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After The Madness Workshop # B-4

Tuesday, 27 March 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Welcome to day two of After the Madness Workshop! Shelley Watters, Erica Chapman, the writers at YAtopia, and myself will critique the first 250 words of  two brave writers’ manuscripts per day for the next seven to eight days. There are four blogs joining in to offer up suggestions. Click on my partners’ sites in my sidebar to view the other critiques.

And next up is … 

B-4  Carmen Brack

My heart was beating frantically, making me dizzy with the deafening rush of blood in my ears Okay. Breathe, Seb. Just breathe.

Fuck it. How was that supposed to be hands-on help?! B’s notes: I don’t know about this sentence. What does he mean by hands-on help? For himself? And do you really need this punctuation. Show us he’s freaked by his actions instead. As if I wasn’t breathing all the time anyway. As if I had a choice. I fidgeted once more, trying to glance at my reflection in the mirror over my shoulder, trying to reach my upper back with my hands. Hesitating to touch, scared of what… they… B’s notes: the eclipses aren’t working here, maybe try italicizing ‘they’ instead. might feel like. With a huff, I decided to just get it over with. I carefully lowered my hands over the area between my shoulder blades to touch the abomination that I discovered when I got up this morning. B’s notes: Why didn’t you start with the first time he found the abomination?

They were like silk to the touch. Feathery. Frail.

It was unmistakable. A pair of butterfly wings was growing on my back. They were small so far, but they felt organic. Embedded into my skin and muscles and bones. Somehow, I knew that they were now irrevocably a part of me. Unwelcome as they sure as hell were, I could not bring myself to try and cut them off just yet. Not knowing what else to do, I left the bathroom and walked over to my closet, dodging the heaps of random stuff littering my floor. I chose a big, loose shirt in the hope that no one would notice a bulk of any sort. I would also have to somehow avoid any well-meant pats on the back from my friends. My cheeks heated B’s notes: Would a guy think about his cheeks heating up? I’m thinking not, but I could be completely wrong. up just thinking about it. They couldn’t ever find out. I’d never live the “fairy boy” comments down.

B’s notes: This was funny and I enjoyed reading it. Great job!

Remember this is subjective and others’ may feel differently. So I’ll now pass it on to the readers to critique. Please leave your comments, and remember the rules of critiquing … be nice, which I’m sure you all will be, but I have to say it … you know.


Filed: Misc, Workshops

  • I thought the voice was great in this (although I stumbled over the “hands-on” part too) but so far it’s sounding a lot like Wings by Aprilynne Pike. If you haven’t read that, you should, even if it’s just as a comp title.

  • Kimberly says:

    This is cute. I thought if the story started with the second paragraph it would be a zinger of a hook! And then just add in a few more details to ground us.

  • Julia K says:

    I liked this a lot!! The beginning was kind of confusing for me. I went back to read it and still didn’t get it but from the part where he is looking at his back in the mirror is gold!!

  • Carmen B. says:

    Sorry for not commenting earlier, I got confused about how the entries for the critiques got split up on the blogs and only just found it ^^’ Thank you so much for your suggestions!
    I’ll change the ‘hand-on’ part since several people found it confusing – as a non-native speaker, I sometimes make slip-ups like this and I’m always glad when people point them out to me.
    I haven’t read the ‘Wings’ books but from what I’ve heard the rest of my novel is very different from them – still, I guess comparisons among fairy-themed novels are inevitable. What doesn’t come into play here yet is that my character’s wings were originally a tattoo before they started growing for real.
    Again, thanks to everyone from the comments! I’m still at a very early revising stage and I’m aware that I still have a lot of work to get done, but reading that other people liked the voice and thought it was funny was very motivating!

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