Peer Review by efflorescence (United States)

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The Family That Steals Together Stays Together: Prologue

By: pencils.and.paper.roses


If you were to stand outside the Target in Kansas City’s Legends Outlet on the night of October 9th, you would’ve seen something interesting. You would have seen five people, some of them children, go inside. One might’ve hesitated for a second.

Then it would have been silence, nothing happening for about fifteen minutes. Of course, you probably would’ve left by then, but bear with me here. After those fifteen minutes, the five people would have come back, all of them carrying armloads of stuff, climbed into a car, and driven away.

Now, I know you’ve got questions. Why were they going inside at night? What were they doing? Why were there kids? How do you know any of this?

And all of those questions can be answered in just one sentence: I’m Riley Aniyah, and I come from a family of criminals.
You see, it started with my dad.


Before he married my mom and had kids, my dad joined a gang on accident. He had just moved out and was trying to get a job, but ended up at a place that was fronting a small gang for the time being. He thought it sounded interesting (and he needed a change of pace after the boredom of their front), so he joined them. After he married my mom, he didn’t want to stop, so he didn’t.

When my older sister Sierra was about 7 years old, he decided he needed a partner. Weirdly enough, Sierra was his top choice. Small hands and all, you know? So she accompanied him for the first time on her 8th birthday and seemed to enjoy it. It continued like that until my twin brother Wesley and I turned 8 and started coming with him regularly. Our youngest brother Seth did the same.
liked it right from the start, and I’m unusually good at it. I’ve gone with him for almost every job since then, while the others stay back more often. We’ve gotten stuff from all over the country: our hometown of Kansas City, New Orleans, Los Angeles, even a few smaller towns (we didn’t get much from those.).

But Sierra’s heading off to college in a few weeks. Soon it’ll just be me, Wesley, and Seth left. I’m kind of looking forward to it, but it’s not gonna be easy doing it with one less person. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, right?

You know, I probably shouldn’t be telling you any of this, so I’ll shut up now.

Message to Readers

This is the beginning of my Camp NaNoWriMo July project this year! I'm hoping to publish it after all of it's edited, hopefully traditionally. Leave a comment if you want me to continue posting it here, and feel free to review! :D

Peer Review

The beginning utilized an interesting technique and perspective. that I haven't seen very often! The unique point of view made the intro more compelling, and the narrator's distinct voice was entertaining.

I would try to use more complicated adjectives and verbs. Although the simple vocabulary allows for the piece to be easily understandable, it was hard for me to visualize because there weren't a lot of descriptions and specifics. Also, I'm still a bit confused about Riley's backstory. I think the story would benefit from having more details about how her dad joined the gang and taught them all to steal.

Reviewer Comments

Overall, I think you're off to a promising start! Although some areas could use some tightening up, it is a very interesting premise, and I'd like to see where the story goes. Also, good luck with Camp NaNoWriMo! I participated in last fall's NaNoWriMo, so I understand how taxing yet rewarding it can be.