Solid Review from Writer’s Digest

2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

Entry Title A Devious Plan
Author: Michael S. Walsh
Judge Number: 31
Entry Category: Genre Fiction

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect overall ranking. Ratings are not tallied, and are not reflective of placement in the competition judging.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 3
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
Plot and Story Appeal: 4
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 3
Judge’s Commentary*:

I liked this book a lot. The plot was intriguing. It was well-developed, and it moved fast. I had a few issues with the structure though. The first two chapters are more of a prologue that tells what will happen. In a thriller, part of the fun is NOT knowing what happens. Following that, the book then goes back two months and slows down immensely. A thriller should be non-stop action. The non-linear time structure takes away from that, and slows down the action to introduce the back story. A stronger structure would be to work in a linear fashion and make sure that each included scene adds to the suspense and action. If the scene does not add both, then either cut the scene or add suspense and action to it. I’ve seen this structure in non-fiction texts, and this is a hallmark of the true crime genre, but it doesn’t work as well in fiction where the narrative is typically told from beginning to end.

There were some grammar issues as well. Newspaper titles were not italicized. While they did not distract too much from the story, they were enough to make me take note. Be sure to have another set of eyes read the story before publication.


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