Saturday, April 19, 2014

Reviews of Girl in Motion

I wanted to share this yesterday, but I worked late, then there was some Good Friday after hour drinks to be had, a nap because I was going to a show in Seattle and then I didn't get home until like 1 am. BTW, if you like good music and like good country, like old country (because I'm not a country music fan, but I like me some classic stuff like Americana stuff) and some bluesy country and rock, you should check out Clear Plastic Masks and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Effingfantastic stuff.

Also, while you're there checking those out on Youtube, you should check out my latest vlog, Glamorous Life of a Midlist Author, Episode 3.

Okay, back to these reviews. In a word, they were pretty awesome. The first reviewer was not as glowing as the second and that's fine. I've not read the manuscript in a while and though I disagree in some respects (awkward sentences, it's more of a voice thing, but maybe if I rework them, I'll see the light), I'm sure others are spot on, so here is the first review:

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The author uses good details that add to the emotion of the piece - like the moment when the narrator sees the undertakers rolling her mother out in a black plastic bag with the zipper down the front. The specificity of certain moments in the excerpt allow us to more clearly see and understand the characters. The description of the urn, how Chelsea straps it carefully into the front seat of the car before she leaves - all of these are the moments that make this book seem emotionally moving. I think the author could have more of these moments and further develop the ones s/he already has

What aspect needs the most work?

I think this text could use a couple rounds of editing. There are some awkward sentences, for example: "I slept when she finally died after just three months, and I was glad for it" and "I like how Idgie and Ruth stood up for what was right and by each other in the hardest of times."

I also feel that there are moments where the author doesn't fully develop the scene, character, or dialogue. Often the writing feels like a series of "and then this happened, and then this" without a lo of developed scenes. The strongest moment is when the George's come to take the body, because here we have an emotional scene that has good attention to detail. More moments like this.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

Overall I think this is a fairly strong premise and excerpt - I'm interested in Chelsea and her future with her unknown father. I think it could do well in the Young Adult genre. I do think it could benefit from some more (fairly substantial) editing to further develop the characters and scenes.
 
Review #2:

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

"Girl in Motion" is an excellent portrait of a sixteen year old girl confronting the death of one parent and her attempted reconnection with her noncustodial parent. Having lost my father when I was seventeen gave me greater insight into this topic and to the emotions expressed in the excerpt. The author's depiction of Chelsea's reaction to the undertakers is exacting and could only have been written by someone who has experienced a similar event or who is extraordinarily empathetic.

What aspect needs the most work?

"Girl in Motion" was another excerpt that I found so compelling that I was unable to find any significant weakness needing additional work. The author captured the characters' attitudes and emotions quite well. Individuals' reactions to various challenges and conflicts were genuine and were those most would also experience. If one thing might add to the piece, it would be helpful to know the cause of Chelsea's parents' divorce and the reason for her lack of contact with her father.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I thought "Girl in Motion" was an excellent piece of writing that promises to develop into a fine work of young adult fiction. The situations in this piece are ones many teens confront; the reactions true to life; and the outcome uncertain - as in life. The characters are relatable and appealing. Their resilience is part of the story and their eventual triumph is something the reader hopes will occur. 
 
 Needless to say, I'm very happy with these reviews I've received. You can now
go read and review my excerpt of Girl In Motion here, and I would love if you did because I believe they are taken into some kind of account during the contest.
 
Next step: Top 25 (Semi-Finalists) announced June 13th at ABNA. The Semi-Finalists will be determined by ranking each Quarter Finalist Entry based on the average Judging Criteria score given to each Quarter Finalist Entry by Publishers Weekly. We reserve the right to advance fewer than 5 Entries from each Category to the Semi-Finals if, in our sole discretion, we do not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified Entries.
 
There you have it. 
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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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