Thursday, May 20, 2010

Harper Collins Review!!

-added after the original post- In a strange twist of irony, I realized that this was my 100th post. I was wondering what I was going to do for the post, and then it went by without me noticing.
I guess, though, this was way better than anything I could have thought up alone.
-end of edit-

So, I was set up for a mean review. I was waiting. I was waiting, and I was waiting, and I was waiting. I was waiting to be destroyed.
Ripped to shreds.
In fact, I had my Emo Corner all decked out, ready to collapse inside with a pint of ice cream and some really, really bad literature. That way, I could not only gain ten pounds, which is, of course, EVERY sixteen year old's dream, but I could assure myself that not every published author is fabulous. That would mean I, someday, would have a chance.
So, yeah. I was waiting, eying that corner and considering putting some purple pillows inside and decking it out with posters of Alex Pettyfer.

And so I got the email last week. I frantically went over to Inkpop and checked it out--only to see that they'd accidentally gotten the wrong story and posted THAT review instead.
And let's just say...that review was a tad harsh.
So I knew I was in for it.
And I waited. I waited a little longer. The Emo Corner was now fully decorated.
I got the email in sixth hour today. I was in the middle of a game of Scream (a card game that takes a lot of concentration.) I then proceeded to promptly lose the game and try and load the review.
It wouldn't load.
The girls I sat and played cards with were getting annoyed by my lack of playing-ness.
And I waited while it loaded, still mentally eying my emo corner...
And then I got this.
My Harper Collins Review (Yes. It does need to be capitalized) lies below.

It starts:
Oh, wait, let me tell you a story about this butterfly...
No? You don't want to hear about the butterfly? You just want the dang review?
Oh. Fine.
Here it is:

I must commend you for being able to take a subject with the potential to fall into a clich├ęd category, and putting your own spin on it. There were times when I thought I could predict what would occur next within the story; but I was completely wrong – and I liked that. The surprise proffered upon each chapter, each page even, was so refreshing; it made me hungry to learn more about not only the characters, but what would occur to each one of them. The fact that I felt empathetic towards the characters made me create a bond with them, and establish a friendship between myself and these fictional individuals. That is quite a talent on your part.

You do not waste words within your writing. For some, this can be detrimental, as flowery, overly-described narratives are oftentimes favored; however, in your case, the bluntness found within your dialogue, and within your writing in general, is enjoyable. You get straight to the point, making for a very fast-paced, thrill ride of a tale. Nevertheless, you do not rush through areas that need more thorough explanation – for instance, the romantic relationship that builds between Ash and Ky. To be frank, you know when deeper description is desired by the reader, and required to make the story flow more smoothly; and when it is not.

The characters themselves, I feel, is what truly drives the story. While the plot found in ALTERED is engaging, and definitely an intriguing factor, if it weren’t for the characters, I feel that it could, quite possibly, fall flat. Your strong point is the way in which you craft characters that are believable. At no point did I feel that dialogue between them was forced, or that they were fake in any way. They come off as real people that you may bump into on the street on any given day.

Ash is a fantastic MC. Her desire for normalcy, yet fate of anything but, makes the reader feel for her; and, in a way, shoulder some of the burden that plagues her existence. Which is, oddly enough, one of the reasons why the budding romance between her and Ky is such a welcome addition to ALTERED. The thought that Ash may be able to love someone and have that person love her back is truly such a beautiful concept, considering the abnormalities she has had to face alone throughout her seventeen years. And Ky…let’s just say that female readers are destined to develop a crush on him as his character builds from the first pages to the very last.

Though your characters are your strong point; they have the potential to become your weakness, as well. Ash, Ky, Markal…these are memorable characters who can easily stand alone. Not only are they well-developed; they each harbor unique personalities that are not easily forgotten. The problem is the secondary characters – or rather, the volume of secondary characters.

You introduce so many secondary characters within ALTERED that it can be slightly confusing. Many of these characters flit across the pages as nothing more than names – popping up and disappearing without any true development to their personalities or reason for being there. The problem with these individuals being introduced in the first place is that when they did resurface – if only briefly – I felt the need to backtrack to refresh my memory on who, exactly, they were. I feel that these characters either need further development; or should be removed from ALTERED entirely.

All in all, this is a clever addition to the science fiction genre with the potential to appeal even to those who typically turn their noses up at such subject matter for the sheer fact that you have loaded it with humor, in addition to fantastical elements. This is not your typical, everyday, run of the mill science fiction novel; it is chockfull of personality and heart. Great job!

So what do you all think?
The first read through, I gotta say, I was a tad disappointed. I thought I was being patronized, maybe. Surely they were going to be meaner. The problem they pointed at was the problem I recognized. I wanted it ripped to shreds.
And then I realized that these are editors.
They aren't going to be patronizing, because it isn't good business, and that is what publishing is.
And then my mom printed it off.
And I realized that it's over a page. Someone had over a PAGE of good things to say and two paragraphs of bad stuff.

So, I gotta say...
I'm actually pretty pleased.
Back to the editing board. It's actually not that huge of a job--I've actually been working on this for a while...
I gotta say--I'm excited.
More later.


Maggie said...

Dang girl, that emo corner is pretty fancy, but where'd you--OMG IS THAT STRAWBERRIES AND WI--ahem--SPARKLING CIDER?? You have yummy snax? Where are my yummy snax? My corner needs yummy snax...


Um, yes. They did. :DD

You should hurry and edit and then send me another copy of the story because it's been much too long since I last read it and then you should start querying again and then your excellence will land you an agent and then we can SQUEEEEE together and then I'll probably get an ulcer or something and have to lie down but I'll still be VAIR VAIR EXCITED.

That is all. Farewell, friend.

Aspen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aspen said...


Wow! that's really an AMAZING review! you should be so proud, I am!!! ^^

I didn't feel any patronizing, the editor just genuinely liked it!


Oooh and thanks for the accept, nice to finally see your face pretty girl! =D I was acutally on a fan site browsing, and the name "Sam" popped up in the left column. (You know, where they show a few random fans) For some reason I clicked it and thought it might be you on that pic! Small, small world...

but anyways, congratulations again!!!!!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I think it's a great review-and why wouldn't it be? You totally rock! I would be worried they could be mean too, but didn't thin they were mean at all-look at all the good things they say-and they really liked your story and said it was original-which I think is huge! Way to go!:)

Sam said...

Maggie: Yes. My emo corner is beautiful. You should see my happy corner; it's decked out in sparkles.
Dearie, you've read it at EVERY stage. You have it nearly as memorized as I do, I'm sure.
Aspen: Hah, I have this awful tendency to think people aren't truly nice--they just don't want to be mean. However, I don't really feel like that was the case. :P
I am proud. :P It's really cool!
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Hahaha, thank you. Thanks a ton for your help, too.
Actually, that goes to everyone on this blog at one point or another. Everyone has been uber helpful. :)

cipherqueen said...

Honestly? I coulda said the same thing. Your characters run the show. Wish I had that- instead, I have the wish-wash everywhere (still don't know what "good description" is).

Though, admittedly, the revision I'm attempting is pretty darn brutal. I probably shouldn't have been so cruel to my characters.

One chapter. Mental communication only. *crosses fingers*