Getting the Goss

Or critique feedback.

It’s not easy to write a story, let alone a book. It’s not easy to get someone to read it and offer comments. It’s not easy to get a critique on a book.

But, if we want to keep writing stories and books, we need to take the first step (sometimes, several times) and get people to read and comment and critique. The story, that is, not the writer. It doesn’t matter how often I get criticised, there’s little chance of change in that department.

The stories, however, are going to improve. They will, because I’ll keep putting them to people to read and comment, to mention what does and doesn’t work, etc. The more experience they have with reading and writing, the more I’ll respect their opinion – as long as it’s honest.

And I got one!

Do you know Ray Rhamey? He’s written a few books, and he does editing and covers and he also critiques opening lines. I found him when I bought his book,

Mastering front 100Wshadow

He sent out a call for first pages and I sent him the one for the first Black story. His comments are here. Maybe you’d like to go and see what he has to say. You could also vote.

What I’ve learned from it is the problem with repeats of a word (always, always, always happens – wonder why?), and to initiate some form of desire to get, do, become, and action. There needs to be a question in there … and I’ve added a hint of it in the earlier section after I read the comments.

So, what do you think?

Yes, I know I’m a day late, but yesterday was a day without power, without internet, without air-con. Rain, hail, sleet (okay, not sleet, but it was windy enough to blow the outside tables into the garage – and they weren’t coming back out!), and no way to get out of the (auto-door) garage, or raise the blinds (roller shutters, electronic), or shower (yep, you guessed it – requires electricity). The rain we’ve had for June is now at two inches. Two inches! I haven’t seen so much rain since I moved here (15 years ago!), and that was the day our furniture arrived (droughts break when we need to move house). Two inches. The water tanks are full, the creek is flowing, there’s green in the air (loquat flowering, mango flowering)

Anyway …

The laptop lasted about ten minutes before fading out, and I had to do a quick save to usb and shut it down. And the Kindle was drained of battery (maybe I read too long into the night?). Even the dog refused to get out of bed (thunder phobia). So I followed her example and got in under a big fluffy doona and meditated (there was no snoring, that was roadworks, probably what caused the total failure of utilities).

The Friday that was yesterday is on the banned list, and I’m not saying any more about it. *stamps foot*

But next Friday, just wait and see, next Friday will be …

14 thoughts on “Getting the Goss

  1. Funny, I didn’t notice any problematic repeated words. Black interested me right from the start, more than the client’s problem.
    I really think those who read in a hurry looking for reasons to reject are not typical readers. As a reader, I always give a story more time to intrigue me.

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  2. I like the atmosphere, sounds like a good setup for a dark fantasy story perhaps. And “Black” is a cool character name.

    I was confused and had to read the first few paragraphs again. If Black is silhouetted, then I figured someone was looking at him, that Black isn’t the POV character. But, “He liked to let people know…” so maybe he IS the POV character. Then, “What she wanted was…” so I figured SHE is the POV character.

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  3. Hmm…I couldn’t find all those ‘presented’s. Admittedly, I didn’t apply a forensic fine toothed comb, but how many readers do? You could always change the first one to ‘revealed’ but…you’re writing for readers, not a critique group. Then again, perhaps I’m just old and crotchety. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • For me, it’s a bad habit to use the same word too many times. It’s often the thing I notice as a reader, too, when one word is overused (especially if it’s a word used too often in public service speak).

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      • I agree about over-use, but honestly, ‘presented’ did not reach out and smack me in the face. That said, I do understand about word habits. I’m still learning to wean myself off ‘just’ and the damn exclamation mark. Luckily I have a beta read with an eagle eye. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Interesting exercise. ๐Ÿ™‚ … I’m getting close to having my editing done and sending my baby out to a few beta readers before I publish. I’ll have a furtle abound his website, see what I shall see. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I read your first page and the critique. I think it’s an interesting opening. It would be pretty hard to fit much description about what the story is about in a such a short introduction. I think you are well on the way to creating intrigue that would make the reader want to turn the page and read more. I didn’t notice the repetitive use of any particular word. I’ve bookmarked Ray Rhamey’s site and may use it when I’m up to that stage of editing the story I am writing. I agree with Audrey’s comment. This guy seems to be in hurry to find fault with the work of others.

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