HomeChild CareI Need Some Constructive Criticism (10 Points Best Answer)?
Posted in Child Care on 14th February 2012

I Need Some Constructive Criticism (10 Points Best Answer)?
Here it is: Please read.

the day April is born isn’t a special day. Different, certainly, but not special, not good. It’s not a time to rejoice, not a time to celebrate and smile and laugh, like most imagine. To cry with joy and imagine a name for their beautiful child. Instead, it is a day with teeth clenched around a rough, scratchy dish-rag and a nude, misshapen, nasty mother, who squeezes out April into a bathtub, her screaming and red and mother panting and angry, angry at this little child who has ruined her life. But it all starts at the bar.
The mother’s name is Joanna, and she is a huge woman, not fat, but full somehow, tall and wild and dangerous, which is why April’s father takes interest in her all those years ago. James, April’s father, stands across the room with a large beer mug in his hand and his wildly red hair raked back, with his snapping blue eyes focused on Joanna, the girl who moves and isn’t graceful but is strong, and he is intrigued, because she is so different. He looks at her and sees beyond the ugly girl, or so he thinks, but it is just the beers. He smiles and nods his head, waits for her to respond, and thinks about how to make his move. Finally, he walks over and sits down beside her in the tall, wooden bar stools, puts his beer on the table and makes small conversation.
“Fun night, right? You here with friends?” He takes a sip of his beer and licks his lips, his light blue eyes still not moving from hers.
“No, I’m alone.” She says, and he says he is alone, too, which has many indications.
We can be alone together. His eyes say.
Joanna cannot resist, because she is ugly, an ugly woman with beady eyes and a wide mouth and a straight, boring nose, and so when this man, James, takes interest in her, flirts this way, Joanna falls up to her shoulders in love.
“Kind of loud in here, crazy. Maybe we could talk somewhere else”, he says, and lifts himself from the chair. He is shorter than Joanna, and so he leans into her ear while she is still seated, so he can reach it and feel sensual.
“I’m James, by the way.” And all Joanna can think is Joanna and James, James and Joanna. Double J’s, smooth and wonderful together. Like it is meant to be. He takes her gently by the arm and they slip out the door of the bar, and it shuts the noise out as it closes behind them. Now they are in silence, until Joanna speaks.
“I don’t have a car.” Joanna says, and she always says the wrong thing. The thing to make her seem poor and dumb and desperate, but James doesn’t care.
“How’d you get here? Some suitor drive you here in an attempt to win your heart? Do I have competition?” He smiles at her, and his words are slurred and eyes hooded, because he is drunk, which is why he is putting the moves on this ugly chick anyway, because through he eyes all he sees is that dark hair and the good smile, and so he thinks she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Joanna shakes her head, because she is sober and serious and in love.
“Okay, to my car, then.” And he stumbles to a silver Volkswagen and slips inside. He holds out an arm to the seat beside him. Joanna sits inside, and they waste no time.
James kisses Joanna, or maybe she kissed him, Joanna never remembered.

In the morning, after they have done the thing that ruins Joanna’s life, they are in Joanna’s house, and James slinks out of bed, pulls his pants up and grabs a soda, popping open the cap and awakening the Sleeping Un-Beauty, who lets the sheets slide off and expose her naked shoulders and smiles a wan smile.
“You don’t have to go.” Joanna says, disguising her pleading as indifference, or exhaustion, rubbing her eyes awake and sweeping a hand through her dirty curls, as if that would make her slightly more appealing, convince him to stay.
James leans against the deep purple wall of Joanna’s room and sips his Coke, peering up at whatever there is on the ceiling, or he is just trying to escape talking to Joanna, the Ugly Girl he now regrets. He was too drunk last night, wasted and blurry and unthinking.
“Don’t go.” Joanna says it differently this time, not disguising her desperate tone now. She doesn’t smile, but watches him closely, her beady eyes smaller because she is tired, her eyes puffy, and red blotches cover parts of her cheeks, because she has a skin condition. James still says nothing, but he crushes the now empty can between his fist with an effortless crunch and moves to the kitchen, which Joanna can still see from her bed, and throws it in the trash, because he is a prick, Joanna later tells April, and doesn’t recycle. Joanna is too tired to correct him, too worried of him leaving her, because all an Ugly Girl like her has is a dumb man who will take her flaws and all.
But James is no dumb man, and makes the
escape when he can.
“I’ll call you later. I’ll stop by.” He says, his pale duck-fluff hair and blue eyes lying, deceiving, cheating. Though some part of her yells a warning, that her heart is broken and that this is a hopeless lie, Joanna lights up from the inside and smiles her slow smile at him, gives him a quick and still desperate peck on the cheek and watches him leave.
“See you.” He yells.
“I love you.” But he is already gone.
I pulled around the corner onto Mortimer Avenue, looking at the tiny orange-doored house that was my home, April’s home, old April, the one who praised her mother. She grew. She grew out of worshiping her black-hearted, drunk mother, grew out of believing her desperate lies. She even grew out of hating her father, because he didn’t abandoned her, he abandoned Joanna, and even April had done that. It was the only logical choice.
I am not April, Joanna’s daughter, anymore. I’m not, Oh, there’s April, the weird girl with the drunk mother. I’m April, strong and tall, part the ugly girl her mother was and part the red-haired blue-eyed snapping devil her father was.
I had left this house years ago, when I was thirteen, with a huge backpack full of my favorite clothes, water, and drawing pencils and paper, and one book, To Kill A Mockingbird.
It was different now that Joanna was dead. It was empty feeling, even from the outside, as if you could just tell something was wrong.
The drunk mother wasn’t in there, wobbling around, maybe with a boyfriend, probably with a beer in her hand, her wine. She liked wine.
I almost felt bad for thinking these things about my own mother, the one who was dead now, but I was the new April, and I told myself that death didn’t change anything. It didn’t change that she was a bad mother, that she was a drunk. I wouldn’t be teary-eyed and sappy, lying, at her funeral. Would she have a funeral? Did she want to be buried?
I was the only one to take care of this problem. I was the only child, the mistake. April. Moose. You bitch. I had many names in this house before, but now only one. I was April, renewed.

Best answer(s):

Answer by ~S~ is for Stephanie!
Wow. That was incredible. I loved the small details, like the “double J’s” and how you described Joanna’s ugliness. It was perfect.

Awesome job!

Answer by Monica
I think you used extended sentences quite well, described the characters, notified pros and cons of them. “he is shorter than Joanne” “an ugly woman with beady eyes.” It could be better but it is good and is it the start ? I love the concept of you knowing about the intercourse but you don’t describe it because it’s aimed at adults but anybody could pick it up x I like how April refers to herself as unwanted “A mistake.” I think you can progress with this book much farther and I’ve finished one of my books. The start you read is of the second. x Hope this helped because you are talented. Bravo.

Answer by NekoBus
All in all a good read, but I think it would sound much better in the past tense. Having it in the present tense gives it a really choppy feel. Another reason is that you first mention April being born, then you go into the backstory of the parents meeting. Then it skips ahead to her being a grown up. It’s not bad, but a little all over the place right now.

I’m not too crazy about the change from third person to first in the end. I’d say pick one or the other because it’s confusing to the reader. You also need to work on showing, not telling. It’s a skill that takes a lot of practice, but you can do it. Another thing, watch run-on sentences. I’ll show you an example (I’m putting it in the past tense so you can see what I mean).

The day April was born wasn’t a special day. (I think you could edit this out and still get the point across. Different, certainly, but not special, not good = unecessary and repetitious) It was not a time to rejoice, not a time to celebrate, smile or laugh, like most imagine. Instead that was a day spent with her misshapen mother’s teeth clenched around a rough, scratchy dish-rag. The large woman was nude in her bathtub when she squeezed April out. Nobody heard her screaming. Nobody heard her swear at this little child who had ruined her life…

Something along those lines. I’d also keep it a little more linear. You could start with Joanna entering the bar and the events that lead up to the pregnancy. Then the actual birth could be the climax of the scene.

Another run-on sentence. Here’s a suggestion on breaking it up. You don’t need to say ‘did the thing’ which is stating the obvious.

The next morning James slinked out of Joanna’s bed. He pulled his pants on and padded into the kitchen and grabbed a soda. The sound of the cap popping open awakening the Sleeping Un-Beauty. She let the sheets slide off, exposing her naked shoulders. Her smile was wan.

That breaks it up a little, but I’m sure upon rewrites you can make it better. Then you suddenly jump into first person which is distracting. Another thing – as it is right now, you have the words I, I’m, April and grew far too many times in a short period of space. Consider revising.

All in all the story itself is good. Just keep tightening it down until you’re telling the story with as few words as possible. Good luck with it!

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