This past Sunday, the Writer's Digest SFF Critique Forum was lucky enough to have a visit from Ray Rhamey, author of Flogging the Quill: Crafting a Novel that Sells. Ray offered to go over the first 16 lines of a number of our WIPs, including three of my own (TOPAZ SKIES, BADGE OF THE SENTINEL and THE HIDDEN) to judge whether or not he'd turn the page.

He gave some really good, detailed feedback. One of the things I realized through this exercise was that, while I start my novels at the right spot (generally), I tend to be a bit too wordy at the beginning. My set-up and characterization, while good, needs to be better connected to the overall theme of the novel and/or the impending conflict.

For the record, I got an "almost" for TS (with some very encouraging comments), a "no" for BotS (which doesn't surprise me as it needs to be revised still), and a "yes" for TH (which is cool, considering it's in a very early draft stage).

Back to revisions! I'm about to tackle Chapter 11.

Happy writing!