A Critique Of Your WIP From A Badger Who Hates To Read
Before we begin, a quick question. The world must be full of humans eager to provide feedback in exchange for a little attention or cup of earl gray tea. There are so many humans in the world. Why didn’t you ask one of them to critique your WIP?
Instead of me, a badger who hates to read.
Some humans like reading. Upwards of 20%. Though, if the internet is to be believed, they mostly prefer taking pictures of themselves and arguing about who should pay more taxes.
And, yet, you’ve handed me this, a thick sheaf of papers completely unsuited for an underground environment. Did you know that I am nocturnal? Did you know I do not keep a lamp inside my sett? And that reading in the dark gives me headaches? (A sett is a cozy underground burrow where I can raise my cubs far away from pop music, social media and “writers”.)
Perhaps you could have given me a lamp instead of an unfinished book I do not want to read. That would have been thoughtful.
The only parts of this story I liked were the ones I accidentally spilled earthworms on, because I was able to lick them later and taste some of the nice earthworm flavor still lingering on the page.
Your hero was boring, mostly because he was a human and humans are boring. Always talking about other humans. Who cares?
Did you know your novel doesn’t pass the Badgel Test? There wasn’t a single moment when two humans had a conversation about a badger. I KNOW! I couldn’t believe it, either. The story was also completely devoid of otters, beavers, sandy soil, tasty bird eggs, jenga, public urination, slugs, tree bones, bowties, acorns, nice smooth rocks, or anything else a small furry mammal might find interesting. It’s almost like you went out of your way to make it a tiresome slog.
So my first note would be to work on that.
My second note would be to think about including an actual badger in the story. I understand this could be difficult for publishers logistically speaking, but it would be nice to open the pages and have a living badger jump out and say hello. Maybe a sexy one who is into the idea of helping me raise a litter of cubs and agrees with my hard stance on claw grooming.
Then the two of us could have a conversation together and forget about your story.
When I was about 3 pages through your novel, (the longest five hours of my life) I realized I should probably take a break and build another toilet so the idiots in the sett next door don’t get hopped up on pig butt worms (yes, a real thing) and forget where one sett sits and the other sett lies. Did you know that badgers use toilets to clarify the borders of their setts? Badger poop is a great deterrent.
That’s an interesting fact that would not be out of place in your novel.
Also, I noticed that in the novel the hero drives a car. You are going to have to change this. Cars kill upwards of 50,000 badgers a year. And here you are promoting them as an innocent mode of transportation instead of the souless murder beasts they are? Remove the car from your novel or one night you’ll hear a scratching at your window, then you’ll see hundreds of pairs of beady eyes shining in the moonlight, then your children will be dragged away screaming.
Two human children for 50,000 badgers seems more than fair.
There was one part I did like. It was the scene when the hero’s mom got drunk, because it reminded me of this time in 2016 when the other badgers in my sett found a bunch of rotting fruit and we got so wasted. It was hilarious, because Bob put on a tiny pair of pants and started rhyming “fur” with “brrr”. Badgers can get a little crazy sometimes. Not everyone knows that.
There were a few things I didn’t understand.
What is “pavement pizza”? I don’t think I’ve ever heard that term before.
I was also somewhat confused by the word “anthropocentrism”. Not sure what you were trying to say with that one.
I’d look it up in the dictionary, except, due to some unavoidably messy snacking, sections “A”, “B”, “C”, and all the other sections are currently unreadable.
Which reminds me — hopefully you won’t be wanting your manuscript back.
Not because of messiness or snacking. Of course not.
That would be rude.
I gave it the respect it deserves. I left it out by the new latrine and Steve feels it’s far better than any of the other toilet papers we’ve tried. He even wrote you a blurb! Feel free to use it when you publish your book.
“This novel was there for me when I needed it. It’s completely transformed my life and is far superior to any other book I’ve ever used to wipe my butt with. Thanks so much. You are a brilliant author.” — Steve the Badger.
I suggest you go with this blurb, since you probably wouldn’t like the one I was planning on writing.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, consider following me on twitter. Where I tweet about otters sometimes. Not badgers.