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1,484 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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26
26
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A story of a mysterious photo, and the reporter who wants to track it down.

What I liked most
A lot of the images and descriptions are very good, and I like the concept a lot.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
Aside from a few small technical issues, the major problem I have is plausibility. I have no problem with suspending disbelief if the story works, but this just seems to throw a situation at them with little reason. The major feature of the story is the photo, and it isn't clear how it really drives the resolution at all. In addition, the idea falls flat when you think of how the photo would have played into it even 100 years ago, much less before that.

Rating and Rationale
A good story crying out for more work and thought, so I gave it 3.5 stars.
27
27
Review of The Time has come  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
Writing that seems more like philosophical pondering than a story.

What I liked most
I liked some of the imagery, and the way the seasons represent the seasons of life.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There are several technical issues such as using live instead of life in the second sentence, but the real problem with this is that it isn't a story at all. It is a series of musings on life, but with no characters, plot, or action.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this three stars as it seemed to lack the fundamentals of a story.
28
28
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A legend comes to life and brings with it a task.

What I liked most
I liked a lot of things about this, and think it has great potential.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
The only real technical issue is a lack of commas many places they belong, but that doesn't detract much. The bigger issue is that the legend comes off as too convenient without much reason. He asks why he was chosen, but doesn't really get an answer. There are stakes involved, but they never get close to happening. Perhaps the word count was a limitation, but I would have liked to see either him or his father sorely tempted and tested rather than going along conveniently.

Rating and Rationale
The potential for a very good legend, but needs some more work on the arc, so I gave it four stars.
29
29
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
As in many teen-oriented horror movies, these teens should have stayed away from the woods.

What I liked most
You build up the story well, and I like the images.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There were times when this felt a little too predictable and a little rushed. It was good, but perhaps too close to those teen horror movies.

Rating and Rationale
A good story with clean writing, but a plot that could use some more oomph for the genre, so I gave it four stars.
30
30
Review of An Autumn Walk  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A lovely romance blooms in spite of his fears and worries.

What I liked most
This was a lot of fun. I specially enjoyed the deliberations he has with himself, as they felt all too real.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There were no spelling or grammatical issues that I notice. Very clean writing. I did think a bit of work might be needed on the Fitz part, as it didn't quite feel plausible the way he was fooled.

Rating and Rationale
A very good story. I enjoyed it very much and gave it 4.5 stars.
31
31
Review of Out of the Woods  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A twisted story of mistaken identity and some terrible people.

What I liked most
I liked the twists and turns, and not knowing for certain what might happen until the end.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
The grammar and spelling were good. I felt like the characterizations were fairly broad and overdone. A bit more nuance, especially with the cops, would be welcome.

Rating and Rationale
A fun story, though it could use some work to make the characters feel more real and the twisted plot more authentic-feeling, so I gave it 4 stars, but would encourage you to keep working on it.
32
32
Review of Walk In The Woods  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
Strange, dreamy story with a lot of technical issues but an interesting core.

What I liked most
I liked a lot of the imagery, and the hints at what might be going on.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There were a lot of spelling and grammatical issues as well as missing words a couple places. These made it harder to engage with the story. I'd suggest reading it slowly and carefully out loud, as I think you would catch a lot of the issues. Things like What the hell happen in the area? which should be What the hell happened in the area? would jump out at you read aloud.

Rating and Rationale
An interesting start to a story, but it needs more development and a careful edit to reach its full potential, so I gave it three stars.
33
33
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Fun, spooky story though without a lot of actual plot.Overall impression


What I liked most
This was fun to read, and seems like it was fun to write. The various spooky aspects were well written.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
This was fairly clean, technically, but suffered a bit from being too much a series of strange circumstances without enough context. We didn't either get to know the characters enough to fully care about their fate, or about the backstory or rationale for it all enough to fully embrace the weirdness, even if the weirdness was fun. I think the story has a lot of potential, but I'd add a bit more at the beginning to give us insight into why Jack chose this route, and maybe some foreshadowing to set up the oddness before it happens.

Rating and Rationale
Fun and well written, but a little untethered to a plot, so I gave it 4 stars.
34
34
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (5.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
I love this, its pacing and imagery as well as its scope.

What I liked most
It can be such a challenge with a short piece to feel unhurried and yet complete, and you accomplish it beautifully.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
I think you mean infectious rather than ingenious in ingenious grin, but otherwise this is perfect.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this five stars because it is an excellent, well written, and engaging story that works well with the prompt. Plus, I am a romantic at heart. Well done!
35
35
Review of The Return  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A somewhat overambitious story that was well written but used its length unwisely.

What I liked most
I enjoyed the visual style of writing and was intrigued by what might be going on.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
In a 2000 word story, far too much time was spent going through doors and in and out of places. It felt like too much world building without enough purpose. The note indicates that those who've read "Nine Princes in Amber" might find this familiar, and I haven't, but I shouldn't have to in order to know what is going on.

Rating and Rationale
I have this 3.5 stars because although it was well written, it felt like too much detail with too little story. I'd suggest making this a much longer piece with more story to fit all the doors.
36
36
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
An interesting ghost story, though it had technical issues that made it harder to read.

What I liked most
I liked the core of the story, and thought this could definitely be a strong one with some additional work.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There were a number of technical issues including spelling and grammar, and the pacing could be improved with a careful read and eye on what information we find out at what point.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this 3.5 stars because of the technical issues, but I think with some care and rewriting, it could be quite strong. You have the story down, which is the most important part, but need some work on the execution.
37
37
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (3.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
An interesting vision of a new life on Mars, but the story seems cheated of details and development

What I liked most
I like some of the technical details you go into about the spun carbon nanotube fibers and all. I have no idea which of them are legitimate and which are spun from your imagination, but they give a sense of authenticity to the idea that a remote stranger might be testing your expertise before reaching out.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
This is a case where more would be better. There's not enough character development or plot to hold the story together. It is more like a brief idea for a story without the time put into to make it work. I think it could work, but just needs more.

Rating and Rationale
While the idea was good, the execution seemed limited, and with only about a quarter of the words allowed, I would have liked to see a more expansive vision.
38
38
Review of The Wishing Tree  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A very sweet story of love and loss and acceptance.

What I liked most
I really liked the way the kids responded near the end. The interplay between them and Sarah was very well done.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
I saw no technical issues.

Rating and Rationale
This was well written and poignant, and I liked it very much so I gave it 4.5 stars.
39
39
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!

Overall impression

This was an ambitious take on the prompt, and an interesting, if a bit depressing, vignette about a journalist trying to take on a system and grappling both with a rigged system and with his own biases and past.

What I liked most

I liked how you made it clear that the story was not completely black-and-white, and that knowing a story doesn't always mean having any way to make use of the knowledge.

My general suggestions and technical concerns

Whether it was a byproduct of the short length or intensity of your feeling, I found parts very hard to follow. The part about his dad was very difficult to follow, and as it was early in the story, it made it harder to stay in the story.

Rating and Rationale

I gave this 3.5 stars because the intention and ambition were good, but the execution suffered from feeling rushed and constrained at times. You write well, so it is not a reflection of ability, but more how this story played out or was bottled up.
40
40
Review of Trespassers  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for October 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
Well written and engaging

What I liked most
I like the similar interplay of hostility and warmth in each which hints at the eventual resolution.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
I didn't see any technical issues.

Rating and Rationale
Well done. I have this 4.5 stars because I enjoyed it very much and it felt complete and satisfying. Great job for a short story of this length.
41
41
Review of Morgana's Colors  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I found this through the Read & Review. Well, that's a fairly brutal story, but very well done for a short piece. I like the symmetry you add in the repeated sections, and how much you manage to communicate in prose that is so stark and spare, it is almost poetry.

I have no suggestions for changes, just wanted to let you know it was well done. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
42
42
Review of Cheyenne One  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found your poem through the Read & Review feature. What a lovely, poignant reminder that life isn't all sunshine and smiles, and that if we truly want to capture the essence of life, either in photos or in our hearts, we can't just limit it to those staged, happy moments. Life has joys and sorrows and shadows and lights, and you do an excellent job evoking that.

I liked the repeated last line, which seemed quite effective here. I didn't see any technical errors. Good job, and write on!
43
43
Review of The Cricket  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this through the Read & Review feature. What a surprising and delightful piece of flash fiction. It starts off so gently, and then twists in a ways I didn't expect at all. I like how you keep the emotional side of it so present, as it would be easy to do away with that given the unknown element.

Nice job. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
44
44
Review of Early Morning  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found this through the Read & review feature. This was a fun bit of flash fiction as we try to figure out what is going on and who these two are, as well as what mischief they might be up to. You did a good job keeping up the suspense, and I enjoyed the ending and reveal.

The only technical issue I saw was small.

“I’ll remember that! So glad I paredpaired up with you today!”

Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
45
45
Review of The Funeral  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This review is offered in the spirit of encouragement and assistance. I appreciate your sharing your work, and am simply sharing my opinion in return. I hope it can be of use.

Overall impression
I really enjoyed this story of waking up at your own funeral. I wasn't sure where you were going with it, but I was glad I stayed to find out.

What I liked most
I like the gradual awareness of her plight. She doesn't get it right away, and that feels authentic. I also like the ending and its suggestionm of things to come.

My general suggestions
I don't have a lot of suggestions. It's a good story, very solid and entertaining.

Technical issues
I didn't notice any issues at all. Very clean.

Conclusion
I found this story on the Read & Review, and am glad I ran across it. You have a good style. Write on!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
46
46
Review of Double the Change  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this on Read & Review. What a fun little story. You do a great job of engaging us with details about the cute clerk and the change, and then the mental gymnastics as he tries to figure out what is happening.

I liked the ending as well. A lucky day indeed. Write on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
47
47
Review of The Mossy Bridge  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.0)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A well written story with religious overtones

What I liked most
You do a very good job bringing the characters to life, and getting us into the heart of the action, both in the beginning section and the end.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
It was somewhat disconcerting how you switched the point of view from Darrin to Tommy, and especially given how things developed between the two, I think you would do better to start with Tommy's perspective from the beginning. I also think the transition to the final scene could be foreshadowed better. We don't really see how the incident is so crucial to him, and then suddenly it is.

Rating and Rationale
This was well written and I liked how the ending was understated and implied rather than spelled out. I gave it four stars because it was very good, but could have been better with a tighter point of view and some work on transition. Still, very good. Write on!
48
48
Review of The Walkway  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A fun perspective on the theme with a sci-fi story about a race of creatures trapped on Earth, but ready to get away.

What I liked most
I liked the creativity you showed in developing this story, and all the details you added to make it feel real.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There are a number of small technical errors which could be cleaned up with a careful read and edit. An example:

That causecaused the other Slogins there to stop talking to each other and face Velm.

Aside from these easily correctable issues, it is a little hard to follow the justification for hurting the humans if leaving is possible. It sort of makes sense, but not completely. I think you could tighten that up some.


Rating and Rationale
I gave this 3.5 stars because it is creative and fun, but needs a little more polishing to make it as good as it could be. I really enjoyed reading it. Write on!
49
49
Review of The Elven King  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
A very entertaining high fantasy with two people (well, not exactly) finding their destiny together where they might least expect it.

What I liked most
It can be a challenge to weave a significant amount of world building into a story of this length without losing the plot or the characters, but you have done it well.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
Overall, this is quite clean, but there are places where re-reading each sentence aloud might help you polish the few rough spots. For example:

They could either make you what you've always wanted, or to make you live your worst fears.


Rating and Rationale
I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of this kind of fantasy, and yet you write it so well it overcame my reluctance. I'm giving this 4.5 stars as it is close to perfect, but could do with a careful polish to make it fully shine. Well done, and write on!
50
50
Review of STEPS  
Review by Ben Langhinrichs
Rated: E | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  for May 2018. Thanks for entering!


Overall impression
An intriguing view of the afterlife, presumably, and how the main character deals with it.

What I liked most
The story took a little while to grow on me, but I liked the imagery of the different people, and how scared they were to take action. You have built an interesting 'world', for lack of a better word.

My general suggestions and technical concerns
There are some issues with tense shifting around, and incorrect capitalization (e.g., "why me"?, but they honestly don't detract much. I mention them only because after the contest, you might want to check it all over carefully to make it as strong as you can.

Rating and Rationale
I gave this 4.5 stars as it is very well done, but has a few small technical issues. Write on!
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