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270 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review of Christmas in July  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a great poem, J.L.!

I feel the grief, and the pain makes me sad, too. This is the mark of greatness.! You have made the reader (aka "me") care very much about the subject of your poem, who is your son.

To make this a fully academic review would render it meaningless because this poem is truly written from the heart. I've taken off my shoes, for I'm on holy ground.

I hear much of the same pathos in your poem as in Harry Chapin's song, "Cats in the Cradle."

Words seem so small to try to comfort you in this review, but that would be my desire, if I just knew how. May The Lord make His Presence very real to you in your grief. May He carry you according to His Greatest Blessing.

Sincerely,
Jay
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Review of For Andrea  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Nicely done, Beholden!

We agree, especially in the last two lines, "...it should be Christmas and Jesus every day."
My own practice is to listen to chorale and instrumental Christmas music most days of the year, since music keeps me in tune with the spirit of Christmas and the true peace it was meant to offer every day of the year.

As you have noted, Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, and since the season of Christmas does not often offer much in the way of peace, we both know that something is truly wrong with the process.

I've said to anyone, who would listen, "I seem to enjoy Christmas more January through November than I do throughout the entire month of December." Albeit, in recent years I've tried to carve out a few hours of peace in those late evenings with a nice, warm cup of tea and the same wonderful music, that I listen to throughout the year.

Charles Dickens said it best through the mouth of the redeemed Scrooge. "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"

Beholden, your poem was written well in the free verse form.

May you know great success as a writer throughout this decade of your life and beyond. I read your Bio. You are not alone. Your profile photo and the man I see in the mirror every day show men, who have made the trek around the sun a few times past youth, but I sense, that in you as in me, there is a young man, who is much younger than the world may readily see. There is hope for the both of us!

The feedback we receive as writers does not always come in spades, but I pray, that my words of genuine praise may bolster your heart, and strengthen you to renewed success because it is from my perspective, that you have a great deal to continue to offer the world. Trust your words of wisdom to The Almighty, and watch what he will do. *Smile*
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for entry "Love in any season
Review by Jay O'Toole
Rated: E | (5.0)
Excellent, Sam! This is a great poem!

Much respect,...

Jay. *Smile*
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Review of Hats  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is great, Claire!

You have a gift for rhyming and keeping a strong beat in your poetry.

The alliteration of "Hats hats" keeps a strong cadence throughout the poem. The addition of "have have" in line #9 is an excellent choice because it adds another spondee (See the note below about poetic forms.) foot to the cadence in the middle of the poem.

Here's something to try. If you put a comma after each of the two incidents of "hats,"
then you give the reader a chance to pause slightly, and maybe even take a small breath as needed.

Let me give you an example.

The first line would become, "Hats, hats, in the store" and the cadence would be //xx/. (I know this is an impromptu homeschool moment, but these are things you will need to know about writing poetry. / = stressed [or long] emphasis on the word being spoken. x = unstressed [or short] emphasis on the word being spoken. A foot is one example of a sequence of stressed & unstressed syllables.)

Actually, the first half of every line of this poem is a very structured spondee foot of (//) or stressed, stressed words.
The first eight lines (or over half of your poem) has the structure of a spondee foot (//) followed by an anapest foot (xx/).

Did you know that Dr. Seuss wrote often using an anapestic structure in his books? Are you trying to become another Dr. Seuss? Congratulations, if you are. You've got a great start!

WRITE ON! *Smile*

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Review of Tweeting a poem  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello, S.Z.! I would like to participate in your poetry contest. I think I will post my entry here.

"Truly Blessed

I am sure there are easier formats for helping the contest to become quite popular in the upcoming months. Much success to you.
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Review of For Your Love  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Thank you, Patrick, for this opportunity to review your poem. I hope I will be able to encourage you in some way.

*Earth*Overall Impression - This is how I felt when reading your poem: I felt blessed to see the depth and length and breadth of your love for your Dearest Love. Your love is so strong that I felt a touch of embarrassment that I was looking at something quite private and beautiful in its richness.

*Pencil*Suggestions: Write more of these. I can assure you that after many years of marriage, my wife still likes to hear these types of expressions of my love. They never grow old.

In the fourth line of your fourth verse, you have written the word, "Fore." I believe that the meaning, in this case, is "since," which would make the spelling of the word, "For."

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: The rhythm of your poem seems to be free verse, although the first line of every verse has the same wording and therefore the same cadence. Your rhyme scheme is A-B-C-D-C throughout the poem in every verse.

*Heart*What I Like: I very much like the fact that your Dearest Love is the strong focus of your heart. I like that you have found one key to maintaining a healthy love throughout a lifetime, "Tell her."

Take care, my friend. Thanks, again, for the privilege of reviewing your genuine poem, which is from the heart.

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Review of I write...  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Thanks for the privilege of reviewing your poem, HuntersMoon. I've chosen this option in response to the seventh clue for hunting the Rascal Raccoon.

*Earth*Overall Impression - This is how I felt when reading your poem: I feel a sense of commonality with you as a writer. Writing has many challenges as well as many encouragements. The tongue finds it difficult to speak what's on the heart, while the pencil seems to find many ways to craft our thoughts. So true! Been that. Done that. Living the sequel.

*Pencil*Suggestions: Keep writing these honest poems that help many of us less experienced writers find encouragement for the process that is writing.

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: I can hear the iambic meter that you've stated is pretty consistent here. Rhyme is A-B-A for the tercets and A-B-A-A for the quatrain.

*Heart*What I Like: You have a humility about yourself that admits some ways of communicating are easier than others, and you show us how to communicate most effectively, given these constraints. I'm right there with you. ONWARD & UPWARD! *Smile*

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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with disABILITY WRITERS GROUP  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
You have beautiful feet because you preach the Gospel to all those, who still need to know. Nicely done. I love the photo and the description, Ruwth!

Not much to add, except the Bible verse.

Isaiah 52:7 King James Version (KJV)

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with disABILITY WRITERS GROUP  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Great thoughts, Marvin!

Congratulations on being so close to your goal of a Ph.D.!

Your poem is rhythmically free verse, but the rhyme follows the patterns, A-B-C-B for each quatrain and A-A for the couplet.

Well said. Good to hear. Congratulations to you for the life you are living well.

Blessings Always, Dear Brother! *Smile*
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Review of Deeply Wounded  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
WOW, Crissy! Your poem has almost the same words I used in my response to your previous response.

You said,...
"I shall pray that you
are complimented
with the same
belligerent disregard
that you have
dowered to me.
"

I wrote this before I read your poem. "This movie has one of my favorite lines of all time. The disposition of the wicked stepmother is given with these words, "Let her be treated with the same kindness she has always shown me." What Wisdom!"

Great minds think alike!

Again, Crissy, you are a great poet! This is poetry at it's greatest level of reality. The feelings/emotions are indeed RAW. The pain is obvious. The compassion from the reader is palpable.

What can I say? WRITE ON!
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Review of Step-Monster  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Crissy, you are a great poet!

You understand the purpose of poetry. Poetry is all about bringing one's core into the light of day that it may speak honestly to the world about life as it really is.

Anyone, who has ever been ridiculed for any reason, as I have been, can relate to the words of your raw emotions in this poem with great understanding and clarity.

I'm sorry for your pain...for I can feel it in these words. However, I am so glad that Wisdom taught you to express the pain in the form of a poem. It was this tool that gave me relief when I was 13. The poem created was the spark of my career as a poet.

We may say that pain is never pleasant, but it can have a good result when it creates a skill that has lasting value.

https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/211... The link is to the rewrite of my very first poem, which I referenced above. The icon is a photograph of the exact poem in my own handwriting when I was age 13. I hope it helps to know that we are not alone. *Smile*
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
*Earth*Overall Impression: You have written a believable tale about talking animals, hvysmker. All the animals are written true to their perceived types, according to classic literature, including its more modern versions. This makes it a useful wisdom tale with the important point that "Life is lived with satisfaction to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon the viewpoint of the one, who is telling the tale." In this case, we realize that this is the tragic story of people, who have their story told by Oscar Rat, a member of an Italian Rodent Syndicate, who would sell his own mother if he thought he could get away with it.

*Pencil*Suggestions: The Almost Universe is viable, but a little tedious at times. Could new names be created for the places that would hint at the real places? In some ways going to Almost Africa is "almost" like taking the train to Hogwarts School. The students have to get on the almost train through the almost wall. In at least a few ways it ends up being almost a story, which as we all know "almost" is a rather subjective word. When you leave that much up to the reader, then the end result is different for every reader. I love the color, "blue." Therefore, much of the scenery in Almost Africa has some pleasing shade or tint of blue. However, others love the color, "red." Would their Almost Africa look drastically different? Quite possibly.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: There are multiple incidents of improper usage of punctuation and grammar. In some cases, these violations seem to fit the traits of the characters, who make the violations. Therefore, it begs the question, "Are we writing in dialect? Or are we intending to tell the story in the framework of proper English grammar rules? Use these examples, applying them throughout your story.

"You won't find her that way, walking in circles," the raven said, laughing, "unless she's walking in circles too?" A period rather than a question mark is needed here.

"If you're that smart, which way should we go?" from Ruffie, getting his fur worked up with anger. "From" makes this an incomplete sentence. Replace "from" with a verb, like "responded," "retorted" or "goaded."

"Pick any direction, they're everywhere," the bird said, ruffling her feathers, "everywhere at all." "Everywhere at all" sounds confusing to my ears. "Anywhere at all" offers a choice among many choices. "Everywhere" stands alone as the omnidirectional perspective.

WOW! Your raven sounds like the mean, filled with sniping remarks, dark part of Gollum (TLOR) without the gentle, obsequious, needy part, called, "Smeagol." By the way, you should name the raven during the first encounter, not when they're en route.

She tried to peck Homer on the butt, which only made the rhino angry, him trying to swat her with his tail. Since "him" is a direct object, let's turn this line into two sentences with the subject, "he" beginning the second. She tried to peck Homer on the butt, which only made the rhino angry. He tried to swat her with his tail.

Whoever owned the place must have been feeding a lot of different kinds of people, Doris thought, munching on yummy grain. Since the thought is not spoken, italicizing the phrase could set it apart as internal conversation.

"Isn't it bad enough that you guys invade my building? Do you have to tear it apart. There is a question mark needed for the second question. "Do you have to tear it apart?"

More than once I have seen you designate a speaker, using only the word, "from." The word, "from" is a preposition. To improve the story these each need to be changed to a verb. In every case these "from" sentences are in fact incomplete non-sentences.

Be careful when you use punctuation marks. I keep seeing question marks, where a period should be and vice versa. The following sentence is a good example of this concern. "You could sell that lovesick rhinoceros?" Mr. Samuels told her. In the present order of words, this sentence is a statement. Change the first two words and it becomes a question. "Could you sell that lovesick rhinoceros?" Mr. Samuels told her.

Mr. Rat made a call to the mouse mafia. Unknown to humans, the mouse mafia is a large criminal organization employing hundreds of thousands of meeses, worldwide. Was the term, "meeses," used intentionally for humorous effect? If so, it lacks a little punch in my humble opinion, since the correct word is "mice." Yet, if this is an incident of writing in dialect, then the point can be made for the use of the word, "meeses." In that case, it would be the author's call.

"Hello, Don Meesio? Alfredo Rat here. Look, I got a problem. Maybe you guys can help me out." Okay, I'm, assuming the cliché Italian mafia accent here. Traditionally, they are heavy on the cliché phrase, "youse guys."

*Heart*What I Like: I like the fact that you have told your story in parable (or fable) format. Talking animals can give humans a much-needed new perspective, regarding life in general and about the animals in specific. There are many usages of parables throughout literature of which I am personally aware. These are ones I like. The Holy Bible has a talking donkey that preaches a short sermon to a recalcitrant prophet. That is one of my favorites. Aesop's Fables are always excellent wisdom tales. C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia are some of my all-time favorite novel-length stories. The point is simply this. You are in good company. WRITE ON!

Sincerely,
Jay
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Nicely done, Teresa.
I am honored to be your inspiration for this poem.

That is so amazing! 😃
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Thank you, Magical Joey, for this opportunity to review your poem. I hope I will be able to encourage you in some way.

*Earth*Overall Impression: This is a wonderful homage to Emily Dickinson. You've taken one of her verses, breaking it into the several parts for the treatment of your main idea. You have used the inspiration of another to tell the thoughts of your heart in a broader way.

*Pencil*Suggestions: You might want to add a little bit of clarification, regarding the connection between your title and the body of your poem. The subtlety left me a little confused. I could see some possible references to monsters in the words, "haunts," "paranoia," "Frankenstein," "vampire" and "monsters," but most of the poem was a treatise of the word "Truth."

I'll admit that truth is a scary concept for people, who have something to hide, and what monster doesn't have something to hide?

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: The rhythm varies between iambic and anapestic with a fairly consistent four feet per line. The rhyme scheme for each verse is A-B-A-B-C-D-C-D-E-E.

*Heart*What I Like: It's wonderful that you have tackled a subject that so many throughout history have tried to define to greater or lesser success. Truth is often maligned by those, who do not believe that it exists. Truth is often difficult to define for those of us, who believe that it does exist. Truth is best defined as a person, whom we are willing to trust as the standard of truth itself. I have Someone, who is my Standard of Truth.

Those, who neglect to choose a person he or she trusts above all others, are destined to perennially sound like congressmen or other political leaders of spurious character simply for the purpose of maintaining power and giving to constituents as little as possible to do so.

I think you stated it with clarity in the last few lines of your poem.

"Those who look truth in the eyes
And batter it with fisted hands,
Or make a mockery of a twisted man –
Revealed as a man, despite his size –
The Truth's superb surprise.
"

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Review of Tomorrow  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
What a Blessing, HuntersMoon!

That's our Joy!
That's our challenge!
That's our Hope!

Stay the course!
The Lord is in charge!

Great poem, Friend!
Well written!
I totally agree! *Smile*
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Tim Chiu, thank you for the privilege of reviewing your fine piece of poetry. I hope my words will encourage you to continue with the great adventure of writing poetry.

*Earth*Overall Impression: This poem is a bit like one of those rapid-fire sections in a slide show or music video in which many images comes by the eyes very quickly. The subconscious gets the ideas, but the tongue has little ability to express the concepts in words at the moment they are being seen.

The snapshots appear to be either the man's description of himself as a man as seen in the mirror of the "lady fair" in his life. However, it could be a description by the "lady fair" of the man as she sees him.

Let me describe the snapshots as best I can.

Snapshot #1: (Verse 1, Couplet 1) - The lady sees his smoking habit as being unattractive.
Snapshot #2: (V1, C2) - This appears to be a oblique reference to the First Contact of intimacy.
Snapshot #3: (V2, C1) - Housework could be an allusion to his tenure in her life. He could be swept away.
Snapshot #4: (V2, C2) - He decides to perform some lunchtime antics to lighten the mood.
Snapshot #5: (V3, C1) - Traffic jams are not beneficial to dietary process.
Snapshot #6: (V3, C2) - 'Tis best for a man NEVER to ask if a woman is pregnant...that is if he values his life and dignity.
Snapshot #7: (V4, C1) - Truer words were never spoken. Society tells a man to be sensitive, but when we try we often get it wrong, sadly enough.
Snapshot #8: (V4, C2) - Insensitivity seems to be the consistent accusation against men in general in societies that are dominated by female mores. Insensitivity, which was beneficial to male survival and success in agrarian and hunting-oriented societies of yesteryear, make such males have a lower place in the societal value structure of modern Society.
Snapshot #9: (V5, C1) - Turn off your phone, when in a social gathering or learn to ignore the vibrating ring.
Snapshot #10: (V5, C2) - We learn to gain social value by being willing to give in to the wishes and desires of others more often than is natural to the male personality.

*Pencil*Suggestions: More of these poems would help the discussion of how males can walk successfully in modern Society.

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: Rhythmically there seems to be about four feet to each line, but the rhythms are not consistent. The rhyme scheme is A-A-B-B for each verse.

*Heart*What I Like: I like the fact that you have addressed a difficult subject with humor and obliqueness. Now, hopefully my level of clarity will get neither of us in trouble, since we're just two guys trying to find our path through the variableness of modern Society. *Wink*

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Review of Christmas Cheer  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dorianne, I am happy to review your poem about Christmas! Christmas is the one aspect of my life in which I will always be a child. The Christmases of my childhood were some of the happiest days of my childhood. You have written a dear poem that brings back many of these great memories.

*Earth*Overall Impression - This is how I felt, when reading your poem: I feel both the challenges of the season as well as the warmth and joy of togetherness. Nicely done!

*Pencil*Suggestions: Christmas poems are wonderful! Feel free to write as many as you wish. There is good JOY here! *Smile*

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: Each of these lines seems to have four feet per line. The rhythms vary between iambic and anapestic meters. The rhyme scheme follows the pattern of A-A-B-B-C-C-D-D-E-E-E. This pattern covers the entire poem.

*Heart*What I Like: In every line (as I see it) the Joy comes from giving to others. This is a great purpose of life during Christmas and throughout the year. It reminds me of that great quote from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. These words are spoken by the reformed Ebenezer Scrooge. "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." What a wonderful poem! What great thoughts!

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Review of Going Home  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with Novel Workshop Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, HuntersMoon! I am grateful to be reviewing one of your pieces of prose. This one popped up when I pressed the "Read & Review" button.

Well, then, let's get to it! *Smile*

*Earth*Overall Impression: This is a great short story! Crises do tend to restore focus in life. Something life-threatening seems to point us back to our roots in a short-short.

*Pencil*Suggestions: You have given the reader an endearing character. I believe I speak for your readership, when I say, "We would love to know more about his background! What did he do all of those years away from home? Did his lifestyle choices lead to an "inoperable tumor"? Was the tumor mysterious like the voices and the faces at the end of the story? Should this be a larger story? Arguably so.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: The following sentence was a little confusing to me. Is there an extra "the"? "...where the all the possibilities of life had been discussed. " Nothing else caught my eyes, regarding the "nuts and bolts" of English.

*Heart*What I Like: I like the mysterious elements in this wonderful end-of-life story. Do we begin to see and hear things on a more spiritual level when we approach the crossing-over point? Of this I have no doubt. I see a bit of Bedford Falls in this piece. When we are forced to stop and look, then we see that it truly is A Wonderful Life.

Ultimately, there is very little that I could add or change. Your great story reads like the writing of someone, who has been a professional for a number of years. WRITE ON!
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Thank you, Dorianne, for the privilege of reviewing your good poem. I found this poem by using the "Read and Review" feature.

*Earth*Overall Impression - This is how I felt, when reading your poem: This poem gave me a warm feeling of pride, regarding your obedient dog. What an excellent furry canine friend! I, also, experienced joy at the opportunity to learn a new form of poetry. The words, "Waiting for the..." in repetition have given your poem an excellent cadence that moves the reader forward at a good pace.

*Pencil*Suggestions: I think you should write more of these. This is a good form for your skills, if I may make that assumption from this one poem. Poetry seems to be a gift for you. Continue to write poems. *Smile*

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: There is no end rhyme, but the rhythm is pretty consistent throughout the poem. This is a pattern poem that follows the form of using a beginning phrase very well.

*Heart*What I Like: I like the fact that you have a dear, faithful dog friend in your life that is your constant companion. We have this in common. My dog watches me with her constant eyes. She always wants to know what we are going to do next. Keep writing in this wonderful way! WRITE ON!

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Review of The Child  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Thank you, Mintygreengirl, for the privilege of reviewing your short story.

*Earth*Overall Impression: This short story has the feel of chapter #1 in a much larger story, which could be a novel, possibly. There is enough to spark my interest to know more. However, I don't know these people well enough, yet, to understand how we got to where we are in the story, nor do I understand where we are going from here.

*Pencil*Suggestions: I think this piece of prose could benefit from a backstory in order to give us an understandable canvas in which to place this vignette. Who is the babysitter? I don't see a name. I assume it is you. You might want to include, "Minty Green Girl" in the story, if this is the case. What is the babysitter's family like? How is it that they are so insensitive to the concerns of the babysitter? Is there are other-worldy spell or other environmental issue that causes them to "not see" the very things that she sees?

Could you develop the story line a bit more? I would like to know where Samuel James is going with his game of mind tricks. Does he intend to be harmful to her and/or others in some way? Will there be resolution in this story? Will the boy learn from his misdeeds to become an encouraging human being (or whatever he may be?) Will there be no resolution? Will the story end with everyone simply losing something of great value? Will they lose everything of great value?

The story presents a problem for the babysitter. However, since the boy, "Samuel James" is playing "mind games," nothing has been resolved by his moving "out of town." The babysitter's relief seems to be misplaced or false hope, since there is nothing to prevent "Samuel James" from continuing the mind games from his new location. The mind is the mind. There are no borders, when one accesses the limitless realm and skills of the mind.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: Allow me to make a few suggestions from my observations as the reader.

1. "When Samuel James moved out of town, I could finally start to relax. I only went over there to babysit, and what I saw was terrifying. He had the tendency to follow me around, sit very still, watching my every movement, and on occasion I had enough." I believe we could increase the intensity and anxiety by changing the punctuation a little bit. "When Samuel James moved out of town, I could, finally, start to relax." (How far did he move? Did the distance warrant the relief?) "I only went over there...(Where? The assumption is that you were babysitting in the child's home, but that is not always the case. Why did you feel safe at this undefined, "there"? What was the boy's family like?)...to babysit. What I saw was terrifying! He had the tendency to follow me around. He sat very still. He watched my every movement. On one occasion I had had enough."

Now, let's focus on the gait. "When Samuel James moved out of town, I could, finally, start to relax. I only went over there to babysit. What I saw was terrifying! He had the tendency to follow me around. He sat very still. He watched my every movement. On one occasion I had had enough." By breaking the thought into short sentences and by added the pronoun, "he," we have started a droning cadence that can raise alarm in the heart of the reader.

2. "I want to tell a disturbing Samuel James story." I believe the rule is to put quotation marks around the name, "Samuel James" because we are focusing on this "Samuel James" as opposed to any other person by the same name.

3. "In March, we were going out to eat for my birthday in a city park called Pete’s Palace, which got its name from the fact that the owner was a prince and wanted to make a place that was casual for his soldiers to relax after the battle at Lou Kai." There is a great deal that could be clarified in this quote by increased attention to grammar. "In March we were going out to eat to celebrate my birthday in a city park, called "Pete’s Palace, which got its name from the fact that the owner was a prince. He and wanted to make a place that was casual for his soldiers to relax after the battle at Lou Kai." (The last part of this quote leaves me a bit conflicted as to proper punctuation. I'm left asking myself, "What is Lou Kai?" It appears to be an arcade, but I am guessing. If this is true, then there needs to be a clearer connection between the name and the activities behind the name. At least that's my opinion.)

Please, visit
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New Horizons Academy   (E)
Poetry, Grammar, Punctuation, Reviewing, Fiction/Novel Writing, and More
#1535164 by Katzendragonz
for additional help in the area of grammar. I don't wish to seem to be picky, but grammar helps the story to be understandable. Grammar is like the road signs on a trip. They get us to where we are going. I hope this helps you greatly.

*Heart*What I Like: I like the fact that you have begun to tell a potentially exciting story. This story is ripe with twists and turns. The story has the potential for cliff-hangers as well as unforeseen plot changes in the middle of intense action sequences. I like the fact that you've started an excellent story that leaves me wanting to know about your characters and where they are going in the universe that you have created for them.
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Review of Words Have Power,  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with disABILITY WRITERS GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Sfttarget, thank you for asking me to review this original account from your life's story. This is a great privilege for me, since I have the opportunity to help you to hone your great insights to share them with the world! These insights need to be heard!

*Earth*Overall Impression: We have something in common. You had a physical wound early in life that almost stopped you from succeeding. (You survived an arrow to the eye.) I had a emotional wound, which tried to stop me, too. (A pre-K worker told me that I was dumb because I couldn't tie my shoe laces.)

Your title, "Words Have Power," is spot on! You decided not to own your limitations. You have made a career out of your sport. I decided to keep trying, too. As a result I have run many 5K and 10K road races as well as a 15K, a Half-Marathon and three Marathons, completing two. Running shoes require very specific lacing and at times some rather intricate knots. I can most definitely tie my shoelaces!

Our past need not define us. However, the past can marvelously hone and strengthen our skills.

*Pencil*Suggestions: Please, allow me to urge you to contact Katzendragonz at
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New Horizons Academy   (E)
Poetry, Grammar, Punctuation, Reviewing, Fiction/Novel Writing, and More
#1535164 by Katzendragonz
. The account of your challenge in life would be helped greatly by improving your grammar. Your spelling seems to be excellent, but the run-on sentences and the quotable expressions that are written without quotation marks make for a challenging read.

I'm a little concerned that your great account will not be fully understood because like the Autobahn in Germany, your piece has few road signs and relatively no posted speed limits. The reader can drive through your wonderful mental countryscape, enjoying the ride, but potentially missing the landmarks along the way.

It would seem to be so much better to create a piece that is much more like Route 66 through the heart of America rather than the Autobahn in Germany. Route 66 is an attraction in itself. One does not drive Route 66 in a hurry. One looks for the unique places along the way that can be found nowhere else on Earth. Others may have accounts of the survival of difficulties in life, but no one else can tell your story of your victory over your obstacle.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: I've chosen a few examples to illustrate the need for improved grammar. However, Katzendragonz is your Go-To in this matter.
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New Horizons Academy   (E)
Poetry, Grammar, Punctuation, Reviewing, Fiction/Novel Writing, and More
#1535164 by Katzendragonz
is a wealth of tools and instructions for you!

1. "The world was great, summer coming up, fingers crossed I passed everything so mom and dad would not be mad and then onto fifth grade." Let's try a few adjustments in this quote. "The world was great! Summer was coming. My fingers were crossed. I was sure I had passed everything so that mom and dad would not be mad at me. Ultimately, I would be going on to fifth grade."
2. "My parents were told it had healed naturally as predicted but any hit to the face or head and i could lose my sight in that eye." This time the corrections are minor. "My parents were told it had healed naturally as predicted, but any hit to the face or head and I could lose my sight in that eye."
3. "(Personally I think this is what is wrong with the youth and country these days, back then if you shot your mouth off you got beat and you learned.)" Again, a few minor changes are all that is needed. "(Personally, I think this is what is wrong with the youth and our country these days. Back then, if you shot your mouth off, you got beat and you learned.)"
4. "We were assigned books to read and one of them was "Illusions" by Richard Bach. It's a tiny little paperback, this doesn't look so bad and look there are little quotes on some of the pages which will make it easier to read." In this case the concern is the change of verb tense from past to present within the same paragraph. (High school English taught me that verb tense MUST remain constant throughout a paragraph.) "We were assigned books to read. One of them was "Illusions" by Richard Bach. I realized that it was a tiny little paperback. It didn't look so bad and I saw that there were little quotes on some of the pages which made it easier to read."
5. "I didn't get into any of the first two games,..." Just change one word and you are good to go. "I didn't get into either of the first two games,..."
6. "I played my college career and became a man from a scared and scarred wounded child." Since I was challenged by the word choices in this quote, I would like to offer an alternative that would help me as well as any other readers, who are like me. "I played my college career and in the process became a man from a scared and scarred, wounded child." "In the process" slows the gait a bit. When I read this for the first time, I ran past the concept of the second half of the sentence because nothing slowed and directed my focus. (I hope the explanation of my reading process helps this to be more understandable.)

*Heart*What I Like: Your honesty and openness grabs me in a good way! These characteristics convince me that you have been given a platform for helping people in the world today. Please, continue to write from the heart! Way to Go! WRITE ON!
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Review of "Do it for Me"  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with disABILITY WRITERS GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Thanks, sfttarget, for the privilege of reading and reviewing your work of prose. I appreciate and respect your honesty. You've bared a part of your soul that is truly raw. Many of your readers, myself included, can relate to difficult teenage years.

*Earth*Overall Impression: Your message is very clear. "It's not right to have to pay for the mistakes and the misdeeds of others. This reader agrees and I am quite sure that I am not alone. Prejudice due to race, creed or national identity is no longer allowed without accountability...at least on the surface of Society. However, we all know that pockets of Society still practice very wrong behavior behind some sort of cloak of darkness. The Light of Truth make shine to expose these pockets of darkness.

*Pencil*Suggestions: A follow-up article would be a great addition to your portfolio as well as to your Writing.Com profile. Have things improved in your life, measurably, since moving away to college? What was that special book that gave you new strength? What steps have you taken to insure that "...can't, couldn't, shouldn't and wouldn't..." will never again be a debilitating part of your life? I'm sure that meaning readers would find the information both illustrative and very beneficial in their unique walks as vulnerable human beings, who wish to be a little less vulnerable.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: Sfttarget, I don't wish to be anything other than positive in my review, but I would be less than genuine, if I didn't point out some ways in which your article could be made more potent with increased accuracy, regarding the "nuts & bolts" of the English language. Let me give you a few specific areas in which just a little polish would make this piece shine a bright & glossy shine.

1. "Do it for Me" , every time something came up that was hard or painful in my life I heard those four words from my mother." could be improved by creating two sentences. "'Do it for Me.' Every time something came up that was hard or painful in my life, I heard those four words from my mother."
2. "I was wounded, a victim, so many restrictions, and I hated it all." This is a unique colloquial expression. It could stand, if the purpose is to keep the tone very raw. However, a suggested rendering for improved grammar might be like this. "I was wounded, a victim. There were so many restrictions, and I hated them all."
3. "My brother's always made sure it was a fair fight, one on one but the crowd would watch and everyone would be rooting against me, wanting to see me hurt." There are just some minor things here, but they could help it a big way. "My brothers always made sure it was a fair fight, one on one,[/b} but the crowd would watch, everyone would be rooting against me, wanting to see me hurt."

You have a powerful statement of survival and the ultimate defeat of evil in all of its raw unfairness. The review of grammar rules, especially in the taking of classes for that purpose from
 
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New Horizons Academy Course Catalog  (13+)
Affordable Writing Courses in English Grammar, Punctuation, Fiction, Poetry, and More!
#1461280 by Katzendragonz
, which is part of Writing.Com, will help your writing to grow to the next level. Improved grammar always showcases the thoughts of your heart to a much greater degree.

*Heart*What I Like: Bravo for your courage! You have told the world that many things were against you as a youth, but you determined to press forward with your life and to win at all costs. Your story can help some people. Write more in this genre. WRITE ON!
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with The Poet's Place  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Thank you, Teargen, for this opportunity to review your poem. I hope I will be able to encourage you in some way.

*Earth*Overall Impression - This is how I felt, when reading your poem: This is a fanciful tale with a wonderful humorous twist at the end. A play on words is one of my favorite ways to create a joke that is understood by usually only the most astute.

*Pencil*Suggestions: There are two lines that fall out of rhythm a bit, making them more difficult for me to read. Let me point them out with suggested words to restore the rhythm.
"and so they filled up Mason jars with soil (that's) from the face of Mars." The first half of this iambic octameter has the specified meter. The second half merely needs one syllable to restore the rhythm.

“Mars seems to be (much) brighter, Mitt...at least it does on the face of it.” The first half of this line needs one syllable to restore iambic meter. The second half has one foot of anapestic meter. It is the third foot of this second half, which reads, "on the face." It works as is like a seasoning motif. However, if the iambic is still desired, then a slightly archaic phrase could be inserted to read, "at least (up)on the face of it."

Regarding another suggestion, it would be nice to know of other trips around the Solar System. That could be quite educational.

*Apple*Rhythm & Rhyme: The poem is a consistent iambic octameter per each line with internal rhymes in each line. End rhymes are excluded in this piece.

*Heart*What I Like: I love the whimsy of this piece that borders on being a limerick, regarding the funny punch line at the end. The end rhyme scheme is certainly different from a limerick, but the potent kick of humor at the end fits the purpose of such a poem. Humor is a great balm in the human experience. I thank you for bringing Joy to the reader's heart in the moments of the experience of reading your poem.

WRITE ON!

Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
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Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with Novel Workshop Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Percy Bob, thank you for suggesting this follow-up. You have a good method and plan as a teacher. I'm sorry that I expressed so much negativity with my other review of what I see now was a practice piece in rough draft format. You've given me the desire to give your class a second look as I have time to do so. My own skills as a novelist are as yet undeveloped and inexperienced. My skills as a reviewer and as a poet have years of experience as a teacher in my own right and as a poet from the heart on my personal time.

*Earth*Overall Impression: The format you use for teaching as well as the vignettes the students create for practice assignments make for rather extensive tutelage in these lessons. I'm glad to give you an enthusiastic two thumbs up, regarding your help of students to become excellent writers.

*Pencil*Suggestions: These are my personal perspectives that should be taken "with a grain of salt." If I suggest something beneficial, then please by all means use it in your classes. If I suggest something unwieldy or untenable for your class, then thank you for doing me the courtesy of reading my thoughts. Simply let that one drop. Ultimately, my desire is to encourage you and your student, even when I make very specific suggestions.

"Yes, Chapter 1, An Awakening." Percy, I hope I don't seem too critical at this point. I simply confess that this is something that makes me wish for some way to set off the chapter title in order to make it stand out. I do not claim that this would be an issue for all readers. I simply would like to express that this is something that catches the eyes of this reader. I was conflicted in regards to even mentioning it because I recognize that you have already set apart the Check List Questions in bold black. Maybe we could simply do this. "Yes, Chapter 1, An Awakening." Again, I realize that this is more of a preference than a criticism. I mention this item only in hopes that it may be a diving board for some sort of presentation enhancement at some point.

"The island attracted a mix of people, all with money, (but) sadly, not all of them were the kind you'd want living next door to you." This quote caused a slight stutter in my reading. I think the addition of the word, "but" would put it right...at least for this reader.

"He had some holiday owing to him,..." This sounds very British, which I am assuming is the dialect of your home base. It would sound more natural to an American audience to read the words, "He had some vacation time coming to him,..." Since I believe this piece is being written for a British audience, then it IS spot on. I'm just remembering the discussions that I had with my Chinese ESL students in which I had to differentiate between American and British styles of English.

If I may, I would like to take exception in a friendly manner with your following assessment. Again, I think that there is simply a different nuance of perspective between your response and mine with regard to the material. I think I'm viewing this as an intuitive reader myself.
Here is the distinction. You told the student as follows,...
"Do you show Want, Need and Desire?
Yes and No.
Yes, Gemma wants to remain in her present foster home.
No, the reader does not get a sense for a deeper inner need, or desire.
"
I, actually did get the sense of of a deeper inner need or desire in Gemma in the following quote.
"Gemma had thought 'I know they're lying, it is my fault, there's something wrong with me. How can I argue with them, (since) they know things I don't? How can I tell them I'm happy here(?) (T)hat I don't want to leave? Yes, I could write it, but I've tried that before, it didn't help, they sent me back anyway'." (I've put some suggested changes in parentheses.) These words speak volumes to me about Gemma's deep-seated need for personal connection in her world. She feels the need for parents of her own. She loves this family. Gemma is expressing angst about being unable to connect with any other humans in the same way that a child who is the carrier of a contagious physical disease would feel about being "always sent away" because she makes her host family sick. What if Gemma is the "Typhoid Mary" of some sort of spiritual or emotional affliction?

Maybe not all readers would get that, but I sensed all of that from the words of this student's vignette.

The central character in this vignette seems to have many aspects of her personality that are expressed in the scene about Dr. Jean Grey's childhood in X-Men: The Last Stand. Normal for Gemma impacts the average human in intense ways, without her realization of knowing that she is doing anything and without her having any experience in controlling the effects.



*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar:

“It was the day before Gemma was due to be returned to the home, John and Jackie had already sat down with her and explained that it wasn't her fault…” There is a verb tense agreement issue that catches in my mind, when I read this quote. May I suggest that the reader could be better served to make the following changes? “It was the day before Gemma was due to be returned to the home. John and Jackie felt the need to sit down with her and to explain that it wasn't her fault…”

There are a few misspelled words in this static item, which are not really significant. These are merely typos that I often have to catch with regard to my own writing on any and every level.

*Heart*What I Like: I agree with you, the teacher, "If I picked up a novel and read this as a first chapter I'd take it to the cash register." I want to know more about the little girl from the atoll. This is a gripping story!

Great job, Percy Bob! WRITE ON!
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Review of discouraged  
Review by Jay O'Toole
In affiliation with  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Thank you, Flo, for the privilege of reviewing you piece of prose.

Welcome to Writing.Com! We're glad you're here and have chosen to learn the craft of writing with us. None of us on this website is perfect. We enjoy helping each other to become our best selves as writers.

Encouragement is key to strengthening the heart and to honing the skills. That is my desire in writing this review. I pray that will be the result, too.

*Earth*Overall Impression: You express a great deal of passion and compassion in the words you choose. They carry the deep thoughts and emotions that we each have experienced in the process of living and loving. You deal with universal issues. You give a very personal perspective, regarding how to deal with life moments that tend to overwhelm us.

*Pencil*Suggestions: Flo, I believe that you presentation would make a greater impact, if you arranged you thoughts into smaller paragraphs of similar thoughts rather than in one sizable paragraph in which all of your thoughts run together in a hurry.

I am aware that, when we write as we are feeling the emotions that we are expressing, the thoughts come like "The Fast & The Furious." At times I will write the bulk of a piece, then "sleep on it." After a good sleep I am fresh, coming back to edit my own work. This usually means that other just as significant material is added to the original piece. Finally, I post the piece, when I feel that it has sufficiently "simmered in the pot" so to speak.

*Apple*Punctuation/Spelling/Grammar: It seems that you were writing this piece so quickly that some items of spelling and grammar were missed. Let me point out a few of these.

1. "common, too common." This reminds me of E. E. Cummings, who is noted for rare capitalization, but he is a poet. This makes sense in poetry, but in prose...not so much. "Common" would be more correct.

2. "To loose hope..." "Lose" is more accurate.

3. "We have insecurities why do we?" "We have insecurities. Why do we?" This is correct.

4. "Because were human." "Because we're human." This is another slight change that corrects an issue.

Please, review this piece closely for other such changes that will make your piece a more welcoming read. You have something important here to share.

*Heart*What I Like: You seem to have compassion for people, who are hurting. This is a great gift! Please, continue to write from the heart.
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