I hope you all enjoyed the last Improve & Encourage feature, because it's time for another one. These features are meant to both provide feedback to authors and, similar to story reviews, point out stories that readers might not otherwise have found. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open! These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. If you have already signed up, please get your critiques to me as I am completely out! I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured.
Critique By: William King
Please give us a short summary of the story you chose.
This book tells the story of Sam and Alex, how they met, their developing relationship, and how things ended up. It is, however, more about how a person - Sam - overcomes tragedy. In particular it focuses on the events that follow a horrific rape. It is about finding the road to salvation in the aftermath. Although that is not the only devastating catastrophe that Sam must deal with.
What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?
The novel is well written and easy to read. The horrific rape at the centre of the story is handled in a way that is totally believable. The incident does not pull any punches and yet the balance in the description is perfect. This delicate yet strong uncompromising approach by the author hits the reader hard - which I think is what it is supposed to do. The fallout and subsequent recovery is equally well handled. You will be affected emotionally and I doubt that you will be spared a tear or two.
What do you see as the weaknesses of the story/poem?
What the book failed to achieve for me, was any depth beyond the one, or two, tragic events. A lot of time is taken up with the developing romantic relationship between Sam and Alex, and there is a fair amount of sex. But, there is little background to our two protagonists, other than the bare essentials necessary to make them real. I felt like they were people I might have met at a dinner party, listened to their story, but never knew very much about them. This is equally true for the other characters, although to be fair, in that case it is far less important.
How do you think the story/poem could be improved?
Perhaps what is missing is any background story. Something else going on that would hold the reader's interest. Possibly if the events had been reflected by showing some detail of the impact they had on the lives of close friends, then I would have felt more involved.
What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc)
One cannot properly call the rape, and the effect it had on Sam, to be a favorite part of the story, but it was just that. It was so well described, that for me this was the essential part of the whole book.