Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “On the Thames,” Short Story

Here we have another excerpt ready for your feedback.

Only, today’s piece isn’t going to be anonymous like the previous ones.

I’ve been getting a number of excerpts sent to me for review, but the problem is they are all YA fantasy (even when I’ve requested other genres). Not that I have anything against YA fantasy, but I believe variety is the spice of life.

So, while I have a few other excerpts waiting in the wings, I’m going to hold off on them and break them up with a little piece of my own.

This excerpt comes from the beginning of a literary short story I have in the works, which I’ve tentatively called, “On the Thames.”

Many of you would love to get some feedback on your writing, but are just too scared to put yourselves out there.

Like you, I’ve struggled to share my work with others. I’m posting this with the hope of encouraging you to overcome your fear, and take a necessary step forward in your writing journey.

Please feel free to tear this excerpt apart. I don’t plan to publish this short story, but I might submit it to an online venue in the future.

On the Thames

Short story

Doris twirled out of the bedroom closet, her dress a whirligig of purple satin, and stopped in front of her husband who sat doubled over on the edge of the bed, inspecting his socks.

“Like it, Henry?” said Doris, gathering either side of the skirt with pinched fingers.

Her cheeks had felt deliciously warm in the little department store cubicle when she had slipped the cool satin over her head and twisted side to side. The mirror made her hips appear narrower than they really were, and streamlined the curves of her upper arms, her calves. She had felt girlish, and free, and devilishly guilty when she reached for the price tag.

Perhaps she and Henry wouldn’t eat meat for a few days.

“Mmm hmm,” Henry nodded, without looking up. He held a sock in each hand—one navy, the other black. “These don’t match.”

“I’ll find the other, dear.”

As Doris bent over an open drawer, lifting and sorting, Henry’s voice came from behind her. “What did you buy a new dress for, anyhow? ”

“For the Walters’s dinner party, of course.”

“That’s three weeks away, Doris. And we haven’t even had breakfast yet.”

She turned, shut the drawer with her purple backside, and handed the stray black sock to her husband. “I only wanted to see what you thought of it, darling.”

“The Walters’s ought to give us all pay rises if they expect us to buy our wives new dresses every time they give a party.”

“Oh, I’m sure they don’t expect it, Henry,” Doris chided. Then, in a practiced, buttery voice, “But you wouldn’t want me to turn up in that same grey number I wore to all the functions last year, would you?”

Henry grunted his hairy foot into the missing black sock, but made no reply.

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