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Unpublished writer, but not for want of trying. I started writing on impulse and ejoyed it. I now want to share it with the world, i.e. publish it, but have found that to be a bigger job than writing a novel.

DavidWhite Discussions
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Hello, I'm new to Jerico,enjoying "getting published" month so far and so far quite impressed with t…
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  •  · David, I’ve read it now and I like it. I think if it’s going to be followed by them later in their l…

Hi Nick,

I agree the reaper statue is a real draw, but I do like the crescendo, starting from normality, revealing the fantasy elements one by one and ending with the hook, "what did she miss?"

If you were going to do radical surgery, the Ferrymans' appearance, although obviously germane to the rest of the story, is a distraction to me here.

A great concept and nicely paced, so far, but then IK like slow writing. I agree that the father and daughter need to be doing something more than going to the office.

Hi Miriam,

I think it flows nicely and all the elements sit together nicely.

You can polish a story forever, and I've added a couple more comments, but it is just nitpicking really. 


Good point, maybe I've been lucky so far, I got into it in a roundabout way from a beta reader I found on Goodreads. She is very good, but only does sub-6k word segments. Critting other people's work is a great learning tool, although actually applying it to my writing is another skill I'm only just starting to acquire.

I've also found you can join too many communities, two is plenty (JW and CC). More, and it gets in the way of writing, which is not the idea. Beware of online displacement activities, and get back to the real writing! :)

Added a comment to Titles 

It's fascinating to read everyone's different ideas. I like to start with something. Anything, really, and let it evolve as the story progresses. Top tip is to write it down as it occurs to you. I feel I've forgotten more brilliant titles than I've remembered... :p

Good points. Knowing when you are truly ready is the hardest part, none of us submits work that we think is crap, and feel offended to find out that it is.

I've recently discovered Critique Circle, which not only helps with getting your work critiqued, you have to critique others' work which is a great learning technique. "Peer-to-peer" on JW is great, especially being more UK-oriented, but it doesn't have the numbers of participants or the immediacy of responses. I hope Harry & Co. don't mind me mentioning it.

Re. edits, I've always struggled to count how many edits my work undergoes, I think we're all different and some people are more analogue than digital. For me, I've now found a year after starting to think seriously about submission, a year's worth of intermittent editing a work is barely sufficient. And, external criticism is more important than how many edits you do.

For any debut author, I cannot recommend highly enough the medium of short stories. For a start, it's easier to find people to read a sub-10k word piece than a 70k+ novel. You can do so much more, and get it reality checked in short story competitions, without the depressing process of successive rejections or silent dismissals that you inevitably get from your first novel. You still won't get published, unless you are the one in a thousand genius that doesn't have to worry anyway, but the pain is far less and it teaches you the craft.

I've worked out that to get 41 rejections I'd have to make about 193 submissions. More than 75% can't be bothered to reply. Is this a Covid thing with too many authors or has it always been this way?

Hi Miriam,

This is a nice story, I agree with all of Glyn and Chelsea's comments, especially about the sweating. :)

Short stories mean each word has an impact, and there are a few typos you should correct, the odd mislaced apostophe. Putting "right" in italics strikes me as a bit too lascivious, and out of character. Delia's odd words are odd, but I think repeating them in Toby's thoughts works as a way of giving her a quirky character. 

You describe Toby well, but not Delia. She has a sweet smile, dark hair, curves and freckles. Tobias (or Toby) is believably insecure, he'd note if he'd over or under dressed for the occasion if she turns up in jeans or a nice dress. After using "Tobias", you jump to "Toby". If the thinks of himself as "Toby" then maybe stick to that all the way through?

I tend to go with boring titles, but how about "Hot date" or "Second date"?

Hi Nekolisha,

It's as Kate says, it's more about the issues and perspective being teenage than anything else. I had a similar query recently on the peer-to-peer forum with a number of helpful answers.

Include page numbers. 

Some agents ask for the book title on each page header as well, would you recommend this as standard?

Would you put contact details on the title page in case it gets separated from your letter?

Hi Deborah,

I like the synopsis, it reads well for me. I found myself making notes, so I've attached them. I hope it doesn't come across too picky, I think the synopsis gets the story over well, but shortening some sentences might make it more vivid, if that is what you want.

I like the letter too, I can't see anything I'd suggest to add or take away.


Thanks to Paul and Libby for the help above, I think I've got something I could send to an agent now. Apologies to any agent reading this who recognises my name..... :o

A drowned girl reopens DI Agnew’s most baffling investigation, but now he finds a suspect. Josh lost his wife in a fire, then found old flame Chloe again, and took her sailing. But ghosts are people who don’t know they’re dead, and Margaret thinks she lost Josh in a fire. Is Chloe to be the next victim? Who are the real ghosts?

Again apologies for my efforts at writing a pitch for a book that I know nothing about - hopefully there is something in there that is just a little bit useful...

Thanks Paul, that is exactly what is needed for a pitch critique. Good case for including in any beta readings.

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