Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #2

Jennifer M Eaton has started a Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop in which writers post 250 words of their current Work in Progress and then hop around and critique everyone else’s snippets. To join,  click here to sign up and add your name and web site address to the list.

A big thanks to everyone who took the time last week to offer a critique of my work. It was certainly a valuable exercise and I quickly realised how unqualified I am at doing this. I learned a lot just last week, both about the critiquing process and what needed fixing in my own work.

This week’s snippet follows immediately from the first 250 words featured last week from my novel Rani’s Right. It’s a young adult, contemporary novel. I haven’t rewritten anything since last week so I realise many of last weeks comments will still apply. I should have put the Chapter heading in last week as January 1. We continue from there.

Or was I rambling on about nothing in particular because I wanted to avoid the issue. I don’t know. I just know that I wasn’t ready, emotionally and physically, to write anything. It was too early. I was pushing myself too hard. I thought I could get through it by expressing how I felt. The frustration, anger and shock probably caught up with me then. Maybe I could have done it emotionally if I hadn’t tried to read what I’d written and found that it was worse than a doctor’s script. That drove it all home. It was the first proof I had that there were things I couldn’t do any more. Until then I was lying in a Manama hospital having treatment for burns on my arms and legs, naively thinking I’d be back to normal when I recovered after few days. Looking back it was quite hard to write with burnt hands wrapped in that special dressing they put you in. It’s funny; at the time ripping those pages out didn’t hurt at all. Amazing what anger can do. But they hurt like hell afterwards, when the adrenalin wore off.

January 2


I’ve never kept a diary before. Never felt the need. The life of this ordinary girl growing up in the quiet country town of Omeo isn’t so exciting that it justifies recording in a diary. That’s how I felt about my life anyway. Until now. It’s not that I want to say “Hey people, boring girl from the country miraculously survives plane crash”, or even “Crash survivor watches as rescuer shot in cold blood”.

Notes: Omeo is a real place in Eastern Victoria Australia, which I used fictitiously. You can look it up if you like. Manama is the capital of Bahrain in the Middle East.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my work and if you’re taking part in the Critique Blog Hop, I look forward to reading your constructive criticism. 🙂

Please have a look at and, if possible, critique the work of these authors, while you’re here. look for this logo. It will take you to their latest critique post:Sunday Snippets

24 thoughts on “Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #2

  1. Jenny

    Nice- I like the diary entry’s and the pace of the story. Bit confused with the “ripping the pages out”, is it from this diary?? Interesting and looking forward to reading more.

  2. ericjbaker

    I like how you are dropping in little bits of intrigue as you go. It’s making me want to find out more about the character.

    I’m not a big on critiquing and early draft of fiction, especially without seeing the rest of the story (I thought some of the comments last week were off a bit off target, as if people were expecting the entire story to be condensed into the first 20 lines). That said, as you refine the prose… in a couple of spots, the narrator seems a little too self-aware, as if she’s looking at herself through a different set of eyes (though that may make sense later in the story). I’m specifically referring to the text after “January 2.” I’d expect a teenage girl from a small town to think what’s going on around her is pretty important, since people at that age tend of overemphasize the significance of daily minutiae. Again, there may be more to it that I don’t yet understand, so take my comments as the reactionary response that they are.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Thanks, Eric. Yes I felt the same way about some comments, too last week, and I also realised since last week that the whole critiquing in small chunks is probably not the best way to go about it and needs to be done carefully due to the incompleteness of it. Questions may be answered just around the corner, or they may not be at all.
      However this week it seems my story is misleading readers a little much so it looks like I’ve got some serious editing to do! 🙂

      1. ericjbaker

        I admire your bravery for posting a rough draft – that is not to imply that your writing isn’t good. I’ve found all your snippets intriguing and your characters three-dimensional, but I am too controlling to be that exposed. That said, I’d hate for you to delete good material because we aren’t seeing the whole thing and are pointing out flaws that might not exist. If you look at a 1-inch square section of a Picasso, you’re probably not going to think much of it.

        1. Richard Leonard Post author

          Yes, the Picasso analogy is a good one.
          The writing might be good and it might be bad but I agree it definitely needs more work. She’s in an emotionally fragile state so I wanted to show that in some way and that’s the tricky bit. The saying “biting off more than I can chew” comes to mind.
          Thanks for the encouragement and positive words. 🙂

  3. Jennifer M Eaton

    Now that I have read this one, I do see a problem with the first page. I didn’t know I was in a diary in the first page. Which is probably good. This one, however, reads like a diary, and you need to be careful with that. The long-winded beginning to this page was a bit drawn out for me. My mind thought “I get it” and I started to skim.

    The diary trope is a very hard one, because there is no room for error. You have to nail it — and in doing so you need it to sound like a diary, but not read like a diary. You need to be careful not to get so lost in the Main character’s feelings that you bore the reader — but there’s the catch — that is what a diary really is.

    After loving the first page, unfortunately, you just lost my interest.

    Try to go back and look at the way you “dragged me in” in the first page, and then mirror it here.

  4. caitlinstern

    Definitely trim a bit from the beginning. We want to get the sense of ‘rambling’ without actually being so rambling that the reader loses focus.
    Maybe we could use a little more of that moment when she looks at her writing and realizes that her life is beyond a quick fix. And she can’t erase that knowledge as easily as tearing out a few pages. I loved that imagery, but it gets a little lost as written.
    Perhaps what you’re missing is the feeling of a diary. The writer talking to herself, trying to work things out in her head. You’ve lost that disjointed, fragmented feel that I loved in your first snippet. Inject a little of that back in there, and you’ll have us all wondering what happened next.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Hi Caitlin, I agree it does read differently to last week’s. Interesting you liked the fragmented feel of the last one and missed it this week, when others didn’t like it. Seems I have quite a bit of work to do.
      Thanks! 🙂

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      I have asked myself this question before “How will the reader infer the gender of the narrator?”, hoping it would come out sooner rather than later. I have failed! But all this feedback has certainly helped. Back to the drawing board…
      Thanks for the critique. 🙂

  5. journeyofjordannaeast

    I think I’m going against the grain in saying that I disliked the fragmented style of the first snippet and REALLY enjoyed this one. I would even consider making this the opening, but that’s just me.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Aarrghh! All these differing opinions are doing my head in! Ha ha! 😉 I think if everyone said it was absolute rubbish, I’d know what I’d have to do!
      But seriously, I need to keep in mind that there are reasons for everything that plays out and they will all be revealed in time and I have to make sure that I make it true to the characters and hopefully that will come across to the reader.

  6. Ileandra Young

    Ooops, watch your spelling; ‘particuwplar’ is the sort of typo I make all the time, so be wary.

    I’m still in the situation of wanting to know more and I like how colloquial and conversational the whole piece is.

    It still feels rather scattered though. I don’t want to repeat what I said last week, so I’ll add that the end of this 250 snippet has made me sit up.

    Plane crash? Shooting?! I like how these details are so casually dropped in, that’s really positive for me.

  7. Richard Leonard Post author

    What? Isn’t that how you spell it? 😉
    Checked draft and it’s correct in there. Must have happened during copy & paste for posting and being distracted and jumping between tabs and windows and tasks and kids and… anyway, thanks for pointing it out. 🙂
    And thanks for the positive words. I though it was a good spot to throw in the big ones! Maybe should be sooner. I’ll think about that.
    Cheers! 🙂

  8. Shannon Blue Christensen

    Okay, this snippet makes a lot more sense than the first one. I care more about it, and I feel more distress and confusion from the narrator. That said, I’m still confused. I think it would be a good idea to have the narrator describe what happened first, and then go into the attempt at writing a diary and the problems with it. Sets up the scene in a more reader-friendly way….

  9. Maddie Cochere

    You are a brave man, Richard. I had someone suggest a change of ONE word to me once, and I bristled. (Maybe because the advice wasn’t solicited.) Hope you continue to work on Rochelle’s Briefcase, too. I’m invested in that one, and ready to read! 🙂

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Brave? Nah! From day one I wondered if that was the best way to start the thing. In fact I just remembered a writing teacher I had once, who was a published author, offered to read some of any manuscripts we had so he became the first person to read that, so he would have read much further along and never suggested to change the start. I’ll have to sit down and have good think about this, keeping her predicament in mind as I do it.
      Rochelle’s Briefcase is coming along… if I wasn’t blogging/commenting so much! And getting stuck on busted train services… 😉


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s