KP Critiques – 31

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! communityhousepost

Thank you Adryanna for this awesome submission!!

 

That day we went to the Community House where all the Farewells were held. The huge door gave a loud crreeaak as I pulled it open. Inside it was dark and empty.

“This place is creepy,” Alyssa whispered.

“I knew there was a reason I despise this place,” Leo responded. “In the light it’s too happy; it was almost unreal. But in the dark I can see its true nature. Pure. Evil.”

Quick guide to “its” and “it’s.”  “It’s” is a contraction for “it is,” so you should only use “it’s” if it would make sense to replace it with “it is.”  Otherwise, if you’re using it to show possession, you should just use “its”.

“Leo, don’t” Alyssa whined. I smiled, they were such dorks.

“Come on, the Farewell Hall is this way.” I said, leading the way. I started to wish we had brought a flashlight. I could barely see my hand in front of my face. Finally, we get to the door I hoped was the right one. “Are you sure about this?” Alyssa asked.

I don’t have a clear sense for what this building looks like inside.  Are they going up and down a hallway, or how are all of these rooms situated with regards to each other?

“Nope,” I said, pushing the door open. The other room was also dark, except for the little light given off by a single candle on a table in the center of the room.

“Well, that’s not weird.” Leo said sarcastically.

“I wonder who left it there?” I said aloud.

I did.” The voice was dark and thick, like black slime. It was deep and echoey, like a pit.

A thick voice and an echoey voice are both giving me different vibes.  I would suggest describing it as one or the other.

If evil had a voice that would be it.

This is a bit too on-the-nose.  I would just remove it and let the reader deduce this for himself.

And it came from directly behind us. Alyssa screamed.

It’s alright.” said the voice, not at all in a comforting manner, “I won’t hurt you.

I felt Alyssa grab my arm.

I feel like we could use more reactions from the characters.  Are they just standing still in shock?  Are they looking around to find the voice?  What is their bodily reaction right now?

“Who are you?” I asked, trying to keep my voice from trembling.

Ahhhh.. My name. That’s a bit of a touchy matter. You see, I don’t exactly have what you would call a name.

“So what do we call you?” I asked.

Call me… Plictro.” he said.

“Sir, may I just inform you: that is the dumbest name you could have chosen?” Leo burst out. I wanted to slap him. The sound of the guy’s voice told me that he could kill us.

I get that Leo is supposed to be sarcastic, but this distracts some from the tone of the story at this point to jump from a tone of fear to a tone of sarcasm.  I would suggest toning it down some while still leaving Leo’s character intact.

On the contrary, Leo, it is a very fitting title for me. You see, in a language that will perhaps be spoken sometime in the future or was spoken sometime in the past,  it means: Key.”

Ahhh; I see.  Nice use of the Greek language here.  (At least, I presume that’s where you got the word from.) 

Leo laughed, “Your name is Key?”

The voice got so close I could feel it on the back of my neck, “I told you. I have no name. I have only told you what I am. I am ‘to plictro’. I am the key.”

I reached back and tried to touch the source of the voice. My hand felt only air. But he had just been there. The voice laughed.

You can search the entire room, you will not find me. I am just a presence, not a physical being.”

“Impossible.” I told him.

Yet it is so.” the voice hissed, sounding more deadly with every word. Alyssa gave my arm a squeeze. I got the message.

“Well Mr. Plictro. We thank you for your time but we really have to be going.” We turned and hightailed it out of the room and into precious daylight, letting the door to the Community House slam shut behind us. But before the door closed I heard the voice whisper one more warning, “You are going to die, Timothy. You are going to die.

I looked over at my friends, expecting to see Alyssa go pale or Leo laugh at the threat. But I only saw relief. They hadn’t heard it. I was only one who had heard the horrid words.

“Well, he certainly was a charming fellow,” said Leo.

“No kidding.” I responded.  “Let’s get out of here.”

Overall, this opening worked pretty well for me.  It jumped into the action fast, the characters were already displaying some unique traits, and the situation was intriguing.  You’ll want to work more on showing some of the character’s reactions when it would be natural for them to react, but otherwise this is looking pretty good.  Nice work!

– Josiah DeGraaf

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.
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Comments

  1. This is so good!!! I want to know what happens next!!! Great job, Adryanna!

  2. Whoa, awesome job, Adryanna! Loved it. 🙂 And Leo’s hilarious.

  3. Ooh… creepy. 😀

  4. Thanks guys!! This was actually one of my least favorite scenes I wrote in this story but it was a friend of mine’s favorite so I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction to expect. 🙂

  5. Nice. 😉 I’m intrigued…

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