We’re back with another critique! Thank you all so much for having the courage to send them in! We know it’s never easy to have your writing critiqued, let alone shared for the benefit of others. That takes guts! But we also know that receiving critiques from others is one of the THE BEST ways to grow and improve. Constructive criticism is invaluable!KP Critiques Post 2

This critique comes to us from Rolena, and her story, Hero of Mine.

 

Rolena’s submission!

 

I shoved the fridge door shut and slammed the salad onto the counter.

“Why now dad? Why do you have to leave again?” I cried.

Dad sighed, got up off the couch and leaned on the counter so he could look at me past the overhanging cabinets.

“Because my boss requires me to leave immediately.”

“But you were just gone for three weeks. We need you here dad!” I exclaimed.

I ripped open the salad bag and carelessly dumped it into a bowl. Most of it fell onto the counter. I snatched it up and shoved it back into the bowl.

“Kathrin, I just can’t buy any time this round…” he stated my full name.

“What kind of job do you have dad?”

I watched his brown eyes. He folded his hands.

“Katty, I have had this job for seventeen years, got it the very day you were born. And your mom and I knew that we would have to keep my job a secret for extreme security purposes. If you knew what my job was it could put you in serious danger. I am protecting your life sweetheart.” He raised his brow.

I looked away from his intense gaze.

“Yes I know dad.” I said quietly.

I grabbed a chunk of chicken and started chopping it to bits.

“Do you have to go tomorrow though?” I asked.

“Yes Katty, you know how it works; I have to leave when I’m told. But you also know that I usually have at least a week or two off in between trips, so when I come back, we’ll have to spend some special time together, just you, Maddie and me.”

Tears filled my eyes and dripped onto the cutting board. I stopped cutting when I could no longer see the chicken, probably saving one of my fingers. Dad lifted my chin.

“Katty what is it?” he asked.

I choked on a sob.

“Do you remember what tomorrow is?” I smeared the tears across my cheeks.

He glanced to the left obviously thinking hard. I didn’t wait for him to answer.

“It’s the second anniversary of mom’s death.” I sobbed.

“Oh Kit-Kat.” He used his special name for me.

Sliding around the counter, he pulled me close to him.

Dropping the knife, I clung to him tight no doubt getting his work shirt all wet with tears and chicken juices.

 

Our Critique! 

 

I shoved the fridge door shut and slammed the salad onto the counter.

Technically, she’s not slamming a salad onto the counter.  From below, it looks like it’s actually a salad bag, so you’ll want to specify that here.

“Why now, dad? Why do you have to leave again?” I cried.

Dad sighed, got up off the couch and leaned on the counter so he could look at me past the overhanging cabinets.

“Because my boss requires me to leave immediately.”

These last two paragraphs should be combined into one paragraph as they’re both dealing with the same subject.

“But you were just gone for three weeks. We need you here, dad!” I exclaimed.

I ripped open the salad bag and carelessly dumped it into a bowl. Most of it fell onto the counter. I snatched it up and shoved it back into the bowl.

These last two paragraphs should be combined.  I like the content of the last paragraph, though.  Nice way to show her emotions.

“Kathrin, I just can’t buy any time this round…” he stated my full name.

“What kind of job do you have, dad?”

Given that this seems to be an ongoing conversation between the two of them, I think she would naturally bring it up in a different way.  She isn’t asking this for the first time, so it’s going to be asked in the context of their larger long-lasting debate about this topic.

I watched his brown eyes. He folded his hands.

Combine this sentence with the following paragraph.

“Katty, I have had this job for seventeen years, got it the very day you were born. And your mom and I knew that we would have to keep my job a secret for extreme security purposes. If you knew what my job was it could put you in serious danger. I am protecting your life sweetheart.” He raised his brow.

This dialogue is basically only spoken for the benefit of the audience.  Kathrin already knows all of this, so this is pretty much just an info-dump.  The audience needs to know this, but you’ll want to work it in a more subtle way.

Also, it seems odd that he would tell Kathrin that he has a secret job and not just go with an alibi.  It would be easier for him to just claim that he is a business man, and that these are all business trips, since then he would avoid suspicion.

I looked away from his intense gaze.

“Yes, I know dad.” I said quietly.

These two lines should also be combined into one paragraph.

I grabbed a chunk of chicken and started chopping it to bits.

“Do you have to go tomorrow though?” I asked.

Ditto with the paragraph combination

“Yes Katty, you know how it works; I have to leave when I’m told. But you also know that I usually have at least a week or two off in between trips, so when I come back, we’ll have to spend some special time together, just you, Maddie and me.”

If Kathrin knows all of this, then he doesn’t need to tell her how it works.  This is also just being spoken for the intent of the audience, and is thus an info-dump.

Tears filled my eyes and dripped onto the cutting board. I stopped cutting when I could no longer see the chicken, probably saving one of my fingers. Dad lifted my chin.

“Katty what is it?” he asked.

I choked on a sob.

“Do you remember what tomorrow is?” I smeared the tears across my cheeks.

Combine these past two sentences.

He glanced to the left obviously thinking hard. I didn’t wait for him to answer.

“It’s the second anniversary of mom’s death.” I sobbed.

Good line, but would a man really forget the anniversary of his wife’s death?

“Oh, Kit-Kat.” He used his special name for me.

Sliding around the counter, he pulled me close to him.

Dropping the knife, I clung to him tight no doubt getting his work shirt all wet with tears and chicken juices.

These last three lines should all be combined into one paragraph.

Overall: Your paragraphs tend to be consistently on the short side and many of them should be combined, as I’ve noted above.  You’ll want to work on info-dumping less on the reader through dialogue and making the dialogue more natural.  You have some good character tension in this scene that is compelling and do a good job of showing the emotions of the characters.   Keep it up!

– Josiah DeGraaf