Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Demon and Fairy new critique and my thoughts about it

After the first critique on Demon and Fairy, I want to have a second opinion. So, I send the 750 first words of the novel to Flourish editing's free Critique Monday. I want to share this new critique with you and my thoughts about it.

Here is what the Flourish editing website say about them:

We are a pair of well-established editors, Tim Dedopulos and Salome Jones. Between us, we've edited over 25 million words. We've worked in publishing houses in both the United States and United Kingdom, and served as literary agents, editors, publishers, and writers, with more than 100 published fiction and non-fiction books authored between us.

On with the critique first:
Hi Linda,
Thanks for letting us have a look at this excerpt of Demon and Fairy. I enjoyed working on it.
This is a sweet story. It's a little bit confusing right now because there's some information the reader doesn't have. Mostly, who are the people that Seti gets into fights with, what is the Chaos. It's told a little bit like a fairy tale, in a very broad, summarized sort of way. This can work, but it's tricky. It has a tendency to make the story feel very superficial.
I've made some specific line edits and notes on your pages. You'll need to download the file to see them.
It has some potential. Definitely keep working on it. Try to avoid long sentences with a lot of short clauses. Those will serve you better broken up. Try to include more detail about the way things look and other sensory information, like smell and texture, and sound. There's almost no sensory detail in this story except visual.
Other than that, the story is interesting. I hope these notes are helpful to you and that you keep us posted about how you do with the story.
All the best,

The specific line edits are discussed below. 
Now, I want to give you my impression about it.

First, I want to say that Salome is absolutely, amazingly right about most things. The two unclear points she mentioned about who Seti fought with and the Chaos are present. Who Seti fought with will be clarify, it is just an easy change of words. Discovering the Chaos and what it actually is, is a large part of the story and can't be explained even briefly in the first three pages without destroying the entire novel so it will not be changed.
I am very happy about the feeling of the fairy tale she had.
I'm a bit confused about the lack of sensory details as we have the feeling of Seti's headache described on several places, the fact that he discovered Kallisto by hearing music, I will maybe try to review it and add smell, however as the Chaos is predominant in this part of the story Seti is more fighting with the pain than noticing anything else.

Now, to the doc file
Salome gave me incredibly useful advices. 
She explained what doesn't work and why. 
She gave me tips about punctuation, one of then was to avoid semi-colon and she showed me how. Seeing that I really hate semi-colons and use them only when I'm stuck with how to formulate things differently this was really appreciated.
She gave me tips about tenses use with flashbacks which was another point I was having difficulty with.

Her edits were respectful of my voice, she didn't change the meaning of sentences, she never added any things of her own on how the story should be,  and she never gave me the feeling that she knew better than me what my story was about, as I had many editors do. She respected the flow of the story and the development of her characters.
There were no copy paste genre related advices like I had on the previews critique (I read 4 of those critiques and saw sometimes the exact same sentence) but she spent time on things specific to my writing and my story.

I'm very happy with this critique which allowed me to spot my weaknesses and to learn how to fix them. Salome really did an amazing job.

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