Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Constructive Criticism

Tonight I received my feedback from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award contest.

Those of you who follow the blog know that I didn't make it past the second round. One benefit of making it to the second round, however, is that I received some professional feedback from their ABNA "Expert Reviewers".

After receiving my feedback, I thought over what they told me. I had two reviewers comment. The first reviewer tended to be a little more toward the negative (not in a harsh way, mind you) and I feel like had that reviewer been able to read more than just the excerpt, then his (or her) questions would have been answered. I even thought the "poor choice of language" comment was fair to a point. Devan made much the same comment about Chaos Reborn and The Sixth Sword before he left for Iraq. "It's like everything we write. The beginning we stumble a bit, find our feet and by the end we're running nice and smooth."

So my beginnings need a little bit of work. I'll buy that.

The second reviewer left me feeling pretty good about myself. He (again, or she) felt a strong connection with Sam. He felt a little lost geographically, which is a fair comment since I didn't really delve into that much at all other than to generally imply that Sam lived in the cold northern part of Menahra. The best part was the final comment he left, wherein he told me he couldn't really find any suggestions for improvement because he thought it was a well written and impressive piece.

So cool. I have professional feedback on something I've written. Short as the feedback was, I find it pretty very valuable and food for thought. I also concluded that it wasn't so much that the reviewers didn't like my work but that they liked others better. I'm fine with that (well, sort of. Obviously I'd prefer they picked mine) because, in the end, it is a competition and that's what happens in competitions. Someone has to lose.

There are many who didn't make the cut that are posting on the Amazon ABNA boards and seem pretty upset with their reviews. Some of them were pretty harsh from what I've seen.

It's never fun to hear criticism, especially about something as personal as The Crownless King is to me. However, I found my criticism to be pretty fair and, most importantly, constructive. I appreciate that.

I didn't win this year. I probably won't have anything ready for 2011. But I feel like 2012 I'll take a shot at this again unless something better breaks before then.

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