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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/arsuit
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25 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Death of a Clown  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Considering the word limitations inherent in a short story, you did a good job establishing the cops as corrupt, but without crossing the line and making them completely incompetent for no reason. I liked the idea of the cops throwing the case to get back at the councilman for berating them for so long. You also established Douglas as an interesting character in a short amount of time, and I can relate to a guy who just wants to do his own thing without being micromanaged. I question why he is that hostile toward the police, so a little more backstory might be in order.

I liked how you showed the printer printing on its own without having to say, “and then the printer suddenly printed on its own.” Also, the double-cross at the end was a nice twist that caught me off-guard. The moment lost some of its impact because you simply told us that the sergeant had arrived to arrest Douglas. I think it would’ve been better had you started the conversation before he figured out that he was under arrest. Nevertheless, that moment came as a surprise.

Since I’m a lawyer, I have to critique the trial at the end, and, unfortunately, I’m not convinced that this case would survive any appeal. For starters, the prosecution is not allowed to present evidence that the defendant is violent prove that he committed the violent crime. Thus, those character witnesses most likely would not have been allowed to testify. The biggest exception is if the defendant takes the stand and presents evidence that he’s peaceful, at which point the prosecution can counter with evidence that he’s not peaceful. But the defendant must open the door first.

Second, the damning evidence doesn’t seem all that damning. The only name Douglas received from the printer that we know of is Quinn, but he has an obvious connection to Allison: he was her girlfriend’s roommate, and we know that Allison moved in with one of her girlfriends. In fact, it seems that the police had already interviewed Quinn - wasn’t he initially a person of interest? Perhaps the other clues were more far out, but we don’t know because we’re not given those clues.

Given the police’s - and now the councilman’s - hostility toward Douglas, I would’ve been willing to accept that fabricated evidence would’ve found its way in front of a jury. That could be interesting: the cops wanted to get rid of this guy, so they started looking for witnesses willing to lie on the stand once he showed up with Quinn’s name. The prosecutor, who’s probably an elected official, wants a big victory to excite the voter base. And now everybody is against Douglas. The moment would’ve been ripe for some good old-fashioned corruption.

Overall, I was able to put aside my issues with the trial and enjoy the small world you created.

P.S. As you might imagine, my fiancee refuses to watch Law & Order with me.
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Review of Wilson's World  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (4.0)
You have a pretty interesting kid on your hands in this story.

The whole "apparent robbery" angle was neat. I remember being a kid, seeing someone get into his apartment through his window, and assuming he was breaking and entering. You did a pretty good job of describing Wilson's turmoil and frantic attempts to do something without inciting the wrath of the men. Additionally, Wilson's fear of possibly having to identify them added more tension to the scene, because it forces him to balance paying attention (and risk being spotted) or hiding away (and risk the men leaving no witnesses).

However, you could improve the story by showing, not telling. For instance, while I certainly appreciate Wilson's intense disdain for broccoli, I would delve deeper. Does the foul, pungent odor of the loathsome plant overpower his senses? Does the mere thought of being within close proximity of broccoli cause him to vomit? A more vivid picture would help to establish why Wilson sees broccoli as a punishment instead of a mere inconvenience. It would also make the phrase "even the thought of broccoli didn’t matter, he just wanted to see his front door" more meaningful.

Elsewhere, you discuss Wilson getting in trouble for making up stories., but a quick flashback sequence—e.g. "Mother still hasn't forgiven me for the time I..."—would more effectively make the point. On the other hand, you did a good job of showing in your second paragraph, where, instead of simply stating Wilson was scared, you described the fear and provided the example of the well to paint a better picture. I have a better understanding of Wilson's fear because I can imagine myself in that situation. More of that would improve your story.

The ending was really jarring. After the two men started approaching Wilson, he began preparing for battle. Then, without any explanation, he's back at school, almost as if he had passed out from sheer boredom and had dreamed the whole thing. I don't have a problem with that angle, but if that's what you were going for, then you ought to include some indication that he fell asleep—something like, "Groggily, Wilson raised his head, noticing a small pile of drool on his desk." As it stands, the transition seems too sudden.

Overall, I got a kick out of Wilson's wacky adventure.
3
3
Review by Arsuit
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
You have a neat little story about not judging a book by its cover. However, the title is rather blunt and all but gives away the ending.

Mavis's "privacy first" outlook intrigues me. I could imagine this easily backfiring, for instance, by Mavis allowing a given rumor to get out of hand. That could serve as an interesting plot for a sequel, should you choose to expand this world. Because of the title and because you submitted this for the What a Character contest, I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but if it weren't for those two things, I imagine I would've been surprised.

Speaking of the contest, to strengthen this story's "redemption" angle, I would recommend two things. First, do more showing of Mavis's high-standard nature. In the second paragraph, you simply tell us what kind of person Mavis is. Instead of simply telling us that she fires sub-par employees, use the side characters to recount an example of this. The "Theories" paragraph is another instance of telling: you merely listed random rumors. Prior to that, though, you did a fine job establishing Mavis's strict-boss image through the side characters' banter with each other. You also did this with the mall cop character by having him freak out about Mavis possibly catching him spreading gossip. More of that would help paint a more vivid picture of Mavis.

Second, you should show Mavis's path to redemption. For example, smashing a car in the parking lot, based on everything you've told us, should have easily been a fireable offense. Yet, Mavis doesn't hesitate to console her. I imagine Mavis would have struggled with the idea of keeping Allison despite her doing something that would have gotten anyone else fired. By keeping Allison, she sends a message that vandalism is acceptable if you can explain it away. On the other hand, given Allison's situation, kicking her to the curb would be too cruel. This internal debate is where the redemption occurs, but here, it happened offscreen, if at all. Putting it center stage would make Mavis a more complex character.

As for technical comments, there are some minor punctuation mistakes that I won't get into (unless you want me to), but I have a couple of things to touch on. When mentioning your characters' names, you don't hyphenate their names to their titles. For instance, writing "John-from-men's-apparel" makes it seem like his full name is John From Men's Apparel, as opposed to a guy named John who happens to work in the men's-apparel department. Also, I'm wondering why you didn't give the mall cop a name, since he plays just as big a role as the other side characters to whom you did give names. And if you do leave the mall cop nameless, you should refer to him as "the mall cop" instead of just "mall cop," because the latter implies that "mall cop" is his actual name.

Overall, I enjoyed the story.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
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Review by Arsuit
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Normally, I wouldn't comment on typos, but since you requested it in your Please Review post, here's what I found.

Paragraph 6: "SpaceStorm" should probably be two words, and it shouldn't be capitalized unless you're referring to a specific space storm. Here, Reinora calls it "a SpaceStorm," so it probably shouldn't be capitalized.

Paragraph 7: "ash" should be "as" and "What else is wrong..." should end with a question mark.

Paragraph 10: In "The female Mortan," The word "the" shouldn't be capitalized because it's part of the dialogue. In other words, had it not been a question, you'd have written "'during the surprise attack,' the female Mortan..."

Paragraph 14: You don't need to capitalize Healthcare Professional if you're simply referring to that person's occupation.

Paragraph 15: "How is Jakun doing" should end with a question mark.

Paragraph 21: "Threating to tear" should be "Threatening to tear." Also, "Threatening to tear the wires from his body" is a sentence fragment.

Paragraph 24: You don't need to capitalize "Death Credits." I understand capitalizing "Redemption Credits" because that's a court-ordered remedy, but "death credits" seems to be an informal concept used to belittle redemption credits.

Paragraph 25: Remove "that" in "Death Credits that you give me."

Paragraph 27: Add a comma after "Mumbling softly" and change "There is nothing she can say..." to "Is there nothing she can say..."

Paragraph 28: Change "for the dead of our child" to "for the death of our child."

Paragraph 33: Change "that Reinora in looking" to "that Reinora is looking."

Paragraph 35: The phrase "in a one chair small room" is really awkward.

Paragraph 42: "Charge" shouldn't be capitalized.

Paragraph 44: For "why you have been contacted me," either remove "been" or change "contacted" to "contacting."

Paragraph 46: Change "while another two walks" to "while another two walk" and change "where the Yanims new weapon" to "where the Yanims' new weapon."

Paragraph 48: Unless the Mortans (or someone else) named the weapon "Death Weapon," it shouldn't be capitalized.

Paragraph 49: Change "Reinora doesn't aim" to "Reinora aims" or "Reinora aimed" and change "forty others dead Yanims" to "forty other dead Yanims."

As for my review proper, I had trouble keeping track of what was happening because of all the names. It seems you gave each of Reinora's squadmates a name, which is fine in a full novel where those characters either would've already been introduced or would later play a substantial role in the story, but here, their sole purpose appears to be to show the hatred everyone holds toward Reinora. That's a good way to show the hatred, as opposed to simply telling us that everyone really hates Reinora. But these characters exist only in the small paragraphs in which they're mentioned. Throwing so many names rapid-fire makes it hard to keep track of it all, especially since we don't actually need to keep track of their names.

You could make that section of the story much shorter, too. We only need to see the life-support machines, the threats, the head-cocking, the dismissive nurses, and maybe one or two "is he alright" questions from Reinora. Oh the other hand, Arren's paragraph should stay detailed - and he should probably be named - because his reaction is unusually intense.

I'm also not sure why Reinora took all the blame. She said she was the one in command of the ship, but you identified Hevoin as her co-commander. It seems like they both should be taking equal blame. Elsewhere, someone said she wouldn't forgive Reinora for the death of Hevoin. Did he die? And why is Reinora taking so much flak? Was this a routine mission that under no circumstances should've ended this poorly? Did she make an incredibly stupid mistake? Did she lie about what happened to protect Hevoin?

I'm intrigued by the concept of turning forgiveness into a sort of punishment in a military court, similar to a soldier's version of court-ordered restitution. A scene where he's actually handed the judgment, or a scene showing the judges deliberating, would have been nice. It seems really weird that a person whose mistake caused so much damage would only be ordered to casually obtain forgiveness. I did enjoy the ending, though: they want to crucify the guy, but they need him to lead a vital mission.

Your choice to narrate everything in the present tense took some time to get used to. I don't think it's technically wrong, but it didn't work for me.

Overall, I like the core of the story, but I feel like I picked up a novel and started reading halfway through. By adding the missing context and removing unnecessary details, it could be a really good short story.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of The Locket  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (3.0)
I found this story on my Read & Review page.

This is a decent little story. I was able to follow the plot pretty well. You started off strong. The descriptions were pretty good, you introduced both sides clearly, and you set the stage for an epic battle.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see that epic battle. Instead, you summed it up with a single book-report-style sentence: "The small group that went in was now assassinated by the king’s guard." I have no idea what happened. Did the trespassers hold their own before the King's Guard overwhelmed them with a numbers or equipment advantage? Did the weather play a role? Were the trespassers slaughtered almost immediately? You could really improve this chapter by showing, not telling, what happened.

The same goes for how the protagonist infiltrated the castle. I get that she snuck in, but we don't see how she did it. Did she hide in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment? How did she make it through the halls and sneak past the guards who were surely patrolling the interior? When you just tell us that she snuck in, it sounds like she just walked right by everybody as if nobody were paying any attention.

The second half of the story needs to be reformatted to make it easier to read. Generally, a line of dialogue will start a new paragraph. At the very least, you shouldn't have two people talking in the same paragraph, because it can confuse the reader.

Formatting issues aside, the second part was pretty good. You created a tense exchange between the protagonist and the evil king, complete with dire consequences for her failure to escape. The actual capture scene was good, too, because you showed us what happened, rather than merely writing, "and then she got captured."

Overall, the story is a nice start that could be made so much better by showing, not telling.
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Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found your story on my Read & Review page. It's a really good little story. I absolutely loved the second paragraph. You did a great job of describing the rich scenery surrounding Eric. You really brought the place to life.

I also liked the ending. It was pretty touching to see Eric find someone who could fill the grandmother role.

My only complaint is that it sounded so awkward that Eric's mother would suddenly blurt out that Eric has no living grandparents. They're talking about pies, and all of a sudden Eric's mother offers this information out of nowhere. It was kind of creepy, to be honest. I think it would work better if that information were shared by the narrator, rather than through unsolicited dialogue.

Overall, though, this was a really good piece of work.
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Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a good little story about not falling in love as she's walking away. I like how the once-serene beach trail became a monument to his inertia and subsequent regret. You also did a good job of describing the internal debate over whether to invite someone there and then whether to respond to the woman he spotted.

The opening paragraph confused me, though. You started off by describing the deafening roar of the pounding waves and the howling wind. I thought a storm was brewing - those descriptions sound violent, after all. It sounded like a place that would create, rather than alleviate, anxiety and worry. That this place is actually calming and tranquil caught me off guard for a second.

I also wasn't sure about the phrase "halting her forward motion." That's a pretty technical way to put it, and it felt out of place in a story otherwise filled with flowery, dramatic language. The phrase "enhancing his well-being" also put me off. This appears to be a story about potential love, but this phrase doesn't really give love the status it deserves. For instance, my gym membership enhances my well-being; my fiancée does so much more. But that's just semantics, and it could easily just be me.

Overall, this was a good micro story that I enjoyed reading.
8
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Review of Thaw  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (5.0)
That was a really good micro story. You described the first snowdrop so vividly, set the story for her dread at facing what she once loved, and capped it off with a twist that perfectly encapsulated her struggle between wanting time to stop and wanting to get it over with. This would serve as quite the introduction to an arctic adventure.
9
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Review by Arsuit
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
That was a really good story. I loved the tension the two faced as they considered kissing, and your way of describing how they resisted those urges drew me in.

I was a bit confused about why you kept shifting between calling her Henry, Henrietta, and Henrietta Morgan. At times, it felt like a parent using a child's full name when the child was in trouble, but in other places it seemed random. You do that in the end comment too, when you thank us for reading Henry's story and let us know that we can continue reading Henrietta's story.

Personally, I like short chapters, so I would've preferred a chapter break when they get caught. That's just me, though, and I didn't feel like the chapter dragged on too long.

I thought the characters were believable. I was confused, though, when I found out that Mark initially tormented Henry. The beginning of the story implied that it was always the other way around. I was also surprised at how much of a jerk Mark was to Henry. The beginning prepares me to expect Mark to be competitive, but not an outright dick.

Henry's post-game gathering with her friends served as a nice little debriefing and transition to Henry's next worries, but I felt like she was a bit too successful at changing the subject.

Overall, a great story. I didn't want to stop reading until I reached the end.

10
10
Review of Marie  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: E | (4.0)
I've been in a similar situation with the one that got away, so this letter hit home for me, though the outcome in my experience was completely different.

I loved how the chance meeting gave Maria a purpose in life, though not the one she necessarily expected. I kind of felt like Maria was srill bitter, though. She explains herself, but sometimes she sounds like a jerk ("He has helped me in all the ways you never did"). Then again, I guess it's because she's had to keep these words inside her for so long.

I also felt that the part about not expecting anyone from school to attend that church dragged on for a bit too long. After "I didn’t know that anyone outside of my tiny group went to church," I skipped the rest of the paragraph.

I'm glad I kept reading, though, because it was nice how it all came together and how Matthias helped change her life after all.

Great letter, overall. I wouldn't mind seeing this expanded into a story that follows the lives of these characters before and after that meeting.
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Review of Goodbye  
Review by Arsuit
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
That hit a little too close to home, but I guess that's what makes a good poem. I like how you get both sides of the story so the reader can decide what really happened.

I guess my only criticism is that the last set of lines sounded awkward when I read them in my head. Specifically, the line ending in "remember." My brain was expecting that line to have an extra syllable, like "one last time he would remember." Maybe it's just me, though.

Great poem, overall.
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