The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reaction


I received my feedback from agent Laurie McLean of the Larsen Pomada Literary Agency (won at the Boom Effect auction to raise money for Tee Morris’ daughter). WhenI first mentioned I won this critique, some people asked me to share the feedback when I received it. I shall summarize and include my initial knee-jerk reaction. Then I’ll tell you what I think now!!!

Besides my main character, who Laurie liked, I need to work on my other characters because they’re one-dimensional and cliched.
Okay, fine, I can rewrite all my characters.

My villan is to 100% evil.
-I know you’re not supposed to do that, was trying not to do that, but guess I failed.

My love interests are just props for my main character.
-Okay, I liked the two guys, but, oh well.

Too many convenient occurences in the plot.
Well, I guess I didn’t know how else to do it!

The cut away scenes for a different POV is disruptive instead of informative.
Ack! I added the second POV to try and reveal more world building etc. Okay, epic fail.

I took too long to get into the story.
Again, I know you’re not supposed to do this, really tried to jump right in. *sigh*

Of course there were good things she said too, but on that first reading, those barely registered from my eyeballs to my brain. All I could focus on was the problems pointed out to me by this amazing, professional agent. Of course I had that eensy weensy part of me (okay, most of me) that wanted her to say it was brilliant (HA!) so I was feeling quite deflated. Yes, tears threatened to appear.

My temporary fix was to go for a long walk and listen to one of my favourite podcasts Writing Excuses. Forty-five minutes later I arrived back home, not jumping for joy, but feeling better. I took the advice of my writing friends and set the critique aside and have been letting my brain work on the problems.

This week at our little writing group we’ve created (just three of us genre writers) I read them the bulk of the letter, and it really didn’t seem so bad!

She said I write cleanly.
-YAY! That’s great!

She thought my main character was “delightful”.
-Whoohoo! That’s a good start.

She said I excel in making the reader feel they are in the Las Vegas high-stakes poker world.
-Well, that’s a pretty darn good thing!!

She said I write the parts about poker and working out “with mastery”.
-Wow, wait, what? Mastery? Holy crap! LOL. Those of you who know me a little won’t be too surprised by that…

And the best part? The advice she gave me at the end. I hope she doesn’t mind if I quote her here, but it’s really terrific!!! She said, “So, you have some work to do. But great writing is not written, it is rewritten. I hope your editing phase goes well and your book becomes stronger in the process. Best of luck.”

Wise words, am I right? For every writer.

My writing group friends  helped me out, we talked through a few solutions and I’m really feeling better about the whole thing now. I haven’t figured out exactly how to fix things but I’m on the right track. I’m still going to let it sit for a bit before tackling it again.

Thanks for listening, and remember, great writing is not written, it’s rewritten! 😉


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Filed under Advice for Writers from the Pros!, Sandra's Writing

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