There’s no story unless something is out of place

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. Octavia E. Butler

Continue sharing some critique on my books. First one, for my debut #ya novel Dulcinea and The Death Code. 

1. I think, overall, I would simplify the beginning more, shorten it, you need to have some tension and plot points pre fifty pages, and you are right on the bubble. This wasn’t a bad introduction (start) by any means, I think it did really well explaining some of the setting and plot points, but it just wasn’t quite enough. 

2. Pacing is an essential component of a book, and let me tell you, the pacing was fast, really fast, which is a great way of captivating the reader, but there was really no concept of time. Create a better timeline that readers can follow (this all seemed so fast, it felt like it happened in a week: maybe it did, but maybe it didn’t). Readers need something concrete to help them get a firmer grasp on when everything is taking place.

3. With the pacing, comes chapters and chapter breaks. I don’t have much to say here, I think your breaks were in good spots, the chapters were good lengths, the only thing I would suggest is adding some tension at the end of the chapters, even just occasionally, this will push your reader to keep reading. 
In order to hook your readers, I would suggest making THE moment happen much sooner.

4. I absolutely love your tone and voice, it is quirky and fun, and I really think that readers will love this. I found that your voice was strong and constant from beginning to end, normally I find several issues when it comes to this, but I was really surprised and happy with it!

5. This is a very character driven story, and I think it worked really well, I think that your character had growth, and the transition of personalities was done really well. I think all of your characters were sting in their development.

6. I spoke a little about tension above, and I think the book needs more of it, make the stakes higher for all parties involved. Make the reader nervous at times. Remember, if your character can walk away from a problem, your reader can walk away from the book. A great formula to use is to set up your character’s ethical and moral limits early on, show what they will not do, and then put them in a place where they have to do the thing they said they would never do. The key here is that they HAVE to do it, there isn’t the option of walking away.

Essentially, this story does have tension, but it seems so condensed and comes in bursts, I would work on spreading it out more, and introducing some the these elements sooner rather than later.

7. I liked your dialogue, I think the actual words spoken worked well and it flowed really nice. It sounded natural, almost too natural, and I think it is important to differentiate more in the voices between your characters, the characters can get muddled; either be clearer when marking the character speaking or create different tones for different characters.

8. This is an editor’s note but you did have some repetition. There were a  few one liners and excessive words. It is important not to “insult” the reader by over explaining.

9. I really liked the ending, it had action and it was concise, so often authors overextend everything, and make sure all loose ends are tied up with a bow, you didn’t do that, you leave it to the reader to really let the ending sink in and leave some up to the imagination. I think it was incredibly smart to end with things mostly wrapped up, that way it could be picked up as a novel but then shifted into a series if that is the direction your agents want you to go. Overall, I liked the ending a lot and you set yourself up for success. 

10. I found your use of several different fonts and lists and graphics to be fun and refreshing, but it did bring me back to a more middle grade feel and tone.

Seems it was a cool ending, and I added it only 1 week before publishing the novel 😂😂

x x x 

Also sharing one review on my “Absurd” book.
I liked the expression ‘MISH-MASH of literary vomit’ – truly hilarious 😂. I promise to use it in some of my stories in book 2. 

If I could give this, ‘whatever it was supposed to be’, no stars, I would. It was however rude, vulgar, idiotic, yet not in a humorous way by even an iota of truth.
The title does not even give it justice except perhaps the word absurd. Why the author (and I use the term lightly if this tone is any indication of her writing ability) would think this was publishable to the common man or woman’s sensibilities is beyond me. This by far is the stupidest thing I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot, believe me.
I cannot even find the proper words to describe this mish-mash of literary vomit.
Would I recommend it?
What do you think…

I think he is simply recommending it by writing such amazing review, because, well, I’d be curious 😉 to check it out. 

Have a good day ahead! And always remember, some people will love it – some people will hate it. That’s what makes the world go round…

For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That’s what makes the world go round…

Next post – “The Pearl Territory”, ch 16 #dialogue 



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47 Responses

  1. alexraphael says:

    I wold so go to your teaching class

  2. bogpan says:

    Hello, Victoria! Is this a critique of your novels, which unfortunately I have not read?
    Some moments of this criticism are quite strange to me.
    1. “Readers need something concrete to help them get a firmer grasp on when everything is taking place..”
    In my view, тhe critic must speak for the sake of her literary taste. It is incomprehensible why he speaks on behalf of readers.
    For me as a reader it will be more interesting if there is no “specific” to help me. The reader must be respected.
    2. “It is important not to” offend “the reader by explanation.” Right here I see the contradiction. Thought is very accurate.

    Ultimately, readers have the last word.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes, it was a critique of my young-adult-fantasy-adventure novel (that’s why you shouldn’t read it 😂, it is very “girly” lol).
      She probably means – in general & she is the reader, so probably this is the way she is giving her feedback. It was very interesting read. Always fun to get a set of new/different eyes on the novel. Overall: she liked it, but she’s also a female & a young one.
      Considering I didn’t change anything from draft 1, only polished – i see it as a success 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      We don’t know what readers need (or want) tho…it’s true. It’s all very subjective.

  3. George F. says:

    He recommended it by penning the review. Noise drew attention to the “vomit.”

  4. Eilene Lyon says:

    Well that’s some “critique” to end on. Good think you have an excellent sense of humor!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Appreciating any review and I prefer a lot of them & different 😉 than nothing at all 🙂 plus any story/writing style/books is a very subjective thing/experience.

      And I go with a smile thru life 🙂
      What else? Mmm, at least he took the time to explain his views/opinion & I liked some expressions 😂 very useful in my genre 🙂

  5. The reviewer on Absurd obviously gets upset when a book doesn’t follow general convention. I too like the phrase “literary vomit.” I have to remember that for future use. I might alter it slightly to “non-literary vomit” if I truely. wanted to insult an author. “literary vomit” has a compimentary ring to it.

  6. Sorryless says:


    I’ve found that those who do not have a sense of humor are not writers, but glorified readers. You, chica . . have got a double barreled sense of humor. A madly sublime skill set to boot. You’re golden!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      With this kind of support all I can do – is to continue my writing journey ✍️ 🕺… do not forget to add a cup of black coffee ☕️ tho 😉

  7. River Dixon says:

    I’ve said before I want the people who hate my writing to do so with as much passion as the people who love it.

  8. Mr. Wapojif says:

    Octavia E. Butler is terrific, Bloodchild is fantastic. I see most authors just say read as much as possible. That does it. But get feedback from friends and family – properly. Even if it’s negative. You can build from that.

    I write all that as the GREATEST writer in history. Well, a copywriter anyway. The feedback is a big part of it.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Where to start?😉
      I’m reading all my life 🙂 I’ve studied classical literature more than 6 years in uni & I worked as teacher 9 years 🙂
      Next – family & friends. I never read my books to family or friends (in general I don’t have this kind of friends). My family is just not interested… & actually I have only my mum & aunt – they doesn’t understand English… 😂 (good for them);
      plus my husband, he doesn’t like to read 😂 he’s reading sometimes Dan Brown (on vacation only= once a year) because he likes Da Vinci Code 🙂

      If a person is an avid reader – it doesn’t mean he or she knows how to build a story or write a novel. It’s true. But reading is essential…

      Well, agreed, any feedback is a part of writing (only for marketing purposes tho. But considering everything is a business & marketing – we have to go thru it anyway).
      Im (personally) publishing my books without any feedback & I never go thru beta readers. Not because I think I’m “great” at what I’m doing. I’m simply sharing (selling) my view/storytelling because I believe there’re people out there who will love it.
      Of course there are some who will hate it. 😉🤡 They make me to push harder, to create & to sell more.

      More books. More Ray. More fun. 🕺🕺🕺

      Thanks for suggestion & your opinion 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I never read bloodchild I have to say… but I’ll put on my tbr list

  9. draliman says:

    You’re right about that horribly nasty review – it has intrigued me!

  10. Loved the Octavia Butler quote! Her Xenogenesis trilogy is FANTASTIC (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago).

    While the “literary vomit” phrase is amusing, the reviewer seems to be another of those highly annoying, self-promoting armchair critics who believe everyone in the universe wants to know what they think. I do NOT agree that the reader is always right. Just because someone dislikes a book, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s trash or the author is an idiot. Reading a book does not make you an instant expert on literature or the value of someone else’s work. Yes, there is some garbage out there, and it’s all kind of subjective – but really, who died and made readers the ultimate judge?

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Agreed. The reader is NOT always right… Every day reader’s perspective is shaped by a lifetime of experiences. Each of them possesses his/her blend of wisdom, likes, fears, sense of humor, anxieties. In short – it’s like DNA 🙂 it is already there – it is who they are. Of coz if one person doesn’t like it – it doesn’t mean the author (or the book) is “trash”. I think too many readers (people) are trying to judge the AUTHOR instead of the book (or what is inside of the book).

  11. Well said. While everyone has a right to their own opinion, it is not always necessary to share it publicly! Social media sites, and Amazon reviewers, have far too much power and influence. The real kicker is that authors are supposed to keep quiet and just “take it”. It’s a sorry state of affairs, and I don’t see any remedy.

    On the other hand – isn’t it great when someone loves your work and isn’t afraid to say so? I guess we have to take the bad with the good!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Exactly: bad + good = makes a cool compote 😂🤡. It’s fun when people love your stories 🙂 about reviews (especially Amazon reviews) – it’s all pure business. It’s difficult to sell the product tho if you don’t have enough good reviews. Sigh.
      I believe Amazon will grow more next 5-10 years. What’s going to happen after? Who knows… the most important- writers continue to write no matter what because this is what they love 💕 – > so, let’s focus on the JOY of Writing 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    As a consumer I want the book to not only entertain, but to loosen the grips and restraints that everyday life places on my imagination!
    As far as “Mish-Mash” goes, I feel that he has accomplished his goal of bringing attention to himself!
    You are on your way Ray!
    Thank you for great reading!

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Thank you my supportive kinky friend 😸 I had so busy Sunday, I seen your comment but couldn’t type anything until ev 😂

  13. 😮 Omg Victoria that review is so mean and nasty, think happy thoughts <3

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I’m not sure he read it 😂 or maybe ‘enjoyed’ too much, that’s why so angry 🤸‍♂️🤸‍♂️😜

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Thank you 💕💕

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