- Solid main characters.
- Great story, keeps the reader involved.
- Starting topic: meaning, the main topics of the story are starting to be more widespread and most reviewers were interested in how I was going to take it. Would my character continue to be a victim or would she go above it all?
- Cliched at times (I guess I can't put the accent over the 'e', just pretend it's there please).
- Grammar/run-on sentences/improper usage of commas/adverbs
- Introduce characters that quickly disappear (for example: Siobhan and Marjorie).
- A lot of telling, not showing.
- Improper usage of places (the readers who don't know the area you're talking about, aren't going to be able to visualize where they are because they've never been there and I'm not showing the area well. Too much 'telling').
- The ending is weak.
- Head-hopping between characters. Too many POV changes within the same chapter.
So just by putting the strengths and weaknesses together on the same page, the weaknesses outweigh the strengths. This tells me it obviously needs a tremendous amount of editing. The problem is, I'm just not into it right now. I have so much going on in my personal life that it's hard to concentrate on going through it with a fine tooth comb.
My good fortune, however, has allowed me to come across several excellent authors and reviewers who have given me a lot of suggestions, and one author (also an English teacher) has offered to help me go through it during her free time. She's given me the first two chapters and it's already coming together nicely (and she's very encouraging also ... when I wanted to give it all up, she gave me enough positive reinforcement that I decided not to scrap or toss it into the trash bin of my computer memory). Hopefully with her edits and a little free time, I'll be able to re-introduce it as 'New & Improved' sometime next year (I'm thinking May, this way all the immigration & taxation stuff will be done).
For now, though, I'm really going to continue focusing on my current WIP, From Heaven. I'm having such a great time writing it, and it's not bringing up any painful memories so it's almost like cutting warm butter - easy peasy! When I actually get some dedicated time (which is rare without some kind of interruption), it flows right out of my mind and out through my fingertips onto the keyboard. I'm really proud of it so far.
In the very beginning I had a wholly different take on it and thanks to a few beginning beta readers, I scrapped it all and started all over. I really enjoy it now, and really appreciative of those first few readers who had enough courage to tell me the truth. (*NOTE* I am a person who can take criticism. I do NOT lash out on other people for not liking something I've done, as long as they're not bashing me in a hurtful way. I am not perfect and need to learn, and the only way I'll learn is if someone can guide me in a positive way. So with this being said, never be afraid to tell me what you really feel!) I may not take everyone's advice, but I do carefully put it into consideration and try to re-work it as much as I can. One reader suggested making the 2nd chapter the 1st chapter. I mulled it over and asked a few other readers what they thought, and they disagreed. If things change down the road and I take it into a different direction (you never know what your characters are really going to do until they do it), then perhaps changing the chapter order might be appropriate.
I had this same issue with The Kindness. As I was writing it, I had several readers read it and offer their suggestions. Originally the first chapter was a preface. I didn't want to focus on the child abuse part, because it was a bit uncomfortable for me and brought up a lot of bad memories. But after hearing the readers thoughts, I knew I had to give it more attention and make it the first chapter. Chapter 2 only became part of the story because another reader told me I didn't give enough back story, and that made her feel nothing for the main character, Sydney. Sydney wasn't always a victim and I wanted that to be known, it helped explain why she was able to bound back and survive, unlike so many other children who can never shake their abuse and struggle in life just to have a bond with another person.
But I digress. My main point for this blog was to thank all the readers who have purchased The Kindness of Strangers, and to tell them that even if they read it and loved/hated it, hopefully the *New & Improved* version will be a home-run for them again/now. I will not be promoting it until it has been fully edited, but I won't remove it also (to give any readers who may be interested a chance to read it if they choose). I will be focusing on From Heaven, and then The Last Curl, and truly hope you will all enjoy it once they are released.
Thank you so much!
- <3 Julie <3 -