Here today we present to you, fine ladies and gentlemen, our fifth installment of KP Critiques!
We thank all of you for the flood of critiques we have received! It’s lovely to witness the rise of courageous writers who are willing to submit their work to be analyzed and critiqued. It’s never easy to put your work out there for all to see, but by doing so you are benefiting more writers as well as growing as a writer!
Today’s critique is brought to us by Mark, from his story, Project Apofeoz.
“The sixth strike. Probably felt great then. I bet you don’t feel so good now, right?” Mason said.
Logan shook his head. “I feel fine.”
“No, you don’t,” Mason ran his fingers against Logan’s ribs. “I got three. Focus on the pain and tell me if I’m right.” He slapped Logan’s ribs.
Logan groaned. “Four.” He took a deep breath and focused the pain away. “The fourth one is probably just fractured.”
Mason finished setting the bone then stood up. He brushed his blood-stained hands off against his jeans. “You’re gonna be fine in an hour. Put on your shirt just don’t break the stitches. I’d worry more about your cheekbone. Wouldn’t want to mar your pretty little baby face would we?”
Logan ignored the tease. He slowly eased on his t-shirt. “I gotta go in an hour. The Fernandez’s are expecting me for dinner.” He walked out of the living room and into his room. He shut the door behind him. He heard his bedroom door open behind him.
“A little privacy please?” Logan said.
“We need to talk about the sixth strike.” Mason leaned against one of the many motorcycle posters that plastered Logan’s room.
“It was the same as the first. And the second. And the third. And fourth. And fifth.” Logan lay down on his bed.
“Once you get caught you’ll be put on record. Anybody will be able to find you. And that’s excluding the ethical issues.”
Logan checked his phone for new messages. “What ethical issues?” Three messages. One from Seth, one from Sparkles, and another one from Matt. He opened the one from Sparkles: I just found out the news. We need to talk.
Mason eyed the bloodstained hand towel draped over the side of the hamper. “It’s not right. You know this. And we know—knew him.”
“’ Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’”
“That’s what I get for trying to convert the kid,” Mason mumbled under his breath, “You’re worse than those cults that visit me Saturday morning.”
Haha, amusing line. Nice job.
“I’m doing what the government failed to do.” Logan quickly replied to Sparkles’ message. I’ll explain. The other two messages could wait.
Mason took one of the throwing knives near Logan’s bedside table and tossed them in the air a couple times. He shook his head. “Well, you know my answer.”
Logan sat up. “You know mine.”
Mason knocked Logan’s motorcycle helmet off the table onto his bed. “Get to the Fernandez’s house early. I have work to do.”
“I’d be happy to,” Logan set the helmet back on the table. He began looking through the clothes in his closet for his red hoodie.
“I should’ve broken more of your bones,” Mason walked out of the room, “Maybe the one running down your back too.”
“Love you too, dad.”
I don’t have as many comments as I normally do on this selection, and that’s because I’m pretty confused about what’s going on here. What kind of genre is this story? It seems to be speculative fiction, given that after breaking four ribs, Logan somehow is strong enough to go to someone’s house for dinner, but there’s enough vagueness surrounding that and the “sixth strike” that I’m not sure about that. There are also parts of this story that feel vaguely dystopian (“you’ll be put on record. Anybody will be able to find you,” “I’m doing what the government failed to do”), but again, it’s pretty vague. I’m also confused about why Logan’s ribs are broken. Was it someone else who hurt him (“we know—knew him”?), or was it Mason (“I should’ve broken more of your bones”)? A lot of this confusion may be that you need more than four hundred words to be able to show the basic set-up for your story, so these comments may not be incredibly relevant to you if the next two pages of your story explain it all correctly. That being said, generally you want to strongly hint at the genre in the first one or two pages, and I’m currently really unsure what kind of genre this story is supposed to be. Apart from my confusion, the writing was pretty good—the dialogue was interesting, there was good humor, and you seem to do a good job of using subtlety. That being said, I’m still not completely sure what is going on. Depending on whether or not the next couple pages explain a lot of this confusion, my comments here may not be very helpful, but I hope that helps!
– Josiah DeGraaf