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Public Reviews
Review of Charly  
Review by beetle
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
First, some nits I picked:

Benjamin's face was in sheer pain as Laurie scratched at his cheek and her father's grip around his neck tightened. Out of sheer luck, the car started and he slammed a foot against the ignition. Sounds of scratching metal from behind him signaled the two cars separating.

Use of "sheer" twice in one passage.

Letting off of her, he flipped her around and with both hands, slipped her pants and panties off. Her nude bottom was a sight to behold. Such a sight it was that he began drooling.

Might want to change "letting" to "getting."

Both monitors suddenly shut off and came back on by themselves. Benjamin let off of Laurie, even as she struggled more. The monitors changed simultaneously to the video of Laurie in the blue chair.

"Let off" doesn't seem to fit.

A search of Benjamin's history revealed graduation from MIT with top honors preceding a long history with some of the top computer security contractors in the nation. His work had garnered many awards, and being in such high demand over the years, he had gradually moved away from offices to working remotely. Something, it seems, had snapped.

Change "seems" from present tense to past.

Now in a jail cell he was forced to call home, Benjamin lied on the paper thin mattress, twiddling his thumbs and staring at the plain ceiling. His cell mate, whom he learned had been convicted for third degree murder, snored below on the bottom bunk. Benjamin hated the sound, but being considerably lighter than the gruff man, had no choice but to endure.

May want to change "lied" to "laid."

A scene from the week previous continued right where it had left off. A woman with a completely bandaged head lied in a hospital bed after surviving a vicious attack by a ritualistic killer. With her tongue having been cut out, she struggled to talk to an investigator before dying. The acting was mediocre, to say the least.

"Lied" should be "lay," I believe. I, too, sometimes get mixed up with the lay/lie thing. But I'm pretty sure in this instance it should be "lay."

There was no doubt in his mind Charly would be watching over him, and waiting for his sentence to be over. Lying on the top bunk once more, he closed his eyes, fantasizing about Laurie. She, too, would be waiting.

Might need to be "laying" . . . this time, I'm not sure. Must consult one of the many grammar/syntax books I own. For some reason, the lie-lay thing never sticks in my brain, no matter how many times I read up on it.

Okay, that's it for the picking of nits.

I thought this piece was solidly written and structured well. The pacing was even, the language consistent. The dialogue was a bit stilted (but that can be fixed by reading what you've written out loud, as if you were the character, and seeing how it feels coming out of your own mouth. And also remember that contractions, such as can't, don't, won't, shan't, are your friends). The plot was indeed dark, and darkly fascinating. Creepy. Charly, itself, was quite creepy in its complete indifference to even its own purpose. It did what it was created to do, without conscience or deviation from the plan.

It was shocking to realize the girl on the bike was actually a little girl, not just a woman being called a girl. That realization was jarring in a way that I still can't label properly.

I think you handled the subject matter unflinchingly, and with respect for that treatment of the subject, I tried to read this as unflinchingly as possible, and as objectively as possible. Not an easy thing for me, in particular, to do, for various reasons. The thing that allowed me to get through this without running away and Chloroxing my brain into oblivion was the way you wrote this, in such a way that the narrator did not relish the subject. Didn't become gratuitous with the descriptions of the attack. That would've been extremely off-putting, not to mention rather disgusting. Thank you for walking the undoubtedly fine line between telling a story and rubbing faces in something awful.

The ending was, indeed, creepy, too. Charly, still out there, waiting for his creator. And said creator maintaining his obsession with Laurie. . . .

Overall, I think this piece is well done, and achieves its end with a series of slow reveals and sharp shocks. It leaves one feeling creeped out and dirty, scared and uncomfortable. Not just because we've gotten up close and personal with a potential child rapist, but also because the future of pornography has been shown to us, and it's not at all pretty. It's soulless and conscienceless and prurient. It's no holds barred and nothing is off limits. Absolutely nothing. Therein lies a terrible prospect.

(There's a definite element of horror to this piece. A large element.)

This piece won't be washing off me quickly. . . .

Write on.
Review of Ocean Moon  
Review by beetle
Rated: E | (4.5)
Beautifully done. Your imagery is gorgeous. The only thing I'd change about this piece would be to add a little more imagery. Your talent at choosing the right words--the perfect words--is apparent. I would risk making this piece slightly longer by adding some more description because your imagery dazzles and beguiles.

Give us more *Smile*

And write on!
Review of Bite of Vengeance  
Review by beetle
Rated: E | (4.0)
This was a delight to read:

Characterization: The characterization of Vesta was clear and memorable--boy, will I think carefully before I ever get a dog. Especially a pug--and at first, I didn't realize she was a dog. And I mean that in a good way. I was relating to her before I found out she was a four-legged person, so to speak.

Plot: The plot was great for the size of the piece, clear-cut and easy to follow. And puckishly humorous. I felt for Daniel Anthony, I really did. But I was laughing, too. A dog with a taste for revenge is nothing I've ever read before, so this was quite original to me. And Vesta's reason--about to be left alone for two weeks--for revenge was a great reason for any dog.

Tone: The tone was interesting. Vesta was being a bad dog, but with--apparently--good reason. I can only presume that the woman he doesn't like is Daniel's secretary, Amy *Smile*

Exposition: Well done! You told the story, through Vesta's eyes, then showed us the results at the end, and left us with a very vivid image of a man screaming to Heaven: "Why my Louis Vitton shoes?!"

Use of language: Vesta was such a genteelly despairing voice, yet very humorously so. Intelligent in a very believable way, yet still a dog. And Daniel was so clueless--as he would be, not being a dog-whisperer--and gave an air of weary optimism that you took great joy in shattering. And I took that joy with you.

Overall: This piece was quite lovely. A genuine pleasure to read. The one thing I might change would be to make clearer the connection between her and Amy. I wasn't too sure, at first, that they were one and the same, but a second read-through confirmed it. In the section where you mention the first "dreadful" call, give us a sure hint that it's Amy Vesta was talking about, when we meet her. Maybe something along the lines of Vesta noting that Amy's perfume was awful . . . or at least too strong. "She smelled of a million dead flowers," or something like that (only better). That way when Daniel notices Amy's perfume, we'll automatically make that connection *Smile*

Great fun to read for my first review of the day *Smile*

Write on!
Review of Weekly Goals  
Review by beetle
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I just discovered this forum and I'm loving it! I'm currently blocked, but at least being able to set down my goals, and then, if I haven't reached them, write down what and where my problems are a few days later, helps. I can almost feel possible solutions tickling the back of my brain just for having had to lay them out logically for others to understand, instead of keeping it all locked in my head. . . .

Great idea for a forum!
Review by beetle
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Darkly hilarious. The title reminds me of "Caring is Creepy", and the premise itself? Golden. Loved the little details--the lady informing him she was doing a Times crossword puzzle, lest he think her one of those dilettantes that dabbles in the Daily News. The way all the details tie together in the end, to equal "plane full of writing contest winners."

Across the aisle the crossword woman was learning that her seat mate had also won a writing contest. Harold was dumbfounded. Holy s***! A plane full of writing contest winners.

As the plane cleared the runway, the loudspeaker came on. “This is your captain. We’ll be taking an alternate route this evening. Prepare for severe turbulence...”

Loved the weight of the story resting on what could otherwise be a throwaway line. Someone--can't remember who--used an example of clowns to illustrate that context is everything: a clown at the circus in the afternoon isn't disturbing (debatable, but okay), but a clown on your doorstop at midnight is whole different story.

“This is your captain. We’ll be taking an alternate route this evening. Prepare for severe turbulence...” is the clown--bad enough in it's element. But when you add the context of "plane full of writing contest winners", lol.

Write on!
Review of Simplicity  
Review by beetle
Rated: E | (4.5)
My heart is a closed book,
no other shall write the words,
of love unfailing,

Haunting and beautiful. My favorite passage, but this:

b>the fork in the road,
has come,
where we will never again

Was a priceless ending. Calm and final--that's what I love about this piece. Even though it's almost clinical in its description of heartbreak, there's definitely a feeling of a tempest peeking out from between the lines. This poem is the eye of a hurricane, the veneer of composure hiding a maelstrom. The restraint only makes it more evident.

This is heartbreak, not shoved in our faces or screamed in our ears, but quietly stated, unapologetic, and all the more powerful for that. Please, write on.
Review of Grammarama  
Review by beetle
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
About damn time! I don't know if there's anything else like this onsite, but there certainly can never be too many!

Hell, I've been guilty of committing these errors, myself, even though I try to fine-tooth comb my way through what I write. The fact is, even when I'm editing, little things - homophones, mixed messages - will slip my mind completely. I find that with most people, it's not that they don't know, it's that they forget. They know what they're trying to say, and it blinds them a little to what they've actually said. Having something like this at hand while editing would be a godsend. Good on you, Kraken-ito.

I don't usually like posting stuff on the Reviewing Page - not my style - but for this I'll make an exception. People need this, at least need to be aware of it's existence. The guidelines in this can only improve the already high quality of writing on this site.

Again, good job, DK,

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