Thursday, March 23, 2017

Critiquing Opportunity! Jesseca Wheaton!

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

How this works -

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

Sound awesome? Awesome!

Jess Wheaton
Christian/Historical Fiction


  1. This is an unedited scene from Surrender's Strength, book 3 in my Truth from Taerna series. In an effort to keep it under the 500 word limit, I jumped into the middle of the conversation. Thanks for being willing to critique!

    Laelara’s mind jumped back to cold wintery Christmases that she’d experienced as a child. “Did you have a large family?” she asked.
    “Three of us,” Raechel answered promptly, tossing her head so that the snow accumulating on her hair went flying. “My two sisters and me. And Mam and Poppa, of course. And Grandmam. She lived with us for several years. She’d always make popcorn balls to celebrate the first snow.” She stretched out her hand, catching the flakes as they fell, and Laelara sensed that she’d never lost the child-like wonder at Adon Olam’s creation of the winter season.
    “You enjoy winter?” Laelara asked next.
    “My favorite season.” Raechel breathed the cold air in deeply.
    “Not mine,” Dontae laughed. “Too cold and snowy for me. Give me the summertime. Summertime in Taerna is far too short.”
    Raechel’s laugh rang out loudly across the frozen streets. “In Draena the summers are much too long for my liking. There’s hardly anything that can be called winter there.”
    “So that’s why you like winter so much,” Laelara guessed, glancing at Raechel.
    “Could be.” Raechel slowed her steps as they neared the door of the Diner.
    The meal was wonderful, as all the meals Laelara had eaten since arriving in Syorien had been. Boiled lamb chowder and vegetable skillet had never tasted so delicious, and the sweet lemon was still Laelara’s favorite. What’s more, conversation had never been more delightful. Raechel and Dontae kept the mood light and friendly, and Laelara rapidly found herself becoming more comfortable with them.
    Once the meal was over, the threesome headed back out to the darkening streets. “The PT next?” Dontae questioned.
    “The new show?” Raechel’s eyes sparkled.
    “I thought we could do that,” Dontae replied, glancing at Laelara.
    She didn’t answer, only fell into step beside the other two. She’d already consented to spending the evening with Dontae, but she wasn’t about to readily consent to the PT again so soon. If they were going there, so be it – but it wouldn’t be by her reaffirmed verbal consent. A tiny voice in her head tried to remind her that Adon Olam would not be honored by her presence at the PT, nor by her enjoyment—or lack thereof—of the show, but she ignored it. She was going with Dontae. Surely one had to sacrifice something for friends. Didn’t the Son of Adon Olam Himself say something like “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”? Again, she ignored the quiet reminder that she was misusing His word for her own purposes. She was doing no such thing – she was doing what Dontae wanted.
    But of course she ought not to be doing what Dontae wanted above what Adon Olam wanted… “Stop thinking!” she told herself sharply. Her eyes darted here and there, seeking for anything to distract her from her condemning thoughts.

    1. First off, thank you for sharing and allowing me to critique!

      This sounds really interesting, and definitely grabbed my attention! I also like how you have scripture in here, even though it's fantasy. That's something I really miss with most Christian fantasy authors.

      One thing I noticed was that it seemed to go pretty quickly between the outdoor conversation, and than supper was over. Perhaps add a bit more in the supper scene for transition. And maybe hear some of that delightful conversation!
      So yes, I'd LOVE to know more about the meal. ;) But then again, that could be because I want to know more about the characters. :)

  2. Thank you very much for taking the time to critique our writing. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    For context: this is from Once Upon a Dream, a steampunk novel set in a pseudo-Victorian-England-ish world. Alexander is a university student, about to meet with his mentor/advisor.
    “Just a moment, thank you.” Several glass-like clinking noises came from within before the professor opened the door. “Ah, Alexander. You’re early; I didn’t expect to see you until tomorrow.”

    “I know. I apologize if I’m disturbing you, but something came up, and I hoped you might be available now.” Alexander peered past Professor Whiting, into the office. “Are you?”

    “As a matter of fact, I am.” Professor Whiting stepped aside, allowing Alexander into his office. “And I’ve also read Camden’s reports of your work while I was traveling, including your new hypothesis that salts other than the standard sodium chloride would be more effective in warding off unfriendly fairy folk and enchantments. A fascinating idea; it is a pity your first test exploded.”

    Alexander winced at the memory, even as he smiled at his professor’s praise. “Thank you. And how were your travels?” As he spoke, he glanced around the room. For the most part, little had changed since he had last been in here before Professor Whiting’s week-long journey. The desk, chairs, and bookshelves all seemed mostly undisturbed; even the sword hanging behind the desk- a memento of the professor’s knighting- was still crooked as it had been before. The worktable in the near corner, however, was a different story. The usual assortment of bottled and complacent chemicals and neatly organized equipment had been pushed back to clear a wide space for three large beakers. All three contained colorful, bubbling liquid: green on the left, blue on the center, and pink on the right. The pink appeared to be glowing, though Alexander couldn’t be sure.

    “Quite well. My colleagues on the mainland were highly interested in my recent work, and had some fascinating developments of their own to share.” Professor Whiting followed Alexander’s stare to the worktable. “Ah, I see you’ve noticed my experiment already.”

    “Yes.” Alexander nodded. “What is it? Something one of your colleagues suggested?”

    “No. It’s a test. Rather delicate; be careful not to disturb it, please.” Professor Whiting crossed to the worktable and bent to inspect the contents of the beakers without touching them. “You are aware I often meet with the First Folk during my travels?”

    “Everyone in the university knows that.” Alexander took two steps closer to the table, clasping his hands behind his back. “Some even say you’re descended from the First Folk, since you’re so friendly with them and know so much about magiochemistry- and magic.”

    “Nonsense.” Professor Whiting impatiently waved the comment away. “My knowledge is the result of a lifetime’s study, nothing more, and as for my friendship with the First Folk, I believe my research interests them.” A wry smile turned up his lips. “Though perhaps amuses would be the better word. Besides-” he ran a hand through his thinning hair- “were I part First Folk, no matter how many generations removed, I’d have another ten to twenty years at least before my hair would be this color.”

    1. Ohh, this sounds really intriguing! I've never read any steam-punk before, so I enjoyed this little peak into the genre!

      One thing I noticed in reading was that you had a lot of semi-colons. While they're okay to use every once in a while, you don't see them very often. I'd say try and break it up a bit. Perhaps by separating it into two sentences, of combining them with a conjunction.

      Other than that, there really wasn't anything I noticed! This sounds fascinating!

    2. Thank you very much for the advice, and I'm glad you liked my piece!

  3. But Tip wasn’t listening. He was perched on the windowsill, peering out, big ears twitching. Jason slid off the counter and walked over to the little alien.
    “What’s up, buddy?” He leaned his elbows on the windowsill and looked at his friend. “You’re never this quiet.”
    Tip whimpered and pressed a green hand on the window, his black eyes roving. Jason followed the alien’s gaze up into the cloudy sky. One cloud seemed to be moving faster than the others. And it was dark.
    “What in Arkans …” Jason strode out the door and leaned back to peer past the buildings around his workshop. Yes, there was definitely something flying up there that wasn’t a cloud. But he couldn’t tell what it was.
    Tip clambered up his arm and stopped on his shoulder, squeaking desperately. Jason absentmindedly patted the alien’s head, trying to calm him down but being far more interested by the dark shape in the sky, which was getting bigger by the minute. And then it stopped, too far away for Jason to make out the shape.
    All of a sudden it dove down, dropping so fast that Jason was sure it would collide with the ground, whatever it was. But it disappeared far behind the building, so far that Jason was sure that it hadn’t dropped in the Metal City. No use looking for it now.
    Feeling a bit disappointed, Jason walked back inside his workshop and brought the Cradis down from its place, taking it out and giving it a toss before sticking it in his pocket. Time to try and make a replica.
    The workshop was soon silent except for the sounds of Jason’s working and Tip’s occasional squeaks. The sun rose until it blazed down upon the Metal City. No one walked around at this time; far too hot. The perfect time for concentrating.
    Jason brushed Tip gently aside as the alien tugged at his sleeve. “Just a minute Tip, now’s a bad time.”
    But Tip continued pulling, and soon gave into frantic squeaking. Now Jason looked up, a little confused.
    “What’s wrong, Tip?” And then heard it.
    Footsteps. Why were there footsteps? It was the middle of the afternoon. No one ever came near his workshop anyway, seeing as it was tucked between two buildings that attracted much more attention.
    Apprehension filled his mind, and he slowly walked over to the window, peering out. Now one was there. The footsteps had stopped. Letting out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, he stood and picked Tip up, placing his carefully on his shoulder.
    “We’re fine, Tip. Come on, let’s go-“
    And then something hard slammed into his head from behind. Stars spun in his vision, and the ground rose to meet him.
    Then all went black.

    ~ Savannah

    1. That was a terrible place to stop it. ;) This sounds fascinating!

      Writing wise, this was excellent! I didn't really notice anything big that stood out. You had a good balance between the dialogue and description. A couple things I did notice...In the 10th paragraph, Jason's words don't read very smoothly. I'd re-word it into something like "Just a minute, Tip. Now's not a good time." The comma just seems weak there. :)
      And then, in the 14th paragraph, 2nd sentence, you say "Now one was there", and I think you meant "no one." ;) And in the 4th sentence, you said "Placing his carefully on his shoulder." . . . "Placing him on his shoulder" reads better, and is correct.

      All in all, this was really good, and you have me dying to figure out just what happened!

    2. I'm so happy that you thought it was good! Thank you for taking the time to critique this, Jesseca ;). Your notes were lovely, and I'll make sure to remember them when it's time to edit this piece.

      ~ Savannah


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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