Excerpt Critique: “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

by Guest Contributor

Man watching sunset

Please welcome today’s aspiring author Emily Shepherd, ready for a peer critique.

Take a moment to read the excerpt and leave some thoughtful feedback in the comment section below.

If you are a writer whose excerpt has appeared anonymously on Write It Sideways, and now you’d like your name to appear on your piece, contact me.

If you’d like to submit your own writing for critique, keep an eye out for future calls posted on the blog.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Fantasy

*Please note: This excerpt is taken from the story’s prologue.

On the bank of a river, on a large stone, the silhouette of a man sits with a small pipe pressed against his lips. The sounds of the river, flowing past, dampen the pure notes that emanate from the little, wooden pipe, making them little more than a whisper.

The sun is sinking below the high mountains behind the man. He ignores the heartbreaking beauty that seeps out from the sun, through the trees, and is filling the sky. His eyes are closed.

A single sparrow floats down from the branch of a tree near the rock and lands on the ground at the boots of the man. The man’s eyes open. The music stops. The man smiles at the sparrow. He begins to play again, watching as the small bird hops up and down on the pebbly ground.

Out of the bushes behind the rock, a cat leaps silently, startling the sparrow into flight. The man lowers his pipe and tucks it into a cloth case that hangs from his shoulder like a sash. The cat jumps again, this time into the man’s lap. The man strokes the cat’s fur as it turns in circles and lies down.

“At last.” The man says, leaning over to put his head nearer to the cat. The cat meows once and then begins licking its paws. The man looks around at the small overgrown path that leads away from the bank of the river. “A visitor?”

Moments later, a shape appears out of the trees and makes its way along the path.

Potential Feedback Prompts

When you respond, you might consider:

  • your immediate reactions
  • likes and dislikes
  • anything that seems unclear
  • language issues
  • point of view
  • voice
  • inconsistencies
  • general encouragement

Thanks!

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