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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/bobinusa
Review Requests: FULL
157 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I aim to be straight-forward. My reviews will focus on my reading experience, not the way I would write your story.
I'm good at...
Story logic and motivation are important to me. I enjoy word play and crisp dialog.
Favorite Genres
Short stories of interpersonal drama, comedy that comes from character, and science fiction are my particular favorites.
Least Favorite Genres
Horror and gore have to be really good to keep my interest.
Favorite Item Types
Short stories and flash fiction
Least Favorite Item Types
Horror
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Leaving Ireland  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hello, PenHawk . I found your story "Leaving Ireland in community news. I enjoyed reading it and hope you find this feedback useful. Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore what isn't. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Plot: This chapter tells the tale of a family's emigration from Ireland using the point of view of a young son.

I did not understand why the landlord changed his mind from refusing to agreeing.

*Bullet* Suggestion: You might consider showing the conflict (getting the landlord to help pay for their passage) in scenic form. That allows me, the reader, to feel their emotion plight as well as make a bit of sense of the Irish world they were fleeing.

Mechanics

Thank you for sharing your story, PenHawk . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox

P.S. Your title caught my eye as I have a similar story, although decades earlier, that you might find interesting. "Decision in Ireland




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Review of Whisperer  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Sue,

I enjoyed "Whisperer" very much. It's a pleasing story of a romance gone wrong, that ends with a surprise in a noddingly, satisfying way.

You missed opening quotes a couple times.
 You may joke, old son, but yes, it has crossed my mind, occasionally.’
 That’s okay, Pal. I’ll say goodnight then.’

I'll mention a sentence that you may want to consider as two sentences.
 ‘You should just get rid of him, he’s not good for you.’

I like the smooth-flowing, easy-to-follow language you relate the story with.

Bob
3
3
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (5.0)
Real good story, Sue. I especially loved Chris' realization in the last phrase.
4
4
Review of Why no Wimple?  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Very amusing little story. Thanks, Beholden
5
5
Review of Survival  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello, Sumojo . I found your story "Survival in the Dreamweaver Anthology 10, just where you said it would be. I enjoyed it and hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what's useful, ignore what isn't. Any advice is offered solely with the intention of being constructive.

The tale is gripping and reads very well.

Good char development driven by apt dialog and diction.
Excellent use of local color. Immersed me into the story.
It was enjoyable how much story was covered in just over 2100 words.

However, the ending was a bit of a letdown for the tense story line.

A couple of easy-to-fix typos:
Dave remained in his precarious position. It should be Sam.
placing his his forehead on the ground. Remove duplicate word.

*Bullet* Suggestion:
It's your story, but you might find this worth considering. From my vantage point, the most interesting conflict was between Sam's belief he's a super-survivalist and his dawning recognition that he wasn’t. A dramatic twist would be the third person kills the wild pig. Sam hides that truth (or not) from his friend picking him up.

Thank you for sharing your story, Sue. It was a pleasure to tread. See you around the site.
Bob

Ari Lox



6
6
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello, Simon Dickerson . I found your story "Light and Dust - Part One in Dreamweaver Bar and Lounge. I enjoyed reading it and hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore that which doesn't help. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

Aside: I can't believe that right when I was ready to post the review, somehow it closed and all my comments were lost. Let me try again.

*Bullet* Plot:
If the romantic interest of chapter one turns out to be the victim in chapter two, I'll be an unhappy reader.
Of course, that is an indication that you established a bond for me with your character.

*Bullet* Characters:
Tom Shaw, Victoria, and Hannah are crisp characters.

*Bullet* Theme:
I don't know that this is the theme, but I especially liked the clarity of the folk psychology that Tom approaches his work by.
The fact is, we are all animals. We might have reason and compassion, secrets and lies, but at base level, we’re no more than dogs. Most of the time the conscience, whatever that is, keeps that side in check
You keep that up and I know I'll be rewarded by the full story.

*Bullet* Mechanics:}
I noticed a few Britishisms, but nothing else to distract from the story.

Thank you for sharing your story, Simon Dickerson . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox

P.S. It's probably not novel to you, but here's a view from the other side of the badge "Wilding on a Hard Day's Night




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Review of Hall of Fame  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello, Scifiwizard . After I saw your name in a response to a newsfeed, I was drawn to your portfolio. There I found your idea "Hall of Fame.

I found it a good, motivational read. The one thing that must stuck with me is your use of Interactive stories to accomplish your goal. I had not explored that feature in WDC. Now I will.

You may laugh, but I too have an item "Hall of Fame. Other than the title, my flash fiction has little resemblance to your piece.

Thanks for sharing and explaining your driving force.

If you have a sci fi story to recommend, I am always looking.

Ari Lox
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8
for entry "Where Am I?
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Princess Morticia Megan Rose
Great idea. I like a puzzle.
My guess is Princess Diana's childhood house. The details I had to look up, but it seems to fit.
9
9
Review of What law?  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello, tpaulter ,
I dropped by your portfolio and read your poem, "What law?. The following comments are meant to helpful. If they are not, please just ignore them.

I enjoyed "What Law?" It challenges this reader and does so with many pleasing couplets.

My Favorite Lines And Why:
Waving like slender arms by acre in the sun
Firm image with a touch of light whimsy yet portending the conflict.
For the omnipotent being who created,
A world so ruthless, with so much unstated

I especially like the final "so much unstated."

Reaction to Consider:
The baldness of the first line dares the reader to come up with a different law. That distracted me, especially when the poem itself shortly remarks "we have to prevail." One of the alternative answers to What Law.

The final two lines wrapped up the eternal argument to the one conclusion that is undeniable. Nicely done.

Very nice poem, tpaulter . It repays multiple readings.

Ari Lox



He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning.
Emily Dickinson
10
10
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello, BariRandom . I found your story "The Remedy of Space in your portfolio as a return review. I enjoyed it and hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore what isn't. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Plot:
My full attention was immediately grabbed by Hive's plight, death threatening unless Lim acts to save him.

*Bullet* Setting:
This sentence arrested my immersion. If they detached from the station at the right spot they’d be sucked into the gravity well I assume that wherever the detachment took place, they would plunge into the planet's gravity.

*Bullet* Characters:
I like the mysteriousness of Hive's name. It's a nice peek into the reality that hasn't a chance to be described in this flash piece.
Lim is an interesting bauble of actions.

*Bullet* Diction:
The narration jarred a bit with this viewpoint shift. She was slipping into her claustrophobia.

that’s what being the last batch of humans did to you. Such an overwhelming fact of their existence, yet not used elsewhere. Hmmm. Also it's prefaced He guessed. I wondered why he was excluding himself from that impact, as he seems to be human.

Regardless, I enjoyed the story and thank you for sharing it, BariRandom . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox

P.S. You might enjoy this flash piece with a sci-fi backdrop. "Salamander Stew


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Review of Sprocket  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello, Schnujo Cujo Misses Fangus . I found your flash fiction "Sprocket in your extensive portfolio. Although it's a handful of years old, I suppose you won't mind that it's still being read.

A quite enjoyable riff. Flowed very smoothly.

My interpretation is the sprocket she gave him was just a bauble to divert her hypochondriac master, who was as easily fixed as the steampunk machine with the next sprocket.

Thank you for sharing your humorous attitude, Schnujo Cujo Misses Fangus . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox

P.S. "Salamander Stew might tickle your funny bone.



12
12
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, BariRandom . I found your "Scene: The end of the Gala in your portfolio, which I had hopped to from the review email of "Mortal."

I usually review stories, not scenes. Thus my immediate reaction reaction was nothing changed, but— I chided myself—scenes don't necessarily involve change. A scene can display a character's traits to establish their sensibility in subsequent scenes. I read the scene several times to help me give constructive comments.

*Bullet* Characters:
The narrator, the woman-girl-escort, is the character this reader is drawn to identify with, to feel emotions through. However, she describes the alpha male, her partner for the evening, with more detail than she reveals about herself. That's fine, as it seems your purpose may be to take the puffed-up male down a few pegs.

The predatory male is a master of double-talk, a fake, powerful, and transiently reveals the "neck ... of a vulture", yet charms with straight, white teeth, the skin of his cheeks folding pleasantly to transform the bottom half of his face into the beautiful stereotypical white male businessman’s. And the half-smile, the fake smile.

*Bullet* Suggestion:
I can only guess where you might use this scene, but you might consider strengthening the narrator's characterization or motivation, as they can be used to strengthen the conflict the two will eventually arrive at.

Just spitballing (to be more concrete about the suggestion): The scene has “Yes sir,” was all she could muster. Even if you don't want her to reveal more at this time in dialog, why she was reduced to such an effete agreement is a prime opportunity to disclose to the reader a bit of the tension of forces that presage the later conflict. I hope that's not too elliptical.

Thank you for sharing your scene, BariRandom . Let me know when you post more of the story.

Ari Lox



13
13
Review of The Handkerchief  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello, AJBurchell-Wish 2B-BeWitched! ,

After you reviewed "Mortal", I dropped by your portfolio and noticed your featured poem, "The Handkerchief. I was looking for a story, but the image of John Barleycorn or Jethro Tull's Aqualung forced me to stop and make an effort, reflecting upon your prose poem.

Poetry is not my native habitat, so perhaps I can ask a question. Does the policeman represent order, the antithesis of the nearly Brownian motion in the fall of a lacy 'kerchief?

The freedom-order contrast is appealing. The pragmatic construction of the poetic world was also an enjoyable read.

Thank you for sharing your poetry.

Ari Lox


P.S. On rare occasions, the poetic muse smiles on me. Here's a idealistic, nearly romantic interlude "Claire de Lune


He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning.
Emily Dickinson



14
14
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello, Wickedfugitive . I found your story "What Dreams May Come in your portfolio.

An enjoyable fairy tale. One that I might tell my granddaughter when she visits next. I especially liked the dream globes and crossing between them. Very nice.

You have a very small typo, a missing 'r' in 'through' glimpse of him slipping though the forest ahead of me

Thank you for sharing your story, Wickedfugitive . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox



15
15
Review of Curiosity Shop  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Sue, enjoyed your bloodsucking tale that I found in Fireside Tales. Thanks for a sprightly read.
16
16
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hi, Dawsongirl.
I came to your portfolio after seeing the notification that you fan'd a fable of mine.
 
This rejection of "Roget's Thesaurus" got me laughing, leaving me in a wonderful humor. With six people already giving it highest ratings, my kudos may be superfluous but you deserve to hear them again.
 
Delightful. Anything but boring, boring, boring!
 
As a one-time chemist I loved "The Development of Nitrous-Oxide -- No Laughing Matter".
 
I can't finish the review without citing your final hilarious instructions.
 
    1. rewrite it in rhyme, add moral lessons, and illustrate the text with drawings of chubby children and small mammals
 
    2. Before mailing your manuscript, take a pen and cross out at all unnecessary words.
 
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Thanks,
Bob

Ari Lox
17
17
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello, MichaelLomas . I found your stories "BRoKEN....chapter 1 and "BRokEN....chapter 2 in your portfolio. I enjoyed reading them and hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore what isn't. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Characters:
The Fool (his real name?) has interesting and disturbing dimensions.
Lydia's personality came through, although her physical description was over-the-top.
Nice writing on Tara. Dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin. She’s so dark, she lights up the room. I esp. liked the reversal of dark to light.
You raised my curiosity about Makayla's interest in him, but the final sentences of "Broken 1" ran counter to that curiosity. Makayla and Lisa walk past me. They don’t give me another look.

*Bullet* Theme:
I like this theme. if people call you trash and worthless enough times you tend to believe it after a while
Linking this next idea with the theme could be powerful. why people can be so mean to someone else and when that someone defends themselves by being mean back the bully ends up acting like the victim.

*Bullet* Climax:
The climax details were too sketchy for full immersion.
I don't know how many parts you intend to complete the story arc, but Lydia and the protagonist both have complex characters which I would need revealed in additional scenes to fully appreciate their situations.

*Bullet* Suggestions:
In the ending of "Broken 2" did you consider describing the boys' bathroom mirror as cracked—with his pareidolia connecting the fractured image into another boy, that he doesn't immediately recognize as himself? Perhaps you implicitly meant that.

*Bullet* Overall Impression: Powerful, but too complex for the length allocated.

Thank you for sharing your story, MichaelLomas . Keep on writing!

Bob

P.S. I also read ".......Limbo ....1-3 and was pleased to see your ability to shift perspectives.
If you are ever at loose ends, some other of my relationship stories may interest you.

Ari Lox



18
18
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Great story, Robert. The story time flowed seamlessly. That it ended up being nearly 2000 words astonished me that it passed so quickly.

BTW I saw a link to your story on Max Griffin's Author newsletter.

Bob

Ari Lox

19
19
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, Princess Morticia Megan Rose
Your "Back To The Past: Jane Austen Part One caught my attention as I looked among your extensive portfolio for something to review, to return the favor that you review of "Shaky Hands

I see that you wrote this 10 years ago, but Jane Austen's time was 200+ years, so that's nothing. I have read the first 5 parts.

The thrill of a wish come true shines through the chapters. The Regency world is getting crowded with contemporary friends. Where will this lead?

Thank you,Princess Morticia Megan Rose for posting your novel of an intriguing era.

Bob

Ari Lox
20
20
Review of Bo Dockett  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, hcpn59p14. I found your story "Bo Dockett as one of your featured stories in your portfolio. I enjoyed reading it and hope you find this feedback useful.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. You might think that I misunderstand it and perhaps that's true, but I've come to my review from the words in your story and the associations in my head. Accept what you is useful, ignore what isn't. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.


*Bullet* Plot:
A sad sack gets into a bind with the IRS.

*Bullet* Setting:
Spare but adequate for the story line.

*Bullet* Characters:
Good characterization of Bo, the 3rd person narrator, the sorry man. Related with humor and not disdain.
Lorain, his wife, imo deserves an early mention that she's more competent than him, so that her late action countering the audit come naturally from the character the reader knows.

*Bullet* Theme:
Things turn out well, if the schmo is innocuous.

*Bullet* Climax:
I found the wraparound of 'the one thing' not drawn crisply enough. The ending was a letdown.

*Bullet* Suggestions:
Perhaps you might consider Bo telling the bartender his desire to visit the Riviera. Or when Bo wakes up hungover, he sees a postcard of the Riviera and realizes he'll never be able to get there when the IRS throws him in jail or garnishes his wages for life.

*Bullet* Overall Impression: Good light humor

Thank you for sharing your story, hcpn59p14. Keep on writing!

Bob

Ari Lox



21
21
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello, Mira . I found your story "A romantic holiday in Paris. on the shameless plug page. The title grabbed my interest. Paris is a lovely city to visit and I wanted to see how it appeared in your story.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore that which doesn't help. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Plot:You mention that this piece is part of a projected novel, with a criminal/gangster element, but this chapter didn't reveal that.
It reads like a travel agent’s blurb for the City of Light rather than a story. It needs some tension. Perhaps Mira fights against feeling of being cloistered by Aleksi, which she shrugs it off because his handsome and flatters her so much.

*Bullet* Characters: Aleksi reveals some of his coarseness in his presumptions about her spending a week with him. Later his lack of foreplay confirms his selfish orientation.
Mira had little characterization. How old is she? What is her occupation? Does he share a flat with a girlfriend or does she live at home or is so well established she lives alone?
How did Mira and Aleksi meet?
One chapter doesn't have to answer all the questions, but the actions and dialog should be shaped by that history, even if it is not overtly given.

*Bullet*Mechanics:

*Bullet* Suggestions: Perhaps Mira had an innocent upbringing that he teases her about? Or she majored in art and schools Aleksi, who says he only likes the Louvre because she is in it.

*Bullet* Overall Impression And Rating:Although a beautiful setting, my emotions were not engaged.

If you'd like to give a return review, "Be Brave is a short story with a military veteran returning to college where norms are different.

Thank you for sharing your story, Mira . Keep on writing!

Ari Lox



22
22
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Interesting ideas to base a story on.

After reading a pitch, I expect to know who's the point of view character. Both Kaelin and Liam could take that place which leaves me uncertain as to your story intention.

Another pitch consideration is the style which the novel will have. In my opinion, a partial scene displaying a crucial conflict between the two would answer that question and engage the emotions as well as the intellect of the pitch reader.

I hope you post a bit of Believer here.
Ari Lox
23
23
Review of Haven  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello, BrokenPen . I found your story "Haven in my search for stories by persons who reviewed me and I hadn't returned the favor yet. Reading "Haven" was a pleasure.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you find useful and ignore what doesn't help. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Plot: An apocalypse has occurred, maybe two. Three people have arrived at the island, Haven, and hope to stay there, in relative safety.

My expectation was a complete short story with a significant obstacle that is overcome by the protagonist's efforts. Instead, for me, this piece reads like the solid opening scene of a longer work.

*Bullet* Characters: Joe and Zed have aspects that the reader can understand. In such a short piece, it's very hard to handle five characters counting Poll, Justan, and Faith.

*Bullet* Tension: There is too little doubt that the three newcomers will be welcomed. In the beginning instead of Poll saying they would be safe soon, you might considering having him say, they would never be accepted unless they had a skill of great value—or some such.

*Bullet* Climax: To this reader, the raw elements of potential disagreement between Zed and Joe (and the couple) exist and are resolved in the end; however, the characters aren't shown at cross purposes. For me, this made the resolution emotionally unsatisfying.

*Bullet*Mechanics:

*Bullet* Suggestions: The rovers, the chaos, and angering the sea all portend plot lines and inter-personal conflicts I'd enjoy reading.

*Bullet* Overall Impression: I very much enjoyed the feel of the changed world.

Thank you for sharing your story, BrokenPen . I look forward to more.

Ari Lox

PS This little essay "100 Feet in 1000 Years may interest you.




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review of The Semicolon  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Not a review, but an attaboy. Craft point well-made, with an well-chosen example.
25
25
Review of The Indian  
Review by Ari Lox
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello, Blimprider . I found your story "The Indian scrolling through your portfolio. The description caught my interest. I wondered about their detecting difference of opinion.

Of course, this review is only how I see your piece. Accept what you is useful to you, ignore what doesn't help. Any advice is offered with the sole intention of being helpful.

*Bullet* Impression: I really liked the story. It pulled me along, got me thinking, and gave me a character to care about. {

*Bullet* Characters: When Al and the Indian arrive on the Shoot-and-Run scene, Senior Patrol Office Peterson doesn't acknowledge the Indian. He's disappeared to the reader. The comment "Shit! We gotta get this guy." could be worked into a good line for him.

*Bullet* Theme: Due process vs vigilante justice has been an important issue since the Wild West. This sentence What if this guy has a little accident during the field interview? resonates in these days of BLM protests.

*Bullet* Climax: Nice reversal, having Al fire the deadly shot.

*Bullet*Mechanics:

*Bullet* Suggestions: I would have liked the Indian to do something, early in the story, that showed why he was worth his partner calling him the best partner ever.

Thank you for sharing this solid detective story, Blimprider . Good luck in the contest.

Ari Lox





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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