06 February 2012

Alpha Reading

Dear Writer,

First of all, since I am a nice person, let me say that this is not all bad. It’s mostly bad, but not all of it. You employ an immaculate use of punctuation, even if you do seem to adhere to a foreign punctuation system rather than the British English one you attempt (and not with great success, I might add) to write within. Oh, well.

Your entry is too short. The request was, specifically, 1000-2000 words, and at a meager 267 you are clearly not quite there yet. Further, the length of the deadline you were given (which, I might remind you, was extended, twice, and you still failed to meet it yesterday) indicated that you spend considerable time on this. As it stands, it looks a whole lot like the text you provided was composed during a few delusional hours one Sunday afternoon.

If your 267 words had been brilliant words – or at least the order in which you put them had been brilliant – you might have gotten away with it. Sadly, this is not the case. An extended usage of “the”, “to” and – for some reason –“orchard”, diminishes the text further. Do you not own a Thesarus?

Further, the characters are bland and not at all fleshed out. The scandalous accusations your main character and narrator addresses the others with are not sufficiently founded in the plot (if there is such a thing as a plot in your – ahem – “story”). The ending seems pulled out of thin air, and whatever “foreshadowing” you were trying to employ did not hint at anything other than your poor writing skills.

It seems to me that you once wanted to be a writer, but you forgot why, and how. It looks as though you have wasted a lot of time writing other things – academic papers, perhaps? Your structure, language and incredulous use of footnotes indicates that you have forgotten what fiction is supposed to look like.

My soundest advice – apart from giving up writing altogether (but I suspect you’re too stubborn for that) – would be to take your text back to the drawing board (frankly, it never should have left it). There, you have to start over. Really. From the beginning. Find a purpose for your text, and transform it from a “text”, into the story you intended it to be.

I am a fan of sandwiches, even in criticism. Thus let me sandwich in another positive comment at the end. You clearly have a vivid imagination. Use it.

Your Harshest Critic


Tundiel said...

Ooooh... don't be so hard on yourself! Yes, we are our own harshest critics, but therein lies some hope. I suspect nobody else would be quite so harsh. You write good stuff... EXCELLENT stuff. *nods*

Keep writing, don't let your harshest critic put you off. *glomps*

Johanna Garth said...

That's the kind of letter I expected to be written about a masterpiece. You know, to show what difficulties and criticisms the master writer had to endure.

Endure, and then you can showcase this around your own masterpiece!