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Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel Revised and Expanded Edition, 2nd Edition by Sara Paretsky, Hallie Ephron

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Chapter 27

Seeking Criticism and Finding Your Own Fix

“I hated this book! The writing is so dense it is like trying to read pea soup. The characters were confusing and undeveloped, and the plot ... was there one?”

—an anonymous reader reviews a mystery novel on barnesandnoble.com

All of us find it hard to hear criticism, especially after having labored for months and poured heart and soul into a manuscript. We want to hear an unqualified “Wow! Your book is more compelling than Gone Girl and better written than The Maltese Falcon.”

Instead we might hear, “Well, I’m not too sure about the ending.” Or “Why is your main character so annoying?” Or my favorite: “I don’t usually read books like this, so maybe that’s why I didn’t get it. I mean, why ...

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