Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Retriever Feedback from the Adventure Writer’s Competition Panels

The Adventure Writer’s competition [link], for which I wrote Retriever sent a critique of the book, rather uplifting one:

Panel # 1: The prologue left me a little flat, but once I got into the story proper I was swept along. I really like where the story is headed – just needs polishing.
Panel # 2: Your opening paragraph is fantastic, except for the one part of the first sentence. I’ve never heard of someone snapping his tongue, and I’m not sure what that means. I stopped in the middle of reading to try and picture what that might look like. As a general rule, don’t force the reader to stop while they try to puzzle out something you have written. Maybe Aaron Yen could show his distaste with a different gesture.
Competition director: Look – this has great potential. Unfortunately, you scored in the middle of the pack technically and that kept you out of the Top 5. This is good – polish it and move forward.

When I wrote to the Adventure Writer’s Competition & Panel Director to thank him for his time, he replied this:

You have great potential – know that and move forward!!

While probably he was just being polite, I also got “scores” on several topics:

  • Opening/Prologue / Chapter One: Does the story start at the correct place, with an interesting,intriguing hook? Is there a good introduction of characters and plot? Has the writer revealed enough information, or too much too soon?
  • Setting: Is it clearly defined without extraneous detail? Is there a sense of time and place?
  • Characterization: Are they skillfully developed, multi-dimensional, and believable? Can you emphathize with the hero/heroine? Is the villian evil? Are their actions motivated?
  • Plot Line: Is the plot line interesting, unique, skillfully developed?
  • Dialogue: Is it natural? Does it move the story? Is it distinctive to each character? Is it appropriate to the genre? Is dialogue well- balanced with the narrative?
  • Narrative: Is it necessary, interesting? Does it progress the story? Is it the character viewpoint rather than the author-intrusive?
  • Pacing Does the story flow smoothly? Is every scene essential to the story? Are there highs and lows of conflict?
  • Motivation: Is the motivation genuine and not contrived? Is it compelling?
  • Point of View: Is it clear and concise? Are transitions smooth and the changes logical?
  • Style / Voice: Is the writing vivid and evocative? Is it special, unique?
  • Relationship: Can you feel the tension, magic, excitement? Does the relationship progress at a satisfactory rate?
  • Mechanics: Grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Format: The format follows generally accepted guidelines

Each topic was rated on a 1-10 scale and my “score” was a 6 for all of them except for the “Relationship” bit (5/10), which was supposed to be awkward anyway, giving me a total of 83 points out of 150… which is not bad for a novel written in three months. The general “grade” was:

Good – some structure needed

I shall keep trying, and doing it harder ^^

Check out the excerpt for Retriever here if you don’t know what I am talking about:

ETA: And so my dear beta feels vindicated, the highest score was 108/150, and I would be fourth if these had been the only factors at hand – which they were not, obviously XD


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