The Kill Zone is the blog of eleven very talented authors intent on helping new and aspiring writers. Such as myself. Today Kathryn Lillie (see very nice pic at left), is critiquing the first page of my novel, A Bother of Bodies. I knew the review was coming this Thursday because they warn you, which is damn considerate of them.
As any writer knows, in fact, as any artist knows, comments on your work is a very delicate situation. One that must be handled with at least enough objectivity to enable you to learn from any negative comments, and as little sensitivity as possible so that you don’t end up face down in a tub full of chocolate chip ice cream. It was with much trepidation that I turned on my laptop this morning.
Fortunately, Ms. Lillie was kind to me this day.
So were her fellow Killzoners and I am much obliged. And relieved. But it was only a very small segment that was critiqued, and it takes more than a half-decent first page to make a good book. I didn’t win the Poison Pen Press competition, or even make the top four, and since PPP has so many entries to their competition, there is no way they can tell each and every hopeful contestant why their manuscript didn’t make the short list. So, I have to figure the weak spots in my book out for myself.
Or…I can find myself someone called a beta reader. Preferably a fellow writer. And someone I haven’t already abused, like Stan and Dale, who have read and helped me with my flash (thank you very much, again). Someone, say, like, Barb…who is probably too busy editing her own book due to her new publishing contract…or, LindaMS…who is probably too busy moving from Texas to Michigan. I’ve never met either of these ladies but I appreciate their support beyond measure, and their passion for writing, and their beauty and kindness…
Meanwhile I’ve sent a query, a synopsis, and the first three chapters of my book to Carlie Webber, a former agent with the Jane Rotrosen Agency, but who has now started her own business, CK Webber Associates, Literary Management. http://ckwebber.wordpress.com/. Ms. Webber showed an interest in my work during the Bloody Words conference in Toronto last year so I’m hoping she’ll ask for the complete manuscript, and then, even if she turns down my request to represent me, will offer some suggestions on improvements for A Bother of Bodies.
Doubtful, though. So many aspiring writers, so little time. Agents such as Carlie, and Janet Reid, do their best to help by blogging constantly on what we writers can do to improve our craft but they don’t have the time to give individual attention, other than to their own clients.
Which brings me right back to The Kill Zone. They are also taking the time to help, and I, for one, am very grateful.