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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/chocstop
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148 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (2.0)
Hello

Firstly, for someone who says that they have no idea what they're doing, this is quite well written. Having said that, this opening doesn't really go anywhere.

What do I mean by that?

I always think that the acid test is to remove a sentence/paragraph, reread, and if the story hasn't suffered with that omission, then that section was never needed in the first place.

I will make a few suggestions, here, and they will be in blue text. Take them as you will, they are my subjective opinion.

Prologue

Every story typically starts with a cliche: something short and sweet, something designed to instantly grab the reader’s attention. In writing this, I realise that I, myself, am writing this very cliched introduction to my story. Unfortunately, that’s the thing about the self-fulfilling prophecies of writers, and in order for me to be a writer I must meet at least some of the pre-defined stereotypes. But, then, I’m not a writer, at least I’m not trying to be. Some stories are made to be told.
The reason I've deleted the two sentences here is because you don't need to tell the reader that it's a true story. It's better to leave it to their imagination. Trust your audience.

This is the story of how I cheated death.

Present

Firstly, I think, perhaps, I should introduce myself. Don’t worry, by doing this I’m not putting my life in danger. I don’t believe in “Death” as a being and, once you know my story, you might think it’s bizarre that I don’t believe in any of that Final-Destination stuff, either. I think I might be the only person alive on this planet who doesn’t.

My name is Andie and I’m 17 years old. Born and raised in New York City, I have long dirty-blonde hair which is so thick I use it as a personal sweatband in summer. My eyes are dirty too, a dirty dark green. I think this adds nicely to my overall dishevelled look . I’m no Victoria’s Secret model, but I’d say I’m a solid 6.5. There’s lots I could write about myself, but then, I’m not setting up a dating profile.

The year is 2020. You may be reading this at a point in the future that I have only dared dream of. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I can only hope that the world is a better place.



As I say, I don't think this opening goes anywhere. My edits are designed to speed you along a little. You have to be quite ruthless.

I, myself, go back over my own work deleting entire paragraphs. Either I find they add nothing to the story, or I realise I went over the same ground earlier in the chapter.


I hope this is helpful.

Keep writing.

Mark
2
2
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello

I really like the idea behind this poem. The premise is kinda cool.

I have mixed feelings about the finished poem. The rhythm is a little off, mainly due to the varied syllable count. If you think of it like a song, where there are only so many notes, you may be able to address that.

Of course, this is only my opinion.

Well done, anyway.

Write on.

Mark

3
3
Review of Waves and Wind  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello

I really like this little ditty. It paints a picture and has a pleasing rhythm.

Poetry is entirely subjective, so I won't be criticising, making suggestions or correcting anything.

The only thing left to say is well done.

Write on.

Mark




4
4
Review of WP-20 Years  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (2.0)
Hello

I started to read this piece, but got sidetracked by some of the mistakes.

We all make them, so don't worry. I am here to offer some advice.

I will correct the first paragraph. Hopefully, this will help you with the remaining text.

Marching through the mountains the lone cleric walked, his bags light as his lone companion rested. (Marching and walked here? You don't need both. Lone cleric with a lone companion? Is he alone or not?)

Twenty years have ('had' not have, if you're sticking with past tense as in 'walked') passed and taken their toll, an arm missing, replaced only by the mechanical prosthetic that bears its place ('replaced' and 'bears its place' are sorta meaning the same thing here. Again, you don't need both), the windy deserts having taken ('The desert winds had taken' here?) their toll on the piece of machinery (Instead of 'piece of machinery' here, perhaps 'delicate mechanism' would fit).

('taken their toll' is mentioned twice in this paragraph)

Bearing the mark of the moon the plague doctor tightened his belt, seeing the breach into the clearing. (Is it the belt that bears the mark of the moon? the doctor? or the doctor's mask?)


In summary:

Be careful of mixing past and present tense. Stay consistent throughout.

Avoid repetition of descriptive phrases.

Be clear about which characters are in the scene.


Writing is hard, that's why good ones get the big bucks.
Keep at it, you will improve.

Write on.

Mark



5
5
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hello

Wow, this was unexpected. Definitely not politically correct.

I'm not sure how I feel about it, lol.

I would perhaps suggest more description:

Marty's eyes roamed over her body, admiring the way her tight-fitting sweater followed every contour ... (or something of the sort that doesn't give away her size)

As I say, undecided on this one.

Write on.

Mark

6
6
Review of Grandpa  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello

I really like this. I could picture a child reading it aloud in class. Age appropriate, it doesn't take itself too seriously.

The rhythm is good thanks to the consistent syllable count.

Grandpa is capitalised throughout, except for the first verse.

Well done.

Mark
7
7
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, again

This was an emotional one for me. I lost my father to cancer 2 years ago.

It's good that you've found an outlet, a way to express your grief.


Repeating the last line of each verse is a solid technique, and it gives it more impact.

You don't need the punctuation at the end of each line (though this is down to personal preference).

Well done.

Mark

8
8
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello

I really like this. It made me smile.

The rhythm is really good, mainly because you've kept a weather eye on the syllable count.

The language is age appropriate. Too many times, poets get carried away with themselves, adding fluff where none is needed.

Punctuation is not always required in poetry. It is much less strict than, say, an essay or short story. See if you can pare it back a little.

Well done.

Mark
9
9
Review of Released  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello, Kimovertomyplace

How are ya? Long time no chat!

I'm supposed to review, lol.

Poetry is so damn hard to critique, so subjective.

This isn't bad, made me think, and that's what poetry is supposed to do.

Hope you're well and virus free.

Markmywordsweneedtochat



10
10
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello

I was wholly unprepared for this, lol.

Punctuation and grammar? Pfft. Who cares? This made me laugh.

Write on.

Mark

11
11
Review of Pub Bunny  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello

This made me laugh, reminded me of my misspent youth.
12
12
Review of First drum set  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello

I like this. I like the rhythm of it.

It reminds me of my cousin. He has learning difficulties. But the smile on his face when he's drumming along to Elvis is joyous.

Write on.

Mark
13
13
Review by markymark
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Unratable.)
Hello

Wow, this is refreshing. This is what's missing from the narrative: the truth.

There are a couple more things to consider:

Despite the vast number of slaves taken, there is no significant black population in the Middle East. This is because slaves were castrated upon arrival. This was not a chemical procedure, either. There are gruesome drawings of the procedure. It is not nice, at all.

Blacks were sold into slavery by other blacks. Entire tribes were taken. This is documented and illustrated.

The descendants of slaves, those in America, have it much better than their African cousins. They do not have to walk miles for water, they do not suffer famine or disease to the same degree, and war is almost always a far away concern. The opportunities afforded Black Americans are a world away from the African reality, and nobody addresses it.

It's good to see someone pointing to the real problems facing blacks in America. Black on Black crime is out of control.

Good luck and write on.

Mark
14
14
Review of Time  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello

I still have time for this review, woohoo!

Write On.
15
15
Review of Don't Trust Cupid  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hello

This poem is a fair effort.

Watch the syllable count, it will help the rhythm. Think of it like a song, that you have only so many notes to play with.

Good luck and write on.

Mark


16
16
Review of Laying So Close  
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I quite like this poem; it has a similar feel to some of my own, though a little more sauce.

Suggestions? Poetry is so subjective, I think only a fool should give advice.
However, it occurs to me that a version of this with Poe-esk language might be an interesting exercise for you; just a thought.

Mark

17
17
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
These little ditties made me chuckle, Rich.
18
18
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I like this piece.

It's good because it doesn't have a happy ending.... the colorful prose is nicely done.

Not entirely convinced about the 'monster' itself but hey, you can't have everything.

Suggestions:

A little more depth, to build the suspense.

Tonya nodded and shut her eyes as the last BIT of a light blue nightgown fell behind the closing door.

'BIT' is such a nondescript word..... perhaps 'a wink of blue' (I'd use some more of your colorful prose)

Favorite parts:

Night bled the day black; the fish swam.

With water droplets spraying like emerald- and topaz-hued shrapnel, the woman hit the water like a grenade.


Hope this is helpful, yours is the first review I've felt was worth the time in quite a while.

Regards
Markymark
AKA Chocstop
19
19
Review of THE LAST SWALLOW  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is quite a nice little story...

It's quite well written with some nice detail.

One thing to look out for is repetition. I noticed it a couple of times.... nothing major.

He walked into the icy blanket to go and see if there was a SWALLOW that might still be alive.
Amazingly, there was only one SWALLOW that showed any life. (perhaps deleting swallow on this line would read OK)
This little SWALLOW was taken into the house and very carefully dried off with a face cloth. (perhaps replacing swallow with bird on this)
After a while, the SWALLOW started to show signs of stretching its wings and looking quite happy with itself.
Now, SWALLOW cannot be kept as a pet, it should fly free.
It is a specialized feeder, eating mainly tiny insects, which it catches on the wing.

It's a trap many fall into, repeating pronouns or distinctive names... it's an easy fix really.

The last part, the description of the falcon needs to be drawn out a little. It's too abrupt.

Of course, this is all academic, you are the writer and must do as you please.

As I said, I quite like this and I've given it a worthy 4.0.

Regards
Markymark
AKA Chocstop

20
20
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (4.0)
I like this.... a slice of life, narrated with aplomb.

Technically, it is well written. The only thing I noticed was the repetition of 'he' when describing Mark.

Overall, I think you could delve into their character just a little more. Highlight their disparity even more.
The kiss definitely need more description. Let us feel the passion that is unleashed.... against both their expectations.

That's my only advice.... but I still really like it.
The last line is great.


Regards
Markymark
AKA Chocstop
21
21
Review of I am not a poet  
Review by markymark
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I am not a poet
tormented not by love's first loss
complete engulfing sadness
blind to nature's enduring glory
I am not a poet,

Above is an example of changing a line and a couple of words to transform a poem.

Beginning lines of poetry with 'I am' 'I have' 'I do' 'I cannot' reads a bit like a shopping list.

Mess around with the sequence of each line, switch them around. It's a very good technique for altering the texture of a poem. For Example:

I cannot see with these tired eyes
or
These tired eyes that cannot see (almost exactly the same words, different texture)

Avoid repetition:

people love Alternatively people love
people cry they laugh and cry

Experiment, take a verse and switch it around, change words and avoid repetition. Then compare it with the original, you'll amaze yourself.

I don't think this is a bad poem, it needs a polish that's all. The sentiment is there, you just need to embellish your language.

Hope this is helpful.

Regards
Markymark

22
22
Review of A Kansas Duel  
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Overall, I really like this.

Well written, nicely detailed. It evokes a feeling of bygone days lost to history's ravenous appetite.

As first person narratives go, this is one of the better examples. It successfully avoids sounding like a Raymond Chandler Novel.

Slight concern with the timeline. 1870s, a young man hunts buffalo, then mentions movies(westerns).
I know this is indeed possible, those type of movies were popular in the silent era and early talkies.
But unbelievably, I think you need more detail regarding his current circumstance, how he's looking back over the years etc.

I will pull the first few paragraphs, tell you my thoughts....


(I) wandered around a little in those days, and saw and did things most people NEVER even dream about when they are drunk. (I) scouted for Custer for a while. (I) helped kill all the buffalo. (I) fought my share of Injuns. (I) liberated Mexican cattle once or twice. (I) even worked in a lady’s underwear store for half a day. One thing (I) can tell you is that it was nothing like the movies they show on Sunday nights at the home.

In all my years roaming the plains and the hills, (I) seen plenty of gunfights, even got involved in a few. (I) NEVER killed a white man that (I) knew of and (I) NEVER ever got shot. Most times in a fight, it seemed like one of the fighters didn’t know he was in a fight ‘til he was shot to bits. One time though, (I) saw a DUEL, A DUEL! A stand up, face each other and shoot DUEL. Damndest thing.

(I) CAN REMEMBER IT like it was just YESTERDAY.(I) CAN REMEMBER it better than if it was YESTERDAY. (slightly cliched, repetitive. Perhaps using an example 'I can remember it better than this morning's newspaper headline' blah blah)

By the start of the 1870’s buffalo were getting thinner on the ground but a man could still make a few dollars if he was willing to travel a bit and not too firmly attached to his scalp.

(I) spent the spring of 1873 killing those big WOOLY BASTARDS up in the Texas panhandle. The open ground there was perfect for hunting the DAMN THINGS. All (I) had to do was set up a couple hundred yards from the buffalos and shoot them all day long. Some days the barrel of my big old Fifty Caliber Sharps got so hot it scorched the sticks (I) propped it up on. That was the easy part. Skinning those stinking beasts was a whole different matter. It was such a filthy, gut wrenching chore that a man would wind up covered head to toe in blood and gore.

In a first person narrative, the repetition of 'I' stands out. Sometimes just deleting it will be enough to avoid this:


I wandered around a little in those days, and saw and did things most people never even dream about when they're drunk. I scouted for Custer for a while, helped kill all the buffalo and fought my share of Injuns.

In all my years roaming the plains and the hills, seen plenty o' gunfights, even got involved in a few. Never killed a white man that I knew of and haven't been shot. Most times in a fight,

Repetition in general is a trap we all fall into, there are a few examples here, nothing calamitous.

The gunfight is slightly labored at the end, pare it back slightly.

This is an extremely well written, likable fable that needs dusting down.

These are only my suggestions, ignore them at your peril. LOL.

Hope this is helpful.

Regards
Markymark
AKA Chocstop

23
23
Review of Turning  
Review by markymark
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is very good.

Well written, punctuation and grammar are good. Dialogue is natural, if slightly awkward, which is obviously the intention considering the scene being played out.

My only concern is the weak ending. You've set the scene nicely, for what. I don't know. You're the author, LOL.

The build up is there, an undercurrent of hostility and resentment. The background to the action is fleshed out.
The finale just didn't materialize. Shame.

I still really like this and I'm giving it a worthy 4.0 marks.
Work on the ending and I'll look at it again.

Regards
Markymark
24
24
Review of And the Body Dies  
Review by markymark
Rated: ASR | (2.0)
What is wrong with this you ask?

Hmm. Tricky, this isn't something I would normally read.

I think the main problem here, it's rather preachy, almost a sermon delivered with gusto.
If this is your intention, i wish you well.
If on the other hand, you're attempting to tell a story, this is where the problems occur
Point A to point B via a series of events, people and circumstance.

Define what it is that you are trying to do. Plan the journey on which your readers will be taken.
I can't tell what you should write, you are the author. There are a few technical issues to watch for.

Repetition, something we all have to beware. Myself included.
It can be used to add impact, used sparingly.

Maybe this is the LAST city, the LAST(final) stop. He’s DEFINITELY watching me now. I can DEFINITELY(delete) smell his HOLY HUNGER, the truth of HIS machine and HIS plan, the grace of it. He is SO good to be doing this and this machine is SO easy to use. Walk through the beautiful wooden doors, commissioned to a THOUSAND THOUSAND of the best artist to ever live in Europe, how cosmopolitan, ECUMENICAL even. Let the secular build the Babel, let Us ascend it, how wise of him! Just step inside, right? Relax, breath(e). Smell the incense and candles. The ash WILL COME OFF, the grease WILL COME OFF these white robes. The music composed by the greatest, the most single minded VISIONARY VISIONARIES hearing the highest most INVISIBLE IMPRACTICABLE spheres rubbing together, COSMIC SPHERICAL VIBRATING crickets that never annoy you. Oh, music is not ash, nor are We. GIVE AWAY THESE teeth, THESE eyes, THESE wrinkles. GIVE AWAY this mind as it tries to escape ME, tries to confuse ME; We need it only to GIVE WAY. GIVE it a shove as it cops out on ME. MY machine won’t fail. MY automatic confessional, MY unrelenting purgatorium. It’s only left for ME now to be what I am. It’ll do all the work. I just GIVE WAY. I just GIVE AWAY these feet, THIS skin, THIS ash. It fails ME now anyway of no use to ME as it was of no use to them. Thats the machine at work. The curing purge. They were sick. He watches ME through a screen as I burn and asks me questions about myself. He seems INTERESTED, it's nice to be asked, for someone to be INTERESTED again, not like on Sundays. He tells ME I don’t need to answer or sing or even pray anymore, IT'LL be alright, IT'LL all go away. Sure is kind of Him to ask. His smiling eyes are mine, I can see through the screen now. There's only a little irritation, can't be helped, it's for the best anyway. Could it be more simple to live than to die? The warm of the machine hums away the urge TO ANSWER; the compulsion TO ANSWER TO myself. I don't need TO ANSWER TO anyone but Him and he doesn't mind if I don't ANSWER. He already knows. So warm. I HOPE TO FEEL the flight. HOPE TO FEEL the soul I AM, I know I AM; what’s left from the ash. The escaping energy is me. I AM its feeling. The burning is me, not that which is burned. The rising specter is me, GLIMPSED by NO ONE. There is NO ONE left to GLIMPSE or be GLIMPSED.
And the body dies.

So much repetition in such a short piece, paired closely together, like fingernails down a blackboard.

Holy Hunger........ beginning with the same letter, reads slightly adolescent. (Righteous Hunger?)

Thousand thousand-Visionary visionaries??????

Cosmic spherical vibrating.... so many adjectives

Ecumenical... an example of your overuse of a thesaurus (alternatively-universal)
There's no doubting your knowledge of words, you don't have to demonstrate this with every sentence.
Sometimes less is more, in this case, much more.

I realize this review may seem severe, but it's low rating and your initial question tells me that this is old news.
I've given you advice that should improve this piece, it's designed to be as helpful as possible.


Kind Regards
Markymark
25
25
Review of Winter Crimson  
Review by markymark
Rated: E | (3.5)
It's always difficult to judge something written within strict guidelines, but I'll have a go.

I would normally advise an author to refrain from repetition, perhaps this was a contest mandate I don't know.
But in a short piece it stands out.


The unusually cold air did not bother me. As I sat upon the ocean shore transfixed at the scene that LAID SPREAD (two words that mean the same thing) out before me. I watched as the last of the sun's LIGHT created a PORTRAIT stained IN(delete?) RED. The sky with its clouds AND(delete!) the ocean and SAND had all been washed in RED, that TATTOOED everything. I picked up a handful of SAND(grains) and began to play with IT holding IT up toward the sky and watched IT slip between my fingers cast in the shadows and highlights of CRIMSON LIGHT(luster)

I wanted to BOTTLE or BOX this piece of RED serenity I had now. I craved a way to keep the PORTRAIT that LAID SPREAD out before me encased in the CRIMSON LIGHT of a winter's setting sun. I thought of how I needed a PERSONAL RAINBOW, for when there was no color to WASH(cleanse?) and TATTOO everything in and only gray showed through. I knew that this would be my PERSONAL RAINBOW, this beach, where everything had been WASHED in RED, that TATTOOED(colored?) everything.

As I stood to leave wiping the SAND away I knew that no matter how far I traveled or how long I lived or anything else that came to be I would always have my PERSONAL RAINBOW. A PORTRAIT to keep, written in the BOTTLE and BOX of memory. I didn't leave it on the SAND(shoreline?) or wish it away on (a) weekend.

Unless it's a contest requirement, forego the repetition. Your imagery will come through more effectively when you follow this rule.

It's something to be aware of in all of your prose and poetry.

Hope this is helpful.

Regards
Markymark
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