Here today we present to you, fine ladies and gentlemen, our seventeenth 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!
This submission is an excerpt from C.B.’s novel, I Love Cake.
Thank you C.B. for this amazing submission!
I’m unsure about the current title for the story. Most people are probably going to look at it and think it’s a book about someone who really likes to eat cake. Once they start reading, it’s clear what the title means, but you may want to have a title that would be more likely to tell readers what the book’s about.
The first thing I remember of the day I met Cake was that my mom let me have the last strawberry Popsicle. I skipped outside to enjoy my treat in the bright July sun, and to do some investigating.
Unsure about if this opening works. The phrase “remember of the day,” is kind-of awkwardly worded and could probably use some refinement. In addition, while I like what you’re doing, it seems like the first thing she remembers should be something more important and foreshadowing for the rest of the chapter at least, and not just the strawberry Popsicle.
The day before, new people had moved in next door. They were a grumpy looking couple, and unfortunately had come alone. No kids, no pets, nothing interesting. But still, my curiosity was aroused, since none of us had seen them since, and no one answered the door when my mom went over to welcome them.
I peeked through various knotholes in the fence, letting the taste of frozen strawberry sugar fill my mouth as I sucked on the Popsicle. My eyes lit on a small figure standing in the middle of the yard. I stopped in surprise and then raced to the spot in the fence where the boards were warped.
The boy looked younger than me. He stood in the middle of the backyard, staring up at the sky, arms hanging limply at his sides. He looked as if he had never set foot outside before, with his pale skin and noodly arms. But in spite of his almost sickly appearance, his blue eyes sparkled with life as he gazed up at the sky.
How can she see this if he’s looking up and is a fair distance away from her? I don’t think he would be able to notice his eyes that much.
“Hey!” I called. He spun around, his eyes wide and frantic. They fixed on me, and he shrunk back. “No, come over here,” I said, quieter.
He made his way over through the weed-scattered lawn, glancing furtively over at the house. He huddled next to the fence, staring at me.
When he didn’t say anything, I frowned. “Who’re you?”
He looked at me suspicious. “I don’t think I shall tell you.”
This is pretty formal language for a seven year old. You should probably cut the ‘shall’ and replace it with something else.
“But we’re going to be friends,” I said importantly. “I have to know your name so I can call you something.”
I like her directness. Good characterization.
“Make up a name for me,” he suggested. “We shan’t be friends, anyway.”
“Shan’t?” I gave him a grumpy look. “I don’t know what that means.”
“That we won’t be friends. But you may make up a name if you should like to.”
I frowned at his odd speech, then smiled. “I’ll call you Cake.”
Okay, so maybe you’re intentionally having him speak formally then… I’ll still mark out other places in the story where he seems to be talking too formally, but if this is intentional for part of his characterization, that’s fine.
“Cake?” he asked, looking confused. “Why?”
“You’re as pale as the frosting on my birthday cake,” I said proudly.
Lol, okay, I like this.
He looked at me like I was an idiot, which wasn’t entirely inaccurate. “Are all people like you?” he asked.
I squinted at him. “Huh?”
Cake shook his head. “Never mind.” He glanced back at the house, his forehead wrinkling with worry. “I must go back inside.”
Pretty formal language.
“Wait!” I exclaimed as he started to move away. “Don’t leave yet. I want to play.” I gave him puppy dog eyes. “There aren’t any other kids my age around here. How old are you, anyway?”
I don’t think the average six year old knows how to intentionally give puppy-dog-eyes, but I could be wrong.
“Seven,” Cake said, hesitating. “What about you?”
“Six,” I said. “See, we’re the perfect ages to play together.”
This sentence is a tad too formal for the MC; try toning it down a bit.
“I can’t.” Cake shifted from foot to foot. “I must go back.”
“Then can we meet again?” I asked hopefully.
He looked at me and sighed. “Very well. We shall.”
I frowned. “Is that a yes?”
A smile tickled his mouth. “Yes.”
I nodded decisively. “Okay.”
Overall thoughts: You haven’t mentioned the MC’s name yet, and I feel like you probably should have in this section. Adding a couple lines where she introduces herself to Cake would probably do the trick. The story has a nice whimsical tone that I enjoy, and you have some nice lines. Nice work.
– Josiah DeGraaf