Feedback on first packet
I heard from my advisor, Rita Williams-Garcia, a few days ago. Not that I was seriously worried or anything. If I hadn't known her at all before she was assigned to me (or me to her), I might have been wondering if she was wondering why the heck Vermont College admitted me in the first place. But she was one of my workshop leaders, so I knew she liked my YA mystery. I just tried to chill and perhaps drank a little more than usual.
So on to the feedback. We're working totally by email. She sent a letter, about three pages long, in which she responded to some of the comments and questions I'd written in my letter to her. For example, I told her that for fun I was reading Frank McCourt's Teacher Man. (I love his writing. He sounds like he turned into a fabulous teacher.) She said she's read it too and described him as "one of the most natural writers in our time." Right on.
She commented on both essays. She wasn't fooled by the flabby thesis and support in the first essay and asked me to revise it for next time. Okie dokie. But she said she enjoyed the second one. I think she's giving me more credit than I deserve here because she read it as though it were a mystery, complete with clues. It was, as Elizabeth Bennett says in Pride and Prejudice to Mr. Darcy on rejecting his first marriage proposal, most unconsciously done.
As far as the mystery chapters I sent, she offered specific suggestions for revision, like kicking up the language and making some expressions my own. I know just what she means.
The letter also includes her expectations for next time: 15-20 pages of new stuff, revision of a chapter she just read, two new essays on topics of my choice, and a revision of that blasted first essay.
In addition to the letter, she also returned both essays and the two novel chapters with comments in them (using track changes in Word). Some comments are reader reaction like she thought XYZ was going on but realized it was ABC instead. Some remind me of comments my critique group buddies make--"you can do better."
Overall it was really positive feedback. No extra alcohol was necessary to numb any pain.