Home » Etruscan pledge » The feedback

The feedback


As I promised, I’m going to tell you in this post what my feedback was on the pages I posted yesterday.

Nobody expressed an opinion about that, although the likes encouraged me!

So I’d love you to give your sincere opinion about what you’ve read. And if you didn’t please, can you do me the favour of doing it? At least the first part? I’m very feedback needy at the moment!

Thanks so much for your time!

Returning to Siobhán’s feedback, she said, first of all, before even I sat on the chair in front of her “You should write in Italian!”

When I sat down she kept saying that no editor, and she said she knows as she’s pretty standard editor herself, would pick me because there would be too much work to do.

She said that some of the sentences seemed taken from Google translator. (I think in English, I swear, but maybe some sentences come out Italian structured unconsciously)

That if I blog in English was ok because blogging is informal speech so different from a book.

Then, like this wasn’t enough, she said that the beginning is intriguing but too long.

Plus that I do description like a guide book and throw them all together into the text.

Sabrina is too stereotyped and not believable and seems taken from the TV. Well actually Sabrina was born as fusion of the other two best friends of mine…and they behave this way for real!

At this stage my eyes were already watering, but I managed to keep talking and taking notes because I didn’t want to behave like a stupid ten years old!

When we were at the coffee break I still had the knot in my throat but I thought that if she told me this kind of things maybe she would be able to help me to sort them out. At the question to what I should do to improve, she said to read. She said she suspected I did it already, which is true, but also that she doesn’t know what else.

I was very sad; a part of me was struggling to keep going and part of me didn’t want to give up.

I don’t want you to take this in the wrong way, but still I didn’t like this feedback. You might say that nobody likes negative feedbacks or rejections, but I felt that this one wasn’t totally fair and put in doubt all the work I’ve been doing for the past six years (all in English by the way!)

She basically destroyed me without giving me a constructive tip or an encouragement or something like that.

I mean, I knew already she would have issue with my language, I’m not stupid!

Also Jane, another teacher, told me that I would have to work very hard on that, but she added that my characters and my suspense building and my dialogue were good.

I don’t want to say that if someone doesn’t find anything positive, she or he should say something nice just to open their mouths, but still the way she did, it seemed a bit offensive and a bit racist as well at some extent.

I mean, saying something like the language is the most important thing for me, and it’s something you pick since the beginning and it is something that cannot be acquired with the time, seemed a bit extreme.

According to this, Joseph Conrad wouldn’t be supposed to be among the classics of the English literature, but despite I hate his way of writing, he is.

Also, said without any highlights, it seemed to say “A part from the language you should stop altogether!”

Don’t ask me again why I don’t write in Italian. I don’t want to, because I want to be published.

I said already that I would love to be published in the old fashioned way.

I respect, deeply respect people who self-publish, but until I’ll have the guy in front of me I’ll never understand if I’m worth it or not.

In Italy is very easy to publish, more or less, you either pay or you know someone. I don’t know anybody, and even if I did I wouldn’t use them for the same reason I wrote you above, and I don’t want to pay because in this way I’ll never know if I’m worth it.

I suspect it’s connected again, yes once again, with my inexistent self-confidence and constant research of approval.

Now my question for you is: what do you think about my piece?  Do you agree with Siobhán? Should I stop writing in English? Should I stop writing all together? Isn’t there any positive aspect?

I’m aware that Etruscan Pledge was my first urban fantasy and I was writing on a theme unknown for me before and most of all I was way too involved in the attempt to vent my feelings, but still I’d love to know your opinion!



16 thoughts on “The feedback

  1. I’ll try give your piece a read at some point today, Franny. I hadn’t actually noticed it until now because my reader gets so clogged and I rarely get to scan through it. 😛

    I’ll put me feelings about that writing in specific on those posts. But, as far as the criticism you received goes, I still think you need some time before you realise that it is actually beneficial. It is actually helpful. And, while it may not be very detailed, you have been told how to improve your writing.

    The main thing you should take away from this is: Read. To be honest, your writing isn’t perfect. I’m not talking about fiction writing as I’m yet to read it, I just mean your general command of English. You misuse words and get them in the wrong order from time to time. It doesn’t happen too much, but it happens, and this makes it clear that English is not your first language. While there is nothing wrong with that, it definitely breaks a readers immersion in your work[r

    So I would suggest two things. First, continue to read English fiction. Focus on recent publications and avoid the classics – their writing is old-fashioned and jumbled, it could actually confuse you even more about sentence structure. Secondly, consider getting books on the finer lessons of the English language. I’m sure there are bound to be books out there on sentence structure which could help you. As for your word choices, get a friend who you know will be critical to meticulously read your work and highlight wherever your English isn’t right.

    Is it daunting? Yes. Is it career-killing? No.

    You will have to work harder than the average English-using writer to get published, to make sure your actual writing is coherent. However, if your writing content is there, then it’s just a matter of making it more presentable.

    I don’t doubt that Siobhán had good intentions with her feedback. It sounds like she was lousy at getting her point across, though. I’ll try to get to your piece at some point today and give you my opinion on it. 🙂

    Whatever you do, don’t give up writing. Write because you love to write, not to get published! It’s clear you’re passionate about writing and love it, that’s what matters.

    On a side note, as I’ve no idea how Listowel actually works, did you by any chance see a talk or anything of the like with the author Dermot Bolger?

    • Hi Sean, thanks for the comment!
      I know I have to work hard and a lot. I’m trying to get a routine with the new guidelines I received form the feedback. This includes reading and most of all grammar. I haven’t done much to be honest, now it’s time to get that damn book back! And if you knew about one of those books about structure it will be too good!
      I’m definitely going to read more, at least I’m going to try, as I’m very slow and I don’t have much time.
      I’m not giving up as writing is the only thing that is keeping me going at the moment. After the crappy period I’ve had so far, since last year, I physically and mentally need it.
      The publishing part is aimed to fill a bit of my self-confidence!
      I’d highly appreciate any advice you would give me, reading any post!
      And I was suggested by a participant of the workshop, to join a writers group. Do you know of any here in Dublin focused on YA or better Fantasy?
      And I had no time to go to any conference, I heard Dermot Bloger during the first publisher day three years ago I think, and he’s gas!

      • I’ve never actually looked into writer’s groups or anything of that nature, so unfortunately I can’t help you in that department. Perhaps you could start going to the NaNoWriMo meet ups this year and the participants might be able to help. I might go this year, could see you there! 😀

        I don’t really know any books that good help you with grammar, but I’ll definitely keep an eye out for you.

        I would recommend use the journey of trying to get published as a confidence booster, not actual publication. It’s so rare for people to get published that it’s really a test of your self-confidence and resilience, as opposed to a way to improve it!

        My best friend is his son and I definitely agree with you there. He’s an extremely funny man!

      • Ah thanks so much. You’re so nice! I appreciate your support!
        I hope to have time to go to the meet ups and in case I always try to do write ins.
        I also try to meet people outside the NaNo, because I find it too sad that we just have to meet once a year! I’m always happy to know fellow writers!
        I might write on the forum and create one, now that I’m thinking about.
        Which genre do you write, you said?

  2. Franny, I am proud of you. You are doing extremely well. My opinion of your book is good. The beginning did not seem too long, and it certainly was very descriptive! I do not think you should give up writing in English. There were a few little flaws, but even natural English speakers will have those. I believe an editor will take you on. And about the character she said didn’t seem real, I’d advise you to ignore that. There is a character in one of my books based off a real person, and some of my beta-readers said I should cut him out because he doesn’t seem believable. In the end, my friend, do what your heart tells you. Self-publishing is a good road to take, but don’t do it only because you think you’re not worth self-publishing. Because you and you book IS worth it. Just keep trying. You can do it. Take it from me, I believe in you.

  3. Hi,

    I’m new to this blogging business so I hope you will be patient with me. Haha.

    I LOVE your part one. You definitely have talent. What I noticed almost IMMEDIATELY is the intensity that jumps off the page. You have the ability apparently to write like you talk. It is so evident. It makes each line exciting and makes me “can’t wait” to read the next sentence. I believe this is an innate talent that you can and will develop. I see a few spelling errors – no big deal. Have to go now but will rad the rest of your stuff later

    I just wrote my memoirs “It’s Hell In The Hallway But I’m Beginning To See The Light.” I never wrote before. What helped me that I think will help you is if you google things like edits that will strengthen my writing, Be a better writer, writing mistakes;, etc. It will pop up with lots of articles. Everyone who read my book before editing thought it was great. BUT these articles showed me little things that make all the difference that literary agents or publishers need to see right away.

    I mention this because your writing is so good and so exciting that you are worth taking this time to perfect it. You have much to offer.

    Hope this helps. Hope you will check out my new blog which is different than yours. It’s different than your but vive la difference ! Need to get lots of comments or likes in order for a literary agent to consider publishing my book.


    • Hi Wendy,
      welcome on the blogging and thanks for stopping by.
      But most of all thanks for your support, you’re very nice!
      I hope I’ll manage to do my best and improve!

  4. I only had a quick look at your writing, but I think that the reviewer was a little overly harsh in her comments. Yes, your English needs a little work, but that should be an easy fix for an editor! It’s just a little re-arranging of words that jar an English speaking reader a little, the meaning is still clear.

    I like the emotion you bought into this piece, and thought it was well done. I’d consider having someone who’s a native speaker go over your work and just highlight the bits that need rearranging, then the emotion and characterisation will be easier to see.

  5. First, I wanted to say that I’m proud of you for handling this the way you did. The feedback from your instructor doesn’t offer any critique or encouragement. In short, her feedback was very insulting. But the fact that you immediately sought additional feedback from others says great things about you as a writer. Many may have walked away for a while. I don’t think I could have handled this very well at all.

    As of now, I’m reading your story again and taking notes as I read. I might not be a published author but I’m more than happy to help, especially in a time like this.

    It’s great that you’re reading though. As you read, your writing skills improve naturally, sometimes without you even noticing. Since you’re blogging, others will notice and commend you on your improvement. You’ll grow more confident and if you ever get feedback like this again, it might not hurt as much. You might reach out here and get useful feedback from writers with something helpful to say.

    Again, great job for reaching out. From what I read above, others enjoy your writing as well. The narrative really grips me and it’s easy to keep reading to the end. I’m impressed. In my completely honest opinion, you’re an excellent writer and will only get better and better.

    • Thanks Kev, you’re very kind and as I said, I’m going to email soon! I’m waiting to go to work now! Busy weekend!
      I hope to become a good writer! And thanks for the encouragement; I didn’t think I handled that good to be honest with you! But then again, this is why I seek other opinion; I hope to have other points of view!!!
      Have a lovely weekend! Hugs!

  6. It’s always good to have another opinion. You know, a two heads are better than one situation. Then again, four or five heads are better than one too, so it’s important to be open-minded when responding to multiple points of view 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

    • I suppose you’re right!
      And thanks, but I’ve been working since Saturday (I’m at the desk at them moment and I’m trying to sort a few emails out!)…I’ll enjoy tomorrow I think!

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