Critique Group – Beauty is Found Within

joker-iphone-wallpaper-4

This is no joke. We need critiques.

Don’t forget the critiquing guidelines. All you have to do is post a comment about the submission below. Don’t feel like you have to critique the whole piece. Even a short comment on one aspect can be helpful.

If you want to submit a manuscript for critique, please read the guidelines as well as this list of common mistakes to avoid before submitting.

This post will stay active indefinitely, so you can come back and add comments at any time. If you are the writer who is being critiqued, you should subscribe to this post so you can be notified when any comments are added.

This is another short excerpt, so I trust that many of you will have time to check it out.

Beauty is Found Within – by Tabitha

Screeching tire sounds filled the air, as horns blasted through the foggy night. The sound of glass crunched as his windshield started to cave in. He tried to right the car, but it was too late he was going too fast. The car flipped onto its side, pinning itself against another car. The back of his head hit against the headrest as the air bag deployed. The last thing he remembered was the sound of sirens and a bright light, before everything went dark.

Annabel startled awake as hot coffee splashed on her hand. She hadn’t realized she’d drifted off and practically fell asleep at the counter. “Oops! Sorry Hun!” said Ms. James, an elderly woman and owner of the diner. She was trying to balance a coffee pot and a full tray of dishes at the same time. “No worry’s, I needed the wake-up anyways. How long was I asleep?” “For about an hour sweetie.” She sighed. She really needed to get back to the hospital. But first she’d have some coffee and try to wake-up fully.

After her visit to the diner where she had a couple cups of coffee to keep her awake, she drove back to work. Once she was there she started to go to the ward she worked in, when Dr. Keriger zoomed by her, pulling on his scrubs as he went. “Is everything alright?” She asked, worried because he was racing into the emergency surgery section. Barely turning around he called over his shoulder, “Someone just got here by ambulance and is in critical condition. I have to go see if there’s anything I can do to help!” This was definitely not good, as they would only call in Dr. Keriger if it was very serious. She prayed he wasn’t too late.
0


Categories: Critique Group

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Tabitha,

    The beginning of the story is intriguing. With some sprucing up, you will have a good start.

    Let’s look at the first paragraph:

    Screeching tire sounds filled the air, as horns blasted through the foggy night. The sound of glass crunched as his windshield started to cave in. He tried to right the car, but it was too late he was going too fast. The car flipped onto its side, pinning itself against another car. The back of his head hit against the headrest as the air bag deployed. The last thing he remembered was the sound of sirens and a bright light, before everything went dark.

    Starting with intense action is always problematic. Readers don’t know anything about the characters yet, so they have no emotional connection with what is going in. Simply put, they don’t care yet. Also, the scene with the man in the car ends abruptly and switches to Annabel with no transition. At least you need some kind of demarcation symbol, whether asterisks or something to indicate a change of scene.

    Also, you don’t need the word “sound” in either place. “Tires screeched” and “Glass crunched” work fine. I also wonder who is listening to these sounds. Since they fill the air and blast through the foggy night, you make it look like someone is watching the accident occur from outside the vehicle.

    The first mention of a character is “The back of his head …” It comes across as odd that the introduction to a character is a pronoun, as if readers are already aware of who this is.

    Watch for order of events. You mentioned the glass crunching before you mentioned the cause of it. You mentioned the back of his head hitting the headrest before the cause of it. Put them in order.

    Next paragraph:

    Annabel startled awake as hot coffee splashed on her hand. She hadn’t realized she’d drifted off and practically fell asleep at the counter. “Oops! Sorry Hun!” said Ms. James, an elderly woman and owner of the diner. She was trying to balance a coffee pot and a full tray of dishes at the same time. “No worry’s, I needed the wake-up anyways. How long was I asleep?” “For about an hour sweetie.” She sighed. She really needed to get back to the hospital. But first she’d have some coffee and try to wake-up fully.

    It is an essential rule to break to a new paragraph when the speaker changes. Therefore, this paragraph should be broken into at least three paragraphs.

    I thought it odd that Annabel instantly knew that hot coffee had splashed onto her hand. Someone who is asleep would feel only heat and then register that it was coffee only after seeing the woman carrying the pot.

    Also, we see no reaction to the spill afterward—no pain sounds, no cleaning up, etc. And she didn’t “practically” fall asleep. She was asleep. She slept for an hour.

    When you wrote “she sighed,” the last speaker was Ms. James, so readers might think she was the one who sighed. You should mention Annabel’s name again here.

    Next paragraph:

    After her visit to the diner where she had a couple cups of coffee to keep her awake, she drove back to work. Once she was there she started to go to the ward she worked in, when Dr. Keriger zoomed by her, pulling on his scrubs as he went. “Is everything alright?” She asked, worried because he was racing into the emergency surgery section. Barely turning around he called over his shoulder, “Someone just got here by ambulance and is in critical condition. I have to go see if there’s anything I can do to help!” This was definitely not good, as they would only call in Dr. Keriger if it was very serious. She prayed he wasn’t too late.

    Again, you must break to a new paragraph when the speaker changes. This should be at least two paragraphs, probably three.

    You already mentioned in the previous paragraph that she was going to have coffee to keep her awake, so no need to mention it again. “To work” indicates that she arrived, so no need to write “once she was there.” Also, there is no need to write “she worked in.” You already wrote that she went to work.

    Can you give some kind of visual regarding the place of work? Is it a hospital? What kind of ward?
    I think ER doctors on duty at night are always wearing scrubs, so I wondered why he is pulling them on. If he wasn’t in scrubs, I don’t think he would pull them on over his clothes.

    “Alright” should be two words , “All right.” This seems to be an odd question to ask a doctor who is running toward the ER. Of course everything is not all right.

    The doctor’s response is quite lengthy. I don’t think he would mention the ambulance or critical condition. A new arrival wouldn’t have that designation yet.

    You might want to interview ER doctors to get an idea of how people actually talk in a situation like this.

    What does Annabel do? Is she a doctor? A nurse? A cleaning orderly? You probably should give some clue regarding her job right away.

    That’s all. Keep writing!

    0
  2. Hello Tabitha,

    First, I would like to say kudos for writing a piece with doctors in it. I have tried, and so far it is the one of the hardest things for me. Good job!

    In the first paragraph there is a lot of action, and I couldn’t tell at first where the focal character was; in the car, standing near by. I think your story would benefit from having something with the focal character before the crash. Maybe try showing something normal (him driving), and then give a reason for the crash. Did he fall asleep? Was he texting? Fiddling with the radio? Is he arguing to someone else in the car? Perhaps he thought the saw some wildlife about to cross the road. I felt a little left out as to what was going on and didn’t know why all this action was happening.

    “Annabel started awake as hot coffee splashed on her hand.”
    I agree with Mr. Davis that Annabel would not know that it was coffee that woke her, she is asleep. Switching the words a bit, I think, would make the sentence run smoother. Something like: Waking with a start, Annabel jerked her hand away from the steady trickle coming from the coffee cup in her other hand.
    I realize this is a bit lengthy, but you get the idea 🙂 I was also confused as to where the coffee is coming from. Is it coming from her own cup? If so, why did Ms. James apologize? If the coffee was coming from the coffee pot held by Ms. James, why was she refilling Annabel’s mug while she was asleep?

    “Oops! Sorry Hun!”
    The spelling threw me a little, most people spell that h-o-n, at least where I am. Does Ms. James have an accent of some kind? If she does it wasn’t mentioned.

    For the last paragraph, I don’t have anything extra to add from what Mr. Davis has mentioned.

    Keep writing Tabitha! With a name like beauty is found within, I think this will be a really fascinating book!

    1
  3. Hello, Tabitha!

    Thank you for sharing the beginning of your work with us. It’s fascinating and not only would the developing story keep me reading, but so would the title. Book titles are just as important as the substance of the book and the one you have created is lovely.

    I would agree with the others that the story begins suddenly and with a lot of intense action. It’s good to introduce the characters just a little so the readers know if they can sympathize with them or not. Perhaps you could write something about the man in the car so we know why he was driving on a foggy night and about how the accident started. That being said, I think you have a great talent for showing the realities of a situation. The details you provided about the horns, his head hitting the headrest, and the airbag are descriptive and very believable!

    When the scene in the diner began, I wondered if Annabel had been dreaming about the accident. Be sure to make it clear for the readers if she was or wasn’t. Perhaps you could even give a reason for why she had fallen asleep. Is she working the night shift but had awaken early that morning? There are many reasons a hospital worker could be tired.

    Stories about doctors and hospitals are a particular favorites of mine because my dad is a doctor so I would love to read more about what Annabel’s work is. Telling the readers if she’s a nurse, doctor, or even a medical student would give them a good idea of what her duties are. I pictured her as an ER nurse.

    Also, be careful about punctuation and the structure of the writing. There were some places where a comma was missing, an example being in the third paragraph when Dr. Keriger was heading into emergency surgery. The sentence should be written: Barely turning around, he called over his shoulder, “Someone just got here by ambulance and is in critical condition . . .

    So far, I really like where this story is headed. Do keep writing and have fun with it. There’s nothing more fulfilling than making characters come to life just by using words.

    Warmest regards and happy writing!

    1
  4. Hi Tabitha,
    This story intro caught me at the first sentence! Great job, you have the first step covered: hook your audience. The first thing I would note is that you abruptly use “he” and “his” when the reader doesn’t know who “he”:or “his” is. Maybe give a little more in that area (not necessarily a name, but maybe a description of the person. “The man”, “the driver”, etc.)
    Second, is Ms. James married? She’s an elderly lady, so I’d assume she’s married which, if that’s the case, means she’s called Mrs. James.
    Third, “After her visit to the diner where she had a couple cups of coffee to keep her awake”. The reader already knows from the last paragraph that Annabel has been at the diner drinking coffee to try and wake up. To make this sentence cleaner, you could simply say, “after her visit to the diner . . .” and continue from there.

    All in all, a great start. Can’t wait to see it finished!

    Good luck!!

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: