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The Teenaged Nitpick Critique: 2

Monday, 24 September 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: YA Fantasy
My talent was about the only thing that made my parents happy. [Nice!] And in my sixteen years [see, I am not a fan of introducing your MC’s age this obviously.] of experience, I had learned their happiness usually ended in my suffering. So when they called me for dinner, their voices high and excited, a hard knot formed in the pit of my stomach. I walked into the kitchen where they sat at the table, holding hands and smiling. The knot in my stomach grew.  [I’m liking this! It feels authentic.]
Our best silver platters were piled high with fish, chicken, and rice. We had fruit and rolls topped our porcelain bowls.  and our crystal pitchers werefilled to the brim with tea. Eating well was not rare for us. Eating for a family of ten was. [Huh? Eating for a family of ten? Are you trying to say “as a family of ten”? Or are they pretending to be a family of ten? I’m a little confused by the wording here.]
Dad cleared his throat. “We’ve decided-”
“Wait until she sits,” Mom said.
I didn’t sit, and I didn’t touch the food. Not that it was poisoned; my parents wouldn’t do that. After all, if I died, my talent would die with me, and then I’d be about as valuable as the platter of dead fish. But if they were going to wait until I sat to speak, I’d continue standing.
They exchanged a glance and then looked back to me.
“We’re registering you in the Talent Show,” Mom said.
The little I had eaten that day threatened to come back up. [I moved this over from the end of the paragraph to here, because I think it fits better in this spot.] My teeth clenched. Our kingdom held Talent Shows four times a year. If a child’s talent impressed the judges, the parents were rewarded. If the child didn’t impress, the child suffered the consequences. [What consequences? I’d like to at least be hinted.] 
Oooh, I like this! Nice voice, nice world-building, and the MC feels very believable. I’d definitely read on! (Sorry, I know that was a lame critique. I don’t have much to say.)

* Comments are welcomed. Each critique comment you make on the entries’ posts, is an entry into the drawing to win one of five 500 word critiques from me (Brenda). It can be ANY 250 words — your query, the first page, or a page any where in the manuscript that you want a second pair of eyes on.

  • I like the voice and concept but there is are somethings I’m having trouble making sense of — could just be me.

    From the meal, we learn that the family has nice things and eats well, and is most likely not poor. Unless her talent is producing wealth or food, I’m not understand how it is only the MCs talent that makes them smile and that is a sign that they going to do something bad.

    These are thoughts I had when reading. I hope they help.

  • Robbin says:

    I really like this. But I had a few speedbumps. Why did the parent’s happiness end in the MC’s suffering? I don’t know what that means. Who did they add tot he family dinner – it went from three to ten? Not sure what that means. Love the world building and the concept of child’s talents. Would like to know more about that. And of course, what are the consequences. Nice! Fresh. Good luck!

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