Got some contest entries back. Needless to say, I didn't win. Ok, one person said, "Don't give up on this project." That would be the extent of the praise portion of the comments, one half-assed encouragement. The rest had pretty integral, sometimes condescending critiques.
I guess now when people ask me how I've written four books in two years while raising two kids I can just say, "Well, they aren't very good."
I'm in that rather shaky, sick-inside state that writers get in when they've had their books lam-blasted by other writers. So where do I first turn for reassurance and help?
The Internet, of course.
The main points of critique--helpful points, actually--were:
1. Put us in the scene, make your characters feel, make us see, feel, hear, smell where they are.
Maug is nodding as he reads this.
1. a. Also, make your characters feel something. How did Kaelin feel when he killed those two bad guys?
This character in particular has a supreme ability to compartmentalize. Guess I need to let the reader know that, and maybe that will fix it. He also was born to kill his enemy, so he's doing what he loves. I guess he was... glad. I'll have him do a little happy-dance (show, not tell) and the reader will catch on. One part I loved though--a criticism about this character that told me I was doing my job right: "Is this a good guy or a bad guy?"
Aww, shit, anyway, anybody can tell you that touchy-feely shit is not for me. But I'll try.
2. Your enemy has no motivation.
AHH, now you've hit upon it. I agree. Why are people evil? Or, in my case, this demon? What is his problem, anyway?
So, I Googled evil. Now I'm learning more about my character, the demon Maliquium, and I'm going to make him one som'bitch.
Power-- Well, the first time he tried to take over the earth he failed miserably. He's sort of been floating around without a body ever since. So... I guess he still wants to hang here. I mean, even with all its faults, Earth is a pretty nice place to live.
Hatred--This is key. We often hate that which we covet, right? He is a parasite. He's got no where else to go at the moment, so Earth it is. But like most parasites he must destroy what he loves and needs.
Greed--As a parasite the means to a decent existence in the world he covets/despises is lots o' money. Conveniently, there is only so much cash to go around and so when he takes it from humans and leaves them penniless and in despair, so much the better. Cha-ching!
Revenge--This is a good, solid motivation, and I think it should be singled out against one character in particular. I think I know who that is and why... bwahahahaha!
Evil is my nature--This is understood, right? He's a demon, for crissake.
My mommy yelled at me and abused me, blah blah blah--Do Demons even have mommies? I think I'll blow this one off.
Now, how's he gonna go about making a place for himself?
Well, we have the ultimate hero: smokin' hot, charismatic, likeable, good. AND his ancestors thwarted my demon at every turn. Sounds like the one to go after first.
Then, we have the Twin brother, smokin' hot, not quiiiite so good, pretty well kick-ass though, and able to do evil deeds while still somehow managing to wriggle his way back into the Hero's inner circle, damn him. This one will be tricky, but he should be taken out neatly with the Hero's demise.
And then we have the various sidekicks. They come at my evil guy from all angles and they know a thing or two. Ugh. Send in the minions.
Ooookay, after a two-hour convo with my friend, touching base with the hubby, an online chat and about three shots of whiskey, I think I'm ok with my critique.
And I know about my bad guy now. Cool!
Oh, and if you're wondering what else I've got on my plate:
essay to submit
a pissy three year old
organizing (codeword for throwing out) toys, etc
start of school (yea for first grade!)
company this weekend
a fading tan
and a partridge on Saturday Night
fooled ya there for a minute, didn't I?