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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/azrael.tseng
Review Requests: OFF
295 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
Still discovering it. I prefer to review only works that touch me in some way, or from writers I know want honest feedback to help improve their work, and I'm actually in a position to give it.
I'm good at...
Spotting grammar and mechanical errors... from a career as an English teacher. That said, there are those here who school me on intricacies I've never learnt about the language. Also better at reviewing stories than poetry, although it is exhausting to pick through a mistake-filled piece. I think I can give a fairly decent review on short stories, but I'm nowhere near the level of the best ones here.
Favorite Genres
Scifi, fantasy.
Least Favorite Genres
Non-fiction. Personal. Comedy.
Favorite Item Types
Static items & book entries containing stories and poems.
Least Favorite Item Types
None.
I will not review...
Haven't been asked to review something I regretted yet.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Pretty Ugly Words  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi IceSkatingSugarCube ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Pretty Ugly Words on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Well, I learnt a new form! What a cool name too--etheree.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
You've taken this and given it a creative twist of your own, the result being an excellent capture of a nerve-tingling and memorable experience.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
The bravest heroes don't kill monsters; they vanquish their own fears.

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
Ha, this title brought to mind Girl with a Pearl Earring. I think your poem managed to capture the 'light' of this moment of a boy conquering his fear of heights/falling/jumping from height similar to the iconic way the painting managed to capture light's reflection.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording -
I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
I liked the simple touches you use to great effect, such as using all big caps for WAY to express both the height as well as the boy's trepidation.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of Summer 's Palette  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi 🌜 HuntersMoon ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Summer 's Palette on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
It's always a delight to read one of your works, and this is no exception. You've really managed to capture a brilliant spread of colours here.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
Focusing on the vibrant colours of the season is typical for spring since it serves as a nice contrast with the monochrome of winter, but you've made summer proud here. The difference in intensity between spring and summer colours is well portrayed.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Summer is a worthy rival to the much lauded palette of spring!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title -
The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see, to borrow your own line (lol, this whole review template was based on yours since it is so effective!) Summer's Palette is a perfect fit for this poem, as is the picture you chose.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording -
I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
I've always struggled with form poetry, and so it is always inspirational to read a well-constructed one as this one is.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
The second stanza is my favourite with at least half a dozen specific and vivid colours depicted. This poem has high visual impact.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
Ah this spurs me to rise to the challenge of crafting my own gwawdodyn! A wonderful example for others to learn from.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi S.z.kamoonpuri ,

Thank you for requesting a review from me. I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Bullfighting and bulls on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers"SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
The exuberance positively spilled forth from the title and the starting lines of the poem, with the use of alliteration and strong diction such as 'fuming' and 'fierce' setting the tone early. Bullfighting is something foreign to me (never watched one, not even on Youtube or telly) so I'm sure there are many nuances that slipped by me.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Overall I'm not quite sure what the intent of the poem was. I know it's about bullfighting, but the tone varied from frivolous at times to forbidding at others so I couldn't quite figure out if it meant to portray bullfighting in a positive or negative light. The rhyme scheme for me actually detracted from the poem--it gave me the impression that random impressions had been cobbled together to fit the rhyme scheme rather than to deliver a focused message or depict a specific portrayal.

The last two lines had the most impact and encapsulated a meaningful reflection well,

'Yet if any bloodlust instincts be satiated by those stuntmen toreros
matadors maybe far better than murderers and war heroes.


However, I'm not quite sure what the second line means 'On yor species will you place yor bet!', especially with the exclamation mark. Is the announcer insisting on the audience placing bets on the matador? How does betting in bullfighting work? Do people ever bet on the bull to win, or do they only bet on which matador will do best against other competitors? I suppose those unfamiliar with these rules might feel a little thrown here.

'Aiming the blade into shoulder blade' I'm sure there's some kind of wordplay intended here but unfortunately again I failed to grasp it. Do matadors use knives or swords or some kind of blade? And the mention of dart-throwing also puzzled me. Who throws the darts at these events?

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title -
The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see. 'Bullfighting and Bulls' describes the poem well, although I wonder if a simple 'Bullfighting' would also suffice. What effect does adding 'and Bulls' have?

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording -
I noticed little that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.
I couldn't really understand the choice to spell 'your' as 'yor' (line 2) but it seemed deliberate so I figure there must be some intended effect I simply failed to grasp.

matadors maybe far better than murderers and war heroes. (may be)

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
It's certainly commendable that you managed such rhymes across the entire poem, but I personally felt that you achieved better effects with your use of alliteration. I could not figure out a specific reason why you chose regular rhymes that appeared not to fit any particular form (I must confess I'm not an expert on form/structured poetry so this could easily be a form I'm simply not familiar with).

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
jaws of death' I was kind of thrown by this imagery, since it evoked sharp teeth (and quite possibly sharks, I blame Steven Spielberg) but we are surely meant to picture sharp horns?

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
What would get a more positive response from me in this poem would be a more focused build-up leading to the last two lines, which I feel are the best part. Perhaps consider a classic sonnet form with three quatrains describing various aspects of bullfighting that build on each other, and then turn everything on its head with the impactful rhyming couplet at the end?
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)

Hi, K5Rakitan , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "Kaiba's Prostitute - Part 1 -
To start off, I must qualify that I have never read or reviewed fan fiction before, nor am I familiar with Seto Kaiba. Thus whatever views I offer here are limited to that of a non-fan with few insights into the the conventions of this particular genre.
Your writing is is really good on a technical level, exhibiting a good command of language, a wide variety of descriptions, and generating enough narrative flow to keep the story moving along.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Marc brings his girlfriend Joan to his office and introduces her around, including to his wife Laura?? Weird. Seto arrives and imposes himself, showing who's boss... I pretty much only read till Chapter 2.

Your chapters end off at strange points, more like scene breaks in an episodic anime series than a novel. In fact, some of your narration sound more like script directions than storytelling e.g.

Marc led Joan through the maze of desks to the only other familiar face in the room: his wife Laura. Laura’s middle-aged features were smoothed by flawless makeup and an impeccably clean-cut Italian stood beside her chair. Joan tried to get a good look without staring too hard.

Marc kissed Laura and Joan exchanged nods with her. “Matteo has a theory on Dark Magician Girl,” Laura said.


The more I read on, the more I'm convinced your background is in scriptwriting, or you've been influenced more by watching TV or anime or both than reading books. The amount of dialogue you put in relative to narration, the kind of almost frivolous interactions that hardly ever make their way into a novel but is an essential part of scene-setting in TV, which relies on character dialogue and mise-en-scene to convey most of the story... now this isn't a bad thing per se, but I'm not convinced that the average fiction reader will lap this up. It gives the impression of not being focused on the story, and having too many unnecessary distractions thrown in.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
There might be a few too many characters introduced all at once to keep track of, with just enough descriptive attention paid to each that might elevate him/her to slightly more than a scene extra to a reader. This can be a good thing, but you might want to ease off on having too many new characters appear all at once in one chapter.

To outsiders who don't know anything about the characters or backstory, it's definitely odd to witness a guy nonchalantly show off his girlfriend in front of his wife, and get no reaction from either.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
You've got excellent writing, easily working in varied descriptions to make sentences flow.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
There's quite a lot of visual detail--you have descriptions of pretty much every character, including their vibe. Lots of dialogue. Again this shows the TV influence. However in fiction writing, a writer needs to engage all five senses, and I've seen very little evidence of that so far.
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

at the base of a three-story Victorian building (storey)

intricately detailed three-story buildings (storey)

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I really can't comment on what value this adds to Seto fan fiction since I'm unfamiliar with the canon, but I think you'll do very well as a script writer.

Thanks for a great read!


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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of A Mind for Sale  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)

Hi, jdennis , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "Invalid Item -
Wow, I remember reviewing another story of yours but this one really blew me away. The concept and portrayal of the Memory Traders' exchange was fascinating and engrossed me in the story, as well as establishing the distinct scifi flavour of your story world. I also had the pleasure to read some wonderful descriptions that gave better testament to your language ability which I had previously underestimated.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Michael is trying to rescue Tahlia by offering a memory trade. Things go awry and end in a shootout, when Michael is joined by Father Klignen. The only gripe I have is the part when the Trader gave the orders to capture Michael, triggering the firefight. I think there can be a better way to initiate the action part of this story. I imagine that if I were the Trader and have the practice of reneging on deals or kidnapping whoever I wanted to trade with Tyr, I would have a better system of doing so than screaming across a large space and warning my prey. This part kind of irked me, but I know you will be able to find a way to smooth it over.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Michael enjoys the added details of his memories and the intelligence displayed through his interactions to colour his character, although it would be good to add some physical features as well, since he is the protagonist after all.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
Told from third-person omniscient perspective, I sometimes got a little lost tracking who says what during the dialogue exchanges. It might be helpful to slip in a dialogue tag every once in a while to help the readers keep track.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
The boat dock, the smell and lighting, and the general condition of the people all help to give the reader a good sense of the world the story is set in.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.
I noticed nothing amiss-- this was a well-vetted piece of work.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I would love to read more about this world. Keep writing!

Thanks for a great read!


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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi 💙 Carly - Happy 2022! ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Spring - A Word Sonnet on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Wow, I've never read a word sonnet before so this had the added impact of encountering something new. I was impressed by the very specific mood and imagery you managed to capture in 14 words!

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
A scent, a colour, a movement, all combining to create the very welcome mood of spring when it finally gets warm!

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Wake up, everyone! Winter has come and gone! Ciao, Night King!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title -
The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see. 'Spring' may be a well-worn title, but it fits this poem very well.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording -
I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing. I do wonder if the capitalisation of 'Scents' and "Lilac' in the second and fourth lines was deliberate or a typo though, since none of the other nouns were capitalised.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
You put in the very helpful footnote regarding the conventions of this particular form, and this poem followed the rules perfectly with 14 lines of a single word each.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
I like the light, breezy mood this poem managed to convey so effectively.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
I can't think of anything I can suggest to improve this poem. Hope it does well in the contest!

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hi IceSkatingSugarCube ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "The Aluminum Steed on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Aha, my very first impression had little to do with the poem but rather the fact that you're entering your own contest??? That made me do a double-take and I had to check to see if you were actually the same person. I suppose it'll work if it's meant to be a sample, or the contest is being judged by a different person. Anyway on to the poem itself.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
It's always going to require a healthy dose of creativity to effectively paint a bicycle in the reader's mind without using any of the taboo words. You've done a wonderful job here, and this deserves to be a showcase item on the contest to inspire would-be contestants how it should and could be done.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Bicycles are wonderful, environmentally-friendly contraptions!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title -
The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see. 'The Aluminium Steed' is an excellent choice, but you may want to check your spelling again!

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording -
I noticed little that jarred or confounded the reading (other than the spelling typo in the title mentioned earlier). This is always a sign of good writing. Punctuation is a little scattered and inconsistent, but personally I'm not particular about that in a poem. Some others may be, however, so you may want to consider plonking down some of those periods and commas.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
Rhyming couplets are a great choice here. They impart a sense of childish wonder that perfectly complements the feel, word choices as well as the subject matter.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
The mood of the poem is mainly established though the rhyme scheme and excellent choice of diction. My favourite part is the last line "boy oh boy, my legs are pooped!"

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
An excellent poem with its unique voice and take on the subject.

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

Hi Mastiff ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "The Eagles Misunderstood Fanatics. This story was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "The Eagles Misunderstood Fanatics -
It's full of insider cultural references that those who get it would totally get it. Unfortunately being neither American nor a baseball fan, most of them went way over my head. I'm sure it just needs the right audience though.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Um well, this isn't a story per se, so there is actually no plot to comment on.

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Hmm, the narrator (assumed to be the writer) certainly has a voice. Die-hard Eagles fan, or is it fanatic? And as claimed, he certainly knows his Eagles history well.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
This is the feel of a blog or opinion piece from the first-person point-of-view of a fan.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
I noted no mistakes at all. This is always a sign of good writing and vetting.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I'm no expert on flash fiction so I'm not exactly sure whether this is considered one. It certainly meets the word count criteria but I wonder if it needs to be historical fiction or simply contain historical information to qualify. In any case, I hope your entry does well for the contest!

Thanks for a great read!


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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

Hi ruwth ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "ruwth is writing... on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This story was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "ruwth is writing... -
I taught for almost two years at a school with special needs children, and my own son definitely has some traits--he has crazy intense concentration but needs everything to be a certain way. He also smells everything, especially anything on his plate before he eats it (even stuff he eats every day so maybe he was an imperial food taster in a previous life). So there's definitely plenty in this story I can relate to.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
A job coach learns more about ASD and how to come to terms with those who saw and responded to the world very differently.
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Is there a particular reason why you choose to identify your main character by her occupation instead of by name? This is especially curious since you include personal details about her, but knowing her only as the job coach keeps the reader from investing or identifying with her. I think a name would help.
*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
I'm really not sure whether this is a narrative, even though it has some elements of one such as dialogue and a sense of progression. It doesn't quite follow any narrative structure I know, and the characters are really more a vehicle for a thematic exploration of autism.
*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
Not too many setting descriptions, although certain details such as the sound of lawnmowers, hairdryers, and the birthday cake help entrench this story in realism.
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
I spotted no mistakes that I could spot. This is always the sign of a good writer, and good vetting.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
This is definitely a theme that has the potential to resonate deeply with many people. A good start at probing into it, but I think more can be done. I look forward to it!

Thanks for a great read!


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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review of Celtic Dragon  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi 💙 Carly - Happy 2022! ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Celtic Dragon on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Well, I believe the Celtic dragon was the archetype upon which the standard dragon is based, serving as inspiration from Anne McCaffrey to the Dragonlance duo Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It was the first kind of dragon I became familiar with, oddly enough, and only later on in life did I become interested in and aware of the differences between the eastern and western versions of this creature. Therefore it was with great interest that I approached this poem, to see what new understanding I might uncover. I think you chose to focus on the right key characteristic of the Celtic dragon, and their unique attunement to ley lines and spiritual spots of energy.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Celtic dragons have a special role and place as a bridge and link between this world and other realms. More importantly dragons have always served as the most popular gateway for fantasy lovers to escape into magical realms!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
Celtic Dragon describes the subject and content of the poem well,. However it could be a bit more intriguing and mysterious instead of quite so literal, what do you think?

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed little that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

Like Stonehenge
That pulses with an inner hum

(Since Stonehenge is singular, should the verb 'pulse' be in singular form too?

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
This was written in free verse, which has no form or rhyme requirements.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
Stonehenge, Pendragon are evocative of how much impact Celtic dragons have had on dragon lore throughout literary history. From sickle-wielding druids and the legends of Avalon to epic myths of elemental dragons, Celtic lore is simply amazing.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
This was a well-crafted poem that captures the characteristics of the Celtic dragon. I hope it does well in the contest!
*Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi 🌜 HuntersMoon ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Memory’s Winding Road on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
A smooth and delightful read, as your poems always are. Also you're not that old!

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
You always manage to come up with good creative rhymes that read really smoothly.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
You're old if you have the same memories as I do!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
I thought this was an appropriate title, although I wonder what makes memory's road winding here.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
The chosen form for this poem was quatrains, and I googled all the various iterations of this hugely popular form. In terms of rhyme scheme (you used ABCB), this corresponds most closely to the Heroic Stanza. Whether deliberate or simply instinctive, I thought it was a hugely fitting. The rhymes were perfect, and in terms of rhythm I believe the poem read smoothly and well. However in some places I felt the meter could be improved by adhering to alternating tetrameters and trimeters, which you do in stanzas 1 and 2 but not quite in the remaining stanzas.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery/Tone -
The tone is light and humorous throughout, which makes for a very pleasant read.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
Another excellent display of your poetic craft, especially at bringing good rhymes together to tell a message. Bravo!

*Star**Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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12
12
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

Hi ruwth ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "~ This Time It Was Not Her Fault ~ on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This story was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about {item: -
Stories about abuse always have a special resonance with me, since I grew up with domestic violence. I'm impressed you managed to capture the essence of anger without using any of the words on the taboo list!

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
The unnamed main character is abused by her husband until she finally has him arrested and leaves him. Even though she has always been blamed for his violent behaviour, he inexplicably continues behaving with explosiveness in her absence.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
The unnamed main character exhibits some backbone most victims of of domestic violence never do by finally standing up for herself and leaving behind a bad situation. She suffers from self-esteem issues, as most such victims do.
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
Told from the third-person perspective, this creates some distance between the reader and the main character. I am undecided on whether this works better for this type of story, but there is still a power behind this narrative.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
The Nascar reference appears to place this in the United States? I'm not really familiar with Nascar.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

She had done things at times

Did she really deserved being beaten in response?
However did she really deserve being beaten in response?

He justified hurting her time and again.
That was how he justified hurting her time and again.

He threaten to kill her and hide her body where no one would find it.
He even threatened to kill her and hide her body where no one would find it.

he did not like it when Jeff through a tantrum
threw

*Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
A moving and emotionally-charged story about domestic violence always gets a thumbs-up from me!

Thanks for a great read!


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13
13
for entry "Interstellar Travel
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with I Write  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Prosperous Snow Creative ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Interstellar Travel on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Short, simple, and sweet. Not exactly what I'd expect of a 'farewell' poem, but I found it refreshing in its positivity and the hopeful note it ends on.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
This contest never fails to produces gems like this poem that show just how much can be achieved with so little!

*StarG* Message/Theme:
This poem makes interstellar travel sound like a jaunt around the block, or a hop downstairs to the 7-Eleven and back!

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
Great title, nothing to work on here.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
Great example of free verse.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
Cheery and light-hearted, which is almost strange for such a weighty subject that continues to be the focus of many debates, but I welcome this perspective!

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
I have always been hopeful of witnessing mankind colonize the stars (especially Mars) before my time is done. This poem rekindles that wish!
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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14
14
for entry "🏆 Pantheon
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi 🌜 HuntersMoon ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "🏆 Pantheon on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019, and not because I'm stalking your portfolio. *BigSmile*

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
As someone who thoroughly enjoyed a whole semester of ancient Greek literature (and did a thesis paper on The Iliad), merely reading the title "Pantheon" sent little sparks through my blood. The poem itself does not disappoint, with a startling moment of illumination and great uses of imagery, amongst other well-crafted examples of poetic skill and technique.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
The most powerful moment of the poem comes during the epiphany, when the connection between what one would assume to be either the conceptual pantheon of Greek gods (or the lesser known Hindi ones) or the exploration of the famous museum originally dedicated to them, and the persona's precious trove of memories is drawn.

"they form an altar
of yesterdays
in the pantheon of my mind."


*StarG* Message/Theme:
The persona's memories, although seeming lacking purpose or order, form the crux of his personality and person. I really like this powerful and personal message.

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
This poem was written in free verse, which requires no specific form or rhythmic structure. At a glance it briefly resembles a distorted sonnet (3 stanzas, followed by final lines detached from the rest of the poem (English), or 2 shorter stanzas followed by a longer one (Petrarchan). Not sure whether this was deliberate.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
As an exploration of one's memories, I think the descriptions are wonderful--"stacked haphazardly", "uneven and worn" (which suggests how often they've been "used"), and "Grey and crumbling, // lichen covered memories // hide in the shadows" (great use of personification and both visual and tactile imagery here, and a sly dig at your own age?).

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
If I were forced to bring up one gripe, it would be that I hoped for a stronger, clearer connection/correlation to be made between the persona's memories and either the Greek pantheon of gods, or the museum in Rome (which I think is referenced in this poem, or maybe even both?). Something that strikes with the power of an epiphany. But perhaps in trying to relate to all three (memories, gods, and museum artefacts), this is the best that can be achieved.

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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15
15
Review of The Snowy  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hi Jellyfish here we go again.. ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "The Snowy on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers. This poem was chosen for review because it was the one posted before mine for Rising Stars' "I Write in 2019.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Beautifully crafted. I've never read "war" described with such a gentle touch. This was fresh and unique, completely different from so many other nature poems I've read on this same topic.

*Star* Creativity/Impact:
I really like and admire your take on snow being a recurring battle to be fought, but it is not just that idea but the way you present this particular war that touches me. Everything you describe is perfect and poetic, with light touches of craft rather than contrivance.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
Hello snow, bye bye snow. I know you'll be back, and I'll be ready. Except put across way more beautifully.

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
I didn't really pay much attention to the title at first, and barely noticed the quirky broken-ness of it. However after reading the poem, I came to appreciate how well it matches the voice and style of the poem and your unique poetic voice.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.
I frowned at the capitalisation of "Came" initially, as it somehow led me to disturbing and seemingly jarring thoughts of aliens taking over the world. Yet these odd undertones fit in perfectly with your interpretation of the snow invasion as the rare, unexpected-but-not-entirely-so occurrence it appears to be. Weird how it works but it does, at least for me. I didn't understand the use of "breach" at first either, until the war metaphor came up more clearly later.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
The poem flowed well and read smoothly from beginning to end.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
I was very impressed by the imagery you evoked throughout the poem.

crystal candyfloss
Tactile textures of brittleness, softness, fluffiness and fragility all conjured up with this beautiful word pairing--wow.

Icing Sugar
Across the cricket field

Visual and tactile combination, with gustatory notes of sweetness to top it off--mmm.

Crowding along rooftops
And hedges

A simple yet effective bit of personification here that perfectly captured how thickly the snow is built up and the linear alignment as well.

Little armies they formed,
Dressed in sparkling white

I have never brightened to the visual image of an army before until now. This somehow conjures up toy nutcracker soldiers and Christmas scenes.

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
I'm not sure if I've ever come across your work here, but I'm now making a note to check out your portfolio! Wonderful work on this one, and I hope it does great in the contest.

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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16
16
Review of Entwined  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi 🌜 HuntersMoon ,

I'm glad I read this work of yours. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work "Entwined on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

*StarB* First Impression/Thoughts:
Okay, I always find it difficult to critique the works of authors/poets whose mastery of words and form far surpasses mine, so I simply avoid leaving more than a Wow! You are one of the first names on this read-but-don't-embarrass-yourself-with-a-review list. *BigSmile*
That said, I also feel guilty because I have benefitted so much from your reviews, and I kinda feel like I'm your poem stalker. I don't know how you do it, but all your recent works I've been reading are simply perfect. They capture so many sentiments and nuances that I want to express, but can't find a way to especially in poetic form.
The thing that turns me off most romantic poetry is how often I'd come across a cringe-worthy line soaked in cliché or sappiness; in your poem, I find only sensitivity and tenderness. Words and perspectives from someone who's experienced it and truly understands love?


*Star* Creativity/Impact:
I love your take on the image prompt. Honestly, I doubt anyone would have interpreted it the way you did, as an entwinement of lives.

*StarG* Message/Theme:
The message of two being better than one (not a reference to polygamy) isn't startlingly new, but the way you put it across as a wondrous dawning of realisation and appreciation by someone quietly watching a lover/partner is so perfect.

*StarR* Technique/Technical Notes:
These are just my thoughts and observations. I may not have read the work the way you intended. Please decide for yourself if these comments are helpful to you; if not, feel free to disregard them.

*BulletB* Title - The title is the first thing that prospective readers will see.
The title gave me a bout of nail-biting because I worried it might be sappy and cliché! However after reading the poem, I think it is wonderfully appropriate. It connotes a connectedness on more than just a physical level.

*BulletG* Grammar/Wording - I noticed nothing that jarred or confounded the reading. This is always a sign of good writing.

*BulletR* Form/Flow -
There's a reason why I usually write in free verse. I'm terrible with metrical rules and conventions, and have a poor ear at distinguishing stresses and rhythms. So it's probably just me, but I wondered if having a sentence stop mid-line (line 2) might adversely affect the flow? I do it all the time in free verse, but I don't know if form poetry has rules about that.

*Bullet* Emotion/Imagery -
I love...
the alliteration of "lives and love's" (line 4),
the gentle erosive imagery of "Time, like a river, wears our passions down."

so even though stanza 2 isn't traditionally romantic in its portrayal of how time whittles away at a relationship, I found it poignant in its realism.

The rhyming couplet at the end is somewhat reminiscent of the ending to Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, except instead of "my heart with pleasure fills", you have "wonder fills my soul". Homage, or coincidence?

*StarBr* Overall Rating/Final Thoughts:
Simply put, I love this poem and wish I wrote it. *Laugh*

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*
Thank you for a wonderful read!


Keep writing! Wishing you all the best,

Azrael

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17
17
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)


Hi, Monochrome , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "ISOG & THE VOICES IN HIS HEAD -

Your character names are very unique and certainly leave a lasting impression. They evoke flavors of long-lost civilizations and cultures that are perfectly suited for a fantasy type story.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot/Structure:
The part about Isog being an orphan can be woven in more smoothly. Inserting it after he makes a kill makes little sense to me and does little to help the flow of the narrative. It kind of helps explain why he is living alone. However if you really want to let the reader know this about him from the start, you should also show how this has a greater impact on his lifestyle and actions than just a solitary life.

I wish something more exciting than stabbing a snake happens in this first chapter, especially when the second part makes it sound like half the chapter was simply a dream.
*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Isog and the voices in his head can all do with a larger injection of personality. Try to work this out through their private conversations.
*Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
I think you should look at all the adverbs and adjectives you use in the story, and consider either removing some completely, and replacing some by showing instead of telling.

However, how did it freaking happen?
The use of the expletive here sounds inconsistent with the narrator's voice and more like the character's. Perhaps you should express this as a piece of internal monologue by italicizing? Remember you're telling this story from 3rd person POV, not first-person.
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:

If this is supposed to be a fantasy story set in a different world, it would be good to have place names that reflect their characteristics. Save your descriptions for parts that would make this world stand out and leave an impression on the reader, rather than just slotting them in all over.

He could see its small opening from afar that could just fit a six-foot man with a 50-inch shoulder width at a time.
The descriptions seem to portray a primitive world. Why would they have such precise measurements, or use the Imperial system? Sounds incongruent.
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

Generally sound grammar with only a few mistakes.

three-foot long
three feet long

walked forward quietly with his bare feet, and stepped towards the river.
(walked and stepped are essentially the same action. Do you really need both in the same sentence?)

“We got ourselves dinner!”, he proudly exclaimed.
(unnecessary comma)

“You’re useless! You should just throw yourself at the cliff and die!”
off a cliff

to jerk out of surprise and spilled the soup.
spill

he just cursed at it, then and turned a deaf ear.
Do you need both "then" and "and" here?

continued walking away from the river heading to the graying forest.
"Continued", "walking", and "heading" all serve the same function. Do you really want all of them in the same sentence?

He walked for a few feet more heading to the exit of the woods.
(Same comment as above)
*Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I think that if you work on your characters (especially the voices in Isog's head, which are a feature with some potential) and presenting your world in a more focused and intriguing fashion, I would be glad to read it again.

Thanks for requesting this review!


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18
18
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Mastiff , I'm really glad I found this. Here's what I *Heart* about "I've Seen That Grin -

It's hard to fit much into 24 syllables and I think you did well here, painting just enough detail to let the power of suggestion in your final line 'led them to sin' allow the poem to continue growing in the reader's mind.
*CheckB*

Thanks for a great read!

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19
19
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)

Hi, Xarthin I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "Shadows of Tomorrow -
You write really well, and when one considers that you're writing in your second language, what you're doing is even more impressive. I browsed through pretty much all your short stories, and I see a similar vein running through all of them. This one stood out because it had a particularly effective and smooth beginning.

To be honest, I think most of your short stories would probably be considered flash fiction; a couple of them are more like vignettes or scenes with a bit of a point. Let's delve into what makes this story work.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
I see you went for a Sixth Sense kinda thing here. It's overused, but can still be effective if executed well, and I think you did a good job of keeping the twist hidden till the end. A couple of niggly things that ate at me but didn't really stop me from enjoying the read -- why do Rudolph (quite terrible name for a pilot, really, or for anyone not a reindeer) and Nadia seem like the only 'survivors' in this apocalyptic world if nuclear fallout did kill everyone? Why would wolves and deer survive when pretty much every human didn't?
Also why are they trapped in this existence?
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
You must watch a fair bit of American or British TV because you write pretty good dialogue. The characters come through well mostly through their banter. These are some of my favorite lines:

And mankind gets a permanent F in history.

plunged into the asphalt jungle, nicely lit by big mushrooms,

Humankind will get out of their holes, and start digging holes again for each other.


You use dialogue to describe the world pretty well too.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style + Setting:
You've got a good balance of description and dialogue, and some of vocabulary's pretty impressive, like this one:

A movie projected around her in black and grey by the rays of a dying sun, struggling to penetrate the festering duvet of dark clouds above her head.

Sometimes I think you try too hard though. The following similes were a bit of an overkill for me, or just didn't work.

Nadia watched the pilot's smile melt on his face like plastic in a searing heat.
The image of hot, melting plastic ties in nicely with Rudolph's fate but steals attention from his words which I felt were more important. One thing I learnt about the spotlight is that if you use it too many times, the effect gets diluted. Every time you use an image or metaphor or vivid description, that's one use of the spotlight. You gotta get a feel for whether you're over-using it yourself, or use trusted reader input.

Her hand hit her forehead like a falling brick.
Overdone, I think. A falling brick has too much impact and goes a different direction from how I'd imagine her hand going.

opening her arms like a pop star trying to hug legions of her fans.
This one just doesn't fit into the mood and theme of the story at all.
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.
Your grammar's a lot better than a fair number of those writing in their native language, I'd say. There were a couple of instances where I could tell you aren't native, mainly odd usage of certain conjunctions. Nothing major though.

the same, old uniform worn by students of the Muffley High School.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*


FINAL THOUGHTS
If you're really as invested in improvement as I think you are, then hopefully you won't be bothered by my pointing out that this is effectively a scene with a revelation twist at the end, and not really a story. It lacks a complication. This is something I learnt the hard way as well, since I'm used to the East Asian narrative which does not require a complication like the western narrative structure. I'm still learning how to weave in effective and engaging complications into my stories.

You've got good language, a keen eye and ear for detail and authenticity, and know how to spring a twist on your reader -- all of which put you in very good stead.

Thanks for a great read!


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20
20
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: GC | (3.0)

Hi, magma-rage, I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "The Human And The Beast -
I love your ambition to write a novella in your second language! Even though I am effectively bilingual, I could never attempt something like that in my weaker Mandarin. I hope you get lots of help and encouragement to complete and polish this novella up to where you want it to be.
The title sounds translated, which can be a draw or a drawback. There's a certain simplicity to it, but might not appeal to more sophisticated readers.
It's quite incredible that you managed to get so much of this already down before putting it up for feedback. It takes a lot of effort and will to keep writing with little feedback and/or encouragement, so I really admire your tenacity in this respect.
Finally 'furry' fiction is very niche, so you must have really strong reasons for choosing this particular genre. I've only ever attempted this genre once before, and you might be interested in reading it, if you haven't already (it's one of my current highlighted portfolio items). I suspect it might be why you chose me to review your story. Anyway this shows that you have a very strong idea about what you want to get out of your story -- the message you want to send, and that also impresses me.


Since there is so much to go through, I will focus mainly on the prologue for this review.

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
The first thing that struck me upon reading is how much this sounds like notes for your novella than the actual novella itself. Unfortunately this is not a very good thing. Your storytelling needs to be more immersive and not just present the events plainly. This can be really difficult to do in a non-native language (I know I won't be able to do this in Mandarin either).
One way to do this is to adopt a character perspective and stick with it. This means showing what happens through his eyes, rather than through yours -- the storyteller. This can get a reader more involved in the story.

You definitely do not want to have two consecutive sentences that both sound like story-starters, like what you have done --It all started on a seemingly casual summer day. Once upon a time in the Atlantic Ocean,
Using two similar structures is redundant, and these particular cliches immediately show that your story is told from the third-person omniscient narrator perspective. This is not necessarily a bad thing (everything's a stylistic choice when it comes to writing), but in the case of this story I feel it creates a withdrawn atmosphere and fails to engage the reader.

Now to subtly switch to the more popular, simple and effective third-person limited (by character) perspective, you simply present only what your character knows and sees/hears etc, instead of what you (the narrator) knows. This is better done through showing rather than telling, which you do. This is an example:
so you want to show your readers that Cooper is on a cruise ship on the Atlantic and feeling troubled (these are more like notes); don't just tell the reader that! Show it to them and let them come to that conclusion themselves instead.

The pleasant, mild warmth of the clouded summer sun settled gently over the smiling, indolent sunbathers on the pool deck of the Superstar Virgo. Leaning hard against the protective railings and gazing out across the sullen blue of the Atlantic, Cooper felt far from the crowd. His troubles wrapped around him like a perpetual cloud he could not see out from.

The above are my words, my way of trying to express the same ideas you tried to present in the first paragraph of your prologue. It may not come so easily at first, but keep trying and you'll get better at showing and presenting your story to the reader like a movie instead of telling it like your tell your friends or family what happened to you that day over dinner.
*Star**Star**Star*


*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Cooper meets his new friend Leon during the day on a cruise ship and the story suddenly jumps to the night when the ship crashes? wrecks? and Cooper is swept overboard. Personally I wouldn't recommend juxtaposing the two segments within the same chapter/section without a smoother transition. Perhaps you can simply start off with the night scene with the storm raging to deliver the readers right into pulsating action. Following Cooper as he tries to escape the ship will also give you the opportunity to introduce the readers to the setting as well.
*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
In the notes at the beginning, you mentioned that one of your main characters is a lizard man -- is that Cooper or Leon? There is hardly any description of either of them, so the readers know nothing about them beyond their names. While you may wish to wait till later to add layers of complexity to them, I think that right from the start you need to give your readers something to go on -- something about their appearance or dressing perhaps, or something that stands out about each from the first impression.
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
When you tell rather than show, it becomes very difficult for the reader to visualise or 'experience' the setting. Here we know Cooper is on a cruise ship on the Atlantic, but for those who have never been on one or seen that particular ocean, how will they know what it would be like? Use the five sense and let your readers experience what it's like to be inside your story, instead of being outside looking in through a haze.
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
I think your grammar's a lot better than you give yourself credit for! Anyway this is probably the least important (still important though) component. I think after you polish up/redraft the other aspects of your story, then you could spend some time going through the grammar again.



FINAL THOUGHTS
This is an impressive effort from a new writer, especially a non-native English speaker! While I may have highlighted a lot of areas that I would like to see improved, please do not be discouraged or put off (hopefully my tone's not too critical). I believe the will you've shown in getting so far demonstrates your desire to improve and to tell this story well, and you will get there.

Thanks for a great read!


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21
21
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)

Hi, Writerboy74 , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "Invalid Item -
From the gripping title to the atmospherics you do well to inject, I can tell you have a good sense of what you are trying to achieve with this not-quite story. I would call it more of an exercise in description, and a pretty good workout it is! You put the reader into an extremely plausible setting, and play on fears that are common to many of us.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
The story starts off well with the introduction of the main and only character, and carries on to introduce the horror element. There is a bit of psychological play a la 'Turn of The Screw' where the reader is made to wonder if the whole thing is simply a figment of the character's imagination. The cliffhanger ending leaves the reader to imagine whether Annalise gets away somehow or how she meets her end.

I found the introduction of the horror element a little too abrupt. Perhaps this is because you try to play on the whole idea that Annalise might simply be imagining things, but I don't quite think ordinary people jump to such wild imaginings or panic quite so easily. One might get spooked or startled, yes, but usually reason takes over and we come up with a rational reason for whatever unexpected sight we encounter. For Annalise to descend into such gripping horror, I feel there needs to be more exposition into her character and why she might be prone to such thinking.
*Star**Star*{e:Star*HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Since there is only one character in this story, characterisation is obviously an important part of the plot. I like how you portray Annalise as someone who enjoys a bit of solitude. It's something many readers can relate to, I'm sure. I think she can come across as a more believable and sympathetic character if her actions don't devolve into senseless panic so quickly. Perhaps she can investigate, or ignore the face and rationalise to herself what she saw? These come across as more plausible reactions, at least to me.
*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
You definitely have your own distinctive style of description, and I can tell you are working hard to develop it. Good for you!

It looked melted and twisted and was watching her through the scraggly trees. It looked haunted and it increased her anxiety even more.
I would suggest not starting two consecutive sentences with 'It looked'.

The paralyzing fear ate at her heart now, having ripped it open inside of her.
This is actually a grammar issue. The 'paralysing fear' is the subject of the first part of the sentence and you use personification well. However there is no subject in the next part of the sentence. Usually when a comma is used, the initial subject is assumed to be the same for the next part but here it just doesn't make sense. I'd suggest using two simpler, separate sentences.

It froze her as if she were a statue.
How about 'it froze her into a statue'? The way the sentence is structured makes this sound weird, like she is a statue that was frozen but why would a statue need to be frozen?
*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:

*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*{e:HalfStar}

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
Just a few niggly errors that can be easily fixed. These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

her fear-filled mind

This logic didn't help Annalise, nor the feeling like something was there.

She could almost see the drool running down it's chin.
its chin

The sound grew clearer and harsher.

She stared at the face it's yawning hungry expressing amplifying what she felt.
It sounds like you're missing some words in this sentence.

The wind blew, and this caused the face to appear to move slightly, but to her mind it had to be a trick or an illusion of her eyes.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
There's definitely some promise in this short descriptive, and you show how much you care about developing the atmosphere and feel of your story. When it comes to horror, I think that is very important. Keep writing and improving!

Thanks for a great read!


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22
22
Review of A Place Of Refuge  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

Hi, Robert Edward Baker , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "A Place Of Refuge -
The opening paragraph captured the danger and tension of the post-apocalyptic setting perfectly. Establishing a crossbow as the very first subject in the story had quite an impact on me -- right away, I felt there must be a physical threat of some sort, and it created an anticipation of violence and action. Within this one paragraph, you introduced the story setting, main characters, the conflict and drew the reader in through the tangible atmosphere. That is some skill.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Naomi finds and explores an abandoned basement with her daughter, kills two armed men with ease, and then makes the decision to eat them after considering/labelling them as 'animals'. I hope this honesty isn't too brutal -- I felt that the central conflict was muddled. In the beginning, it appeared to be a fight against the elements -- exposure. Then the rising action took place in the form of an armed melee, brief and bloody. Now the conflict seems to be how to deal with human threats. Then some sort of existential/moral 'struggle' seems to take place as Naomi is forced to choose between chasing down an escaped rat, enduring hunger, scavenging, or turning cannibal. Personally I would have preferred to have the story focus on just one of these conflicts and explore its ramifications in this particular context.

E.g. what sort of dangers (perhaps new, unexpected?) does a post-apocalyptic climate pose? How can we overcome them?
Or if humans are the threat, how do they equip themselves with skills or whatever's necessary to survive in this new harsh world? How will an ex-teacher and an innocent child stand a chance against such other survivors?
If the idea of cannibalism is the main conflict, how about going deeper into the obstacles Naomi faces trying to prepare or ingest human flesh? Does it taste bad? Does the idea or knowledge of where it came from choke her? Does she fall ill from eating it due to foreign bacteria?

Just my two cents!
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Naomi and India are well-described with as much depth as a story of such length might allow. My deep love of post-apocalyptic stories and characters, however, would love to understand more about her. Where's India's dad? How have they been surviving -- scavenging? How did she learn her skills? Why were they in a hut?

Since she was accustomed to poor light
I think that this raises more questions (did her hut not have windows? is the whole world covered in smog, in which case everyone would be accustomed and this isn't particular to Naomi) that it develops Naomi's character in any way, so maybe you can save yourself some words here!

This is nitpicking but some things just don't click for me about Naomi -- how is it that an ex-teacher (of which subject?) who has somehow survived the apocalypse doesn't know to erase her tracks even though she's aware of danger all around her, or not to light a fire and let the smoke attract attention, but she can do a dodge-kill blow combo to someone who obviously has fought before... As someone who has gotten in a few scrapes, I know that people who start a fight are either drunk/stupid or have bullied their way to 'victory' before, and know how to 'handle themselves'. So it baffles me that Naomi exhibited the uncertainty of someone new to melee violence could somehow execute her movie-worthy manoeuvre.

“Can’t you just kill their friends too?”
Okay. I just ran away screaming. That is Damien (from Omen) reborn in a girl's body. God save us all.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:

Her thoughts had grown paranoid, but nowadays paranoia was a good thing.
desperate people did desperate things.

Two instances of repetition here so close to each other might dilute the effect, I fear?

a true treasure trove. Just think how many fires so much paper could light!
Haha, I like how you somehow manage to slip in a little of your distinctive humour.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

the padlock snapped open with ease. “Cheap foreign garbage.”
Would it be better to put the dialogue in a new paragraph?

floor-to-ceiling bookshelf

An honest-to-goodness pack of matches

I was taught that using phrases as an adjective requires using those hyphens, but it could really be a stylistic rather than a grammar thing.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
Compared to your earlier post-apocalyptic stories, I think this one could do with a bit more chill factor and focus.

Thanks for a great read!


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23
23
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with  
Rated: GC | (3.5)

Hi, The Lost One , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "The Snowglobe in Space -
This effort reminds me of what I did with my first scifi novel, a 200,000 word behemoth I spent almost three years writing and rewriting. I like that you have vivid images and scenes in your mind and that you put in so much into injecting colour and vibrance into every sentence.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Summary: James wakes up from hyper-sleep disoriented and meets Tim in a cafeteria. They arrive at Terrastra Sunshine, watch its star and see a snow globe float by.

To be brutally honest (and maybe you won't want any more reviews from me after this haha), I think it took too long for the reader to get a proper sense of what was going on. It would be much more helpful if the following line came near the beginning of the chapter instead of the middle. The reader needs to understand the context of all that's happening earlier, so that every action and description has more significance. The way this chapter is set up, you're simply blindfolding the reader, holding the hand and helping them brush a stroke here and there and when they open their eyes they still can't figure out what they're painting or seeing. That's not ideal.

With what little focus he can muster up, he tried to figure out just where the hell he was. The cafeteria, the cradle- no a pod- and the turbulence?

*Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
The protagonist is James who is travelling to a space station called Terrastra Sunshine, although we don't know why. We also don't know what he looks like until halfway through the chapter.

Who is he? What is he trying to do? Why? If these most important questions are not answered as soon as possible, readers tend to lose interest.

if he ever met the genius who put curved fucking walls through this wretched corridor that he would relocate his nasal bones.
Great sentence but the impact is considerably diminished because of a lack of context -- why would he find curved walls wretched instead of pleasant? Why such a violent reaction to them? The reader has no clue, because we don't know anything about this character.

"Ship!" He shouted, immediately slamming his hands to his mouth afterwards.
I have absolutely no idea what he's doing.

"How was the sleep, James?" asked a reddish-brown haired man as he sat opposite of him.

"It was fine."

James? Right. What?


The internal monologue reveals that he doesn't even seem to know who he is, nor the man speaking to him. Why is he even talking to him then, without even first finding out his identity and all those other burning questions earlier?
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
As I mentioned earlier, I appreciate all the effort you've put into 'decorating' your sentences, making them full and flowery. That was the same mistake I made in my first novel -- trying to show off my 'literary skill and prowess', and making the story take a backseat, or simply become a vehicle to showcase my 'incredible talent'.

The most important thing I learnt from far better writers than I on WDC is -- too much description and detail dilutes the effect. Readers stop paying attention. Save the details for something important -- a character trait or perspective, a unique or startling setting/ atmosphere etc. When you have colour and description everywhere, you stretch the reader's attention so much it becomes difficult to focus when it comes to the really important bits.

Also when you try too hard, sometimes you simply end up with descriptions that take too much effort to even understand, or maybe don't make sense at all. E.g.

The darkness left itself to the equally secretive white veil.

as clear as 6-degree myopia


The sentence flow below can do with some tweaking for clarity as well.
"The shuttle has a shuttle? I'll tell you why, because they are cheap pricks.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
This chapter takes place on a spaceship of some sort, although the reader actually only finds this out towards the end of the chapter.

Right, now where was he going, where was he coming from and why the hell did he choose to ride in this piece of garbage?
Okay, so he still doesn't know where he is and yet somewhere he knows he's in a piece of garbage? It doesn't make sense.

he said as he took the carafe from the next table and poured in two glasses.

A few realism incongruities here -- earlier James experienced turbulence in space. Now I'm not sure whether you actually get that in space since air and water currents cause turbulence here on Earth and you don't have that out there, but giving that the benefit of the doubt, why would there be a standing carafe of water and glasses still on the table after the turbulence? Also, if the space line is really so cheapskate that they wouldn't even put in a toilet, why put in a cafeteria then???

One giant gap sat right on where the sky met with its strident counterpart.
This might be an awesome description but I can't really figure out the image it's supposed to paint -- too many big words is like having too many colours on a canvas. What is a 'strident counterpart'? Is this phrase necessary to achieve the particular effect you're going for?
*Star**Star**HalfStar*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

and a checker-designed ceiling

A moment of clarity run over him (ran)

Behind them was the rust-ridden machinery holding out trays.

Ahead of him was four rows of dull coloured shutters. (were)

With what little focus he can muster up, (could)

To Terrastra sunshine, the station? (Sunshine, since it's part of the name, right?)

Do beware of the star's light

the bureaucratic-looking second hemisphere. (what exactly does bureaucracy look like?)

almost toyish-looking trams passing along them at times.

the endless cues on grey exhaust-infested cities of the frontier.

*Star**Star**Star**HalfStar*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I do like the closing image of the chapter -- a snow globe drifting in space. Surreal and some might argue unrealistic, but if you find a way to explain this striking phenomenon in later chapters, it would be awesome. That said, I don't like to make people change their style, but I found that I had to change mine in order to put the focus on the story and not distract from it. My humble opinion is that it would be beneficial if you tweaked yours to allow your story and characters to shine more as well. It was a difficult lesson for me to learn (it's never easy when someone tells you you're doing things 'wrong' when there's not supposed to be any right or wrong in art, right? But it all comes down to what you're trying to do -- tell a story, or show off your fancy writing?)

Thanks for a great read!


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24
24
Review of Copycat  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi {user: , I'm really glad I found this. Here's what I *Heart* about {item:} -

1) I love it when you get back to writing more serious fiction! This was perfectly set up and executed, with not a single detail superfluous or wasted. A writing friend once described to me how good setup was supposed to completely change the complexion and significance of the conclusion, and that's exactly what you've done here. You've given enough clues for the reader to figure out what's happened to the real Mrs Sharpe, but left them the fun of figuring it out for themselves. You've sneaked in just enough references to pop culture, and given this a spin on Invasion of the Body Snatchers to show that cheeky wink without overloading on cheese -- that's the Bob we know and want more of! Definitely one of my favourite stories this year.
*CheckB*

2) It just came to me how it might be funny if you added something to this line, which is actually perfectly fine already but let me know what you think?

Before panic had a chance to raise its ugly head, she squashed it with reason, logic and the heel of her trembling foot right on the shiny disc face.

Too corny? And maybe incongruent with the lesson she just learnt from tapping it with her stick?
*CheckB*

3) A couple of clarifications -- should hyphens for used for these couple of occasions?
(Your words are in pink; my suggestions in blue)

They were such a well-matched couple
it was surely a well-made piece of technology

they'd come in something a might bigger than this. (mite)
*CheckB*

Thank you so much for a wonderful read!

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25
25
Review of Dear Diary  
Review by Azrael Tseng
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
*Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B* *BalloonR*A Knock it Out Reviewing Activity for a Cause- in celebration of WDC 18th Anniversary *BalloonR* *Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B**Ornament1B*


Hi, Genipher , I'm really glad I read this. It is my pleasure to both read and comment on your work on behalf of "The Rockin' Reviewers.

These are just one person's opinions; always remember only you know what is best for your story. I've read and commented on your work as I would try to read my own. If I didn't respond to it quite the way you hope, perhaps you will find something useful in the feedback or forget about it - it's all up to you. It's your story.

Here's what I *Heart* best about "Dear Diary -
Your names! From crazy character names like Squito and Marshfield Beetle to your resource names, I had a lot of fun trying to guess what they would be like with such unique names. And Qwerty? Lol.

*BoxCheckB* 1) Plot:
Captain Bartholomew is recording in his diary when he is interrupted by his lieutenant, who reports that they are unable to beam down to Black Planet for resource extraction. Squito gives the order to observe the planet for an entire year instead. It's not really what goes on in the story, but the mood and humour of the piece that stands out!
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* )2) Characterization:
Captain Bartholomew is just as hilariously Mr Bean as his lieutenant! I like how you portray him as fun-loving and irresponsible through his action, rather than simply telling.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 3) Voice/Style:
I love the wacky, tongue-in-cheek style of the story!
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 4) Setting:
I love the names for your precious metals -- Glitterantium and Strongerthananything-um! *Laugh* Glitterantium didn't quite do what I expected it to, but I thought its properties rather exotic and intriguing. However I was disappointed that there was no description of what Strongerthananything-um does. Why does everyone need it? Perhaps the name speaks for itself? Wait, does Glitterantium literally drive people mad or just metaphorically? If the latter, why would getting an envelope full of its powder have such an effect? At first I thought it literally made people go bonkers, but now I'm not so sure.

I think you're brilliant at coming up with scifi-sounding tech names, such as space quad and Cosmos Amagamation. They do their part well to establish the futuristic setting.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*

*BoxCheckB* 5) Grammar & Diction:
Flawless! Well, um, except for one tiny punctuation thingy below. These are just some observations and suggestions. Please feel free to use them or ignore them as you wish. Your words are in pink, my suggestions and impressions are in blue.

ready to defend myself with a well-aimed karate-chop.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*


FINAL THOUGHTS
I always marvel at those writers for whom humour and wack comes so easily. We haven't had anyone quite as good as Douglas Adams, but perhaps your scifi stories can aspire to take over his throne! Hope your story does well in the contest.

Thanks for a great read!


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