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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/beholden/sort_by/r.review_creation_time+DESC/sort_by_last/r.review_creation_time+DESC/page/7
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290 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review of A good lesson  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I love this bit: "...razing to the ground those who were not in his favour, and raising in position those who were." Never could resist a good pun. The change to present tense in the last paragraph is also good but shouldn't the second sentence adopt the same tense?

The story is good, the writing sound but, if I'm honest, the pace lagged at times. I found myself scanning some of the paragraphs because there was just too much detail. Do we really need to know all that you have included? Some judicious trimming is needed, perhaps.

The flow is great - you can really write. Nicely economical with the dialogue too. Overall, it's quite excellent in my estimation.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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152
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.0)
Had a "cricket" once in a motel room. Darn thing kept me awake all night. It was hidden in the wall somehow and I couldn't get at it...

That is one serious, imposing nay, daunting block of text you have there, sir. I would suggest you break it down into smaller paragraphs. It will be a lot more legible that way.

And then, for poor old geezers like me whose eyesight is not what it once was, increase the font size a little. Okay, that's my suggestions for improvements done. Now we can get to the important stuff.

The object of your story is educational in a home and garden setting, just as you have stated. You have achieved your aim apart from the points mentioned above. I do admit that I didn't really understand the description of a "cricket" but that's probably down to my lack of experience in the handyman scene.

Keep writing and you'll find it all comes quite naturally after a bit.
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Review of Ted's Morning  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
A three minute story indeed. Given the constraints of such a time limitation, this is a great story, holding us right from the first sentences to the last. The reader becomes involved with Ted's infirmities and difficulties so that it begins to matter what happens to him. In keeping with the limits set, the writing wastes no words, flowing easily with a logical sequence of events. The pace is good, too, and the economy of words does not make the piece seem hurried.

Altogether it is a very competent bit of writing and I am unable to fault it. I do wonder whether it won the contest, however...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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154
Review of The Old Book  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Lovely. You had me wondering just how you would explain phone books and phones that you couldn't take with you to someone who had never known a world without mobiles. As an old geezer, I know exactly how Grandpa felt.

Good story-telling, enticing us with just enough information to keep us reading right to the end. And I love the deflection of ice cream. Pace and flow are both excellent and dialogue is both tight and believable. Altogether a fine bit of writing.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
155
155
Review by Beholden
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Gripping account, skillfully executed with passion and honesty. Impossible to stop reading after the first paragraph or so. Great pace and flow, not overburdened with unnecessary detail in description but what matters is focused on with intensity. Examples of this focus are contained in the title. I can't fault the piece.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
156
156
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Wisdom from the guide indeed - rarely seen wild animals do indeed stay in the mind forever when you finally see one. I lived in Africa for many years and visited most of the big game reserves so I can confirm that the guides always seem to know where the big animals are.

You have written a clear and interesting piece on your safari. It has good pace and flows without interruption.

One thought did strike me. I was unsure of how exactly you were progressing through the jungle. At first I put you on an elephant (youthful memories of tales and photos of tiger hunts in the early 19th Century) but soon realised that couldn't be right. So I took you off the elephant and made you walk (dangerous thing to do in tiger country). But then vehicles began to be mentioned and it became clear that you, too, were in one. It might be an idea to explain the transport earlier - the opening to the second paragraph could be a suitable place.

Over all an accomplished account written with skill and feeling. Well done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
157
157
Review by Beholden
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Superb story, written with skill and passion. I could point at "swopped" and say it should be spelt "swapped" but who cares? We know what is meant. So I see nothing to criticise and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The story brings back memories of the years when I worked in a Coventry car factory There was even a guy there who could have been the model for your Jimmie. Thank you for recalling all that to me.

I should mention that I love your straightforward and honest style. To me, it seems that only a Midlander could write like that and I have to know if I'm right. Are you indeed a Brummie or somewhere close or am I way off the mark? I worked in Brum for many years and remember the time with fondness, though it was very hard work.

Now see what you've done - I've gone all homesick...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Hair  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
Haha, nice twist in the tail (tale - I do love a pun).

Good story, well told, you kept me interested all the way to the end. Flow and pace are fine and the story never gets tangled up in too much detail. I'm supposed to make a suggestion to improve the piece but anything I say at this point is entirely a matter of taste and not to be taken too seriously. There are occasional instances of too much being included in a single sentence, for instance. An example would be, "My hair was its usual wild, curly, rat’s nest, accepted now by my co-workers, however, seriously would not be accepted at the wedding by my sister, nor my mother!" My inclination would be to separate it into two sentences, using a period after "rat's nest." A little bit of adjustment would then cope with the co-workers, sister and mother.

As I said, it's a matter of taste and particularly ironic coming from me, the original exponent of the interminably long sentence. But hey, it fulfills my duty of making a constructive suggestion and doesn't detract from my praise over all. Happy writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
159
159
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Okay, I must be dumb. What was it about the Educational Center (whatever that is) that made Loria stand and stare? Without that information, I feel I'm missing the point.

Which is a shame, really, since you kept me reading right to the end. Flow and pace are good and you created enough of a desire to see where the story was going. I feel robbed by your enigmatic ending, however. Maybe it's because I'm too old to understand or that, as a Brit, I'm missing some important cultural information.

I must commend you even so. The writing is good, clear and unencumbered with flowery descrition. Well done!
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Review of A Morning Murder  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Oh yeah, a poet with a sense of humour! And this is one delightful poem. I forget instantly my advice of earlier this morning - never to use olde English - and applaud the "thou"s and "ne'er"s, clap wildly at "wingéd" and "stripéd". Sometimes it's just appropriate (and meets the needs of meter anyway). Poor fly, to be squashed by so precisely aimed a poem.

Now, who will wash the wall? ;)
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Wow, that's quite a poem! I admit I got a bit lost when you fell into a well but still, wow. These phrases are delicious indeed: "tall in goddess garb", "a slick and licorice-coated voice", and (strangely) "on a full stomach". It all just works and I'm not sure why.

Of course, I understand about the steadily increasing indent to create a slippery slope - my wife does that kind of thing quite often in her poetry. And, now that I've read it all several times, I think I understand it better. Not that I am qualified to judge it at all - I am no poet.

You wield a fine pen indeed.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of A Fall Day  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Good, sound writing. I can't fault the grammar and there's nothing wrong with the flow. This is an accomplished piece of writing by an author who knows how it's done.

I am left, however, with the impression that it needs something. To be brutally honest, the descriptions are pretty much what we'd expect. The summers are hot and muggy, the winters cold and snowy - just as they're supposed to be. Leaves crunch underfoot obligingly and the sun feels warm because it's the sun, no doubt. We need something to stand out, to smack us in the face with a description never heard before.

To save me the trouble of thinking up something as an example, I'll use a simple little sentence I found in something I read this morning. One of the characters has fallen on her face on to a dusty floor and then she speaks: "Puffs of dust fled from her words." It's a beautiful picture, describing exactly how breath stirs the dust into little dust storms escaping. You only need one sentence like that to lift a piece above the norm. Throw in a few and you're writing poetry.

I know you can do it. You have the skills and the determination to write outstanding stuff. More strength to your writing hand, good friend!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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163
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
411th Entry -
Once upon a time there was a troll (his name was Grundlebletch von Hoogenspit) who lived deep underground in a cave. Yes, he was a cave troll and, accordingly, he had no time at all for forest trolls, considering them flighty and irresponsible with silly ideas of going out in the daytime, unprotected from the harsh light of the searing sun.

Every day Grundle (as his friends called him) would wander through the tunnels radiating from his cave, searching for the worms, burrowing beetles and larvae that formed the basis of his diet. He had never tasted the flesh of creatures that walked above the ground, protected by the sunlight as they were, so he did not yearn for anything more tasty than his daily fare.

But do not think that Grundle was devoid of imagination. Cave trolls are a serious bunch and they think profound thoughts regarding such things as the decomposition time required for a leaf to turn into soil, why dirt dislodged from the roof of a tunnel always falls downwards rather than any other direction, what makes the mole run from a troll in such obvious terror. Cave trolls, indeed, are the intellectuals of their species.

One day Grundle discovered an unexplored tunnel. It was right at the edge of his range (which explains why he had never seen it before) and he stood immobile for long minutes while deciding whether to see where it led. Grundle was exceptional amongst cave trolls in that he sometimes allowed curiosity to get the better of him and so he set off up the new tunnel.

After some time he became aware that the tunnel was heading upwards, not steeply but steadily. The thought occurred to him that he might be on his way to the outside. Because of that he stopped and pondered for a while, wondering if he was being led astray. His curiosity won in the end, however, and he continued on his way.

There began to be a faint glow of light in the darkness but Grundle’s eyes were fixed on the floor, avoiding intrusive roots and protruding rocks. Then suddenly he was at the end of the tunnel. Still concentrating on the floor, Grundle kept going until finally he was right out there in the open. He stood in horror as he realised the terrible thing he had done. The sun shone powerfully overhead and he knew he had only minutes before he would be shrivelled up like a dead leaf. He must find shelter quickly!

Now, you and I would know that all he had to do was turn around and walk the few paces back to the tunnel but trolls don’t think like that. Their thought processes proceed in straight lines and do not countenance deflection from their chosen path. This is why any company of orcs and goblins will always put the trolls in the front of the column. If anyone is going to walk into an ambush, let it be the trolls - they won’t stop.

There was, therefore, only one way for Grundle to go. He began to run forward. Well, I say “run” but trolls don’t really run. They accelerate slowly into a lurching, swaying sort of stumble that is, surprisingly, a lot faster than you would expect. And Grundle was spurred by his growing fear of dehydration and mummification by the sun.

Ahead of Grundle there was what we would describe as a river. Grundle did not even consider what it might be, seeing only that there was a stone arch that crossed the water thingy (as he later named it). Under the arch he could see darkness, darkness that offered shelter and survival. With a desperate last effort he threw himself forward and landed with a mighty splash in the water flowing under the bridge. Darkness enveloped him and he lay back in relief in the water, not caring that the stony bed of the river was uncomfortable (to say the least).

In his subsequent examination of his situation, Grundle realised that he was rather limited in his options. He was forced to spend daylight hours in the shadows under the bridge and at night he dared little more than brief food foraging expeditions as close to the bridge as possible.

Eventually, Grundle accepted his lot and even began to enjoy it. Memories of his cave faded until he imagined that he had dreamt the place. There came a day when a female forest troll walked into Grundle’s home under the bridge and they became friends. In time they were married and, a bit later, they produced a brood of baby trollettes.

And that, of course, is how bridge trolls came about. Take my advice and cross bridges quickly, especially the arched kind made of stones.
By Beholden
164
164
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
Had a Boxer once - used to steal food bowls from other dogs in the neighborhood. She'd bring them home and line them up next to hers. I think she figured that we'd have to fill them too...

So I saw the punchline coming because I once owned a Boxer (I've since heard that this is quite common in the breed). But that didn't spoil the enjoyment. It's a clever little tale with good flow and pace. Just one minor quibble: "what our key eye witness Mr. X saw on this dark day.

It was an average day like just any other day, and the sun was high up in the sky." You had me a bit confused - was the day dark or average with the sun shining high in the sky? If I were you, I'd change "dark" to something like "fateful".

A pleasant and amusing read.
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Review of Harry's Prairie  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men...

I'm no gardener but I know just how Harry must have felt when viewing the devastation. Sometimes good intentions are not good enough.

Well, I had to look up "xeric" so your story has supplied the something I was fated to learn today. Your story is good with just the right amount of detail and believable dialogue. The pace is right and everything flows without interruption to the end. I'm just wondering whether you should take pity on the reader by adding a note to explain our friend, "xeric". Still, I guess it gives Google something to do. ;)
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.5)
Lovely story - I really enjoyed it. And, for what it's worth, I believed Bill right from the first!

Tone is excellent. I feel as if you saw me coming and wrote this just for me, the way you speak so easily and naturally to me. Good pace too (not rushed or dragging). Dialogue unforced and the flow was excellent. All in all, you've left me nothing to criticize. Well done!
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Review of Dimitriou  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Great little story. In my typical , gullible fashion, I didn't see the end coming in spite of all the clues along the way. Which means you succeeded in the aim of the short story - to have a twist in its tail. Well done.

If I have a criticism, it would be that you supply a little too much detail. To cut out some of the descriptions would help the tale to flow more evenly. It's about pace, really. And a short story needs to be just that - long enough to include everything essential but short enough to reach the point quickly.

Remember, it's my opinion only. The story is strong and I suggest only a minor improvement.
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Review of Choices  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Sometimes the obvious is just too easy...

Nice little tale, no explanations given and none needed. Some would be full of questions but I like the uncertainty of the world Martin suddenly finds himself in. The writing is good too, pace slick and background effectively scrubbed by painting everything white. Can't fault it.
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Review of The Castaway  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Ah, I love the smell of cannibalism in the morning...

I like that you're prepared to look at such a taboo subject. Someone has to do it, after all. I can't fault the writing (and probably wouldn't dare anyway) and must thank you for an enjoyable read. :)
170
170
Review by Beholden
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Good story, strong writing, nothing for me to criticise really. Some would cry out for a twist in the ending but I'm happy to accept a tale of dogged determination rewarded at last by the achievement of the goal. Nothing wrong with happy endings, after all. ;)
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
I love it! Noted quite early that the relevant cow was named Daisy and so was likely to be the one the dog found so amusing. But I missed the importance of the bovine boyfriend's name until the very end. A lovely little piece.

Just one minor quibble: Are Friesian and Freshen the same animal? I was somewhat suprised to find the unknown Freshen being regaled near the end.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Well, you captured me. I don't usually review poetry but I thought this deserved a chance at least. I read the first stanza. At first the ancient song of rhyme repelled me but the words began to draw me in. They're well chosen, after all.

And then the two words of the final verse come like a sudden lift into the unusual. This is more my kind of thing, I think. A few more verses and I am lost, completely forgetting to be irritated by rhyme and reaching forward to those last two words waiting to pounce. Ultimately I am forced to admit - this is good stuff. Well done indeed, Kåre!
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Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A pleasant little tale. I especially like the way the pace changes as Susan's view of the place is challenged and then defeated. I think we all yearn for a return to simpler times and wholesome activities. My only concern is that the story may need a little more conflict to be truly engaging. It does seem a little too easy, too effortless a transformation. Nothing wrong with the writing, however.
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Review of The Lion's Roar  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
Ah, Africa. Your story reminds me of something similar that happened to me in Gorongosa, Mozambique. More than anything else, however, it brings into sharp relief the amazing generosity of spirit of African peoples. Time and time again I have seen them give generously in circumstances that would have made most of us resentful and surly. A better man than I am, Gunga Din, indeed.

This is the kind of thing that people who have never been to the dark continent absolutely lap up. They love the exotic and dangerous feeling that an African piece gives and we can cash in on this. To me, who grew up in Africa, it was just normal life and ordinary therefore. It took an old and recently deceased American friend to show me that our memories can be fascinating to others.

If I may offer a suggestion regarding what is already a well written piece, you might try throwing in a little more detail of the heat and dust and sweat of Africa. It all helps to put the reader right there beside you.
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Review of The Librarian  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Superb. If I just read it as I read most things (quickly), I feel the thoughts and emotions of the observer and the rigid rules and regulations imposed by the librarian. But then, if I read again, I notice the capital assigned the first word of the last line of the first verse. Which leads me to see that the other lines have no capital. Of course - the last line can also be the first! Clever. My mind is being messed with here.

More wary now, I read on and see the bracketed words that can live on their own. But apart from the cleverness, this is an accomplished and effective poem. It reaches us at a very deep level and awakens feelings long buried. Wonderful stuff!
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