Love Me Dead
I will open this critique with an admittance: I have never written a "formal" critique, so bear with me through this process. I will try to be as detailed with my comments as I can, so we both don't get lost in ambiguity.
First things first: Overall, I found this piece very intriguing and enjoyed the premise of the idea. It is quite original and it is for this reason, I am giving my first attempt at a critique.
The opening sequence. An interesting and drawing section. It gives you a taste for what is to come, but is careful to not give away what the ending might be. Though it has a intriguing stance, I feel there is something missing. It isn't a major thing, but it seems to me that there could be more, a closer and more driven connection with the story; a little more insight, if you will. Do not get me wrong, as I enjoyed it, but my mind is grasping for more, perhaps a strong insight to this creature.
"So unappealing is this fragile form humans bear,"
One thing I also noticed was an interesting pattern of paired words that both start with the same letter.
"she stumbled slightly"; " bloated body"; "scowled severely"; "forcing the feline" - Things like that. Generally, it isn't a problem, but those all happened in the same paragraph. So it might be something to keep an eye on in the future.
Along those lines, sometimes placing two words together or close to each other with a "rhyming pattern" can be a bit...distracting. This is a major issue, but something I had noticed a couple of times throughout the piece.
Word choices is something we all seem to struggle with as writers. It isn't necessarily our lack of knowledge or ability, but we are trying to convey a certain emotion or action, it can be a little tricky to find just the right word to give that punch we want/need. In light of this, I found that some word choices left me a bit confused? They seemed a bit clunky or awkward in the particular circumstance that they were used or the describing word didn't seem to flow well with the word it was paired. This isn't something we always catch when putting our pieces together, and sometimes even when editing.
In the scene the siblings were sitting around the table, I was a bit lost with the shifting between characters. Also, scene seemed a bit disgruntled and not fully...together if you will. It was stiff and lacking in something solid I could grab onto, be it emotions, actions, or just details overall. I also didn't quite make the full connection with the hatred the sister mentioned. It almost made me want more of a back story before that point to bring a bit of understanding to the conversation, if you catch my drift.
As I kept reading, there were a couple of points I was hoping for that extra word of detail/explanation of a something she sees or feels. In some sections, there was a bit more detachment than I believe was intended.
"Catching a large stain in the corner of her eye" - I asked myself, what color was the stain? Also, you mention that "He and his beer always ended up on the floor." - Perhaps instead of beer, because you mentioned scotch a couple of sentences earlier, 'drink' or 'alcohol' would fit better in this instance?
Looking at the overall piece, I had noticed a few shifts in tense. It wasn't often, but the occasional slip from past to present was a bit...stuttering. Though I mention this, it isn't *that* critical of an issue, as it only happens a few times in the piece.
I also felt in the overall execution, there could've been more "oomph". I craved a bit more detail, emotion, show, connection. I wish I could adequately describe in a short time what I am trying to say without overwhelming you, so I won't try and write a novel of an explanation of this thought. I guess, if this is what I am trying to say, perhaps more "showing" than "telling" in a way.
All in all, I hope I didn't overwhelm or completely make it sound like this was not enjoyable or well written as a whole. I know I wrote a lot, but I tried to not sound pretentious. Thank you very much for sharing your work, and I hope to read more in the near future!
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this further, let me know! Hopefully I can clarify if necessary!
Thank you for such a lovely, in depth critique, darling!
I see what you mean on all points. In several places I believe I will reedit this according to your suggestions. I realize that I created this story so long ago - I really should make the time to take a second look at it.
As far as discussion of your point, might I ask... could you provide a few examples of words you found awkward or clunky? Might I also ask that you make some suggestions to replace them? Oft times I find myself searching for the perfect word that I just can't place. If you could help me with this I'd very much appreciate it.
Thank you once again and I'll be sure to take a look at your piece when I have the time.
Okay. I will at least bring up a couple of instances, and explain why I feel that way.
"Her unnatural perfectionism beginning to overwhelm her," - In this instance, I was thrown off a bit by 'unnatural'. Something about this word in this scenario just didn't fit. When looking for a replacement, perhaps 'unusual' or going down the road of 'awkward'? Honestly, I would personally go with 'awkward' or a variant in this case. Why? Because I know we all try to be perfectionists at some point in our lives and in certain situations, but other factors will hinder the ability to execute. Here, she is upset/angry, and we all somewhat act as if we have blinders on when we are "emotional". Also, you put together a point that she is probably not usually this way. If that is the case, I only like the 'awkward' direction even more. Maybe even 'unrefined'? I hope that makes some sort of sense.
"She scoffed angrily at herself and her father's negligence." - In this sentence, I stumbled over 'scoffed angrily'. Here, the combination of the two words seemed awkward to me in this context. On a personal level for myself, I would meld the two words into one, dropping the adverb here. Stay with angry, but keep it to one word instead of two and I think readers reaction may be stronger in responding to the emotion.
- One thing I will bring up here (something that I struggle with and will be focusing on more now that I am bringing it up now): I had a composition professor that *hated* adverbs, at least in the excess some people tend to use them. He felt they were cop outs for not using the proper word. I was one of those people, so he told me to write a piece void of adverbs. It was a challenge, but it also made me think about my word choices every time I wanted to use one. Now, I am not saying adverbs are bad (as they aren't), but if you think about and research your words when you are "tempted" to use one, it may help you in finding that word you need for the situation. Sometimes it will mean rewriting the sentence or looking for a different action verb or adjective. (Just a thought.)
"Her black flats tapped across the wood floor as she entered her childhood home."; "As her shoes tapped across the floor, she opened her mouth to yell at him once more when a small flash of white caught her eye." - I felt a bit of redundancy when I read these two. Different paragraphs (though side by side), but the same descriptive action (sound) is expressed in both sentences, 'tapped'. This wouldn't bother me had they been on opposite ends of the story, but the redundancy came with them being so close together. My suggestion is simple - just change one from tapped to something else.
I feel like I am rambling now, so I will stop there for now. I hope I at least answered some 'generic' questions with using specific examples, leaving the confusion behind.
Now, if you would like, I would be willing to go through it in more detail (with you of course) and we could go instance to instance and discuss them. But, if that would be the case, a different medium for the discussion would need to be arranged.
Thank you so much darling for pointing those out!
I always appreciate when ppl are willing to provide suggestions. As for your comment on adverbs - I have been told more than once that I use them far too often. I'm considering trying what your professor told you - writing a piece void of adverbs.
Although I do not have time now to further discuss your suggestions, just know that I find them all extremely helpful and will consider them in the future. Here's to more correspondences between the two of us!