Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop

In this hop, participants post 250 words of their work in progress to be critiqued.  Then everyone hops around to critique others.

Here is mine (1st draft):

Getting up slowly as not to disturb her he heads for the bathroom. Waiting for the water to warm up he looks in the mirror- his stubble is noticeable now and his thick black hair is messy from the pillow.  Just the wrong side of 30 he could see the tiredness in his deep brown eyes and a little strand of grey hair poking out to remind him that his youth is fading.

After the warmth of the shower helped to wake him up he grabs the towel and wraps it around his waist and enters to the kitchen for his first of many smokes of the day.

Noticing a picture of him and lisa on the fridge he smiles to himself of that day- what had changed, this was the second time this week he has asked himself that.

Inhaling the first bit of nicotine was like a slap in the face waking him up, he puts on the coffee pot for lisa and sits back down turning on his mobile. Recently lisa has been on edge before they got engaged, not like her but didn’t want to ask unless he wanted a real slap in the face.

He had all morning before he had to start his shift at the hotel, he finishes he smoke, gets out a frying pan and a few eggs to make himself some breakfast. He loved cooking ever since he was a child, his nan taught him many skills, he was creative.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Go have a look at other writings!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com/

http://www.mandyevebarnett.com/

http://womanbitesdog.wordpress.com/

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com/

http://jordannaeast.com/

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com/

http://writerscrash.blogspot.co.uk/Image

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21 Responses to Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop

  1. Getting up slowly as not to disturb her he heads for the bathroom. Waiting for the water to warm up he looks in the mirror- his stubble is noticeable now and his thick black hair is messy from the pillow.
    YOU STARTED TWO SENTENCES IN A ROW WITH AN “ING” WORD. IT’S DISTRACTING.
    Just the wrong side of 30 he could see the tiredness in his deep brown eyes and a little strand of grey hair poking out to remind him that his youth is fading.
    YOU ARE CHANGING TENSES. “COULD SEE” AND “IS FADING” I SUGGEST PAST TENSE. PRESENT IS VERY HARD TO WRITE AND I PERSONALLY FIND IT VERY HARD TO READ.
    After the warmth of the shower helped to wake him up he grabs the towel and wraps it around his waist and enters to the kitchen for his first of many smokes of the day.
    I’M HAVING TROUBLE GETTING INVOLVED. I DON’T SEE A POINT YET TO WHAT IS GOING ON
    Noticing a picture of him and lisa on the fridge he smiles to himself of that day- what had changed, this was the second time this week he has asked himself that.
    THIS SENTANCE MIGHT BE STROGER IF I WAS ATTACHED TO WHAT IS GOING ON, BUT SO FAR HERE IT JUST FEELS LIKE A LIST OF EVERYDAY TASKS WITH NO REAL PUSH TO THE STORY (BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE STORY IS, I ADMIT, SO I MIGHT BE WRONG)
    Inhaling the first bit of nicotine was like a slap in the face waking him up, he puts on the coffee pot for lisa and sits back down turning on his mobile.
    THE SWITCHING TENSES IS SO DISTRACTING THAT I AM HAVING TROUBLE NOTICING EVERYTHING ELSE. YOU NEED TO DECIDE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE IF WE ARE IN THE PRESENT OR THE PAST AND STICK WITH IT. (SORRY) 😦
    Recently lisa has been on edge before they got engaged, not like her but didn’t want to ask unless he wanted a real slap in the face.
    HE DID’T WANT TO ASK? IS THERE A WORD MISSING?
    He had all morning before he had to start his shift at the hotel,
    TWO “HAD” WORDS TOO CLOSE TOGETHER
    he finishes he smoke, gets out a frying pan and a few eggs to make himself some breakfast. He loved cooking ever since he was a child, his nan taught him many skills, he was creative.
    FOR ME, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH HAPPENING HERE. IS EVERY WORD OF THIS IMPORTANT TO DRAW THE STORY FORWARD?
    IS IT POSSIBLE THAT MAYBE YOU HAVE NOT STARTED AT THE CORRECT POINT?
    I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THE TENSES ARE A BIG PROBLEM FOR ME IN THIS PEICE. IT MIGHT CLEAR EVERYTHING UP FOR ME IF YOU GOT THAT SORTED OUT.
    SEE WHAT OTHERS SAY, AND TAKE ALL COMMENTS INTO CONSIDERATION.
    GOOD LUCK!

    • Will take it all on board cheers! Shame there wasnt anything good about the piece for you- ah well maybe next week 😛 (this was a “not sure to put in novel” bit anyway and thought might as well put it out there)

      • Oh! I didn’t mean to say that there was nothing good. I just can’t see where it’s going, and I haven’t connected yet. You need to make that connection fast. Crazed people like me don’t have time to grow to love a character. You need to grab them right off the bat from the first page.

      • Ohh lol this would be a few chapters in and already know the character ( should have put what happened before)

  2. katmwehr says:

    I enjoyed the descriptions at some points in this piece. I agree that your main fixes need to be tenses, though! It’s tough for a reader to understand if we’re reading something that’s happening right now or something that’s already happened and we’re just in a flashback. I did like the way you described the cigarette smoking, especially how “the first bit of nicotine was like a slap in the face.” Just some editing and you’ll be off and running!

  3. caitlinstern says:

    Definitely needs a little more focus on the actor. You don’t want to start every sentence with ‘He did x, y, and z,’ but the fact that nearly none of then started that was threw me a bit.
    The build up is a little slow, you might want to focus on what’s important here. There’s a man getting ready for the day, but trouble’s brewing. Maybe a little more detail on why he doesn’t want to wake her–a little less grooming, and a bit more why he’s avoiding her and how he feels about it would make this more interesting.
    I like the sense of something wrong with this engaged couple, so give us more!

  4. My BIG question is WHO is HE? Does he have a name or a reason for being where he is?

  5. Mayumi-H says:

    I completely understand the first draft, just-get-it-down mentality. However, you might want to consider posting your opening paragraphs, instead, for a trade like this. Or, a section or scene that you think needs specific work. Only because it’s tough to jump into the author’s head mid-conflict or description.

    That said, I like the sense of unease you’re building with this man. (You could use a mention of his name for the excerpt, even if that’s not how it reads in your original text. That just helps the reader jump into his shoes a bit more easily.) The internal conflict he’s got going – even from just looking at Lisa’s picture – has a sense of uncomfortable foreboding. It’s good! I’d say, keep that building through the excerpt, while he has a smoke, makes breakfast, goes through his morning routine. You don’t have to get rid of that; you can use it to keep emphasising why he’s walking on eggshells around her, or why he loves her but is potentially frustrated by her.

    I see some folks have brought up tenses. They are tricky, especially when you deal with present. Some authors write that immediate tense very well. And, I think writing short fiction like the 100 word challenges and five sentence fiction pushes us toward using present tense. But, for a longer piece, you probably want to consider using the imperfect/past tense. It’s just easier to read for a lot of people. It’s really a stylistic choice, though. There are certainly ways to give past tense a sense of urgency, tension, or excitement.

    This excerpt feels very first draft-y. That’s okay! 🙂 All stories start somewhere, and no first draft is pretty. Before you post, though, try setting your words aside for a day. Go back to them the next morning or afternoon, and read them with fresh eyes. You’ll likely catch more of the little hiccups, that way (missing words, capitalizations, tenses), than if you just post straight off.

    I also want to say: getting blind critique like this is hard. You don’t have a lot of time to build trust with the person who’s going to critique you…and, I think, that trust is really important. Beta reading is one thing: people say they like it or they don’t, and usually just leave it at that. Critique really requires a partner who knows you and your strengths…and your weaknesses. This kind of off-the-cuff criticism can be brutal, and, even though we mean well with comments, it’s not always easy to separate our words from your feelings. Because this story is something from you. To have someone come back and tear it to pieces – no matter how helpful their intentions – hurts!

    Does this excerpt need some work? Sure. But I give you tons of credit for putting it out there to begin with. Maybe, next time, put forward in the beginning a few specifics you want help with: “I’m having trouble with the tenses. Can you help me sort that out?” “Do you think this is too much description, or not enough?” “Does this character come across as likable, self-centered, or something else?” These questions will help your readers focus with their critiques. So, it also makes their job easier. (I like telling people I’m asking for feedback things like, “I know this is kind of rambling – I’ll work that out later. For now, just tell me if so-and-so’s motivations are realistic, to you.”)

    Keep writing! You’re getting the words down on paper. That’s half the battle right there! 😀

    • many thanks hun- im new to all this so defo know what to do next time! all practise and its so much help 🙂 will take everything people have said on board 🙂 xx

    • Can I just say that this is a very thoughtful and kind comment. It IS hard to do this and blind critiques can sometimes feel like a slap in the face. Especially from folk you don’t know or haven’t built a relationship with.
      I think so long as we all keep all these facts in mind, every one of us will benefit from these words.

  6. Hello there. I was going to say that you shouldn’t open with a character getting ready/looking in the mirror. It’s a cliche. But I think you mentioned that this was a few chapters in? Still, it’s a bit routine. If it is important though, disregard my feelings about it. I know it’s frustrating to answer every little question and show every little plot point in 250 words. Well written though. Maybe just cut out anything unimportant and/or elaborate, if you don’t do so in the following paragraphs.

  7. There is a nice amount of detail in such a small snippet. Without huge descriptions I’ve got an image of this man which is good.

    I’m a little confused as to the ‘noticing a picture of him and Lisa on the fridge’ paragraph. I think you may be missing a couple of words, or a phrase or two? It doesn’t seem to read right.

    I like the slap in the face of the nicotine, it’s a cliché, but we get it, so there’s no need to add ‘waking him up.’ You can save yourself a few words by loosing detail like that; you’ve already told us.

    Another line offered me a little confusion too; ‘Recently lisa has been on edge before they got engaged, not like her….’ I don’t understand what’s happening in that line.

    The use of present tense is tricky, try to make sure that you don’t slip in and out of it. There are a couple of instances where you bounce out and then back in again, but the immediacy this tense gives the narrative is really nice.

  8. Rather than repeat the above, I did notice (in addition to the tenses) that 1) all your sentences are the same length and 2) with 1 exception they all begin with dependent clauses. I recommend shaking your sentence structure up a bit, otherwise, it gets stagnate – and dependent clauses can be really heavy-handed when not used sparingly. I too, couldn’t understand the what or why of this section – but that could be because it’s just 250 words plucked out of the middle. 🙂

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