Friday, June 15, 2012

PNWA Critiques

The critiques for the PNWA contest arrived in the mail today.  Only two, when I thought there was supposed to be three.  One critiquer--is that a word?--gave me a 94/100, and the other gave me 81/100.  

Both are very good scores, but probably not good enough to win me first or second place.  There were a couple of constructive comments, which I think were excellent suggestions that will only make my work stronger, but over all, I got two pretty glowing reviews.

So, I'm gonna brag by posting some of the good comments. 

On plot: 

  • "In the synopsis we learn that Maggie does complete an emotional arc by overcoming her fear of a permanent relationship to make a commitment to love; this will satisfy readers."
  • "I love the crow analogies as harbingers of omens and doom.

Viewpoint:  (This one can be really tricky to get right.)

  • "The POV in the story is consistent and we feel as if we are in the narrator's body moving through the scenes.  Where you have made use of the five senses, you have enriched the setting and helped us connect with the character."
  • "No tense problems, consistent third person present tense."  (And I got a 10/10 on that particular one, from that critiquer, while I only got a 7/10 from the above critiquer.  Funny, but if I just read the comments, I would have flipped that. )


  • "We care immediately about Maggie.  You add nice details about each character that brings them alive."
  • "Characters are nicely layered and you are developing them slowly but consistently."


  • "The author does a terrific job with dialog: it is natural and flows well."
  • "The use of interrupted dialogue is very natural and makes the exchanges such as between Alison and Maggie natural."


  • "[referring to first line of chapter1] Descriptions like this paint such a vivid picture of the scene, we have no trouble imagining the setting."
  • "Good mix of narrative and dialog.  I thought the sickroom description of moving mom on p. 9 was especially good."

Would you read more:  (This is the really important part for me.)

  • "Yes, your story is sweetly understated and reads smoothly.  Plus I'm a sucker for crows and magical elements."  (That from the person who gave me a 94/100.)
  • "The reader enjoyed the submission and would definitely read more.  The writing is well done and the story has potential."  (And that from the person who gave me an 81/100.)

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