I receive the critique back for the first 50 pages of my book. There were some good ideas, and some that didn’t quite fit my book. Everyone has their own idea of how to write a story, and her’s were a little different than mine. As she said, use what fits and don’t use those that don’t fit. That’s what I plan to do.
I’m not limiting my asking for suggestions to one published author. I am also asking other writers in and out of the groups I attend for their suggestions. One suggestion from another writer is excellent and right on target. In my opinion, it applies to all books everyone is writing.
He said that my writing needs to let the reader understand what it’s like to be in the situation the protaganist is in from the start. I needed to give background information on the people and places at the beginning. Also, what it’s like to live where she lives and other little tidbits that make the area and situation seem real. It doesn’t work to have someone like Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote) living in a little town in Maine, suddenly ride a trolley in that little town, then have it disappear. If you want to include a trolley, the background of a small town having a trolley must be explained first
He said that when he picks up a mystery to read, he wants to learn a little about the area of story. You need to give enough factual information from the start for the reader to feel like they are there. If it is located in Mexico, include interesting facts about Mexico. Wherever it is located, include interesting info about that area. It will help the reader understand where the plot is going as it develops.
Another thing he let me know is that a writer probably needs to rewrite their manuscript more than once — especially the first book. He went through several major overhauls before an agent accepted him, and then she asked for more changes. We can’t just write a book and expect to have it accepted and sold without many, many changes. As I have heard so often, I know what I am trying to say. But, have I written it so the reader knows what I am saying?
Perhaps that’s why the first critique of my 50 pages missed it so far.