Everyone’s a Critic

On my last trip to Mum and Dad’s I retrieved a few boxes that had been taking up space there for Some Years. And in one of those boxes, my English homework books from secondary school.

It may not surprise you to learn that I liked to write stories. And those stories were marked. With suggestions for improvements.

I’d like, therefore, to present for your edification and entertainment, some of the very first literary criticism devoted to my work:

“An excellent piece of atmospheric writing, Piers. Well done!”


“The final lines are the best feature of this illegible over-written melodrama. You can do so much better – now tighten up.”

“Some very intricate plots here Piers, and not one of them including a naked lady!”

“A very persuasive piece of writing in which I was pleased to note that you avoided false protestations of modesty” [this for a piece of work which was basically an ad for ‘Piers Beckley’s Best Ever Novels!’]

“Amusing, if rather precocious.”

“I don’t think this really examines the theme of guilt very well. Also, it would be refreshing if you could explore other settings and not stick to the science fantasy genre all the time.”

“If you refuse to take this work seriously, I will be asking you to do it again.”

“Need ghost stories involve violence?” [I have annotated the answer ‘yes’ after this.]

“As always your story is well-written and full of descriptive detail.”

“Avoid funny stories.” [A D+ for this one]

“I don’t think you have taken this seriously, Piers. I don’t quite see where vampires come into this tall/short question.”

So. Not much has changed, really.

One response to “Everyone’s a Critic”

  1. haha. I got “precocious” on lots of my school stories too, and find it v weird history is repeating itself with my 12 year old who’s getting very similar feedback from his English teacher atm!

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