Author Topic: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters  (Read 4051 times)

Offline Kimmy

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Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« on: May 09, 2010, 07:05:12 PM »
One thing they all said, so I know that needs to be changed.  But my group is made up of a couple of older ladies and a few of us thirty-fortyish types.  Today the older ladies both had great things to say about my first 3 chapters, loved them, thought the writing was great (YAY ME!) but the younger ones all had harsher things to say. One said it felt rushed, another said to cut to speed it up (which is it, too fast, too slow?!) and one had some other comments.  Interesting how they saw it differently!  Only adds to that whole 'subjective business' idea.  SO I guess what I wonder is, what do I change, what do I keep?  Their similar comment I will make the change because they all felt it.  But I'm with the older ladies - I like what I have! lol  I think its hard to decide when to cut and when to change based on others' observations.  But I am going through their recommendations now and deciding which changes I think should be made and which things I am not changing.  I feel I am where I want to be, which is why I started querying again.  I am considering all of their comments seriously and making whatever changes I think work.  I kinda feel like I could submit these 3 chapters every meeting and get different advice, and when does it end?  You know?  I think at some point you have to decide this is it, this is my best.  Ugh!
Kimmy :)

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Offline lexcade

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2010, 07:54:28 PM »
two general rules of thumb:

1) if at least three people say the same thing, then that's what you change.

2) you do not have to change anything.  if you're happy with the pace of your chapters, then you don't have to worry about it.

how's that for subjective? ;D
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Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2010, 08:36:41 PM »
Thanks Lex!  I'd heard that you should make changes if its repeated by several people, but little comments here and there you decide whether or not to change.  SO, I am making the change they all suggested but only doing the little ones I believe will make it better!  I love the pic of that dog, by the way.
Kimmy :)

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Offline lexcade

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 09:12:38 PM »
thanks.  :)  that's the closest to a wolf i could find.  i'll have to get a picture of my little fuzzy critter as my avatar soon.  love her to death!

i'm glad that you're not caving to the pressure to change everything to suit everyone.  opinions are opinions, so there's no need to bend over backward.  you have to be happy with what you're sending out.  good luck!   :koolaid:
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Offline Magic_Seeker

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2010, 09:30:06 PM »
Hey Kimmy, I've read that if some critters say it's rushed, but others say it's too slow, you have a different problem altogether. 

 :emb2:  Unfortunately, I don't remember what they said the problem might be.   :crazy:

Here is what's running around the back of my mind:  Go back through and check the details you give.  It might be the descriptions are too vague, or too many/too few modifiers (usually tooooo many).  Hope this helps (and I'll work on remembering that article!)
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Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2010, 09:44:19 PM »
Hey Magic, I was just reviewing the comments. One said that the cuts I made from prior now make the beginning feel rushed. The other said I could cut 5 pages to pick up the pace, but I see now that she also said that the MCs coming together felt rushed right before she recommends picking up the pace.  Its hard to decide what to change and what not to, but I went through everyones comments and did decide that I am making some changes but not all.  Someone commented that a few things seemed like coincidence and its not good, but these things are not coincidence - they happen for a reason and further in the story, so I am keeping them.  I like going to the group, its really interesting to see how different people like and dislike different aspects of everyones stories.  They really make you think.  And some of the suggestions are great.  I stayed later and spoke to one person who offered a great suggestion which I am going to incorporate.  Im glad I found this great group, they are nice but tell you whats what, and that is very important.  I wish we could meet once a week instead of once a month! Unfortunately life gets in the way!
Kimmy :)

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Offline Tabris

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2010, 06:24:17 AM »
Quote
Someone commented that a few things seemed like coincidence and its not good, but these things are not coincidence - they happen for a reason and further in the story, so I am keeping them.




Kimmy,I was in a crit group with a woman who had an answer like that for every critique you made,and here's the thing: it doesn't matter if you have a reason for doing the thing that turned everyone off.  It's a PROBLEM and saying "I know it's a problem, but you'll have to trust me" isn't going to get you very far.  If it seems to an agent or an editor as if Our Lady Of Perpetual Coincidence is the patron saint of the novel, they're going to put it down.  It doesn't matter if you realize on page 110 that there was an awesome reason for the coincidences: they'll have stopped reading on page ten.

the way around that is to have the character say what your readers did: "Woah -- th at's a spooky coincidence!" or "Isn't that bizarre? I wonder why that happened?" and it gets "tagged" in the reader's mind as an unanswered question.

To answer your original question: if you agree with the critiques these people give other people, then trust them for yours as well.  If you found yourself disagreeing with them on others' manuscripts, then give yourself some leeway but still listen.  You don't have to fix the problems they found in the way they suggested, too. 

"Too slow" and "everything feels rushed" don't have to be at odds.  You can definitely have books where nothing happens for twenty pages and then everything happens at once in the next five. 

Good luck.  It sounds like this is a nice group.

Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2010, 06:29:43 AM »
OH, Tab, only one person said it seemed like coincidence, no one else.  My protags cousin dies before the story begins.  I have a comment where the teacher is nice to her the first day of school and says something to her. Then I add "She knew Amanda died. The accident happened in front of her house." - this comment is there only to show that the teacher knew about it somehow. Doesnt matter how. Its not a coincidence or happenstance or anything like that, it had to happen somewhere. But I could change it to say 'everyone knew about Amanda'. The point is, where the accident matters not, I just used that line so that people knew why the teacher was so concerned about her. Then the reader could say oh, I see, shes treating her special cause she knew...but again, I could change it, its not important.  Like, there are no coincidences where she needs a knife there just happens to be a knife next to her on her dresser!  You see? Or am I mixing up what would be a coincidence?  To me since it doesnt matter, its not like a plant or anything for future use. 
Kimmy :)

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Offline clutzattack

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 07:29:16 AM »
If you want another opinion, you know where to get one. ;)

Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 07:30:48 AM »
Thanks! Going out for a bit but will be back in a few hours...
Kimmy :)

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Offline Tabris

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 07:33:15 AM »
The point is, where the accident matters not, I just used that line so that people knew why the teacher was so concerned about her. Then the reader could say oh, I see, shes treating her special cause she knew...but again, I could change it, its not important. 

It's a fairly small city, right? Any student's death would be known to the entire faculty, and most people would have known about it through either word of mouth or because it appeared in the local paper.  I'd be kind of taken aback at the part about it happening right in front of the teacher's house too because it seems kind of weird.

For what it's worth, a family member of mine died at home in his bathroom during his junior year of high school, and three days later nearly the entire school turned up for his funeral. Word gets out.

Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 07:34:17 AM »
Clutz, check your messages, and thanks!
Kimmy :)

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Offline Kimmy

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010, 07:36:44 AM »
I think I'll just take it out then, Tab. As I mentioned, it was only to point out the teacher knew.  Doesnt matter where it happened so Ill just put a line somewhere that everyone knew.  The reason I added that, now that I think of it, was someone commented that the teacher was too babying of Liz and it sounded weird that she offered to take her to the nurse or guidance just for falling. The point was that she was upset because of Amanda and the teacher knew that.  Again, the location of the accident doesnt matter but if it pulls the reader and seems like a convenience or coincidence I can take it out.  I will!
Kimmy :)

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Offline mercy740

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2010, 12:15:58 AM »
Kimmy, I have a different opinion. I'd say go with the instincts of the younger group, because they are your target audience, not the older ladies.

Offline Reprobate

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Re: Interesting crit group differences on my first 3 chapters
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2010, 12:56:08 AM »
go with the instincts of the younger group, because they are your target audience, not the older ladies.

Indeed - I have a few bèta readers, but they all have different specialties and I regard comments according to the specialities. Furthermore, there are non-native speaking readers of my manuscript who 'complain' about the large amount of unknown words, but their vocabulary is more limited than a native speaker's, so that's no wonder. Now if all readers would comment on certain words, that would be different. For instance, I have an Amsterdam gallery owner who gets killed in the first chapter and is henceforth only mentioned by name. However, purely on instinct, I gave him a French name, Claude Dauphin. This became confusing for a lot of readers, so I changed his name to the Dutch equivalent, Klaas Dolfijn. Still a difficult name, perhaps, but it's a Dutch name for a gallery owner in the Netherlands, so it fits better. And changing the name of a minor character is not an issue.
rep·ro·bate
n.
A morally unprincipled person.
One who is predestined to damnation.
adj.
Morally unprincipled; shameless.
Rejected by [fill in the supreme being of your choice] and without hope of salvation.