January 2014 Critique Corner

January 2014: Story # 2

Title:               Half- Breeds and Other Liabilities

Author:           Kara B.           

            Whoever said Hell was a burning pit of torment never met my family. The real Hell was showing up at my annual reunion, hiding from my less-than-savory relatives, and playing nanny to a demonic five year old.

            All kids can be demonic. In the case of my family, it was literal. Though my sister, Lillian, wouldn’t fully evolve to demon status until she was twelve or thirteen, she still had the same nasty tendencies as the rest of the family. There was the occasional bone snapping, tantrum of demonic power, and draining of emotions and souls that filled her day.

            Me, not so lucky.

            She pulled on my gauges, and I swatted her hand way. She rolled off me and onto the grass. “Mihael, you have holes in your ears!”

            I wanted to rip her arms out of their sockets. Instead, I tried to be patient.

            “Those are called gauges, Lillian,” I said in my best I’m-not-about-to-disembowel-you-voice. “Pull on them and we’ll be having a very different conversation.”

             She yanked on my ears again.

            “Ouch! Daughter of the Devil!” I cussed. “Don’t make me take you home earlier.”

            Patience is not a virtue of mine.

            Lillian’s look implied she did not believe I’d follow up on my threat.

            “My money is on the kid.” My shoulders tensed at the laughter in the voice.

            Great, spectators.

            My sister, Kenzie, was smiling as I managed to wrench my neck from under Lillian’s grasp. Maybe she boiled a kitten or something.

3 thoughts on “January 2014: Story # 2”

  1. I really like what you have so far! You get right into the action, and immediately we have a sense of what this universe is like. I love all of your descriptions, and I like it a lot.

  2. I really liked it! It was funny but suspenseful at the same time.
    More description about the gauges (what do they do?) would be interesting 🙂

  3. I love your main character. Her use of sarcasm and dry remarks is spot on. She tough but shows self restraint that’s testing her limits. Nice!

    The second paragraph is strong. Your descriptions are great. I can see that this world is not the same as ours. It’s important to establish that early on in a fantasy-type story and by mentioning demon status you do just that. Well done.

    I also like the banter between the main character and Lillian. It’s realistic. Lillian sounds like a typical five year- old and Mihael sounds like a typical teenager, even with phrases like, “Daughter of the Devil.” It’s a subtle way to show we’re dealing with a story set in a different world and a nice way to ease the reader in.

    I think the last sentence in your opening paragraph could be clearer. Instead of saying, “The real Hell was…and playing nanny to a demonic five year old,” maybe try saying “…and playing nanny to my demonic five year old sister.” I think you’re trying to speak in general terms, but it’s important to make a connection with the main character early on and this may help to paint a clearer picture of who she is and who the other characters are in relation to her.

    My biggest question is about the line, “Me, not so lucky.” I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. Is the MC not so lucky because she is not like the rest of her family? Is that why she is hiding from her relatives and dreads these annual reunions? I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re getting at but I think you can expand on that a little more before you dive into the dialog after it. You want the reader to connect with your main character and this could help the reader to understand why she has the attitude she has towards her family.

    I love the last line! I know nothing about Kenzie, but again it’s a reminder that this family is not like most. It sounds like boiling kittens is normal for them! This opening is a very strong start. I like the world you’re building and would definitely read on to learn more about Mihael and her family! Great job. :)

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