KP Critiques – 39

Welcome to the 39th edition of KP Critiques! May others be inspired by your bravery, Lady Shaina. Even the most skilled wordsmiths shudder at the sight of an editor’s dagger, but it’s a necessary training procedure. Although you may emerge with blood splatters on your hands, your sword will be sharpened and your story will wield more impact.KP Critique 39

Now, onward to the analysis of Shaina’s tale!

Terrence grabbed the statuette of a knight and threw it as hard as he could toward the walls of the tent. Immediately both men stopped what they were doing and stared at him, surprise on their faces.

He heaved a deep breath. “Sorry. That was uncalled for.”

This feels abrupt. It might be more effective if you introduced the men in the tent and showed the reason Terrence is frustrated before his reaction.

“Perhaps, but I do believe that we can agree with the sentiment.,” Wizard Gyre said dryly, regarding him from under bushy white eyebrows. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brianna Storm Hilvety
Brianna was born with a rumble in her veins. She finds the tap of a keyboard to be soothing like the pitter-patter of rain. She has been a writer for a decade, a freelance editor for a few years, and a bibliophile from the moment she pronounced her first syllable. Proudly a Silver Member of The Christian PEN, she serves on their team as Graphics Coordinator. She exudes her passion for speculative fiction and helping young writers by being an Associate Editor at Castle Gate Press and the Copy Editor/Director of Graphics for Kingdom Pen. When she isn’t poring over words, she may be spotted shooting her Canon, riding The Breeze (an all-terrain vehicle), or romping with her dog, Zookie. Purple is her signature color, and she refuses to recognize all other claims to it.

KP Critiques – 11

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 critique comes to us from Kori, and her novel, Forever in My Memory KP Critiques Post 3

 

Thank you Kori for this submission! 

She was young–fifteen at the most. Somehow I knew, despite the sorrow that had drawn her features.

It sounds like you’re trying to make a surprising contrast here since it’s unusual for someone to have a lot of sorrow and also be only fifteen.  However, the contrast here isn’t really working for me since, given that we can’t see the character, once we hear that she’s fifteen, we don’t really get the full thrust of “somehow I knew,” because we expect her to be fifteen.

If, as I’m assuming, you’re trying to surprise us with this unusual combination, instead begin by describing the sorrow of this woman.  Describe the glint in her eyes and what her sorrow makes her looks like.  And then shock us with the revelation that she’s only fifteen.  The same information is portrayed—but because the order of it is reversed, the reader will be much more interested in the story.

She had a hard, determined glint in her eyes and her hands were large and strong. I would not have been terribly surprised to see her lift my desk and throw it across the room.

She marched right up to my desk. “Are you Mr. Wilson?” Her question seemed accusatory somehow.

“Yes?” Almost involuntarily I stood up and removed my hat.

“I’m here about your ad.” She slapped a newspaper onto the table forcefully. I had the uncomfortable feeling that I had done something wrong.

“Is . . . there a problem with it?” [Read more…]

KP Critiques – 09

Today we have another KP Critiques for you! We are so grateful for the fabulous amount of subscribers interested in this series! Critiques are a vital part of the life of a writer. Though difficult to digest at times they help us grow and mature into a greater writer. KP Critiques Post 2

Today’s critique is given to us by Christianna from her novel Fire In The Shadowlands.

Chrstianna’s Excerpt: 

The early rays of a fresh new sun heralding the approach of an equallyfresh new day streamed into the tastefully furnished tower room built into the south wall of Derenath.

In a smooth backed olive wood chair, a man in his late forties sat, quietly sifting through a pile of ashes, heaped on the trestle table in front of him which served for a desk.

A scrap of scorched paper, the size of the man’s large palm, discovered itself to his searching fingers and, after gazing at it for a few seconds, laid it calmly on the edge of the desk atop a steadily growing hill of similar artifacts.

The sound of a door slamming from somewhere outside the room caused the man to look up expectantly; someone was running up stairs, then the door burst open and the man hurriedly bent over his ashes again, determined to look uninterested and detached as he deemed one in his position ought to look. Though it was hard for him, a man easily excited, and he had been waiting for some singularly exciting news; it was hard for him not to jump when he heard anyone coming. [Read more…]

KP Critiques – 07

We are very happy to present you with the latest installment of KP Critiques! 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 alsoKP Critiques Post 1 know that receiving critiques from others is one of the THE BEST ways to grow and improve. Constructive criticism is invaluable!

 

Thank you Hosanna for this submission!

 

Remind Me Of Someone

She loved these gatherings. After four years of searching she’d found her place in the city, and what an odd little niche she was comfortable in. Surrounded by a semi-circle of enamored teenagers who remained perfectly silent as she complimented the pianist playing; the teacher paused for a moment to appreciate her surroundings. As the sun set on the west side of the decaying ballroom, the beams illuminated the faces of her students and with the piano music lilting about her ears, it was the perfect place to be. Excellent! [Read more…]

KP Critiques – 06

We are back again with another installment of KP Critiques! We thank all of you for having the guts to send in your work. Receiving criticism, no matter how constructive, is always a hard pill to swallow. Just remember, having your work critiqued is one of the best ways to grow as a writer!

Today’s critique is an installment from Shiloh Hamilton’s book, Miami’s Finest.

Shiloh’s submission! 

It was 10 o’clock, November 1980.

KP Critiques Post 2
“Trent Village! Get yourself in this kitchen now!” My mother screamed to me in my room.


“What’s up, Mom?” I replied as I entered the kitchen of our tiny apartment.


“Where on earth is your brother? Tommy was supposed to be up from the garage over an hour ago!”


“Is there anything I can do.” I asked


“Yes. Go down to the garage in the alley and tell him to come up.”

[Read more…]

KP Critiques – 03

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!KP Critiques Post 2

This critique comes to us from Rolena, and her story, Hero of Mine.

 

Rolena’s submission!

 

I shoved the fridge door shut and slammed the salad onto the counter.

“Why now dad? Why do you have to leave again?” I cried.

Dad sighed, got up off the couch and leaned on the counter so he could look at me past the overhanging cabinets.

“Because my boss requires me to leave immediately.”

“But you were just gone for three weeks. We need you here dad!” I exclaimed.

I ripped open the salad bag and carelessly dumped it into a bowl. Most of it fell onto the counter. I snatched it up and shoved it back into the bowl.

“Kathrin, I just can’t buy any time this round…” he stated my full name.

“What kind of job do you have dad?”

I watched his brown eyes. He folded his hands.

“Katty, I have had this job for seventeen years, got it the very day you were born. And your mom and I knew that we would have to keep my job a secret for extreme security purposes. If you knew what my job was it could put you in serious danger. I am protecting your life sweetheart.” He raised his brow.

I looked away from his intense gaze.

“Yes I know dad.” I said quietly.

I grabbed a chunk of chicken and started chopping it to bits.

“Do you have to go tomorrow though?” I asked.

“Yes Katty, you know how it works; I have to leave when I’m told. But you also know that I usually have at least a week or two off in between trips, so when I come back, we’ll have to spend some special time together, just you, Maddie and me.”

Tears filled my eyes and dripped onto the cutting board. I stopped cutting when I could no longer see the chicken, probably saving one of my fingers. Dad lifted my chin.

“Katty what is it?” he asked.

I choked on a sob.

“Do you remember what tomorrow is?” I smeared the tears across my cheeks.

He glanced to the left obviously thinking hard. I didn’t wait for him to answer.

“It’s the second anniversary of mom’s death.” I sobbed.

“Oh Kit-Kat.” He used his special name for me.

Sliding around the counter, he pulled me close to him.

Dropping the knife, I clung to him tight no doubt getting his work shirt all wet with tears and chicken juices.

 

Our Critique! 

 

I shoved the fridge door shut and slammed the salad onto the counter.

Technically, she’s not slamming a salad onto the counter.  From below, it looks like it’s actually a salad bag, so you’ll want to specify that here.

“Why now, dad? Why do you have to leave again?” I cried.

Dad sighed, got up off the couch and leaned on the counter so he could look at me past the overhanging cabinets.

“Because my boss requires me to leave immediately.”

These last two paragraphs should be combined into one paragraph as they’re both dealing with the same subject.

“But you were just gone for three weeks. We need you here, dad!” I exclaimed.

I ripped open the salad bag and carelessly dumped it into a bowl. Most of it fell onto the counter. I snatched it up and shoved it back into the bowl.

These last two paragraphs should be combined.  I like the content of the last paragraph, though.  Nice way to show her emotions.

“Kathrin, I just can’t buy any time this round…” he stated my full name.

“What kind of job do you have, dad?”

Given that this seems to be an ongoing conversation between the two of them, I think she would naturally bring it up in a different way.  She isn’t asking this for the first time, so it’s going to be asked in the context of their larger long-lasting debate about this topic.

I watched his brown eyes. He folded his hands.

Combine this sentence with the following paragraph.

“Katty, I have had this job for seventeen years, got it the very day you were born. And your mom and I knew that we would have to keep my job a secret for extreme security purposes. If you knew what my job was it could put you in serious danger. I am protecting your life sweetheart.” He raised his brow.

This dialogue is basically only spoken for the benefit of the audience.  Kathrin already knows all of this, so this is pretty much just an info-dump.  The audience needs to know this, but you’ll want to work it in a more subtle way.

Also, it seems odd that he would tell Kathrin that he has a secret job and not just go with an alibi.  It would be easier for him to just claim that he is a business man, and that these are all business trips, since then he would avoid suspicion.

I looked away from his intense gaze.

“Yes, I know dad.” I said quietly.

These two lines should also be combined into one paragraph.

I grabbed a chunk of chicken and started chopping it to bits.

“Do you have to go tomorrow though?” I asked.

Ditto with the paragraph combination

“Yes Katty, you know how it works; I have to leave when I’m told. But you also know that I usually have at least a week or two off in between trips, so when I come back, we’ll have to spend some special time together, just you, Maddie and me.”

If Kathrin knows all of this, then he doesn’t need to tell her how it works.  This is also just being spoken for the intent of the audience, and is thus an info-dump.

Tears filled my eyes and dripped onto the cutting board. I stopped cutting when I could no longer see the chicken, probably saving one of my fingers. Dad lifted my chin.

“Katty what is it?” he asked.

I choked on a sob.

“Do you remember what tomorrow is?” I smeared the tears across my cheeks.

Combine these past two sentences.

He glanced to the left obviously thinking hard. I didn’t wait for him to answer.

“It’s the second anniversary of mom’s death.” I sobbed.

Good line, but would a man really forget the anniversary of his wife’s death?

“Oh, Kit-Kat.” He used his special name for me.

Sliding around the counter, he pulled me close to him.

Dropping the knife, I clung to him tight no doubt getting his work shirt all wet with tears and chicken juices.

These last three lines should all be combined into one paragraph.

Overall: Your paragraphs tend to be consistently on the short side and many of them should be combined, as I’ve noted above.  You’ll want to work on info-dumping less on the reader through dialogue and making the dialogue more natural.  You have some good character tension in this scene that is compelling and do a good job of showing the emotions of the characters.   Keep it up!

– Josiah DeGraaf