Well, I’ve finally gotten myself in a better position with my critiquing swaps by now – I’ve finished the first Nano manuscript, ‘Duty’, and one screenplay. I’ve also half finished reading another Nanowrimo novel.
It’s strange, but it does seem that with a work of this size, how much I can bring on contribute to critiquing tends to depend on how well I can relate to it. ‘Duty’ was a sort of a medieval historical romance that I really liked, and once I got into it I was giving the author all kinds of scribbled comments in the margin of the Word document. I also made a point of going back and reviewing the chapters once I’d finished the first pass, grouping the chapters in terms of the major arcs of the story as I understood them, suggesting what she was doing well, what elements I thought weren’t working well, and how to improve the things that I could see she was trying to do, but that weren’t quite working yet.
The screenplay was a romantic comedy about wrestling fans, which isn’t something I immediately identify with, but the characters and the setup was charming, and I got into the spirit of it by the end, making notes on which jokes I liked and which bits didn’t seem so funny, and what I thought of the character arcs. I also took a stab at guessing what the theme was.
The second novel, though it has promise, also has a few issues in terms of the point of view and the voice, and in the actual layout and format with the way the author has chosen to work with dialog. (Here’s a hint, there aren’t conventional quote marks.) Though I’m doing my best to follow along, a long of my marginal notes so far are either fairly incidental nitpicks, or pointing out bits that I do particularly like. I guess I’m hoping that by the time I’m finished, I’ll be able to put together some notes that will address the deeper issues I see in this draft, more than just ‘you really need to rewrite this to make it easier to tell when somebody’s talking versus something is being described.’)
That’s pretty much all for tonight, except…
I’ve contacted my first winner for the OLB and VB awards – AP Roberts! Big surprise, hehe, as AP’s livejournal has been the only entry in my blogroll for months now.
I’m going to be changing a few things about this blog in the upcoming weeks, and hopefully updating a bit more frequently, so watch this space.