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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/candid-ishida
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36 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I try to always point out at least one positive aspect of a piece of writing because I believe anyone can learn to create art, write, and express him/herself! If there are areas that seem lacking or questions I have that were left unanswered, I usually address them by making suggestions that I feel might improve the piece of writing. As for grammar/spelling, I don't normally take the time to point out every single mistake, but I will make a note of distractions like lack of paragraph breaks, changes in tense or POV, and confusing sentence structure.
I'm good at...
Theorizing about hidden meanings, getting hooked on captivating characters, making positive suggestions
Favorite Genres
Horror, Mystery, Supernatural, Paranormal, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Least Favorite Genres
Comedy, Romantic Comedy, anything with an ambiguous ending
Favorite Item Types
Short Stories, Novellas, Novels
Least Favorite Item Types
Poetry, Non-Fiction
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Edge of Route B  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
As soon as I recognized that "Ooo... ooo... ooo" I put on Edge of Seventeen and it was rather spooky how the beat amplified the feeling of paranoia. The bass of the song almost sounded like wheels of a car turning around, which put me right in the vehicle with Malcolm.
The disjointed bits of thought and descriptions of random sights passing by add to the nightmarish quality of this story. Typically I enjoy narratives that are a bit less ambiguous (especially when it comes to endings), but it's difficult to create that nightmare feeling and also be concrete.
You expanded upon the classic "there's someone in the back seat" horror trope and applied a sort of dream logic to it. Out of all the creepy imagery, the line "Wax clogged my throat" struck me the hardest, simply because I've had plenty of "X stuck in my mouth/throat" dreams and they're so panic inducing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
Yay, Chapter 4 had arrived! I'm really enjoying following this story as it progresses. I'm going to include a running record of comments/questions that arise as I read. (I think I did that before??) I hope that's helpful.

"and though he searched his brain for an answer" - Davide didn't pose a question, so I'm left thinking, an answer to... what?

"The boy nodded and turned to retrieve it, only to throw up his hands in a desperate attempt to catch it." - I'm confused as to why he's catching the lantern. Did Rosa throw it? If so, why?

"Besides, you'll need all the light you can get down there, and my phone is an experimental prototype with three times the battery power; we'll have light for hours." - Since they all seem to have phones, this negates the point made earlier about only having one light. All their cell phones would have lights on them.

One question I have is, if Jay's grandfather (or his partner) had the key, why didn't he ever use it? Why did he make the city rope off the cave? If he had used the key and opened up the chamber, wouldn't that have proven he was right about the Primogenitors?

This chapter moved the story along, and set up an inevitable run in with an enemy. I'm predicting that the kids are going to discover something important in the cave before the Back Star agent arrives: something that will completely change the situation!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Being stalked by an unknown figure is definitely nightmarish, especially since the main character is just a kid. The most unsettling scene was when David was alone in the interrogation room and the skull-faced man showed up. When he disappeared, it wasn't obvious if he was real or imagined, which made the situation very creepy.

Some formatting changes could help with the flow of this story. I'm not sure why a random (E) is used to mark the end of every paragraph. There are several grammatical issues that need to be addressed as well, such as shifting tense at the beginning of the story.

As for the content of the piece itself, the plot is a little hard to follow. The purpose of the machine in the basement is unclear, for example. Who did David hear screaming in the distance? How did a machine cause a curse? Answering those questions (even ambiguous answers) would help readers feel more fulfilled when they finish the story.

In order for readers to suspend their disbelief, the dialogue and reactions of the characters should be believable within the context of the story. Police wouldn't arrest a 14 year old boy without informing his mother. His mom didn't seem to care at all that he was arrested. Also, when David was strapped to the bed in the basement, he didn't seem scared. Crafting characters who act like real people will allow readers to become immersed in the story.

This concept is definitely creepy, though! With some revisions, this story could evoke feelings of terror and panic and leave readers extremely creeped out: perfect for a horror story!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of Hey Gary  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This story has a lot of the elements of a classic spooky campfire story or urban legend. Characters like the raging ax murderer or the ghost searching for justice from beyond the grave are well known, and they fit together well. Two little kids investigating a haunted house fit well in this scenario also.

These elements could use a little re-working to make the story flow smoothly, though.
Some of the formatting made it difficult to figure out who was talking. Usually, every time a different character speaks, a new paragraph begins. Also, the shift from a third-person perspective to a first-person POV was jarring and confused me for a few seconds.
As for the content of the story, an obvious plot hole comes to light when the boys are running away from the killer. You mentioned that the staircase led straight from the bottom floor to the attic, so why didn't the boys just run downstairs instead of climbing to the roof? I also assumed the ghostly intervention came from the spirit of the girl who was murdered. It's unclear why the portrait of the killer's mother changed or why she wrote "Thanks".

The pacing of the story was exciting and full of action, though! I enjoyed details like the comparison of the creaking door to the shriek of a witch, and the ending was satisfying.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of The Killing Jar  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
I like the way the scenes are a bit disjointed and out of order, to the point that readers can't quite tell when the main character is dreaming. This confusion reflects the main character's state of mind and we feel like we're right there with her, losing our memories. There is some very beautiful descriptive language here as well, including sentences that read like lines of poetry.
Some of the features of story that seem like they were meant to deliver big payoffs, though (the necklace, the butterfly jar, the fireflies) are introduced too late in the story for their impact to be felt strongly. For example, I thought the scene with the Ferris wheel was going to become relevant again at the end (I actually thought the love interest fell off the Ferris Wheel and that was how he died) but it never did. Since the lake holds so much meaning to the main character, perhaps it would be better to introduce that setting earlier, rather than the amusement park.
In all though, this story was enjoyable. Readers are left to question whether there was a spiritual presence at work, if the necklace showing up was a coincidence, or if maybe everything was in the mind of an old lady who is slowly losing her mind to dementia.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review of Homecoming  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
The word that kept popping into my mind as I read this was "atmosphere". The way you describe everything: the ground, the trees, the air, floors, furniture - It all paints such a consistent picture that I was able to get a clear visual of everything that was happening and it sucked me right in.

The characterization was equally amazing. Through the entire opening scene, I kept trying to figure out why Sam was *different*. Was she a lesbian? Just a "liberal snowflake"?

'“It’s Samuel,” her mother called as she hustled out of the kitchen. “I told you he’d come.”'
Right here is where my perception was turned on its head and all the preceding clues made sense.

Everything that follows works to make readers relate to Sam. The sci-fi aspect almost takes a backseat, but that sense of feeling "alien" comes through loud and clear. Through this paranormal/sci-fi lens, readers can understand the fears related to being foreign, unwanted, even feeling like a stranger in ones own body, in Sam's case.

This is probably the most engaging short story I've read on WdC so far! Thank you for writing it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Wooaahhh, there's a lot to take in here, and it's only the first chapter! The magic system you created seems deep and concrete, which is awesome. I think a fantasy universe that has rules and consequences is much more immersive than one where people use spells and powers all willy nilly. The fact that a bell rings every time Sky uses his ability tells me that there is some kind of price to pay, like a countdown that might be ticking down minutes of his life or sucking away his energy.
You also raise a ton of questions about the Forgotten organization, the identity of the fire wielder, the origin of Sky's curse, and the world itself, which will keep people reading until they find the answers.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review of Nine Circles  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I felt a little skeptical at first, because to be honest, the story opened a bit weak and there were some spelling/grammar errors that worried me. However, with each passing chapter, the language became more descriptive, the mystery grew deeper, and I became more curious. I would be interested to find out what happens next. Not revealing exactly what everyone saw on the television was a good move to hook readers, in my opinion.
Some of the details reminded me of Supernatural, making me wonder if these siblings were involved in some kind of paranormal situation that went tragically wrong. Is that how they lost Zeek? Is he *literally* burning in Hell? Leaving those questions unanswered for now is a great way to keep people reading.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review of Confession  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
The twist at the end involving the "evil" inside Elmer resurrecting itself through Robert was awesome and unique. I don't think I've read a story quite like this in the past. The way a tale of such magnitude was able to be executed in so few words was very impressive! Even though the story itself was fairly short, I think this premise could be expanded into a movie, or maybe an episode of a show such as The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt. That's the impression it gave me.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
Those agonizing run-on sentences are perfect for this narrative, because that is *exactly* how kids tell stories. I felt like I had slipped right inside the mind of the narrator, and while I was seeing what was being imagined, I was also trying to figure out what the real-world counterpart to everything was. I can remember doing crazy stuff like this when I was younger and getting super frustrated when my friends imagined something that contradicted what I had already said!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of Sunrises  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I'm left wondering who readers are supposed to feel a connection with or feel sympathy towards, maybe neither of them? At first glance, it seemed as though James was at fault, because he had betrayed his girlfriend, but Perry quickly became the antagonist when she started raving and swinging the gun around. Maybe the lesson is that in some situations, nobody wins?
The piece could use a bit of polishing to help deliver the message, though. At times, I had to re-read to figure out who was talking. Some of the descriptions are vague as well, such as: "Glaring back at the dark spherical abyss". What is he looking at?
Also: "He glared at the murky floor beneath his feet" makes it sound like the floor is dank and wet.
I think a little more description of the setting, characters, and some rewording could help streamline this story and build the tension better.
The end was a shocker, though. I thought for sure Perry might take her own life instead of killing James.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review of The Granson Place  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
As I start reading, I wish I had a little description of what Ralph and Todd looked like so I could picture them in my head. I really enjoyed the tale of the murder, it has all the makings of a gruesome urban legend. It might be nice to know what they're doing while they're talking about the history of the house, though. Are they leaning by the car? Walking around?
All of the dialogue was great, however, and the ending was classic. That old man was genuinely creepy! I wonder if he was also a ghost, or survived out in the woods all those years...
Even if he was a ghost, the most unbelievable part of this story has to be that two teenagers have such nice cars!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
That's adorable! Though it's unfair that Mr. and Mrs. McCandless took the stereotypical skeptical fictional parent route and brought her to a psychologist! I have known a few kids like this, and boy would they be excited if their Expelliarmus actually worked. But then again, maybe it does work, and I just don't know about it?


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
Review of Game Models  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.0)
Why was the rest history? The AR game you described almost sounds like it would plunge users into a real life version of the Sims. It also reminds me of an app I once tried called "Life RPG", though that was much less advanced and didn't involve any AR.
So, is someone actually going to make it a reality?? :D


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review of Stalk Home  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
I enjoyed the clinical way Braxton lays out his plans when the story is told from his POV. He is calm and logical about the stalking process, which lets us know that he is mentally unstable enough to rationalize everything he's doing.
I felt like the ending was a little anticlimactic, though. I would have guessed that Azaria wasn't actually kidnapped, rather that she entered into some kind of protection program after Braxton threatened to kill her. Also, what happened to Augustin? Did he die? Was Braxton apprehended by the police?
After following Braxton's POV through the entire story, suddenly switching to Azaria's memories felt out of place and left the piece unresolved, in my opinion.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review of I Owe You My All  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
The fairy tale about the Baron and his lover was the most captivating part of this piece. It took elements from dark legends, fantasy, and mythology and put a new spin on them. I like how the present-day scenes bookend and eventually tie in to the tale. When Beau meets the Baron at the end, I thought perhaps the story was going to take a "Beauty and the Beast" style turn, but it ended very abruptly! The last moments, where Beau wakes up, were a bit confusing.
There are also several spelling and grammar mistakes scattered throughout the piece, as well as a few odd word choices such as "The Duke tells Decora to spell the woods". Does this mean she casts a spell on (enchants) the woods?
With some more polishing, and a little bit more resolution towards the end, you could have a modern day fairy tale!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
Oh boy... I read these out of order. I'm sorry!! I don't know what I thought I was clicking on.
Anyway, I'm really enjoying (finally, lol) the introductions of all the characters! So far I think I like Bian and Davide the best. That curry rice comment was pretty cute... is he going to be the gentle giant type?
"Hi, I'm Jaiyesimi Scott, but you can call me Jay. I like adventure movies, pop, and chicken sandwiches"
All right, now... I've gotta point this out. You mentioned the Harveys were one of the richest families on the East Coast, but I can promise you that nobody, I mean nobody on the East Coast says "pop"! Unless she's talking about pop music, that is!
Now that I have the whole story (so far), I can see how everything is fitting together. I notice there are five main kids... If this story is, in fact, inspired by Power Rangers, please tell me they end up getting powers!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
18
18
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.0)
As I begin to read the description of the craft looming over the city with soldiers jumping down, I get visions of War of the Worlds, mixed with District 9, and a splash of Sailor Moon from the star/space motif. It's a great combination of sci-fi and fantasy imagery.

"A viewing screen activated behind the diabolical man" jumped out at me, though. Describing your villain outright as "diabolical" sounds a liiiitttttllleee cartoonish. Show us why he's diabolical instead of saying so.

Next: "I know that was a lot to take in, but let's just take a deep breath, relax, and try to get on with our day; whatever's going on halfway across the world shouldn't affect your first day of high school!"
I think Mrs. Kilpatrick's reaction should definitely be altered. As a teacher, I can tell you that while our first priority would be to keep students calm, there's no way we would resume class like nothing happened if war was just declared. Realistically, the school would probably go into "Lock Out" mode, which means all the exterior doors are locked and nobody is allowed in or out of the school. The principal would probably then call the local police. Contacting parents and dismissing school would be the next step (the way you have it happening) but students would probably be dismissed one class at a time with adult supervision, not everyone running out the doors at once.

My main question at the end of this chapter is, what age group is this story aimed towards? Personally, I'm loving the outlandish villains. They seem like they jumped right out of a dark episode of Power Rangers, or a comic book. I have a feeling more "mature" readers might not take them seriously, though. I think readers who are the age of your characters (middle school/high school) would be the most engaged by this story.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
19
19
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
I reviewed one of the later chapters in this story and was curious enough that I had to come back and find out what preceded it! The references to the hidden, ancient civilization bring to mind the mysteries of Atlantis and ancient alien theories, something that I know tons of people find fascinating. One thing I wish this chapter had is a teensy hint as to what Jay looks like. Since her grandfather is Nigerian, I assume she might have a dark complexion and brown or black hair, but I'd rather see that description in the text than just guess! A little bit of description (as a child and again as a teen) would help people visualize everything Jay is doing.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.0)
As I was reading, the descriptors used to indicate the speaker, such as "the frizzy-haired girl", "the bespectacled ringleader", and especially labels that simply use the character's ethnicity, like "the Latina", quickly became distracting. I understand the desire to avoid repetition (I used to do this a lot too), but more often than not, it's better to use the character's name. Throwing those variations in every once in a while doesn't hurt, but when they are used frequently, it makes it hard to figure out who is talking. Also, referring to a character as "the Latina" or "the Vietnamese girl" feels a little dehumanizing. I would find a more natural way to indicate the race of the characters, like including cultural details when you mention their families or hobbies.
That out of the way~ I love the premise! You created a group of distinct characters and threw them together into this situation which really mixes things up. I realize this is just one chapter of a longer work, so I'm missing a little bit of the background (I should go back and read the rest, lol). Even without knowing everything, I can tell there is enough mystery here to keep readers engaged. I get the feeling that Jay and the others are *quickly* going to end up in over their heads!
Another strength is how the conversations between the characters feel very natural. Everything they say sounds like something people would actually say to each other. Through the dialog, you indicate which characters have known each other for years and who is brand new to the group. I also was intrigued by Bian, who is so anxious (maybe even on the autism spectrum?) that she communicates to her best friends through text. I've never met a character like that before, and her quirk reflects the mannerisms of people I have met who are extremely introverted and/or have autism.
Keep it up!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review of Sacred Rite  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Even though the premise here is sinister, and the twist at the end with the unknown being laughing was ominous, I felt a little unfulfilled. It seemed like something was missing to bring the story to completion. Keeping the motivations of the four mysterious figures vague adds to the creepiness factor, but the narrative might benefit from a bit more depth to bring it all together.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of Alone  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
I definitely got a little chill when Sam saw the eyes at the bottom of the stairs. There was a good build up and a lot of tension up until this point. I noticed a few typos, though, and the narrative is kind of simplistic over all. Maybe some more atmospheric details would help make it more immersive? Also when she is thinking (talking to herself?) it might help to include quotation marks to help separate her thoughts from the rest of the text.
23
23
Review of The Tahkar  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This concept is very unique and captivating! The images of the Dagar are completely grotesque, and even though I don't know "what" they are, exactly, it's clear they're creatures people would want to avoid. There are a few typos here and there (extremely minor) but otherwise this passage flowed well and was enjoyable to read. I also really like the name "Blood of the World" for the boy's magic aura/energy. It makes me think of something ancient and possibly even catastrophic if used in the wrong way.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review of Candy Store Ghost  
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
Ooh! This reminds me of a series of animated ghost stories called "Yamishibai", though this tale has a happier ending than most of those! I wasn't expecting the twist involving the baby at the end. Is this based on a legend of some kind, or an original story in that style? Either way, you followed the format of that type of story perfectly and the descriptions really pulled me in.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review by Candid Ishida
Rated: E | (4.5)
The lore you have managed to fit into this one small piece is fascinating! In just a few minutes, I felt like I had gained a peek into this world. Creating a history like that is a skill only practiced fantasy writers can pull off, in my opinion, and it makes readers feel like your world is a real place. The impression I got brought to mind sprawling landscapes from a Legend of Zelda game mixed with some ancient kingdom in Essos from Game of Thrones. I also liked how you were able to place character descriptions into the narrative so smoothly. My favorite descriptions were those of the wings, especially when Aithera's wings unfurled. I think readers like me would enjoy reading more of this story.


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