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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/beckyl/sort_by/r.review_creation_time DESC/page/2
Review Requests: OFF
229 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I have my own style- What I found Worked Well; What Technical concerns I found, such as grammar or spelling; Suggestions for improvement; and Overall impressions.
I'm good at...
My reviews are generally pretty thorough, and I love to read almost as much as I love to write. I feel it's an honor to be trusted to share my thoughts about other authors' work.
Favorite Genres
Horror, Mystery, Comedy, Sci-Fi and Horror
Least Favorite Genres
Gushy romance, though I love plot lines within other genres with love/ romantic themes, fan fiction.
Favorite Item Types
Flash fiction, short stories, poetry.
Least Favorite Item Types
I love books but can't spend the time right now. I can handle chapters though, but sometimes feel at a loss for context.
I will not review...
I haven't met a piece of work I won't review yet. There isn't much I haven't seen for myself, or read about.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of The Patient  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
I like the efficiency and delivery of your story. Often the pace of storytelling doesn't match the story line which can take something away from the writer's intention. You do nicely with this, in my opinion. I think starting out with a question is a little off - it took me out of the story immediately, thinking about the question for myself instead of going deeper into your story. Same with asking the reader to think about skin being twisted, and rats. If you want to get that instant gut reaction, you will have to be more speific, I think. For example, I can imagine a rat sneaking up to me as I am trapped in a confined space, and biting me, but only if you tell me what it looked like, where it bit me, sounds, smells etc. Consider maybe sticking with the 1st person point of view in describing more about the pain. I really liked the expression of the kind of pain that makes you question your faith- it's very broad, but universal.

The phrases about the slow motion button and struggling to keep eyes open is wonderful. The dawning realizations in the hospital, the shock of knowing suddenly what is going on. What a great way to describe shock and the aftermath of horror!

Your imagery about the little man was great as well - while I'm really not sure why he holds, seemingly, as much emotional power as the writer's wife, it's intriguing and it got my mind jumping around. I like the visual detail you gave- I wonder what other senses are triggered as you are on holiday and moving through a busy city? The electric blue eyes seem to elicit calm, relief... Not sure why? I certainly hope this entry is part of a larger story or maybe a book?

So those are my thoughts, and I hope you receive them as my attempt to be helpful and supportive. Please disregard any that do not fit for you, and keep writing!

Beckyl


2
2
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
General impressions: Really neat poem! I love it's haunting quality, and how it captures a variety of locations over a large geography.

What worked well: The rhythm of your lines works well in sort of a lulling manner - almost hypnotic in it's melancholy. I like the idea of the hanging man with something to say, the music and the evil of the prison - all are really distinct places I can instantly visualize and bring my own color to as I'm reading. I also like your placement and repetition of the 'Places...' stanza. My favorite part is the last stanza, and 'the chill...' really excellent.


Technical matters: The first one that made me re-read is the very first line. I think it needs a comma after 'Places'. Places, like people, have memories. Makes more sense than Places like people have memories, because the meaning suffers without that pause. Toward the end, I would suggest a semi-colon after the word Alcatraz.


Things to consider: One suggestion I would have is to consider making your hangman a little more restless. A man cannot be more moved than by love, and I think a whisper or expression don't quite ring true in my mind. Another place you might consider adding something is the Bird Cage - many will know what you are referring to, but other readers may need a little more detail - what element in the music stood out enough to survive as a ghostly memory? What kind of aroma (think adjectives), most aptly describe a Havana or cheroot?

Thank you for sharing your work! Please take my comments as intended - an effort to be helpful. Throw out whatever doesn't fit for you! I really enjoyed reading this poem, and I hope you keep writing them!

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3
3
Review of Atomic Repression  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
The overall concept of anger, especially the explosive kind, is an energetic one! I think it can make for good story motivation, and I can also see how it can be a good basis for a character. In this piece, it seems to be the subject of the self-reflections of a would-be bomber. The question I'm left with, after reading it is, how are you hoping to affect your audience? Is the story meant simply to be entertaining, or cautionary? Or maybe it's a personal journal or musings of a fictional character. For all I know, it could be non-fiction. The title and beginning make me think you are telling readers to beware those suppressed angry feelings, lest they accumulate and lead to an undesired outcome. However, the speaker never really learns the typical lesson by the end, that people all basically good, have feelings and flaws that make them more alike than different. Most of all, that it's just selfish and wrong to harm others, no matter how angry we feel. Happy happy happy *RollEyes* Instead, the speaker has settled on not 'deconstructing' segments of humanity by bombing them, just because they have discovered how ultimately impotent they really are, in the greater schema. I think,if your story is a set up for a bad guy/ psychotic and depressed character, it is a decent start.

So, if this is a short story that you hope to get published at some point, you might start by cutting down the back story a bit. The idea that poverty and rough beginnings contribute to abnormal psychology is a well enough known belief that you may not need to spend so much time on it. You might consider picking your favorite reflection by the character, polish it a bit, and leave the rest out. My favorite would be the Fourth of July reflection. The demon is great! He snuck up on me, like a good demon should, but the childhood back story doesn't add enough value within the context of the story to keep it in. It felt a little like you were rushing to present it as a way to justify the demon's presence. The truth is, if there is a devil inside the head of a person who can't stop thinking of building bombs, it sort of makes sense, so you need not feel you have to tell us why he's there. If it were my choice, I would leave the demon in, give him more detail (smell, a look, a voice,) and let the reader wonder about his origins.

In terms of technical issues, I think you might use a Word based grammar checker. Overall, your spelling and sentence structure is alright, but there are several places where you just need to slow down a little and maybe read your work out loud. Here is an example, and a suggested revision: "I checked my watch before I inhaled from my joint to see it was 23:48 I was walking back home, tonight with a bag of weed and a rolled up lit up J in one hand, my plastic corner store bags in the other." This sentence tries to fit too much descriptive information into the same phrase. Consider: 'I checked my watch as I walked back home to see it was 23:48. I had a bag of weed tonight, and a lit J in one hand. In the other, I carried the plastic corner-store bags.'
The idea is to separate the different concepts, and let them light upon the readers' brains one at a time for maximum absorption. The thing to work on here, is your flow.

Well, I'm hoping there are some helpful thoughts here for you, and I really hope you take this review as my attempt to share some benefit. Please throw out anything that doesn't work for you, as we all have our own unique styles.

Best of luck in all your writing endeavors!

Beckyl
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4
4
Review of Just $29.95  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
You always get me with these short, crazy stories! My eyebrows get lots of exercise, and I laugh at the end. Every time! I find it tough to review your work like everyone else's, because technical errors are non existent, and it all works so well. Just let me know when and where it's published. And thanks for the laugh, and the break from struggling through my own work!

Beckyl
5
5
Review of Instinct  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Excellent work! You had me riveted throughout the story!


What worked well: A good opening, getting me interested and curious about the condition of Isaac, and what's under the tarp! The banter of the two kids before the hunt was perfect - as was the typical awkwardness in the chat between Isaac and his mom. You do a nice job with character building. As the young men aged, their comfortable conversation continued to endear them to me as a reader, making the ending all the more haunting.

Another thing you are really good at is sensory description. The missed shot at that buck had me holding my breath- you have some serious skill in the cadence of your words. I have trouble with this at times- not over-telling, but giving good detail. You are a really good writer. The nostalgia you offer for the hunt, including smells, sounds and feelings was really great.

Technical suggestions: You are pretty solid in this department! In the first two lines, the word radio is repeated. I think you could find a way to leave it out of the first sentence, because it comes with the context of a ride in a pick up, that a song would be coming from the radio.

One phrase had me re-reading a few times: When he and his mother put down the memorial, Isaac saw it for himself, a long winding road enclosed by maple trees. The previous sentence left me watching mom slide down the wallpaper in grief. So I'm not sure if the reference to the memorial was a quick fast forward to them reading something, or drafting words for a newspaper memorial?

At one point, I realized I was so enthralled with the story that I'd forgotten to keep looking for errors! Found this though: Right after James says they need shovels- Charles's Instead of Charles'. Overall, really nice attention to grammar and punctuation.

Other things to consider: I was a little confused, thinking at first Isaac is a child - the Red Ryder reference, the idea that he had no choice but to ride with the driver, and the permission given for him to take a nap, all had me thinking he was a kid or adolescent. Then you mentioned getting laid... I'm thinking it may be good to give readers a slightly more obvious sign post there.

Just a wonderfully written, tense, melancholy story!
Thank you for sharing this, and please take my comments as intended- an effort to be helpful. Toss out what doesn't fit for you.

Beckyl BAM!
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6
6
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Some typos in the title- searching is missing a ‘c’. Also Jamerson is too close to mansion, and there is an apostrophe in there.

My first impression is that I’m tripping over numerous misspellings and grammatical errors. While I see value in letting our thoughts flow freely, leaving editing for later, it’s really important to come back and double check spelling and clean up those trouble spots. The spelling issues are tough to catch. Clack instead of clock, Dairy instead of diary. Because the words you used incorrectly are real words, your spell check isn’t catching them for you. Here is a trick I learned once, working for the government: proofread backward. If you take a moment at the end of each chapter and read a word at a time, then re-read the sentence, it’s easier to catch those pesky errors.
Technical issues: “Andrew awoke, sleeping next to is wife and then realised what had awoken him his-alarm clack, ringing annoyingly loud.” Issues with this sentence include the logic- how can someone awaken, sleeping? Also a missing ‘h’ in ‘his wife’. Clock is misspelled.
What about this: “Andrew awoke next to his wife, to the sound of his alarm clock, ringing annoyingly loud.”
Question about the car- is a “Sedan estate” a make and model of an automobile? I’m from the US, so maybe I’m just not familiar with the term. Another logic problem here though: you have Andrew leaving for work in the battered car, prior to him stepping out the door and saying goodbye to his wife.
The text message is a bit confusing. I think you are hoping for it to feel more cryptic and alarming. It seems like the texter has enough time to say ‘Sry’ for being so short, however they seem to be in some sort of trouble, given the following story. I would try re-writing this part in such a way as to make the reader reflect upon it later and say, “Ah… that poor man was probably eaten by a spider shortly after sending that text!” Also, precinct is misspelled.
Another technical point- when the old lady welcomes the detective in, you may want to pick either Det. Andrew, or Det. Britain. And I’m not sure why she has to address him twice. Also, the second time, her sentence welcoming him in ends with a question mark. I think it should be a period.
One more logic problem: Why did the detective go with the girl and think ‘nothing much of it’, when she asked him to go into the cave, given the fact that the old lady warned him so sternly? I think you either need to add some though processing when he is listening to the old lady, like a suspicion on his part of her having dementia or being a silly old lady, or you need to add some very convincing mannerisms or statements by the girl that would overcome the worry. As it sits currently, it doesn’t make sense.
What worked well: In doing a straight read through, I found the story line very interesting and intriguing. I felt like it had a decent twist- the older woman at the door actually being the granddaughter of the ‘evil’ girl. I really like how you had the old woman pause before answering the detective’s question about there being a teenage girl in the house. It really built the suspense!
The spider was fairly creepy as well. I think the way you laid out the diary entries made the read more in-the-moment, and gave it a quicker pace than just a historical narrative. Nice!
Suggestions for improvement: You need more detail. I felt like I could see some of the actions of the characters, but not their faces or emotions. It would be good to know more about what the cops were dressed like, whether they were good looking, or tough looking… and the stars of the show- the girl and the spider – needed much more detail in description. I think you gave the girl a wonderfully creepy repeating line, “I want my dinner.” And I would like to know if her eyes gave her away at all, or if they were instead, perhaps, so endearing as to be irresistible. The spider was described twice ( a little redundantly) as being the size of a small dog, but I want to know what texture it had. I actually pictured a soft, cottony, benign looking dog. I think it would be great to hear any noises it makes, (you had me cringing a bit when it scuffled on the floor of the cave,) or smells that are disturbing.
I won’t go through the entire story and point them out, but there are several areas with missing quotation marks, and misplaced or missing commas. Take a look at the WDC technical help and find the grammar / punctuation helper, and it may help a good deal.
Overall, a neat read, with a good bit of polishing needed! Thank you for sharing, and I hope you take my thoughts as they are intended: Just one person’s opinion in an effort to be helpful. Discard whatever doesn't fit for you and keep writing!

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7
7
Review of Violin-Tempered  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
What worked well: I was moved by your poem emotionally, although I cannot say that I completely understand it. I got a sense of sorrow, cold and loneliness, as well as an image of a person put on some sort of pedestal with extreme standards for success and worth. I especially liked your second to last stanza- the repetition of 'No one...' was very powerful for me.

What made me wonder: I had some curiosity about why you chose to use single quotes in some places and not in others. It seems like the whole thing is coming from the voice of the violin/ main speaker. So, I'm unclear about who is speaking throughout, if not that same voice.
'I am tired and worn,
I'm a rag that's always worn
My dress will be cuffed
Like the strings so tough'

This stanza seems to lack the same power as the others - mostly because seems (to me) to have a split message. If the message is that the speaker is tired and worn, even to the extent of well used rag, I'm not sure it parallels in meaning with a tough set of strings, or a properly arranged dress. Just something to think about.

Technical suggestions: "... through the air it freeze
Fingers, so cold it could hardly breath" I think it should be 'freezes' to be grammatically correct. Also, breathe is the verb, breath would be a noun. I think, given your context, you are wanting the verb here. *Smile*

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! My review is meant to be helpful, so please take only what makes sense to you, leaving the rest behind.

Beckyl
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8
8
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
OK, you didn't actually wright the word, snuggely- but snugly. That's OK, I enjoyed the humor of your story anyway. Your style seems a bit English and understated, which I like. I thought it was a little interesting how the main character started on a quest to find an expert to interview about being a chef, then found much more interesting company. I think you did a nice job limiting the technical errors to a minimum- so few that they aren't much worth mentioning.

Suggestions for improvement: I think you need to give much more contextual interest for the reader to dig into. I think the dialogue gets a bit tedious after a while, because I don't know what the characters look like. Even the alien- I know a general physical description, but I need to see what they look like- posture, expressions, movement, vibe... I think you have so much more room to grow in your humor by giving a bit more detail. Please take the following example not as a re-write, but a simple example of what I'm getting at:

“Yes, it was. I should have known something big was going to happen to me that night, the chef confided with a wink. I was engrossed in perfecting my signature recipes when I heard something crash! Wait, this doesn't feel right. Chef doffed his puffed hat to run his fingers restlessly through his white hair. A story like this deserves to be told--nay experienced--better! Morphy, prepare the time machine! We'll let Vikram see the events as they transpired that night in their full glory: in person.”

Clearly, you could do much better with the details of your own characters!

Your story is funny, and I especially like the camaraderie between the chef and the alien, and the way they argue with each other. Vikram takes a natural role as mediator, and you do a nice job volleying the comments between them all to make readers laugh.

Good work, best of luck and please take my thoughts as just suggestions, throwing out whatever doesn't fit for your style.

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
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9
9
Review of Through the light  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
What worked well: In general, you had a pretty interesting story line, and a sweet love story. I like the gentl, kind way that Luke talks to Kyra.

Worries: Normally, opposite genders are not allowed to be mentors. I'm wondering if there is an opportunity for some back-story here - why is Luke special? Is there a reason the teacher might want him to become a mentor for this particular student?

Technical suggestions: I have shared quite a lot of technical observation, and I hope it's what you were looking for. My intent is to be helpful, and I hope that you disregard anything that doesn't make sense or doesn't fit for your style.

The beginning seems to need some lead in - where are the characters, the teacher and Luke, when the conversation happens? Why are both of them so hostile? Educators tend to explain things a bit more carefully before demanding a student does something, like working with other students as a helper or tutor.

"I sat through the training, most of the time I tuned out and listened to my music, although this was much better than doing maths!" (Is this meant to be plural?)

"Luke! Take your headphones out of your ear! Did you hear what I just said. (?)" shouted Mrs Maris.

"I'm Kyra, I'm in year 11, and what year are you in?"She said. (Need some spaces between sentences. Also the comma after 11 should be a period, if phrased like this.)

I wondered why she was here if she had no problems, maybe I just needed to become friends with her, and get to know her first before she told me her problems. It was an awkward first session, since she seemed quiet and reserved, but that meant less work for me to do. (This is a good paragraph, both informative and concise with just the right amount of self-reflection.)

No reply. As I thought (need a comma) mum was doing overtime, (this comma is not needed) at the hospital where she works as a nurse. She hates her job, since she gets treats badly, and the pay is terrible, for the amount of work she does. I've been trying to look for a job to help her pay the bills. I have an interview next week for the Apple store, which I was looking forward to. You have a couple of tense conflicts in this paragraph. (You’re writing this in the first person, and at times it sounds as if you are writing in the present tense. However, you often switch to past tense. Consider this for the last two sentences: ‘I’d been trying to look for a job to help her pay the bills. I had an interview scheduled for the following week at the Apple store, which I had been looking forward to.')

I was dreading our next mentoring session since I knew she was not going to tell me anything today, so I came prepared. (I’m unclear about what this means- ‘since I knew she was not going to tell me anything today.)

I was so confused! This girl had no problems at all, she was pretty, intelligent and happy. I didn't see why she needed mentoring. I decided to go see her form teacher, to enquire about the type of person she was. (inquire?)
Had to re-read through here- you left me wondering what happened with the rest of the mentoring session and who ‘Sir’ was.
"Hi, Sir I was just wondering what type of person, Kyra Fischer is?" I said.

"Why are you interested in her?" He replied. 'Who is speaking? I never got to learn who 'He' is.'


WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE GIRLS TOILETS LUKE, GET OUT!" said, Sophie, my ex. "IS THAT MY NECKLACE ON THE FLOOR?"

I think the all-capital sentences are more than needed. I think the content of your writing should convey your meaning – try to describe the physical appearance, motions, emotions of your characters. For example, Sophie could have a shocked expression, throw her hands up and demand to know why her necklace is on the floor. Then you wouldn't even need to point out that she is the ‘ex’.

"Would you ever speak to me if you saw me in before this?" (‘..saw me in.. ‘ seems to be missing a word?)

She lifted up her sleeve to revel several cuts on her wrist. I don't know how, but I found myself with my arms wrapped around her body, it wasn't out of pity just to show her I was there for her. (Can you share what we would be hearing/ feeling if we were in the room watching this scene? Seems like a very powerful moment)

"Everything is fine, really my foster parents love me allot, they buy me nice things, it's just I don't feel like they're my parent's (need a period)they keep trying to buy my love, when all they need to do is give me a hug, take care of me when I'm ill, but that's not the reason for this..."

I really wanted to ask what happened to her parents, but felt that was too pressurising. (I’m not sure about your spelling here, and I think you need to end with a period.)

The paragraph that begins with 'I took her to a field...' was my favorite, by far. You used lovely descriptors, and I felt I could really see the actions of your characters. Nicely done!

"You're different to all the other girls." I think you mean ‘than’ instead of ‘to’.

Thank you for requesting this review, I know I gave you a ton of feedback, and I hope it is what you were looking for.


Beckyl
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10
10
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Well, NateSean, I am a bit taken aback by how interesting I found this piece, even though no one actually died, and there were no love lines, monsters or plots against the establishment. The job in the service industry speaks to me as a worker bee in the human services realm, and made me laugh and nod in agreement several times. I think your technique is perfect, and your storytelling ability is good. I think the only suggestion I would have for you, in this anniversary review, would be to capitalize on the opportunities you surely have to infuse your story with humor. I know this is audio-biographical, but I think that you might reflect upon some daydreaming that may have happened in your day to day work, maybe even fantasizing about warmer or less busy days in the lot... it may add some entertainment value.

Nice work! I like your style.

Beckyl
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11
11
Review of Imagine Green  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
What worked well: Your first person POV is consistent throughout your chapter. Nice! I also completely love your imagery - the distinction you make between gray that reminds one of comfort- such as a grandmother's hair - and the dull sky the speaker sees is really good. I think the flow of your story telling is enthralling. I felt some tension build as you moved from the internal voice of the speaker, from a place so intimate as a fingernail tracing some lines, into the segue you smoothly made into the next chapter.

I think you have a wonderful way with words and a nice pacing of information. You lay a clear groundwork for the storyline, and give an effective undertone of despair and uncertainty.

Technical issues: I only found a couple of errors-
The two paragraphs that begin with: "My body slams..." and "The people in the row..." need to be indented to match the following paragraph. It seems like the spacing and indentation throughout is a bit off.

“Sir-“ A boy in the back stands up hesitantly. Because you are addressing someone, you can do a comma instead of a dash, like: "Sir," a boy in the back...
The following sentence: "...until it's your turn to get off the bus!". You have a superfluous period, following the sentence.

"Curly Hair next to me does to." Should be 'too'

Overall impressions: Really interesting so far! I think you have a good solid style, and I think you are a skilled writer!
Please take my thoughts only as an attempt to be helpful- throw out what doesn't work for you.

Beckyl
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12
12
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Wow, there is something about your style that is incredibly real - the way your story flows through time is absolutely riveting. It appears that the story is not written in your native language. Is this true? I wonder how much more powerful it would be in Spanish. I really think the honesty of the character in sharing his harsh language toward the child with the reader is incredible. Your use of emotional descriptors - physical indicators or how the father is experiencing the revelations from moment to moment, and how he suffers- engages the reader and pulls us in close. So what you make the reader feel- like authors of a quality well beyond many I've read in popular modern novels - what you made me feel was conflicted. And I thank you.

So in reviewing, I typically start with what worked well for me as the reader. Next, I share the worries I have about the writing. The main distraction in your work, was grammatical errors and tense shifts.
You moved from a prologue where the speaker was being quoted, to a sort of stream of consciousness first person point of view. This caused points in the story when I had to back up and re-read portions to make sure I understood what you meant.
The grammar/ spelling issues were too many to list out - but were those consistent with someone who speaks a Latin language. Examples: " I crave for more, I need more, and I need yours." "I begged of her for an answer, but she just looks down, ashamed, then back at me." 'I turn my head over and look at the back seat, there are lots of papers scatter around.'
Can you see the places that sound a bit like there is an accent?
Honestly, this worked very well in my mind- maybe it was intentional on your part and you are actually Canadian or something, but your prologue is written so strongly that I pictured a tough, tragic Latin male father figure.

Another possibility- I'm way off base, and you need a whole lot of technical advise and feedback. If this is the case, I'm happy to get out my fine-toothed comb and help, but would ask that you run a basic spelling/ grammar check first.

Here are a few technical suggestions: "After his child is abducted a terrible truth unfolds about his wife death." Should say "...wife's death."

You know, someone said to me once, when you kill a man, let it be by accident or intentionally you’ll acquire a taste for blood and I have to tell you, it’s true. I think you need to set the quote within the quote apart, either by italicizing the phrase when you kill a man...taste for blood. Instead of continuing that same sentence, 'and I have to tell you it's true.', I would begin a new one: I have to tell you, it's true. See what you think.

'that is what she called the hugs when she gave me one.' Consider rephrasing- that is what she used to call the hugs she gave me.

"Right there in the road as cars passed I fell down (I fell down, as cars passed.) ; There was mud from last night('s) small drizzle, and my knees impales in it (unclear meaning) like hard wooden stakes.

A couple of words about tense:

"The phone falls from my hand as I start to realize what had just happened. I cover my face with my hands and start to cry, I cried hard the tears falling from my eyes onto my palms, that day was her birthday that was the reason we were at the park."

This phrase is typical of those throughout your chapter that shifts the tense from present to past. I think you need to go through the chapter and change all to a reflective point of view, telling the story consistently from a point in time.

So that phrase could read: The phone fell from my hand as I started to realize what had just happened. I covered my face with my hands, and started to cry. I cried hard; the tears fell from my eyes onto my palms. That day was her birthday, the reason we were at the park. (I changed the end of the last sentence because the extra 'that' was not grammatically correct.


Your chapter is intense, and well worth the read. Thanks for sharing your skill, and please take my comments only as an effort to be helpful- throw out what does not fit for you.

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
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13
13
Review of World's End  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Overall impressions about the plot: This is the start of a story, it would appear, about a woman who struggled to cope with her upbringing. She seems to want to distance herself from the 'south', and seems to be somewhat ashamed of those roots, although she still holds to some values, such as her manners, and love for a good cup of coffee. Mary is smart, and has dreams for a successful career. I can seen some potential in your story for Mary's relationships, for maybe some scary religious cult action, or maybe a complication around her old and budding personae.

What worked well: I think your pacing works well. You start with Mary walking down the street, starting her day, and you describe things through her eyes. It's a good place to start, and makes the reader begin right away to think of your story as a thing in motion.

I like the way you described city life, through Mary's eyes as a 'bright new world', and how you connected the religious leaflets with her being 'weary'.

Worries: You have quite a few technical errors related to punctuation and tense. I struggle with this still in my own writing - it's hard to catch it when you are trying to let your thoughts and ideas flow. The other thought I had on 'worries', is that your flow could improve when making visual descriptions. One example is the way you've described Mary. It seems a little choppy to go from her general attractiveness, to a few features, her height and then her manners. I'd try pulling some of the physical descriptors into her introspection at the start of the chapter - like when she's walking down the street. How does she feel about her own appearance? When she's thinking about Mickey, and wishing he was younger and single might be a good time to reflect on her southern manners, charms or her stated sexuality. But all at once, the description seems a bit strained.

Here are a few Technical catches, though I didn't catch all of them. I would suggest a grammar check throughout.

"...the same familiar faces on the crowded street, even a few cars looked the same as they seemed to..." I suggest a period after 'street' and a capital 'Even', because have two independent phrases.

In the same paragraph, I think you need a comma after '...din of the street'.
'her given name' needs to be separated by commas, since the sentence would make sense without that part.

"He was a nice guy, one of the few, she thought, remaining." Internal thoughts should be italicized, and you might want to have 'she thought' and 'remaining' change places, for a better flow. See what you think.

"...through the l sip hole..." Regarding the hole in the coffee cup, I think the extra 'I' is just a typo.

"... and the jokes that go along with I to hinder her career. " I should be 'it'. typo

"Her dad, “Daddy” as he was affectionately known, drove a truck, mom waited tables at the truck stop he parked his rig at on the weekend." My first thought on this sentence was that anyone might refer to their dad as 'Daddy', so I'm wondering if you might say something more about that endearment. Was it a nickname others outside the family called him? Consider rephrasing. If it is just what the family called him, you could say 'as he was affectionately known by all in the family as, "Daddy"...

My other thought is about where he parks his rig. Ending that phrase with 'at' is a prepositional issue, I think, so consider this: Start a new sentence with 'Mom waited tables at the truck stop where he parked his rig on the weekends.'

OK, I've picked on the technical things enough, I just want to say thank you for giving me the honor of reviewing your work. You are off to a good start. I hope you take my remarks as intended - meant to only be helpful, and feel free to throw out anything that doesn't fit for you.

Best of luck, and keep writing!

Beckyl

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14
14
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
What works well: Such neat twist on immortality- to have so many children who have grown old and died, and to have their photos, like any parent, displayed on the wall. I love the idea that there is a typical transition where the children become more like her parent. When I think about how we are with older parents who are in later stages of life and decide they are going to do whatever they want – it is sort of a natural change, and so very easy to connect with. You reference by Nikki to some famous deceased people is funny! Not sure if she’s making a spectral joke, or serious – I think it may be better if she is just joking, given the odds of all those famous people hanging out with this particular ghost- but it’s funny either way.

Technical suggestions:

She walks into her living room(,) a reminder of her immortality. She pauses in front of a wall of her dead children, (could this comma be a period, or a semicolon? Seems to separate two independent statements) many of them died of old age.

“How’s (How're?) things holding up on your end,”

“Nikki, and I’m here tear down the pictures with you,” the spirit responded. The two of them shared a laugh. I’m a little confused here – not sure what they are sharing a laugh about, so I re-read a couple of times.

“It’s an open casket,” Nikki answered. Nikkita snapped. No one ever disrespected the wall like that before. A couple of suggestions here- first, consider giving Nikki some emotion in her response, or giving us a glimpse of her reaction. Next, it seems like ‘Nikkita snapped.’ Is misplaced. It should go in the following paragraph with the rest of her actions and thoughts. Why is she going to get an alarm clock?

“You do know there’s a gas leak in the,” did you mean ‘…in there’? If you meant it to be a cut off statement, try ‘gas leak in the…’

‘Just because you’re in heaven doesn't mean life’s perfect.’ I suggest changing ‘you’re’ to ‘a person is’ so that it doesn't sound like she’s addressing her daughter.

Suggestions for flow:

The section from “f*** you..” to 3pm, I found to be confusing. I couldn’t follow the gas leak/ bad neighborhood topics, and it seemed odd they were interacting with each other in such a familiar way, when it seemed that Nikkita had only just become aware of her mother Nikki. I think you might want to read back through this section and consider working on showing the reader what Nikkita is feeling. What does she notice about her mother’s presence? What does she wonder about her? If this isn’t really the first time she’s met her, how long has it been? Why did she appear now- is she concerned about her aging grandson? Food for thought.

I like the idea that Nikkita becomes thoughtful about how she should stop living in the past, but wondered how she went from trying to ready her home for her son to join her, to running out to Home Depot (needs to be capitalized), to ‘rebuild the neighborhood’.

“Nikki was up in heaven at a court hearing. God was the judge. A man whispered into her ear.” Consider removing some periods for a better flow, like: Nikki was in Heaven at a court hearing, with God a the judge. A thick Boston accent whispered in her ear: “Tuesday, Jackie and I…”

As for Zues, I don’t get why he’s being sort of bitchy to God. God called him Zues, not Jesus – is it because he addressed him casually, ‘Hey, Zuess’? Maybe re-look at that, and consider using some descriptors of the volume and tone of voice, rather than capitalization.

God’s last statement seems a bit casual as well, and needs a comma after ‘I agree’. It seems like the gift or curse of eternal life would be dispensed with more formality. Or, if you were trying for humor, maybe some hints at that, like a casual posture by God…

I don’t get the Bruce Campbell reference. But I could just be missing it- I can be the queen of missing the obvious!

Overall impressions:

I like the bones of your story, and the potential it has to go somewhere interesting. I do think it needs some work. I’m thinking you have a purpose in mind behind declaring the time throughout, but it’s not yet clear. I have to say that the changing scenes between Heaven, and immortality on Earth is a little wobbly to read. I really hope that some of my observations are helpful to you, but you should disregard anything that doesn’t fit for your own style and story. I wish you the best of luck in this project, and hope that you keep writing!

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
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15
15
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Well, you had me reading that one twice over! I really like how it made me question myself, and my perceptions/ assumptions as I willingly interjected my own thoughts about how James would look, seem and smell. I realize now that I assumed your gender as male (could have been a female veteran), and your Cadillac as new! Very skillfully done, and interesting to read. I have yet to master the act of flash fiction and I'm impressed at how much you accomplished with the simple words and phrases you used.

My only critique is that some of your quotation marks look a bit spacey- by that I mean there seems to be an extra space next to most of them. I'm sure it's just an ML formatting thing.

Thanks for making me think, and for your wonderful story!

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
Newly Christened Preferred Author
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16
16
Review of Men of Rocks  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
My critique is meant to be helpful and to convey what I, just one reader, experienced in reading your work. I share what I appreciate, what worries I had and suggestions for improvement - in case you are interested. Please disregard anything that does not fit for you.

What worked well: The title is interesting, and drew me to read this. I think it is an interesting historical subject matter. I also can appreciate the way you have honored and revered those who have used symbols to communicate so long ago that we will never know their minds. It also seems you have a message, and are not limiting yourself to presenting a history lesson. You fully embrace this, even sharing your values about the Bible and what importance communication has in influencing people or 'creating' them.

Technical issues: I found no spelling or grammatical errors. Nice job!

Worries: I found the structure of the piece a little bit fragmented. It seems that you referenced different times and places throughout, without separation or clearly defined purposes for each point. For instance, the second paragraph talks about ancient glyphs on hollow rocks, and in a Polynesian context, but then you discuss Indians who communicated more recently. These are both prefaced with the statement at the beginning of the paragraph which states: "We have no idea" what they were writing about. But in fact, you indicate the Indians had some purposes related to communication with God.

The diligent rewriting of the Bible is, while clearly really important, not clearly related to glyphs from the view point of the reader. It sort of comes out of the blue when reading this. If there is some historical connection there, it might bear some detail so that we can learn more about it.

Suggestions for improvement:
I really like the idea that people are the only things that live on, and that love and caring about others can last on and on. I'm wondering if there is a way to re=frame your work here to make that the main focus of your piece of work - pin that down in a more solid way in the introduction, weave it strongly throughout, and close just the way you did. It seems like the idea of glyphs and ancient methods of communication are really secondary to the message you are sharing here, but a really apt reference! Facebook vs glyphs - not sure about that comparison, unless you can really prove that those old glyphs were all profound, and not just graffiti, but I'm betting there are a whole lot of people who would agree completely with you.

Nice work,

Beckyl
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17
17
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Anniversary Review- Happy anniversary! How come you only have two items showing in your port? I was hoping for a bit of poetry to review for you! Maybe next time.

What worked well: I like the way you laid out the apartment and kept the dialogue flowing between the two characters. I got a sense of the movement through the room and imagined red wine and a Seattle skyline. I was pretty interested to see if either character would reveal their true feelings - I think that tension in romantic tales is critical. Your concept for your title is interesting - a really great way for Callie to snap Aiden out of his funk!

Worries: Although there was some tension created by Callie trying to pull Aiden out of his shell, and Aiden realizing some of her feelings, the story lacked introspection by either character and did not pull me in on a more basic level. I would think that people experiencing feelings of longing, relief, and the trepidation that comes with taking a risk would have some physical reactions. Sweaty palms, butterflies... that sort of thing. The first opportunity I see is when there is 'an unidentifiable emotion' in her voice, when he could tell she was upset. How could he tell? Could he feel it? Did it make him think of a time he's seen her upset before - an opportunity to show their closeness, perhaps. I'm also wondering of there is more back-story that could seep through here such as a hint about why Aiden has a fear of being hurt.

Technical suggestions: No big technical issues. Good job!

Overall thoughts: I tend to rate work based on how it makes me feel. I understand this is a chapter; part of a longer tale which may contain passion and imagery, but I felt that a man and a woman (or other combinations, if it suites you), alone in a room together while one has let the other know of previously concealed feelings, has more potential. Human emotions of romance and fear of being hurt should read like an adventure of the heart - even the skyline has the potential to bring tears at sunset, to those who are kindling a relationship. You have a great skeleton here - my hope is that you can flesh it out a bit more.

Please know that my comments are meant to be helpful, and if any don't fit for you, dismiss them!

Good luck, and keep on writing!

Beckyl, WDC Power Reviewer
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18
18
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Jeez, I picked this from the Random Read button and I didn't get it at first. I thought your lines were a brilliant hook to get me to read a bigger story! What a hook- I clicked and roamed for a bit before realizing I was never going to get to find out more about the man with the green eyes, who's wedding ring she was staring at!
Nice job!

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
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19
19
Review by Beckyl
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I think the issue is pervasive and frightening. I used to think it was a youth thing- some people have to live with hellish DUI accident stories from when they were young and stupid. There is research about the adolescent mind and how differently decision making and reason happens within it, as well as how much longer that adolescent period lasts than previously understood. Instead of 'kids' becoming mental adults at 18 or even 21, brain scientists say it's more like 24 in reality.

All that said, I've found that kids who are going through high school in this age of booming technology seem to have a better common sense approach to the driving issue that many of my older acquaintances. I know so many thirty-somethings who say that 'these kids' need to keep their hands on the wheel, but it's alright for them to talk on the phone, text, email and even read the paper while driving.

With three adult children and four grand-kids, I'm terrified about this issue. Not only for the possibility they will become victims of a horrid accident caused by stupidity and self-absorbed behavior, but also for the possibility they may lack the maturity needed at some point in time and make the awful mistake of being that driver. I guess all I can do is try and set a good example and hope for the best. I fully support tough penalties for distracted driving, the same as for DWAI offenders. In my view, it's the same offense, really.

No need for a new review Angus, you are always generous and just reviewed me last week! Happy anniversary!

Beckyl
20
20
Review of Come Here, Boy  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Well: I love the bold way the character shares their vulnerability in going from the comfort of the known world to a new school where it's not easy to make eye contact with anyone. I really like the idea that a person can be 'at home' while being 'intimidated'. This feeling is familiar to most of us who've ever pursued a dream. And oh my goodness did you make me cry at the end! As a parent I am more than a little touched that the experience of independence and separation is just as hard for the kid! I'm not normally a fan of the first person speaker in short stories, but this really worked so well.

Worries:
“Hi, welcome to the Summer Session,” the guy behind the table says.
“Where are you coming from?”
Because the dialogue in the second phrase belongs to the same speaker as the preceding sentence, they should be together. Otherwise it gets a bit confusing for readers to flow easily throughout your story and know who is speaking.

“Oh cool, yeah, I’m from that area too. Needs a closing quotation mark.

Good, I think, someone who understands what it means to actually be here. Internal dialogue/ thoughts should be italicized.

Suggestions:
"..."my brothers and I are standing close by to move into position to start moving my things out of the back seat." Here might be a place where you could edit some content. Sometimes an economy of words helps with the power of the story - at this point I was wondering more about how the brothers looked, how they were dressed, how many of them, did any of them say anything...
The father walking around slowly boggled my mind a bit- I wonder if it may help to explain a little about how a man without feet can do it.

"For real that is, he came to this thing one summer and fell in love with it. When he came home he told me that he found where he wants to go to school." As a general reader, I"m not sure what 'for real' means. Is it slang, or a genre of film? If a genre, it maybe should be a proper noun and thus be capitalized, to cue the reader a bit.

Overall, I really like this piece because it touched my heart. I'm not the touchy-feely sort, but it really got to me, and only good writers convey emotion like that. Keep working on your technical skills and keep on writing!! Please see review this as just one person's opinion -keep what makes sense and throw out the rest.

Beckyl
WDC Power Review
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21
21
Review of Smile  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Howdy there newbie! I felt compelled to review this work because of the phrase in the title "...to grace one's scowling heart." Awesome line! Internal organs with facial expressions make me instantly attentive.

Your work, overall makes me very curious about what the context of the story is. Is this a chapter within a larger story? The inner thoughts of an alien on the verge of a big adventure? It seems like an in-depth reflection on a simple concept/ act, which I think is wonderful.

My constructive (hopefully) criticisms for you are 1. Clean up the spacing, spelling ('prove' should be proof), and punctuation. The beauty of the thoughts you've shared with readers deserves a clean canvas.
2. Construct a clear context within which you can deliver your thoughts - if these are the self-reflections of a character, show us who it is so that we can be better connected emotionally.

Thanks so much for sharing this work!! Please take my comments as an attempt to be helpful and dismiss whatever doesn't work for you.

Beckyl
WDC Power Reviewer
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22
22
Review of Bolshy Droogs  
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Super weird!!! I love the poems and works that make my mind chew for a few. I think it's amazing you wrote this at such a young age - did you use a thesaurus? I would have needed one. The structure is cool, like a funnel- and I noticed you went from inanimate objects - bottle caps etc, to the human body. Then moving from the gut to the head, finally ending with
abandoned
eyes
I think this is a wonderful piece.

I can find no fault so I'm worry not to give you much criticism to work with.

Beckyl
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23
23
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Ok, first thing - I am a music box collector from way back. I have around fifty of them and the main reason I've always loved them is because of the creepy/sad sound when I wind them all up at once. I never knew that sound was called 'Shinnying' until now, and it is PERFECT! I think your adjectives are awesome - and within the construct of your poetry, your timing is quite creepy. I was able to follow along from a place of nostalgia to uncertainty all the way to despair. Nicely done!

Gentle suggestions: I found some grammar issues to be distracting. Your third line "...even though their being" seems awkward. It seems like it should either be 'beings' plural, or maybe consider a different word.
The fifth line from the end has an extra T at the end that, I think, belongs to the following line.

Overall good, creepy poem!

Beckyl
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24
24
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

What worked well:
What a special, heartfelt expression of emotion, this work! I was moved to tears and taken back to that same day myself. Although I've successfully avoided the many shows and specials about it for more than a decade, I was drawn in by your style and needed to read it. I also love your ending, which invites the reader to regret and wonder.
I think your shared perspective from a youth at the time was very disarming as well, and that detail about saying the pledge - wow!

Gentle suggestions:
"...they just drew you right in, didn't they." Needs a question mark. Same for: "was it...October 21 or 22 that grandma died, August 15 or 18 for grandpa..." And I would suggest you find better punctuation options go get rid of most of your hyphens. You might really look into doing a thorough punctuation check throughout. I would also suggest changing from referring to 'you', as in "you might want to.. You might not recall..." because it is hard to keep going through a story, and it becomes a little awkward.

The two paragraphs which begin with the word 'Then' seem a little repetitive. I would suggest rewording one or both of them and trying to avoid beginning the sentences with that adverb.

Thanks for your effort and keep writing!

Beckyl

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25
25
Review by Beckyl
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
What worked well: I like the acronym - interesting way to write a poem! It seems like you had fun writing this. I especially like the lines, "Budding together rosebuds; eager to bloom, Watery to the nose." I imagine myself in my mother-in-law's garden touching and smelling all the roses, and how inviting to everyone they really are!

Gentle suggestions: You mention several times throughout that the roses are 'bittersweet' and I'm not sure what you mean. I feel like roses are more perfumy than bitter, even when you eat the rose hips. I suppose that, emotionally, roses tend to bring back memories that can certainly be bittersweet, but I don't see anything like that in your poem. Just curious I think. Not sure about the words Enviting (instead of Inviting) and Untill instead of Until.

Thanks for doing this fun poem, and Happy Anniversary!

Beckyl

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