Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First 250 Words Smash! #4x3

Most Wonderful Author: Kendra || Hintsloveswords @ tumblr
Most Evil Critique Master: Sarah


Previous submission:

Tavia clutched the hard hunk of bread and dried meat strips to her chest as she darted through the countless pairs of legs, her small mouth stretched in a grin. Nothing could dampen her excitement, not even the few people swatting at her when she bumped into them. The bronze and copper coins jangling in her pocket made her do a little skip in delight. She felt rich. The coin, along with the food, was going to feed the two of them for at least two weeks. Jorah was going to be so proud of her!

She was heading into the most crowded part of the market street now, and she had to slow down in order to get through. Merchants and workers alike shuffled through the street, eyes downcast and dull, faces drawn and streaked with dust and dirt. Their clothes were tattered and dirty, just like Tavia’s. Her own sturdy coat had holes worn in the elbows and her trousers in the knees. The men and women around her paid no attention to the little beggar girl running in their midst, and Tavia liked it that way. Jorah always told her that the less notice you got, the less likely people would hurt you. Tavia was glad that she was so small, able to slip through crowds without so much of a second glance.

Finally Tavia happened upon the small abandoned building that she and Jorah called home.


Revision:

Hey!”

Tavia ran from the furious voice, ignoring the shrieks of indignation as she pushed people out of her way. She stumbled into someone’s cart, scattering a small pail of vegetables. The cart owner stared at her in shock as she stuffed her prize back in her jacket and scrambled onto the street again.

Tavia glanced back over her shoulder to see her pursuers gaining on her. She grinned at their enraged expressions. The leader, a big, bald man who looked like a thug, saw her grinning and shook a fist.

“Come back!” he roared, face flushing crimson in rage.

Tavia laughed and bolted down the nearest alley, hardly thinking before turning another corner. She wove through backstreets and alleys randomly to throw off her pursuers.

All was well until Tavia skidded around a corner and nearly collided with the very men she was trying to avoid. All of them were shocked for a moment and stood there staring at the other. Tavia recovered a split second faster than the men and recoiled out of reach. Just as she turned to run again, one of the men bellowed, “Get her!”

Tavia’s heart was pounding in fear now. There was a very real chance they would catch her. She started to run, but a huge weight hit her from behind and threw her to the ground, the weight landing on top of her.


Strong Points –
Your progression over the past months is killer and I’m so glad you resubmitted. I can see real jumps in the evolution of your writing in regards to strengthening your prose and building on your action. Seriously, your chain of events and the flow of it all is more substantial and the pacing is perfect, plus you’ve broken out of your passive tic (though I still think “Tavia’s heart was pounding in fear now” would read better in its simplified form, “Tavia’s heart pounded”). I’m just floored by how you’ve been taking in writing advice and reciprocating it!


Some Tips –
From here, I’d recommend you invest in beta readers/critique partners to take over the smaller quirks and overall content if you haven’t already. Having various eyes critique you, as well as learning how to critique, will give you more propulsion for improvement. Here are a few things I can help you with:

Use fewer simple verbs. In this case, avoid these words: ran, pushed, turning, hit, etc. You’ve got some strong verbs in there already, such as “skidded” and “scattered”. These are great words, but also try to avoid overused/clich├ęd or vague phrases like “enraged expressions”, “who looked like a thug,” and “shook a fist.” As an example, you do a better job with “enraged expressions” by describing the leader with “face flushing crimson in rage.” Still, I encourage you to push your creativity further and experiment more with facial features and gestures that reveal individual character and expression! “Furious” and “rage” and “fear” can be replaced with stronger descriptions.

I also want you to work a bit on giving small doses of the environment like this and like this. Tavia is entrenched in and reacting to her environment enough in the beginning that the reader needs to generate some sort of preliminary image of what things look like, and then later on in the story you can refine it when the action slows. Work on developing those little clincher details to breathe life and color into your world.

Lastly, I noticed four out of six paragraphs begin with Tavia!


Would I Keep Reading?
My response hasn’t changed from your previous revision. As I mentioned, find some critique partners! Your writing has evolved dramatically and I think it’ll evolve naturally as you work on content and structure. Keep it up!

And of course, plenty of !


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