Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Black Saturday's evaluation...

So I have gone through the editor-for-hire's evaluation of the manuscript and for the most part I am satisfied. I knew there were parts of the draft that needed work. I tend to write like a blindfolded cowboy riding a bronco. Maybe I should take it as a compliment that the bulk of the criticism focused on those areas.

I guess I was looking for more in terms of problems I was not already aware of though. I need that objective opinion to pick out the things I have not noticed. Show me stuff I overlooked.
I made substantial rewrites before the evaluation came back and it looks like I am already on the right path.

To summarize part of the evaluation, I got high marks for style and believability of the characters. The editor did suggest making the manuscript longer or separating some of the plot into a second book.
While my intent is to launch a series, I am juggling too many balls in this one. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the positive points:
"This book is definitely an entry appropriate for the adult side of the [urban fantasy] category and may even get shelved in the horror section at times, along with series like Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan books or the Sookie Stackhouse novels—but that’s a good thing."
There are some gruesome, raw parts in the book. Stuff happens. I am glad it works for grown folks. Last fall when it was suggested that I gear the book for the young adult market; I am glad I stuck to my guns.

I must work on tightening the plot and do some fierce copy editing, but I was encouraged about my prospects after I read this:
"Black Saturday has an immense amount of appeal for its particular take on urban fantasy in that you’ve got the supernatural elements and the just-under-the-surface-of-normal stuff going on that “regular” people consider fairytales, but you’ve done it without falling into all the cliché traps of vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc—and most of all, you’ve dealt with magic and spirits in such a way that we haven’t delved into old, tired “witch” territory and have found new (at least, new to the genre) ways to talk about magic that I think will have very broad appeal."

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away