It has been awhile, but 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 1

Thank you Hailey for this submission!

Jade gasped at what she saw. In the middle of the ring of spectators, Neco stood, seething, in front of the dark-haired young man, Jaëver. “I gave you Maybe choose a more specific verb? Neco’s obviously angry; using ‘gave’ in this sentence weakens his outward display of emotion.  the money I owed you, it’s finished,” Neco spat, “Your horse wasn’t that valuable.”

Jaëver shook his head, laughing a cold, cruel, laugh. “Your money only paid for my horse’s tackle,” he said, bringing a wave of chuckles from some of the men looking on.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Neco replied, glaring at the crowd as they laughed, “You know as well as I do that your horse Is there an adjective he can use to slander Jaever’s horse? had no chance against that monster.”

The crowd quieted You might consider using ‘hushed’ in place of quieted. at the mention of the ‘monster’, but Jaëver took the comment in his the word ‘his’ isn’t necessary. stride, rolling his eyes.

“I’m still a bit surprised at how a sniveling runt Yes, here are the insults I’m looking for! like you managed to escape from the Creature, being as lanky and small as you are,” He cocked his head, smirking. “I often wonder why the leaders didn’t choose someone stronger, more skilled with a sword; over someone small and weak like you. I’ve tried to be nice, but you don’t play that way. So pay up, runt. Do his eyes narrow or does his body language become more intense at this point? Right here would be the perfect place to insert it. Now.”

“The leaders,” said Neco, a smug smile forming on his face “didn’t want someone with the Illness. For all they know, you could fall and drop dead, just like Rhoden. Besides,” he continued, “they probably didn’t want to choose a blithering idiot like you for their Stealthfoot. It’s Stealthfoot, Jaëver, not Blunderfoot, they couldn’t choose someone for my job who can’t take a step without alerting the whole kingdom.”

In the silence that followed, Jade felt the crowd shift into an uneasy watchfulness, something was making them nervous, but what? Could the position of stealthfoot, whatever that was, be something sacred, undiscussed? Undiscussed isn’t a word. Perhaps taboo, unmentionable, or forbidden is what you are looking for?

Jaëver looked like he was holding himself back from ripping Neco apart; his eyes were sharper than flint, his fists balled, and his face contorted in a mask of rage. “I told you never to speak my father’s name again,” Jaëver’s voice was filled with a fury that made Jade shudder. “Your lips foul his name. My father was one of the men who saved you from the soldiers that killed your parents. Without my father, you would be dead!”

Neco’s lip curled. “Your father was the one who failed to save my sister, she’s being held somewhere because of him; your father deserved to die, just like you do!” Does Neco come closer? Who is taller? They could tower over the other person, emphasizing their threats.

This is a good scene. However, there needs to be more tension in the ring. These men are obviously angry, I gathered that from reading this section, but if you want to make this scene more powerful your readers need to feel the emotion themselves. We need to be drawn into the ring, feel the hesitation and wave of fear awash over the spectators at the mention of this dreaded Monster. Does the crowd shudder, does a ripple of fear pass through them?
Jade is the main character, I’ve gathered that. We are seeing this through her eyes. We need to feel her emotion. How else does she react to all of this besides shuddering and gasping? Can she feel the tension? Does it swell? Is it a choking tension, is it thick? And where is Jade positioned in this scene? I was confused at that (I am aware I don’t have the full scene)

Great job! Good luck on publishing your book!
I hope this is helpful and irons out the doubts you had about this scene.
Blessings,
Haley