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Professional Editorial Review/Critique
You obviously spent a lot of time working on your character development. The characters are really well thought out. They all have internal conflicts, and they all change in some way during the course of the novel. This is especially true for your main characters (Lexi, Trey, and Jennifer). I, personally, would have liked to see more in the way of conflict/struggle/resolution regarding the teenage daughter. She was so set against the whole relationship happening because of what her friends/society/etc. might think, and she even expressed her concerns to her parents but was told to not try to be the adult, and then that seemed to be that. She even went so far as to participate in the ceremony.
Was there no more struggle than that? I mean, maybe I was just a more rebellious teen than that, but I, personally, would have acted out in some tangible ways. I know you don’t want anything to take away from the love story. I was just left wondering what happened to Tracy. She was all fight, and then it did seem like she tried to avoid spending time with Lexi – skipping out on the zoo trip to go be with her friends, that kind of thing. But the fight seemed to have gotten knocked out of her, and I just really found myself wanting to know why/how, if you know what I mean? I think fleshing out that particular conflict a little more might actually make the story a little richer/deeper.
I really think you’ve done a good job with this. The story has a very definite conflict in the beginning, and things heat up toward the middle (Trey threatening to leave, etc.), and then everything gets resolved by the time of the ceremony—except for the whole questioning in Lexi’s mind of “Do I go or do I stay?,” but I already commented on that in the document itself, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself. I could not find any plot holes anywhere!
The dialogue was well-written, for the most part. You really seem to have an ear/feel for natural speech patterns and the way people say things. The language was certainly not stilted. I did notice that Lexi thanked Jennifer a lot in places where it didn’t seem really necessary. I found it a bit jarring, but I thought that maybe that was just part of Lexi’s character. That’s why I didn’t comment on it during the editing process.
There were times, as I noted in the document itself, where it was difficult to tell who was saying what. You don’t want to overdo the whole “Lexi said, Jennifer said, etc.,” but you don’t want to “underdo” it, either - especially when there are more than two characters in the scene.
With only two characters, it’s easy to tell who says what when as long as you include a little speech tag every once in a while to keep the reader on track. When more than two characters are present in the scene, you have to keep the speech tags going fairly regularly to avoid major confusion.
This, honestly, is where I think your novel needs the most work. Your characters are great, and their story is fascinating. You just need to set the scene – paint the picture – a little more clearly for your reader. I noted some instances to fix on the document during editing.
You are obviously picturing the story in your head. Write down what you are seeing for your reader. What is Lexi doing when she tells Jennifer she loves her for the first time? Does she reach out a hand to touch her shoulder? Is she nervous, so she fidgets with her hair?
Or how about Trey when Jennifer tells him about her new relationship? How does he react? What changes occur in his face and shoulder muscles (these are the parts of the body that usually show tension the best and your reader will automatically know that he is tense if you tell the reader that Trey’s shoulder muscles are tightening)?
These little glimpses into how the characters are reacting will go great with the speech tags that you need to include. For example:
“Fine,” Trey said, knotting his tie so tightly around his neck Jennifer was afraid he was going to choke himself. (OK. Kind of extreme and possibly inappropriate to what was happening in the scene at the time, but you get the idea. Right?).
Overall, you’ve got a great novel here. It could just use a little tweaking. The conflicts and emotions are real and are relatable even to individuals who are not polyamorous. That’s what good fiction does – it speaks to everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual preference.
My reply: Thanks to him for it and moving forward with the edits to make this a better book overall! Even adding in things that I did not think of! Work - work - work! Once this next edit is done on my side, I think it will be time to let it sail with the publishers and see what they have to say!
So, here is the first review of some one not family or friend, but an editor:
The story was quite interesting. The whole idea of challenging the boundaries of society in this way is a fascinating one. It's not one that's dealt with much in mainstream fiction. Your story is lacking in much rich description. Your conversations are good, but you could do a better job of painting a picture - setting the scene - for your reader. This will draw the reader into the story better and will keep them engaged throughout.
Looks like I still have flushing out to do, which I can so do! I want to make this the best and set it up for a second. I still feel really good about it. So now off to accept changes, add more meat in the description, and fill it out more as I am already sure it won't go far in the competition I rushed it out for.