Sep 28 2012

Under the Darkened Moon Critiques (Both Good And Bad)

I encourage people to say what they really think whenever they are reading my work in progress (Under the Darkened Moon). I haven’t had it in a formal review setting since I started the live read and final draft process. But, prior to that, I got a lot of feedback from a variety of sources including: my standard review group, writer friends of mine (published and unpublished), and people who I know and who like to read fantasy.

I’m not someone who isn’t willing to let people, whether they liked the book or not, have their say. Here is a sampling of the good and the bad that I got as feedback:

The bad:

“The entire story is not detailed enough to be considered quality epic fantasy. While it has qualities of the genre, I think it does not provide a rich enough world to immerse the reader.”

“The concept of a forbidden love between two utter opposites who are then torn apart … is too cliché to be interesting to me.”

“I found the story, being limited solely to Kyel’s point of view from start to finish, was a drag and caused it to seem too biased.”

“Too much of this story is dialogue driven. I kept waiting for the rich, overflowing world description to emerge and captivate me. I was disappointed that it never happened.”

“Prose is awkward and clunky. Far too complex.”

“Human and elves being at war is too done to death in the world of epic fantasy. I suggest revisiting this and rewriting the back story to something more original.”

“I was bored to tears. There simply is not enough action and the love story aspect was too mushy to captivate my attention.”

“Terrible. Wasn’t able to follow why Kyel’s motivation at all.”

“Utterly void of any emotions. Nothing in this story stirred me.”

The good:

“The story is not simplistic, yet it comes off not being so over burdening as much epic fantasy is these days. I completely appreciated the fact that I was not drowning in information and allowed to simply let the story flow.”

“While dealing with some standards of the high fantasy genre, I think that this story differs enough from the norm to be fresh without leaving fans of the genre feeling like they have been given something other than what they expected.”

“I couldn’t believe how much emotion I felt from the start of the story until the end. And the epilogue simply left me stunned. I expected a happily ever after and got no such satisfaction. Absolutely incredible twist.”

“Love how you did not write a dumbed down novel with a grade school reading level. Excellent work on mixing up the prose and giving both simple and complex sentence structure to push the mood of scenes exactly as they needed to be.”

“I rarely see a book with characters having such clear motivations. All were compelling and I didn’t have to strain to believe in their actions.”

“A great mix of dialogue and description drives this story. I can’t call it perfect, because nothing ever is, but I think you did a fine job giving me a variety of styles of absorb and adapted the style to each scene’s necessary elements.”

“Wonderful. Never was left bored or confused.”

“Best part of the story telling was how you stuck to Kyel’s point of view except for a few short chapters here and there where you delved into the perspective of a historian to give back story. Too many epic fantasy stories cram in too many points of view and the characters never get flushed out. But Kyel is a keen observer. You don’t need to see things though the eyes of the other characters with him as the lead.”

“What you did was great! Unlike so many fantasy novels which are action adventures with romance added as a side bar, you’ve written a compelling fantasy romance with just enough action to keep the story interesting to those who demand such elements.”

Now, why I am I doing this? I am doing this because, as you can see, what one people thought was a “bad” thing, someone else though was a “good” think. So many of these comments contradict one another. This just goes to show you that you cannot account for taste. It is just further evidence that you must write the story you want to write, because you will never be able to please everyone.

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