Like every other writer, I have a vault where I keep stories I’ve written that have never seen the light of day. Or maybe shouldn’t have seen the light of day. I recently blew the dust off a manuscript (koff koff), thinking this was one I could do something with. It was fan fiction and not half bad, as I recalled. Okay, way back when I wrote it I thought it was crash hot. Which is pretty good. I figured I could change a few names, tweak here and there, and maybe end up with a salable story. It would be fun.
So I opened up the doc and started to read.
And folks, it was AWFUL. Newbie writing 101 FAIL.
So… what was awful about it? Oh dear. Let me count the ways…
Look, when you’re critiquing, you’re suppose to find the good points first, so let’s get that out of the way. The plot was reasonable for what it was. Princess wants to avoid an arranged marriage so has a few adventures crossing the galaxy to a relo’s house, expecting to be safe. There, she meets a dishy alien admiral who was her dead husband’s CO. Sparks fly. He keeps her safe. The end. The spelling was spot on and the grammar obeyed the rules.
Point of view
What possessed me to think we needed her father’s POV? It’s easy enough to establish he’s a conniving prick from her POV. And why do we need the little cameos between daddy and the jilted suitor? We’ll find out the baddies are chasing her soon enough. (In her defence, the writer probably thought she needed to warn the reader that Mary wasn’t safe, and that it wasn’t daddy’s men chasing her, it was the other dude’s. To which this critiquer replies, ‘so what’?)