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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > UNDER THE microscope

UNDER THE microscope

Author and lecturer James McCreet puts a reader’s first 300 words under the forensic lens of his criticism

Sweet Sorrow

They were an odd couple.1 He was old, white haired and whiskered.2 Half hidden by the hat pulled down over his forehead his face3, which was deeply lined;4 carried the stamp of a man who worked in the open.5 The dark suit he wore6 had fitted him in his prime, but now hung loose.7

By his side a girl,8 no more than eighteen years, kept pace with him.9 She held her head high and, blessed with the dewy freshness of youth,10 walked with the confidence of self worth.11 She wore a coat of brown cloth that had seen better days.12

As they entered the village, summoned there by the tolling of a funeral bell,13 neither looked right nor left.14

Susan Jolliffe,15 purveyor of all things edible in the village shop16 turned her head to watch as the two passed by.17 ‘That poor girl,’ she said to anyone who would listen.18 ‘What is to become of her now that her mother’s gone?’19 Whipping off her apron she threw it at Jeannie Potter,20 her assistant. ‘I’m going to the funeral,’ she said. ‘Somebody’s got to show they care.’21

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About Writing Magazine

Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017