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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2017 > Under the microscope

Under the microscope

Author and lecturer James McCreet puts a reader’s first 300 words through a forensic micro-critique


His hands were used to different work.1 This was surprisingly straightforward.2 Firm pressure. Gradually increasing.3 Though slightly built, she managed to find strength to resist.4 Momentarily.5 A desperate pointless thrashing around.6 She succumbed disappointingly easily.7 It was a task well done.8 A popping sensation at the base of his flexed fingers.9 Then she was limp. Peaceful.10 There was a beauty about her now that was absent in life.11 No one would miss her.12 A poor broken thing.13 Broken in a different way from him.14 She would have spoiled everything.15

Duncan drove over the brow of Pentargan Hill and descended down16 the meandering beach road,17 the city of tents and caravans stretching out beneath him in an untidy sprawl.18 A few wispy clouds hung in an otherwise vivid blue sky.19 The sun was warm, the breeze light, ruffling his brown hair.20 He was overdue a haircut.21 A solitary magpie flew across the bonnet of his open topped sports car.22 He instinctively ducked as the black and white bird23 narrowly missed the windscreen.

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About Writing Magazine

How do you follow up one of the biggest books of the decade? The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins tells us about changing tracks and writing the book that matters to you in our star interview. What do editors want? There can't be anyone in a better position to tell you than debut novelist Anna Pitoniak, who worked as a Big Five editor before landing her book deal. How is your year's writing plan going? As 2017 hits the halfway mark, we help you stay on target. Look for leads, find the most up-to-date markets for your work and enter the latest writing competitions, with more than £50,000 in writing prizes, in the Writers' News pages, packed with news you can use.

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