I haven't blogged since January because I've been a little on the busy side, in fact it's so long since I blogged that I'd forgotten how to access blogger and it's taken me half a day to find a way into my account. My absence began because of a poor book review which got me thinking. Is my novel as good as I think it is? In an attempt to find out I joined YouWriteOn.
YouWriteOn was established, with Arts Council funding, to assist new writers to develop their writing. The premise is simple: members upload opening chapters, or short stories, and the YouWriteOn system randomly assigns these to another member for review. For every subsequent review you receive, you must review another member's story excerpt assigned to you at random. Feedback can be diverse. I tend to ignore a person's feedback if it contradicts the popular viewpoint, but feedback from a range of reviewers helps to get a collective viewpoint of what works well and what needs developing.
Reviewers are asked to give a ratings breakdown in various categories to highlight strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately one unimpressed reader can drastically reduce your star rating. Hey that's life.
Ratings Breakdown: Satan's Whiskers
|Pace & structure|
|Use of language|
|Themes & ideas|
After 5 reviews a story enters the chart system, and the highest rated writers receive feedback from editors of publishing houses, Orion and Random House. So far I've managed to reach number twenty in the charts, which isn't bad considering that thousands of Indie books are available for review. This chart tells me that pace and structure are my weakest disciplines, in consequence I have removed the first three chapters of my novel completely to get to the point much quicker. I've also added more dialogue, as a consequence of the rating system, and re-written the narrative in the first person in an attempt to reach the top 10 and receive a review from one of the major publishers. It isn't unknown for a publisher to decide to publish a top 10 story from this group, but even if that never happens I have discovered how other people view my writing. Here are some of the comments.
I became really involved in this story, which has an element of originality about it. Interesting time for those wishing to indulge in nostalgia and I noted the references to the music and fashion of the day.
I really enjoyed reading this. You write very well and smoothly, with good command of language and setting. Coming from Manchester, the locations certainly brought back memories.
I'm in the age group to appreciate some of the names and places you give us and I found what you'd written to be intelligent and interesting.
Great cover! There's a serial killer in the mix?! I certainly didn't see that coming.
I think you have all the pieces for a good story, and I liked the structure of your opening, setting out with the forming of the group. The way you gave no hint (synopsis aside) of what was to come, had a rather Tarantino feel.
There are some great lines and comedy moments which reminded me a bit of The Commitments,
The premise of your story is really interesting. The murder and discovery of the bodies is particularly vivid and memorable. Don't think I'll forget that for some time
I loved the story and cannot wait to read some more. I particularly liked the opening, which I found very strong and engaging. And then, there is the mystery of who committed the crime against the two drug addicts.
I write therefore I am
I am sure this story will appeal to people who were young in the 60’s. It’s a great background and you write with an authenticity that says, “I was there”. I think it is quite a challenge to combine autobiographical material with such a macabre tale. I was quite shocked as the tale went from what felt like a fairly light-hearted look at the 60’s music scene into an extremely gruesome crime scene
NaomirI have made some serious revisions in the last few months, in fact I've almost re-written the damn thing, but I'm glad that I did. Time now to discover if the revisions have improved the ratings.
If you'd like to give the novel a look while it's still on offer, I have reduced the price to 99p UK and 99c USA for the rest of August. In the Euro-zone it's available for 99c on Amazon.