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The Critique Castle

A place to enter, if you dare, and leave all your writing behind. We don't want the whole book. Just a chapter, synopsis or a writing example. Let's help each other become better writers.

Members: 80
Latest Activity: Aug 3, 2013

Please read before you submit your writing.

There are many postings from members that want their work critiqued and yet have not critiqued in return. In order for each member to be critiqued they must first critique.

We are aware that each member would like to have their work examined. Therefore, submissions need to be organized when submitted. A page full of paragraphs all clumped together may not be critiqued.

This is a constructive environment to develop writing skills. There is no right nor wrong in terms of advice so take it with a grain of salt and enjoy doing what you do.

"A classic is a book that doesn't have to be written again."
W.E.B. Du Bois

Discussion Forum

Slavery Madness

Excerpt from my book…Continue

Started by Dwight Bonair Jan 23, 2013.

"There Is a Nigga Inside All of Us" (Little short story I cooked up in two hours) 2 Replies

With the vocals of Lil Wayne slurring from this mouth Tank slid his corduroy house shoes along the white tile floor of Byron’s liquor store. It was a twice a day trip for the 28-year-old who  knew…Continue

Tags: Just

Started by J.R. Carter. Last reply by Kim Wilson Aug 27, 2012.

The Secret of Emerson Hall: Reconstruction period of the South, 1876

The Secret of Emerson Hall is something I'm working on. Your critique would most definitely be appreciated.Chapter One Low Country, North Charleston, South Carolina, August, 1876 A postman drove a…Continue

Started by Deborah Kennedy Jan 9, 2012.

Chasing Shadows: First Novel, Please read and provide feedback (Thanks for your time!) 7 Replies

Its my first time, but please...don't go easy on me..regards,triniti j.The sounds of the light rain shower were evident to those who had awakened at that early hour or to those who’d never fallen…Continue

Started by Triniti J.. Last reply by Allen W. Evans Jun 6, 2011.

Can You Still Have Unconditional love Even If your child Was From a Rape? 1 Reply

 What does unconditional mean and what is the real meaning of having unconditional love for someone?     Well, when it comes to our children we of course have no doubt that we do love them…Continue

Tags: incest, rape

Started by melissa love. Last reply by Allen W. Evans Jun 4, 2011.

Jade Chronicles 4 Replies

First novel, first draft I am editing now so please forgive.                                                                     Chapter OneI sat on the edge of my bed and cried until the tear ducts…Continue

Started by T. Gabrielle. Last reply by T. Gabrielle Mar 28, 2011.

FIGHT TO WIN

Sometime you fight, fight, fightBut you run out of gas;We fight, fight, fightUntil we have nothing else to give.You have nothing else to fight with.Then you start to question,Is this even worth…Continue

Started by Nate Spears Nov 9, 2010.

re: Watching the Growing

WATCHING THE GROWING Prologue"God as my witness" Yeah, I m Black. So what? My momma was black, my daddy was black what else was I supposed to be but black. But the truth is, some days I wish I were…Continue

Tags: University, Howard

Started by Maurice Whitehurst Mar 30, 2010.

Hustler Tales, We all got a story... 10 Replies

NinoWe all got a story, here’s mine…“On Mondays he drove his Samurai Suzuki, Tuesdays it was the Iroc, on Wednesdays he had the tricked out Jetta. For the rest of week he sported his favorites, the…Continue

Tags: street, tales, lit, urban, fiction

Started by griffstarr. Last reply by Arethia Hornsby Rinfrow Mar 23, 2010.

PHONEY HOMIES 2 Replies

I got out of my casket headed back to the funeral home. Dropped off my suit and shoesdrained myself of the embalming fluid.Headed back to the hoodthat's where I seen my homies,It turned out to be…Continue

Tags: Homies, Phony, Spears, Nate

Started by Nate Spears. Last reply by Nate Spears Mar 23, 2010.

Critique, Please!!! Only received 1... let's try it again! 5 Replies

I included the Prologue this time...PrologueGood evening. This is DJ Smoove B on Magic96, and I’ll see you tonight at the 5th Annual Magic96 Baddest Birthday Bash! And this year it’s bigger than…Continue

Tags: www.marissa_wilson@live.com

Started by 904Diva. Last reply by Arethia Hornsby Rinfrow Mar 23, 2010.

Vengeance is Mines - Synopsis 3 Replies

Vengeance is MinesThe unfathomable voyage of passionate love to candid payback Growing up, Neisse Abbey thought all men were as rotten to the core as the uncle who verbally molested her. There was…Continue

Tags: of, character, defamation, violence, molestation

Started by Ywndricka. Last reply by Ywndricka Mar 7, 2010.

Here Is my synopsis and part of my chapter one book, for review and critique.(strong language involved). 1 Reply

Life for Tanisha Davis hadn’t always been great for her. She was dealing with the devastating truth surrounding the event about her father from her mother. She had to stand by and watch how her two…Continue

Started by melissa love. Last reply by Triniti J. Mar 2, 2010.

Part II of Justin's Story 3 Replies

The defense attorney wanted to shoot another question but saw that she was crying. Mr. Marcus glanced at the jury. Many of them were crying as well. He was touched also, but did not cry. This more…Continue

Tags: story, justin, short, thriller, trial

Started by E.A. Ismail. Last reply by msday Feb 5, 2010.

Excerpt from chapter fourteen of "17 to Life: A Black Boy Memoir". Author Oronde Ash describes his struggles in adolescence to define a black identity as a wanna be writer 1 Reply

Below is one of the later chapters in my book, 17 to Life: A Black Boy Memoir. I spend most of the book trying to get out of my head, live the…Continue

Tags: voice, change, writer, james, baldwin

Started by oronde ash. Last reply by griffstarr Jan 21, 2010.

17 TO LIFE: ORONDE ASH WRITES AMERICA'S FIRST POST-RACIAL BLACK BOY MEMOIR 10 Replies

I welcome responses and critique after reading the opening chapter of my new book 17 to Life: A Black Boy Memoir.17 to Life tells my…Continue

Tags: review, critique, memoir, boy, ash

Started by oronde ash. Last reply by oronde ash Jan 17, 2010.

Memoirs Of a Slave 5 Replies

First novel, so please be honest! I have a blog so my friends can read it, so here are the first three chapters and the synopsis. I'm having the book edited, but these chapters have a few typos.…Continue

Started by J.R. Carter. Last reply by melissa love Dec 12, 2009.

New Book that will be completed by end of year (80% hopeful) 9 Replies

Please let me know what you think of the opening passage. It is going to address many societal issues with a humorous side.Chapter 1DuPont StreetDuPont Street was lined with houses that looked alike,…Continue

Started by Brent Mason. Last reply by melissa love Dec 11, 2009.

Nobody critiqued my last two posts...I'm hoping to get some feedback this time. 8 Replies

Mr. Marcus remembered Justin as a bright kid. A little on the mischievous side, but smart nonetheless. A bit of a dreamer, too. Always reading comics or talking about the latest video game or movie.…Continue

Started by E.A. Ismail. Last reply by oronde ash Oct 10, 2009.

PLEASAE REVIEW *HONESTLY* Confessions Of An Extra 1 Reply

CHAPTER ONEShe gently pushed open the vine redden gates marked Truth and rested in the garden of Peace. She synchronized with the winds that whispered Harmony throughout this intoxicating land. She…Continue

Started by Cee Brooks. Last reply by Kim Wilson Sep 5, 2009.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Viola P. Blue on June 2, 2008 at 4:31pm
How Long
A poem by Viola P. Blue

How long will I nurse this heartache
How long will I suffer this pain
When will this hurt end
So that I can smile again?

All I did was love you
But you picked my actions apart
You even made up things
Just to tear us apart
Accusations implied
that I wasn’t telling you the truth
Maybe you confused me with that other “one”
so uncouth

Your raised voice was booming
When you last talked to me
And although I forgave you
You still kept hurting me

I guess I will pick up the pieces
of my shattered bleeding heart
‘cause I was meant for better things
Then to die of
Broken Heart.

Viola P. Blue
1/24/08
###
I am comprisiing several poems and I also have a book in the making.
Tell me what it needs or doesn't need.
I can take it...
Comment by William A. Hobbs,III on June 2, 2008 at 6:57am
A Third-Grade Insomniac Seeks Solution

This is the beginning of a short story I'm doing. I'm looking for critiques and will post its stages in installments:


The Goodest Mood of all


I hate naptime. I wish I could beat the sleep out everybody in here who done talked about my momma. I wanna beat ‘em ‘til they bleed and put they sleep in my body. You ain’t s’posed to talk about people momma, s’pecially when the momma had to go away. So what if I say mines in Iraq. How they know I’m lyin’? People who look a lil’ different go to Iraq, too! I can’t even sing quietly; I just gotta keep layin’ here quiet like this, next to dumb Jimmy Swan and hear all this happy snoring. Least I can think about the playground. That’s where I swing at. People really gonna be laughin’ and ready to fight me even more today when I get out there. I don’t care ‘cause today I’ma swing and bring momma back from where she really at.
I close my eyes and see my momma still takin’ me to the playground at this school ‘cause our ‘partment up the street. She pushed me in the swing when I was a baby, in that baby swing out there with the seat belt and junk. Then when I got bigger she started swingin’ next to me. It was funny. She sit in it under her legs ‘cause she got a big booty. We would just swing and sing stuff. When the needles started bein’ everywhere, she started just sittin’ in the swing and leanin’ asleep on the chain.
The big boys at the basketball court ‘cross the street stopped tryin’ to get her to come talk to them. They used to speak to me at the corner store and everything so she would like them better. But she started movin’ like her arms and legs weigh too much and wearing Grandaddy Redskins hat, the one she wear when she don’t do her hair. She started wearing it all the time. I just told everybody tha’s her team. The boys started laughin’ at her. They don’t even say much when I gotta fight niggas like Jimmy Swan after school for callin’ me gay ‘cause all I do now at recess is swing. Some of the boys say I should fight some so niggas like Jimmy learn not to bother me. But Jimmy always win. I hear that bell that school out and just get mad all over again. Maybe today I might get a ride home.


I stay with Grandma and Grandaddy. They stay two mo’ blocks away from our ol’ ‘partment.
I like they house. It’s bigger. I like the kitchen, but I still keep ‘memberin’ momma kitchen. When I cain’t sleep good at Grandma and Grandaddy house and get up to pee, I look over at the kitchen and I start seein’ momma and our ol’ kitchen. I see that night I got up out of bed one time to pee and she was leanin ‘gainst the ‘frigerator, rockin’ side to side and hummin’. I thought she was finna th’ow up. I ask her what’s wrong. She stopped hummin’. I walked up to her and she put something in her housecoat pocket, cut the stove off and massaged her arm.
I asked if her arm hurt. I touched it where she was touchin’ it. She smiled and told me all slow to go to bed. I did, she got in the bed with me for a while and slept hard I stayed up to listen. I ain’t never seen her sleep like that! The bed never felt right again. I wanted to call my daddy but I don’t know his number. She don’t neither.
I started seein’ the sun come up sometimes when the needles was around the house. Needles and dirty lil’cotton balls. And spoons black on the bottom side. She stopped complainin’ ‘bout not finding a job. We went swingin’ less. I asked her what the needles fo’. Momma said she had high sugar like grandma. I knew it wasn’t. Grandma stuff don’t make her forget to close the front door at night or make her nose run all day. My head started hurtin’. I knew momma needles wasn’t nothin’ good, plus needles hurt. I wanted her to stop and go back to swingin’ with me. I don’t do school work none either. I just be tired.
One day I told momma I was tired as her. She ain’t say nothin’. I told her the boys at school say it’s heron. I asked momma why she so tired a lot, why she keep hurtin’ herself with them needles. She just say she lookin’ for a good mood. I say “ain’t I a good mood for you?” A tear came out her eye. She closed her eyes and smiled. She say I’m the goodest mood of all, sometimes.
I wanted to punch her, but I don’t want to hurt her like I do Jimmy Swan. I asked how that needle and heron better than me. She wiped her face and hugged me like she used to when she stood behind me when we took pictures at Sears in the mall. She said heron ain’t better, just different. She said it’s not for kids and it’s like a dream for grown ups, like when you sleep, a dream where you can do anything. I asked if other people in her dream. She said anybody she want there. I asked if it’s so good, why she cryin’. She just shook her head and patted me on the back. Then I didn’t know if I wanted to punch her at all. I wanted to ask if she ever put daddy in her dream, but that would hurt more than a punch.
So I don’t try to bug her so she don’t need the heron. I stay outside by the stairs when the men started coming by to be in the room with her. I go pee in the bushes and don’t even knock. When she leave me peanut butter and jelly for dinner and go places at night, I don’t say ‘nothin’ – even when it’s on that skinny last piece of bread and she don’t put it on a plate. I stop askin’ when she gone be back. By then, I could hear everything when I was sleeping, every door closin’. When the TV next door cut off. Plus my stomach be hurtin’ too. Then my eyes start not to close ‘less I think about how bad she’ll hurt when I ask ’bout daddy.
She came back in the mornin’ one time and I told her she my goodest mood only sometimes, too. She said she wish I went to school and never come back. I went to school with my head hurtin’ all day. I had to start goin’ to school wit’ no cereal or money for lunch ‘cause she couldn’t find my lunch money and didn’t get no groceries. The Indian woman with the red dot at the sto’ gave me some beef jerky and a apple juice in the morning sometimes. Her husband mean. He stopped her when I started waiting for them in the morning. I just started goin’ in and stealin’ it when momma left. She just left. She left a note in grandma mailbox to come get me and my stuff. I heard grandma tell her friends over the phone momma in the streets downtown. I say take me to go see her, grandma. She say daddy left and probably ain’t comin’ back ‘cause he funny. She say but momma gonna come back when she better. She say I can’t help her feel better. She gotta feel better by herself. See there, I can’t do anything, plus I’m tired of doin’ everything, too.
Sometimes I just stay at the playground after school and sit in the swing. One time I did and saw a kindergartener fall from the monkey bars. She hit her head and just laid there. People was rushin’ to her, all nice to her. She woke up later. But that’s still sleep though. She was ’sleep – for real. They where tappin’ her on the face and the girl didn’t even feel it. She just laid there. Sleep and breathin’.
The boys say if you hit your head on the ground good, you just be out. That’s when you just sleep for a long time and don’t wake up ‘til you feel like it. The girl still go here, but everybody nice to her ‘cause they think she might fall out or somethin’. I watch her all the time. I asked if she had dreams, but I don’t think she like me. I went to grandma’s and laid on my back on the kitchen flo’. I kept tappin’ my head on the flo’ ‘memberin’ how hard that girl went to sleep, how hard momma sleep after heron. I was wonderin’ how hard I gotta hit my head. Just like I’m doin’ now on this dumb mat next to Jimmy Swan. My eyes jiggle when the back of my head hit the mat. It feel like they do.
Comment by Stafford Battle on May 28, 2008 at 8:24pm
Submitted to
Capital Bookfest '08—Letters to the Children Book


_______________


Letter to Grandchildren:

Dear Kids:

I suspect that more than likely in your world, letter writing and reading flimsy paper documents may be considered old fashioned and painfully slow (I'm guessing that you are using digital thought transference or some other exotic interplanetary techno-magic to communicate with one another) but I hope you'll take a moment to put away your quantum nano-computers to cherish the feel of real parchment paper this letter was written on. Please allow the typed words to pass leisurely before your eyes at a mere mortal's pace.


Sometimes, the young accept lightly when forced to listen to elders who mentally drift on the outgoing tide of what you may consider to be ancient history; but the waves flow in both directions. In order to have a more perfect future and a tolerable present, you need to understand the wisdom and eccentricities of parents and grandparents.


Thus, these are some of my observations.


The ongoing confrontation between men and women may expand to include newly recognized genders; but regardless of the battle lines, the human species will never stop procreation. All women and men are equally equipped combatants who can oppose each other, yet become fiercely loyal once committed to the cause of marriage and family. It is mostly a matter of trust which has to be earned.


How we worship and pray has seen many transformations. If you still believe in God, then you know there is only one God who chooses to appear in different forms to different people but always offers the same message: it is not the text of the holy book that matters but the actions of the believers that is most significant. The antiquated notion that only one special geographic segment or political party or race of people has the singular connection to the Almighty is most assuredly false.

The whole notion of human "races" should be rendered totally obsolete and frowned upon as a completely useless definition of the human condition. You cannot define a person by their skin, hair, eyes, or speech. There are NO human races; there is no African, no Oriental, no Caucasian; there is ONLY humanity. Yet, even though we must never define ourselves using out-of-date racial terminology, "racism" does exist. Racism is the outcome whenever one group seeks to exploit or overpower another group.


It makes no sense to hurt each other. We are all one kind. We must coexist intimately or die out completely as a biological species. We also must coexist with the earth and nature. The air we breath, water we drink, and food we consume are all part of a sacred chain of survival. People, as well as other animals and plants all belong to each other and to the planet and to the universe that spawned us. Yes, we are children of the universe. The atoms of your body were created in a supernova explosion that occurred billions of years ago in a distant part of our galaxy. These atoms and molecules and biological manifestations of everything we call life are constantly in motion and change.


Change is what makes us great.


In your history books, you may come across an historical reference to something called the Internet or World Wide Web. This electronic network was the first tool of its kind to provide humans the crucial impetus to break through social and geographic barriers that have caused human strife for centuries. Digital communications -- especially through what we called "virtual worlds" and "social networks" -- helped coalesce the various factions of humanity into a unified global village. There was once a real threat of a digital divide to isolate affluent populations from poor ones, educated individuals from the intellectually naive, old and young. But as crass and profit-driven commercialism diminished, more socially conscious internet innovators emerged offering the open transfer of knowledge and critical resources. The World Wide Web became an essential key to greater prosperity for larger segments of the human society.


One of the most important benefits was the beginning of the end of global warfare. Thanks to your parents (my generation's offspring), large scale weapons manufacturing and sales were banned totally. Even the so-called secret factories were exposed and dismantled by people who believed that no human being should ever kill another man, woman or child for purely monetary gains or petty cultural intolerance.


There has been tremendous technological, social, and political advances during the period between my generation to yours. I know there will still be a lot to do to help all of humanity and earth kind to survive. I firmly believe that you will continue to build on the successes of your forebears.


Good luck and remember to occasionally revisit the history chronicles and family genealogy databases to reaffirm your total commitment to the evolution of our society. Also, be sure to occasionally celebrate the foresight of your elders and smile tolerantly at their follies.


Best Wishes,
Your Grand Dad
Stafford Levon Battle
Comment by Juanita Betts on April 6, 2008 at 1:41pm
Hello to all, I have not been so active in this group, which is about to change. I have been so busy getting things into perspective and still doing the same, but felt the need to share and leave you with blessings and success.

-Juanita Betts
Comment by PC Marks on March 26, 2008 at 6:00pm
Feel free to critique Broken Family Ties by PC Marks:
Alicia was awakened in the wee hours of the morning to the phone ringing. Initially, she thought she had dreamed of the ringing. When she reached for the phone all she heard was a dial tone.
Unable to fall asleep, she turned on the television. Henry’s snoring agitating her, she got out of bed. Downstairs next to her daughter’s favorite chair resting on the solid oak table beside it in the living room was her salvation.
She picked up the bible, closed her eyes and opened it. The passage revealed was the 23rd Psalms. Verse four slapped her hard. Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For You are with me: Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood. There were goose bumps forming down her arms. She began to scratch. Alicia closed her eyes. A startling vision dropped her to her knees. Tears rolled down her face. The phone rang. Hesitantly on the third ring she grabbed the receiver.
“I know. What happened?” Grandma Alicia listened carefully to the details being given on the other end. “What!” She interrupted. “I’m sorry, continue,” she said.
Grandma Alicia returned the phone receiver to its cradle. She went into the kitchen. Looking around, she started rearranging. Talking to herself she said, “The spices belong over the stove, not in some rotating shelf beside the sink. I think the lids should be in this area and the pots and pans over there.”
Henry was awakened by the racket. He descends the stairs taking in the view of his daughter’s beautiful home. He marvels at the plush light beige carpet his feet
sinks into as he winds down the stairs. The living room is elegant with its dark tan and mahogany wood Queen Anne furnishings. The formal dining room is decorated with a solid oak eight seat table. There’s a matching China cabinet and hutch. He enters the kitchen to find Alicia rearranging what used to be an immaculate kitchen.
Before speaking he takes in the sight. An island sits in the middle of the floor. The cabinets are oak with stenciled glass displaying expensive dinnerware. The design on the glass is identical to the China cabinet doors. The breakfast nook overlooks the professionally manicured backyard.
“Ya momma didn’t teach you to say good morning?” Alicia says, interrupting Henry’s admiration of his daughter’s home.

“Good morning,” Why are you rearranging this child’s things? I think you enjoy antagonizing Ann. Alicia you can’t do this.” Henry tried reasoning with his wife.
“Put her things back where she had them,” he said.
“She won’t need them,” Alicia continued setting up her daughter’s kitchen. She offered Henry a cup of coffee, finished setting up the kitchen and began preparing a hardy breakfast.
The sun was shining brightly through the beautiful bay windows. Breakfast had the entire house smelling beautifully. A quiet peaceful day was dawning. Grandpa was determined to not let Alicia ruin his.
Carl was awakened to Charles screaming. He rushed to his crib. He changed his diaper, gave him his bottle and held him in his arms. He wouldn’t stop wailing.
Caroline heard the noise. She entered into her old nursery to see what was going on. Upon entering she said
“The walls were pink not blue, the crib white, not this ugly brown. Strawberry Shortcake decorated the wall boarder not the stupid baseball, basket ball, football and hockey stick boarder with the stupid mobile hanging from the crib to match.” She turned to leave the room.
“Help,” Carl said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Go get Grandpa or something,” he demanded.
Caroline grinned. She leisurely strolled down steps she normally took two at a time. Casually entering the kitchen, she told the Grandparents, “That baby is acting up again, think you can do something.”
Alicia continued preparing breakfast ignoring her grandchild. Henry shakes his head side to side as he makes his way up the stairs.
“Okay, Okay. It’s alright. I’m here now.” Charles continued wailing. Grandpa Henry asked, “Has he been changed? Maybe he’s hungry?”

The three, Charles being carried by Grandpa, Carl holding his free hand head back down stairs.
Carl sensed something was wrong. The gnawing feeling in his gut made him uneasy. He held on tight to his Grandpa.
Grandma Alicia stared at the howling baby. She approached Grandpa Henry. “Give him to me.” He bent over to place Charles in her arms. Grandma Alicia and her grandson’s eyes locked. He quieted.
She asked Carl to wipe down Charles’ high chair as she set the dining room table. Carl told her, “We eat breakfast in here,” he said pointing to the built in breakfast nook. She ignored him continuing to place breakfast in the center of the dining room table.
As she finished setting the table, she called for the grandchildren and Henry. Grandma Alicia explained the rules. “When you are called for breakfast, lunch or dinner,

it will be in here. You are to thank God for receiving the blessing of food. You are not to eat or drink before grace is completed. You are not to leave the table without asking to be excused.”
Caroline and Carl’s eyes met. Carl couldn’t shake the eerie feeling. Caroline was unusually quiet. Her lips thinned, an evil glare watched her Grandmother.
Grandma Alicia continued on with the rules. She lowered her head, raised her joined hands inches from her face and closed her eyes. Lord we come to thank you for this nourishment. We ask that it does what you intend. That it keeps us healthy provides us with strength. Thank you for blessing us with these children. Help us guide them in the path of righteousness. As we embark on this journey of raising them, we ask for strength and courage to go forward.


She became quiet. Carl, Caroline and Grandpa Henry all opened there eyes. Grandma Alicia continued.
Help these babies deal with the loss of there parents, Jesus’ name, amen.
The days that followed seemed to take place in slow motion. Swarms of church goers were in attendance. The food seemed to never stop coming. Neighbors stopped by to pay there respect. Everyone hugged, kissed and assured the children they would be okay.
It was surreal for the children to see the coffins with the bodies of the deceased parents lying in repose.
Charles wailed through the whole service. Carl was inconsolable, his wailing at times drowning the sound of his brother. Caroline stared. A far away glazed expression, she never shed a tear.



Grandpa prayed for the peaceful rest of the living children’s soul, the deliverance of the souls of Ann and Kevin, the softening of his cold heartless wife.
Kevin and Ann Grover were buried side by side in the Grover family plot next to Kevin’s parents. The going home celebration took place on the very day they were due to return home.
 

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