Over the past two months I’ve been gently revisiting the novel I have been attempting to write, as well as writing down the plot and structure for the rest of the trilogy. As mentioned previously, I sent my manuscript off for assessment, and finally word came back (and not all good naturally).
I have yet to make contact with any agent, as I want to be confident in the knowledge that my story is solid enough to be considered. I have had friends from writing degrees look at it and whilst the feedback has been favourable, I do fear it comes with a great deal of friendly bias. This is my first attempt at writing a fiction novel (and to make matters even harder I’m writing a trilogy) and so my concerns are naturally character development, transition from dialogue to prose, appropriate age range, and I suppose all the mistakes one makes when first attempting to write something on this scale, as well as whether or not I should write more considering it is the first installment of three books.
A tough and honest manuscript assessment is what I truly needed… and boy did I get it. The most important thing that needs working on is my style (really coming across as original). I think there are lots of elements that work, and many that don’t, as well as ideologies/philosophies that demand the reader to bend themselves, which the editor couldn’t quite do. That ultimately says I really need to simplify things more and spread it out across the trilogy. In fact, I started writing with just the one book in mind, which then evolved into three.
I did very much agree with all the constructive criticism the editor wrote in his five-page report assessment, and on that note I would greatly recommend any writer out there to spend the money for a manuscript assessment if possible! The Sci-fi/Fantasy market is a tough one. A short browse through a major bookstore alone clearly shows the competition out there. My style and imagery does needs much work and has to come across more vividly and be consistent throughout. I guess with this latest draft of my book I was holding back somewhat, rather than flowing freely with my expression and execution. Cue, I need to start reading a lot more. I have J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Smilmarillion and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials on hand to help me with that.