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Here are a few comments I've had from writers who feel I've helped them. Most have made use of my Story Appraisal Service

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Hi John,

Thanks very much for this. It was superb. Probably the single most useful thing I’ve done with a story.

I’ve entered competitions and read a little bit about what is looked for in a short story. I’ve even had one story published in Writers Forum magazine. I often get my long suffering wife and friends to read my stories and they point things out and make suggestions, but no one has ever given me that level of detail in their advice. That is a very very useful thing.

Would you be averse to me making some changes (trying to implement what you have suggested) and then re-submitting it to you for another crit?

Many thanks,

(Justin)

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 Hi John, 

You might be interested to know that my story ' Night Falls on Popple Street'  that you critiqued for me, won 3rd prize in City of Derby short story comp, and will be published in 'Momaya Annual Review'. I changed the name to 'Nasma's Malady' and altered some other things as a result of your critique.

Best wishes,

(JC)

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Hi John,

Thanks for the critique. I appreciate the time and care spent. Some very useful stuff  (and of course, some I don't agree with!)                

Best wishes,

(Jo)

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'Dear Mr Ravenscroft,

Sorry to take your time, but I must...to thank you for your knowledge shared on the EotW threads. I benefited more from them than anything--perhaps everything--else that I've studied. And I have studied these, saved them to disc so that they will be forever available. Because you generously shared your knowledge, I shall write better. 

Thank you from Texas, USA.'

(Frank)

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'Dear John,

Thank you for your critique of "The Checker Game" which I submitted to Cadenza. I was discouraged when I first read it, since this is my first story... but my brother encouraged me to study your critique and, using your suggestions, to rewrite my story. That is what I am doing now. I’m grateful that you were so thorough and honest. Thank you for this feedback, which surely will help me with my future writing. 

 My best wishes to you.'


(Bonnie)

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'Hello, John,

Thank you for the critique - invaluable. Makes the correspondence and university courses all seem a waste of time, not to forget the cold coffee at the writers' circles... I found your comments superb. An excellent format for following through - the list and the map - and for training myself.'

(Caroline)

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'Dear John,

I just want to thank you for your amazingly thorough comments on my story Moving Houses. This may turn out to be the most useful lesson I've had on writing so far. Although there doesn't seem to be much that actually works in my story, your comments make me want to go back and work with it instead of throwing it out, hoping to learn a lot along the way.

Again, thank you so much!

Best regards...'


(Karina)

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'Dear John,

I was pleased to see your crit in my inbox this evening. I have only had a quick read so far, but I wanted to respond straight away, although starting with a piece of criticism of my own... I think you are underselling yourself and undercharging for your critique, which is in itself longer than the piece you have reviewed! I was expecting perhaps a couple of pages, so am very impressed with the level of attention you have given my work. Thank you.'

(Darren)

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'Dear John,

Thanks for your critique. I'm very pleased with it. Can't be faulted really. Very thorough and clearly presented, and the mind map is very useful as a summary to work from.

I had a good idea of some of the problems with the story, and I wanted to see if you agreed - which you do. Also, you pointed out lots of other problems I hadn't seen - I agree with everything you say.

Thanks again...'

(Don)

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'Hi John.

Thank you for the critique. Got it back today.

You've pointed out what is wrong with the story, and more importantly, what could be done to make it right. The critique was honest and, just as important, constructive. I'll read it through a few more times and hope that your suggestions about plot etc sink in. If you don't mind, I'd be more than happy if you would critique any future stories that I might write.'

(Tony)

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'I can honestly say that's the first critique I've had that is of any use to me. Excellent work John, loads of food for thought and things I need to work on. I knew the story had shortcomings but whilst I knew the lack of dialogue was a problem you have given me a far better idea of the specifics involved. Whereas I was grubbing around in the dark you have undoubtedly shone a light on the faults of this piece. Terrific John, really terrific. I consider this the best twenty quid I've spent in my fledging career as a writer. You can quote me on all of the above. Thanks again.'

(Rod)

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'Thanks John.  I'm delighted by your timely reply and thorough consideration.  Good stuff.  Looks like you've given me plenty to think about and it will take me a while to absorb your suggestions... I definitely feel I've gotten my money's worth -- and then some.'

(Adria)

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'Hello again,

Recently you carried out a critique for me, giving some invaluable pointers
to assist in developing my writing skills. Thank you!

With your input and reference points I re-worked a story I had recently
finished. With great trepidation I posted it on the BBC GetWriting site and
have, so far, got a very positive response and the 'Editors Choice'. 

This is the first time I have sent any work out into the public domain, so
it was good to have my fear transform into a positive feeling that others
have enjoyed it.

The sense of relief in 'finding' how to write is wonderful. To the future!
Thank you again.'

(Martin)

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'Hello John:
 
Have received your critique this morning. Thank you very much - it is very helpful and something that I can use to assess any future work I write. I
had my own criticisms of the story so you have helped me to pin-point them.'

  
(Tracy)

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'Dear John:

Thank you so much for your critique of 'The Saint and Sapphira'. It is great to have an insight into how the story is seen through the eyes of an editor who is also a successful writer of literary short stories.

I was interested to know why the story had not made it further than shortlisting... and your crit analyses and explains very well indeed. You take the text to pieces, backing up opinion with fact. You don't pull punches, which is much appreciated.

Funny, I know what my weak spots are when it comes to writing, and I know I can't pull the wool over your eyes! A crit like yours, taking each element of the story and taking it to pieces, praising what is good, but (very importantly) telling me what doesn't work and WHY...makes me come out of the comfort zone. I have to look at the story with fresh eyes, using your comments as a catalyst to make it a better piece of work. Invaluable stuff.

Thank you for the time and effort this must have taken... Cheque in post, and please do use me as a reference if anyone wants to know about value for money.'

(Vanessa)

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'Hello again, thank you for such a quick turn-around! I need to read through your comments/advice again in depth (a lot to take in and work upon). Am slightly surprised at myself as I don't feel 'bad' just motivated to improve... It was a hard step to seek professional criticism but glad I did so. All the best.'

(Martin)

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 'Thanks a lot John – that’s really helpful.'

(Ariane)

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 'Thank you. I found your words very clear and easy to learn from. I appreciate the guidance and direction. Have tried to apply your suggestions in my work.'

( Brian)

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'Thank you very much indeed, they are exactly what I needed, very constructive and you obviously put a lot of thought and work into them. Now you have pointed the errors out I can see where I have been going wrong and you also highlighted problem areas that I hadn't even thought of.'

(Catherine)

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'Thank you so much for your very detailed and most helpful critique. I have been worrying that you might think it was really bad all day, and was pleasantly surprised that it got quite a positive response, albeit you pointed out a number of flaws in it that I will certainly take on board, as I can see absolutely where you are "coming from"!'

(Findo) 

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