She got three critiques from three different judges.
Each critique came on a form with three different categories:
Areas of Improvement
Final CommentAll three judges had vastly different takes on Goldilocks' manuscript.
One judge seemed to really, really like it. This was probably the mommy bear judge.
Manuscript Strengths: Terrific dialogue - you've got a really good ear! These folks sound very Maritime-y – is that intentional? This is very funny and I enjoyed reading it. You conjure up the small town cheating husband with real credibility & humour.
Areas of Improvement: The sex is a bit more graphic than some readers will like. You've got a knack for hilarious similes but be careful not to overuse it – there are four great examples on the first page alone and you may want to be judicious about them. I want to believe in Lou as a journalist but perhaps this case needs to be made a bit more strongly? Mostly we see her as a last-to-know, angry wife.
Final Comment: Don't stop! This has potential and I hope you press on with it. Will Lou find Lavalife love? Will Jimmy redeem himself somehow? I'd love to know.
One judge had balanced comments, like the porridge that was just right or the chair that fit Goldie's butt perfectly.
Manuscript Strengths: Intriguing opening. Good description, metaphors and similies. Humour and drama intermingle quite well.
Areas of Improvement: Some of the dialogue is inappropriate for the character - for instance, Lou's dialogue seems too rustic/rural for a career writer, and Spencer's is too sophisticated for a four-year-old. (ex. a young child wouldn't say 'woman' or describe eggplant as 'disgusting' or wish that he could be rid of the 'damn backpack' ... and 'flake out' on the couch.)
Final Comment: It's difficult to judge the plot's direction on a small portion of the intended novel: certainly there are good possibilities here, and you clearly have a talent for descriptive narrative that is engaging and entertaining. The characters are interesting and I hope you enjoy continuing to develop them.
The last judge (grumpy old bear) didn't like anything.
Manuscript Strengths: (this area was left blank by the judge. apparently nothing was strong about the manuscript, not even the spelling)
Areas of Improvement: Where are the likeable characters? Jimmy's revolting. Lou doesn't seem to have any redeeming qualities. Aside from extramarital sex, sexual problems (which are described in way too much detail) and needing to have sex, nothing happens.
Final Comment: If you're going to write a story about a dysfunctional family, I'd suggest inventing a town name and not set it in actual small town Ontario.
Um, in her own defence, Goldilocks wants to point out that she stumbled over a name for the town but decided to let the muse take her and keep writing, rather than wasting time thinking of a town name. She figured she'd change the town name in the editing process.
Oh sod it, Goldilocks is me, of course. I just wanted to share what the judges had to say about the marathon. And I'm a little perplexed by the third judge's comments.
Although, seriously, I shouldn't complain. Some of my fellow marathoners got just plain nasty critiques. I mean, terribly nasty. On balance, mine were pretty fair. And I did get a big giggle out of the last judge not writing ANYTHING in the strengths category.
I'm not sure how to take them, though. Do I believe the happy judges? Do I believe the judge that had nothing good to say? Do I find a happy medium?
I'm curious to hear how other people handle their critiques. How much do you "take in" what they have to say? How much do you change?
Must go now. I suddenly have a craving for porridge.