Critique Group – The Wizard’s Child

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The Wizard’s Child – by Lori (From the writer: This is fanfiction. She is not trying to infringe on any copyrights.)



13-year-old Chloe O’Malley walks up to her last class of the day at her new school. She stops at the door, watching the other students converse.

Come on Chloe. It’s new. Give it a try. Everyone has to go through high school eventually. I just pray that my powers don’t get out of control.

Chloe draws a deep breath and pushing open the door to her classroom, walks in. English. She’s good at English. She sits down in the front row, smooths out the pleated skirt of her uniform, and gets her textbook out.

A man dressed like a staff member limps in. Chloe looks up, startled.

This is not my English teacher. My teacher is supposed to be Ms. Kelley.
Did I come into the wrong classroom? Where is Ms. Kelley?

“Good morning class. My name is Mr. D and I am your substitute English teacher.”

Chloe sighs with relief. She came to the right classroom after all.

Mr. D comes to her desk and says in a quiet voice “See me after class, please, Ms. O’Malley.”

There is something about Mr. D. that gives me the creeps. I wonder why he wants me to see him after class; I checked with other students earlier about missed assignments and I haven’t missed anything important.

Chloe puts the thought from her mind and tries to focus on the class subject. She is thankful when the bell rings ending the class. She stands, adjusts her clothes, gathers her textbooks, and walks to the door when Mr. D calls out to her.
“Just one moment please Miss O’Malley.”

She walks outside and boards the bus. Sitting in the back where hopefully no-one will see her, she puts her head down and sighs with relief as the bus pulls away.

When she arrives at her bus stop a couple of blocks from her house, she is alerted by the wailing of police and fire sirens. As she nears her house her heart pounds in her chest. Her house is on fire! She runs up to a police officer.

“Officer, do you know what has happened?”

“Do you live here, child?”

“Yes-sir. Please. Tell me what’s happened.”

The officer looks over at a man standing next to a Cadillac with dark tinted windows and motions for him to come over. It’s that strange substitute from school. Mr. D.

“Is this your…um, niece?”

“Yes. Thank goodness you’re alright sweetheart! Come along let’s get you home with me.”

“Wait! This is not my uncle! I have no aunts or uncles.” Chloe exclaims as the officer takes her elbow and guides her toward Mr. D.

The officer looks at Mr. D. questioningly who shrugs and says “She’s just upset. First day in a new school and now her home is burning down. She hasn’t seen me since she was very young. She probably doesn’t remember me.”

“Let Go! I am not going with you! You are not my uncle!”

“Sorry, kid, you have to go with someone. You’re parents were killed in the explosion. He’s the closest thing you have to immediate family right now.”

The officer and Mr. D. take Chloe, kicking and screaming desperately, and put her in the back seat of Mr. D’s black Cadillac and close the door. Chloe tries the latch. Locked. Must be child-lock!

The driver’s door opens and Mr. D. gets in and fastens his seat-belt.

“I suggest you buckle up, Chloe. And get comfortable. It’s quite a long ride to your new home.”

“Who are you? How do you know me?”

“My name is Devin. Sir Devin and I have known about you and your powers for a long time.”


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21 replies

  1. I like this idea! I would like to see the end of this… But, I do have a question. How is this fanfare? It seems like a completely new concept, and I’ve never heard of any of the characters in it. Unless of course her mentioned powers are something Harry Potter-ish, in which case I understand the title and the note. If not, I will just enjoy it as what I thought it was, a creative and new concept (because I am behind on the times as kids my age go, and so will have little or no idea whatever this is fanfare for). I might note, on the critiquing scale, that you often switch tenses of things, and that kind-of threw me off. For instance:

    ‘I just pray that my powers don’t get out of control’, and then later on:

    ‘Chloe draws a deep breath, and opening the door, walks in.’

    Are you telling it, or is she telling it? And is it being told as it happens, or is it being told like a story, as though it already happened?

    Also, with that latter sentence, she draws a deep breath, opens the door, and walks in all at the same time. That kind-of confuses me. How can one do all three at once? I might fix it as:

    ‘Chloe drew a deep breath and opened the door. She walked in, hoping beyond hope once more that nothing went wrong.’

    Well, you maybe don’t have to dramatize it like I did, but you get the basic idea. I would love to know what happens, and as a very ardent and somewhat picky reader, I can say fully and sincerely that I very much enjoyed the bit of it you had. Although, things were a little bit unexpected. For instance, I saw no foreshadowing of her house being on fire. Nor any foreshadowing of that sub driving off with her. Perhaps you could make her wonder as she leaves school if anything is wrong? And perhaps make her think out a few possibilities? Then, even if she doesn’t think of fire, there is at least a guess that something is amiss, and so it isn’t completely out of the blue. Perhaps her feeling of suspicion for that teacher could grown on her mind up to that point. I also saw no foreshadowing of his claim to being her uncle. Perhaps you could make it a little less sudden?

    Other than those few things, I think you did a marvelous job, and as always, I am thankful that I have the privilege to be a part of this critique group and read so many talented writers. I am blown aback that there even are this many writers who have this much talent all in one group, and I will continue awaiting an work. Lori, keep writing, and God bless.

    • Sir Devin is from the “Dragons in Our Midst” Series by Bryan Davis. Chloe is a dragon…

    • Thank You for your helpful review. I know i need to work on what tense the story is in and if the character is telling or if it is narrated by someone else. These things have been difficult for me. I am open to any suggestions anyone may have as to fixing this. Thank You for your kind words. I will do everything I can to fix these few things you have pointed out.

      • Oh, I see. Well, I have unfortunately as of yet not read Raising Dragons, but my best friend owns it, and it is high on my list of ‘To Read’s. Well, I thought your work was amazing, and believe me, I know how it is to struggle with a concept. I have always struggled (and sometimes still do) with making decisions about character fates. In one of my stories, I have been working on it for two years this Summer, and I still have not decided completely how it ends. In all my stories, I also had problems keeping low character populations. In one story, I have only five main-ish recognizable characters, and in another, I have almost eleven! I know how it is. But, don’t let it get you. Just keep up the good work, work out tense while I delete those extra counts and lords (I still have a hard time doing that) and decide when my story ends. 🙂 Your welcome, and I hope I was not too harsh in my critique, as my rants get very intense the more I go on. But, I’m sure that you can do it, as brilliant a writer as you have shown yourself to be.

        • Your critique was by no means harsh. It hit the areas i needed. It was neither too gentle nor to harsh and I hope you have some good luck with your story. Maybe when it is done you should send it to Mr. Davis to put up on here so others can read it. Also I would highly recommend that you read Mr. Davis’ “Dragons In Our Midst”, “Oracles of Fire”, and “Children of the Bard” series. I have read them all and am in the process of collecting them all.

          • I’m glad you did not take offense from it. Sometimes a pill can be hard to take and rather unpleasant, but it really can help. Thanks for your good-will, and I would wish you the same for your writing. I intend very strongly to soon read more of Mr. Davis’ work, and I will put your recommendations on the list. I have put some of my work in for critique, right now I’m just going on the tense wait for the surgery. 🙂 If you want to keep an eye out for it, it’s called ‘Brothers Of Elliar’. Or, at least, I think it is. I think that’s what I called the bit I sent. Probably will be recognizable by weird person and country names, as well as terrible prose. 🙂 I will try to collect Mr. Davis’ work, but I am very low on funds and scraping, so I’ll have to wait until I have some time to spare as well as money. But, I think that the next time I buy a book for myself, it will be Mr. Davis’.

  2. This is great! Had me guessing what it was connected to right till the end!

    One thing I noticed was that at the beginning, Chloe was talking to herself, but because there was no distinguishing markers that she was, it kind of blended in with the rest. By putting apostrophes ( ‘ ) before and after thoughts, not only will it distinguish from events in the story, but also speech.

    Another thing was the transition from the classroom tho the bus. It was sudden, too sudden. Maybe to ease into it better, you could put what’s going on in Chloe’s head of why she didn’t speak with Mr. D.

    All in all, this was grand, Lori! Keep up the good work!


  3. Very interesting! The physical writing itself (POV, etc, things that have already been mentioned) could use some work, but the plot idea is very good. The hints about her powers make me interested, and the tie-in to Dragons In Our Midst makes me want to read more.
    Keep writing!

  4. oh and that is awesome i mean the short

  5. Lori,

    It is always a blessing when someone wants to write something in my story world. Thank you for the kindness.

    To begin, as I have mentioned with other critique submissions, I wouldn’t write a story in present tense. It is not a natural storytelling method. For other reasons, see this post –

    Don’t begin with the character’s age. A point-of-view (POV) character likely isn’t thinking about her age at this moment. Also, she likely thinks about herself as Chloe, not Chloe O’Malley, so it is better to use just her first name.

    Since this is her last class of the day, why does she have to urge herself to go inside? Hasn’t she gone to several other classes and successful endured them without her powers getting out of control?

    “A man dressed like a staff member limps in.”

    What does “dressed like a staff member” look like?

    “Chloe looks up, startled.”

    You wrote how the man was dressed before Chloe looked up. How would she know that he looked like a staff member before she looked at him?

    “See me after class, please, Ms. O’Malley.”

    I think he is more likely to say “Miss O’Malley.”

    Put thought quotes in italics.

    “She is thankful when the bell rings ending the class.”

    Since the bell’s ringing causes her to be thankful, mention the bell first.

    “Just one moment please Miss O’Malley.”

    Insert comma after “please.”

    “She walks outside and boards the bus.”

    What happened to Mr. D’s request to talk to her? Did she ignore him and leave?

    “sighs with relief as the bus pulls away.”

    She sighs because the bus pulls away. Report the bus leaving before the sighing.

    “As she nears her house her heart pounds in her chest. Her house is on fire!”

    Since the house on fire causes the pounding in her chest, report the fire first.

    There is absolutely no way any officer would allow Chloe to go with this man, especially with her kicking and screaming. If you are indicating that this is a fake police officer, then you should foreshadow that fact somehow.

    You need more descriptions. You didn’t describe the class, the fellow classmates, the bus, the house on fire, the officer, etc. What do these look like? Show body language. As a reader, I feel blind to everything that is going on.

    I think you need to provide more background material. Take some time to develop Chloe before she gets kidnapped, including hints to her back story. Allow readers to become emotionally connected to the character before the crisis event. For more on that, see this post – and the two posts after it.

    Keep writing. Learn and practice. There is no substitute for those.

    • Thank You Mr. Davis for all your help with this work. I have always had problems with over narrating the story instead of letting the character tell it. I will take into consideration all that you have pointed out when I start rewriting. About the thoughts, I honestly thought i had them in italics but i thought wrong. I meant to have them in italics i will fix this as soon as possible thank you for pointing that out.
      Thank You for allowing me to write about your story world and for helping me with your kind words.

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