To: Jane Doe
From: Jack Frost
Title: Character Story: “Butchering Day”
I see the alcoholic father as pretty much one dimensional in this story. Maybe it’s because you have so few descriptions of him. Can you add additional information about him? For example, what is he wearing when he’s butchering the pig? I can tell some things about his personality by his dialogue. Maybe you should add more dialogue.
Is it possible that the story starts better in the second paragraph? I wasn’t engaged when I read the first paragraph, but I was when I read the second paragraph. The two are related, but I think the second paragraph starts the story better. Consider deleting the first. Also, be sure to double-space your entire document.
Grammatical or Sentence Structure
Use strong action verbs in your sentences. Here’s an example:
You Wrote: Two weeks during my childhood summers, Dad became a hired-hand for Louie Gossen, a local farmer.
Revision: Two weeks during my childhood summers, my dad’s friend Louie Gossen employed him as a hired-hand.
Notice the difference between the state of being verb become and the action verb employed. The action verb becomes a word picture for the readers.
- On page 2, can you give some sense of the size of the dead pig?
- On page 4, was it really worry on your mother’s face? Or was it anger?
- Do you have other stories to tell like this one? I’d like to read more.
This is a disturbing, yet touching story. I liked how the daughter was silent during the intense scenes of the essay. I also like how she counted packages of meat until she was done. I could see this essay as part of a collection of other stories about the same family. Perhaps, you have the beginning of a novel.