Embracing the Bad and the Good

Hi! Dominique Gibson is back with another post. I didn’t really have any plans to do another post so soon but I felt compelled to do this considering I have received my first bad review for my work, An Orman’s Revenge, today. This bad review came from a critic that read my book for free during The BookLife Prize contest I entered into around two weeks ago. The deadline for this contest is August 31st, 2021. I will provide the link below if you are interested in entering the contest.

Why did I decide to post a bad review? As an author, you have to embrace the good with the bad when it comes other people reading your work. Whether it’s a reader, a critic, or even another writer, An author needs to take the good with the bad and the bad with the good when it comes to the reviews. I just so happen to be one of those people who embraces the bad just as much as I embrace the good. I know that not everyone will like my work and that’s fine. Who cares? I don’t write to please critics, I write because I love what I do, period. If I did write just to please critics, then I would be a very unhappy writer.

Anyways, here is the review the critic at BookLife Prize wrote on August 14th, 2021 that I am just now reading and posting on this website:

Critic’s Report

Title: An Orman’s Revenge
Author: Dominique Gibson
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Audience: Adult
Word Count: 61751

Assessment:

Plot: A dead woman, having been injected with Animan three-hundred, wakes up on Truson, the island where the Ormans and other inter-species beings are hiding. This woman holds an unexplained, powerful attraction for the scientist Ford Mayfield, who wants nothing more than to find out who is responsible for the death of his wife a decade ago. Dominique Gibson starkly outlines this premise in the first ten pages of An Orman’s Revenge, Book 1 of The Truson S.E.T. Series, with little attempt to create a setting or an atmosphere where it might be believable.

Prose/Style: The prose oftentimes feels inelegant and juvenile in both its sensibility and its expression.

Originality: This is a blend of unintegrated themes—werewolf-type beings, undeniable and yet unfathomable love at first sight, a mystery about one woman’s death and another’s identity, amnesia, mad scientists at the clandestine Truson School for Shapeshifters, reincarnation, and murder most foul.

Character Development/Execution: Readers will know these characters only through their actions and their own explicit explanations of their behavior, not through subtlety in the author’s presentation. They need to be more sufficiently developed for the reader to care about what will happen to them.

Score:

  • Plot/Idea: 5 out of 10
  • Originality: 5 out of 10
  • Prose: 5 out of 10
  • Character/Execution: 5 out of 10
  • Overall: 5.00 out of 10

Date Submitted: August 14, 2021

So, That’s it for this post. See you soon.

Dominique Gibson

Dominique Gibson knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she sat down at her plastic table and wrote her first book out of sheer boredom at eight years old. Years later, she decided to go get her Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College Chicago. She is obtaining her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When not writing, she is busy teaching two year olds at a daycare center in Skokie, IL. For more information, check out her website at https://dominiquegibsonauthor.com/2018/06/23/the-journey-begins/ for more information.

Why First Drafts Suck, Part Two

Hi! Dominique Gibson is back with part two of why first drafts sucks. This is something that I think all writers go through in every stage in the writing process. Writing first drafts are the norm when it comes to writing in general. I have heard many stories about authors who have written perfectly good first drafts when it comes to their work but the majority of the time, the first drafts…suck.

In order to back up my theory, I had wrote a post called ‘Why First Drafts Suck, Part One” which details the feedback I received from my professor in my Thesis Writing One class I am currently taking at Southern New Hampshire University. If you want to see the latest post, Click down on the link below for more information.

Why First Drafts Suck, Part One

Now, onto part two of this piece.

The following notes are based on the feedback my professor gave me when I sent the next 10,000 words of A Phiman’s Betrayal to her for the next round of critiques. Enjoy!

Hi Dominique!

So as I said in my announcement about this second go-round, I’m going to do my best to keep my comments this overview with none in the text. I am doing that because I don’t want to overwhelm you while you’re drafting, yet I want you to be thinking about things as you continue forward. I think that this (sort of lengthy) overview will be more useful to you as you go forward and then revise, plus you can see all my comments in one place

Plot: I was a little confused by the beginning with the games. The idea that Operation would help her in her medical field was honestly ridiculous. That really stopped me in my tracks. I can see it being fun, especially for medical students. But as a tool for learning—I just can’t believe it. That, and then later when Shawn decides that a) Jacob should apply for the internship b) that he’d actually get it, and c) that he’d get it that fast are all so improbable as to be ridiculous. There’s no good explanation for why Evita would be out and him in. He has absolutely no medical background or experience so unless they were bribed and they are all corrupt, she wouldn’t be out. And then, why her and not a different internship?

She says she’s late for her interview because she was out having fun. Really? Who would say that on such an important occasion? That’s just not believable. And she’s thinking of Liam instead of what’s going on. I was also wondering why, if she’s got the internship, she has to interview? Is it because it’s renewed and she has to interview each year? Once they put the money and effort into her, if she’s doing a great job as she is, then why would they drop her? It doesn’t make a lot of sense from a business perspective, or a medical one.  

They aren’t taking a lot about who or why someone would attack her and why she couldn’t read them. Nor is there much discussion of her mother’s murder or Jacob’s betrayal. She doesn’t seem to really feel anything. Even when she talks about the kiss, she doesn’t seem to feel much. It’s all told and and on the surface, rather than delving into emotion.

Chapter five doesn’t seem to be doing enough work for you in the book. It needs more conflict and tension to really grab the reader.

Characters

You give her a ticking clock, which is excellent. She has to transform soon. But there doesn’t seem to be follow through urgency. She sees Liam, then Wen, then has the phone call, then goes to class. The ticking clock and threat of her transformation goes away. Don’t let it. 

She and Wen need to dig deeper in their interaction. Once again, Wen feels betrayed, and she may decide to bring up Jacob and ask why Evita felt okay going after Liam when she has a fiance? And if she has a reason to know of the breakup (Shawn no doubt tells her, but she wouldn’t want Evita to know that), then she’d be all over Evita for doing to her what Jacob did to Evita. Evita wouldn’t have any defenses and would feel all that guilt and that would make her back off from Liam even more. 

Evita: As I said above, very little about her is revealed in terms of her inner world, her emotional journey, her conflicts, and so on. It’s mostly told. 

Jacob: I love that he’s suspicious of Shawn and following through on trying to find something out, but at the same time, he’s passive in a lot of ways and lets Shawn run over him a bit. He still doesn’t have much thought for Evita or what he did and it’s only been one day. He liked her and he should feel some kind of guilt and embarrassment. 

Why is he not more angry that Shawn shoves him in a direction he doesn’t want to go and doesn’t listen to him really? He needs to feel more obsessive of Shawn or have some believable reason for allowing it and doing what he has to do to keep Shawn. Or Shawn has to be more manipulative and controlling. 

His interaction with Evita just doesn’t ring true. They’ve only been broken up for a day. He cheated on her and she caught him. He acts high and might and she acts like she’s doing something wrong by confronting him. She needs more fire in this situation. 

Also Shawn says: “Getting into the medical field is way easier than selling real estate.” On what planet? That really doesn’t make any sense. 

I am not sure why Jacob’s psychic powers aren’t working, but it’s wonderful conflict that the don’t. He’s struggling. Does he worry they won’t come back? Or why they are gone? 

Liam: As I said before, his fixation on being the one to save Evita is obsessive and strange. Why does he need to be the only one? Why does he act as if she’s incapable or nobody else should be involved? It’s almost like he’s trying to isolate her, which comes off as more abusive than loving. You don’t want that. 

He starts to argue with himself about whether to get involved with another woman. That’s something to amplify and pull in earlier. 

Why doesn’t he challenge Wen on betraying their secret relationship? He really backs down from that. Jazu says that she’s telling everyone, so he’s got to distance himself and he’s got to be angry about it. He seems the type that would go on the attack when he’s cornered and Wen is trying to corner him. He’d really get cutting, is my bet, which would give her fuel to hurt him in revenge, not just Evita.

You repeat a lot that they are best friends. You don’t need to. Show it and the reader will get it.

Shawn: When he starts to think that Jacob is becoming a problem, he should be conflicted about his feelings and the great sex, v. Jacob interfering. He should be trying to decide what he has to do about Jacob. His solution may be to kill him, but you want to show that he could do that and that he’s dangerous and unpredictable. That makes him really interesting

Wen: I’m still not buying her total insta-hatred for Evita, and why, with Shawn apparently beating the crap out of her, she isn’t angry with him. She’s more angry with Evita and that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me within her character. 

There’s a lot of talk about Evita and Liam being best friends, but it doesn’t seem like it. Their interactions, their conversations, they don’t seem all that friendly. It seems kind of unfriendly a lot of the time and they don’t have interactions that seem to come from long familiarity and friendship. 

Worldbuilding: More concrete, specific detail about where they are and what the place is like is so needed to situate the reader. 

I can really see where  you’re going with this, but right now your characters are a bit on the shallow side and more feeling needs to come through. On top of that, some of your plot elements just don’t hold water and when a reader runs into something that just doesn’t make sense, they will often just stop reading, not to mention leave bad reviews. You want everything to make sense. Plot is a causal sequence of events. A happens because B happens, and B happens because C happens, and so on. There has to be a causal relationship that makes sense to the reader. 

Truth is no excuse for fiction. So things that happen in real life may be true, but a reader won’t accept them as fiction because they don’t make sense. And if they don’t make sense to the reader,  then you lose them. 

As always, if you’ve got questions or would like to discuss anything, let me know and we can set up a time to talk. 

Keep on Writing! You’re doing great.

Dominique Gibson

Dominique Gibson knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she sat down at her plastic table and wrote her first book out of sheer boredom at eight years old. Years later, she decided to go get her Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College Chicago. She is obtaining her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When not writing, she is busy teaching two year olds at a daycare center in Skokie, IL. For more information, check out her website at https://dominiquegibsonauthor.com/2018/06/23/the-journey-begins/ for more information.

Why first drafts suck, Part One

Hi! Dominique Gibson is back with another post. I have been thinking about doing this for a while and since I am on vacation from my current job, I felt like now is the time for me to take advantage of this opportunity to get some posts done. One of the posts I am doing today comes in two parts because part of my manuscript for my thesis class one was broken up into ten thousand word increments for the first course. The second class I am taking now is the same way and we have to have a total of 50,000 to 80,000 words written before I get to the third part of the class, which involves rewriting the book.

So, I decided to do a post on the notes my professor gave me when it came to writing the 10,000 word requirement on the first draft of my fourth book, A Phiman’s Betrayal. Here is what she said about the story in the first round:

Hi Dominique~

I really like the concept of your world. I love that there are rules to magic and shape-changing. I also love that there’s magic in addition to the shape-changing. It’s clear that you have a very good sense of your world and how it works. 

I did have some difficulties, however. The first is that I didn’t get much sense of the world. I think part of the issue is that you’re so familiar with it that you think you’ve conveyed more than you have. I needed more worldbuilding, more sensory detail. I didn’t get a sense of what anything looked like, the smells, the textures, and so on. I needed to be more anchored and you’ve got a really unique world that you need to showcase a bit more. 

I really had a hard time with how dramatic the relationships were. That’s partly because they focused on surface things and not the deeper emotions. E. finds J cheating on her. He’s her fiance. All she seems to focus on is that he cheated with a man. There’s no real sense of the deep betrayal by someone she loved. The questioning of her own judgement. The sense of loss, which, because it coincides with her non-biological mother’s death, means that the sense of loss is going to be HUGE. But she’s only reacting on the surface. And her feelings for Liam seem completely wrong in the context. 

Then when Liam kisses her, right after she’s found her fiance has betrayed her, she doesn’t really acknowledge that she’s doing to Wen what Shawn did to her. That she’s as bad or worse than J because she’s doing the same thing. Likewise, Liam dismisses how he acts, though he condemn’s J for the same behavior. I find all of this difficult to buy. 

Because of the lack of reactions, the emotions and actions they do demonstrate seem shallow and even juvenile. I mean juvenile in the teenage sense of things. Super dramatic and yet over relatively unimportant things. They are missing the important issues

You do a lot of telling rather than showing. I especially noticed it when it came to talking about feelings and relationships. Because these feelings are told and don’t seem to match in terms of actions, they don’t ring true. Then J is upset because Shawn has Wen in the house and immediately jumps to a cheating conclusion. I don’t understand why.  Again, feels more teenagery than not. And because of all the concentration on the potential cheating with everyone, you lose the tension from the threat of attackers and the danger they are in. The death of the mother and the attack on E seem almost like an afterthought. That needs to be more central. 

I really don’t buy the way Liam is with E. It’s fast and given that E has just come out of a relationship, he’d want to comfort her, not move in on her. At least not yet. And he’d have to know that betraying Wen would definitely not go over well. And when he grabs her phone and kisses her, it feels like it’s abusive than not. Controlling. It makes him unlikeable. So does his demands that he be the one to protect her and no one else can help. That’s incredibly selfish and controlling, not to mention arrogant. 

Wen turns on E and L and becomes bloodthirsty really fast. I have a hard time buying it. Again, it’s the shallowness of the reaction. They cheated on me, so I’m going to kill them. It’s way over the top. 

I think you need better motivations for characters and more realistic reactions. 

Some more minor things: You have them use each other’s names a lot. That’s not something people tend to do. I’d reduce that. You also have quite a few random verb tense shifts, spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues. You want to clean those up

You should also have a look at dialog formatting. Only the speaker’s actions and thoughts can be in the paragraph containing the speaker’s speech. When another person speaks or acts or thinks, they need a new paragraph. You’ve got some mashing up and that makes things a bit confusing. 

I know that all these comments may seem daunting, and probably are, but you have a lot of great stuff going on here and you just need to sharpen and bring things out a bit more. Basically it’s drafty, just as it should be.

After you get a chance to assimilate this information, I’d love to have a conference with you via Zoom or phone. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in and we can set it up.

That’s it for Part One of why first drafts suck. Check back in soon for part two.

Dominique Gibson

Dominique Gibson knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she sat down at her plastic table and wrote her first book out of sheer boredom at eight years old. Years later, she decided to go get her Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College Chicago. She is obtaining her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When not writing, she is busy teaching two year olds at a daycare center in Skokie, IL. For more information, check out her website at https://dominiquegibsonauthor.com/2018/06/23/the-journey-begins/ for more information.

Helpful Tips for Authors: Ways on getting an Agent

Hi! Dominique Gibson is back with another post. I recently was scanning through some bloggers website through WordPress and I found an article that I think self-published authors need to be aware of when it comes to grabbing the attention of a literary agent. There are ways in order to do this and I found this article to be extremely helpful for self-published authors who still dream of landing a literary agent. You can check out the link down below.

How to land a Literary Agent for a self-published book

Hope you have a great day!

Dominique Gibson

The Latest Episode of The Bunmens: A Truson S.E.T. Story

Hi! Dominique Gibson is back with another post. So, I usually have a single episode out every Monday when it comes to posting them on Kindle Vella. Unfortunately, I was not able to post this week’s episode for Monday, August 22nd, 2021 because I wasn’t able to click on the date on the for the schedule release date for this week. It would only allow me to post it for this Thursday, August 26th, 2021. The conclusion? I had no other choice but to post this week’s episode to be released on Thursday.

Bummer.

Anyways, if you are still interested in reading the previous episodes until then, click on the link below for more information on Kindle Vella. Episode Eight will be released this Thursday.

Have a great day.

The Bunmens: Kindle Vella

The Bunmens: A Truson S.E.T. Story

Dominique Gibson knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she sat down at her plastic table and wrote her first book out of sheer boredom at eight years old. Years later, she decided to go get her Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College Chicago. She is obtaining her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When not writing, she is busy teaching two year olds at a daycare center in Skokie, IL. For more information, check out her website at https://dominiquegibsonauthor.com/2018/06/23/the-journey-begins/ for more information.

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