First Page Critique/Workshop: ASHER LOCKE AND THE KNIGHTS OF ARCADIA (MG Fantasy)



Critiquer: Dee Romito

The straight razor made a satisfying snikt as Asher freed the blade from its metal handle. He loved that sound.

Well, he used to anyway. I feel like this contradicts the first line in a way that doesn’t quite make sense- does he still love the sound or is it a painful reminder for him? Maybe you could change the other line to something like, “There was a time when he loved that sound.”

Just holding his dad’s old blade was a kick in the gut. Part of him loved to think of how his dad used to set him on the sink and let him pretend-shave with a spoon. A bigger part, though, almost wanted to forget. The memories were nice, sure. But they still hurt. Because that’s all he’d ever have. I love the image of him shaving with the spoon. 🙂 It’s very powerful since we know something must have happened. I don’t think you need these lines because they’re more “telling” and we’ve already figured this out from the beginning of the chapter.

But he wasn’t going to cry. It’d been three whole years and he’d been tough for that long. No need to start boo-hooing now.

Besides, today was his birthday. Big 13. Officially a teenager. And if what Em told him was true, a thick wad of facial hair was right around the corner.

Asher adjusted his little finger on the curvy end of the handle. He pressed the blade against his face and a white-hot pinch instantly seared his chin. He sucked in a quick breath, dropping the razor in the sink as a bead of blood welled up under his lower lip.

“Seriously?” Round one with the razor and he nearly sliced off half his head. This doesn’t fit with the action above. With this comparison I’d expect it to have been a lot worse.  This It. Stay in past tense. was pointless. He washed the shaving cream off his face and decided he’d just spend the first day of his teenage career looking just like he did when he was a kid: hairless Hmm, I love the voice here, but he was trying to shave off the hair, so he wanted to be hairless, right? I think you’re trying to say he still hadn’t grown any hair, but then what was he trying to shave? and unmanly. And now reeking of his mom’s Pink Mango-Splosion shaving cream.

Awesome. Poor kid. Clearly he’ll be dealing with a lot in this story. Good luck!


If you have any thoughts or questions, the comments are open, but please keep it constructive. No douchebaggery allowed.

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