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Nov/Dec 2007 Mommacrit


Crit Me!




First page by M.S.Clemons, one writer who dared send work to Mommacrit.

Roselle, a Medieval Fantasy


Roselle stood naked, blanketed by her mane of mud brown hair. Her toes gripped the moist stepping stone just above the surface of the waterfall’s pool. The mist created clung to every exposed hair causing it to goose bump as the sun warmed her. Just like salt and sweet tantalizes the palate, the warmth and chill teased the touch. Once more she scanned the creamy smooth rock cliffs crowned with ancient thorn bushes, seeing no one.


Statue still, she closed her hazel eyes. Thoughts of her aunt, the castle’s head cook, found her. If her Aunt Credice knew what she was doing, Roselle would be whipped. She would lecture Roselle for daring fate. Another warning concerning how this was challenging the gods would blare from Auntie's lips. Roselle smiled. ‘I am no great beauty. They would not feel threatened by me. If anything they would be pleased that I humbled myself in this secret meeting place of sun, water, and stone.’


 A wave of queasiness passed through her. Reaching down she gently rubbed the babe within. ‘Whose child are you?’


Her mind pictured a small plump lad with chocolate curls and bright blue eyes. With blackberry filling smeared on his face, he watched the baker. With fatherly pride, the baker would show the child his trade.


Mosh-et had taken her in hand fasting. If she produced him a child within a year and a day, he would marry her and provide her a home. She was fortunate that he was good and gentle man. Now, with child, she was assured of a comfort filled future.


A second picture emerged of a tall, stately child with golden locks and green eyes that hinted of blue. His princely father would never know of his existence. She would find a way to keep him secret.


‘The babe will not be visible for several months yet,’ Roselle reasoned, ‘Even after it is born, I may have a year or so before the true father will be witnessed in his features.’


Stepping out into thin air, she fell only briefly before the water's silky fingers caught her. Its embrace caused a gentle lift. Her hair floating above swirled and danced. Coming up once, she filled her lungs with air. Then, diving to the pool's deepest ravines, she pulled herself along the rocky outcroppings. She passed under the turbulence of falling water. On the other side, a water-walled room waited. Here, she would gather the magic stones prized by the head magician. He would pay her well for any that she could find.




Brodt slid down from his saddle.


His patrol watched their leader with tolerant looks. “So, you go once again to look at an empty pool?” Steth, his cousin and second-in-command dared to ask.



Reaction from Mommacrit


First off, has M.S.Clemons followed the guidelines?


“Send Mommacrit the first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume, and its genre.”


The guidelines have been followed. M.S.Clemons must be a smart cookie. The Momma is surprised but happy.


Does Roselle push Mommacrit’s magic button? Does M.S.Clemons write a damn good beginning and hook Momma into wanting to read more?


Double whammy. Through use of sensory detail, M.S.Clemons reeled the Momma in. Could this be time for a short crit at last?


Well, no. When the Momma looked again, she found some nits to pick. However, M.S.Clemons has an excellent grasp of stylistic devices. Writing is smooth and complements the genre. The voyeur inside Mommacrit would want at the very least to turn the page and check out the inevitable meeting between naked Roselle and patrol leader Brodt.




Roselle’s hair may well be the color of mud, but word choice is critical – find another word that doesn’t resonate with dirtiness.


Fantasies tend to be wordy. A trip to any book store will prove that! But there are unnecessary words in this hook. In “the creamy smooth rock cliffs”, M.S.Clemons doesn’t need both creamy and smooth; cliffs are made of rock, so delete rock as well.


The Momma sees no need to tell the reader Roselle’s eye color in this sentence: “Statue still, she closed her hazel eyes.” It would deepen Roselle’s POV to try to show us the story through her eyes. She is also unlikely to think of herself as “statue still” – meaning this description reminds the reader that the author is describing Roselle.




CRIT ALERT!!!   “Because Mommacrit has been inundated with submissions, the Crit Me! Column is closed to submissions until further notice. Mommacrit thanks those writers who sent bribes with their submissions – unfortunately, the chocolate melted. Mommacrit will continue to post honest critiques on work previously received, with or without chocolate.”