Critique Blog Hop Week 4

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 the next 250 words of On The Surface, my current work in progress. You can read the first 250 here. I’ll be getting around to critiquing others’ work tomorrow, too! I didn’t do such a hot job of that last week. :p

Anyway, enjoy!

—-

Her mother, brother and father exited the car, allowing the chilly, early April breeze to cool the car. Darren, her brother, assisted Pap in getting out of the backseat. His stroke had made it difficult for him to walk, and Darren was tasked with making sure he didn’t fall as they made their way across the uneven field to their grandmother’s headstone. Her mother walked along his other side.

“She still won’t come out here?” Liza heard Pap say.

“She will when she’s ready. It’s better not to fight with her,” her mother was saying, before Darren closed the door, cutting out their voices.

Her father carried a flower box, filled this time with pastel plants to signify the changing season. Pastels were also her grandmother’s favorite, Liza recalled.

It was April 3rd, and she would have been 79 today. They’d been coming here for the past three years, every holiday, birthday, and turn of the season, to decorate the flat stone marking the final resting place of Elizabeth, Liza’s grandmother and the woman from whom she got her own name.

Liza, however, had not been to the actual grave since the day of the funeral, three Februraries ago, when she was a junior in high school.

Also at the plot were her mother’s grandparents, and other relatives who had long since passed on, and her mother always liked to lay something at their stones as well. Liza looked out the window, concentrating on the American flags, while the rest of her family did their thing.

—-

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

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://wyrmflight.wordpress.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://threepiecebikini.blogspot.com/

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

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

http://wordsbreathedupon.wordpress.com/blog/

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13 thoughts on “Critique Blog Hop Week 4

  1. Hey, Kat!
    Firstly I want to acknowledge that I was totally wrong about my thoughts on who was in the grave, seeing as they both got out of the car!
    I have what maybe a bad habit of thinking flaws in a sentence before I finish reading it. In “Also at the plot were her mother’s grandparents, and other relatives who had long since passed on, and her mother always liked to lay something at their stones as well.” I got to the first comma and thought her mother’s grandparents, who would be quite old, were already standing around the grave waiting for Liza’s family to arrive. At the second comma it all made sense!
    Otherwise I felt it lead me through the story quite well. Good job!

    • Thanks for reading! And yes, my writing style can definitely be confusing. I’ve spent the past four-five years of my life in journalism, and that was about all the writing I was doing (aside from academic writing, of course!) and I notice the influence of that as I try to write creatively again. AP/journalism style is all about packing as much information into one sentence as you can (to save on ink and paper space – can you believe that?) whereas I think there is a little more leeway in fiction. Thanks for the critique!

  2. They’d been coming here for the past three years, every holiday, birthday, and turn of the season, to decorate the flat stone marking the final resting place of Elizabeth, Liza’s grandmother and the woman from whom she got her own name.

    —- Too many commas for me

    Also at the plot were her mother’s grandparents, and other relatives who had long since passed on, and her mother always liked to lay something at their stones as well.

    — Could be redone, something like “The plot also had other relatives” the lay something at thier stones i dont think is needed as for me anyway if you visit graves you lay flowers 🙂

    Good work though!

    • Thanks! Now that I’m rereading those sentences alone, I notice that their structure is similar in that they are both really awkward to read! Definitely needs some work. Thanks for the critique.

  3. This is too short a scene to gie an overall thought, so just a few things to spruce it up a bit…

    The first paragraph is nearly 100% tell. Try to make it more active so we can experience t with yor characters rather than hearing about it afte the fact.

    Liza heard Pap say. – If you are in Liz’s POV, of course she’s the one who heard it. Just say “He said” or, to make it even better, exchenge the “said” with character movement.

    her mother was saying — Work hard to avoif the passive tense. Try to keep os miving.

    Her father carried a flower box, filled this time with pastel plants to signify the changing season. THIS SENTANCE DOES NOT FLOW WELL (CAPS ONLY TO SHOW MY COMENT. I’M NOT MAD) 😉

    Pastels were also her grandmother’s favorite, Liza recalled. AGAIN YOU DON’T NEED TO SAY SHE RECALLED.

    I STILL FEEL LIKE THERE IS TOO MUCH TELLING ABOUT WHAT IS OGIN ON, OR WHAT HAS GONE ON, AND NOT ENOUT OF WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW. TRY TO WEAVE THIS OLDER INFO IN AS THE PLOT MOVES FORWARD TO AVOID BORING THE READER.

    GOOD LUCK!

    • Thanks for the critique! I’m really glad I posted this second chunk – I worked really hard on the first opening paragraphs that I’d posted before, but clearly I haven’t devoted nearly enough editing time to this next set. And also, thanks for the idea of the 250 word critique! I find this close-editing to be a very helpful exercise as I edit future chapters. Looking at the small chunks makes it much easier to identify where my inner journalist takes over and TELLS the story, instead of allowing for more show. 🙂

  4. Yep, A bit much tell. I second that.
    And a few tiny things:
    “exited the car, allowing the chilly, early April breeze to cool the car.”
    Feels repetitive, maybe something like “allowing the … breeze in/ to seep in”
    Some areas needed tightening, maybe. Like “the final resting place of Elizabeth, Liza’s grandmother and the woman from whom she got her own name.” could be “the final resting place of Elizabeth, Liza’s grandmother and namesake.”
    And “Liza, however, had not been to the actual grave since the day of the funeral, three Februraries ago, when she was a junior in high school.” the “three Februraries ago” is pretty much said in the previous paragraph.
    I like the sense of distance, like: “Liza looked out the window, concentrating on the American flags, while the rest of her family did their thing.”
    Maybe if you focus on that, how she’s alienated and alone, the scene will come out?

    • Caitlin, you hit on something I didn’t even realize I was establishing in this scene. The alienation factor… I love it, and it fits so well with the rest of my story. That’s fabulous! Thank you! I think my subconscious mind knew that’s what I needed, but I could never put a finger on it when actually working on this story. Thank you thank you thank you for pointing it out! And thanks for critiquing!

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