1. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Interpreting an editor's feedback

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Nicholas C., Jan 2, 2012.

    I recently received the following feedback in a rejection letter (from a rather established online publication):

    "We look for a special combination of plot, setting, character and emotion, and buy less than 5% of the manuscripts we receive in a year. This story has some potential, but you need to do some serious tightening of the prose before it can be considered for publication. It's rather bloated."

    ... What is meant exactly by bloated prose? I'm guessing a little too verbose perhaps?

    The story has since been published on a different, much less desired publication. If anyone wants to check out a little of it and give me their thoughts as to what is meant by that feedback, whether they agree/disagree, etc.. I would be eternally grateful. :)

    The story in question can be found at:

    http://carnageconservatory.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/by-demons-be-driven/

    Warning: It is in the horror realm and does include violent content.

    EDIT: If this post is in any way against the terms of the forum, my apologies. I'm not sure what the exact protocol is for this situation.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure, of course, but maybe they thought is was a little wordy? I'm glad you got it published though, congrats.
     
  3. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Thanks... although the e-zine it was published at was a non-paying one. I mean it's nice to get work out there, but would rather it be a "real" publishing credit.
     
  4. iabanon
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    iabanon Member

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    Many horror authors have started were you have. Getting some work out there to start with. No payment expected. Bloated means full. Too much. It's too wordy according to that publisher.
     
  5. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I read your short story, Nicholas. The editor is right, it would benefit from tightening. Also, you have a fair amount of 'author intrusion', where you tell the reader what the reader should find out for themselves. And, at the end of the first paragraph, using the band name Misanthropy at the beginning of the sentence makes the usage ambivalent - it wasn't until further on in the story that I understood that Misanthropy was the name of the band. And while you do your best to describe the setting, just listing the band's equipment won't work. I hope my elaboration helps you interpret the editor's work.
     
  6. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Thank you for reading and giving your thoughts :)
    I've since realized (through critiques on a later piece that I wrote) that I have an issue with what you term "author intrusion". I'm trying to be cognizant of it, but old habits don't break too easily :(
     
  7. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Well, you can write the author intrusion in your rough drafts, and edit them out when you polish your work. Just avoid explaining anything directly to the reader when you're writing in Third person.
     
  8. Party Poison
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    Party Poison Member

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    Ah, well that was... nice. The other person could have meant too much detail and not going into other things as much. You plan on writing more horror stories? Being original seems to work good. I go that path. :D
     
  9. MichelleHall99
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    MichelleHall99 New Member

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    I want to be original too. One of the main key when writing.
     
  10. Nicholas C.
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    Yes, I definitely plan on writing more. I have a couple other decent ones (in my opinion) I've done since this one as well. I'm currently working on a novel-length story, but will more than likely write a short story or two along the way to change things up for myself/not get burned out.
     
  11. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    To get any kind of feedback means they gave your piece some thought so that should be congradulated. Bravo on getting it published.
     
  12. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    Well, I started to read it, but it's not really my thing I'm afraid. I have no interest in either music or horror stories, so I guess I'm not your target audience ;)

    That said, I did pick up a little on what the feedback was referring to - some sentences could be tightened or simplified. There are also some instances of awkward phrasing and passive writing. e.g.

    'It was obvious Jason wasn’t the best bass player, and he was quite aware of the fact, thus it was only natural that he hated sound checking.'

    This just doesn't flow particularly well, and it has 4 instances of 'was', which is often considered to sound passive. You could tighten it considerably:

    Jason wasn't the best bass player, a fact he knew only too well, so naturally he hated sound checking.

    Tightening your writing style is one of the hardest but most essential editing skills you need to develop as an author. I'm slowly getting there but it requires a certain degree of ruthlessness and willingness to let go of sentences you lovingly laboured over if they just don't work. Just keep looking for where you can save word count, and pay attention to the rhythm of your sentences - say them out loud to ensure they flow smoothly.

    You'll look back on this story in a year or so and see exactly what the feedback meant :)
     
  13. Mercury12000
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    Too many adverbs, my friend.
     
  14. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Yeah, I know what you mean... I wrote this particular story about 6 months ago, and from the writing, reading, and learning I've done in that time, I can already look back and cringe at some of the prose.
     

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