Review of: Victim of Happy Camp Revised 

reviewed by BozDonovan on 03/05/2011
Credited Review
CAMP NOT-SO-HAPPY Credited Review
This is a nice readable story. One that is easy to follow and know what’s going on without long indulgent narratives that distract more than add.

It was very easy to like Ingrid and very easy to recognize that Kirk, as with most of the characters in the story, are bad people. The readers can sympathize with Ingrid from the start. However, I don’t think most people would stay involved all the way to the end. I hope I can explain without anyone taking offense.

The small town gossip, rumor mongering, lies, betrayal, game-playing, personal disappointments, being shunned, etc. are constant and continuous. Ingrid’s defeat is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Instead of building up to a big climatic final event, the gossip etc. just eats away at her bit by bit. But it also eats away at the reader. Almost every character you meet you know from the beginning is going to be a disappointment, even Ryan.

Everyone is a bastard, but no one does anything that is horrifically terrible. Not even Kirk or Kari. Not even the bear is that bad. It is just a big, garbage seeking varmit. It’s there, it causes some minor concern and then it’s gone. Compare that to a scenario where the bear would catch Ingrid by surprise. She would trip, fall, scream, and the bear attacks. Just then Ryan would drive up and save the day. That would give something tense and dramatic. Plus it would build on the relationship with Ryan.

I would have liked to see more romantic tension going on between Ryan and Ingrid. I’d like to see it build, and build, and get more intense with each encounter. When Ryan comes over with the movie, he “pulls off his jacket” and in the very next sentence he’s putting his jacket back on. Nothing happens in between.

They don’t gaze into each other’s eyes. There is no hint of longing, desire, etc. No passion building.

Later Ryan just wimps out. He’s afraid of gossip, afraid of his girlfriend, afraid of Kirk, afraid of keeping his job. I would have liked to see him with a strong character, someone to admire, someone with strength & courage that Ingrid could depend on. Then when the Dear John letter comes and explains that he’s being transferred, there would be some pain and sense of loss. As it is, his leaving is just another disappointment in a long line of disappointments.

I hope this is making sense. It is hard to explain these things within the limitations of one-way communication.

When Ingrid finally gives up on Happy Camp, I’m glad she’s getting out of there, but I don’t feel any real relief or cause to celebrate, because there was no climatic buildup or crescendo.

I also didn’t like seeing her totally in defeat. If she was going to be defeated, I would have liked to see her get one final act of one-upmanship.

You say she is a “victim of the beauty” but you don’t show the beauty. There is a couple short references to the surroundings but I would like to “see” it and be awed by it. I’d like to see majestic mountains, vast skies, wild flowers in spring, thunderstorms in summer, double rainbows after the rain, scenic vistas, stunning sunsets, etc.

Ingrid is a painter. Describe what she paints. Describe what inspires her, what moves her, what makes her be the “victim of beauty.”

There are a lot of passages that could be eliminated to tighten the story up. One example would be the part about Ingrid’s truck not passing inspection. Then she gets the brakes fixed, comes back, and passes inspection. If she went into town and found that someone had been tampering with her brakes, that would be one thing. But as it is, it just slows the story down.

There are a number of other paragraphs, or groups of paragraphs, that could be either eliminated or condensed down. The whole thing needs to be tightened up.

A lot of time the emails to Charity are simply repeats of what has just be played out. It is redundant to the reader when it could be a great tool for Ingrid to expose her inner feelings. To reflect, to let her hair down and talk about her fears, ambitions, hopes, etc.

I also think some of the minor characters could be either eliminated or combined into one another. I’d rather see less characters doing more things, than a whole bunch of minor characters doing one thing here, and one thing there.

I would like to see more of Jolie to draw a strong contrast between people with integrity and those without. Jolie just seems to disappear and when she does appear, she isn’t really strong. She seems to have been beaten into submission over the years.

Overall, the story has a lot of potential. It just needs more powerful people and more dramatic situations. They say the art of writing is re-writing, and I think with more work, it can really grab some emotions.

I know it is based on real people and true events, but sometimes real situations needs to be embellished to captivate an audience.

Keep on typing.

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