When I sent version 2 of Eternal Night to Katie, her reaction was, “Your book is killing me.” I asked, “Is it that bad?”; she answered, “yes.” That and the panning that followed pale in comparison to the feedback I’ve received about version 3. So far it’s just one email so other emails may give me more positive feedback, but the one email I’ve gotten is so on target that it’s enough for me to at least start planning major changes.
Because of the likelihood of a version 4 that significantly differs from version 3, I’d rather not send the book to any new takers. If you think you can finish it quickly, I’ll make an exception; I emailed the password to UTI‘s RickU because he promised a timeframe of one week. In case you’re wondering, the book has 90,000 words and should be a fairly easy read.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time, I’d appreciate feedback about the first three chapters specifically, because they go with an initial query letter while the remaining sixteen don’t.
Normally, I’d rather not prejudice readers to any particular point of view. But the one email I’ve gotten is very powerful and at the same time very constructive, so I don’t mind prejudicing readers against my writing. As I said, I’m willing to go with what I have so far if future feedback is strongly positive, but that will only apply if the feedback is similarly on target.
At any rate, if you don’t know what to look for when telling me how bad I am, ask yourself the following:
1. What do the major characters contribute to the plot and its setting? Here, major characters are those I refer to by first name, i.e. Roger, Ankhi, Gwen, and Khaled. What are their failings? How could I make them more realistic and interesting, if necessary?
2. Does the pacing of the events make sense? This refers both to the 2020 Presidential campaign and the nascent war.
3. What purpose do the various dialogs serve, in particular the debates between Roger and the people he tries to convince to join his cause? Do they overshadow the plot too much? Conversely, do I treat them too lightly?
4. What other books, authors, genres, styles, etc., come to mind when you read EN? For example, do I come off more as an Orwell or as a Heinlein (to me that spans a great deal of writing qualities, and not because I have something against Orwell…)?