Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Remember the Contest I Didn't Win?

Remember that contest I entered back in September? I didn't expect to win, but I wanted feedback from people who aren't my friends or family, but who do read and like chick lit. It finally arrived!

I received feedback from two judges, each including detailed comments within the text of what I sent, plus a scoresheet plus overall comments. My scores were 126 and 103 out of a possible 135. None of the individual scores were below average.

Here the best and worst (in the requires the most work sense) comments:
"...You really seem to know Alison. I think characterization is your forte....I think you have loads of talent. In general, the ms seems somewhat unpolished to me (needs better hooks, needs less telling, needs more dialogue). But when it’s fleshed out and polished, I think this ms will be a knock-out!"
There seem to be too many secondary characters who serve no purpose. Why do we need to know about everyone who works at the restaurant? What is Toni’s purpose? Do you need all 4 sisters?"

That last comment is unfortunatly still somewhat of a problem. For whatever reason, I overcomplicate the story by adding in too many extra people. I'm going to need to ruthlessly cut some of them out.

For those of you who read the Valentine excerpt and are wondering who Alison is, this feedback is for an earlier story. The main character has morphed into Louise.

Disclaimer: yes, I realize that contests want to encourage wanna-be novelists because they pay to enter contests and it is a self-serving cycle. However, the editing comments were valid and the criticism hits areas I know are weak, so I do think this was worthwhile.

I am on track to finish draft #1 this week and start revising next week.

Did I mention I'm happy?

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