“Be amusing: never tell unkind stories; above all, never tell long ones.” -Benjamin Disraeli
My critique of the week is feature story “The Hood” from sandiegoreader.com. Maybe I’m just not creative enough, but I did not like this story one bit. In my opinion, it was poorly written.
Let’s start with the headline. Do you know how many titles I’ve seen for things that are labeled “The Hood”? I don’t know either, but I know it’s been a lot. “The Hood” is not eye catching and does not make me want to read your story. The only thing that grabbed my attention in this story was the image they paired with it. Maybe they were trying to be simple with the title, who knows. I don’t really care for it.
The whole story is about this guy (John Brizzolara) and his son (Geoffrey) that live in the ghetto. He describes their apartment and the street that they live on, 16th street between market and island. He talks about how they’ve seen gang fights and how he and his son are both half crazy and have physical health problems. In this story, the author isn’t interviewing anyone, he’s writing about himself.
One of the reasons I had no appreciation for this story is that there isn’t really a theme to it. I have no idea what he was even trying to express in it, besides describing where he lived. The writing is scattered and many parts to the story seem pointless. The writing itself is interesting, not necessarily in a bad way, but it is a little too wordy. I may feel that way because I’ve been learning AP style for the last year and a half, but I mean seriously, his writing was wordy. It was kind of obnoxious.
The first paragraph does nothing to grab the reader’s attention, nor helps the reader understand what the story might be about. The author has no direction throughout the entire story. I couldn’t even read it in 15 minutes. His writing drew the story out when it didn’t have to.
That’s my final word.
Question of the Week: If you had to write a feature story about a celebrity, who would it be and why?