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I wish I had been able to round up a few beta readers before publishing my novel, THE DREAM STAR. I would have very much appreciated honest, clear feedback on what readers felt the weak points of the novel were. So, that said, I’m going to offer you what was not given to me by my writers groups – truly honest feedback. Here it is:
Initially, I was very intrigued by your story premise and that kept me reading for quite a while, page 26 to be exact. But I found that there were no specific characters that I could ground with. Each time I felt I got a connection with a character, that character died suddenly. I am confused about who the protagonists are. Also, there is so much unexplained about the worlds and their respective cultures that I don’t feel a true connection with any of them. I need to feel some kind of connection with at least one of these characters and see that character grow or change in some way through the story. I want to read on and finish the story but I’m feeling so bogged down with so many characters that are not described clearly or at least in a way that I can get a feel for who they really are and what their motives truly are.
I still think you have an interesting premise here, though. I did get a sense of the Corporation planet and how it reflects our current culture. But I’m not completely sure that’s where you were meaning to go with it. The planet with the two major religious factions and then the sub-factions is confusing to me. Basically, I’m too confused by meeting so many characters so often (and then many of them abruptly die) that I just can’t get dug into the story.
I don’t know you so there’s no way of knowing how you’re going to take this feedback. I really do want to offer constructive criticism and not have my feedback be taken as negative. I think you are an interesting writer with good concepts. I just think that maybe you’re trying to give too much information along with whatever the actual story is. I feel that by page 26 I still am not sure what the story is, where it’s going or which character(s) I am supposed to feel sympathy for. If you could choose one main character or even a few main characters for the reader to connect with right away, I think you could work in all the over-arching back-story and still get across what you’re trying for. Right now, I’m not sure what that is.
I hope this was helpful. I’m terrified that you may receive it as hurtful. But if I had had this kind of feedback on my novel, I believe it would have really helped me to write a better book, so I’m sending this off with my fingers crossed and hoping you will receive it as it’s given. I also send you my very best wishes for your every success.
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I’m grateful you’ve posted your review :-)
When I wrote Notes from An Alien, I knew that the structure would not suit certain readers—you appear to be one of them…
Since I’ve also gotten glowing reviews, the issue is, I think, reader’s “expectation”—I admit the book is not what most readers expect.
I knew this as I wrote it. I also knew I was going to write a collection of short stories that would be more what most readers expect…
Hoping you’ll be a beta reader for those :-)
One last thought:
If you’re able to continue past page 26, you may discover what the structure and plot of the story are attempting to “Say”…
BTW, having characters develop and die is part of the plot-arc—the results of massive war…
The end is worth the pain—in some reader’s opinions…
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