When I was at a low point last week, a published author offered to take a look at a section of my work and critique it.
I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. Most people send about 100 comments for the entire manuscript. He asked for just one chapter. I sent him the first chapter. The shortest chapter in the whole series thus far.
I got back an email so detailed and thorough I think it thrust me headlong into shock. I won't relay to you everything therein for fear of a) boring you to death or b) have you read a computer screen until you go blind.
The gist of the email was this:
I've got what it takes, I just can't write.
No one get mad at him on my behalf. This is the stuff I need to hear if I'm ever to improve and, hopefully, get published. I'll quote from the email, so that you might understand:
My biggest problem? Passive voice. This one is going to be tricky for me to fix. I tend to write as I speak. Thankfully, the same said author provided a lovely .pdf book that I can read through to help me fix this enormous problem of mine.
I also tend to tell rather than show. This is something that had me confused for a long time, but I think I've figured out how to get around it.
Also, I write very, very, very long sentences. That one will not be too difficult to fix, I hope.
There were a whole slew of other problems that I won't detail here, but do intend to fix. See another long sentence. Hmph. Fixing this is going to be tricky.
Here's something else I didn't know. Formatting is not exactly what you think. Pressing tab to indent a paragraph is not sufficient! There's no such thing as double spaces in a novel manuscript (which is weird because I distinctly remember primary school in which the teacher insisted that periods are followed by a double space). Another long sentence. Lord help me.
It was incredibly generous of him to take the time to review my work and provide so much help. I am so incredibly grateful. I owe this man an enormous thank-you. Thus, Carlos,
I'm still working on The Osprey and the Crow to submit to competition. At the moment, I have abandoned the edits by a Beta Reader in favour of fixing the formatting. Once that is complete, I'll finish the edits suggested by the Beta Reader, then go over it again, using the knowledge I now possess to tighten it up. Wish me luck!
Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone.