Write It Sideways

Excerpt Critique: “What Happens in the Dark”

Please welcome today’s aspiring author, Zoe McKnight, ready for a peer critique. Take a moment to read the excerpt, then please leave some thoughtful feedback in the comment section below.

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What Happens in the Dark

Contemporary Women’s Fiction 

*Please note: This excerpt is not taken from the beginning of the work.

A week to the day, I am at the Bronx Zoo. Thank goodness Morgan is asleep in her stroller. I’ve already picked away the polish on three of my fingernails, my palms are damp and I can feel the sweat dripping down my sides. I made sure to get here early, so I would see him before he sees me. I’m hoping the overcast skies and threat of showers keep people at bay, I can’t take the chance of being seen here with him. The zoo had been my idea, it needed to be a place which was child-friendly, public enough that I can get lost in the crowd if need be,  yet private enough to suit his purpose. I look up and watch him enter the garden. He smiles and approaches tentatively. Oh, now he wants to be apprehensive, he was a damn tyrant last week. 

“Hi,” he says, his eyes glued to Morgan. “So this is her?”

He kneels before her and studies her face, as if he’s trying to see how accurate the photos were, asking himself if she really does look like him? And unfortunately, she does. She has his nose, and his chestnut-brown eyes, she looks the most like him when she laughs, when the corners of her mouth curl up and her nose wrinkles. There is no denying to anyone who knows him, that she is his child.

“Wow. Look at that face. I can’t believe it. I have a daughter.”

I cringe at his words.

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