Here today we present to you, fine ladies and gentlemen, our eighth 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!
Thank you Ashley for your submission!
Who knew going to the library could result in a near death
experience? Not me, that’s for sure. But I learned differently
on the Saturday following my sixteenth birthday.
This is a pretty good opening paragraph. Unfortunately, the scene after has nothing to do with going to the library. Chopping the birthday scene down to a couple of paragraphs of description, similar to the first paragraph below, would make it a lot more smooth, and would do a better job of carrying the reader’s attention to what you’ve promised to show in the opening of the story.
Money was tight so I hadn’t gotten much for my birthday, a cake
and a card with ten bucks tucked in. It was okay though, I mean,
I was used to it. Used to it to the point that when Mom told me
she had to work the night shift at the hospital, again, I was
cool with it.
After Mom had left I settled onto the sagging couch in front of
the TV that always seemed to be glitchy and started flipping
through channels. Nothing good was on, as usual;, after all we
didn’t even have cable.
In a couple different places in this chapter, you use commas when you should be using semi-colons. If both parts of the sentence before and after the comma would work just as well as separate sentences, then you’re using a comma splice and should replace it with a semi-colon or period. I’ve marked the different instances of this in this document. There are also some places in the document where a comma is used where a dash or colon would work better; I’ve marked those off with colons as well.
Giving up on entertainment, I got up and readied myself for bed,
listening to the screaming of the couple who lived under Mom and
me. As I climbed into my bed I glanced at my alarm clock:, 9:20;,
they were right on time. How they always found something to
argue about at the same time every day was mind boggling. Maybe
they were like Mom and me and didn’t have much else to entertain
As I pressed my head against my pillow I could hear the sound of
the neighbor’s TV floating through the thin wall that separated
my bedroom from his living room. Sounded like he was watching an
Sirens and flashing lights sped past my window. The lights
colored my dingy white walls for a moment before they moved
past. Another thing on the long list of stuff I was used to.
The whole room shook, threatening to knock my lamp off my
nightstand as a train rumbled by. I burrowed into my covers to
wait it off.
Once the train passed, I squeezed my eyes shut and drifted off,
promising myself that I’d stop by the library in the morning and
hunt down a good book.
The library wasn’t very busy;, after all, it was just a few
minutes passed noon and it was Saturday:, half the city’s
population would still be asleep.
I gave a nod to Mrs. Irvine, an elderly librarian who had been
working there for as long as I could remember.
Mrs. Irvine sent me a glistening white smile, her teeth so
perfect it made me wonder if they were dentures, “Good morning
Spencer, did you have a nice birthday?”
“Yeah, it was good,” I said, scuffing my worn out sneaker
against the carpeted floor.
Nice little attention to detail here
She nodded and the chain that connected to her pink glasses
bobbed with her head, “That’s nice. Well if you need anything,
you know where to find me.”
“Yeah,” I mumbled and moved on.
It only took me a minute or two to find the teen section. While
most of the books were stupid and had dumb love triangles, not
to mention poor writing, I always liked to check the scifi
section for anything that stood out. No such luck this time.
With a sigh, I turned away with the intent to go to where they
kept the computers,; maybe I’d have enough change in my pockets
to rent some time.
The sound of running feet came from behind me. It sounded like
it was a kid. I spun around. Five green goblins stood behind me.
Seriously, goblins. They looked like they’d stepped right out of
The Lord of the Rings.
This discovery seems too abrupt… Maybe if she heard other people yelling and turned to see what was going on it would work better, but this surprise is abrupt in a way that tears me out of the flow of the story.
Weirded out and terrified, I turned and ran. Ran right into an
invisible wall. I bounced backwards and onto the ground,
clutching my bleeding nose.
The narrator has an entertaining voice which is humorous at times, and that’s good. Voice can be one of the more difficult things to pull off and you have it working well here. There are some small writing changes that need to be made, and some consolidation, but otherwise this is a pretty good intro with a protagonist that I’m already interested in. Nice work!