Saturday, May 19, 2007

Criticism

So, because I was super-bored today, I typed up a rough rough draft of a query letter, and posted it on a critique site. Now, I know the letter itself was crap, and the responses I got were about what I expected, which actually makes me feel good in a way. At least I'm doing all right in recognizing my flaws. (the first step to preventing/correcting them) But some of the other comments rather puzzled me.

Some of the people didn't like my main characters surname, because it had an apostrophe in it. Now, I could understand if her name was something like Ula'gu'kna'*clickingsound*'gotc'kuk. But it's not, and it isn't even the name they'll be seeing most often, it's her surname. And sadly, I spent a lot of time figuring out why the surnames in my book are the way they are, having to do with lineage in a noble house and everything.

Another didn't think that the names (people, places) "matched" each other. Which, if you are going with an earth reality (french, greek, etc.), they're right, they wouldn't match. But I'm going with a world I made up, in a city that is known for it's blending of cultures due to being a trade hub. And granted, the person making the comment couldn't possibly have known this from the query letter I presented either.

Now, the point they made that perhaps I didn't want to dump all this on an agent right in the query letter is valid. There are places where I can eliminate names to make it less confusing, and let the sample pages or whatever speak for themselves. Still, it's amazing to me what people choose to object to.

Needless to say, this is something I need to get used to. (and I'll need a much better query letter, when it's time)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Why am I the only person who comments on this thing...*snort*

True story...so I took a comparative lit class last semester, focusing on creation mythologies. Perfect for this history major, as a) my emphasis is on early church history and its development, and b) I think other religions are neat and interesting, and comparing sounds like fun. Besides, half of this class was made up of history majors who all had the same idea I did.

I should have realized history majors are a unique breed who tend to write for other history majors. Half of this class was made up of non-history majors, including one particularly snooty Sociology major who thought she could get by with big words and battering her eyelashes. We had to do peer review on each others papers, and on my last paper, I ended up with this twit. So we had a relative topic, which we were supposed to bring three myths into, and compare them under the umbrella of this topic. Mine was very specific, my thesis was that the three myths I chose were all myths from areas that were influenced by the Judeo-Christian paradigm, but despite this influence they retained the essential nature of their own 'pagan' cultures. Her paper....I'm still not sure what the point of her's was, it rambled a lot about nation states and mythology, who cares.

Anyway, so she reads through mine, and first, hates my topic. Says I don't have any evidence to broach this argument, (despite the fact that the point of the paper is my evidence supporting my argument), and then proceeds to belittle my argument by stating obviously I didn't get that I was wrong and all my examples weren't really saying what I thought they were saying. Then she crowned the whole thing by saying that "you use too many quotations in your paper, you need to cut down on it." Apparantly the footnotes gave her a headache.

Anyway, my first complaint on her paper....not enough supporting evidence, and not enough textual evidence to support whichever of her five claims she was making.

Needless to say I thought her peer review was crap. The grammar stuff, sure, helpful, but really. People pick the stupidest crap to pick out, and I really don't get it. It's nitpicky, really.

BTW-I think you can name your characters whatever the hell you want, especially if you worked out a whole naming system. After all, Robert Jordan did that....I'm still confused by most of the names in those books.