Vacation is on!!

Posted at Jun 15, 2007 4:28 pm

Woohoo!! My husband got the vacation he requested. We’re going to Europe after all!!!!! YAAYAAYYAYAYAAY
*jumps up and down*
I called him and told him and he said “Ok. I’ll go if you want me too. ” in that little “ha ha” voice of his
So emotional, my husband.
This is the critique I got from my friend:
Leah,

I’m done reviewing your manuscript.

My sense is that editors will be interested in this because you have a very interesting and suspenseful writing style, and the language you use is on a high level.You seem confident in the story you are telling.
The hook, of a “Sherlock Holmes” style– will be easy for them in the sense that whoever buys Sherlock Holmes would buy this as well.(I’m also not sure this is YA– this could work as an adult novel.)
However, in its own way this reminds me of Charlotte Doyle by AVI. Avi is well published, so you might want to read his work and see how it compares and differs to your own.
Also, it might be a good idea to subscribe to Writers Digest magazine– they have tips that any writer could always find useful.

Critique:
I can’t go through this chapter by chapter “bregel achas”– you’d need to work with trusted writing friend/s to rewrite a few chapters at a time with feedback before moving on. And realistically, that could take
months. Could you get months from any of the editors?Take whatever I say with a grain of salt, as one of the only genres I don’t read– are mysteries. That said, even if you are seeing this as a
character sketch, more like Jane Austen‘s work– you are not giving any sensory details. ie you mention a shawl at one point. What color/ fabric was it? You can tell a lot about a person based on the items they
choose to wear/ surround themeselves with. Should you to write them in, your book would probably be expanded by a third. Where are they? What are they wearing? How does it feel? Smell?
Your whole novel takes place in the brain and I feel when the editors say they want to know the main character– they want to know her and her likes/ dislikes– through her senses. Many scenes were unnecessary and
I felt, did not propel the plot.Stick to set-up scenes that are visually interesting, or exciting, or
telling the reader something new or entertaining. Move this away from
the brain.It might be helpful to go through Shelock Holmes and highlight where
Conan Doyle puts in description– how much, how often and think about why. Why in this spot and not another?

Again, your work is very, very good, and if you think about: where are
your characters? what are they wearing/smelling/feeling etc and is this
scene necessary to answer the central question? As you write this in
scene by scene– you’ll realize which scenes can be deleted. (My guess is
that bout a third probably needs to be deleated. If you take out
unnecessary scenes and add in visuals/ sensory details– that will leave you
with the same size novel, though more enriched and focused.)

If this makes sense to you, consider revising a chapter or two and
showing it to your agent, if she feels this is the right direction– before
redoing the entire manuscript.  If you choose to eventually rewrite in
this way, I’d be happy to review with you chapter by chapter.

*****************************************************************
Descriptions of smells (especially bad ones) are very anti- Victorian. I only have Dora mention smells twice for that reason. Otherwise- the comments are good. I am rather attached to nearly everything in my book- so the thought of deleting a third gives me hives. But we’ll see what the two editors say. Until then- I’m going to hold off. I can’t handle any more revisions for the present.
Re: Doyle: his descriptions tended to be rather breif- he was a master at describing a scene in, like, two sentences. And Doyle’s stories are almost entirely “in the brain” except where Watson digresses to romanticize. 🙂 In my own poor way, I tried to imitate. Ah well-

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