Since I read so many books last quarter, I decided to pick a novel to critique on Critters. These usually take longer to read than a normal novel, but A) you improve your own writing by seeing what others do and B) it's fun to cut other people down help others.
But I thought the experience was interesting because I got a glimpse of what editors see. There were ten novels on the Critters queue at the time I was looking. They were all crappy (as first novels should be) so I needed some criteria on which to judge them. First, which ones were actually smart enough to click the actual RFDR button? You didn't? Gone. That eliminated half the candidates. Why they didn't click the button is a mystery - maybe they intentionally wanted to you just critique this chapter, maybe they forgot. But I don't care, I need reasons to fire the gun.
Next, read the first page of each. This one's got long paragraphs that are nothing but introspection on character. Critiqueing it would take forever cause I'd be saying the same thing over and over: "This is not the story". Another starts in the middle, so I'm not sure if I'd like it or not cause I can't tell what's going on. This one just doesn't seem interesting. This one looks too complex to read. Then you find the one that's the least of all evils. It says it's YA so that means it shouldn't be that complex or lengthy.
So this is probably what editors go through. They end up cutting a great deal of choices on technicalities alone. After that, its content and its rather easy to see if the book is for you in the first page. It's especially transparent in new writers that have styles that are all over the place. I just hope I know what I'm getting myself into.
Labels: critique, Critters, editors