Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Critique Update

Remember my recent critique woes? I got my new critique from The Literary Consultancy this morning - and it's fab. Taken alone, it might err too much towards the 'darling, it's marvellous' end of the spectrum. However, I can understand why the reader has taken that approach, given the amount of fuss I made about the negativity of the last critique! And it's by no means all strokes (which wouldn't have been much use either - interestingly, she says they get as many complaints from people who are dissatisfied because they've paid several hundred pounds to be told they're doing fine, as from people who are blocked by an overly negative critique).

The good news is that she thinks the novel is original, confident and promising. And she gets what I'm trying to do! I was in tears of relief by the end of the first page (and I don't do that kind of thing usually; far too British). I think she has helped me to understand the main problem with the novel, rather than just have a name for that problem, and has given me useful pointers for how to solve it. Yes, there's still a lot of work to do - but I expected that, and now I can begin to see my way, I'll be very happy to do it. Particularly as I don't have to completely revamp my characters, plot, structure and writing style, as the previous reader suggested.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I'm officially not a rubbish writer after all. And I'm sure the skin-thickening side-effect of this process will come in handy when I get the next lot of rejections from agents... and then the ones from publishers... remind me why we do this again? Oh yes - it's because we're complete masochists who think years of lone slaving have all been worth it when we get one tiny pinch of validation!

16 comments:

Lane said...

Result!

I'm so pleased for you Zinnia. That sounds much more like it!

A pinch of validation makes all the difference:-)

liz fenwick said...

"I think she has helped me to understand the main problem with the novel, rather than just have a name for that problem, and has given me useful pointers for how to solve it."

That is exactly what a constructive crit should do!

So pleased for you! Now get to those revisions!

JJ said...

Oh wow. That is absolutely fantastic. I am so, so pleased for you. JJx

Flowerpot said...

That sounds really helpful - I'm so glad Zinnia. Go for it!

Calistro said...

Zinnia that's brilliant! So pleased for you. And of course you're not a rubbish writer, your blog constantly has me gripped/moved/scared and intrigued and if you can do that with stories about people on your blog you can do that with fiction too. Good luck with your revisions x

Captain Black said...

A little bit of validation goes a long way, doesn't it.

So, all things considered, do you think it was worth the money?

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Thanks, everyone. And yes, CB, all things considered, I do think it was worth the money. Obviously it would have been better from my point of view if I hadn't had to go through the hassle and misery of having an unhelpful critique and making a complaint. But, hey, everyone makes mistakes. And I very much doubt this happens often.

L-Plate Author said...

Well done for sticking up for yourself Zinnia and also for going with your gut feeling. Good luck with the rewrite x

Debs said...

I'm so pleased for you that you finally got a useful critique. At least now you know where you're going wrong and what needs extra work. It makes all the difference.

Dx

ChrisH said...

We could have told you that you're not a rubbish writer but I'm glad you got the praise you so clearly deserve!

Clare Sudders said...

It's brilliant news. Hurrah for sticking up for yourself!

Juliette M said...

Oh well done Zinnia! Fantastic news :) You deserve it.

CC Devine said...

Excellent! Very happy that this crit is positive and offers constructive feedback on tricky areas. Well worth querying with them.

Kate.Kingsley said...

That's great Zinnia ~ I'm so glad you challenged them & got a useful critique after all!

Kate.Kingsley said...

That's great Zinnia ~ I'm so glad you challenged them & got a useful critique after all!

wordtryst said...

I'm really happy for you, Zinnia. Opinions will always vary (just wait until you start getting diametrically opposed comments from editors at publishing houses) but this one sounds much, much more balanced and constructive.