The Best and Worst of Critique Comments #2


Writer's Life, Writing / Thursday, February 21st, 2013

So we had another full-class critique of short stories. This time, the story had to be 500 words (as opposed to the last story, which was 8-10 pages). After some of the comments I received last time, I figured I’d get another healthy dose of nonsense with the occasional constructive comment. My classmates did not disappoint.

For context, this short story featured a girl named Adelaide breaking out of jail in a country-western type setting. She picks the lock on her cell door, then fights off two guards. She dispatches the second guard by grabbing his crotch and twisting.

“Ew.” (Written above a line that reads “The stench of old piss clung to the dirt under her face.”)

“If the locks are modern-day, they might not be possible to pick.”

“I feel like I’ve seen a lot of Medieval fantasy stories have this kind of sequence (the knife in the boot, the lockpick, the thief escaping prison. . . almost like a Tamora Pierce novel.)”

“Whether it was intended or not, the piece ended on a humorous note because of the man’s ‘buckling knees’ after he gets grabbed in the balls. It was hilarious and lovely!”

“Is this a prison with both men and women?”(and a few sentences later:) “Is she in a co-ed prison?”

“Story does not stand on its own, more like an excerpt. How big is this girl? Modern cell?”

“Fast paced–me gusta. Thank you for making it a kick ass woman and not the stereotypical male assassin/thief. I liked it a lot. The concept is super witty and yeah. I’m going to draw you a cactus.”

She definitely drew a cactus

“We don’t know her well enough to support her escape, and for all we know she’s not exactly a Robin Hood.”

“Cool story.”

“Feels more like a slice-of-life than a fully contained story. Perhaps because of how casually Adelaide handles the situation. Not a bad thing, just an observation.”

“It seems like she would put up a more sophisticated fight. She seems smart and aware and I wish she would have fought more easily.”

“Would that be in her pockets?” (written next to the underlined phrase “…her coat, her satchel and all the jewelry she’d stolen…”)

“I wish we knew why she’s in jail.” (See previous comment for the answer.)

“Fun. A cute little adventure story, has a beginning, middle and end.”

“Your descriptions are literally out of this world, I literally have no stylistic complaints.”

“She is a girl and obviously she is strong, but I feel that she recovers from that punch way too fast. She could be a little disoriented or surprised by it.”

And now the story in a series of drawings (sadly, there is no name signed on this copy):

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