In return for winning “Ruined Childhoods” contest 2016, VictoriaMoschou wins a critique of each of her entries.
Great start. Succinct, to the point, grabs attention – the day is special, this is something we should be interested in, and makes me read on. Emilie’s bubbly energy is endearing and her love of Halloween translates well to the reader. I know I’ve said this before, but ahhh the details on the food, the scent, the taste – I love it all. It puts me in the moment and it makes me so HUNGRY. You have a good knack of weaving in pieces of the environment into the story without info-dumping. I also love the relationship between your characters: full of love and happiness. It fleshes them out and makes them seem more ‘real’.
There is a switch in perspective when the Hot Muffin was full. You started the story off in Emilie’s POV but without any prompt, it switched to Jordan’s. I appreciate you want to involve Jordan’s feelings in this and certainly seeing the ring on Emilie’s finger and feeling his hurt made it hit home more, but it’s jarring and should be avoided in writing. If you want to switch POVs, either start a new chapter or make a noticeable break (with asterisks) in the prose – note after two paragraphs of Jordan you switched back to Emilie again, before breaking the prose.
I think I might have also said this before, too. The phrase “If I can’t have you, nobody can” sends shivers down my spine. Psycho over-possessive exes is a trope but one that’s so realistic it creeps me out more than the butchering in your story. I would have liked seeing more of the unhinged side of Jordan. Is he grinning when he’s saying all this? Is he wholly unmoved when Emilie is crying hysterically? Is he enjoying the scene?
The action scene towards the end was great: terrifying, and I felt I was caged just as Emilie was. It’s a little odd if Jordan wanted to kill Sage, he would cut him on the forehead. It’s also a bit odd there would be so much blood if it was just that single cut?
Something to consider is to reduce the adverbs you’re using. This turns ‘telling’ into ‘showing’, for example if someone said something ‘angrily’, perhaps using ‘yelled’ or ‘said, flushing red with anger’ shows more than just telling us the words were said in anger. In the prose, “stepped on his foot angrily” – maybe that can be improved with “stomped” or “smashed her foot upon his” to emphasise the strength behind it. “Stabbed Jordan on his stomach viciously” – that seems to tell us she’s equally up for using violence, which might be part of her personality if you intended it but I found it jarring. A seemingly innocent, engaged girl who loves baking would just viciously stab someone? Or did she do it out of desperation?
Just a small question at the end: three bodies? So did Sage die? Did Emilie kill herself? Was her father also dead? Who are the three bodies?