Friday, December 9, 2011

Constructive Criticism

Today my inbox revealed what I have been awaiting for several days:  my instructor's response to my last assignment. 

The Good

"The narrative is intense and evocative, and it’s easy to get caught up in it. The characters and the scenes at the bars are vivid and the dialogue is great. The writing is also quite polished. I did little editing"

Positive responses are great, but I'm looking to get published.  Also, I didn't think this story had a strong finish, and I told him so in my accompanying letter.

The Constructive

"Unfortunately I think [your] intentions were misplaced. This reader, at least, did not want to be left hanging, wondering where your narrator was headed in life. The weak ending makes the story pretty much a cop out. The scenes are strong, but they don’t take us anywhere. You’re narrating a series of scenes or incidents, not really telling a story.

Something has to happen here that changes your main character in some way. We need a moment of truth here, an epiphany of some kind that gives her some new understanding or insight into herself or into her boyfriend or into the way the world works. Something has to happen – either externally or inside her head - that changes things. Otherwise, the story has no point"

Surprisingly, this was refreshing to read.  Just as I thought, my story is weak in it's ending, and this is why.  Later he says that the story could probably be saved simply by rewriting the ending.

Fortunately for me, I already know how I can change the ending.  I know the epihany the main character has and how it comes about. 

My instructor also gave me the option of turning in a revised version later in the program.  I definately think I'll do this.  I want to see if my revision will meet his expectations.

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