Readers Wanted

As you've probably already noticed, Tiger and Fox ( already has a review by one of the 'house' editors. The review was useful and pointed out some glaring errors in my writing. I appreciate that.

However, the review Sonja gave gives me little information on what she thought about the story itself, other than the fact that she prefers Character Driven stories rather than Action Driven. Well, Ok. I can accept that.

What I really want is for someone to read the story and tell me if it's really worth pushing. I don't want something simple like, "I loved it!" or "It's total crap!" I want to know what works and what doesn't; and if possible, why.

Anyone willing to do this for me?

Hi Vulpine,

I had a quick look at both starts, and though I don't have time to write you a full critique, I'll make a few quick points here.

First, the dialogue -- what little there is -- seems a little flat. This is actually more evident in the rewrite than the original, as the narrative in the original filled in with a bit of colour. Definitely work on figuring out who the characters are -- what motivates them, how they deal with other people, etc. Right now, there's little actual interaction -- the words they say seem mostly intended to move the plot. You want to give us more of them actually reacting to each other -- as if they really are doing the things they are doing, and don't have a story to drive.

More generally, I'd caution you against putting so much focus on how different Tracker is. Tracker is obviously quite familiar with how he is different, so by having the narrator spend so much time and effort telling us about it, it necessarily puts a lot of distance between us and the character. That can work in some stories, but not, I think, in yours. It would probably make your story more compelling if we figure out that stuff by how people react to him, and how he reacts to them. Subtext, in other words.

Finally, in the rewrite in particular, you often explain what people are about to say or do, then describe them saying or doing it. You need to trust us more, to figure things out for ourselves. Don't *tell* us what everything means. If we can't figure it out for ourselves, you haven't *shown* us enough. As storyteller, you are our eyes and ears and nose and skin -- but you want to leave us being the brain, interpreting things, figuring things out. Otherwise, your story will have to work a *lot* harder to be involving.

Hope this helps, or that someone here can help more. Good luck!


Actually, that helps a lot.

One question: in your opinion, which started better, the original or the revision?

There are pros and cons to both. Definitely ditch the stats card that starts the rewrite -- it wasn't helpful. In more general terms, though, there's more action in the rewrite, and that's a good thing. But the original has more life to the writing, and slightly more character development, because of it. If you can find some common ground -- the voice of the original, with more event and less infodump, I think that'll be where you want to go.


Hmm.... So essentially I've worked two extremes. I need to make it clear that Tracker is non-human, based on a fox, in a way that is interesting and easy to read. I tried in the original to do it that way, but Sonja couldn't see any character development within the first four chapters, recognizing (which I had to agree with) that Antoinette was stealing the story. On the other hand, the rewrite focussing on Tracker first makes his differences obvious from the first, which explains why he's so concerned about how people react around him. I guess I could drop the infodump, as you call it, but that could make other things more interesting.

Hmmm.... I think I just got an idea! Thanks!

Don't let me discourage your idea, by any means, but one option on a place to start is further on. One way or another, starting with him at home being called into a meeting is rather mundane. Perhaps, instead, if Tracker and Antoinette meet (sorry, I haven't read that far), start with that meeting. If it's an action scene, you will even have the opportunity to show the differences between how they move, how they act, how they think -- because all of those things come heavily into play when a character is stressed.

Good luck with it.



I haven't had time to read the re-write (though I will try -- but I have school and an illness to conquer so it might take a few weeks), but I do have some suggestions for you:

I know you mentioned you had an idea, so I don't know if this is a moot point or irrelevant, but here are some general guidelines that I've learned. It is usually best to start with a conflict of some sorts. It acts as a good hook to draw people in and provides many opportunity for character development and action.

As for the difficulty at revealing Tracker's unique differences, you could try demonstrating how his vulpine nature affects the way he interacts with his environment (you did this really well in the elevator), or how other characters react to him (an antagonist can be very useful in this respect).

Sorry I can't be more helpful, I just haven't had time to read it.

Actually, Snitschke has done very well for me. That doesn't mean more help isn't useful. I'm trying to find a way to show his personality early on and then when the main story begins show a difference. The original opening had the conflict, but because of the teaser and a full chapter of the second lead, Antoinette ended up becoming the primary instead of the secondary lead, stealing the story from Tracker. Now I've got more of the early Tracker... but I'm making him more self-confident as far as duty is concerned (and hopefully an absolute basket case when in comes to small-talk.) I think as you move deeper into the story you'll see what I mean.

Vulpine, I almost hate to say this, because it seems to go against everything everyone else has written, but... I like it just the way it is! :-D I'm trying to come up with reasons why, but I'm not fantastic with writer jargon, I just found it easy to follow and tempting to 'just read one more chapter' ... *shrug* There were only a couple of places that I was jarred out of 'reader mode' into 'editor mode' by the writing style.

I will do a review and critique if I can work out what to say - or I might just rate it and worry about saying more later.

Okay, we are very new to this forum, but it's not our impression that the purpose here is to learn how to write.

We would see reviews as being just that, reviews to let readers know what the work is like. Not critiques. There are plenty of sites where you can get people to pick over your work. The unique thing here is that it's a directory with reviews like amazon

@team2012: A review is as you say, a commentary on how the reader sees the story. However, a good writer will take a review and try to learn from it. An impartial review is not that different from a critique, after all. If a writer chooses to treat the review as such to improve his writing, there is no rule against it.

I chose to initiate this thread to elicit more commentary and try to improve the story. You may consider a complete story on the internet as a finished work, but I'm trying to get this thing into shape for commercial publication, which means I need to put a lot more work into it. The problem is, most agents won't give you the time of day if you don't catch their eye with a good first draft. By requesting critiques here, I hope to make such improvements that not only do I catch an agent's eye, but his feelings too. I want the agent to feel so strongly about my work that he's willing to put extra effort into finding me a publisher.

Is this wrong?