Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Critiquing Opportunity! Tammy Lash

A number of the authors have volunteered to critique YOUR writing. This post is Tammy Lash's.

How this works -

You comment below with up to 500 words of your writing.
Sometime today, Tuesday, Tammy will come by and give you feedback.

Sound awesome? Awesome!

Tammy Lash


  1. Thanks for having me, Kendra! Thank you for the opportunity! I'll be popping in from time to time in-between bathroom painting, homeschooling, and splashing eye drops in my computer-worn eyes. 😂 I'm ready and excited to read some stories!

  2. Now this sounds like fun. Curious to see what you get.

  3. She opened her mouth to speak, but a high-pitched scream cut her off.
    Raven whirled around. It had come from the direction of the Library. She shot off down the stairs, Skylee’s mother hot on her heels. A door slammed, and she glanced over her shoulder to see that John and Skylee were following as well.
    But maybe it was all very well – she’d seem less suspicious coming with others.
    There was another scream. Raven wheeled around the corner and almost smashed into the crowd that had already gathered. She squeezed her way through, almost to the front. Peering between two people, she gasped at the sight.
    A night-cloaked assassin stood just in front of the Library, holding a pale-faced woman by the collar of her shirt. He was pointing a gun at her head, and a huge bruise had blossomed on her face.
    And Raven knew the woman. Small, blue-eyed, and more harmless than an butterfly. John’s single mother.
    “Oh, no,” she whispered, drawing back further into the crowd. She didn’t want to see what happened next, but her eyes couldn’t tear away from the scene.

    ~ Savannah

    1. Oops!! :D !!! Sorry, Savannah! Didn't put my critique in the right spot! Ahhh, a day in life of me...what an interesting read that would be!!

    2. Haha, that's fine - I do that so often ;).

      ~ Savannah

  4. Thank you for sharing your hard work, Savannah! It takes great courage to share your work with others...and a stranger?! Kudos to you!! I feel honored to have the chance take a peek at your work.

    I am a storyteller (30 plus years..gasp!!!) who got her training from her storytelling mama. I have only been writing them in word form for the past 5 years or so. So, fear not, there will be no grammar or punctuation corrections here. I will critique how I know..."looking" for movement and motion in the story and "listening" for your voice. :)

    I "heard" you right from the beginning and you grabbed my attention with the scream. Perfect!! I've only known Raven from the few words given but I already care about her. The caring spreads to poor John's mother!!! Noooo! I'm fearful for her. She's so sweet and fragile...and now bruised?!.. and to make matters worse, she has a gun pointed at her head!

    The only question I have tugging is the sentence,"John's single mother". I'm unclear what the single means. Is she widowed? Perhaps this is explained elsewhere in the writing. I understand this is only a snippet!

    Savannah, you did beautiful work creating a scene. I saw the the action and heard you. Bravo! But boo for me. It had to come to an end!

    Thanks, Savannah!

    1. Haha, you're welcome, Tammy! And thank you for critiquing this! Your notes were lovely <3. Yes, she's supposed to be widowed, but I was fairly sure that wouldn't be understood, since this was only a snippet, so you're fine ;). I'm always a wee bit nervous to share my writing with strangers, but I was excited to have you critique this bit :D. Thanks again, Tammy!

      ~ Savannah

    2. Awww, you're a sweetheart! You're so welcome!

  5. In the heart of the Cimmerian Forest a cave stood hidden by trees and dense bush. This cave was one lived in for over fifty years by the Knights and their forefathers who’d died years before. All the mothers of these remaining Knights were also dead and no women or lasses graced their presence.
    The saplings of the wood grew thick, unyielding to the wind and rain of time. Their branches shaded the ground from sunlight, and the moon’s coldness never graced the land below.
    The stony hills echoed in the silence. The solitude felt unbearable.
    The Knights of Norcir held captive anyone who dared to enter, killing the cowards and man they deemed unworthy. In truth however, those the Knights killed were far much more honorable then they ever hoped to be.
    Men had joined the Knights over the years as well—those who didn’t want to be part of the Sindaleer country. They were warriors—a curse being cast to give them unnaturally long lives.
    And the Knights of Norcir didn’t sit idle—they all had one common goal, one mutual pastime. To control the Black Magic, to rise in full power in darkness and become rulers of the world.

    A lot less then 500 words but oh well. =)

    1. Thanks, Kara Lynn for sharing your story with me! Another courageous writer! Thank you for letting me take a look.

      I must say, you did a wonderful job in your description of this cave! I truly got the feel of your bleak world and my curiosity is peeked over the Knights of Norcir! I'm also intreged by the mystery of this cave and the magic that resides there. I loved the line about the Knights killing men that were far more honorable than they ever hoped to be. Beautiful.

      I did notice a few typos...HOWEVER (and this is a spoken on my feet with a passionate point in the air) I understand those. I make them LITERALLY all the time and there are surely some of my own here in this post and the one above! These mistakes are easily remedied with proofreading at the story's end and it's always extra helpful to add one or two sets of eyes along with your own.

      A writers MAIN OBJECTIVE is to tell a story and to tell it well, and you Kara Lynn have quite the start with this interesting gem. Keep on painting with your words!

      Thanks for sharing!!

  6. BIG SPOILER ALERT, for those who care. :P haha Figured I'd take a risk and share a page or so from my the new book.

    Nobody else is here at the playground. It must be the dark skies. I’m glad I’m alone. There’s nobody to bother me.
    I sit down on the swing and think of swinging with Austin on them a few days ago. It feels like forever. I look at the swing he was on. It creaks as the wind blows it some.
    I feel the pictures under my shirt. I don’t know why I brought them. I just did. Just in case. Probably was stupid. Now they’re just gonna get wet.
    I look up and Robert’s there at the edge of the playground. When did he show up? Maybe it’s just my head.
    No, he looks too scared. He didn’t think I’d be here.
    “Conner.” He swallows hard. “What are you doing here? It’s gonna rain.”
    “You’re here.” I get up from the swings.
    He kicks his feet together. “I wanted to be alone.”
    “So did I.” I take a step toward him. “Mom’s at Ms. Wells house crying. We picked out a coffin today.”
    Robert’s eyes water. He goes to say something but nothing comes out. What’s there to say? He killed Austin and he knows it.
    Robert backs away from me. “You’re gonna hurt me, aren’t you?”
    “Why would I hurt you? You didn’t do anything, right?”
    Robert looks down. “Look, Conner…I didn’t mean to.”
    All my body starts shaking. I can’t stop it. Without even stopping to think I scream and charge at him and headbutt him in the stomach.
    He falls back to the ground and I jump on top of him.
    “You didn’t mean to do it? Is that what you wanna say?” I put my hand around his neck. “You didn’t mean for him to end up dead?”
    Robert starts crying. “Are you going to kill me? Is that what you want to do? Go ahead. I deserve it. That’s what you want. Kill me. Make it hurt.”
    “I don’t want to kill you.”
    “Liar.” He tenses his lips. “I see it in your eyes. You want me to be dead like Austin is.”
    I punch him in the eye and he screams. “I don’t want you dead. I want you alive. I want you to remember what you did.”
    “I remember, damn it!”
    I take out the pictures and show him. “No, I want you to see. I want you to always have it burned into your brain what you did to my little brother.” I show him the picture of Austin in the morgue. “Look. That’s what he looks like right now.”
    Robert looks and then tries to close his eyes and look away.
    I turn his head. “What’s the matter? Don’t like what a dead kid looks like?”
    “I didn’t want him to die.”
    I punch him again. “[Expletive Deleted]!”
    Robert’s eyes go wide. He’s scared now.
    “That’s right, I know all the bad words too. I didn’t say them because of Austin and Mom getting me in trouble. But Austin’s dead and Mom’s not here.”

    1. Why, oh why do I insist on not using the poor reply button. Sorry, J.J! Hehe! I'm a button rebel. ;D

    2. It's all good. ;)

  7. Hi J.J! Thanks for letting me take a look at a piece of your new book! You're a brave soul for putting it out there....proud of you! Good goin!

    I LOVE that your story is in first person! I'm partial to that...not only because my own book is in first person (haha!) but I think it's also because I kept a journal throughout Jr. High and High School. I have a lot of tattered, old journals stashed away that I want to revisit now. Thanks, J.J!

    I saw your opening scene right away and I like the creak in the empty swing!! (It made me sad, *sniff*) Like the sound of the swing, I also noticed another one...the cadence or beat of the story. Especially at the beginning. We writers create our story's soundtrack. The reader won't notice the musical sway (they shouldn't....it should merely enhance the story for them and add to the "feeling") until it's off. It doesn't take much to throw the musical beat off. Read your words while pounding the table and pause an extra beat or two for your period. If the same or similar rhythm is present for each sentence, you have more "notes" or words to add. Be selective with your word choices, however. They need to add color and meaning and not be just an extra sound.

    Since you are writing in my genre, I'm going to push you, J.J. ;D. I like your characters...but I want to LOVE them! I want to FEEL what they do. I want to feel Conner's loss over his brother. I know, I know, there may not have been enough words here to display that and perhaps you did elsewhere in the book, but I want you to BE Conner. Like the in the movie, Avatar. Put on Conner's skin and put his thoughts on paper. I want to hear his thoughts in between the punches. A little more body movement description would also make the characters feel less constricted. Like oiling a squeaky, stuck hinge. Free them up a bit with a little more color and watch them blossom!!

    Last note, Conner is the hero of the story, right? He used the same profanity that Robert (the "villan") used. In my opinion, and it's just mine, I'd like to see Conner fight the urge to say them. He COULD say them because Austin is gone and his mom's not there, but man, what restraint that would display...and how strong would he look if the kid fought his tongues desires! My husband works at a shop where he hears profanity in streams on a daily basis. He could easily use it here in front of his family when he hammers his finger or mashes his toe against the couch, but he growls like the hulk instead. What restraint! What strength.

    I'm intrigued by your story and am anxious to find out how Austin died and what Robert had to do with it! I'm also eager to see Conner's journey over the loss of his little brother. Think diary writing and Avatar, J.J! What an interesting story!!!

    1. Side note that this is actually a fairly climactic scene and nowhere near the beginning. So by this point in the story, you would know about the why/how of the death. Just a reference point. ;)

      Some good thoughts though about some idea to touch up the scene.

      My main counter might be to the idea of Conner using restraint. See, in this moment, I don't know if he's really meant to be heroic/strong/restrained. Know what I mean? His brother was killed and he's rageful. Right now, he's a "little boy" himself (less little than his brother but still lol) who needs to be held. The use of profanity felt right to me, and neither of my first two books had any of it nor are there any other instances of major profanity in this. I think in the moment somebody in a fit of rage isn't going to be using restraint. I know how it is to work with people who curse a lot and fighting the urge to let it become part of your vernacular. But I also think there's a difference between refraining from it in front of your family day to day, and when trying to scare somebody you don't like after receiving a major loss. It might not be his most heroic choice, but I think maybe he's allowed some lapses. Hopefully. It may not inspire "what a strong boy" but in this point, he's broken and not very strong. His moment of strength has to come later.

      On that last note, I suppose Conner technically fits the definition of "hero" of the story. (That said, there are 3 first person narrators. Yes, that's insane and I know it. :P ) But it is a tad more complex structure than the scene might let on. ;)

      But yes, some very helpful thoughts. And some ideas to touch it up. Hopefully the story as a whole gives you want you want. But I

  8. Another aside: This is actually my first book I attempted in first person, and also in present tense. I wasn't (and probably still am not) partial to either but I can't deny it all felt so right. Initially this was a 3rd person past tense story and very different in execution. The linear plot went pretty much the same but it just came alive so much when I rewrote it from the ground up.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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