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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > September 2016 > Under the microscope

Under the microscope

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

The Last Straw


David’s feet flailed,1 occasionally catching kitchen cupboard doors,2 his trainers leaving black streaks on white melamine3 like car tyre skid marks.4 His thin bony fingers grappled with his dad’s strong-tendoned hands.5

‘You useless, stupid little prick,’ his dad spat in his face.6 The words forced out through snarling teeth.7 Barry’s face briefly resembled a rabid dog8 and momentarily,9 David forgot what it was he had done wrong.10 Black spots dotted his vision now.11 He felt like he was gargling his heart.12 His breathing stertorous.13 Barry’s iron-fisted grip was cutting off the supply of oxygen to his son’s brain.14

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Star interview with Crime Novel of the Year winner and griplit star Clare Mackintosh 1 topic, 100 books: Make the most of your speciality Before you write a word: Start your writing life the right way 10 top tips: How the pros keep writing Author experiences: • Going back to school for a creative writing MA • "How I wrote three books at once" • Readers share their success stories WIN £119,000 in writing prizes News you can use! 20 packed pages of Writers' News

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