Writer's Life, Writing Classes

Best and Worst of Critique Comments #5

Ah, the return of a popular series! If you need to catch up on the last four episodes, you can find all of those right here. The guidelines are slightly different from last time; instead of writing an 8-10 page short story for class, the limit is 6-8. We still had to print off 30 copies and read the story aloud, and yours truly volunteered (as usual) to go on the first day. In my mind, I thought the first day would be next Tuesday so I would have the weekend to work on this. I quickly realized the first day was actually Thursday (yesterday).

Due to this immediate deadline, a pleasantly tiring day at work and me getting sick, I could not write a fresh story. I did the next best thing and grabbed part of a chapter from The Thieves of Traska. It’s an experimental sort of chapter–I sprinkled in a few scenes from her brother’s point of view for a subplot that was difficult to execute when the whole story was told from Claire’s perspective. I wasn’t sure about keeping it, but my classmates‘ opinions make me think it should stay.

Without further ado, I give you their comments!

“Great stuff! I’d love to read the rest. Confused as to the timing and how this escape went down.”

“What does this mean?” Written next to the sentence “Well, what was one more palm to grease?”

“I like the premise, but it feels unresolved. Would have liked a cut to what Claire is thinking.”

“I find Reed’s possessive and obsessive nature very interesting, but also creepy in a way.”

“Nice, atmospheric piece. I could very easily envision the scenes that you constructed… I wanted to hear more about what was going down, more about Claire, etc. … It kind of reminded me of Fargo atmospherically.”

“Is he referring to his sister?” The words “precious possession” are underlined. “I would change ‘possession.’ Just … ow. She’s a person. :(“

“I would like some more descriptions. The ones you have are fantastic, but a few more might solve some of the period-confusion people seem to be having (the sheriff and village confusion is bogus though because freaking Robin Hood had a sheriff GOD!)”

“I definitely want to read more! Lots of tension and unknowns. Worried about the guardsmen. Hopefully he likes Claire. Is there gonna be a romance there? Don’t tell me! I think this is super rad and I hope you keep developing it.”

“It feels like a book chapter, not a stand-alone.”

“I like how all of the characters have complex moralities; there’s not a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ oversimplification, especially with Reed and Claire, that felt real, believable, and interesting.”

“There is not much of a resolution and we’re hung out to dry. It’s good to be ambiguous at times, but this feels odd.”

“The use of a sheriff combined with chain mail and tunics is very confusing. Apart from that small detail, the story kept my attention all the way to the end.”

“Wish I knew more of Claire… Kind of want her to take him out in the end.”

“This seems a bit of a unique place to have the story, to end before the action really starts. It isn’t bad but I am left wanting to know what happens … Good narration, good dialogue, and a slight sense of wit.”

“Setting and time have me a bit confused. Would like more dialogue at beginning. I like the gritty characterizations.”

“While the tension between the sheriff and Reed was particularly interesting, I wanted someone to be the main antagonist. I thought that was Garrison, but the sheriff seemed to be that.”

“The very beginning states Reed didn’t want to involve the authorities, but then he goes to the police guarding the prison? Or is he at his last resort? That would make sense. Reed also wouldn’t want to openly admit that he saw Claire after she escaped from jail because he would be arrested for harboring a fugitive.”

“I like it. Sharp dialogue, interesting characters, a page-turning plot… I think you have a great start for a novel here.”

“The characters’ background is unknown thus, confusing. We need to know why Claire was in jail and what criminal behavior she has. I also wonder who the narrator is. Perhaps an omnipotent POV?”

“Was he holding it or did he get stabbed? :|” Next to the sentence “Seeing the tiny blade flash into Garrison’s hand had been a surprise, though.”

“This is kinda suggestive of domestic abuse???” Next to the sentence “It wasn’t anybody’s business how he dealt with her.”

“I don’t think this is really a ‘short story,’ more like the opening to something bigger, which is both really good and bad.”

“I think it’s well written, and there’s even a bit of humor in it, like when the one guard walks in and says, ‘Does it look like no one got hurt?’ lol.”

“The ending could be stronger because I feel that nothing is really resolved. He is still going after Claire just as he was at the beginning.”

“This sounds too painful to kind of brush off, even if he’s a tough guy.” In reference to a cut on Reed’s face.

“This is written very well, is engaging and intriguing, and I want to read this book, I want to solve this mystery. I’m willing to bet Garrison isn’t such a bad guy and Claire sees this in him? Or maybe he has something she wants? Man I have so much I want to know and you do such a good job of pulling me in with just this one bit. I want to know Claire’s character and her past and yeah you get the point.”

“I wish you wouldn’t have stopped right there, as well. It makes the story feel bit off. Or maybe that’s just me wondering what would happen when Reed actually found Claire.”

“Obviously incomplete. Abrupt ending. Couldn’t decide what time period was until chain mail was mentioned. They didn’t have time to draw wanted posters or the money to get paper. Felt like fantasy.”

That last person also wrote this comment, but I have no idea what it says.


If you liked this post, share it with your friends!

Leave a Reply