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Improve & Encourage #15: Solcar

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Renee Stevens


Hope everyone has had a good month so far. We're getting closer to wrapping up the Improve & Encourage feature. This month we have a critique on Carlos Hazday's story Solcar. Let's take a look at Parker Owen's critique!



Carlos Hazday


Critiqued by: Parker Owens


Please give us a short summary of the story you chose.


Solcar, once a High Lord of Star Clusters and a member of the Council engaged in a proscribed act. He made love to a human. He is sentenced to suffer for five thousand years; the story tells us of them. 


What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?


What makes this story so good to me is the depth and variety of the many kinds of love described in the story. A broad picture of love and relationship is described; some wonderfully innocent and happy, some painfully poignant, some delightfully quirky. Carlos is excellent at putting this reader right into a scene. There is an immediate idea of place in almost every phase of the story. One can see, hear and sense what the characters experience so much of the text.


What do you see as the weaknesses of the story/poem?


Carlos is such a strong and compelling writer, and this was his first posted story. That was enough to hook me. On the other hand, as this is a sci fi/fantasy story, I found myself wanting a more concrete look at the world and universe he had built for it. Because Carlos is so good at giving us visual and sensory descriptions to bring the reader fully into a scene, those sections dealing with worlds beyond earth lacked the usual color and taste of those taking place on Earth. Of course, that may have been intentional.  For me, another difficulty I encountered was tracking the many swift changes of scene. These were necessary to the plotline, and I understood them better after a second and third reading. However, a casual reader might get confused.


How do you think the story/poem could be improved?


The one thing I’d suggest would be to consider helping the readers understand – see, taste, touch and experience – the universe as the High Lords do. This is a very tall order. These beings do not think or sense as we do, and believe themselves to be on a much higher plane. Yet building their world a little more vividly would make these creatures more dimensional and comprehensible.


What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc)


This is like asking which of the jackpot dollars you like best. So much of this story is about love and loss, yet Carlos paints each portrait in ways to make the reader smile. I particularly liked the chapter devoted to the man who followed his dream into Major League Baseball. Here Carlos deftly crafts a picture of a simple, uncomplicated love, and the tears that flow when it must end.


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1 hour ago, Carlos Hazday said:

For those of you haven't figured it out, Solcar is my name after a little juggling.

You know, I did wonder about the origins of the name (I’ve read a few of these), but I never saw the connection. Not surprising since you love Easter eggs so much. ;)

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Great critique @Parker Owens  I'm not surprised Carlos was pleased with it.

It made me want to ready the story again. Now, where did I put that box of tissues...?

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I have somehow never read this story by Carlos, which seems strange since I have been reading his stuff for years.  Maybe you plan to rework this in the future C-man?

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4 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:

@Parker Owens - Thank you for the kind, generous comments. This is proof a new writer can benefit from the weekly prompts. It's how Solcar started and I think every chapter followed subsequent prompts. It's amateurish in a lot of areas, but I still like the story. For those of you haven't figured it out, Solcar is my name after a little juggling.


@Renee Stevens - I owe you one of these. I finished next month's AAA today and will work on this feature starting next week


Thank you for writing the story. It was a pleasure to encounter the first time, and then to study it several times more. Amateur simply means you love what you do, and that comes through loud and clear in your writing. 

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5 hours ago, Carlos Hazday said:


@Renee Stevens - I owe you one of these. I finished next month's AAA today and will work on this feature starting next week


Sounds good! I think the one from you will officially end this feature, and then the Author Guess Who will post monthly (theoretically).

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