Have you ever written something, a letter, story, poem, Facebook or Twitter post, and, sometime later, thought that was the stupidest thing I ever wrote? If so, you’ll empathize with me here. Of course, in my standard confessional style, I’m going to share something Private and Personal, something collected from that sticker-covered filing cabinet, something melodramatic, juicy, and juvenile.
And then I’m going to tear it apart with my Critiquer Teeth.
So. Here goes.
Kimberly whirled first to the left, then to the right. But the monster was nowhere to be seen.1 She sensed something in the air.2 Slowly, she turned around. There was the monster, not any more than twenty feet away, it’s3 jaws dripping with saliva. It was facing to the right, it may not have seen her yet. But then slowly, agonizingly slowly, the monster turned to face her, it’s4 cruel olive green face twisted with anger.
- Good, I like this in medias res, although the language could be a little more original.
- What? A smell? A movement? Describe, girl!
- ugh, I hate that its/it’s error, although I think we’ve all been guilty at some time or another
There was nothing for Kimberly to do. Nowhere for her to go.1 She was tied to the tree, impossibly tangled in the coarse yellow rope.2 How had she gotten here? It was all James’ fault.3 They had had a fight. Oh, how she hated it when they fought! They had been walking through the forest, with the sunlight weaving through the trees4, creating a romantic and peaceful aura. Then came the fight. The awful fight.5
- By the way, where the heck is she? We should know this already.
- Okay. Good. The tree…what tree? In her front yard? In a foreign country? In an alternate universe?
- I think it should be James’s, not James’, but honestly I feel like a minority on following this rule, so we’ll let it slide here.
- nice image
- Yeah, we get that it was a bad fight, she hates fighting, and so on. MOVE ON.
It was the biggest fight that they had ever had. Kimberly thought about it and shuddered.1 James wanted her to go to college in Nevada with him, but what she really wanted was to go to Florida. They had different career interests, and there wasn’t one college that offered good classes for both.2
- Really? The fight is making her shudder, and not that saliva-dripping monster in front of her? And the fight isn’t…interesting.
And then what happened?1 James had stomped away, leaving her alone and lost in the forest. His temper was just too much.2 His fury would blind him from thinking logically, and now look what resulted from it!3 The sorceress came and took Kimberly to her house. The sorceress needed food for her pet monster, and Kimberly was pretty handy, all alone and vulnerable. So the sorceress tied Kimberly to a tree in her back yard and left her there for – for what? What was this…thing?4
- I don’t know? Are you going to further bog us down in boring backstory by telling us? Of course you are.
- You know, writer, my patience is wearing thin and if we don’t get back to that monster, I might tear Kimberly apart and cook her myself.
- Look at what? Did we finally remember the monster? No….
- Dude, you’ve killed the tension by taking us into all this backstory. Killed it. Deader than the monster is going to be.
Slowly, the monster sauntered1 over to where Kimberly was tied up. It looked at her hungrily.2 Oh James, this is all your fault, but I won’t care as long as you save me! Kimberly prayed silently as the monster stepped up even closer.3
- sauntered? This is the kind of verb used for a disinterested shopper forcing herself to browse the aisles of an auto parts store. Try stalked, if you want to really wring the melodrama out of this thing.
- Other than being green with big teeth, what does this monster look like? I’m having a hard time feeling scared, picturing the one-eyed dude from Monsters, Inc.
- And this is the absolute worst part of the whole story. Helpless princess in the tower syndrome. I need my man to save me. Ugh. Let’s pretend someone else wrote it.
Well kids, that’s all for this week. This’ll be a story critique in three parts. More on Kimberly’s underwhelming (un)adventure next Friday! Oh wait, no, not next Friday, I’ll be out of town. The Friday after, then! I know, the suspense! The intrigue! Try to contain yourselves.
For Part 2 of The Monster, click here.