Saturday, October 17, 2009

RNA Feedback

A couple of days ago I received my feedback from the RNA New Writers' Scheme. The response was very timeous (8 weeks from acknowledgement of receipt) even though I submitted only just before the deadline.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity offered by the RNA. The NWS is unique.

I have to admit however to being a little disappointed in the feedback I received. Three and a half pages in which my reader points out a lot of inconsistencies with the characters and the plot, and yet doesn't really mention the 'larger' issues (in my opinion) of structure, character conflict and writing technique.

The opening paragraph points out that my novel is not yet ready for a second read (and clearly therefore not for submission to a publisher either) but then doesn't really say why it wasn't good enough or point out where my writing needs improvement. Apart from some valid points about my hero's motivation and his attitudes towards the heroine, the majority of the comments appeared to be pointing out quite minor (again, in my opinion) inconsistencies. Such as that I had two characters both with names starting with the letter 'A' which would confuse lazier readers, or the hero's job title, or that it's unlikely the characters would take the route around London that I had them take.

Despite re-reading the report a few times I haven't yet found anything much that's positive to take away from it. My first impression was 'oh my goodness, it was so awful she couldn't find anything nice to say' and 'she had to point out these plot inconsistencies because my writing style is just too terrible to comment on'.

With a little distance, I've realised I may have overreacted a tad to start with. The fact that she hasn't commented on my writing voice or style (eg. POV shifts, showing vs telling, sagging middle, boring story etc) must mean that I have the basics okay. Though the little voice of doubt in my head then wonders why the novel wasn't worthy of a second read if these aspects were okay.

Anyhow, I have other priorities right now, so The Playboy Duke's Reluctant Bride is going to be put away in a drawer for a while. Once I've sent off my requested revisions to Wild Rose Press and completed NaNo, I'll dust off this manuscript, make the suggested changes and submit to Richmond, to take my chances with that slush pile once again.

P.S. Oh dear - and I nearly forgot that I have a Presents Contest entry to finish and polish!


  1. Hugs, Romy. I know it's rough, but my understanding is that if they don't mention something it's because they feel it's fine. So don't worry.

    I think you're right to let the ms rest - concentrate on other projects and go back to it fresh.

    I'm still waiting for my report - but have been warned it will take a while, so I'm being patient.

    Good luck with the competition - I'm working on my chapter too.


  2. (Hugs) I think it's great you're onto the next thing, exactly how it should be, but don't forget that competition entry. I'll nag you if I have to :D

  3. Great idea to put this manuscript away and come back to it after you have completed some other writing.
    AS for the critique? It is only one person's view, and the only person's opinion that truly matters is the editor who picks it up from their e-mail or pulls it from the jiffy bag. You have created something unique and that has to stand on its own.
    YOU have to decide how you plan to revise - whether a structured layer by layer, or dive in and free write - but the end book will be something you can be even more proud of.
    And never forget. YOU have finished a book. Published or not. And for that you should be mega proud of what you have achieved. You set the goal and you did good girl. :-)
    Happy writing. Nina.

  4. Hi Romy
    Hugs. I agree - putting it aside for a while might be best AND sounds like you have heaps going on anyway!

    Good luck with your presents entry.

  5. Hi Romy. I agree with the comments above, I reckon if they haven't mentioned something its because its fine. I sent my last years NWS in to the Golden Rose Contest this year, and they give a detailed rating on different aspects, so that might be worth a look next year. Like Suzanne I'm waiting for my this years NWS to come back, with fingers crossed. More about Golden Rose on my blog, I've sent in my presents entry, so just waiting, waiting, and more waiting!

  6. Hugs Romy. I second Nina. The only opinion that matters is the editors.