Writer's Digest



March 3, 2019

Writers Digest is the premiere periodical and website for aspiring and professional authors. Part of the services the editors provide to writers is to enter competitions in a variety of categories and genres. Through the process, the writer gets valuable comments from the judges on his or her work.

Last year, I published The Unfriend Zone, which I entered into two Writers Digest competitions. I'm happy to share the critiques from the two judges.

Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

This patient plot tells the fantasy story of a mysterious iPad that takes over the protagonist’s life and proves deadly in the process. The author unfolds a somewhat slow-moving story, not unlike something Poe might conceive, only modernized to today’s social media and Internet devices. The malevolent energy inside the iPad is clearly a threatening entity, and the plot makes good use of that. The narrative is mostly conversation and short paragraphs of prose with a few excerpts of email texts thrown in. The details of operating the iPad, which becomes more painful to use as time goes on, are given. The protagonist is presented as a self-absorbed female with a somewhat snarky sense of humor. Her journey with the device and its impact on her friends and herself is presented in a straightforward way. The writer uses dialogue extensively, sprinkled with an occasional simile.

The slim volume also contains a second story, a short piece of fiction about a man who studies his mirror image and then is forced to join him in another, mirrored world.

The cover evokes the demon-like entity that inhabits this particular iPad – and also hints to the monster inside the world of social media that threatens society in myriad ways.

Judge, 5th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

The unexpected twists and turns are what keep the reader turning the pages! The pacing is effective, the descriptions are thorough and engaging, and the characters are so well developed that as a reader, I feel like I know each character specifically. The plotline of this story is intriguing. The writer wastes no time in pulling the reader into the story, and he makes the reader truly feel for and care about the characters, who are very much believable. The story is rich with vivid detail and descriptions, and the scenes are incredibly real; the writer effectively paints a picture in the reader’s eye. The timeliness of this topic, considering the current climate in the world revolving around electronic devices, is intriguing. The author does an amazing job with the dialogue.