JG Clingenpeel lives with his family in Seattle, WA. When he's not writing or doing Dad things, he makes music, brews beer, and engineers software.
on March 25, 2013 :
Too much buildup, not enough climax. It does move fast, I'll give it that; and the prose doesn't interfere with the story. But there's nothing human in this story to home in on. For the first two-thirds, you set the narrator up as sort-of human, in that he's motivated by love, or at least lust. Okay, he cares enough about the kid to get involved in sheer stupidity. But even someone as half-witted as he ought to realize that simply calling the authorities would be a much better option than breaking into the house: it's her kid, after all, not Eddie's, so an appeal to the authorities would extract the kid right away.
And then there's Tricia, whose character makes no sense at all. First problem: you have Jay describe her as a collection of female erogenous zones. We don't need to know the shape of her nipples: it makes it seem porny. She's hot; that's all we need to know. There's way too much backstory on their relationship: for one thing, you mention the accidental nature of the kid twice. They were hot and wrong for each other, but she appeared to care for her child: that's all we need to know. And it's moot in any case, because she suddenly morphs into flat-out evil halfway through. It destroys her as a plausible character. She's a hot mess, as you set her up: hot messes are SELF-destructive, not evil. Paired with Eddie, they're cartoon characters, not people. Jay never did anything to Tricia that would lead her to seek him out to kill him, so her wanting to is inconsistent with the long setup you've given.
If you stab someone in the belly, the blood won't spurt out: you need an artery to do that. A belly wound would seep. And there's no way Jay can walk away from this. The cops are going to show up, and his vomit will be on the tarp, his footprints and fingerprints on the house: he'll go down for murder. He can't leave without securing the scene, and he's enough of a low-life that he'll have to be aware of this. And you can't make the motivating factor the kid without having the kid be in there.
There's a germ of a story here: guy thinks he's a white knight but is really a victim. Now go back and rewrite it so the human motivations for both him and the others make sense. Jay has to have something the other two *need*: having them be sadistic spree killers is boring as well as unrealistic. Put the kid in there.
(review of free book)