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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/bobinusa
Review Requests: FULL
165 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 by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (5.0)
Beautiful image and exotic to a USA'r
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Review of Watermelon Man  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, Graywriter is on a cruise . After your helpful review of "Never Be Published, I want to return the favor. I found "Watermelon Man highlighted in your portfolio.

Good mock epic style. The story was a smooth read with humor.

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

I felt Spitz's yearning for victory, but I did not feel drama and suspense. To achieve that, you need obstacles, not just an opponent. I liked the foray his mouth was dry, but it was easily remedied. After that, Spitz's efforts were the same, just the results varied.

As a mock epic, you are allowed a wide swath of improbable events from the villain, Winkhauser, to thwart the hero's efforts. Spitting on the running platform causing Spitz to foul an attempt—comes to mind. I'm sure you can come up with better.

Neil Gaiman says that a writer should accept as fact when a reader says he doesn’t get something, but the reader’s solutions are often wrong. If they are right, rejoice and use them, but don’t focus on the proffered solutions, but on the knowledge that, for that reader, your story missed a target.

Thank you for sharing your story, Graywriter is on a cruise . Keep on writing!

See you around the site.

Burning Thoughts




3
3
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, Chris Breva . I found your story "Strange Fruit Salad on scrolling through your short stories. The title, combining oddness with fresh fruit, demanded I read it.

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

I quite enjoyed the juxtaposition of ordinary and oddness as well as the lead's self-deprecating attitude. If you decide to revise the flash story, here are a few suggestions for your consideration.

Characters:
"Oh Mom," he complained. "I'm... The lead is a woman! The earlier phrase "Being a glutton for punishment" seems a masculine sentiment.
Theme:
When discussing dinner, consider strengthening the characters. Perhaps Mom: I’ll knock them out of their food ruts. Husband: steak and potatoes. Son: wants pizza and coke while he plays computer.
Does Milbourne's name have special significance?

Setting:
Give more like oddities as red bananas, orange grapes. Very nice. Later, when Mom mentions them again, use your talent for odd juxtaposition to add concrete variety to the imagery.

Climax:
The ending was unsurprising because of the earlier,"... give you mine and go eat the dog food.
This reader was not sure of the story takeaway intended.

Suggestions: Your skill with humor would benefit from closer attention to spelling and syntax.

An enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing your story, Chris Breva . Keep on writing!

Burning Thoughts



4
4
Review of Seurat Meeting  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello, graybabe . I found your story "Seurat Meeting on Please Review. 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.

Let me start with what I took away from reading the story, then follow with a couple of suggestions.

Plot:
A sweet, naive youngish woman searching for love finds it in the person who bought a copy of Seurat's masterpiece that she hoped to buy.
Setting:
Central Park, his apartment, and a little restaurant are lightly sketched.
Characters:
Maddie's adoption loomed large in her reaction to the world. The need to be loved overwhelmed the wariness a New Yorker typically brings to situations.
Stephen's personality is clearer than his occupation. He says he works for the British government, but then it's clear that's not true. He has motives and contacts which are unclear and suspicious, but he likes Maddie. He conducts mini-monologues and dialogues on why he shouldn't get attached to her.
Theme:
I expected a romance with a cultured aesthetic, but suspense and mystery overwhelmed that as the story unfolded.
Suggestions:
I didn't believe some of the actions, without motivating explanations. For instance, a young woman going into a tall gentleman's apartment who she met barely 10 minutes earlier.
Stephen saying he's important... and she blithely accepting it as gospel.
Maybe I'm wrong about that, but wasn't Sophie her adoptive mother, not her stepmother.
Stephen says he's worried about Maddie, but instead of picking her at her home, he asks her to meet him at his apartment, which exposes her to whatever danger being trailed ibvolves. And then she accepts his suggestion!

Overall Impression:
I enjoyed the interplay of the two characters. It made me wonder: am I that cynical or is she that gullible?

As I mentioned at the outset, these are just my reactions to your story. If they help you understand a reader's reactions, then perhaps they will be helpful, even if you disagree with the entirety of the suggestions.

Good luck with the piece, graybabe , and keep on writing.

Burning Thoughts



5
5
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello, tpaulter . I found your story "Walking to Forever in your portfolio.

I enjoyed reading it. It took me into Nathan's mindset on the walkabout search.

The resolution left me curious although a bit flat. Since you mainly post poetry, perhaps the character arc is less important to you as poetry's aim (in my view) is to evoke an emotion, rather than address a conflict. Or maybe I just didn't understand the symbolism of the mysterious man.

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

Burning Thoughts



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Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (4.5)
It's a shame you won't write the book, bearbit . Maybe you can add a phrase illuminating the emotion the soldier's life leads to.
Burning Thoughts
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Review of Leaving Ireland  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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!

Burning Thoughts

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




8
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Review of Whisperer  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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
9
9
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (5.0)
Real good story, Sue. I especially loved Chris' realization in the last phrase.
10
10
Review of Why no Wimple?  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Very amusing little story. Thanks, Beholden
11
11
Review of Survival  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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

Burning Thoughts



12
12
for entry "Where Am I?
Review by Burning Thoughts
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.
13
13
Review of What law?  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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.

Burning Thoughts



He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning.
Emily Dickinson
14
14
Review by Burning Thoughts
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!

Burning Thoughts

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


15
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Review of Sprocket  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello, Schnujo Boojo . 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 Boojo . Keep on writing!

Burning Thoughts

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



16
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Review by Burning Thoughts
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.

Burning Thoughts



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Review of The Handkerchief  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello, AJBurchell- Australia ,

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.

Burning Thoughts


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



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Review by Burning Thoughts
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!

Burning Thoughts



19
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Review by Burning Thoughts
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

Burning Thoughts
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Review by Burning Thoughts
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

Burning Thoughts

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Review by Burning Thoughts
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

Burning Thoughts
22
22
Review of Bo Dockett  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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

Burning Thoughts



23
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Review by Burning Thoughts
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.
Burning Thoughts
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Review of Haven  
Review by Burning Thoughts
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.

Burning Thoughts

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!.
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Review of The Semicolon  
Review by Burning Thoughts
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Not a review, but an attaboy. Craft point well-made, with an well-chosen example.
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