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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/appledeuce
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24 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
Review of CALEB  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, first of all, good work! This piece really takes you through the rambling, ephemeral thoughts of an aging man. True to its title, it displays well a part of Caleb's life.

Some constructive criticism - I thought that this wasn't structured well for easy reading. In such a long paragraph it's easy to lose where you are, and the way it flits from thought to thought makes following the dense lettering harder than it should be. Of course, you are the writer, so feel free to disregard anything I say - it's your writing! You make of it what you want to make of it. Another thing is that maybe the sentence lengths could be varied more. This is a technical, nitpicking point, but I feel that it helps create a sense of rhythm in prose that isn't poetry, but is still nice for the reader. Of course, flowing thoughts don't represent dementia very well, so that's another point that could go both ways.

My final criticism isn't really a criticism, but more a request. Caleb clearly has a lot of backstory - you've built his character up excellently in a short space to achieve this - and I would prefer to see more of it. I would like to know his old style, magnificent thoughts, his syntheses, his reality molding. I would like to take the time to fully appreciate his full capacities, and his eventual decline. Does he create his epiphany? What guilts need absolving? My final criticism is that this piece is too brief, and I would really enjoy reading a fuller piece on this theme.

Criticisms aside (minor or not), this is well written, and from a grammatical point of view is flawless - this is always welcome. You have a good ability to describe character concisely, and you hint at backstory very well. All in all, this is a very good short story. Write on!
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
You described Ireland's personality really well - I always like it when authors write original characters and the characterisations show through when they write. Ireland is one such character. Additionally, you write competently and I can't see any flaws in your prose. The premise is extremely interesting and it makes me want to learn more about the world.

For me, there were two main flaws, and they are pacing issues, albeit small ones. At first, I was annoyed that a chapter with such an interesting description started with two girls fighting over a boy at a party. Even though that argument might have been unimportant, because it started the chapter it threw me off somewhat - I would have preferred a more dramatic start. The second problem I had was that the chapter ended somewhat awkwardly. The chapter just has things happen to Ireland, and I would have liked perhaps a small paragraph from Ireland at the end where she tries to make sense of what is quite a sharp transition. This would have brought the chapter to a more natural end, I feel.

As usual, the criticism takes up more space than the praise, which is undesirable, because this was a good piece of writing and especially good as an opening chapter because I want to know more about what happens next. Write on!
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (2.5)
I'm unsure what to make of this if I'm honest!

You write well - by which I mean your style is interesting, and I mean that in a good way. You made a short scene entertaining, and there's some skill in that.

However, I was unsure what this piece was trying to be - comedy? Drama? Character focus? I think this could be helped by including a few more sentences that definitely set the tone. For instance, a little more comedy or satire would have relaxed me when reading because I would have known what I was reading.

Breaking up this paragraph into smaller ones would have been easier on the eyes.

Finally, I would like to complain about your twisting of Chekhov's Gun into what I will now call Chekhov's Empty Revolver. The first sentences paint a grim picture of the character freezing slowly to death. This should be significant. Instead, I proceeded to read a frustrating iPhone anecdote. This meant I wasn't satisfied at the end because you never mentioned the life threatening situation again.

This could all be intentional, but I'm really not sure what you're trying to accomplish if so.

That said, this piece has a lot of potential, as does your writing, and I would like to see a polished version of this that knows what it is, because I know that is certainly well within your ability.
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Review of The Muse's Garden  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (4.0)
Technically flawless, this poem fulfills the stylistic requirements of sonnets perfectly. Additionally, there were no typographical errors as far as I can see. You call to mind the "sweetheart betrayal" trope very well, and this resonates with me, as a reader, very well.

However, I think that the sonnet is too vague to be as satisfying as I would like. While I appreciate that 140 syllables is a tough limit, I think the vagueness of the situation described detracts from the sonnet. The betrayal trope risks straying into cliche here, because I feel there is not enough uniqueness to distinguish it. I know little about either character and the situation follows the betrayal story exactly, and for me this meant the sonnet lacked a, shall we say, personal dimension.

This review risks sounding like a complete trashing of what is actually a very well-crafted poem. My final impression is that this is very competently written, and that is the most important part. Keep writing as solidly as you are.
5
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Review of Crash  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (3.5)
This poem tears me down the middle. I appreciate the story you're trying to tell, and I appreciate your cleverness in such extensive alliteration - it's certainly no mean feat. However, while reading, I was noticing the alliteration almost as much as I was reading the poem - and for me, stylistic choices which distract, detract.

As an exercise in one particular stylistic choice, flawless.
As a poem to be read and taken more seriously? I find that a little more difficult, I must be honest.

Despite this, I think I understand what you were trying to do, and that's why this gets 3.5 stars, because it's not bad writing by any stretch of the imagination. It interests me to read it and that's what matters above all else. Write on!
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Review of Pilgrimage  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi. I'd like to start of by saying this shows promise. You hint at emotional depths yet to be plumbed and the heavy metaphor helps get this across. It's definitely evocative of being dragged down by misery.

However, I would have personally preferred greater exposition, so I could understand more what you/the character is feeling, and especially why - what are the circumstances?

Another improvement I would make is that of your choices of enjambment and punctuation - currently it is difficult to see which sentences are which, and taking the time to unravel this can detract from the piece. I would suggest either using longer lines to reduce ambiguity or writing not in poetry but a form more suggestive of prose.

There is the school of thought that ambiguity allows for multiple interpretations of a phrase,or poem, and thus allows the poet to condense his meaning somewhat. However, my point of view is that I enjoy reading more when I understand the themes, characters and situations more thoroughly - which is where I take issue with this.

That said, your writing is not bad, and has the makings of being seriously good stuff. Write on!
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Everyone's had a person like this, who meant that much to them. Your writing is really evocative and taps into those emotions. As a side note, your grammar and spelling were flawless as far as I could tell - kudos for that. The way you write flows really well. It tells a rich story succinctly, but more importantly is subtly compelling.

What I especially liked is that although the basic plot is one of the oldest around, you make it unique with your writing style, and crucially don't let us know which ending you're going to tell. I read to the very end rather eagerly.

Constructive criticism paragraph! One thing I took issue with is that the ten year wait, arguably the event that gives the whole second part of this piece its meaning, is reduced to a single line. I'm not sure whether brevity was good in order to tell the story more smoothly, because I didn't feel as if the ten years really made an impact. For me, ten years is a long time for pain and grieving, and to believe that Ru could sustain his love that long and pick it up again so suddenly stretched me a little. I felt that Ru needed to suffer or live a little, or grieve, in those ten years - and then not forgive Myra so easily. I felt that the characters did not develop in that time, and the ten years were somewhat trivialised.

In essence, I believe you told your first and final acts perfectly, but missed a second act that could tie them together superbly.

However, those acts were told fantastically well and I think your natural flair (or flair you've worked long and hard to achieve, I don't know, it's flair either way) shine through really well. You tell a fantastic story, albeit with my minor worry, and you tap into the emotions of the reader and compel them to read to the very last, twisty line. Keep writing as well as you have here.
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Review of EARTH ABIDES  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (4.5)
Truly brilliant writing. Your writing in first person is absolutely excellent, and the twist and overall message were spot on. Usually if there are no major errors I nitpick, try to find little things to improve. This is so well crafted at every level, I can only praise your work. I can't even point out the bits that I liked because I liked it all! Sorry that this review is useless in the way of constructive criticism, but I do not feel I can suggest improvements. Write on!
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (4.0)
I liked this. It carries an important message, is well written (with no technical issues), and is of a good length - it's not too short to get a handle on but isn't so long you over-elaborate. It's just right.

I have two criticisms. The first one is that this is aimed towards children, and perhaps words such as "beseech" would be inappropriate in this setting. That's really nitpicking, I know, but maybe it's worth thinking about.

The second is that sometimes the rhyming appeared very forced. You have a good sense of rhythm and flow, and that shows in your writing, but perhaps another thing worth thinking about is substituting perfect rhymes for half-rhymes or assonance that sound more natural. However, it also occurs to me that children really appreciate the rhymes, so again, this isn't a solid piece of criticism.

Overall I thought it was a very well-crafted piece of poetry. Keep writing!
10
10
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I want to start by saying I really liked this. You can almost see the character developing as he works through his thoughts, which is fantastic - the piece ends in a place different to its beginning.

I have two criticisms - one, that small mistakes such as "litttle" and "atimes" detract from the flow of the piece - in the middle of what is actually excellent stylistic writing. Your style is really good, I would like to point that out.

The second criticism is that I'm unsure of the structure of the piece. While it was presented as the musings of the addict, it felt less like the character was thinking to himself and more like they were speaking to another person - almost as if they were delivering a speech about overcoming addiction. Perhaps that is what you intended - for the thoughts of the character to speak to the reader. If so, you were successful! However I am unsure that the style reflects the format, if you see what I mean?

I realise I wrote a lot about a criticism that matters very little. The positives are that your writing style is excellent, your characterisation is great, and most of important of all, your piece had a message and an idea. It is powerful and strong writing, keep going like this!
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Review of Faulted  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Your writing has the unusual power to draw the reader in and empathise with the character from the very first word. In terms of negative criticism, I have none. Your prose is grammatically perfect. There are no stylistic or technical flaws as far as I can tell. The whole piece is absolutely gripping.

Many short stories are unsatisfying because they leave the reader with a vague sense of "...And then?", a sense that the piece was too short and left too much to the imagination - this, however, provided a complete story, with all the details and dark horrors necessary to tell a compelling story.

I know I'm gushing now, but to summarise, this is absolutely brilliant writing, keep at it.
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Review of The Eagle  
Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is nice, and certainly evocative of the plight of eagles.

However, there were a couple of spelling mistakes, which distract the reader, and at times the rhythm and rhyme seems a bit forced, so it flows less naturally than some believe a poem should. Of course, criticism of style is highly subjective, but I found this to distract from what you were saying with the piece overall.

Despite this, it was a nice read, of the kind I'd like to see more of. Good work.
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (4.5)
Great, brought a chuckle to me. The only real criticism I have is that this is too short! While perhaps the comedy is aided by brevity, I really like the way you put words together, and I would have loved to have had more verses to read! One other, minor thing is that sometimes the rhythm was slightly disrupted in some places and that an extra mental beat was required to make it flow, but this is very minor and does not detract from the piece.

However, this is fresh, it's funny, it gives me a new perspective on what allotments are capable of and most of all, I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (4.5)
Simply beautiful. This is simple, but nonetheless well crafted. I am unfortunate in that I cannot find anything to criticise about this piece - the rhythm works, the rhyming doesn't appear as forced as couplets can make it sound, the word choice is excellent and you skilfully draw upon imagery and the memories of this couple to paint a beautiful picture, or rather, a final love note.

This is really excellent writing.
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Review by Iris Archwood
Rated: E | (3.5)
I liked that this was very evocative - the wind and good use of imagery call up the right pictures and ideas to convey what you meant to. The images selected fit very well.

Sometimes I felt that the line breaks and word choices hampered the rhythm and flow of the piece. In other places, however, the break of rhythm was suitable and used quite well and in still others the word choice and line breaks were perfect for creating flow. Therefore I can't offer any specific advice as you already know how to do this well - I think this is just something to be aware of as you continue to write and build upon your skills.

Overall I liked the idea and message. This poem contained what I look for in every piece - a fresh perspective or thought, and you have certainly accomplished this. Your style is good overall as well. 3 1/2 stars.
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