouted, screamed and whimpered in my head but, as small daughter found out, just wanting something isn't enough...
I got my critique, and sulked about that too (I know, I am a spoilt brat)because the editor failed to see what a dazzling talent I am and snap me up on the spot.Instead I got:
ou have created a really atmospheric opening to this story. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a hero galloping into town on a stallion!?
The plot and sequence of events was a tad confusing… The slip between the front and backstory wasn’t clear so it was difficult to keep track of the characters. I was interested to discover what happened in the past but it came too soon.
I know I’ve said this previously – but it’s one of my mantras… It’s important that the reader is engaged with a character enough to care about what happens to them in the past. In real life I can read a story about something bad in the news and be in tears – not because it truly affects me, but because there will be something in that story that I can relate to. You need to think about what it is that readers can relate to within your characters. But don’t overload them with backstory until you’ve got them in the palm of your hand. Then you can really squeeze the emotional juice out of the situation!
Focus on the front story and how they are reacting to each other in the now – the story comes to life in the interaction when he says he’ll take what he came for. But then you move away from the dramatic tension into the backstory.
There’s definitely potential in the storyline and you have a talent for creating atmosphere. I would suggest you need to really work on characterisation and keeping the reader in the present.
I am a glass half empty person, saw no encouragement in the above at all and thought "Why am I bothering? Between work, child and home I have no time, I never go out or see my friends or relax, why waste the few precious free hours I have doing something I am rubbish at?" Cue more tears. Never mind that the stories have been buzzing in my head demanding release for twenty years! It took words of wisdom from the lovely Sophia Harrop to calm me down.
"Ahem! A M&B editor has just told you:
"You have a talent for creating atmosphere!"!and that "There is potential in this storyline" WHICH MEANS that with work on the suggested bits and pieces, your story could make the mark. It could be a published M&B!!!
The eds comments are not hugely different from what other people have said except that the ed REALLY LIKED your intro with the hero galloping in on his horse!
I've said it before and I'll say it again - you're nearly there." Thanks Sophia!
Small daughter did get her pudding but not until the next day. So maybe my reward is round e corner, I just need to dry my tears, stop whimpering and get on and work xxx