Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #5

This week I’m continuing with Jennifer M Eaton’s 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.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time two weeks ago to offer a critique of my work (I missed last week).

This week’s snippet is from a different scene than my last few posts. Those featured the opening 1,000 words of my novel, Rani’s Right., in parts One, Two, Three and Four. In this scene she describes the moments before the plane crash.

You often hear the cliché “I saw my life flash before my eyes!” when someone’s faced with the very real possibility of death. The instant I realised I was within arm’s length of that dark, silent sickle bearer, that it was close enough to touch me without shifting it’s weight, that my entire life was in its total and complete control, time slowed to a crawl and my awareness became amazingly acute. I could see the flickering of the fluorescent lights, I could almost count the flashes and not fall behind. I saw the people around me moving painfully slow in their panic. I could hear every word people were screaming and feel the pain in their voices.

I smell the fear, the sweat, the air-conditioning, the ozone, the fuel, the smoke, the heat, the whining of the engines. I feel the aircraft shaking, the wings vibrate. I think of the people I knew, the people I love, the people who aren’t with me, couldn’t be with me, will never be with me again. I think of all the things I wanted to say to them but kept putting off. I think of the things I’ve done that I’ll never do again. The things I want to do but never got round to. I think of the loves, the hates, the triumphs, the losses, regrets, pains, achievements… For the last time… ever…

 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


8 thoughts on “Sunday Snippets Critique Blog Hop #5

  1. kford2007

    You have some great imagery here, but I was confused if the event already happened or is happening at the time of the telling. The 1st paragraph is in past tense, the second, in present. I think this really needs to be consistent. If you decide on present, then I would definitely cut it up into pieces to make the tension higher, more intense. Short sentences get the blood pulsing and the heart racing. Also, it’s okay to post a bit more than 250 so you don’t stop in mid-sentence. 🙂 Good job!

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Thanks Jenny. The idea with the change of tense was that the first paragraph was her recalling the incident (remember she’s writing in a diary) and the second was meant to be a separate section/scene as a flashback in present tense. In hindsight it breaks the whole diary thing but it was an experiment I toyed with when I wrote it.
      Yes, I’m aware of the short sentence trick. I might try that.

  2. mandyevebarnett

    Apart from the change in tense I was a bit put off with the amount of ‘I’ you used. With a bit of revising you could cut them down. Would you smell the whining engines or hear them? Unless there is acrid fumes invading the plane.
    Good tension though, I like it.

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Hi, thanks for the feedback! See my reply to Jenny above about the failed experiment with tense.
      The I’s might be a bit full on. I wrote this ages ago and at the time I thought it was one of those occasions where the repeated word works, but maybe not.
      Good point about the whining engines. Personally I’d try hard to ignore them!
      Seems I must work on my tenses and senses! 😉

  3. caitlinstern

    Whoa, bad things happening. Or happened–the tense is an issue, indeed. But otherwise a riveting happening going on.
    You’ve got a typo in “without shifting it’s weight” you need the same possessive ‘its’ you use later.
    Definitely pare down the “I see/feel” etc. Just report what happened. “The lights flickered, People screamed.” has more impact than “I saw the lights flicker. I heard people scream.” You know?
    You might try to work in a sense of what’s happening while she’s contemplating her death. It would build up the tension even more if she’s noting the deterioration of the plane as she mourns what she’s losing. And maybe a concrete example of that loss, to really make the reader empathize with her?

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Thanks Caitlin. The tense issue I explained above in my reply to Jenny.
      Typo – noted. (With embarrassment!)
      Yes, many I’s will be taken out. Good advice. All good advice.

  4. Let's CUT the Crap!

    Hi Richard. I’m interested in knowing backstory.
    My small suggestion is watch your verbs. Rethink sentences with ‘was’ and remove the coulds in front of the verbs in first paragraph.
    i.e.: I could see the flickering – I SEE ( sense / recognize etc.) depending on the tense you plan to use.


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