We’re back with another critique! Thank you all so much for having the courage to send them in! We know it’s never easy to have your writing critiqued, let alone shared for the benefit of others. That takes guts! But we also know that receiving critiques from others is one of the THE BEST ways to grow and improve. Constructive criticism is invaluable!

This submission is an excerpt from Greta and Ingrid’s novel, The Sorcerer’s Daughter.  KP Critiques Post 2

The Critique



Princess Eldora tiptoed out of her room and down the palace staircase, careful not to step on the creaking stair.  As she neared the landing, the yelling became more distinct.  Eldora could just make out what the voices were saying.

“Mercellyz, please.  None of this is our fault.  Father was the one who deemed you unfit to rule.  You chose a different path; he chose this one for me.”

It was her father, King Theron, who had spoken.  A cruel, vengeful voice broke into the conversation.

“I was the firstborn!  I was the rightful heir, but father destroyed my potential.”

“You destroyed your own potential when you started toying with dark magic.  You’re—”

A lot of this dialogue here seems info-dumpish.  Both of them already know all of this information, so you’re going to need to do a more subtle job of working in these facts into the dialogue in order to keep the dialogue from sounding like it was just written for the purpose of the reader.  Focus more on how their argument would naturally progress and then work from there.

The king stopped.  His voice became calm, but tense.  “Eldora, please, go back to your room.”

How does he hear her?  It’s not clear from the story.

Eldora opened the door a crack. Her father was standing on one side of a table, his sword at his side.  Her mother was beside him, a look of pleading and fear on her face.  On the other side of the table, there stood a man with savage eyes and a drawn sword.  She recognized him as her uncle, Mercellyz.

“Eldora, please, go back to your room,” Theron repeated more urgently.

This time Eldora obeyed, sprinting up the stairs as fast as she could.  When she reached her room, Eldora locked her door.  She couldn’t help being terrified of the wild look in her uncle’s eyes, like he was going to do something dreadful.

Eldora heard whispering outside of her door.  Then a voice louder than the others spoke.

“Open up,” it hissed.

The door burst open, and Eldora jumped up from the bed.  Three small figures stood in her bedroom doorway.

Eldora sighed with relief.  The figures were her siblings: Annabelle, Deron, and Mira.

The smallest of the three hobbled over to Eldora.  “Ewdora, I ‘fraid,” Princess Mira cried faintly.  Her large, brown eyes were wide with fear.

“It’s alright, Mira.” Eldora hugged her tightly, stroking her black hair.  Eldora turned to her other two siblings.  “How did you get in?”

“Deron used magic to unlock the door,” said eight-year-old Annabelle.

If magic can unlock a door, why does Eldora even lock her door in the first place since Mercellyz knows magic?  Or did she just lock the door because it made her feel safer?

Deron stuck his tongue out at her. “You little tattletale!  You’re just jealous because you can’t do magic.”

Eldora gave him a severe look and then sighed.  “Deron, Mother and Father told you never to use magic!”

“I was just practicing.  And why shouldn’t I?  You do magic all the time when Mother and Father aren’t around.”

Eldora ignored Deron’s last remark and instead answered his question.  “Because people don’t know that we can use it.  If they found out their king has magical blood, they may not trust him.  Then everyone would—”

  This also seems info-dumpish.

Another burst of yells erupted from below them.

“We heard shouting,” Annabelle squeaked, and slammed the door shut.

I’m not scared,” Prince Deron said proudly.
Why is he being called a prince all of the sudden when he wasn’t before?

“You were too, Deron!”

“Was not!”

More shouts echoed up the stairs, and Annabelle ran toward Eldora’s bed.  Deron started to run to the bed, but stopped half way, his nose held high.

The door burst open for the second time.  It was their mother, Queen Reyna.  Her face was pale as the stone that lined the hallway outside.

“Quickly, children.  Follow me.” Reyna lead the way to another room, the one that the queen kept locked.  She unlocked the door and went inside, the children following.  The queen lifted a rug on the floor, revealing a trapdoor.

“Quickly, children,” Queen Reyna repeated hurriedly, “In here.” She lifted the door.

Overall, this story does an effective job of starting with some good tension and some good stakes.  You’ll want to focus more on expanding the dialogue to make it feel less info-dumpish and more realistic, but this is a fairly good start taken as a whole.

-Josiah DeGraaf