Today’s piece is provided by DC Green from his fantasy novel for readers 10+ called City of Monsters.

The extract comes from early in Chapter 3 and the manuscript will be around 44,000 words when completed.

A blast of voices slapped me back. Alien smells muscled down my sinus passages. My eyes watered. My face scrunched.

‘Ah, the new student.’ The stumpy Franken teacher waved his tentacles in my direction. ‘Don’t stand there like a dump of troll dung. Ha, ha. Come in, come in.’

The classroom was fifty times larger than any other room I’d seen. I shuffled in, trailing slime and peering with growing dread around the semi-circular amphitheatre of monsters squatting behind various-sized desks. Goblins clustered on either side of the room, with rarer species gathered in the middle.

The Franken teacher flicked through his notes. ‘Let’s see… You plainly aren’t Greta the forest goblin. Ha, ha.’ The teacher wrinkled his noses. ‘Judging by your fishy breath, which could well be smelt on Fire Mountain – ha, ha –  I’d say you must be the swamp creature, Prg… yll Tl… xz… pkl… yp… nrg. Did I pronounce your name correctly?’

‘Close enough,’ I bubbled. ‘You can call me PT if that’s easier.’

‘Infinitely easier. And you can call me Doctor Combo. That’s my name. Ha, ha. Welcome to my Biology class! Take a seat.’

DC wondered if he was introducing too much new information here.

As this isn’t the start of the book, I don’t think it’s an issue. I did think that perhaps you gave us too many images in the first sentence.

I think it might be stronger if you used fewer physical reactions and expanded on one or two of them. For example, what was your character slapped back against? (This will give the reader some idea of setting.) Why did these voices slap him back? What was it about them or how they affected your character?

In this first piece, I think you could be more specific and give the reader a clearer picture. What are the smells and why are they alien? Give the reader something to compare them to.

DC, as usual you have great humour in your writing and plenty of action. There was just one other part that pulled me up.

‘Close enough,’ I bubbled.

I wasn’t sure about this DC. How can you bubble and talk at the same time. I can’t quite get a picture in my head of what your character is actually doing here.

I hope this helps.

Happy writing:)




  1. Hi Dee and DC,

    I agree with Dee, that first sentence slapped me back too. But when those alien smells muscled their way down my sinus passages I came right back. I loved this piece and would want to see more.

  2. I enjoyed this DC and Dee. I wasn’t quite sure about scrunching faces either and agree that a wee bit of elaboration would be helpful here. Equally so with alien smells. Whilst totally fascinating (having never been assulted by such scents personally), I was left wondering what exactly that amounted to. Maybe a helpful similie would enlighten, then as we’ve not seen the first two chapters, perhaps this is dealt with there. Once we got underway though, I was totally there with PT, smells and all! And I don’t feel it was information overload at all. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Dee, Ken and Dimity,

    Crikey!! Sorry I’ve been slow replying. I only just realised it was my turn for Friday Feedback! Thanks so much for taking the time to offer feedback to my story. I’ll get cracking on a rework of that first paragraph right now!

    Happy writing

    DC 😉

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