ABNA reviews up!

I had two readers for Alien Blue in the ABNA contest. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to semi-finals, but I did get these two reviews back, see? And while semi-finals were announced March 15th, the reviews just came back today. Understandable; the staff needed to sleep for two weeks, and April 1st would have been too cruel a day to receive anonymous reviews.

Reviewer 1:

I like the title. Alien Blue has a nice ring to it, and it was fun to find out that it was a type of beer.

So far the story is a bit confusing. 20- something Nina Nesbitt is in town to meet her biological father. For some reason, she is led to a special booth at the local bar, The Caveman. The proprietor of the bar is Bill, who serves the foul tasting brew called Alien Blue to the young woman, before presenting with decent food and drink, along with a story of his life. A tall man with a shaved head who wears torn and bloody cargo pants is also at the bar, though there is some disagreement between Bill and his waitress as to whether the guy should be permitted to stay. Then some mysterious men in suits show up and harass the pint sized town mayor. But wait- this appears to be a flashback. This all happens close to the Roswell, New Mexico.

Characters seem interesting, if somewhat eclectic. It’s rather disjointed, though the promise of a good story lingers just below the surface. I think this could be a good yarn, if reworked a bit.

Reviewer 2:

I have mixed feelings about this story. It is original in concept and seems to be going somewhere. I found after the initial pages read that I was somewhat interested in reading further, but not strongly so. The circumstances are strange and a bit bizarre, and I wanted to find out exactly what was going on.

But mixed feelings. Why? Because the author’s prose gets in the way of his (or her) story. The author almost trips over himself trying to be verbally clever with constant crass colloquialisms, slang, and cutesy similes, metaphors, exaggerations, and other figures of speech. What this does is that it gets annoying. The reader, who just wants an interesting story, has to constantly deal with or interpret these language excesses. Occasionally the author’s efforts to impress are enjoyable but most of the time they make reading laborious. Also, The author’s attitude, as expressed in his narrator’s voice as flippant, irreverent and crass.

So here is a story that has some potential, written by an author with ability and potential, but the language excesses get in the way.

I really don’t know what to do about the reviews. Think about them for a few days, at least. As to the first reviewer, I’m having trouble with the beginning, true – I don’t remember how many beginnings I’ve tried out. It is disjointed. Some creative criticism would have been nice – okay, but how might I fix it?

The second review was just frustrating. Maybe it’s just not the story for that reader. I’ve been told many times that you shouldn’t confuse the author with the narrator, so that sets me off, and I had a hard time taking the review seriously. Also – does the reader just want an interesting story? Really? And the language and the smartass narrator are features, not bugs. I feel like the reviewer didn’t even want me to try to write the book I wanted to write. “Not appropriate!”

But I don’t feel like I was robbed or anything; fair dinkum. I’ll probably do it again, barring instant-overnight-how-long-have-I-been-doing-this?!? stardom.




Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage.


  1. Artillery MKV

    Not having read your manuscript I can’t give you MY biased opinion, but I do think both reviews have done their job . .gotten you thinking about your work.

    I’d strongly suggest finding someone (preferably a few someones) to do some face to face reviewing with.

    As easy as it is to emphasize the bad part of the reviews, both reviewed LIKED your work despite their criticisms. That means you’ve hit something. A total rewrite isn’t warranted, simply editing . .you know, the hard part.


  2. DeAnna

    Ha! Good point.

    I do have a writer group, but while we agree on the first bit being not quite there yet, no magic solutions have yet presented themselves.

    Currently studying various writers’ beginnings…

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