KP Critiques – 13

We are so delighted to be giving you the thirteenth edition of KP Critiques!! All of you amazing subscribers who have submitted your work for us to critique, THANK YOU!!! Through your courage you have provided us with substantial material, as well as aided in sharing wisdom to fellow writers. Receiving constructive criticism is never easy, but it’s necessary to grow as a writer!
So please continue flooding us with your wonderful critiques! KP Critiques Post 3

Thank you Amanda for your submission!

 

Sarah pulled open the garage door, coughing at the rush of dusty air that swirled into her face.

“Jacob?” she called.

She was just about to give up and return to her room when she heard a faint, “What do you want?”

You want to try and give each new line of dialogue spoken by a different character its own paragraph.

“Oh, you’re here.” She stepped forward, blinking in the dim light. “Why is the light off?”

No response. She walked another few steps, squinting as she sought out his precise location.

There he was, over in the corner, with the invention in front of him. It seemed like he’d been trying to pack it into a box that rested beside him.

“I was looking for you,” Sarah said, picking her way over to him. “I wanted to see if you still needed help with the entry form.”

“Already done it,” he answered gruffly. “If you’d wanted to help, you would’ve yesterday when I asked you.”

Sarah swallowed and shifted.

“I was in the middle of practice. Mom made me do it.”

This is a rather odd way of phrasing it.  Maybe something like, “Mom made me practice,” would sound more natural?

“She didn’t make you do it for that long,” Jacob accused. Sarah could see him staring at her reproachfully. She sighed.

“No,” she admitted. “She didn’t give me a time minimum.”

Same thing here.  “Time minimum” is an overly professional way of describing it which I don’t think the average person will use in a normal conversation.

“I thought we were doing this together.” Jacob kicked at the box. “But ever since your appointment, it’s like you’ve changed. You forgot about our project. It’s like…like…” he didn’t finish. Sarah frowned.

“Like what, Jacob?”

He turned to face her. “You really want to hear it?”

“Yes.”

“Fine, then. It’s like you’ve gone back to that perfect little world where singing is the only thing that matters and Mom is the only one you pay attention to, the only one you care about.”

Sarah sucked in a breath and fell back a step or two. That “perfect little world”?

She had no idea how to respond. She wanted to snap back at him for that comment, but she had said she wanted to hear it. So she sank to the cold stone floor.

“That’s…that’s how you really see it?” she asked weakly. “Is that what my life looked like before my injury?”

Is there a reason that you’re trying to keep it hidden what kind of injury Sarah has?  If there’s an intentional reason for it, then go on with what you’re doing, but as a reader, I’m wondering why her injury isn’t just spelled out here.

“Pretty much. You didn’t know me, Sarah; you were too busy practicing, too busy talking about what Mom said and doing whatever Mom wanted. You didn’t say much to me. You didn’t care what I was doing. Remember when we were little and you used to play inventor and doctor and teacher with me? You stopped all that when Mom signed you up for your first singing performance.”

“Really?” Sarah didn’t know what to think or feel. Everything seemed tangled up inside her, like she couldn’t keep up with what Jacob was saying. He never used to talk this much, she thought distantly. Was that because I didn’t listen? But I thought I was listening these past weeks!

“Yes, really.” Bitterness clouded his tone, and Sarah’s heart ached for him.

“Jacob, I…I didn’t know. I mean, I did, maybe, but…”

He waved a hand and turned back to his creation. He was staring at it when he said, his voice unsteady, “But now you do. Don’t go back there, Sarah. Don’t go back to that person. Please.”

“But Mom…” The words escaped Sarah’s lips before she even thought them, it seemed.

It’s unclear right here what Sarah is trying to say.  You may need to have her say more words for the reader to get her point, or at least have her finish the sentence in her head, since as-is, I don’t know why she’s bringing Mom into the picture here.

Jacob laughed harshly. “‘But Mom.’ Yeah, see, there it goes again. Goodbye, Sarah. I finished the entry form. It’s all done now. Go back to your old life. It was perfect without me in it, I know.”

“Jacob—”

“I don’t want to be an inconvenience. I know you’d rather not deal with my problems. So go. Just go.”

This is a really good introduction for a story.  I was pretty captivated after the first paragraph.  It has everything you really want in the opening part of the story: a bit of an air of mystery, character conflict, and unresolved tension.  Honestly, I don’t have that many comments to make on it because it’s pretty strong already as-is.  Great job!

-Josiah DeGraaf

 

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Comments

  1. So real, my congratulations.

  2. This is high quality stuff, Amanda! It’s not juvenile in the least. Great job.

  3. Very, very nice job, Amanda! I’m impressed. 🙂

  4. Wow, I’m glad y’all liked it! The only thing is…it’s not the opening of a story. 😛 It’s actually quite far along. That’s why “the injury” isn’t spelled out, because the reader already knows what it is and what Sarah’s referring to by “I thought I was listening, these past weeks.” Whoops! Guess I should’ve clarified.

    This is still a WIP, but it’s on hold for now until I develop more of a plot for the middle. But it’s dear to my heart, so I keep coming back to it, and someday I’ll finish.

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