Peer Review by Writing4Life (Australia)

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Sewer Rats

By: amazing grace

I wake with a start. The tracker on my neck gives me a shock telling me it's time for my shift. As my eyes get used to the darkness down here I see another girl next to me. I live down here in what would be considered the sewers. This is where they put all the kids that don't have parents anymore. No one above, that's what we call the real world, even knows we exist. The government takes a kid whose parents are no more, and shoves 'em down here with the rest of us. Some of us can't even remember the light of day. Our numbers have been growing in the past weeks, which only shows signs of unrest from above.

After another jolt from my tracker I know that if I don't hurry punishment is knocking at my door. Quickly I rush to put on my set of day clothes. brown pants that only reach my mid calves, and a brown shirt to match. I put my blond hair into a high bun, and head out. 

I pass that training hall where a group of young ones are being taught their, already decided, tasks. I shake my mother's bracelet, as I always do when I see them. I suppose it comes from the fear of remembering that age. Now at fifteen I am expected to be a role model to those younger than me, but I do not wish for them to follow down the same path I have gone. 

I walked through the halls, avoiding eye contact whenever possible,it just reminds me of the sadness that is my future. I pass room after room filled with people who all want out, but none know how. Soon I reach the room where I work everyday, raising up food for the people above, and trying to sneak some scraps for myself. Here we grow Karps, Drazes, Plocks, and Micks, all of which only grow with out ever feeling the sun on them. If you're lucky whenever your eighteen you get the chance to go above and sell these, and if you're really lucky you might strike up a work deal with a kind merchent and get out of this horrid place. 

I began my work. I stroke the dirt again and again with my plow. After only a few minutes of this I heard something out of the ordinary to my left. It is a boy, not much younger than I, being beaten by a guard. I take a step towards the two, by this point a crowd has gathered. No one seemed to know what the boy had done wrong. 

I knew this was it, the chance I had been waiting for. After calmly backing out of the crowd, I made a run for it. I took a right than a left, heading to the only exit I knew of. These breaks were not uncommon, but I knew this one would be different. I would be the one to escape. 

I could hear the guards behind me as I began the climb up the ladder. Soon I was pushing on the hatch the separated my world from the one above. I looked down to see a guard climbing up behind me, but once I was out I shut the hatch and ran towards the nearest ally. 

One by one three guards came up. After looking around for a second one of them hit a button on a little device he held. I felt a sharp, shooting pain in my neck, from the tracker, but still I stayed quiet. I somehow managed to rip the awful thing from my neck and throw it down. 

I'm free, was the first thought that popped into my head, but I knew I still had some hard stuff ahead of me.

After the guards had left I made my way, casually, in the opposite direction. I made my way to the market stalls hoping to find someone kind enough to offer me work, or at least scraps to eat. But I suppose my luck had run out. 

That night I slept in an abandon hut, only to wake the next morning to find the world around me in a panic. There was punching and the firing of guns. I now understood why our numbers below had been increasing. It was full out war up here. 

I somehow managed to make my way to the market I had been to yesterday, only to find it in ruins. everything was broken and burnt. It looked like the attack had taken the people by surprise. I stood up only to hear someone say, "Do you know how to fight?" I looked up and saw it was a man talking to me, he looked as if he had been at war for some time, it was written all over his face.

I gave a nod as my only reply.

"Then here," He said tossing me a gun."You're with us now, kid."

Word count: 835

Peer Review

The excerpt starts off with a bang, "I wake with a start". It immediately pulls you into the action, and wakes your reader up. It then slows down to describe the protagonist's position. This piece gives an interesting, otherworldly POV on a theme, that I feel, has been well explored.

It's the matter of fact way that the unnamed character talks t the reader. She describes her situation in a way, that I feel, a teenager would describe it now.

I feel that we could, 1, know more about what our character is like. For example, describe about how she got into this position; how did her parents die? Does she know anyone else in the sewers?

And 2nd, we don't know that much about what her surroundings look like. You can simply use a few sentences to describe her environment.

If a scene could be expanded, I would say the scene with her plowing. What are those creatures like? Are they animals, or vegetables? And, when she plows, I would like to know more about what she does. Does she have a specific task?

For background info, I think you could even have flashback scenes of when she was taken underground. Perhaps she vividly remembers when she saw her parents killed; maybe her mother was wearing a necklace that our character made for her, or perhaps the father always wears a silly tie, simply to please his daughter. Or maybe she remembers what she sees as she is taken underground. Maybe she remembers the bright pink of some fruit as she walks down, or perhaps everything is blurred. Little details can help bring vivacity to a story.

Yes, and no. I know it is in the sewers (because of the title), but I feel like I can't really picture what it looks like.

To help transport your reader, add in little details. These may seem useless, but they can actually help your reader to visualize where your character is. Maybe add in the constant dripping of some water from a raindrop. Perhaps there's always a slight smell of rotten eggs. Maybe there's always a carpet of mildew over where your character sleeps, and that reminds her of something from her childhood, ex, a summer picnic with her parents.

You're doing well! Your piece is unique, interesting, and has a strong plotline, that just needs a little developing. Your character is plausible, and I feel connected to her. Well done!

Reviewer Comments

I have only 1 real thing to talk about. As you would have noticed, I've found quite a few grammatical errors in your piece, most of which are past/present issues. Don't worry though! I have trouble with those allll the time. I think writing in present tense is a lot more difficult to past, at least it is for me. I just feel more comfortable writing in past. You decide what tense feels most comfortable for you. Of course, you can easily hone whatever tense you don't feel as comfortable with, and get better at writing that. Either change your tense to past, or simply change all the other words to present.

And that's all! I hope this is a helpful review, and good luck for the competition!
Keep Writing ^_^
-Writing4Life <3