I promise to have the vlog up on Friday on how to deal with rejection. Indulge me in a rant instead? This is how I don't deal with rejection well.
I worked really hard to reach the top ten on YouWriteOn.Com. That meant reading several painful entries (There were some excellent ones too, thank goodness) to earn the credits I needed to get reviews. I read each review I received and deliberated on what to glean and use in my edits.
Last week I reached the top ten. I was flying high with the knowledge I just needed to stay there until the end of the month so I could get a critique from Random House or Penguin. All of the reviews were helpful and the ratings fair--until Sunday.
One review dropped me from #8 to #19! I hurried over to read the review. It was book length, and if helpful, would have been great. Her nit picks boiled down to this (her comments in blue):
- Put the action/character tag before all you dialogue so I know who's talking.
- Comma issues--ex >The tunnel glowed red-orange illuminating their deaths. < Needs a comma after orange. Um, really? Why? Am I wrong in thinking that's not right? If she's right, can someone tell me why?
- Suggestions that didn't make sense-->“Lights.” Talia flinched as the lights flared on. < Another small moment of confusion. I didn’t understand at first why she said ‘lights’. I really thought for a second that someone else said it. Suggestion, “Lights,” Talia said, then flinched as they flared on. I think this would keep down the momentary confusion. Does adding the word "said" really make a difference? No one else is in the room, so I don't know why its confusing. I could be wrong. Plus, she just woke from a dream, where the reader knows she's dreaming because Talia knows she's dreaming. I don't see why this is so confusing. When you wake from a nightmare what's the first thing you do? Turn on the lights!
- The other comments boil down to she wants more back story in the first chapter so she knows what's going on and what's about to happen. ????? Spoon feeding?????
- She doesn't want me to use sunsrise. Tough. We are on a different planet. One with two suns. They would never say sunrise.
- I did agree with one comment: <A sigh escaped her lips.> Where else is a sigh going to escape from if not the mouth or lips? And have changed it accordingly in the MS.
Maybe she's right and I'm letting my disappointment at the huge drop cloud my judgement. By Monday I decided not to worry about it. If I received three more reviews I could delete hers. The 15 other reviews I had were all good, while still being helpful by pointing out spots I could fix.
Then I got another review lower than the above! First her positive comment (which baffles me in light of her rating):
I thought your sentence structuring and dialogue were generally very good and pushed the flow of the story along well.She was confused about a few things. This was the one I thought the most entertaining: Also I was unsure of Talia's age. You mention twenty eight years of dreams, but this is quite a way into the story. Is this how old she is? Yes, twenty-eight years of dreams means she is at least twenty-eight years old.
Then there is this gem: The scene where she looks in the mirror before smashing it, could be an opportunity for the reader to get a picture of her.
Now, I know that's a no no.
Check out some sites:
How to avoid cliches in fantasy writing--"One fantasy cliche is a lump, detailed description of a character, such as a princess staring at herself in a mirror and describing each feature one-by-one. Work attributes into the story naturally, such as a comment about a feature from another character."
Avoiding Beginner Blunders--"Okay," you think, "the reader needs to know what my character looks like, so I'll have him look in a mirror, and describe what he sees." Or: "Well, if two of my characters tell each other what the reader needs to know, then that's showing because it's dialogue, not exposition."
Chazley's Blog--agented author
And bunches more, but I'm really tired and it's way past my bedtime.
Needless to say, my shot at getting a publisher to critique my story this month is shot to pieces. It's one of those moments when I want to say hand it all!
I guess the good news is that I worked more on my pitch for an upcoming conference and my synopsis so I can send out three more queries this week.
I won't be wasting my writing or family time trying to win the lottery on a website any more. Hard work will get it done much faster.