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The Teenaged Nitpick Critique: 4

Tuesday, 25 September 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
Title: Terrorist Dawn


Genre: YA Thriller
I take a deep breath and settle the crosshairs on the man I’m about to kill. I have made this shot hundreds if not thousands of times. Just not in real life only in video games. I have never killed a man before. I’ve never even been in a fight before but I’m on the verge of killing a man. Someone who deserves to die. This man has killed before. He has killed fathers, brothers, sisters, and even mothers. This man definitely deserves to die. [Okay. This is decent, but I think you can make it much stronger. Start the paragraph with a punchy first line, like: “Someone should’ve warned me that killing in video games is way easier than in real life.” Or something similar. Also, beware of info-dumping. You’re just throwing background at us; weave it into the action, don’t just tell us.]
I try to relax knowing I need to make this shoot but relaxing is easier said than done. I try to picture it like a video game. Just playing a game. Shooting a bunch of pixels not shooting flesh and blood. The trigger moves backwards and this man’s life comes closer and closer to ending. [This is all just unnecessary telling. Give the scene tension, give it energy, give it life. I’m also confused why the MC has had the shot for so long. Why doesn’t the person he is aiming at fight back?]Just as I am sure my gun should fire, the man’s head explodes in a spray of blood and brains. [“Spray of blood and brains” is unnecessary gore, which I don’t think you need to include. I’d just say that a shot went off behind the MC, and the guy crumpled down. Or something.]
I turn and vomit [vomiting? Maybe it’s just me, but I find this an odd reaction. I’d think he’d be shaking like crazy, but not vomiting.] into the bushes beside me not even worrying about who killed the man instead of me. It doesn’t takes me long to empty my stomach since there is a lot of food in there. It hasn’t been too long since I had a full meal.
 
I never would have thought my life would have turned out like this. A fifteen-year-old boy shouldn’t be trying to kill full-grown men on a full stomach. He should be home playing video games. Just like, I was only one week ago. [This is all unnecessary info. “Never thinking your life is going to turn out the way it did” is also a cliché.]
Overall, this can be good, but it needs more work. Add more tension and make sure to keep it succinct and punchy. This can be an awesome scene, but the info-dumping is clogging it up. Get to the meat, get to the action. And good luck!

* 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.

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