I would like to congratulate all who entered and placed in this 2019 Writer’s Digest competition. Below is a commentary on my novel provided by one of the judges. I found the comments incredibly helpful and wanted to share them with their consent. I hope these remarks will also encourage future purchases of my novel — thank you.
Judge, 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Commentary on Buried Truths–A Daughter’s Tale
I enjoyed this book by Elsa Wolf. She has written a compelling story with the focus on the ramifications of adoption. The fact that the adoption was complicated, with a hidden story line behind the adoption of Heidi was intriguing. I found Heidi’s adoptive parents to be fairly well described, but her mother in particular was the most interesting with all of her quirky behaviors and mental illness.
The chronological format makes sense here as we follow the events of the adoption, and the way the adoption and its consequences impacted many lives. The interweaving with several layers going on at once was skillful and added depth to the story.
The dialogue felt a bit formal in the beginning, but that may be due to the nature of Nathan’s work, and the times, when social situations dictated a more formal bearing. As the timeline and story progressed, the dialogue kept pace and fit the narrative well. I felt at times, there was often too much dialogue, and that scene setting could have been more detailed. The pace of the book progressed through dialogue, but I wanted more in the way of description to feel where the characters were in space and time. I found the pace to be rather slow, and also think the book could be cut back by maybe fifty pages or so.
This was an interesting book with a strong ending. I found overall the formatting and editing was strong. Certainly, the story structure was well put together. Overall, a good book and very compelling.
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 4
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 4