Help improve a new writer.

Mark J. Stevens

Possibly a Darkfriend
I am a new author and have published on Amazon. My first an only book is a fantasy written for pre-teen to adult with violence but no overt sex or bad language. If anyone would be willing to review it I would love to hear your thoughts. It is called the Paladin and the Rod and I'll post it as a give away (free book) next month for a few days so you can try it and let me know. I would appreciate any constructive criticism and would be happy to send out a copy of the second book in the series to those who help the most.
Thank you for your time.

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
My first response would be to ask if you'd like to do the same for me - read my entire book, critique it (which would take hours and hours and hours) and, as a courtesy, receive my next book as the only payment. Reciprocity is what makes the writing community go round - if you want people to do this for you, you need to be prepared to put in the time to do it for others....

But I'm not. (Because I already have motley crew of first readers.)

But, also - the time to do this is Before you bring your book out. That's when to get the constructive criticism - before the reviewers maul you instead.

Anyhow, because I'm nice (I am, really, despite the above) I went and had a look. The formatting is off-putting in the first instance, but I can live with that.

3rd line: plane should be plain (plane is an aeroplane)

That aside, the opening breaks so many of the rules - point of view, inciting/hook, info dumping.

Really, really - if you are serious about doing well as a writer, find a critique group and see if they can help. Online I'd recommend the (but they won't look at this, as they disbar already published work), critique circle and

Best of luck with it.

Mark J. Stevens

Possibly a Darkfriend
Jo Zebedee,
Thank you for your advice and time. I appreciate it and hope to find a group to help soon.

To anyone else, I would read your work and exchange my advice for yours.

Thank you all,


Journeyed there and back again
I'm not volunteering (partly because I already have someone's novel to critique that landed in my inbox today), but....

When it comes to spelling and grammar, if Jo says she spotted plain vs plane on the first page, you might like to look into tools such as Grammarly ( which are designed for writers, and are much better than Word spellcheck/grammar check at finding errors, including correctly-spelled but wrongly-used words (like plane/plain). There are various programs available - some are free, some are paid, and some have a free level and a paid level.

Computer programs aren't as good as a real live person (one who knows what they're doing), but they can clear up a lot of the obvious mistakes, and so leave the more complicated issues to be dealt with by real people.

And, what Jo said about getting your critiques done before publishing. It's never nice to have your poor defenceless little story ripped into tiny pieces (then have the pieces set fire to, stamped on, and scattered in running water) but it's far, far better to have it done by a person who has your interests at heart - and privately - rather than by some random reviewer on the internet.

Good luck. :)


Journeyed there and back again
I am a new author and have published on Amazon.
Everybody gotta start somewhere . . . .
Just don't hope for too much, its a tough world out there, particularly for self-publishers . It must have been a wonderful opportunity back in 2008/09/10 or thereabouts when electronic self-pub first became widely available, but I think I just missed the boat (2011) and it has been getting harder ever since!
Good luck!

PS 'Plane' is OK!


Journeyed there and back again
I still stand by Grammarly (or an equivalent), though.

I do a bit of beta-reading/editing, and, seriously, there are better uses for my time than correcting errors that could be corrected by a computer program. Be nice to whoever does your editing - save them the work!

And it should also work in your favour too: if you're paying for editing, you'll probably pay less; if a friend is doing it at mates' rates, they'll get it done faster and be more willing to look at the next one.


A farm boy with a sword
I can't do an edit/critique for you, but if you're serious about improving your craft as a writer, try out these attached tips for writing fiction. Each workshop covers a specific aspect of storytelling or language usage to improve your craft as a writer overall. I hope this helps!

Were you seeking that sort of general writing advice, or is there something specific you're looking to improve?