Editor’s Critique: Sample 2

This is an example of the type of critique provided by the Clash of the Titles editor to one of the participating authors.
Hey, XXXX:
I’ll have a look, although technically submissions have been closed for a while. Please remember that the workshop process (even in the form of an email, like this) is brutal, honest and serves the story. Nothing else. No need to be defensive: Everything is in service of the story. Every sentence, object, and person should be there for a reason, and should pay off later in the story. For example:
I think you’d need to start with the other side, the ones watching your last human.
The pacing in the existing version was really slow. Plodding. I couldn’t get up any enthusiasm. I didn’t feel anything, I wasn’t moved. That’s another thing–I’m not looking at stories that don’t have award-winning potential.
Of course, I wouldn’t tell you that if I didn’t think you were capable of it. In the short story format–as you know–every sentence has to move the action through the story, quickly so that the reader suspends disbelief immediately and never realizes s/he is in a story until the epiphany at the end of the story. We must follow the P.O.V. character to h/ir eventual success or failure, in a way that changes the character. My mentor James Gunn, always used to say, “Science Fiction is the Literature of Change”.
Not that your story doesn’t have all that. Not that you don’t know that. It’s the formula I give to everybody–“Keep it light and breezy until you end the universe, solve the puzzle, conquer the monster, find the treasure, win the race or get the girl.” That one’s me. Anyway, I’ll have a read and see what I think, and get back to you as soon as I can.
Best,
–Gil

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