Let's critique each others' excerpts

Share an excerpt from the last chapter you wrote or are working on, whether its been published yet or not. Doesn’t matter what genre or how long it is. You can post the link as well on your excerpt just no covers please. Critique mine and I’ll do the same. Lets get this started. You can find the story on my profile or Pm if interested.

Here is mine.

It took Odysseus ten years to return to Ithaca to his family. Most of us know of his encounters with the Sirens, the Lotus Eaters, Scylla and Charybdis, Polyphemus. But the “library edition” will never mention what he brought back from that journey.

“Where are you going with this? Vlad interrupted.

“Father! Shush!”

“Ahem.” Ulysses continued.

It was two small cocoons his crew had found on an island, along with corpses of two unknown creatures whom they named “Drakon”. Naturally, Odysseus tried to cut the cocoons open to no avail. Until one night, his assistant Ajax accidentally cut his finger trying to get one open. Somehow, the blood had caused one of the cocoons to open, revealing a small infant.

Odysseus cut his finger over the other cocoon, causing it to open as well, revealing another infant. Twins. A boy and a girl.

Unable to control herself, Serina’s thoughts seemed to jump out of her mouth. “What happened to them!?”

“Quiet girl!” Vlad yelled, smacking her on the back of the head.

“Owww…” Serina whimpered as she flinched, rubbing her head. Ulysses continued.

Odysseus decided to take the girl and raise her as his own daughter. The boy was sent off to Athens, where he was isolated and trained to be the ultimate warrior. Never being shown an ounce of companionship, kindness or love. Only pain.

“You tell the story as if you were there…”

“Actually, I was.” Ulysses replied.

“And these twins. What were their names?”

“I wouldn’t be a good teacher if I just gave you all the answers.” Ulysses scolded.

Vlad stood up and walked to Ulysses, face to face. Vlad had a sinister smile. “No. You wouldn’t be,” he said, before walking out the office.

I’d only change one thing. You keep telling me how a character is reacting (sarcastically, interrupted, corrected, scolded) rather than showing me. Some of these can just be deleted.

Just my 2 cents; others may disagree.

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It’s only fair to give you a go at mine… part of Chapter 4 of Artifice of Strength… it’s a Werewolf novel.

Back at the compound, Florence came running into view, running as a wolf and still carrying her jogging shoes with her teeth. The wolves that saw her arrival were perplexed. If she’d gone for her run as a human, why was she returning as a wolf; and where was the rest of her clothing? If she’d shifted in an emergency, her shoes would have been destroyed as well. It didn’t seem as if there was any emergency going on, she was making her way toward her cabin, rather than for John’s office. And what of the wolfish grin on her face? That was way out of character for Florence!

What was up with their Beta? Everyone knew that Florence never let herself have any fun. She’d made that rare appearance at the clubhouse last night, and now here she was…smiling? Lots of sending ensued; this was still Florence that they were dealing with and discretion was advised!

These were wolves, so news got back to John and his Betas almost immediately, not that any of the three had a clue what to do with this information. Their initial reaction saw them standing quietly and staring at one another in bemusement, but then worry began to set in. The pack was likely in a war situation right now and the last thing they needed was a loose cannon rolling around the deck, especially a canon as dangerous as Florence. There just wasn’t any margin for error; this was an uncertain time with Burton Waters lurking around.

The three men kicked the problem around for an hour or so before they came to a sinking realization…they had absolutely no idea what to make of this. They’d have to do something that none of them wanted to do, they’d have to talk to Beth.

Once they agreed that they’d have to speak with her, John quickly suggested rock, paper, and scissors for the honor, but his seconds just laughed at him and pointed out that John was the Alpha. Billington couldn’t do much more than growl at them, he’d been pretty sure that they wouldn’t go for it, but he’d had to try; Pack leadership by Rochambeau appealed to him at times like this. Trying to get straight answers out of Beth was quite the challenge.

He knew that she’d have the deepest insight into the emotions of his pack, but that certainly didn’t mean that he was particularly eager about having to go to her and ask about what she knew. This whole ‘women’s opinion of things’ still confused him, even these five hundred years later. He really needed a mate for such problems, and he knew this. More than that, his pack really needed a Madam Alpha for their health and well being, but what could he do, the Goddess had never seen fit to provide him with one.

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I would say maybe consider changing madam alpha to like matriarch or something along that line since a pack is like a family or tribe.

Most books call this position a Luna… I’m trying to change a few things; Werewolf fiction tends to be pretty repetitive unfortunately. Most stories are exactly the same.

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I enjoyed the humor, like them playing rock, paper, scissors for who would have to talk to her XD classic

I do think this was quite a bit of narration without any dialogue or action (in the present). It felt a bit like a summary, and since I have no context for your story, I got a bit lost in the conclusions being made / names, jargon, etc. Maybe try breaking it up a bit or having this rock-paper-scissors moment play out before us to keep us engaged?

Very well-written though!


Excerpt from the most recent chapter of The Ephemeral:
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He looked down, but he seemed to brush off the comment easier than expected. I guess he did have to put up with me all those years. He knew what I was like, my brashness, my obstinacy. He’d grown a thick skin.

“I’m sorry, Al.” His eyes were frosted firewood in the setting sun. “For everything.”

I’d wanted an apology. I’d wanted him to apologize for never coming back, for deceiving us. But for some reason that wasn’t enough.

His lack of emotion angered me, and the feeling erupted through my voice. “Why didn’t you come home? We mourned you, we—Tom, we fell apart. And all this time, you’ve been here ? So close? Did it not occur to you to write us and tell us that?”

I hadn’t realized how furious I’d been with him until now. And maybe I wasn’t just angry at him for lying. Maybe I was angry at him for leaving me in the first place. Leaving me alone with the wolves.

Tom draped an arm around my shoulder, and he pulled my resistant figure toward him. It was difficult to show my discontent with my body forced into an embrace.

“I couldn’t abandon my men,” he said calmly. “They needed me just as much as you did. Probably more. And after the accident…” He paused. “There was this explosion at the Rim, a bomb that detonated before we could clear out. I survived…barely…and I was taken prisoner by Pans. They were going to turn me into one of them, but I was able to escape before that could happen. When I made it back to base, I found out they’d declared me dead. By the time I realized they’d already misinformed you, I decided it’d be better not having you worry about me anymore, and I didn’t return to fix things.”

I frowned, trying to free myself from his hug. “That’s ridiculous.”

“Come on, Al, wasn’t it a little better than never knowing? There’s no way I could have left my post on the Rim, not as a grunt! Letters didn’t reach us near the Gorge. You wouldn’t have heard from me for several months, maybe even years. Or I could’ve died for real, putting you through that pain all over again. You and Dad didn’t deserve that.” He looked me over. “There had to be a little bit of relief, knowing what had happened. You could stop guessing .”

I crossed my arms. Even if a small part of it were true, I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. Sure, I’d hated worrying about him. I hated anticipating a knock at the door from one of the sentinels. But in the end, I’d lost my best friend. My brother . There was no comfort in that, despite the worry or fear I’d felt beforehand.

“You were wrong. Not to tell us,” I whispered.

“…I know.”

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True same thing with most vampire stories

Honestly, I couldn’t really find any issues on your excerpt. You did well conveying emotions and showing how your character felt. The narration and first person balance was good as well.

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I enjoyed your extract a lot, you conveyed the emotions really well and easily hooked the reader in. You also really nicely established the relationship the characters had really nicely and made it really easy for the reader to empathise with the protagonist. All in all, it was very well done.
The one thing I am not too much of a fan of is the use of all the ellipses, I feel like there’s too many but that’s just my opnion.


Here’s what I’ve been working on so far, haven’t written in ages so if anyone could give some feedback it would be much appreciated!

In some ways, Verity Everglass wished she’d never even read the letter.

It had arrived in the early hours of the morning, packaged in a pale pink envelope and sealed with embellished wax.

With an inquisitive gaze, her fingers curled around it, the thick card heavy in her hands. She would have assumed it was fan mail had it not been sent to her personal address - that and the fact that it even the paper itself seemed more expensive than anything her fans could dream to afford.

Without further thought, she pulled open the seal. Discarding the envelope, she focused her sole attention on the contents - an equally thick piece of card, however this time cream and lightweight. The words engraved onto the paper almost seemed to jump out at her.

You are cordially invited to join ‘The Elite’ - Verity scoffed, it sounded like something straight out of a fairytale and she was hardly Cinderella.

Should you decide to accept this request, we will await your presence at 8pm on Thursday the 12th of September. Details of the venue will be enclosed overleaf. Please refrain from inviting or bringing any third parties, should you do so, you will not be invited in. This is non-negotiable. I look forward to seeing you.

Verity was moments away from simply throwing the card into the bin, whatever ‘The Elite’ was, she certainly didn’t want any part of it. That was, until her eyes grazed upon the signature imprinted at the very bottom of the card. It was small, but spoke volumes.

Signed,
Celeste Rose

Celeste Rose - better known as just Celeste. Verity was good at what she did, she knew that, but Celeste was better. If Verity thought she was famous, Celeste was legendary.

Everyone knew Celeste.

And if Celeste requested her presence, she was damn well going to make sure she was there.

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The letter to her creates a certain ominous feeling of mystery behind it. I think the contents if the letter and the fact she says celeste is legendary is enough to show us that this character is of high importance.

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My criticism is over the plot of Odysseus. His whole journey was about how he was forever lost at sea trying to gradually make his back to ithaki. Also if I remember correctly, it was very early on in his journey that he lost contact with his Conrad’s from war. This would mean since the creation of the kids happened while Ajax was still sailing with Odysseus, that for the most part of his journey he was lugging around two kids. This kind of reduces the significance of Telemachus adventure also to find his father.
Correct me if I’m wrong though.

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The voice flows well with the story. I agree with @Measuredmarlin5. The letter does give off am an ominous vibe. It seems likee she doesn’t like the “elite” or fairy tales. Is the beginning of the story?

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I think you misunderstood the point of this thread lol. Critique the passage before you.

But the poster literally says “critique mine and I’ll critique yours” doesn’t say anything about the person before me.

Lol okay.

I don’t understand the lol. Am I wrong in making that assumption ?

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I’m not the author of the thread so i cant say for sure. Though the title says it all if you ask me.

@Measuredmarlin5 @Illness_of_mind2 thanks for the comments! Ominous was sort of what I was going for as letter is what sets the scene. And yes, it’s pretty much the beginning.

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Thanks for the input. Yes I agree you on the accuracy. The main point of the excerpt however isn’t really focused so much on Odysseus’ journey itself but more focused on the origins of the twins. I simply added a small twist to suit the stories needs without too much compromise.

It doesnt matter you can critique anyone’s