Criticizing My Writing: Fading Quickly

I’ve been meaning to criticize my own writing since the dawn of time because there’s so much to criticize.

Obviously “dawn of time” is a stretch, but I think after I published Commenting On My First Post, I thought about doing the same with my stories. Several months later, here I am with a story I published earlier this year.

Let’s see what happens.

She fingered the edge of her mattress with one hand. Grace was lying down, looking at the other side of the room where another bed used to be. Two years have passed since the spot was vacated. As much as she wanted to fill the void, Grace didn’t have the heart to put anything there.

That last sentence though. Ew, no. Just no. Get rid of it.

There was still plenty of time before the sun would set, yet she felt fatigued already. The clock on the nightstand read half past three when Greg burst through the open doorway.

He burst through an open doorway? Okay. Sure he did.

He glanced at his sister on the bed with her lips drawn in a tight line. The room looked the same to him even though he had moved out two years ago. Ever since he moved into a new house with his current girlfriend, Greg started sleeping in a king sized bed rather than a tiny twin. “What’s wrong?”

The size of his bed is very necessary in your understanding of the story…

She sat up, one hand on her abdomen. “You’re assuming something is wrong.”

Do you hate my dialogue yet?

He had his hands on his knees, bent down to catch his breath. “You said you wanted to talk.” He paused before shooting her a half-hearted smile. “You rarely call anymore.”

Let’s play pretend. Pretend you never read the above paragraph.

Swinging her legs to the side of the bed, she stood. Grace walked over to the full-length mirror by her closet door. Back then a natural blush coloured her cheeks. Now no concealer in the world could hide the yellowish hues parading across her face. “I rarely call because you never pick up. I just wanted to talk to my little brother in person.”

At least I didn’t dangle a modifier. I used to do that all the time as a kid. I’ve learned. But this is agonizing. I don’t know which character I despise more.

In that moment, she noticed how Greg’s jeans hugged his wide hips. His grey T-shirt fit snug around his mid-section. But Grace thought her clothes enveloped her in an overwhelming web of fabric.

I also don’t know why I try with description sometimes.

Greg folded his arms across his chest. “You’re talking to me now, aren’t ya?”

Ugh. Stop talking Greg.

A long pause descended between them. With her next sentence, Grace couldn’t quite meet her brother’s eyes. “You’re always busy with her.” She spat out the last word as if it was poison.

Grace is annoying.

“She’s my girlfriend, remember?”

Like she could forget, Greg.

“I’m your sister.”

Thanks Miss. Obvious.

He crossed the room in two quick strides to stand beside her. “What do you want from me? I can’t exactly spilt myself into two and spend time with both of you equally, can I?”

Spilt myself into two? That’s the best I could come up with?

She frowned, touching the beanie on her head.

“Don’t you remember we’re having a baby?”

Her frown deepened. “You never told me that.”

“Oh, I didn’t?” Greg scratched his forehead with a fingernail.

Greg’s a great brother. I really hope you can detect my sarcasm. If not, I’m telling you right now. I’m a sarcastic person, and sarcasm doesn’t translate so well when you can’t see someone’s body language. I wish I could record myself reading and reacting to this, but I’m not competent enough to do so.

Grace rubbed her own flat tummy with one hand. “I hope it’s yours.”

Wow. She just went there.

His eyebrows knitted together in disbelief. “You’re only jealous you don’t have a boyfriend,” he mumbled.

He went there too.

“You have got to be kidding me.”

Nope, he’s not.

“Then what’s your problem?”

You, Grace. You’re the problem.

He might as well have driven a stake through her heart.

Clichés make me cringe. I guess they didn’t back then.

A phone rang. Greg stepped back, reaching into the pocket of his jeans. He took the incoming call, listened closely, and hung up. “That was Linda. I have to go.” Greg hesitated at the doorway. “Goodbye Grace.”

Is there any good in goodbye?

She would not get a chance to say goodbye before passing away three months later.

We’ve reached the end! Finally. Goodbye my friends. Until next time.

Rachel does something similar on her blog, where she reacts to her old stories. It’s fantastic. She’s fantastic. But don’t just take my word for it. Go find out yourself.

10 thoughts on “Criticizing My Writing: Fading Quickly

  1. This is awesome! I remember reading this story, lol. I also like how you pointed out the size of the bed… I add in that detail to all my stories as well. 🙂


  2. I love it when people self-correct! I even give extra points if a student learns something in class that he/she messed up on in his paper just turned in, takes it back, and “fixes it” in black ink.


  3. This was an interesting post. I’ll have to look back at some old graduate school pieces and papers…no on second thought, I’ll do something more fun! (like read your posts and catch up on you “youngsters.” Ha!


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