With overwhelming delight we are proud to be presenting you with the 30th installment of KP Critiques!! We enjoy all of the effort and willingness from each and every one of you who has participated. We know the great courage it took for you to submit your work to scrutiny and we thank you abundantly! Keep ’em coming! We love your critique submissions. Even if you’ve already sent one in, don’t hesitate to submit another one!
Thank you Faith for providing us with this stellar submission!
Get him!” they yelled. Seth tugged on the strap of his backpack as he raced through the dark alley. Determination set on his dark eyes. He was not going back, not this time.
As he climbed over a short metal fence, his mind raced. Surely by now, they should just give up. They weren’t his friends. They didn’t need him. He had done his job, and now he wanted nothing more to do with it all.
Seth stopped and leaned against a wall. He was trapped. The alley stopped abruptly in front of a tall brick building.
I’m a bit confused about the geography of this. So he’s in an alley, he climbs over a fence, and then he’s still in an alley? I could use a bit more description about where he’s at. Leaning against a wall also seems like a strange move; it seems like standing and panting at the end of the alley would be the more natural choice to make.
He could hear the men’s voices getting louder. His chest heaved as he searched for any place to hide.
Like I’ll find a hiding spot in this place, he thought as he glanced around. There were lots of old garbage bins, and shards of glass from beer bottles littered the cracked pavement.
This description would be better placed a paragraph above when you describe the end of the alley.
His heart leaped as he spotted a big door behind one of the garbage bins.
This seems rather convenient, but I’ll hold off judgment on this since you may be providing a good explanation for this later in the story.
He raced to it and pushed the bin aside, but the door wouldn’t budge. Come on, come on! He rattled the metal knob until his hand felt as if it would fall off.
“There he is!” someone yelled.
Seth’s head jerked to the side to see Jerry’s pack coming straight towards him.
Seth turned back to the door and rattled the knob again. “Come on…Let me in, somebody!” he cried through clenched teeth. His heart pounded as he banged on the door.
You may want to describe him banging on the door before this.
Suddenly, the door swung open and Seth tumbled inside. As soon as he landed on the hard floor, he heard the door slam shut and lock behind him.
Apologies for being overly nitpicky, but I’m unsure if he can naturally fall far enough inside the door for it to be able to shut right behind him. It seems like he’d be in the way of the door. You may want to include a line about him moving so that the door can shut behind him.
Seth looked up and rose to his feet. He brushed off some of the dust from his jacket and took a wary step forward. He was surrounded in darkness and only a tiny stem of light shone through a crack in the door. It was so silent that he could hear his own heart beating.
‘Stem’ is a strange word to use in this context to describe light. I would suggest finding a different word to bring this across.
He squinted and cleared his throat. “…anyone here?”
He jumped and spun around as someone pounded on the door behind him.
The cause and effect of this is reversed. Instead of writing it this way, write it as; “Someone pounded on the door behind him. He jumped and spun around.” This way, the reader is more fully immersed in the character’s head. It also makes reading easier when events are given in the order that they happen.
“You’re gonna get a beating for sure if you don’t open this door, you little pipsqueak! I’m warning you!” Greg, Jerry’s right-hand man, yelled outside.
Seth relaxed and smirked. For once, he had gotten the best of them.
“Open up right now, or I’ll…I’ll rip your head off!”
Seth shook his head in amusement. “Ha! Good luck opening this door.”
All of a sudden, Seth heard an
earie eerie voice come out of the shadows behind him. “I can open this door for him, just as I did for you, young one.”
The way this is currently constructed, with him looking around to see who let him in, to taunting the bullies, to the voice surprising him, it seems a bit haphazard. It seems like in this kind of situation, given that he’s safe from the bullies, he’d be more-concerned with figuring out who let him in than in taunting people who can’t even get at him.
Overall, I can’t give many comments of the story since you’re beginning in media res, but it works pretty well as-is. Your major concern will be in making sure that you fill the readers in on all the necessary backstory in a natural way in the next ten pages or so. All the changes I’ve mentioned here are pretty minor, so good job overall.
– Josiah DeGraaf