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Book Review For "NEW BEGINNINGS"

Below is a judge's review of my self-published book, "Abducted", that I entered into a Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Competition in February, 2017.  The results came in November, 2017.
Below is a brief commentary for your entry in the 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Thank you for participating!

Entry Title: New Beginnings

Author: Sherlynn A. Muckelroy

Judge Number: 12

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

Judge’s Commentary*:

Structure Organization and Pacing The missing land rover makes a good starting point, but what are the stakes if they don’t find it? The sooner the reader knows this, the greater the tension and the more they will be pulling for Dray and Lander to find it. Cally and Avria’s scenes are not nearly as interesting since there are no high stakes involved. Getting the beginning right is key to keeping your readers turning pages. Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Use of passive voice, italicizing titles Cover and Production The images on the front are difficult to see, especially thumbnail size at an online retailer. It seems to indicate a genre but not much about the story. The back cover copy is confusing and generally isn’t written in the first person. The interior print is small and traditionally fiction is in a serifed type for easier reading. There should only be one space after a period. Plot and Story Appeal There is a lot of action in this story and the characters are in danger in various ways. But we don’t know what the stakes are or their goals and motivations. Without those pieces, a series of conflicts don’t have a narrative thread to pull us through. We don’t know what they are aspiring to so we don’t know if they are getting closer or farther, we don’t know how to root them on. Character appeal and development The story is told through Lander but there are things that happen that he can’t see. The best practice is to create a new scene and tell it through the eyes of another character. Otherwise, we as readers aren’t experiencing the story through the characters, we are only hearing them relate it, which weakens our emotional bond and doesn’t let the characters become as fully fleshed out as they could be. Voice and Writing Style It feels like you the author are telling us the story instead of letting us experience it from behind the main characters’ eyes. This is called deep POV. It helps us get emotionally close to the heroine. The most memorable and moving books create an emotional bond between reader and hero. A deeper point of view would do that. How fun to start this through letters with your grandsons! Here are some additional resources I find helpful: Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method is an excellent way to develop good back cover copy. Donald Maas's Writing the Breakout Novel workbook Brandilyn Collins' Getting Into Character Susan Warren's Deep and Wide (you might only be able to get this on her website Lisa Cron’s Story Genius

Though not a very good review (not all will be positive), the judge offers valuable information. From the comments, I will learn what needs to be done going forward with new projects.

Sherlynn Muckelroy

Romance Author

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