Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “No One Hears Us”

Please welcome today’s aspiring author Christine Wenzel, ready for a peer critique.

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

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No One Hears Us

Women’s Fiction

*Please note: This excerpt is taken from the beginning of the work.

Twelve year old Lupita Juarez remained sitting while the entire parish, twenty-two women, forty-eight children and nine men filed down the aisle towards the altar. She wanted to be alone when she said good-bye to her Mother and Protector. Her green eyes, teary bright and out of place in her oval brown face watched as everyone took their turn kneeling in front of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. One by one, with the exception of the babies tucked sleeping inside their mother’s robozos, they bent and kissed the paint-chipped foot, then rose and in an exaggerated motion touched their right hand to forehead, chest, shoulders, a dutiful sign of the cross. Some stole a glance as they passed Lupita then returned their eyes to the floor, heads bowed, shoulders slumped until they cleared the rustic doorframe into the sunlight. Then like a light switch flicked on by an unseen hand the sombre mood lifted and Father Ignacio’s parting blessing to go in peace was left on the church doorstep.

The children rewarded their one hour of silence and good behavior by chasing each other, pushing and grabbing until one of them would fall on the dirt path, mindless of soiling their only white shirt or dress needed for school the next day. The women congregated in tight groups, eager to share their knowledge and sentiments of the latest blight afflicting the Juarez family. They shook their heads, tutted, and agreed it was sad, then united in the conviction it was best Lupita leave their mountain village.

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