Sunday, 27 January 2013

Critique Blog Hop 2 #400 words FIRST DRAFT

Saffron looked on bitterly as the finishing touches were added to the pyre and the congregation muttered and jeered. They were growing restless. Both they, and the pyre were ready now.
“I knew you would be the making of me. I just didn't realise it would be this much” She said turning to Heléna who was being held firmly by a priest guard.
“You are learning what loyalty is, then, what power costs, and what love is worth out here. I can be thankful I have taught you something at least. I could teach you more!”
“I am sorry Heléna, but I have a son. My family would have always come first, even if they didn't hold the same values, the same heart”
“You could save me. In memory of our time together. I could teach you more! Exile me or punish me some other way! ”
“Heléna”, Saffron answered, “You arranged to have my husband murdered. Your greed has put you here, if I did nothing, you would have me wrapped around your finger again, before.
“Please, my lady” Heléna began to beg, slipping out of the guards reach and falling down onto all fours. Saffron nodded and the muscled priest- guard grabbed at the back of Heléna's dress, and dragged her back up, tearing it as he pulled, baring her back and shoulders for the waiting crowd.
Saffron had wanted to comfort her and meet her on her knees, but she couldn't risk it being one of her tricks. She looked up at the guard who seemed just as terrified of Heléna as she was.
“We can't save you My lady Heléna. We daren't”, the guard nodded in agreement
Heléna sighed, 'worth a try' and smiled happily, as though she were a child going to a new sweet shop rather than a master manipulator waiting to meet her death.
“I could reveal your secrets, tell the crowd that you don't believe! They will listen, they will remember.”
“They might, but probably not. The people love to see the mighty fall lower than themselves. They care not a jot what you say, only how much they get to humiliate you, how loudly you scream as the flames fan at you, and the smoke smothers your breath”
“You are smarter than you first appear, Saffron”
“Being the wife of a priest king I had witnessed more of these things than most. I know how they go Heléna”
“You know how they went, but not this time!”


  1. Why is Saffron bitter? As I read on we know that she has been manipulated and worked over by Heléna, but then surely she wouldn't be bitter about the fire? Or am I misreading?

    I enjoyed the hints of the relationship gone nasty between these two women. I can speculate lots about the type of relationship it was, particularly since Saffron has a husband and a son. I enjoy having the space to mull on that while the story unfolds and it will be satisfying to have my ideas confirmed or not as it progresses.

    I was a little caught off guard by Heléna's duplicity. Perhaps I shouldn't have been, but it seemed a bit abrupt, particularly since I don't know anything else about these women. At what point in the story does this scene take place? Have we have the manipulation already or are we coming in after the event?

    'you would have me wrapped around your finger again, before.' is a little confusing; are there some words missing here?

    'She looked up at the guard who seemed just as terrified of Heléna as she was.' This implies, at least to me, that Heléna is actually quite powerful. The guard, presummably has the upper hand here so why is he so scared? Does she have some power or strength other than her ability to manipulate that warrants this sort of fear?

    The reference to a 'new sweet shop' jarred a little bit. I don't know what sort of setting we're in any more; I initially had a medieval, fantasy style of place, what with pyres and priest kings, but a sweet shop shakes that up a little bit.

    I do want to know more though, which is always a positive sign. :)

  2. Very good! Agree with ile- I thought it was fantasy/medieval setting and got confused. So what happens next? :P

  3. Cheers Jenny that is a big help! Like I said it is a first draft so I can sort that all out in the edit! I cannot reveal what happens shall have to wait and see!

  4. I'm working on the assumption that this is your Sunday Snippet from today added to your previous one... As I see nothing labeled otherwise.
    If so, it would be helpful if it had the list of other participants at the bottom. If not, never mind. :)

    "Saffron looked on bitterly as the finishing touches were added to the pyre and the congregation muttered and jeered. They were growing restless. Both they, and the pyre were ready now."
    I agree, I don't see why Saffron's bitter. She seems conflicted later on, which might be enough. A bit repetitive with 'they.' Maybe call them 'the crowd' and combine the sentences? You could get something out of a crowd/fire comparison, perhaps. How they're ready to burst into violence at the slightest spark of provocation...

    I'm missing a little of that tension. This is an execution, yet I don't get quite enough of what they're feeling.
    Nice hints of drama, though. Helena seems like quite a piece of work, and I get the feeling that Saffron isn't innocent either.

  5. Dear Caitlin,

    Thank you for your comments. Alot of the missing bitterness and tension is evident in the longer piece which this is a snippet from. I will certainly look to your other suggestions when I come to do my 2nd draft!

  6. Came to read and leave my comments but Ile beat me to it. I love the tension you've created between the two characters, though I'd like to know more from the beginning why Saffron is so bitter. Maybe an inner thought could be placed in the beginning to give a hint??

    Nice drama. I hope to see another post by you next Sunday.

  7. Hi Amy. I won't comment on the writing as I'm not doing the blog hop but it's great to see what you've been writing and I'd like to nominate you for a Leibster Award to help get your work noticed. Details here:

  8. I have nominated your blog for a Liebster Award for blogs under 200 Members for further encouragement. If you wish to take part-the Rules are at the foot of my current blog post at

  9. Hi, sorry seem to have duplicated Sally's nomination. Liked the above piece of work,