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Date Posted: 08:36:36 11/26/09 Thu
Author: dea
Subject: here
In reply to: dea 's message, "bad critique" on 08:18:08 11/26/09 Thu

dear Ladies, i need a piece of advice. i've sent my "manuscript" of Heights of Abraham to a group of ladies i met during my holiday to Scotland for beta readers critique, not actually technical feedback, more the feeling about characters, flow, you know. i got the first one, from a Scottish journalist and she practically hated it. she did not like Ashton because his cursing "cheapens" him as a hero in the Romance genre; apparently the expressions i use are highly offensive. and the finale is not big enough for Romance. and my English lacks structure, word order, use and vocabulary are wrong, to the point of disturbing the storytelling; she even advised me to write in Portuguese and have it translated to English by a native speaker. as we say here, ďa bucket of cold water over my headĒ.

you see, thatís exactly what i wanted to have, honest critique by a British reader, though she actually has not said if she liked the story or not. i donít know what to do. explain myself? that it was never meant to be Romance, that it was supposed to be real, with flawed characters. but the story should be self-explanatory, right? can you help me?

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[> [> Here's what I think >>>> -- Page, 13:34:05 11/27/09 Fri

First of all, remember that this is only one person's opinion. Print it, keep it, and then compare it to other crits you get on your manuscript. If several other people point out the same things this lady did (word structure, ending, etc.), that's when you need to go back and look over the book and consider making changes. One reader may not like certain things because of personal preferences, but I would only give those things she pointed out serious credence if several other people don't like them, either. I'm not saying to ignore her crit, but don't take it as gospel. Don't get discouraged because one beta reader isn't a fan. (I have to question her critique, too, because she thought HoA is a romance novel, and that makes me think she didn't read it as carefully as she could have. I never considered it part of the romance genre, but rather contemporary fiction. And Ashton's cursing? Oh, please. What does she think he is, a Benedictine monk? He's a 21st century man, and, like it or not, most people use colorful language from time to time. I think it's unrealistic to think he wouldn't, especially given the things he's been through -- like a WAR.)

I don't think you should attempt to explain yourself, though. I'd thank her for the time she took to read the book, and critique it, which takes a considerable amount of time and energy. I'd tell her I will keep her suggestions in mind, and thank her again.

And then, dea, use what you want of her critique, and discard the rest. After all, HoA is YOUR story. And above all, don't get discouraged. You have a hell of story, and you've done an exceptional job of writing; never forget that!

(Oh, and btw, I didn't think your English was distracting at all. So there's another of my two cents worth. *G*)

Hugs,
Page

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[> [> [> Oh, and one more thing >>>> -- Page, 13:44:49 11/27/09 Fri

I would suggest you let any and all beta readers know up front which genre the book falls into. On almost every crit board I visit, the parts posted always include that information. For example:

TITLE: Carey On
GENRE: Women's Fiction

It gives your reader a better understanding of what you intend in your book, and avoids misunderstandings like you had with your Scottish reader.

Good luck!

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[> [> [> [> I think Page hit it on the nose -- Debi, 17:26:56 11/27/09 Fri

You can't let one crit discourage you, dea. I'd never write another word if that was how I let crits affect me. Some are right on the mark, some are not, but you have to write *your* story and don't let someone else tell you how to do it. I never saw HoA as a romance particularly either, contemporary fiction of something like that would be the best I could come to as catgorizing it.

As I always say with my crits, take what you find useful, ignore the rest. And above all, KEEP WRITING! You have a great voice and imagination and I enjoyed HoA, so ppppbbbttt!!! to anyone who says differently.;-)

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[> [> [> [> [> thanks, Debi! -- dea, 10:36:00 11/30/09 Mon

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[> [> [> [> Page, come inside >>> -- dea, 10:20:31 12/01/09 Tue

thank you very much for your advice and your kind words. i replied to my friend's e-mail, thanking her for her opinion. the only thing i said was that HoA is not Romance, and i was sorry for misleading her and for being offensive in any way. her reply was very nice, i think we're ok. let's see...

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[> [> [> [> [> Oh, I'm so glad! >>>> -- Page, 13:17:32 12/01/09 Tue

It seems like her crit was based on her misapprehension that HoA was Romance, and she critted it the way she would a Romance novel, a very different beast than any other genre. I'm so glad the two of you are okay!

Hugs,
Page

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