CRITIQUE The Passage Above You



Good descriptions, you make it easy to visualize the scene. The little additives are what really make it hook you in, like “split lips” and “blistering shoes”. You don’t belabor the descriptions with flowery language, which wouldn’t work for this kind of story judging by this snippet, but you make the reader see the scene play out like a movie. My only criticism is watch your punctuation. Nothing to worry about, though – that will get fixed as you go through the drafting process.

This is the very beginning of the story:
It was a brisk day, the kind where an open window could cause a chill down to your bones. But Mr. Raven was too distracted to notice that his office window had come a bit ajar, allowing a strand of that chilly air to curl inside and worm its way towards him. He did not notice as it circled him, causing the skin on the back of his neck to erupt in goose bumps. He also did not notice when the office door opened and a voice called his name.

“Goodness, Cirius, have you gone deaf?” Two hands came down onto his desktop, jarring him from his deep reverie.

“My apologies, Mr. Roberts,” he said as he quickly began organizing the various piles of papers upon his desk.

Mr. Roberts shook his head, wisps of his black hair coming free of the loose ponytail that held his long tresses. “There’s really no need for the formalities, Cirius. You’ve been in my employ now…goodness, how many years has it been?”

“Four years and eight months, Sir,” Mr. Raven replied without hesitation.

Mr. Roberts raised a thin brow at him. “How time flies…speaking of time.” He tapped the gold watch on his wrist. “I believe you’ve lost track of it again, unless you meant to work until eight o’clock.”


7.5/10. It starts off strong, but trails off and kind of loses its narrative focus. Of course, I don’t know the rest of the chapter so it might just be that, but I generally don’t think that a reader wants to be greeted by idle chatter in their first taste of your book. Maybe you could speed up/change the pacing a bit? The style is great and the writing is of quality. A little more and it could be amazing.

This might be a little confusing without context, but it’s about an extremely long-living mother and her human son (adopted).

From: Where Myths Belong

“Don’t go away,” he says in a painfully shaky voice, “don’t leave me alone again… mom.”

The first time he’s called me “mom” in years, and it had to be right here, right now… I can’t bear but let out a tiny sob of my own. I stop and stand still for a moment, hoping he didn’t hear me. You can call me anything you want, I remember myself saying, I’ll go with whatever.

And he still chose me as his mother.

I turn my eyes to the sky and look behind me, lowering them after a moment to rest on his body. He’s shivering, I can see it from here, face and eyes pointing towards the ground. For a second, I’m glad I can’t see his face- if I saw him crying, I’d… I…

“You’ve grown into a fine young man,” I say, maintaining the most motherly voice I can. “You’ll always be my handsome little boy… but you’re all grown up now. I don’t… You don’t need me anymore.”

“No!” he yells, and looks back up. I take in a deep breath and recoil. The tears running down his face, his damp brown hair clinging to his head, the boy who’s so much taller than me now- this is the same helpless baby I took in sixteen years ago? “I still need you…”

I offer the gentlest smile I can muster. Right now… no, for the rest of my life, all I need is to know that he ever considered me a mother.

I turn back around, taking another step into the soft ocean. Behind me, I can almost feel him shattering into a thousand pieces, and my heart does the same. A teardrop drops into the sea, a teardrop I didn’t know was there. Keep it in, I remind myself. You can’t let him see his mom cry…

I take yet another step into the water, and I can feel the fragments of my heart break yet again. If only I were just human… If only I could go back in time…

A mighty wind blows across the surface of the ocean, and I can feel myself disintegrating into a million pieces. Taken to the place where myths belong. I try to look back one last time, I try to take a glimpse of my son before I leave him forever. But I cannot. I have no body to move, no head to turn, no eyes anymore to see him…

All that remains is my mind, and a single question echoes through it like the loud sounds of a baby’s wail…

Ari, was good enough for you?


This is beautifully written and the descriptions are amazing. I can really feel the mother’s pain and how she feels leaving her son.

Ryan plumped down into the sofa. Lawrence's house was small. They were in the living room which consisted of an old sofa and a living chair. They all sat on one sofa while Lawrence sat across from them on the chair.

"What did you need to know about Nancy?" Ryan could hear the quiver in Lawrence's voice. "What is this for?"

"School project," Lya said calmly.

"We want to know what happened to her." What Ryan really wanted know was who killed her but he didn't think it was a good idea to ask him yet.

Lawrence's frail hands shook as he grabbed onto the sides of the chair. "What is in the newspapers is what happened." He pulled himself up with a grunt and started walking towards the front door. "You're wasting my time. I think you should leave."




So, I really got a good feel of the atmosphere you were going for here, and I think that the dialogue you had was pretty natural. I would rethink some of your word choice, though (for example, “plopped” may work better than “plumped”)

Six Feet Under
I had two thoughts that were particularly depressing whilst in the midst of this spiral.

The first being that maybe it wasn’t the possibility of my mother not loving me that made words harder to find now, but the fact that she may not have known how much I loved her. Because there were no words to describe that specific infinity, and even less to describe how her being gone felt. I was never empty, I am full of loss. The singularity that remained of that glorious star swallowed up everything else. It almost swallowed me too, I think. I had felt myself slipping, drifting off to that nothing, that nowhere, that never that her spirit now took up. Maybe I would have done it if Dride hadn’t broken me. Maybe I would have just faded away, withered and wilted like a flower in the summer time.

I don’t know. I don’t know.

But the most depressing thing that I realized was that I was right. I relished this pain, I welcomed it and fueled it. Sadness wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than nothing.