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June Critiques - Random House, Orion & Pan Macmillian Reviews
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ProfessionalCritique
 14 Jul 2012, 11:49 #152964 Reply To Post
Critiques will now be posted first on the youwriteon blog. Click here to view the latest Random House critiques on the youwriteon blog for top ten writers in June.

The youwriteon blog - http://youwriteon.blogspot.co.uk/ is where all critiques will be listed first and you are welcome to reply there with comments you wish forwarded to the editors. We will add further critiques on the blog for June once received. One of the editors recently had a family bereavement, our thoughts are with them and their critiques will as a consequence be later than normal. They will be added as soon as received. Thank you for your patience.

Each month on YouWriteOn.com editors either from Random House, Pan Macmillian and Orion, provide an indepth critique of up to three highly rated YouWriteOn Top Ten novel openings, and mini-reviews of the rest of the top ten stories. This aims to assist all authors in their story development by giving feedback as to what editors are looking for in novel submitted to them.

Random House publish authors such as Dan Brown and Terry Pratchett. Pan Macmillian are also now providing critiques for youwriteon authors too. Pan Macmillian publish authors such as Emma Donoghue and Carol Ann Duffy. Orion are part of the Hatchette publishing group, whose authors include Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and Ian Rankin.
This post was last edited by ProfessionalCritique, 06 Sep 2012, 22:20
willow55
 16 Jul 2012, 01:42 #152993 Reply To Post
Quote: ProfessionalCritique, Saturday, 14 Jul 2012 11:49
Critiques will now be posted first on the youwriteon blog. Click here to view the latest Random House critiques on the youwriteon blog for top ten writers in June.

The youwriteon blog - http://youwriteon.blogspot.co.uk/ is where all critiques will be listed first and you are welcome to reply there with comments you wish forwarded to the editors. We will add further critiques on the blog for June once received. One of the editors recently had a family bereavement, our thoughts are with them and their critiques will as a consequence be later than normal. They will be added as soon as received. Thank you for your patience.

Each month on YouWriteOn.com editors either from Random House, Pan Macmillian and Orion, provide an indepth critique of up to three highly rated YouWriteOn Top Ten novel openings, and mini-reviews of the rest of the top ten stories. This aims to assist all authors in their story development by giving feedback as to what editors are looking for in novel submitted to them.

Random House publish authors such as Dan Brown and Terry Pratchett. Pan Macmillian are also now providing critiques for youwriteon authors too. Pan Macmillian publish authors such as Emma Donoghue and Carol Ann Duffy. Orion are part of the Hatchette publishing group, whose authors include Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and Ian Rankin.


Ted - could you please pass on my thanks for the very helpful review of Heaven Sent. I did try to reply via the blog but (as usual) technology got the better of me.

PaulE
 16 Jul 2012, 09:56 #153000 Reply To Post
ted - Would love to ask some follow-up questions to May review but did not think that these were allowed. Can you confirm that is the case.
YouWriteOn
 20 Jul 2012, 16:14 #153144 Reply To Post
Thanks for the feedback which forwarded on. The editors can't provide further follow-up re feedback re critique related queries, but 6 months after a longer critique has been received you can try again for another and, if reach top ten, we can mention any questions when refer.
PaulE
 20 Jul 2012, 18:15 #153148 Reply To Post
Quote: YouWriteOn, Friday, 20 Jul 2012 16:14
Thanks for the feedback which forwarded on. The editors can't provide further follow-up re feedback re critique related queries, but 6 months after a longer critique has been received you can try again for another and, if reach top ten, we can mention any questions when refer.


Many thanks, Ted.
willow55
 23 Jul 2012, 02:32 #153264 Reply To Post
Quote: ProfessionalCritique, Saturday, 14 Jul 2012 11:49
Critiques will now be posted first on the youwriteon blog. Click here to view the latest Random House critiques on the youwriteon blog for top ten writers in June.

The youwriteon blog - http://youwriteon.blogspot.co.uk/ is where all critiques will be listed first and you are welcome to reply there with comments you wish forwarded to the editors. We will add further critiques on the blog for June once received. One of the editors recently had a family bereavement, our thoughts are with them and their critiques will as a consequence be later than normal. They will be added as soon as received. Thank you for your patience.

Each month on YouWriteOn.com editors either from Random House, Pan Macmillian and Orion, provide an indepth critique of up to three highly rated YouWriteOn Top Ten novel openings, and mini-reviews of the rest of the top ten stories. This aims to assist all authors in their story development by giving feedback as to what editors are looking for in novel submitted to them.

Random House publish authors such as Dan Brown and Terry Pratchett. Pan Macmillian are also now providing critiques for youwriteon authors too. Pan Macmillian publish authors such as Emma Donoghue and Carol Ann Duffy. Orion are part of the Hatchette publishing group, whose authors include Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and Ian Rankin.


Agghh! Every time I try to post a thank you for my critiques on the new blog, my comments disappear.
Ted - please could you pass along my sincere thanks to Nick for his really helpful critique of Boomerang. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to further chapters following his comments and suggestions.
ProfessionalCritique
 06 Aug 2012, 17:47 #154363 Reply To Post
Thanks, feedback forwarded. A new critique has been posted on the youwriteon blog. Click here to view the latest critiques on the youwriteon blog for top ten writers in June.

The youwriteon blog - http://youwriteon.blogspot.co.uk/ is where all critiques will be listed first and you are welcome to reply there with comments you wish forwarded to the editors. We will add further critiques on the blog once received.
Book News
 21 Aug 2012, 21:35 #155839 Reply To Post
New Critiques coming soon.
ProfessionalCritique
 05 Sep 2012, 00:02 #157569 Reply To Post
Professional mini critique for Pushing Up the Daisies by Carola Hughes-Hartmann


Congratulations on being well-rated by your peers at YouWriteOn. I enjoyed reading your short story but felt that it could benefit from further development. While simply told, it is a story that a lot of readers can relate to. But given the subject matter, I was disappointed that this lacked the poignancy and emotional insight needed to set this apart from other short stories that focus on death. I did feel that the narrator/protagonist was very underdrawn – we are told that she is upset, but you never really get under her skin as a character and lay bare her emotions. And are we even told her name? The focus seems to be on summarising the preparations needed for organising the funeral in a way that at times made the narrative feel more like a diary entry rather than an involving story. It is delivered in quite a dry manner that can be devoid of emotion, which in turn distances the reader from the story rather than drawing them in. Even given the time constraints in short story writing, you need to bring your characters alive on the page if you are to succeed in making the reader empathise and care about them. And I think if the reader is more closely aligned to your protagonist, the emotion will be all the more heightened.



Professional mini critique for Mya by Juliet


Congratulations on being well-rated by your peers at YouWriteOn. I enjoyed reading your short story. It was well told and engaging, making me want to turn the pages to find out more. However, I was expecting there to be an extra revelation at the end, so the ending didn’t quite pack the punch that I was expecting. I did think that perhaps you gave too much of the story away too early on, as it was obvious from the start that Mya was the protagonist’s aborted daughter. By adding an extra layer of intrigue and ambiguity to your narrative, to keep the reader guessing, your story will become all the more page-turning. Remember that less is often more, especially early on. And I also felt the writing could have been more focused on building a sense of atmosphere and suspense, especially as you classify your short story as ‘horror’. I was expecting it to be darker and much more tense.

Similarly, while the story was very involving, you do have a tendency to tell the reader what is happening rather than showing them, and this can be a common pitfall when writing in first person. Try to avoid reporting the action to the reader – let it play out for them to experience in its immediacy. Otherwise your narrative will feel diluted rather than vividly described. And consequently, Mya wasn’t convincingly depicted as the powerful presence that she could have been. Your reader needs to experience what is happening to your protagonist alongside them, so try to drop them into the middle of the drama, rather than relaying it to them and keeping them at arm’s length.


Professional mini critique for Love Thy Neighbour by Carly Tinkler


Congratulations on being well-rated by your peers at YouWriteOn. I enjoyed reading your short story. You really capture Peggy’s voice and character. The tone was obviously very intimate and informal, which makes the story very accessible. But it’s important to ensure that the story doesn’t feel like an internal monologue that lacks structure and focus. The premise is a very simple one, and though the story is well told, I did find the overly chatty tone a little grating initially. I think it’s important for the reader to be able to connect with the reader very early on, before overloading them with your protagonist’s stream of consciousness. As it was only after you had begun to really reveal Peggy as a character that I found her chatty tirade more entertaining. The form of short story writing is actually quite a difficult one as you have to bring alive your characters and deliver an involving plot in a very short space of time, so it’s absolutely crucial that nothing feels superfluous in this story. I understand that you want to accurately capture Peggy’s habit of over-sharing and going off on tangents, but this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t initially distance the reader.


Professional mini critique for The Cheats by Ian Harvey-Brown

Congratulations on being well-rated by your peers at YouWriteOn. While I enjoyed reading the early pages of your novel, for a science fiction book, I did find it quite hard to really visualise Jake’s world, as the descriptions are so brief and sparse in these opening pages. These early chapters seemed to be very dialogue-heavy, with setting and plot becoming secondary. The tone is very conversational and informal, with your protagonist often directly addressing the reader, with such lines as: ‘You can see where this is going’. This can be quite a risky literary device, so be cautious about how you introduce this.

Another area of concern was the structure. You end chapters on quite a flat note that doesn’t particularly compel the reader to want to read on and turn the page. For example, the ending of your very first chapter closes with: ‘The students accepted me in their midst without question or interest. They possibly judged I was some down and out Seeker, hitching a ride on the Devil’s Footpath’. There needs to be a greater sense of intrigue and drama to really pull the reader you’re your narrative. In contrast, the ending of chapter three is incredibly gripping and dramatic. (Although I did think the opening of the following chapter was anti-climactic given that an entire year has passed.) I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the first chapter of any book is crucial, as if you don’t grab a potential reader in those first few pages, you may well have lost a sale. So further attention needs to be paid to the structure of these early pages.

You also don’t quite emphasise the sense of suspense in your narrative, especially with lines like: ‘I sense we were being watched’, as nothing is really made of this uneasy feeling. For a thriller, you need to inject more urgency and tension into your narrative. You also have a habit of telling the reader what is happening, rather than showing them, such as in the massacre scene. It is almost entirely reported rather than played out for the reader to experience first-hand. You also tend to trivialise the scene, with it almost descending into farce with lines like: ‘You looking for someone, scrotum face’, so again, all urgency and tension quickly dissipates.

It is very important that you not only understand the readership you are wanting to appeal to, but also the style and genre of book you are wanting to write, as this very much informs the tone, plotting, structure, pace and characterisation of a novel. And at times it did seem like you were a little unsure of what kind of book you were trying to write. Editing is a very important process of writing, so when you come to redrafting, try to read as dispassionately as you can, trying to get a fresh perspective of what you were trying to achieve in each scene and if you feel you have succeeded in that.

Natalie, Editor, Pan Macmillian
This post was last edited by ProfessionalCritique, 05 Sep 2012, 00:02
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