Critique Blog Hop Week 3

Here’s my next contribution to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

This is an excerpt from something I wrote in college for creative writing class that I’m hoping to tweak and submit for a short story contest aimed at the middle grade/young adult audience. For the assignment, we were supposed to write something with a “twist” that our classmates wouldn’t necessarily be able to predict just by reading the opening. You’ll see what I mean if you read on. 🙂

It was quiet, but I was hyper aware of my body. Adrenaline was building in my veins like a kettle about to whistle. My breathing was steady and controlled, in through my nose and out my mouth, just like they teach you in gym class. My muscles were tense, and I was ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

A gunshot fired, echoing like an explosion in the sky. I took off as fast as I could to evade my pursuers. I heard their footsteps behind me like a stampede of lightweight horses, not pounding along the ground, but definitely running. I could hear their individual breathing as they got closer. I lengthened my strides, trying to put some distance between myself and my enemies.

The path ahead was clear. I pumped my arms for momentum, desperately trying to get away. The breathing grew fainter, and the footsteps faded somewhat as I charged down the backstretch. Now that there were a few paces between us, I could concentrate on my form. Shoulders back, hands relaxed and arms perpendicular to the ground. Lean forward ever so slightly, and keep a nice, even stride. And breathe, don’t forget to breathe controlled, even breaths.

I rounded the third turn and felt the wind cutting across my face. This was the worst part of the 400 meter dash. My legs were becoming lead, and my neck and shoulders were growing heavier with every step.


Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!


14 thoughts on “Critique Blog Hop Week 3

    • Thanks for commenting! It’s a track & field/runners thing. You’re supposed to use your upper body when you run to help your lower body… some people even lift weights to make their arms stronger!

  1. I like the sense of body awareness, tension, and movement here.
    You might want to cut “just like they teach you in gym class” to avoid giving away the ending.
    This sentence confused me; “I heard their footsteps behind me like a stampede of lightweight horses, not pounding along the ground, but definitely running.” I’m guessing you’re trying to convey the way these pursuers are running–not flat-footed, light on their feet. Maybe a different simile would work better?
    Very fast-paced, perfect for a race!

    • I see what you mean. You’re right, there is likely a much better metaphor out there for what I’m trying to get across to readers with that statement. Back to the editing board! Thanks for the critique!

  2. Nicely written Kat! However, I don’t want to sound like party pooper but I picked the twist almost immediately. In fact the only surprise for me was the length of the race. I think the first paragraph strongly alluded to it and the gunshot was the clincher. It may need some more ambiguity to draw the reader away from that conclusion. Otherwise the descriptions were very vivid and clean. Good stuff!

    • Thanks! That will probably end up being reworked when I edit for this contest I’m thinking of entering… The original piece that this excerpt is lifted from was for a creative assignment and had to fit specific parameters. But I see how it seems kind of forced and can be improved upon. Thanks for the critique!

    • Haha, darn! Well, the surprise only lasts for this paragraph or two in the rest of the piece anyway, as the rest is more about the race and gets into a little more “conflict.” But thanks for the kind words. As I edit and rewrite for the contest, the beginning will likely change anyway, so thank you for the critique! Good notes to have in mind. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #4 | Jennifer M Eaton

  4. Pingback: Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #5 | Jennifer M Eaton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s