First she told me what I was doing right:
- Nice voice
- Likable protagonist
- Not a cookie cutter medieval world
- The idea of magic being viewed by the general populace as evil is different from most fantasy books and therefore interesting
- Jess is a character readers will identify with
- It has an easy flow
- Good style
- Good descriptions
So I knew going in that there were a lot of problems with pacing and lack of plot in the middle of the story, and of course the critiquer realized this too. Awesomely she helped me think of a lot of really great ideas including:
- creating another POV (for those of you who have read Spirit Riddled this 2nd POV would be Berta). This would allow me to show some of the events that Jess (my MC) can't experience first hand (Bank Tower explosion) and allow this character to pay a greater role in the story, which is cool. And since she's only a 15/16ish year old girl she's not too old to participate as a secondary POV in a MG book.
- changing one character entirely to make her bad (Basically I'm taking Antonina out and replacing her with a different maid). This opened a lot of possibilities, which includes having someone in the story who is constantly (and visibly) working against Jess and trying to keep her in her old mind set.
Basically the critique was really good because it gave me great ideas about how to fix this story in the middle while still being true to the story. I wasn't afraid to reject the ideas my critiquer brought up that weren't true to the story. There was one in particular that would be a good story but wasn't MY story.
I think that's important to remember whenever a writer gets any critique. I could easily have taken that first idea I was given and made a good story. However, when I explained that wasn't my story, the critiquer and I were able to think of any better ideas--ideas that were true to my story.
So that's the basics of the critique I got. And hopefully, one day when research and school aren't crazy, I'll actually be able to revise it.