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Critique Request for "How Cruel the Wolf" by Kadrian Blackwolf

Kadrian

Member
I wrote "How Cruel the Wolf" some years ago in response to a court decision concerning euthanasia for the critically ill. From the few comments I received the readers apparently didn't understand the meaning of the story, possibly because I left the exact nature of the events at the end to the reader's interpretation. I'd appreciate it if a couple people could read the story and let me know your thoughts on it.

The story is based on Aesop's fable about the wolf and the crane. It's worksafe but it deals with a controversial and sensitive subject. Here's the link to the story on my FA account:

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4599323

I've done a couple of critiques myself. You'll find them in my scraps folder if you're interested.

Thanks!
 

Term_the_Schmuck

Most Interesting Man on FAF
Your asterisk spacing between sections in the story confuses me. Some of the breaks seem arbitrary and completely unnecessary. I'd say the first thing you do is get rid of those.

There are some cliche phrases here. Starting off a sentence with "suddenly," saying "in an instant" twice in the same sentence. You're clearly a good writer, I think you can come up with better words or phrases here.

Some points got confusing with names and species. At one point you used Tukark's name twice in a sentence when it seemed unnecessary because you could simply say "the crane" or some pronoun in the masculine to describe him, since he was the only male in the story.

It's an interesting story and I followed it decent enough through the end. I think I can see where people can get confused by the end because the narrator still refers the the female as "Synqui" when clearly it's not. Can Tukark not see that a wolf clearly looks different from a crane? Is he hallucinating? If he was bleeding out I could see him hallucinating, but from what I understood his wings got clipped and his legs were broken. I'd expect he'd still be conscious there.
 

Shànwàng

Lavender Scented
The events at the end weren't too obscure, a little bit of critical reading on the reader's part should clarify what's going on. The hints are there, if a bit hidden, at least.

As far as the meaning/goal you were aiming for:
"To that end, I wrote this story in hopes that it would inspire others to question their assumptions about life and its inevitable end."
I'm not sure I would have made it to that conclusion without your comments. There was just something that just didn't click in my mind. Maybe it's because I haven't read the fable it's based off of. Maybe I should go back and read the fable it was based off of, but I'm lazy and am unlikely to do that. Maybe the rights to life movement would be in the back of my head where I reading this story when the controversy was heating up in the nation. That being said. In this reader's opinion, the events that happened in the story, while coincidental, seemed to be the logical event of things. Mercy begets mercy. Perhaps a conflict of the logical progression of things in the would have generated the thought provoking you were trying to make happen.

I liked the story, it's very well written. The story moves smoothly and concise with details, it doesn't embellish by giving too much but doesn't deprave the reader of too many details to kill a mental image.
 
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Kadrian

Member
Your asterisk spacing between sections in the story confuses me. Some of the breaks seem arbitrary and completely unnecessary. I'd say the first thing you do is get rid of those.

Those were bothering me as well, though I just wasn't realizing it. There are too many for such a short story. I removed all but one where the time elapsed could be anything from a couple of days to a few years.

There are some cliche phrases here. Starting off a sentence with "suddenly," saying "in an instant" twice in the same sentence. You're clearly a good writer, I think you can come up with better words or phrases here.

Definitely removed the "suddenly". The other phrase wasn't "in an instant," which would certainly be cliche, but "an instant behind," which describes a close sequance of events. I could change it to "close behind" or something but it's the same thing.

Some points got confusing with names and species. At one point you used Tukark's name twice in a sentence when it seemed unnecessary because you could simply say "the crane" or some pronoun in the masculine to describe him, since he was the only male in the story.

I'm not sure where this was. Can you quote the sentence? I did make a couple of changes where a pronoun could just as easily have been used. Confusion should have been minimal. Tukark was either with the wolf or his mate. Never the two.

It's an interesting story and I followed it decent enough through the end. I think I can see where people can get confused by the end because the narrator still refers the the female as "Synqui" when clearly it's not. Can Tukark not see that a wolf clearly looks different from a crane? Is he hallucinating? If he was bleeding out I could see him hallucinating, but from what I understood his wings got clipped and his legs were broken. I'd expect he'd still be conscious there.

The narrator never refers to the wolf as "Synqui," only Tukark calls her that. In the final scene I'm narrating the story from within Tukark's head and not just as an outside observer. I made some changes to emphasize Tukark's condition. He was badly wounded by the shot to his side, he hasn't had water in some time, and the terrible heat suggests a raging fever. He's not necessarily hallucinating but he's certainly delerious. I could have taken an outside point of view and made it blatently obvious that it was the wolf and not his mate that was with him, but I think that would have detracted from the plight of the crane and risked insulting the reader's intelligence.

Thanks for the critique. You pointed out some important problems that I've fixed.
 

Kadrian

Member
The events at the end weren't too obscure, a little bit of critical reading on the reader's part should clarify what's going on. The hints are there, if a bit hidden, at least.

That sounds like what I had in mind. I suspect the confusion was caused by readers winging through the story rather than actually reading it. I can understand how that happens, though. The vast majority of stuff on FA doesn't require much thought so many readers miss important details.

As far as the meaning/goal you were aiming for:
"To that end, I wrote this story in hopes that it would inspire others to question their assumptions about life and its inevitable end."
I'm not sure I would have made it to that conclusion without your comments. There was just something that just didn't click in my mind. Maybe it's because I haven't read the fable it's based off of. Maybe I should go back and read the fable it was based off of, but I'm lazy and am unlikely to do that. Maybe the rights to life movement would be in the back of my head where I reading this story when the controversy was heating up in the nation. That being said. In this reader's opinion, the events that happened in the story, while coincidental, seemed to be the logical event of things. Mercy begets mercy. Perhaps a conflict of the logical progression of things in the would have generated the thought provoking you were trying to make happen.

Reading the fable wouldn't make any difference. This story, with its original intent, is largely dated now so I don't think I'll worry about it. What matters is that the story still has an interest factor to it. Perhaps it just says that it's okay to think outside of the box, to try something nobody else has tried. Maybe you'll get something for your efforts, even if it's only to learn in your final moments that your "enemy" isn't an enemy after all.

I liked the story, it's very well written. The story moves smoothly and concise with details, it doesn't embellish by giving too much but doesn't deprave the reader of too many details to kill a mental image.

Great, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.
 

Fiesta_Jack

Calix Meus Inebrians
Quite a good read. It's great to see a written piece with some actual substance. Most I've read through lately aren't so meaningful. My only critique that was strikingly obvious was your repetition of "She was still breathing but was obviously weak," which looks unintended.
 

Tahlyn

New Member
Pretty much everything I felt about the story has already been said by previous posters, except for one thing. I found it ironic right from the beginning that Tukark is complaining about his kind being hunted by another species at the exact same moment that he is guilty of doing the same thing (in hunting fish). This irony seemed like it may have been intended by the author (though I may have been reading too much into it), but is never really called out in any way and nothing ever comes of it. Honestly I'm not sure how I feel about that. In the end, it doesn't really affect the story other than to be part of the "Circle of Life" idea that underlies everything. I guess that's not so much a critique but rather an observation. Otherwise, I felt that this was a nice, enjoyable read!
 

Kadrian

Member
I found it ironic right from the beginning that Tukark is complaining about his kind being hunted by another species at the exact same moment that he is guilty of doing the same thing (in hunting fish). This irony seemed like it may have been intended by the author (though I may have been reading too much into it), but is never really called out in any way and nothing ever comes of it.

It did occur to me and I brought it out somewhat when the wolf asks Tukark, "Do you bear enmity toward the fish and snails in the marsh?" I didn't take it any further because it wasn't the point of the story. Actually, I don't think it's any more ironic than when we complain about people killing other people while chowing down on hamburgers.

There was the fact that both the wolf and the crane were anthropomorphic while cows (in our world) are beasts. Another question that might be raised is, in Tukark's world, where does anthropomorphism end? Are the fish and snails anthros? How about grass and germs? What would wolves and tigresses eat?

Otherwise, I felt that this was a nice, enjoyable read!

Thank you for reading, as well as the compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
 

Tahlyn

New Member
Actually, I don't think it's any more ironic than when we complain about people killing other people while chowing down on hamburgers.

I'm sure if cows were at the top of the food chain instead of humans, you'd probably hear a lot more of this!
 
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