Five members of a critique group look over a familiar fairy tale...
The Language Connoisseur: “Little Red Riding Hood.” That's a great name! Such great imagery, with just a hint of alliteration.
The Character Empath: I loved the twist when the grandma turned out to be the wolf. Holy Cow! But maybe we'd appreciate the surprise more in Red’s point of view instead of the Wolf's?
The Pace Setter: You could stretch out the tension after Red gets swallowed. The woodman shows up too quickly. Milk the drama!
The Plot Critic: Eh, I didn't buy that whole development with the wolf dressing up as the grandma. I mean, is Red really that unobservant? Come on!
The Potty Brain: I dunno about all those references to the woodman's "axe." I mean, this is supposed to be MG! Let's not go there.
What other critique types are there, and what do they say?
The personifier: I remember when I went to my grammas house this one time, and there was this huge dog, I was all, like, what? 'Cause she got a new Dolberman. It did have big teeth. Seriously.ReplyDelete
The strangely clueless one: So, I never had a feeling I knew what the story was about. Grandmas, wolves, baskets of food, I mean, it was all over. And what was it saying about it? Especially I didn't get, like, was Red Riding Hood the love interest for the scarecrow? I don't mean the scarecrow, I mean the other one ... the ... not the wolf, the ... yeah, the tin woodman. Okay so he wasn't tin. Whatever. Anyway, I didn't get that.ReplyDelete
The 'let me help you rewrite it to my taste' one: This could be so much better as a generational novel, I mean, c'mon, there's Red and her grandmother, but where's the mother? You could tell the whole thing in three parts spanning all three generations! Or, oh wait! the wolf could really be a werewolf and he could really have fallen in love with Red and it's just his misunderstood way of trying to prove his love for her, 'cause he loves her so much, he doesn't want anyone else to have her. Or throw in a vampire. Vampires are really hot now, right? Or zombies, aren't they the next fad? MAybe Red comes back as a zombie after the wolf kills her and then...ReplyDelete
The Grammar Nazi: No apostrophe here since it's a possessive, not a contraction. Fix this run-on. Learn how to use semicolons properly. And please do something about your comma use!ReplyDelete
Ha! I love these! (and I'm sensing a bit of writerly frustration too :-) ) Keep 'em coming!ReplyDelete
The Vague (unhelpful) Commenter Type: I like that there's a wolf.ReplyDelete
Good News! Now you can possess an exact copy of the original bankruptcy documents / records. Your bankruptcy court records and documents are readily available after bankruptcy discharge and you can have it in your possession within minutes of your order.ReplyDelete
Looks like "Bankruptcy File" left off the name of the critique style. I call that one "I Wasn't Really Paying Attention, but Everybody's Looking at Me Now."ReplyDelete
Oh, and I'm the Plot Critic.ReplyDelete
I try to remember tvtropes.org's "Rule of Cool" and its relatives, but I don't find persuasive an argument like: "Look, big teeth are cool! Readers won't mind if Red is a little slow on the uptake."
Hehe, I was coming here to delete Bankrupcy file, but I guess I'll keep it now.ReplyDelete
I can't think of any good ones right now, but these are so funny. Especially since I'm working on my own take on RRH.ReplyDelete
Jaleh -- well, take these suggestions into account!ReplyDelete
Moral Fiction Dude: [Removes glasses, gazes at you deeply] I just think you're missing most of what's really there in your story. I don't see any confrontation of the sheer horror of a child who would ask hurtful questions about an elderly person's eyes and teeth. I wanted some kind of tie-in to the fact that this elderly bed-ridden person is forced to depend on her family to feed her and the only person they can spare to carry the food to her is an unescorted, unprotected little girl. And then there's the woodman, I mean -- Hello! Blame the predator, always blame the predator. I just see no comment on any of that, so the story has a lot of action but there's nothing really in it, for me. [Replaces glasses on nose, watches you intently, appears to be trying to decide what specific part of your body he is smelling]ReplyDelete
These are great! I love everyone's additions to them as well. Thank you for the laugh!ReplyDelete
Dismissive Generalization Guy: The little girl is dumb, and the wolf is mean.ReplyDelete
[Okay, but what makes the little girl seem dumb, as opposed to naive and trusting? And of course the wolf is mean -- that's the point!]
The Radical Feminist. Why are all fairy tales phallocentric? These stories are full of helpless females oppressed by men, dependent on men! What does this teach our girls? They don't need a man to help them! I don't need a man!ReplyDelete
The Fact Checker aka Super Fan: First off, at that time of year in that part of the world, a girl her age would most likely be carrying a rucksack or other smaller backpack. Secondly, the color red was only reserved for tribal elders. Are you suggesting a child of 12 could attain the title of elder!?!? Highly unlikely. Third, even if I could believe wolves had the power of speech, which they dont, do you really expect us to fathom a universe where they also possess the opposable thumbs necessary to put on people clothes!?!?!?!?!ReplyDelete
Oh trust me Livia, I am keeping these in mind, even while I'm laughing over all the comments. :D Of course many great fairy tale adaptations have come from an assortment of these sorts of reviewer angles. (Not that mine is great yet, but I hope it will be.) Another tale with even more stuff to pick at is Rumpelstiltskin. I've read several variations on that one recently, all focused on answering many of WTF's involved.ReplyDelete
The apathetic guy: I don't care about the characters. I mean, all this stuff happens, but who cares? Don't get me wrong, I liked the part where (fill in blank), but overall, who cares? And why would (fill in character name) act like that?ReplyDelete
SHUT UP JUST SHUT UP YOU SUCK AT CRITIQUES AND YOUR STORY IS HORRID! (ha that's what I'm thinking the whole time)
And this was suggested by my crit partner today (and supposed to be me, or one facet of me :-P)ReplyDelete
The Marketer: This is an excellent high concept story with lot's of commercial potential. And it's great cuz paranormal romance is hot right now. Well, I guess it's not really a romance between the girl and the wolf, but you could totally pitch that angle when you query.
Great post Livia, and I love the device. Pop over to desperatelywritingsusan.blogspot.com, and you'll see I've passed on a 'One to Follow' award to you. I hope it will earn you even more readers.ReplyDelete
Let's not forget the last critic type: the one who didn't actually read it.ReplyDelete
Loved this! I think I'm the "plot critic" since that's what I tend to need most as a writer. Funny how that works. Totally laughed out loud at the "potty brain."ReplyDelete
Wow, these are hysterical. How did I miss this post?ReplyDelete
What about the "I Need It All Spelled Out in Large, Flashing Neon Lights" Gal:
What color are her eyes? I can't picture her. I see her red cape, but I'd really like to know what color her hair and eyes are so I can feel like I know her.
What does the wolf look like? Is he a gray wolf or a brown wolf? Is he smiling at her or glaring at her when he sees her in the forest?
What is the grandmother feeling when the wolf eats her? Scared? Angry?