Author Topic: Submitting my novel to a publisher today. Kindly review the opening pages (1164)  (Read 2205 times)

Offline deliriouswriter

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« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 06:30:34 AM by deliriouswriter »

Offline hillwalker3000

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Submitting my novel to a publisher today. Kindly review the opening pages.

So far so good. It's well-written, apart from an over-abundance of adjectives and adverbs. There's also the issue of authorial intrusion in the way you confide in the reader.

Our heroine has pale skin that betrays a disdain for outdoors. . . A tinkle of bells at the door interrupts our examination of our redoubtable protagonist- a man and a woman have just entered the restaurant.

I find this style of narrative hopelessly old-fashioned, but if you have chosen carefully your prospective publisher might not. Good luck, anyway.

H3K

Lin

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To me this feels so detached in this tense.  All I can see is the narrator sitting there, telling me the story.  I am a reader who loves to be in there with the characters and with this, I am just not there.  It's written as I would write a synopsis. I found it a bit old fashioned.  What is right for you isn't always right for the reader.   

Good luck with your submissions.  There will be plenty of them no doubt.  I don't mean that as a criticism of your work, but I am being realistic, that's the way of things. I suggest you send out a batch of them and see what happens.

Good luck

Lin

Offline Oceaxe

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Hi DW. Welcome to the Circle. If you've already submitted this then anything I say will be irrelevant but here goes.

Way, way, way too much description. Too slow and rambling. Unless your putative publisher is getting paid to read it I doubt s/he will read past the first page. You won't want to hear this but you're going have have to look at your writing style if you really want people to read your work. If you are writing simply for your own pleasure then carry on writing any way you like, most of us want to be read by others so we are obliged to take the reader into account. Sorry to be so negative but taking advice now might save you a lot of rejections in the future. Having said all that, this is only my opinion and you are free to take it or leave it.

Nit picks

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Mrs. Berridge bites a smile as she produces her driver's licence from her wallet for the girl’s benefit.
- why a drivers’ licence? Surely a police officer would carry a warrant card (or its US equivalent).

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"Sit," instructs Mrs. Berridge, sliding into the booth opposite Gloria and beckoning a free waiter. "Sit, sit! Oh, Mr. Days, where are you off to?!"

Gloria slowly obeys. Mr. Days, evidently thinking the meeting was over and already halfway to the door, turns. Mrs. Berridge pats the seat beside her, and he returns, looking confused.

The summoned waiter arrives with three menus- Mr. Days refuses his; Mrs. Berridge and Gloria begin to peruse theirs.

"Honey lamb sticks, dry," states Mrs. Berridge, snapping her menu shut. "And a glass of water, please."

The waiter looks at Gloria.

"Chicken sweet-corn soup, pan-fried chicken garlic noodles, chilly chicken with gravy," says Gloria, her eyes rolling up and down the entire length of the menu. "And dumplings..."

She frowns, taking ages to make up her mind. Mr. Days drums his fingers on the tabletop.

"Soya bean," she decides at last, her stubby nose in the air.

The waiter writes that down and leaves for the kitchen.
- this just isn’t going to work! You arrive at an important point in your plot development and then start talking about menus!

Good luck. I hope you stay with us and prove me wrong.



Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Offline hillwalker3000

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I won't attempt to justify the overabundance of adjectives and adverbs, because they are integral to the natural flow of my prose. Flawed or not, I wouldn't have it any other way.

In that case, you're going to find it difficult if and when you find a publisher. There are two reasons for this.

1) The publisher is in the business of promoting books that will hopefully sell in enough quantities to make them a profit. If the writing needs changing to make it palatable, so be it. But they will factor this into their budget. If it needs a great deal of editing, they'll probably decline as the cost up-front will be economically prohibitive.
If you wouldn't have it any other way, then I suggest you self-publish because no editor in their right mind is going to sanction a style of writing they know is intrinsically flawed. Self-publishing means you get to see your book exactly as you imagined it.

2) More words = more pages = more cost to the publisher of physically printing the book.

Personally, I don't see how over-describing can contribute to the 'natural flow' of your story other than slowing it down to a crawl.

H3K

Lin

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I really dont think this novel of yours is finished enough to send it out.  How many drafts have you done?  Only when you get at least five positive reviews here, will your book be ready to roll, that's the way I look at it.  Everything Hillwalker has said about it, I would say the same things too.  You only see your book as you want to see it and to hell with your readers.  This is not the right attitude for any author.

Adverbs slow down the action of the text.  You should make sure that your dialogue reflects the mood of the character without putting in SLOWLY, CALMLY, etc. The occasional adverb is fine, but try and find an alternative where possible.  

I really don't like the tense you are using.  In fact, I hate it.  I can only see the author writing a synopsis. It takes away the mood of the story.  Try writing this in first person or third person past tense. That is the norm these days.  

The summoned waiter arrives with three menus- If you wrote it thus:  He summoned the waiter who arrived with three menus.   I can feel the story so much better.  

So please have another think about your attitudes toward your writing and the way it is written. In my opinion, this work is unfinished. Sorry to sound so negative, but I only want to be truthful about it how it feels to me.  

Lin
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 10:12:17 AM by Lin Treadgold - Author »

Offline Claudia_Witter

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My own openings often end up failing, but as a reader I feel I have better judgement. So I'll tell you how I saw things as a reader.

Now, I know this is going to sound mean, but I have to agree that I'm not sure this story is ready to submit yet. First off, the opening paragraph is all description with no clear protagonist, which immediately lost my attention. From what I've heard, if the agent isn't interested in the first few paragraphs, they're likely to just stop reading, as I did after a few. In fact, when I'm searching for books to buy, if the first page doesn't capture my attention in some way, I'll put it down and move on to another. I suppose it's like this: there are so many books I can buy, and I know I can't afford them all. So if one doesn't "hook" me, why not look for something else? With how many submissions agents get, it's probably a bit like looking through a whole bookstore and knowing you can't buy every single book. If that makes any sense.

There was also the way it felt so distant from the protagonist. I'll read stories where I don't like the MC that much if the plot is good, but my favorite stories all have characters I really love, and with how distant this feels, I don't get to see what your MC is like. Even with the protagonists I like and don't "love," I still know who they are/what they feel.

Maybe consider opening from Gloria's POV and weaving in little bits of description, so the reader isn't overwhelmed.

Lin

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Well... I have to say that as near to perfection is what you need.  Don't just send it out when you know in your own heart that something isn't quite right.  Fix it.  Make your work the best it could ever be.  I prefer to be slow and wait rather than 'marry in haste- repent at leisure'

Good luck though. 

Lin

Offline Oceaxe

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I got what I wanted out of this forum. Thanks once again and best of luck.

You could always hang around and try your hand at criticising the work of others. You never know, you might learn something!
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Lin

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Good idea OC.  x

Offline hillwalker3000

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I got what I wanted out of this forum. Thanks once again and best of luck.

Rather damning. It would have been nice if you reciprocated in the spirit of MWC. You'll get more by sticking around and giving feedback on other posters' work than asking for it then disappearing because you believe your own writing skills have peaked.

H3K

Lin

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Quote: I'm having a couple of friends take a look at it before sending it out for real this time.

I wouldn't advise anyone to do this.  Friends never tell you the truth, they are scared to lose you. 

Beta readers are best - these are people who write in the same genre as you and know what is required. They are people that will tell you ' I'm sorry I couldn't read this book past the first chapter because ...  Or they might say, I loved reading this until I got to Chapter 15 and it all seemed to fade away. Perhaps you ought to try ... 

Be prepared for the reality check.

Friends, however, will rarely tell the truth. 

Just saying, that's all.

Lin

Offline lamont cranston

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LOL. I have some 'special' friends who have no problem being highly critical of what I write.

And of course the 'trouble' is that they're usually right. 

But I don't think most people are as 'lucky' as me.  LOL.

Offline DonaldScranton

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I agree with some of the people here. I'm not a big fan of the "Our protagonist" "Our examination", things like that. I also think some descriptions are unnecessary, for instance, "fleshy fingers". I just don't see at all why that's important.

I am interested in where the story goes and the plot seems like it could be good. Best of luck to you!

Offline heidi52

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And if you want to know the real cause of the decline of MWC you have no further to look than on this thread. Writer comes here, asks people to read and critique their work and NEVER once engages with other writers or repays the favor. At least this one was honest enough to admit that they had gotten what they wanted from the forum. Such manners! And then to come back with a brag update. Just the cherry on the top of that sundae.