I received my two critiques from the PNWA literary contest to which I sent my first-draft version of Jumping The Stream. At that time it was titled Across The Stream, and since then I've made significant revision and enhancement. These critiques are from agents, published authors, or editors.
The first is even-handed, doling out praise such as "You draw a wonderful picture of Anna with few words" and "You have good imagery, a clear style, an understated and effective sense of humor in Kate's [sic] character." (Her name is Katie, but I'll take Kate.) This critique also offers many opportunities for improvement. I believe that most of them were also noted by an additional critique I got and have since revised the manuscript accordingly.
The second essentially gushes about the entire story, noting only that another pass to turn the few "telling" parts into "showing"parts would be worthwhile.
Both critiques covered only the synopsis (5 pages) and first two chapters (21 pages). Here are my favorite quotes from the gushing critique:
"The opening scenes grabbed my attention and were quite realistic. Great job setting the stage and immediately creating drama. My interest was piqued from the beginning and I was curious to find out more and wanted to read on."
"The well planned out synopsis points to an intricate plot. The writing in the first 21 pages leads me to believe you will pull it off with great success."And the kicker:
"Wow! What a great story. You have great writing and story telling skills. The story is very publishable and would be one I'd read if I picked it up off the shelf and read the jacket cover."Here's hoping an agent and an editor agree. I think I will eventually get this novel published, but I also know I have better work yet to be created.