KP Critiques – 10

We give you our tenth installment of KP Critiques! We greatly appreciate the willingness of our subscribers to subject their work underneath our editor’s scrutiny. While critiques are necessary and greatly beneficial, it’s never easy to put your work out there for all to see, and for it to be publicly critiqued. Thank you for having the courage to partake of this daring endeavor!
(Our editors really aren’t that scary.) KP Critiques Post 1

Thank you, Taylor for providing today’s submission; an excerpt from her novel, The Healer’s Servant.

The Submission

Have you ever looked into the Healer’s shop and pitied the poor soul who had to gather the salamander eyes?  What about the acid leaves for wart-removal powder? Or, and here’s a favorite of mine, dragon fecal matter? Because that poor soul is me. I have burn scars from the acid leaves. I’ve collected dragon dung in a sack, then carried it for three days straight on the journey back to the city. In the middle of Summer.

But no. You don’t know who I am. All you know is Thelma the Great. The Magnificent. Thelma, with her miraculous healing hands. You don’t know the one who gives those hands the ingredients they need to make magic happen.

The name’s Joan. Joan the not-so-magnificent. Indentured servant of the greatest Healer who ever lived. How exactly I got indentured? I’d rather not get into that. Best to keep my head in the present and my feet on the safest ground I can find.

Which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially today, with me braving icy winds and ankle-deep snow to cross a frozen lake. According to Thelma, it’s the only way to the Glacis flowers that’ll cure the Baron’s daughter of her fever. Well. It may make the girl feel better, but right now it’s making me into an icicle. All a part of the job, though.

The hardest part is watching for thin ice. Because I still don’t know how to watch for thin ice. My walk across the lake consist of shuffle, stomp hard on the ground in front of me to test it, then repeat. It’s been a long walk, but I prefer that over drowning. I’ve nearly reached the tiny island at the lake’s center anyway.

Thelma’s description of the flower was ‘a small purple blossom with brown leaves’. If I weren’t in the land where regular plants dare not go, I’d. mentally complaining about her lack of specifics. But here, the Glacavis flowers are easy enough to identify. I open the small brown pouch that I use for the small stuff, and pick a few blossoms. One for the remedy. One for a replacement. One for luck. It’s my usual method, and I’ll need all the luck I can get on the return trip.

Our Critique

Have you ever looked into the Healer’s shop and pitied the poor soul who had to gather the salamander eyes?  Interesting, this is written in 2nd person! I really enjoy this first sentence. It’s out of the ordinary because who in their right mind gathers salamander eyes? You have me hooked; I want to know why this poor soul is gathering them.

What about the acid leaves for wart-removal powder? Or, and here’s a favorite of mine, dragon fecal matter?

Ewww. Haha. I like what you’ve done. It’s as though you are guiding me along and showing me.

Because that poor soul is me. I have burn scars from the acid leaves.  I’ve collected dragon dung in a sack, then carried it for three days straight on the journey back to the city. In the middle of Summer.

But no. You don’t know who I am. All you know is Thelma the Great. The Magnificent. Thelma, with her miraculous healing hands. You don’t know the one who gives those hands the ingredients they need to make magic happen.

The name’s Joan. Joan the not-so-magnificent. Indentured servant of the greatest Healer who ever lived. How exactly I got indentured? I’d rather not get into that. Best to keep my head in the present and my feet on the safest ground I can find.

Intrigue. I like it! No info dump in the beginning. You have me wondering how Joan came to be an indentured servant.

It might be best to keep this connected to the last paragraph. I had to stop and think about what you were talking about. I was pulled from the story.

Which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially today, with me braving icy winds and ankle-deep snow to cross a frozen lake. According to Thelma, it’s the only way to the Glacis flowers that’ll cure the Baron’s daughter of her fever. Well. It may make the girl feel better, but right now it’s making

You could stand to find a stronger verb  here. Give your readers a visual picture. Keep them in the story.

me into an icicle. All a part of the job, though.

The hardest part is watching for thin ice. Because I still don’t know how to watch for thin ice. My walk across the lake consist of shuffle, stomp hard

Wouldn’t it be better to step tentatively on the ice? If you stomp hard and it is thin you would lose your balance and go straight through the ice.

on the ground in front of me to test it, then repeat. It’s been a long walk, but I prefer that over drowning. I’ve nearly reached the tiny island at the lake’s center anyway.

Thelma’s description of the flower was ‘a small purple blossom with brown leaves’. If I weren’t in the land where regular plants dare not go, I’d

I believe a word is missing here.

mentally complaining about her lack of specifics. But here, the Glacavis flowers are easy enough to identify. I open the small brown pouch

Maybe give the reader a few more details? Give them a more definitive visual?

that I use for the small

You have already used the word small to describe; the use of two weakens the effect.

stuff, and pick a few blossoms.

I’m a little bit confused. Is Joan on the island now? Did she reach it?

One for the remedy. One for a replacement. One for luck. It’s my usual method, and I’ll need all the luck I can get on the return trip.

I really enjoyed reading this! That is my honest opinion. This is the first novel in second person that I’ve ever read and it’s not what I was expecting. It’s better! The main thing to watch for is using a stronger and more applicable word. When I go back over my work I pay close attention to the words I have used. Should I get rid of it? Should I replace it? What should I replace it with? Word choice is major. It can affect how we stay transported in the story world, not just a book. That was my main thing.

Thank you for letting me critique this. I really hope this benefits you in a universal way.

~Haley Long

 

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Comments

  1. Hey… I like this one a lot. 🙂 It sounds like you’ve got a good unique twist on ‘just the typical fantasy stuff’, Taylor. You are taking us from the lowest step all the way to the top, not the other way around how it ‘typically’ is. Also, by giving me the underling instead of the person most people see, you made me think about all the little insignificant people behind all the great people in the world, and I liked that. I like being made to think about old things new ways.

  2. Wow, second person is terrific! (The way Taylor used it, that is:) Now I want to try. It’s bold and different. I like the confidential tone of the POV. This story has me hooked! Thanks for sharing!

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