I was reading a blog on Constructive Criticism a few minutes ago. So okay, so maybe now I should confess how badly my novel did in the ABNA contest. After all, I was way over the moon when it made the quarter-finals, and couldn't wait to tell everyone.
All we quarter-finalists got "Publishers Weekly" reviews, but those of us who failed to make the next cut received them in private. Which is probably just as well. My one begins:
"The writer of this novel simply hasn’t learned how to tell a story," then goes downhill. But at least they called me a "writer," says she, clutching at straws.
"...after the 20th character, the reader begins to lose track..." probably means I shouldn't have had so many people in the story, or else I should've made it clearer who was who. (The review lists the same character as being at least two different people later, so perhaps the latter). "...no motive ever discovered" might mean I didn't make the ending obvious enough. "...no one seems to miss her..." so I should have spent longer here. And "full of clichés and euphemisms..." Ouch!
So, back to the drawing board I guess, but it was fun to compete. Maybe I'll try again next year.