Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)
- TITLE: Bracktons Secret
By Lyn Churchyard
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Francesca rolled her eyes, âI said this manuscript is rubbish!â
âYouâre joking,â Paul blinked in disbelief, âare you sure you and I are reading the same thing?â
Francescaâs curls bounced up and down as she nodded. âOf course Iâm sure, entry twenty-fiveâBracktonâs Secret.
âIs there some particular reason you feel that way?â
âItâsâŚ itâs predictable.â
Paul looked at her thoughtfully for a moment before responding, âSo, you know exactly whatâs going to happen and how it will end.â
âYes!â Francesca had the grace to blush as Paul raised one eyebrow at her, âwell no, not exactly, but I donât like the MC.â
âYouâre not supposed to like him, heâs a thoroughly nasty characterâbut you have to admit, you want to keep reading to see if he really is a mongrel, or if itâs all an act for some reason.â
Paul was rewarded with one of Francescaâs famous scowls. âI like my MC to be sympatheticâsomeone I can relate toânot thisâŚ stinker!â she slammed her red marking pen down.
Maybe you need to take a break for a while; go for a walk and clear your head.â
âMy head is perfectly clear thank you, and I donât want to go for a walk.â
âTalk to me Frannie, whatâs going on?â
Francesca glared at him, âDonât call me Frannie; you know I donât like it.â
âAnd I donât like it when my best MS reviewer is being irrational.â
âIs that what you think Paul, that Iâm being irrational?â The hurt in her voice was obvious.
âPerhaps irrational was too strong a word,â Paul said, taking her hands in his, âbut you have to admit, your reaction to this manuscript is out of character.â Even for you my dear Francesca, he added mentally.
Francesca looked down at the meaningless red squiggles on the pages in front of her to avoid Paulâs scrutiny. The problem with you, Paul Williams, is that you know me too well.
Theyâd been a team in the manuscript acquisition department of Harribrand Press for three years and had a great working relationship. Francesca struggled at times to keep their relationship purely professional.
âIs the author male or female?â Paulâs question caught her by surprise.
âUmâŚ IâŚ Iâm not sure.â
âYou donât know? Youâthe great Francesca Kindrayâdoesnât know if the author of the manuscript she is reading is male or female?â he clutched at his chest dramatically.
The young woman smiled wryly, âSeems impossible doesnât it.â
âWell, forget that for now. What about the authorâs style?â
âThe style is easy goingâsimple with little doses of humor, but it also has an underlying sense of urgency.â
âIt stays well on track without any narrator intrusion.â
âHow many characters are involved at any one time?â
Francesca narrowed her eyes as she thought. âIt varies, but no more than three.â
âAhh, so they follow âthe rule of threeâ.â
âYes. And yes it starts well, and yes the tension builds and keeps you on the edge of your seat, and yes itâs well crafted.â
âThen why,â asked Paul, throwing his hands in the air, âdo you say that itâs rubbish?â
âI donât know,â Francesca said, dropping her head into her hands, âit feels as though heâs laughing at me.â
âWho? Whoâs laughing at you?â Paul looked totally confused.
âThe MCâŚ the MC in the story is laughing at you.â
âYes. No! I mean it seems as though heâs laughing at me because every time I think I know what heâs up to, he knocks me off my feet and leaves me totally confused as to what heâs up to.â
Paul grinned. âWhat was that you were saying about the manuscript being rubbish?â
âArgh! All right, all right! Itâs a good story.â
âOkay, greatâbrilliant even. All the elements are there; great characters, a story that flows and builds to a point where you just donât want to put it down.â
âAny major problems with it?â
Francesca shook her head, âNothing major that Iâve found so far. There are some minor punctuation errors, but nothing that is going to take much effort to fix.â
âSo, do we say this manuscript is likely to be short listed?â
âShort listed? In my opinion it goes to the top of the list.â
Paul Williams grinned as he pushed himself away from his desk, âI love this job.â
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