Pain in the Edit …

There is always a need for constructive criticism, I have no qualms with this. It is, however a very difficult process for a writer. As a writer I am a story teller and much of my story telling comes from my heart and mind and soul. So to objectively look at the work one has done and allow another to critique it, is a very difficult and painful experience. I had the opportunity, nay the privilege, to hear back from my fellow writers concerning some of my work.

My confidence had swelled greatly upon finishing my novel and for some odd reason this gave me a feeling of invincibility. My fellow writers were kind enough to deflate that notion this past week. As I worked on a side project in the Legends of Vandor and my query letter for Kodiak, I came to the sudden realization that no writer, big or small, can rest on his or her laurels.

In regards to the Legend of Vandor project, I had my own reservations about parts of the writing that were confirmed by my fellow writers, but it was a harsh realization to have those reservations confirmed. I am not a fan of being an offensive or chauvinistic writer, but apparently it was bleeding through into the Legends of Vandor story. I realize that writing in a Dark Ages setting it is easy to go too far into the accepted view of the time period. My focus was intended to be horror and dark fantasy, but I think in parts it went awry.

On another note, I struggled pretty hard with my query letter; I am happy with it now, but it went through at least twelve different versions, before I was happy. Then I realized I had already queried around six or seven agents prior to revising the query. This left me with another bit of an odd feeling, like when you get punched in the gut and your stomach grumbles in pain for an hour or so. I think, however, that this pain is necessary. The old adage, No pain, no gain, does not just apply to exercise. I eventually came out the other side and managed to finish my query and submit it to another agent. For those interested I have posted the query below:

Dear, X,

According to X, you are looking for Science Fiction; thus I am excited to introduce my work, Kodiak.

In the year 2972, the Energized Xeno-Organics, designated as EXOs, have escaped from the prison Abel Cain created to keep them from conquering the system. Now, more than a decade later, Cain lives on the edge of charted space making his way as a pirate; with him is, his brother in arms, Zee.

The Exodus Fleet Naval Force (EFNF) sends Echo Shade to enlist Cain and Zee’s help, but neither want to get embroiled in another conflict led by the EFNF; that is, until Captain Shade is in trouble. After a daring rescue, Cain’s ship is damaged and he must find a way to repair the ship and decide what to do about Echo. Cain does not like the idea of having an EFNF pilot on his ship, but he struggles with the idea of simply leaving her to die. In a rare stroke of altruism, Abel decides to help Captain Shade get home. Echo, on the other hand, is all too happy to remain by Cain’s side; she knows he has the knowledge to beat the EXOs once and for all.

Meanwhile, the EXO Prime (leader of the EXOs) seeks vengeance against Cain and Zee for his imprisonment. In a chase across space, Cain must elude the clutches of the EXO Prime while deciding whether to give in to altruism or feed his rebellious nature.

Kodiak is my first novel, which I completed this past April. I have already begun writing the sequel, Atlas. At 75,000 words, Kodiak is an adult science fiction novel with series potential. It is written in similar style to the Omega Force series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


DJ Morand

The According to X part of the beginning I change and personalize. I like to know about the agents I am submitting to and I like them to know I have looked into their credentials as well. It is, essentially, a job interview. I want to know as much about them as I possibly can.

On a final note, I’d like to give a huge thank you to Princess Kick-Ass for suggesting the Agent Query Connect site, this was an invaluable tool in refining my query letter and going forward I think I have a greater chance of being noticed. Until next time…


Your friendly neighborhood author,

DJ Morand

One thought on “Pain in the Edit …

  1. Receiving criticism is so hard. It is so hard to open yourself up like that, but I think it is the only way we grow as writers.

    I’m glad that you took my criticism in the way I intended. It’s hard to read that and wonder if you’re an awful person. I ran into this with a piece of mine recently. Thank goodness I had a family member give it a read because I had fallen into a classic method of villainizing someone that used to be acceptable 30 years ago, but today would never, ever fly, and is, in reality, completely awful and bigoted. My family member caught it right away, and told me and I was mortified. I’d read that sort of thing so much that I didn’t even realize what I had done, which certainly was a mark of my privilege. Thankfully, good critics will let you know that kind of thing so you don’t get caught with your metaphorical pants down in public. It’s also good in that it gives us a chance to look at our own thought patterns and grow not only as writers but as human beings.


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