Our second installment in our KP Critiques series!

KP Critiques Post 3This critique comes from Sophia and her novel Sola Fide.

Sola Fide

She would that he would die.

His thickset chest heaved in her peripheral and his breath rasped like a coin in a coffer. She glanced out the latticed window, half expecting to glimpse the Angel of Death at the door lintel. Her white fingers clamped the book that had lain idly in her lap for the past hour while she listened to the mucus rattle in his throat. If only she could suck the will to live out of him, as he had done to her.

She stroked the gold leaf lettering, iridescent in the fire-dance. Would God punish her for refusing to forgive him? His breath spiked, and the cockleshell of her ear tilted back towards the bed that she had shared with him these past six months, the bed that was not her own. Because she wished death upon him, would God forever sear his features into her memory? She massaged the ache carved into her low back and shifted her chair so she could not see the man whose child she carried beneath her loose-fitting kirtle. If she deserved the brimstone of Sodom, the fiery furnace and the winepress of God’s wrath, how much more did she deserve a child who resembled its father?

And our critique!

She would that he would die.

While this is a seemingly good sentence to start with, I believe it could be written in a more concise manner. Two woulds in one sentence like that feels cluttered.

His thickset chest

Interesting, intriguing description.

heaved in her peripheral and his breath rasped like a coin in a coffer.

In a full or empty coffer? There is a difference in the sound; although I really like how you tied in the description with the setting of your novel.

She glanced

Just how did she glance? Nervous? Anxious? Show me. Let me feel with her.

out the latticed window, half expecting

Is she anticipating it? What?  

to glimpse the Angel of Death at the door lintel. Her white fingers clamped the book that had lain idly in her lap for the past hour while she listened to the mucus rattle in his throat. If only she could suck the will to live out of him, as he had done to her.

She stroked the gold leaf lettering, iridescent in the fire-dance. Would God punish her for refusing to forgive him? His breath spiked, and the cockleshell of her ear tilted back towards the bed that she had shared with him these past six months, the bed that was not her own.

Is this a bitter thought?

Because she wished death upon him, would God forever sear his features into her memory? She massaged the ache carved

Oh I love this word choice! I can picture it clearly! Excellent!

into her low

lower

back and shifted her chair so she could not see the man

Perhaps if you used a description that showed us how much she does not want to see him instead of telling us.

whose child she carried beneath her loose-fitting kirtle. If she deserved the brimstone of Sodom, the fiery furnace and the winepress of God’s wrath, how much more did she deserve a child who resembled its father?

Interesting, but I’m not swept into this story enough; I need to be gripped and thrust inward, hungrily moving onto the next sentence, the next scene, eager to see what happens next. Oftentimes when you tell us what is going on it dampens the effect of us being transported into the story world. I was almost there, almost transported, but there were subtle things that kept bringing me back. In this particular section we need to be shown, feel the emotion; I want to feel the weight of her dread what God might do; feel the impatience (that could be displayed clearer) of her husband dying. If I could feel all of that then I would be ushered into enough curiosity as to why she wants her husband dead. 

I sincerely hope this helps you; and that you aren’t discouraged. This has potential! 

~Haley Long