In-House Critique #4

Name: Little Scribbler
Title: Poseidon’s Trident
Genre: Action

First 250 words:
Private Adolf Bauer rested next to his shovel and wiped his brow. Digging was hard work in the best of conditions. In the heat of the midday sun in the Indian desert, it was torture. Beads of sweat trickled down his red face, off his unshaven chin, and onto his filthy uniform. His uniform had been tailored for combat in Europe – not digging in the desert. Still, he decided, digging in the scorching desert for a weapon was better than being around for the rising tensions in Europe.

“Bauer! Hurry up!” barked Captain Eberhardt. “You do not want to keep Fuer Hitler waiting, do you?”

“No, sir!” Bauer yelled back as he grabbed his shovel, and returned to the digging. All around him, men, soldiers like himself, dug furiously in the sand in a grid format. For a weapon. What that weapon was, Bauer didn’t know. But he had overheard the captain talking.

A weapon that would ensure world domination for Hitler and the Third Reich.
A weapon that would destroy London.
A weapon that would destroy the Jews.

The day wore on, and Bauer whistled as he worked. His hole soon turned into a trench, then a large pit. Soon, when the men around him complained, he turned to thinking about his wife, Eva, and his two young children, Dirk and Abigail, back in Berlin. They all missed him terribly, Bauer was sure of that. But they preferred his digging in India over the  alternative of combat in Poland. At least they could be sure he would return safely. Even if he couldn’t tell them what he was doing.



Readers: Would you read on? Why or why not? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What could be changed?

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4 Responses to In-House Critique #4

  1. Merrilee says:

    You’ve got some interesting elements going on here, but the writing fails for me. You keep repeating yourself, and there’s a bit too much telling for my liking.

    For example:
    >>Digging was hard work in the best of conditions. In the heat of the midday sun in the Indian desert, it was torture.

    Which is all telling. But then you repeat yourself:
    >>Beads of sweat trickled down his red face, off his unshaven chin, and onto his filthy uniform. His uniform had been tailored for combat in Europe – not digging in the desert.

    Which is a MUCH better way to get the information across. Choose one or the other.

    Then, you mention they are looking for a weapon, but later, you say it again. And again! We got it the first time. Have faith in your readers.

    I’d read on for a bit, but would expect something to happen pretty soon, or I would put it down.

  2. AshN says:

    I would not keep reading. There’s a pretty strong hook with this mysterious weapon, but I agree with Merrilee about the redundancy of the actual writing, and the writing is always deciding factor for me.

    Also, I felt that this section seemed too manipulated:

    A weapon that would ensure world domination for Hitler and the Third Reich.
    A weapon that would destroy London.
    A weapon that would destroy the Jews.

    When I say “manipulated”, I mean I can see the writer’s fingerprints all over it. It doesn’t feel like the organic thoughts of a private soldier, but a “dun dun DUN!!!” moment inserted for readers to gasp over.

    Good luck!

  3. […] Crit Aftermath The critiques are now over. I’d like to thank the three brave people who sent in their excerpts for you all to critique.  If you missed any, you can see them here, here, here and here. […]

  4. Feywriter says:

    I like the description of the sweat, and the setting. Brings me right to the heat of the desert. I agree that the weapon emphasis is too much. As a reader, I can guess what Hitler would want with a weapon. I already expect it to be big and important. If you want more of what he overheard, maybe show it through him talking to another soldier.

    This has potential! I’m curious about what the weapon is, and what Bauer’s stance is. Is he patriotic? Does he want them to find the weapon?

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