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89 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I like to put a bit of light humor into my reviews. I don't really go for the whole format style, just a good old paragraph/letter format. I tend not to focus much on grammar, unless I am specifically asked or it is bad enough to take away from the story. I read it more as a reader then a writer, though I will put some of that aspect into it as well. If you like a casual approach with that personal touch to connect you to the reviewer then I'm your man.
I'm good at...
Pretty much anything except poetry. I'm open minded enough to be able to read erotica, gay/lesbian or pieces that make others squeemish or consider "radical" in its ideas. got a piece about how to fix the world by killing off half the population? I will take it seriously and give you feedback on it more then a "that's inhuman!" or "How can you even think that!"
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, fiction, sci-fi, entertainment, romance, mystery, drama
Least Favorite Genres
Public Reviews
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Review of The Bug  
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
It was a little hard keeping track of who was doing what. It has the bones of a good story that needs a little more smoothing out.
Review of Random  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hello Shawna,

As promised, I found some time to review this piece. As it is so short, I won't break it down like I normally do. I will still try to be concise and understandable though^^.

First off.... Spacing could really help. Even though this is really short, the wall of text is a real eye sore. places where there is dialog are prime places to put spacing to denote different speakers/ make it all easier to digest.

... thousand nails scraping the inside if my head grow even more excruciating. I start to cry. "Damn it, let me go!" I start to crawl towards the end...

Change this just a little to look like this:
... thousand nails scraping the inside if of my head grow even more excruciating. I start to cry.

"Damn it, let me go!"

I start to crawl towards the end...

This also helps highlight places where the people actually speak out loud.

Another thing I want to point out is your use of fragmented sentences. While it is true people tend to think in fragments, and using fragments can help heighten the sense of emotion/danger/immediacy, there are so many in this short section that it is distracting and harmful to the effect as a whole. Sometimes as writers we have to flesh out fragments of thoughts so as to pull the reader in a little more.

In case you don't know what a fragment is, it is a piece of sentence, or a sentence that should be attached to another sentence because it stands out when it stands alone. EG I can see the light. I'm almost there. These can be considered fragments because they can be tacked on to the end of another sentence without trouble. they can even be combined together to form one single sentence using a comma. I can see the light, I'm almost there. Your piece is littered with these fragments and the work as a whole would come across better if some of them were cleaned up.

"Hi Kayla I am doctor Romao, welcome back." "You gave us all a little scare, but we brought you back."

So, for this little section right here, there are a few things wrong that I see... the first being the repetitive use of the word back so close together. The second is the fact that the same person is speaking both lines. That being the case, you have no need for the extra set of closing and opening quotations between the sentences. the only time you would need such a distinction is if there is a lapse of time between the first and the second sentence. In that case you would usually fill that gap with exposition or description of some sort to denote a passage of time.

If you want it all spoken at once, it should look like this: "Hi Kayla I am doctor Romao, welcome back. You gave us all a little scare, but we brought you back."

If you want it to have a pause between each sentence and denote time passing, it might look like this: "Hi Kayla I am doctor Romao, welcome back."

My eyes traveled around the hospital halls speeding by as I licked dry lips. the Doctor smiled and continued. "You gave us all a little scare, but we brought you back."

The third thing I felt was wrong about this set of sentences--- and only a small gripe really-- is how informal this doctor is. If you want to bring a character to life, even in a piece as short as this, bring their character into their dialog. A doctor is normally a bit standoff-ish/ formal. it is part of the profession which allows patients to trust him and allows him to deliver bad news more easily. when you think of your doctor, you don't really think buddy-buddy. So even if he knew her name, he would most likely call her by her LAST name, not her first-- if he addressed her by her name at all.

So a real doctor might sound more like this: "I am Doctor Romao, you gave us all a scare, but we pulled you back.
How are you feeling Mrs. Gale? I am Doctor Romao. We almost lost you for a minute, but you're safe now.

All in all the piece isn't bad for what it is. it is more of an idea jotted down on paper than anything close to finished. This is what you would use to flesh out and build around in a larger work. Anyways, I hope some of this helped you in some way, even if you don't use it to fix this story, I hope this information helps you in your next writing!

And remember, these are only my opinions and thoughts on the matter, ultimately this is your work and you decide what is useful and what isn't.

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--Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.--Lyndon B. Johnson

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Review of Maria  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hello Marigene!

This is Shadowstalker sliding out of the darkness to give you the review you requested! Please note that I am not a professional (well writer anyway. I pride myself in being a professional stalker :P) My thoughts are just opinions. You may take them in whole or in part to heart. (hey an unintentional rhyme!) My reviews tend to be brutally honest, with a mixture of comedy and sarcasm thrown in. If this kind of review is not to your liking turn away now( then again... that would sort of throw away the GP you spent on this review so I guess you are stuck with what you get *Laugh*)

First Impressions:

First impressions are lasting impressions.

Written in the first person, the reader should get to know and identify with the main character. instead, I was left confused and distanced from the protagonist from the very beginning. there is an interesting premise here, that-- while not original-- has potential. Schizophrenia, MPD, amnesia these have all been explored and written about for they make great plots.

Based solely on this excerpt, I wouldn't read anymore. It is just too jumbled and directionless.

Now, with that said, I don't think this is a lost cause at all. Read on for my thoughts and Ideas on other aspects of the story.


Plot is the backbone of any story. This fact is pretty obvious. BUILDING the plot is the sign of a good writer. You don't want to give too much away, yet also give just enough for that moment to entice the reader and get them making their own conclusions (whether true or false).

Now, I understand this is (probably) a part of the story that happens later. I assume you will introduce us to the main personality in the book first, let us get to know her and the reasons she wishes to escape herself and create this new personality. In the beginning of this piece you TELL us, but for an amnesia/MPD theme I think SHOWING us would be more effective. this is true in many stories, but one like this I think it holds doubly true when using the 1st person.

The reason for this is that in 1st person, you want me (the reader) to FEEL like I am the main character. If the character is depressed... make me depressed. if she is happy, make me happy. That identification is part of writing in this PoV. So if you simply tell me how I feel like you do here, I don't get attached. If you make me feel what the character is feeling then somewhere inside I will WANT to make a secondary personality as well when it happens.

What does all that have to do with plot? I'm glad you asked (well I asked for you) Let me tell you. I can almost see where this is all going based just on this little tidbit. Maria(the new personality) finds herself in Farmington, some strange town far from home, only to discover this is actually where she lives.(her other personality at least) The picture she found is that of herself, and so a majority of the book will revolve around her reconnecting with her past and "finding herself." That is-- finding the other her that she has replaced, while dealing with friends and family she doesn't remember. as she grows closer to finding herself, she will have a crisis of conscious, wondering if she wants the old her back. wondering if she shouldn't keep the body and start a new life since the other her gave it all up. in the end she will go back to sleep as the main personality accepts her life and everything returns to "normal".

You don't have to tell me how close I am on any of that, but if any of that is close at all, that is a problem. That means your plot is predictable and stale. Meaning no one will be interested in reading it once they figure out the pattern/ sequence of events. As a writer, you should strive to add in a few twists and a little something to make the story your own instead of some rip-off of a better work.


I think, therefor I am. I live, therefore I feel.

I say characters in the title because technically we meet 2 of them. Maria (Main), and Maria (New). Neither one of them feel like real characters. Yes in the beginning you have her thinking... but most people don't exactly think like that. It just feels slightly unnatural.

E.X. Today I am weak, I am Maria, I can't even decide which direction to walk in. The awareness of my own inner darkness is overpowering me. I am such a bad person. I struggle to get out from the ropes of self-hate. The more I struggle, the tighter it becomes... It is days like this that I get a sense of the feeling that people must have for me.

That was the Maria of yesterday though. Today, I am weak. Unable to even decide which direction to walk. I can feel the darkness inside that threatens to overwhelm me, tainting my very being as it mocks me. Mocks and reviles me. It whispers to me words I already know. You are evil Maria. You are a bad person Maria. The more I struggle to elude these chains the tighter they become as the darkness pulls me ever closer. In these moments, I know how others must feel when they see me.

I changed up this little section just a little, but do you see how it feels a bit more natural? Part of the unnaturalness I think comes from using (I) so much. Now, in first person that is kind of inevitable, but the secret is in personifying other things to keep from repetitive use too much.

I like that when new Maria is introduced there is no real transition signifying exactly when it happens. this helps make the whole amnesia aspect a bit of a twist and a surprise. unfortunately, you ruined this a little by offering too much information when she sees the picture.

New Maria is fine right now having no real personality/character and being "flat" She SHOULD be this way in many respects since she is in essence the "clean slate" She knows some things... such as how to dress and eat and speak. but the rest is gone/locked away as the original personality wished to run away from her old life-- hence taking any information and memories attached to that old life with her.

It is the original Maria that needs a little work. IF this is a section of a book where Maria has already been introduced (like I think) then, this isn't such a big problem because you can flesh out Original Maria in the previous section of the book.


Now, I'm no grammar expert... in fact this is one of my weakest skills. But there were some things I wanted to mention.

The first is tense. I am not sure but I think you might have used the wrong tense in some spots (like was instead of were or have instead of had) This isn't really a big deal, as much of the grammar mistakes can always be fixed on editing. I only mention it to make you aware.


Not really much setting. The majority of it takes place within her head/ in the car. I think this might be a small drawback though. While it is important to give the readers a sense of her thought process right now it feels like too much of an information dump. If you broke it up with some descriptions of the scenery, it would allow for easier digestion.

Now, don't focus too much on each section of scenery, as it is overall unimportant to the story. I as a reader don't want to read two or three paragraphs about the road she is driving on.
E.X. I am really leaving myself behind, or least the darkness of me. Another red light comes up and I have to stop this time because there is a few cars in front of me. I wonder how it would feel to run full speed into them...

My stomach is rumbling and hunger pains are squeezing my insides. When was the last time I ate something? I had coffee for breakfast and nothing else. I forgot about lunch. I didn't eat anything today.

This right here is a bit of an abrupt transition. It makes the flow of the story jerky. But if you add in a little setting to this to act as a way to sofly transition between paragraphs...
I am really leaving myself behind, or least the darkness of me. Another red light comes up and I have to stop this time because there is are a few cars in front of me.

To the left is a small gas station. Its rundown roof and faded paint job was a sorry sight that only managed to suck even more energy from my body. As I glanced at the cars in front of me once again, I wonder(ed) how it would feel to run full speed into them. The light turned green and I drove on into the town proper.

At the next red light my stomach rumbled, and hunger pains squeezed my insides. When was the last time I had eaten? I had coffee for breakfast and nothing else. I forgot about lunch. I didn't hadn't eat(en) anything today.

Using some of the scenery it made it easier to transition from thought to thought and flowed better. By the way, those spots where I put a line through a word... those are examples of where I think you use the wrong tense. Like the didn't or hadn't. you are speaking of the past tense when you talk about the eating, so I think it would be you HAVE NOT eaten. DID NOT would be more of a present tense, such as I DID NOT eat today. (Which is also why I added the -en onto eat, since you spoke of eating in the past not the present)


You can't have meat and potatoes with only potatoes!

Description is the meat of any story. It is what brings characters to life, what makes scenery real, and what can keep the reader turning page after page as you weave a tapestry of words.

Unfortunately your descriptions are a bit lacking. One of the biggest drawbacks is repetitive words. You already have (I) as a repetitive word, which as I stated before is inevitable. but you repete words in other places too. E.X I notice a pizza place and chose a parking place right in front of it. Through the window I see people filling the small place. It looks like a happy place and I hear upbeat music coming from within. I am starving but I am still wearing my running clothes. I can't go in dressed like this. I look around for a fast food restaurant but the only other place is the Farmington Station restaurant across the street.

In just this little section you use the word place 5 times. Again, this can be fixed in editing, but as a writer you should be able to think up a wider range of vocabulary. Pizza SHOP, Parking SPOT, Small DINER. If we as writers can't come up with anything better than to reuse the same words over and over to tell a story... we fail at our jobs.

The limits of language are the limits of my world. These are words spoken by Ludwig Wittgenstein, and they are ones I keep in mind when I write. I'm not saying I am the best writer, But they keep me from repeating myself too much. I take it to mean we should always keep expanding our comprehension of not only our native language, but that of other countries as well. How can you write a Frenchman if you don't know the syntax of how the french speak? Even if you have them speak English, they still will have that syntax, making their speech seem slightly strange. In the end, having a wide vocabulary, and a wider comprehension of speech, allows me to weave a story that can suck you in and take you on an adventure using the medium of words to create a vivid picture for the reader.

Hook and Flow

Hook-- That "something" that grabs the readers attention and keeps them wanting more.

Your hook isn't strong. your main hook is the whole Multiple personality thing, but you present it in such a way as to be uninteresting. Again, part of this I think is because I haven't been given a chance to get to know Maria before this in any way. but even then, if the plot or descriptions were stronger, so too would be the hook.

Flow-- How easily it is to read from point A to point B. how smoothly you transition from paragraph to paragraph.

The flow wasn't that smooth in place. transitions were abrupt at times, and a few places made me re-read the sentence. with the wrong tense scattered throughout, I was very conscious of how long the piece was. (which shouldn't be a real consideration. if your flow and hook are strong, you can read 7+ pages without thinking and still want more)

Final Thoughts:

I think if you edit this and flesh it out a bit you could have a nice piece that stands alone. And one that works even better once put into the larger story. One thing you might want to do to keep the mystery going and not reveal too much plot is to skimp on the whole photo section. Have her pick up the photo, notice some similarities, but not take much note of it. She can still keep the photograph, perhaps pocket it without realizing it. This way the reader can make guesses about the photo for themselves.

Another suggestion might be to play on the whole amnesia thing. IF I am right and Farmington is her hometown, make the city large enough where she can start a new life without ever coming into contact with her old life (friends family etc.) treat the place as a brand new city she has never been to, each landmark and street a new one. this way you can use the revelation of her old life meeting her new one as a twist/ shocker moment. If I am wrong and Farmington is NOT her hometown, your task is then to figure out a way to naturally bring her old life into her new one... a friend/family passing through, a spark of a memory... whatever. But play the amnesia card and have her realize she doesn't KNOW where she lives/her past, only her name.

Well I've just written a small book for you of over 14000 characters *Laugh* So I hope something inside this was useful. Remember though, these are only my opinions and thoughts, in the end this is your story and you know best how you envisioned it. So the way I would write it is not nessisarily the way you want it read. Keep that in mind when you edit this, and paint a picture of the world you want me to see. bring it to life so I can believe I am walking the streets and sitting in the passenger seat next to Maria.

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--A writer's path to creating a story is a journey. A readers path is a journey through creation.

--A writer walked into a bar-- so he raised it.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hello again Lady Scorpio!

I'm slinking back from the shadows with another Surprise review!

(hey it is a longer piece this time so it will be easier to write about :P)

First impressions.

It has a "story-teller" quality to it, or maybe the "back in my day" grandpa stories lol. I think overall this gave the story a little extra fairy tale like quality needed when talking about little green men and talking beavers. At the same time, this piece also felt a little meandering. More like a slice of life than anything with any real plot. This isn't really a bad thing, but based on the last lines, it felt like there was supposed to be some morel to the story. If that is the case... it was lost on me -.-'


That oh so important element of any story. Like I said, I didn't see any real plot, just a little slice from a person's day. I suppose finding the Leprechaun's gold could be considered a plot but that sense of "need" wasn't there. I felt you could have probably taken out most of the lost pot of gold plot points and not had to change the story much.

If the missing gold WAS supposed to be the main plot, you might want to think of strengthening that point. maybe give a greater sense of urgency for the gold to be found. Perhaps with something like the Leprechaun will die if he doesn't have his gold (literally) Maybe the gold is linked with his immortality as a spirit, that is why he hordes it so jealously. Or it is the source of his magic powers. This little extra would give that need for the plot point to be there.


The second most important element, for the characters can drive the story when the plot is weak. they can even make or break a story, for these are the creatures the reader identifies with. if they cant identify they probably won't read.

In this I felt the characters were a little weak. more along the lines of just stereotypes (Aka Drinking Irish, grumpy/ tricky Leprechaun's) As it stands, this works for this short story, only because it is a way for the reader to quickly identify with the characters with little description or need for detail. (I feel I understand Grady exactly because he is a drinking Irishman stereotype.)

If the story were a little longer though, these characters wouldn't hold up well. You could have also given each of them a little extra, a personality quirk, or something that really stands out to the reader to make them unique and memorable. Even something as simple as the Grady adding "eh" to the end of his sentences would make him stand out from being "just another Irishman".


While not really described, knowing it is Ireland lets me bring to mind my own vision of the area Grady lives in. I picture the countryside... which is reinforced when you speak of the beavers and the spring and the tree-- since you don't see those in cities too often and when they are it is in parks, not front yards. You keep it contained mainly to the house, which brings up one of the negative points to the story-- which I will explain in the next section


the meat of any book. Words and phrases that bring to life the world you envision in your head. It is the difference of being told a story, and living the story.

I have always been of the belief that if your character(s) stay in one place for a while, or return to it often, or the place is important to the story--- you bring it to life. you describe it to show that it is important. If my character is just passing through a city, I might note a few sites to show the reader, but i won't spend more than a paragraph on it. But the inn he ends up staying at for a week because of the storms? I make sure the reader can really see that inn in their mind. this way if i have a chase scene through the building, or say he goes from point A to point B they can almost see the path he takes or knows going from point to point will not take five seconds.

You give a few descriptors, such as the mouse hole and dog bed (yet you never introduce the dog to us O.o)
But i don't know what the house looks like. two stories? thatch roofed hut? made of brick, or wood, or mud? Don't forget, even building materials can give the reader an idea of the era they are in without being heavy handed or straight up telling us. If I say : Rain dripped through the thatching on the roof, staining the floorboards with a small puddle. You can tell right away the house is 1 story and it is a medieval culture. (Since thatch was mainly used around that time for roofing and if the building was 2 stories he would not see the puddle on the floor)

You story just didn't come alive for me because of the lack of descriptions. If this was for a contest or something where word count mattered, I'll partially forgive you.... but lack of description even in those cases is no excuse!


I'm no expert, and lord knows I make my fair share of mistakes, But i found a whole lot of mistakes littered throughout the story that really broke the flow. You can see one in the very first paragraph. "... he had drank them all last weekend and I had not been into town to buy me more."

there are a few other places like this, where you substitute me for my, or you break the 1st person Pov strangely. I even saw a { in there just hanging out between letters :P

If you wanted it to be part of a speech pattern, to bring across the Irish lilt, I don't think it worked out too well. more than likely though, I think they were just honest mistakes.

Conclusion/Final Thoughts

It is a nice little short story for what it's worth. the ending gives it a bit of a cautionary tale feel to it, and the content itself was good enough to read. I was at least hooked enough to want to keep reading, despite it being a slice of life tale. I might suggest tuning it more towards that fairy tale quality, and story-teller vibe if you ever decide to add in more description. Then you can get away with telling the readers more of what is going on instead of showing it to them. (since it would in essence be a tale within a tale, where the speaker has extra knowledge of what is going on because he is speaking of the past.)

I hope some of this was helpful, Thanks for the read and keep improving!

P.s. Haha! 6310+ characters this time :P And I was able to break it down like I normally do!

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Review of Books just books  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Lady Scorpio,

This is your friendly neighborhood Shadow slinking your way with a surprise review! (though not sure how surprising it is since it WAS posted on GoT :D) So, on with the review.


What exactly did I just read lol. I get that it was about books, and your love of them. But parts of it sounded almost like a poem, while others sounded like monologue. It's short (which will make it hard to get my 1000 characters... but I'll do it! Hopefully with minimum fluff ^.^)

I like that you spoke about what each book is/does/ content of. But I could see where you might put in small excerpts of each of these book to heighten the readers understanding of why you love them so much. Well-- maybe not the dictionary and thesaurus, we don't want them falling asleep. Then again, if you found an interesting word from the dictionary that made you smile or had a strange definition, it would be a way to introduce new vocabulary to other writers.

I mean, why is "Navigating Early" such a great book? Just because you say so? If you gave an excerpt from the book, it would be like a blurb used to hook a reader. perhaps I would then want to go out and read it. You talk about a book of comedy too, why not throw in one of your favorite jokes from the book? Then you can put a smile on your readers face as well.

This felt like a promotion to read books to those who don't read much. Perhaps that isn't what you intended, but that is sort of how it came across to me.

As an after thought, I could even see this opening up with the tag end of a story, or a gripping section that would hook the reader both into wanting to read on and into finding out what that excerpt came from. it would help immerse them into your love of books and WHY you love them by a little bit of showing instead of simply telling. I mean if you show me the paragraph from a book that has a really touching scene that makes you cry, I can feel that moment as well, so SEE that it is touching instead of you just saying "It makes me cry" (it answers the WHY does it make you cry aspect.)

Hope this was useful! (and I made 200 characters to boot :P)

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi Arlene,

My name is Shadowstalker and I shall be your reviewer for this evening. This is the review you requested of me, so I shall strive to make it worth every GP you offered me. Keep in mind, these are only my thoughts and opinions, and that I am not a professional in any way. I will be brutally honest though, so if you were expecting gushing praise and empty flattery... stop reading now. I'll praise what was good and criticize what was bad(or perceived bad). If you are still willing to read, then on with the review! Also... ignore any misspellings and capitalization/punctuation errors *Smile*

Opening Thoughts:

While the story plot is certainly not original-- as assassin characters have been done before-- it is rare enough to still be a novelty. this means there is "wiggle" room in character and plot. (As opposed to say writing about dwarves/elves. those kinds of creatures have a more rigidly defined "look" and "feel" to them thanks to such authors as Tolkien.While you can change them, you can't change them too much because the reader "knows" and feels comfortable with how they were defined and portrayed by such authors.) I found the characters interesting-- and believable-- enough, but felt it was lacking a solid hook. Not to say I wasn't interested in reading onwards, but the hook to keep reading was weak in my opinion.

I would also like to mention that I will be circumspect in my review, since this is an 18+ piece, and not everyone would take kindly to the language inside.


First and foremost of any good book is plot. Characters and environment can only take it so far and replace a good plot. so far, this plot is shaping up to be interesting. While the advancement of the plot is relatively slow-- which is not a bad thing in a novel-- I feel it might be a little too slow. Part of this could be because each chapter is so short, meaning I read 6 chapters before the main plot really got anywhere.

I'm not counting the romance aspect as part of the main plot-- yet. To me it feels like a sub-plot, the vampires will be the main plot. If the romance is to be a main attraction of the story, and an integral part of moving it forward, you've at least set a good start. Granted I think it could be stronger, but I am also assuming this is a rough draft and not near to being a finished product.

Despite the feeling the plot is slow, It did get me interested. A conscientious assassin, vampires, a love/hate relationship (perhaps even some sort of love triangle). the only thing It so far lacks for me is a "big bad". You know, the evil villain, the great trial that must be overcome. Again though, you don't need to bring it up so early in a novel, the introduction of the main plot at the end is certainly enough.


While the characters were certainly given some personality... they also felt a bit-- flat. You info dump their descriptions on the reader but in some ways that makes them pretty forgettable. (will explain more on this later) While I was reading, the characters had no real "faces", just names and basic descriptions. the were believable, but not alive.

For the most part we are introduced to the 2 main characters of Val and Rose/Taylor. Keeping it at just 2 characters is good, it allows you to focus on fleshing them out so the reader can bond with one or both of them. it was the fleshing out part that was lacking, so even by the end of chapter 7... I wasn't really invested in what happened to either of them. This by the way is bad. If the reader isn't that invested in the characters lives, they have no incentive to read on except for whatever hook you managed to give them-- in this case vampires and a romance. Even at that, if the characters aren't identifiable, even that romance will soon fail to keep them hooked.

Grammar and Setting:

I'm not expert, and I'm no Nazi on the subject, but your story was filled with small typos and mistakes such as forgetting to add spaces or capitalize a letter. I only mention this because it detracted from the story a little. These things are easily fixed in an edit, and since this is probably a rough draft, a re-write. So that is all i will say on this subject.

As for setting, it's quite barren. There are 2 schools of how to write setting-- minimalist and maximalist. To me, it seems you have gone for a minimalist approach. This forces the reader to envision the environment through their own experiences by giving them "just" enough information to go on. If I said: The house I grew up in You might envision that house to look just like the house you yourself grew up in, or at the least being the same color.

The Maximalist approach is to describe everything. If I took my last example, under this approach it might become: The yellow two story house I grew up in had white panels around the window. I still remember all the bumps and dips in the yard as i played with my dog in the fenced area jutting against the school next door. The smell of moms apple pies always managed to invade the labyrinth of rooms downstairs until they found the spiral staircase upwards. This can then go on and on for paragraphs, even pages.

The middle ground is what I prefer. Some settings I go minimalist on, such as places my characters will only be for a short time and never go back to. Places that are overall unimportant to the story. Others i describe in more detail, such places that are reoccuring in the story and so are marked as important or semi-important.

With your minimalist approach though, it made the entire story as a whole feel unimportant. bare bones characters, bare setting, slow moving plot, all of these combined decreases the desire to keep reading. So far, not enough for me to stop, but enough that I wanted to set it aside a time or two and do something else for a few seconds.

Hook and Flow:

As I mentioned before, I really didn't have much hook until the end. Even then, it was with the sense of "this has to get better than this now" instead of "How can this get any better?" They say you need to hook a reader by the end of the first chapter and no later than the end of the third. For many critics of TV shows and anime and such, they go by this premise. They watch 3 episodes, and if it doesn't keep their attention they drop it. In a book it is that much more important for a strong hook very early, because when you read you have to put some effort into it, make your mind work to understand the words. With TV, you can "zone out" and not really care if you miss some plot point or vital clue since it probably won't matter too much in the long run.

Flow is how easily your eyes travel from word to word, paragraph to paragraph. the transitions between chapters and ultimately how immersed you become in the story. On this part I don't think you did a very good job. Some parts flowed well enough, but mostly it felt a bit stilted and rushed. This fact is highlighted by my admission that I wanted to go do something else. By the end of the chapter when you read, do you go Oh, its finally over" Or do you say "Is it over already?" Many of the novels in my portfolio have pretty long chapters (usually around 7 pages in ms work) but when people read them I'm told they feel they are too short or went by too fast. that is because the flow of the story pulled them in.


Now comes the bulk of my review. Saving the best(or perhaps the worst) for last.

First off... your descriptions were lacking. Description is a saving grace in many circumstances. I feel if you add a LOT more description to your story many of the flaws in all the other sections will sort themselves out. No, I should say I know they will sort themselves out.

Another mark against the story is that you are doing more telling than showing.
Ex: An hour and a half later I finally get to the gym. It’s a very upmarket gym. Lots of space, shiny new machines. Plus it has a sauna and spa too which is always nice to relax in.

I select a treadmill put my headphones in and do a two mile gentle jog listening to linkin park. When I’m done on that I do a couple laps in the pool then go to the sauna to relax.

This sounds like a grocery list where you have to check off the items a you get them. banana's-- check. Eggs-- check go to the gym-- check. if you want the story to flow more smoothly, and sound less like your character is telling a flashback, you need to show her actions and thoughts better.
Ex: With a sigh I opened the doors to the gym. The cool air greeted me, a welcome relief from the building heat outside. This place was so much nicer than the one across the city, which made me glad I had decided to switch last year. A glance at the clock showed I was only an hour and a half later than originally planed. There was still time for a leisurely jog on a treadmill, and maybe a relaxing bath in the spa to loosen the muscles after. Or perhaps a hot sauna to open the pores. Yes, a sauna also sounded good, yet another reason to switch gyms, Two-Tone didn't have anything so extravagant.

The halls echoed back my footsteps that further reinforced the feeling of vastness the place exuded. I smiled as I thought of Two-Tone and all the shoving and shoulder bumping within the cramped corridors. No more of that for me. Glancing around the gym for a good treadmill, I spotted one gleaming as if it had just been unboxed. With a smile I popped in my headphones and started up a Linkin Park song and set the machine for a slow jog. Maybe a few laps in the pool would be a good idea before the sauna. That thought sounded really good, and so with a small nod to no one in particular, I decided that what I would do.

Now obviously I just came up with that on the spot and it could be improved, but I hope you can see the difference. Even though both examples said the same thing, one of them flowed more smoothly and showed both the characters thoughts and let the reader infer future actions without you having to actually describe them or show them. You could just as easily make the next paragraph say something like Toweling my hair I was greeted by Val while stepping out of the sauna. This denotes passage of time and gives the reader an idea of what happened between paragraphs easily enough.

Description is what turns mere words into a feast for the eyes and mind. That can turn a simple walk in the park that you read, into a walk that you experience. don't be afraid of adding in words, giving a place a form that is more than "a room" This is your story and your world, your characters and your plot. They all live and die by your will. if you want the sun to be purple in your world, then by god make sure everyone knows it is purple and not yellow! Make the reader see in their minds what you see in yours.

In one part that you did add a lot of details and description was the 18+ sections. I do think you did a good job on that, but in my opinion those sections were also a bit--- coarse. Maybe even a bit vulgar. Now, I'm not saying this because of my personal sensibilities or anything, but from the view of a reader. while you can certainly be graphic when you describe such scenes, there are ways to "pretty" it up and make it sound more appealing. While I won't show any examples from the story itself, I'll try to explain with my own.

One example is many women find the word whore offensive. If they read a story with that word in it, they might overlook it once or twice. but what if they saw that word every other paragraph? or that was the only way someone addressed the character? So, we learn to use other words to pretty it up. Harlot, Night Flower, Belle, working woman. This makes it easier for them to read without being put off from the rest of the story. they still know WHAT those other words refer too, but its easier to swallow. Your 18+ sections are a bit like that. A large part too will lie in more descriptions and making those moments feel more "seductive" and "erotic" instead of the same kind of grocery list.

As it stands, these parts almost felt like a "Wham, Bam, thank you ma'am" scenario. They also felt like they were a little unneeded (such as the shower scene). Only there because you could put it in. For a bit, I was wondering if this story was actually meant to be some erotica with no real plot or reason to exist except to be full of sex and masturbation. If you were to slow down the tempo of these scenes, and pretty it up a little, I think they would integrate well in the overall romance sub-plot and give insight into the characters inner thoughts and feelings.

Conclusion/ Final Thoughts:

The characters and setting are pretty bland and flat, the plot is slow and not really present, the descriptions are almost non-existent for the most part, the flow is choppy and a bit rushed overall, and the hook isn't too deep.

In short... its a rough draft. *Smile* It has the makings of something good, and at the least, interesting. As it stands-- with no re-write-- it is a story I would at least continue reading to see if it picks up. (Of course I am also the type that will read a horrible book simply because I started and feel i must finish it.) But also as it stands, if nothing is fixed, I might only read a few more chapters before giving it up.

My advice (as if I haven't just given you an entire review full of my thoughts and opinions) is to really think on what parts are needed for the story and what parts aren't. Do you really need the shower scene? do you really need XXX conversation? Try to make each part of the story have some purpose, whether that is to ultimately move the main plot along, or one of the sub-plots. let this mindset enter into your descriptions as well. Put yourself into your characters shoes when you do. When she brushes her hair, does she have a reason to notice they are red? She has after all grown up with her own hair, so she wouldn't really think about the color unless she had a need to. She would struggle to unknot her hair, not unknot her RED hair. But what if she had dyed that hair for a job? as she brushed it she might notice some brown still within the red-- thereby giving you an excuse to show the reader her hair color instead of tell them.

Bring the world to life on paper, not just inside your head. in your own head you know very well what everyone and everything looks like... but I don't. Write with passion. Make me as a reader believe I could turn around and find Valentine watching me right this second. Or that I should be looking over my shoulder in case Rose has me marked as her next target. If you make them real to the reader, it is easier for you make the world just as real because these characters LIVE in that world. that world should feel like it continues to spin and evolve even when you close the cover. That it isn't just moving when eyes are traveling across the page.

I hope this helped... and that I didn't bore you with such a long winded review. (I'm not really all that good with saying how a story makes me feel, I'm more of a technical aspects kind of guy.) if you have any other questions or want to know my thoughts on something, feel free to shoot me an email. And always remember, This is your story, not mine. my words are opinions only. if you feel they don't apply to your work, or you have a vision of how the story should be, than by all means disregard anything I said here.

** Image ID #2009082 Unavailable **

--No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader-- Robert Frost

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 6
In affiliation with The Realm of Fantasy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
hello Ellis,

I'm surprised you aren't tired of getting these little reviews from me (^.-)

I can see where you have taken some of my advice and applied it to this chapter. In fact, that first line looks very familiar.... I'm sure it is my imagination though.

I see a few misspellings still (like draw instead of drawer) but they are minor and can be easily corrected.

One thing you might want to work on though is your repetition of words. I've spoken to you before about this in an e-mail. Now that you are expanding and using more description-- which by the way is much better than the first chapters.--- the repetition of the same or similar words is more noticeable.
E.g. The fire in the corner of Ailus’ chamber had flickered out; the only light that was left was the glow from the fire wisps above, which caused flickering silhouettes to appear Even changing this to be The fire in the corner of Lord Ailus' chamber had died out Or even burned out.

Also, another minor point that has more to do with overall tying in of chapters. that is your pointing out of the fire wisps all the time. (and calling them fire wisps) If they ARE important and we--the reader-- need to take note of them, that's fine. But if they are not that important to the grand scheme of things, more there as an aide to the real plot or to highlight something important, find a way to make them fade to the background. By continuing to say fire wisps, you make me think they are important, but at the same time it really stands out. Is there something wrong with saying something like-- the tiny spirits, the flame elementals, the little creatures of fire, etc. Just using something else to describe them other than Flame Wisps.

An example of when you used them effectively is when the dwarves are leaving and they note the lack of fire wisps. this to me made me subconsciously know something important was going to happen. the same way a flock of birds suddenly flying off or a forest goes quiet in a movie signals danger of some sort.

Your descriptions helped me get sucked into the story more than other chapters, for which i applaud you. I just wish there was a little more of it :P

One thing I also noted that seems strange to me... the wimpiness of the dwarves. if you are trying to reinvent the dwarves, be careful not to do it too much. people have these "semi set" views on mythical creatures like elves/dwarves/dragons etc. when they think of a dwarf, they think more of a Tolkien- like race. large bushy beards, short and stocky, hard bodies like the mountains they live in, a bit unrefined, always ready for a fight, hardly ever sober, and able to take a beating.

so far your Dwarf King and his son don't seem too dwarf-ish by these standards. Klaern seems more like a whiny spoiled human teenager and less like some dwarvish prince. this is highlighted the most in the carriage ride at the end, when a knife pierces his leg and he screams and starts to pass out... So much for being able to take a beating, the Tolkien dwarves are rolling over in their mountains.

Now, if the knife is poisoned in some way... i retract that last statement...

...maybe. It will depend on how this plays out in future chapters.

That's all for now^^ Hope it was helpful and gives you inspiration.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 5
In affiliation with The Realm of Fantasy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello Ellis,

I like where this is going. I like how you have added in more description(s) of the world around and using the journal as a means to round out the plot. while it is still exposition, it is a more active/interactive form of it. instead of completely telling the reader,(Think any cheesy bond or bond like situation where the villain reveals his master plan in a monologue when he thinks the hero is going to die) you showed it.

The only critiques I might have on this chapter is what you focus your description on. You speak at length about the flowers and the garden and the butterfly. While they paint a good picture of the world, and indeed make it come alive, I have but 1 question for you---

Is it important to the story?

If it IS important, perhaps find a way to spread out the description a bit instead of condensing it all down into a large chunk of exposition. If it ISNT important... why go into so much detail to begin with and bog down the flow of the story?

(See my notebook post-- "Note: *Pumpkin* Feeding The Beast: Environment*^*Pu..." Feeding The Beast is something I put up every week with some thoughts I have on writing, inspirational quotes, and random stuff that happened to me the last week. You might find some of them helpful, as what I write is for authors new and old. And I do it all within 2500 characters or less!

Other than that, I think the story is coming along well.

--No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.--Oscar Wilde

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 4
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello Ellis,

So chapter four. Still kind of in the dark, but obviously this is a much larger work so that isn't a bad thing. I don't need to know everything at the beginning, part of the fun of reading is to discover the unraveling plot. sometimes the wait for the reveal of the plot is part of the story.

Still feel Lord Alius' speech pattern is a bit strange. putting in the tri dot (,,,) at a seemingly random point. I assume this IS indeed part of his speech pattern because he has done it in every chapter. If it isn't then it is just that you don't understand how to use it properly. (If that is the case, I'm not judging you, even I use it improperly sometimes.)

On another note, I enjoyed this chapter more than the other 3. much of that is because it was longer, allowing me to become more immersed in the emerging story.

I will email you my much larger review that will encompass all 4 current chapters and go into more detail on a variety of points later. But as for this chapter alone I think it is the best of the four. More characters are emerging-- meaning more potential interactions and potential perspectives on problems(even if you don't write from their PoV) the characters are starting to show their personalities/quirks/ speech patterns-- meaning they are becoming more fleshed out from the cardboard cutouts with names attached that they were in chapter 1. All in all a solid chapter that could use some work but is by no means bad.
for entry "Chapter 3
In affiliation with The Realm of Fantasy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hello Ellis!

So now the story is finally picking up a little. you have introduced the plot finally, or at least the backbone of the plot. the problem you now face is how to make it your own. With what little is here and explained, I am put in mind of a "Zombie Apocalypse". even if your infected are not zombies, (though Phoenix Wright might have an OBJECTION! to that :P) they will still face the stigma of being zombie-like. So I will be interested to see how you make these infected different enough from the mass mold of the zombie to warrant reading onward when this becomes a much larger piece. (unless these 4 chapters are all there is... then...no I will read chapter 4 1st before making any judgments.)

One thing I want to point out in this chapter... well two, but they go together sort of so I can fudge it as a 1and get away with it :P

Point 1) It was unclear who's point of view we were reading from. I --think-- it was from the dwarf king's son... but am not 100% on that. this is because of some of the other bits in the chapter, like: King Volodar didn’t like the idea, but understood the uproar a new plague could bring. There’d be riots, fighting, and probable death. No, Volodar did not like the sound of that. At least Lord Ailus has it quarantined he thought to himself. “Did you evacuate Kraog Grove?” this clearly is NOT the son... yet at the beginning it implies that it is. There is nothing wrong with switching pov's mid chapter,(well there is but that is for the larger review) but you need to work it in smoother so the reader realizes a transition is taking place.

Point 2) Escalation. I'm not talking about the infected attack, since we can already assume it is a set up by the elf king. No, what I speak of is
Klaern's response to the elf king talking about the fire spirits. just one comment and suddenly he believes without question it seems, getting worked up and almost sounding like he is ready to fight when confronting his father. Yet, with no real character development on him... this seems out of the blue, like the softball you didn't avoid that hits you in the face because you were thinking about a pretty girl. maybe this is explained in the next chapter.

well, on to the next one soon! then you get a full review! (as if all these reviews don't feel like the full one already. In case you can't tell... I can talk :D)
for entry "Chapter 2
In affiliation with The Realm of Fantasy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hello again Ellis,

So.... Still in the dark about what is going on. I might know because yoiu tell me... but based ONLY on the clues and information provided, I'm still as in the dark as a blind dwarf in a cave-in.

I see you switched PoV from the Elf King to the Dwarf King. I hadn't realized you had done this until like 3 paragraphs in. fleshing out of the chapter will fix small things like this so it is no big deal.

I was caught by the strange speech patterns though. I am not sure if this is intentional or just a slip of the fingers when writing.
E.G. “At least Lord Ailus paid a fair price I must admit. Elves, aye, not careful with their gold, wouldn’t dream of it my boy.” -- Now, I understand he is talking to his son from the surrounding context after this sentence. but the sentence itself sounds strange. it is more easily understood if written slightly different--
“At least Lord Ailus paid a fair price I must admit. Elves-- aye, they're not careful with their gold, I wouldn’t dream of it my boy.” {c}

In this case it is easy to see the King is talking about the elves with the "they're" he was still talking about them the way you wrote it but it sounds smoother ot the ears. Same with the "I" in I wouldn't dream of it. Easier to understand he is talking about himself and the speech flows smoother (at least to me.)

Again, if this is an authors choice to be part of his personal speech pattern/ a racial speech pattern all dwarves share I will find out in later chapters. but if the speech changes over the course of the next chapters, small things like this become more apparent. Same with the way the elf king seems a bit... unrefined in his speech. when you think of a king-- or someone of nobility--- you think of someone more diplomatic. with a bit of culture and using word play to his advantage but in a subtle way. his last line almost screams "I'm a bad guy! Don't trust me! If you fall for my trap it is because you are stupid!" --- I can't wait for the banquet tonight... It's going to be killer.” maybe something to showcase this refinement and ability to play with words is something like this: I recently received a shipment of rare and exotic spices...the cooks say they are to die for.I don't know how true this is of course, but I can't wait for the banquet tonight to find out.”

Hope that helps^^ Will read chapter 3 soon. Remember, this is only a small impression and insight, I will do a more comprehensive review after I read all 4 chapters and take it in as a whole

for entry "Chapter 1
In affiliation with The Realm of Fantasy Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
hello Ellis,

I plan on doing a more comprehensive review after I finish all 4 chapters. For Now, I will just impart some thoughts on each chapter as I read them.


I would not say plot or story, as this is a bare bones idea in the works. That is the only way to express my thoughts on this. I assume you already know the characters are flimsy, little more than names at this point. no real personality/quirks, etc that would make me identify with them or against them.

That aside, the idea of one king/person/group attempting to overthrow/control/wage war on another group is nothing new. So far with this chapter alone it is all pretty generic, with the feel of a "Monster of the week" to it. In case you don't know what I mean by that-- think on shows like Power Rangers. or even cartoons like My Little Pony (yes I went there you bronies :P) The set up is opening with the characters-- bad guy hatches plot--- minions attack with monster/henchmen (or whatever problem arises for the show)-- good guys beat monster-- show ends-- repeat next week.

I am not saying this is what the story will be, just a generic rehashing of a tried and true formula proven to work, but that is the first impression I got. I will withhold judgment until I read the other chapters as I said, But I also realize much of that impression comes from how little there is here. without all that fleshing out of the world/people or even really giving me a reason to care about them or the going-ons, it can't help but be supported by the backbone concept-- which is generic.

Hope that didn't burn too much lol, I'll read chapter 2 soon and go from there.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
I am donating 20k to your group on behalf of Andrew winning a contest in my newsfeed. Enjoy^^

--Writer's are like seeds, you don't grow unless you cultivate your mind.
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
yes very lousy, but funny in that "so bad its good" sort of way. got a smile out of me.
Review of White Walkers  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Greetings H. Marie!

I am reviewing you as per your request. As such I hope you find anything I might say insightful. Sin ce this is my first time reviewing you, I must of course issue my usual warnings.
Disclaimer: This reviewer is not a professional. In fact he has been certified insane by no less than three doctors. His genius-- as he calls it-- is not understood and can be highly contagious. Trying to understand him in his bouts of insanity have been known to induce laughter, raised eyebrows, head scratching, urges to return reviews, and a desire to eat bacon. Take anything he may say with a grain of salt to avoid contamination. If said salt is not used, pepper will work instead.

**Desire to eat bacon not yet proven.**

On to the review!

First impressions:

“You only need to know 3 rules about zombies. 1)Zombies are slow and stupid. 2) Zombies are attracted to noise. 3) When in doubt, see rule one.”-- Rules of Zombie Slaying

Without going into any technical stuff, I found this enjoyable. While I can see how this is a rough draft and not a finished product, I think you have a good foundation on which to build the rest of the story. Whether you have enough in your head to make it a full novel or just a short story, I can’t tell. Personally, since you said the names are those of your friends, I would consider short story, unless you, and they, don’t mind them getting killed off to prolong the story.

Still, it does the job of hooking me into wanting to know more. With that said, on to the technical aspects and personal opinions.


I’m no grammar expert. This section will be short… mainly so I can get it out of the way :D. I saw a few misspelled words and wrong tenses (such as using know instead of knew, etc.) but nothing that really pulled me out of the story by being blatantly out of place. They just made me stumble slightly before getting back into the story. These can easily be fixed with a quick proofread or even taken out when doing any rewrite.


I really couldn’t identify or picture any of them very well. This problem stems from having so many characters being introduced all at once in one chapter. At the same time you need to juggle characters with keeping the plot moving along, or in this case setting up the plot. I might suggest splitting this section into 2 chapters, maybe even three, to give ample time to introduce them all. Right now we have what… 3 girls and 4 guys? And I don’t even know what the main character looks like!

I know one has a habit of rhyming her words…. And one is built like a jock… and one can’t deal with blood too well. But these are all personality traits or stereotypes, not physical descriptions. How am I supposed to get invested in whether this stereotypical jock/potential love interest lives or dies if I can’t picture his face in my mind. Is he one of those pretty boys you imagine would be on a poster? Massive chest thrust out, shoulders straining his varsity jacket and his teeth bling when he smiles under bleach blond hair? Or does he have homely features, a crooked nose where it was once broken, a dirty mop of brown hair cut in the Ringo style with big arms but not much else standing out? (Internetz cookies for you if you know what Ringo hairstyle looks like…. Plus… welcome to feeling old!)

The reason giving the reader a picture of the person is so important, isn’t just to fill word count, but to make them “human” I have dirty blonde hair and glasses, if you write that one of the guys have dirty blond hair with glasses… I’m going to be more easily able to put myself in his shoes. If he is slated to die (and I don’t know this) I will be more invested and on the edge of my seat rooting for him to escape, creating tension without having to write it. And then I will be more heartbroken when he dies, because I will feel like it is myself dying. Does that make sense?

But as it stands, I don’t care if anyone of them live or not. To me they are not “people” or even “alive”. They are simply cardboard cutouts that need to be there for there to be a story. If I were to make any suggestions on a re-write, I would split it into 2 chapters. Keep them in the college for those chapters. Use the first chapter to set up at least 3 of the characters, the main one definitely, at least one other girl, and a guy. Jack would be a good choice as he is already an “adventurous” type that men will easily identify with (because he seems more “manly” than Trevor)

Use the first chapter to build more of the tension and unease. Make the escape from the building more harrowing. Set up the scares and the desperation of being separated and trying to find her friends again. While you don’t need the plot to be “in your face” right now (since this will be a multi-chapter story) you still need to entertain and hook the reader into wanting to learn more.


*Takes tranquilizer pills to recover from the mini rant he just pulled off*

The plot is loose right now. I can already ASSUME much of what it is just from one word. Zombies. Zombie stories are relatively cut and dry. There aren’t a lot of variations to them. Some disease/infection/virus/new drug messes with peoples brain and turns them into unfeeling killing machines that never stop eating and think brains and intestines are delicacies raw.

So right off the bat, as soon as you introduce zombies, the reader already knows what they are in for on the whole. (see my rules of zombie slaying at the beginning) The reader knows when there is action it is either going to be A) mindless and/or inventive killing of the undead. Or B) the characters escaping said zombies as the undead are breathing down their necks. What makes a zombie story stand out in my opinion? The sub plots, and the drama. Why do you think “The Walking Dead” is so popular? You think it is because the zombies are unique? Hell no! That series is a glorified soap opera. And the people love it.

So I suppose the question you need to ask yourself is--- How do I make my story stand out from the dozens of other zombie stories? I suggest one of two ways. (or both if you think they are good.) 1) Don’t focus on the zombie plot: make the outbreak more of a secondary concern that is ever present that the characters must deal with. Instead turn the story into something else, a mystery, a romance, a rebuilding of a post-apocalyptic civilization.

Or 2) Reinvent the zombie slightly as you pursue the undead as a main plot. You laid some groundwork for that already, saying they might be able to climb and open doors. And that they are faster than normal. When was the last time you saw a zombie open a door or climb a ladder? These two things are always the go to way to get away from them and get to safety. What happens when that surety of safety is suddenly taken away? This can change the entire dynamic of a run of the mill zombie story into something greater.


I would have liked a bit more imagery in this respect. While this building is not the focus of the story, nor do you need to go into great detail, I would have liked to have “seen” more of the place. The only time I would say go into great detail for a setting is if you are going to be there for a while, or be returning to it often. As then that place becomes crucial to the story, and the reader needs to be able to visualize it in their head to understand what is going on.

While some of the settings were adequate, such as the 5 being jammed into a small closet, they could also have been expanded upon. In this heightened sense of fear the main character was feeling while in the closet, what irrelevant things did she notice? One of the guys warm breath on her neck? The smell of the lasagna her friend had just eaten? The fact that she hadn’t put on any deodorant? The feel of someone’s crotch against her hips? While these are more descriptions, they can be used to create the scene and bring the environments alive. Making me feel as if I am actually in that closet with them and able to visualize what it looked like.

If you were to split this section into two chapters, lengthening both, you would have ample time to expand this college building so I can visualize it as you are running around trying to stay alive. As I said earlier, since this is a zombie story, you don’t need to jump right into setting up the plot, the plot is sort of unsaid already because of the foundation of other such stories and movies. You can throw in your own twists and surprises to the tried and true formula later, once you have the characters and the world built up a little and the reader hooked into caring what happens to these survivors.


Again, I would have liked more. While what you have is sufficient for a rough draft, I feel it would never make it in a finished product. But only because it feels a little bland and it doesn’t really bring out the moods or the feelings your are going for.

Personally I don’t like using *********** style breaks if I can help it. When I do use them, it is to denote a long period of time having passed or a jump in perspective from one person to another. That is because ***** breaks will pull the reader out of being immersed in the story. I think both your break sections can be taken out. The very first part even done away with entirely since you rewrite it all a little farther in. Starting the story with It had only been a few hours since everything changed. still works and keeps it all fresh.

At the second break, you can use this time to describe the building, give insight into the main characters inner psyche, or set the mood for the next part. Even cutting it entirely without adding anything wouldn’t hurt the story at all
Zombies. Goosebumps raced down my back.


We managed to flee the cafeteria and head towards the other end of the school. People were running everywhere. Emma turned toward the stairs and led us to the second floor. A couple of guys had been following us.

Zombies. Goosebumps raced down my back.

My sight was set on the door along the far wall. Between us and it was what looked like a hoard of those white eyed creeps. We ran as fast as we could, dodging out of the way when a chair flew in our direction. One of the zombies came for us, but a security guard got in the way, giving us time to slip behind his back before he too was brought to the floor with the creatures teeth in his neck. As we made the door along with a few other survivors, we split left while the rest split right. Heading towards the other side of the school. Emma grabbed the railing and whipped onto the stairs while making a U-turn at full speed, leading us to the second floor.

That was when I noticed a couple of guys had been following us.

While I basically described the same thing(while adding in more description) do you get a different mood from the situation and the feelings of the main character? I showed you the mayhem that was happening, I tried to make you a part of it. And by separating the last line involving the guys, it gives a bit of insight into how focused/scared she was to have not noticed until this point. It also conveys a sense of danger, such as: are these guys up to no good, thinking to take advantage of some girls in the chaos? While this isn’t the case, the reader doesn’t know that. And that creates a bit of drama and tension of another kind that underlies the zombie outbreak.

Finally on description, you might want to expand your vocabulary a little, or find a different way to say it. I know this can be hard for some things--such as the word door. But seeing the same word repeated too often can be harmful to the story as much as anything else. Try door, portal, frame, egress, divider, doorway. Sometime using the definition or a similar word can be a good idea. EG: the word “too“, consider using “as well as” or “also” to break the monotony and give it flavor.


For the most part it was fine. I was able to go from exposition to dialogue rather easily. In places it did feel choppy and stilted, but most of those are due to lack of description I feel. Flow in case you don’t know is how smoothly the story reads. That transition of the eyes from one word to another. Ideally you want the reader to start at word one and find it hard to tear away until the very last word. Not even realizing they have just spent five minutes reading seven or eight pages.

Pacing is slightly different. It is how well the action/dialogue comes together at the proper times. This was also slightly off I feel. I can’t really place it, but their entire ordeal felt a little too easy. Her escape from the white walkers that leads her to the cafeteria seems too fast and easy as well. This also applies to when and how you use descriptions. In a faced paced action sequence, you most likely wouldn’t notice that you broke a fingernail, or that one sock is higher than the other. The description should focus on the action and bring out that sense of quickly moving. While the “downtimes” are good places to insert that needed description of what a person looks like or the realizations that the diva broke a nail when she fell.

Both of these also help contribute to the Hook-- or the desire to read more. As I said up top, I did get hooked. But because of the lack of many small things that hook only grabbed my by my cheek, I didn’t swallow it so it could tug at my gut. Again, I do realize this is a rough draft and not a finished product, so I won’t hold that against you. I think this is quite good so far.

Final thoughts/ Conclussion

I think you have something good here. While I am sure you might not like some of the things I said, please don’t disregard it all out of hand. Perhaps I am just talking out of my butt ( I did have beans today after all), but I am sure there are a few nuggets within all the boogers you want to keep. Criticism is hard to take when it isn’t what you want to hear. But it can also help you become a better writer. I don’t sugarcoat my words when I review, because I expect others to do the same to my work.

I do wish to state again, that I liked what I read on a pure enjoyment level as a reader. This review is me being a writer as well. Though only my personal thoughts since I am not a professional. Even if I did print out that certificate from the internet to hand on my wall. If you re-write and tighten this up, I would love to read it again to see how much better it became.

Now if you excuse me, a White Walker just bit Chuck Norris and was turned into a clone of the fellow. Now both of them are coming after me because I used his patented roundhouse kick without his permission *Laugh*
*Runs off, but both Chuck Norris’ roundhouse kick him from halfway around the world anyway*

--Regret can define the course of a persons life. Redemption can define the same thing.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Invalid Entry
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello JJ!

This review is being done as a final act while a member of House Arryn. As part of the 5 reviews you won during the raffle. You know my disclaimers already, and the informal nature of my reviews. Seeing as I have read the previous chapters as well, I will make reference to them, as well as my thoughts to continuity between them. With that said, on to the review!

Fist Impressions:

After having gone back to skim the other chapters as a refresher, i found this chapter to be a good enough continuation. The beginning was a bit hard to get into (I will get into that later) but once past the initial few paragraphs it didn't feel like a chore.


still not much of one. nor is there any "mystery" to hook. It is just a "dry" character profiling filled with exposition.


While I did not see any obvious errors of misspelled words, there were a few points i thought might have been better with a period instead of a comma or vise-versa, or even an extra word or two to improve flow.
She had shown the secret room to her friend Simene out of necessity, it was a room that defied existence, undetectable even to the most observant eye

“So, here we are, she said with a sigh. At the sound of her voice Manny appeared to have forgotten, or at least forgiven, the morning gun-play and hustled over, sitting at her feet like an obedient dog.
Slightly changed to:
"So, here we are," she said with a sigh. At the sound of her voice, Manny appeared to have forgotten, or at least forgiven, the morning gun play. He hustled over, sitting at her feet like an obedient dog.

In the above it seemed like there were too many commas happening. turning it into a run on sentence. (try reading the original all in 1 breath from At the sound) by putting the comma before Manny, it helps pull the sentence together with the pause. adding the period at the end of gun play ends the sentence in a good place. changing the and to He allows you to tie it back to the previous sentence, while giving the reader a chance to mentally pause to take it all in.

There are other places, but again most of them are just personal opinions, while there is really nothing "wrong" with the way it is written. as such I will refrain from making an itemized style list. besides, I'm not a grammar/structure expert so the fact that I am simply talking out of my anus is a high possibility in those cases :P

Also, the way you reused some of the same words/phrases could be changed. it made the story sound repetitive and boring.
he growled and headed for the stairs leading down to the front yard, giving Merci the distinct impression he was less than amused at the prospect.

“Okay, brat cat," she yelled, hearing a pitiful mewing coming from the stairs leading down to the front yard.

This not only makes the story feel repetitive, but it gives it a sense of stasis. that even the cat is not moving unless we are looking at him. so he started moving to the front steps.... then time passed... and he is still on the front steps or making it towards them? I know this is not how you intended it to sound, but it is these small things that hurt the story.

he growled and headed for the stairs leading down to the front yard, giving Merci the distinct impression he was less than amused at the prospect.

“Okay, brat cat," she yelled, hearing a pitiful mewing coming from out front.
-- You could even do something like "Ok, you brat cat," she yelled, hearing pitiful mewling in the distance,-- since you already established the cat was going to the front yard. it can then be assumed the mewling came form that direction without having to specifically say where. this also bypasses using the word front again to keep it from being redundant or repetitive


Still at her house. she moved outside... all of a few (hundred?) feet... to another house...

Everything else a.k.a. "The Meat of the Review":

I will put my thoughts on flow in here as it will also relate to overarching flow from chapter to chapter. Now that I have read a few chapters, I will tentative say I think you suffer from what i like to call "Descriptors disease". You love to describe everything in the tiniest detail-- color, size,shape,age,smell,taste. if you can make it come alive for the reader, you want to do so.

This is fine--to an extent. Ask yourself, are the things I am describing really important to the story? Will they come back later on? Is the information or description going to be useful at all? knowing there is a scratch on the face of the gold Rolex the main character wears is a nice bit of flavor and imagery... but do I, the reader, really need to know that? twelve chapters from now will that scratch come into play? does he lose the watch/have it stolen, only to come up on the wrist of the secondary hero? if so, then that scratch is important to the story because it helps us, the reader, identify it as being stolen. it can help mislead us into thinking the secondary hero is the thief.

The two story cape-cod guest house, built in 1960 for caretakers, sat on the Southern portion of the property a hundred yards from the A-frame.
Breaking this down, what information do I, the reader, really care about/need to know?-- 1) the guest house is 2 stories tall. 2) it is south of the main building. (this might not be pertinent if I don't really need to know the layout of the estate in the future, but i will assume it is at least semi useful information) I already know this place is on cape cod, you established this fact in previous chapters... unless you have a spacial anomaly on your doorstep allowing you to step from cape cod to california and back. the fact of when it was built and why is flavoring to the house, but it just seems like filler words. what is wrong with simply saying "old" when the reader will most likely never see this place again?

The old two story guest house, located just a hundred yards south, was connected to the main building by a stone path hedged on either side by shrubbery.-- this conveys all the needed information to the reader without bogging it down with too much description. it allows the reader to imagine on their own what color, what size, how many windows, etc. they can imagine the shrubbery is all box shaped, or each one cut into an animal design, or whatever they want. by using too much description, you slow down the pace of the story and make it very "dry" putting people off from wanting to read more. I believe I have made mention of this in prior chapters as well.

perhaps it is because I tend to write in a simpler format, but i personally find this kind of "description vomit" hard to swallow. In my personal opinion, a story needs to do 1 thing and 1 thing only: Entertain the reader To do this I think it needs 2 main components: 1) An interesting plot. 2) interesting or believable characters. Whether it is set in modern day city, outer space, medieval times, another planet--- doesn't matter. if your plot is solid and your characters are solid, you are well on your way to fulfilling the main objective. But if you "Description vomit" too much, you do three things to detract from that final goal: 1) you obscure those great characters and great plot you worked so hard to create. 2) you end up turning the chapters more into exposition people tend to skim over. 3) you leave nothing to the imagination, which hinders personal enjoyment

look at some of J.K. Rowlings works. her Harry Potter series was a huge success... some of her other works--- well I doubt as many people got halfway through them. Why? Harry potter has it's share of flaws, some of the writing is lacking, and to be fair, some of the plot points were a bit weak or inconsistent. on the other hand her less read works are better developed, deeper plots, etc
Because Harry Potter was an entertaining read that let the reader use their imagination. she didn't spell everything out, her descriptions were relatively simple, and she kept the reader involved.

Go back and re-read this chapter, or any chapter you like as a reader-- how involved do you feel in the story/ You are getting to know Merci the person... but do you feel you are connected to her somehow? do you feel for her plight? can you imagine you ARE her? I don't. I feel like i am simply watching a move as an unwilling participant right now. Going to watch a romance my girlfriend wants to see, but i had no interest in to begin with. simply going to make her happy. You begin to think watching paint dry would be more fun.

Now I am not saying each chapter has to be action packed, but keep a sense of movement going. if this was a movie and not a book... would you be entertained watching her walk listlessly around her house for half an hour? sure in a book we have insight into her thoughts unlike in a movie, but how much of those thoughts can be conveyed in dialogue, or thrown in later in the story as reminiscing? if they can be taken out for now, then do so. cut some excess description, maybe make her talk to her cat to get across some of the memories. "You wouldn't know this Manny, but did you know grandma home taught me right here? My teachers were afraid of me, calling me a hell child."-- dialogue is a great way to make the reader feel involved. even if she is talking to her cat, we can feel she is talking to us as well.

I know you want us to get a good idea of who the character is before you take her anywhere... but then, what is there for us to discover about her? Watching a superhero movie... we know superman is Clark Kent, or Bruce Wayne is batman-- but we still learn new things about them through the movie/comic. they don't spend 15 minutes of the movie telling us every little thing about them, we piece it all together as we watch them save the world.

okay... mini rant over *Blush*

Now on to flow <.<

Your flow in this chapter was less than smooth. I think much of it had to do with sentences and words that felt redundant. in the first paragraph you speak of her family...again. You had her reminisce on her mother,father,grandmother already in previous chapters? doing so again feels un-needed, making the opening flow feel forced. your use of the breaks in this chapter also seemed un-needed. I think you could have segwayed into it without the break. When i use it, it is for a change ofperspective from 1 person to another within a chapter, or to denote a large passage of time (leaving the house in the morning then jump to late at night after work is over) those breaks pull the reader out of the story, breaking that flowing transition you want to achieve. if you throw them right back in just seconds later, you are not using that break to it's full potential, nor the words you just wrote. if you are going to break their immersion, make full use of it by making it count. (when you put in such breaks, try looking away form the screen for a few minutes then look back-- are you able to get back into the story easily? does it then feel natural?)

Even moments of dialogue felt a bit forced in this chapter, as if you felt she had been talking in her head long enough and needed to hear her own voice.
“Nice,” she said, leaning over to polish a smudge on Nikita’s bald head. It made her giddy knowing she had a secret place only three people on the planet knew existed. She sighed, grinned, and made a beeline for the door.
Why even speak out loud? most people would not do so, unless it is established they are crazy or something. This is another one of those points where her speaking to her cat comes in handy. It gives her a reason to speak to no one in particular to stave off the loneliness or quiet.

Ask yourself these questions when you proofread to help with the flow.
1) does my character talk/think the way s/he should?
-- if they are a computer nerd they would tend to use technical jargon. same with a hard core gamer. "I will pwn your toon back to your HQ." "There is your problem. The cooling fan isn't working, causing your RAM chips to heat up and that fried the lattice on the motherboard."
2)Are they acting within the character I created for them?-- If the hero is afraid of spiders, does it make sense he is willing to try and eat one? He has proven over and over he cares only for himself and his own safety--So why is he saving someone now? Did I show character growth to explain these changes in my character? or did it come out of nowhere because I thought it would look cool or needed it for the story to progress?
3)Would I do that in his/her shoes?--Don't forget common sense! Unless their character is specifically written to do wild and crazy, even downright stupid, chances are your character shouldn't do it if you wouldn't. This ties in with number 2, but also helps you connect with the reader a bit more. since they can go, yep- that's what I would do. If your characters are natural, the flow will end up being as well.

Remember cause and effect. for every action, a reaction. Forget to put a reaction in, or don't give an explanation for an action, and that flow you are looking for stutters or even halts.--Hero gets into a gun fight, no one in the room to save, the door easily gotten to without danger. Why does he stay and fight? it could be just his character, but what if it isn't? what if it is out of character? if you don't explain that perhaps he has a death wish for whatever reason, or feels guilty about letting a friend die, it throws the reader from the story, making them question the hero, every time the reader is thrown from the story for whatever reason, it disrupts the flow.

Well I have talked your ear off long enough, this review just hit the 14000 character count mark lol. I hope something in this rambling is useful to you. and remember, these are all my own opinions and outlooks. agree or disagree as you wish, sorry i couldn't be more positive of this chapter -.- Until next time!

Shadowstalker-House Arryn
-Beauty is in the ears that hear and the eyes that see, not the mouth that speaks

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Oh the Cost  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)

So, I want to say right off the bat, I don't normally review poetry. I have about as much head for poetry as a cat does for speaking the human tongue.
Ok, perhaps slightly more of a head for it than that, but not by much!

The only reason I am attempting to review this with my poor input that should be taken with a grain of salt, is because of the content. I myself am a military veteran, and my brother is one as well. Both of us served overseas, and both of us came back with scars both physical and mental to show for it. Personally I feel lucky all I got was a bum leg after the therapy. My brother ended up with dislocated joints as well.

As this is poetry I am not going to go through and break it down like i do short stories, I just don't think that is the way it was meant to be looked at. So I will simply ramble on until I am done *Laugh*

“O’ ye valiant warrior who walk the path of blight. Bathed in battle and in light. Of mind and arm were you known for naught. In death you find the peace you sought. Now rest in peace you valiant knight. Your longest rest is now in sight. For ere you see the ferry boat. We who still live are now your hope.”

As I said before, this brought to mind my own time in the military. while overseas I saw the sacrifices that were made, the people that were lost. Men and women that were little more than kids out of high school. And to an extent having to send them out to the battlefield as their platoon leader. The stress of being responsible for all of them and knowing that if they died, even if on accident, it was on my head for giving the order to move. Though I am 32 now, back then I wasn't. Hell I was only a little older than the people I led. But they looked to me as the "wise" leader that was supposed to know what to do.

War, even just simply serving in the military even if you never go to war, can teach you what it is you are made of. You find your strengths and your weaknesses, find the way to turn some of those weaknesses into strength. You don't always like what you find out about yourself though. As a fresh faced 18-19 year old, you think you know everything, ready for anything. But when the time comes, you find out you are woefully unprepared. No matter how much you train and/ or think you are ready, you just aren't. you lack that experience.

What does this have to do with the poem? Aside from some veteran reminiscing, I think that is what you are trying to convey with this piece. At least to me, since those are the memories it brought to mind. I know it can be tough to convey a lot in poetry. Since you need to condense down the essence into those few lines. I think this did so well enough, but I am not sure how evocative it is for someone who has not served. Who doesn't have memories of war to link to the words.


Perhaps some better word usage? though as I am no expert, don't quote me on that. While the lines were simple, I wonder if they couldn't be more powerful. Such as the repeating first line of Oh the cost I've paid Putting some of these lines together would allow you to more easily rhyme them while giving more of that impact. I know there is free verse poetry (is that what this is? I really don't know) But I also know when things rhyme it sticks in peoples heads more. it gives it the feeling of importance/ more weight.

My poor attempt at an Example:
Oh The cost I've paid,
To keep this country free,
As I became someone I shouldn't be.
As my friends lay dying,
As comrades are crying,
Oh the cost I've paid.

Oh the cost I've paid,
As I laid there bleeding,

this takes out some of the repetition that might take away from the meat of the concept you want to bring across, while giving you a little license to expand a tiny bit. But again, what I know of poetry could fill a shot glass without even making a film on the bottom.


I still like this. Even if I am not much of a poetry person, this is one of the few pieces I can appreciate. I Won't go into grammar/punctuation usage... cause quite frankly, that isn't my strongest point, even in short stories. I'm sure a poetry expert can tell you what is right/wrong with this. I can just tell you my perspective as a pure reader. It made me feel good reading it. not because of the memories or the content. But because there are people out there who appreciate the efforts me, my brother, and all my comrades have done. Too many complain about what we do, our reasons. They have a variety of expectations and think they can do it better sometimes.

While I will admit, the system isn't perfect, the truth is that nothing ever is. There is a lot wrong with this country, just because I was in the military doesn't mean I can't see it. But just because there are downfalls doesn't mean I didn't and still do, take pride in what I did. or the freedom I helped protect. A freedom that allows people to sit on the sidelines and complain about the state of the government, or about the way the military runs things. A freedom that allows people to cheat the system and worry about all the little things they take for granted. To close I will take a line from an anime called Kino's Journey- The world is not beautiful-- But that in itself gives it a sort of beauty.

Shadowstalker- House Arryn
-A fool seeks perfection expecting to find it. A wise man seeks perfection knowing he never will.

** Image ID #1920917 Unavailable **   ** Image ID #1988927 Unavailable **

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Dead Soldiers
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hey JJ,

It's me again, here with another review, this time of chapter 2! (that's one more than chapter 1 !! :P) As usual my disclaimer still applies, so on to the review!

First Impressions:

“Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious...”

Ok so... I have a love hate relationship with this chapter already. and that has to do with 1 simple word... Exposition. I feel there is just too much of it and the information is not presented to best effect. You jump from a memory (at least i think it is a memory) to the present day, then jump back into the past again. This is fine for short bursts of information, or a retelling of a tale through dialogue. but this entire chapter had so much thrown at the reader so it sort of confused me.

I'll get to the breakdown later of the actual content of course (as always) but this is for all those odds and ends thoughts.(As such this might end up being the longest section this time :P) As a reader, i want to feel a bit involved with the setting/characters/information. I want to be sucked into this world, this mind, this sense of danger or great happenings. In short... i want to be entertained. even if nothing happens (such as in reality i am only sitting in a chair drinking a beer with my fake leg sitting on a table next to me while i daydream). I don't want to sit in front of my computer screen feeling like i am reading the transcripts for a documentary on the rate at which mold grows on bread in different climate environments. (Never actually seen such a documentary on TV but I am sure one exists somewhere and people watch it.)

That's exactly how i felt reading this at times. more than once i scrolled down to see how much more of the story was left or flicked over to another web page. this is a killer for any story, it's the equivalent of flicking the channel to something else. as a writer, i want to hook the reader from word 1, even if i don't put in any action or anything, i want them to get from the first word to the last word and go "Oh I'm done? Where's the rest?" or "Did I really just read seven pages worth of story?" (Which is about the average of most of the chapter items in my portfolio.)

So, now that I have bashed this chapter a bit... on to some suggestions, and ideas.

Denote the dreaming sections better. At the beginning it is a memory(though we don't realize until later) at the end you double spaced to denote passage of time. what would it hurt using a line break? such as ******************* or -----------------? You continue to follow the same person, and normally i don't like using such things for a small gap of time (like you simply use it to denote a 5 minute walk from point A to point B. Since you can use that time for exposition and insight into the characters. if the setting is important use the walk to develop the world, if it isn't important give the reader access to some of the characters thought process.) Nor do i like using it to jump from 1 Pov to another or from 1 person to another within the same chapter too often. in most cases it is better to start a new chapter instead so the reader isn't thrown from the story. such CAN work if done properly or to skew the reader into thinking a certain way for a bigger impact later. But if you use it to denote the passing of a large amount of time, i don't see why it can't hurt. in this case you clearly find years have passed right after the break line.

Another thought it italicizing the first section. you have already set a precedent in chapter one of using italics to denote a memory. If you italicize the first part i know from word one this is a dream/memory. it slightly pulls me in a little faster as i wonder well what is he doing now? it isn't much, but it is a more "soft touch" approach to hooking the reader. (btw i have no idea if there are proper terms for these things. I am just using my own terminology sometimes :P)

That beginning was all fine enough as it goes. it gave the hook you needed, that bit of mystery, a dab of action..... then it all went downhill once we came to the present with all the exposition as he reflected on his life. i lost interest, the little hook you had with the first part was un-hooked. so perhaps you might want to re-order or re-write the entire part. (I know, not what a writer wants to hear) I was thinking this chapter might go over better if you organized it in a more timeline fashion so we can see the progress of the present day character from heroic badass of the wars to washed out drunk of present day.

Imagine this:
Start with the memory as is put it in italics, use a line break, or leave it alone as you feel seems to fit. At the end start with something like Flash forward a few years to that fateful mission in Bosnia where I killed thirty two innocent children Right away we know that he has gone from a memory to reminiscing, or that both this and the action of the beginning is all in the past without any other indication. (at least, i think the memory at the start was before the loss of his leg... that's why i said there is some confusion in this chapter. with so much information all at once you can't always keep the timeline straight."

Perhaps even starting the chapter with a hook like this: It all began when I killed those thirty two innocent children. You read that and you are automatically interested, asking yourself, well WTH happened? people don't normally kill innocent children, or admit to it if they did.

Once you "re-live" the loss of the leg, thereby answering the questions of "what happened" you can do a step by step. After that my team was disbanded. Deemed unstable, too dangerous, unnecessary. And I was the most dangerous of them all. General Khol gave me a new mission, a new job that was little more than a prison with a fancy title so he could keep an eye on me. You continue to hook the reader a little more, making up for the small jump in time where their attention might loose interest with another solid teaser of information, allowing you to go into more exposition as you explain this new timeframe.

Then I became a ghost in a ghost town called "nowhere". The workload dried up, the people vanishing with it. Yet still I was imprisoned, told to "await orders." Alone in this huge mountain filled with nothing but the echoes of dreams and promises. But no orders ever came.

Each new paragraph that denotes a skip ahead in time and followed by more exposition can have one of these hooks. if the reader starts to become un-hooked with the time skip, they instantly get drawn back in. if they don't, they get drawn in deeper. then at the end you can come to present day where we finally see this war hero who has done so much in his life for what he is today, a sloppy, slightly drunk man reliving the past glory days in his mind as he wallows in a bit of self pity. a striking difference to what the reader has so far built up in his mind possibly from all the exposition you just gave building up his past. then they wonder again... ok what the hell happened to make him this way exactly? When you then have the phone ring and he answers it to find some sort of new danger is on the way and he will be called to action again the reader then thinks, "Well now i know he is a badass so how will he kick arse in the next chapter?"

To me the hook isn't just about the last line of a chapter, or any one thing. it is the build up, the word usage, and the implied information you don't say but the reader builds in their mind anyway. using this kind of format also makes it easier to get the reader involved a little more. as he is speaking to himself while remembering, you can make it seem like he is also speaking to the reader. telling a story with dialogue when no dialogue is ever spoken (if that makes sense) (as an aside, whenever i hear such exposition dialogue moments i always hear morgan freeman :P)

If you don't want to change the format then consider how you can involve the reader more. even the simple changing of a word here and there, or the tense of a verb. Acting instead of acted. I'm not really sure how to offer much advice or thoughts on changes in this front, still it is food for thought. Finally on to the next part!


I see the building of a sub-plot, though only hints of any relation to the main one. no mention of the island is made (though i assume that is the "problems" the general is coming to see him about) apart from that one assumption the main or "linking" plot isn't present. honestly i would sort of like to see that, even though you have another chapter to actually bring it all together. it doesn't have to be big, but think about it, if i were to add in a single line to this chapter(as the story stands now with no re-writes) i could make a small link to deepen the mystery.
Just like my great-great-grandfather who served as Captain of the proud ship Albatross or even Then I saw her. It was just a glimpse, a short passing on the street really. but my passion had been inflamed.

In the first example, just that small line links it to the prologue, and to the main arching story, setting off questions in the readers mind. in the second example it is an implied link. I never say anyone's name, but the reader assumes it is Merci, since they just read about her and know she is going to get into some adventure. that single line while not directly linking to the main plot, implies it is, which can be just as effective. and when they find that "problems" are on the way, they think to themselves" potential romance? these two are going to definitely meet, what will happen?" when in truth he might have been talking about someone else entirely. (which would be most likely since he doesn't live close to her so would not meet Merci on a normal afternoon walk... but still the reader will assume that.)

Of the sub-plot you are developing involving this guy, i sort of see it(I think), and i think it is good enough since you have the rest of the novel to build it. but it was a bit hard for me to see at first, mainly because of the exposition i mentioned earlier. or perhaps this was just a character development chapter and i am reading too much into it... i don't know. I "think" it is about an old military man who was basically an assassin struggling with his urges to kill resurfacing from his now boring life while he battles a drinking problem and now going to be thrown into a new adventure while he isn't in shape.


While you had quite a few characters introduced in this chapter, mainly just by name. they were all memories of those people so i won't count them. since you didn't describe personalities or anything, they were just "names". words used to fill in the sentence so you didn't have to write he/she/it/they all the time. So the only character i will focus on is Sam.

I think the chapter would do better if you introduced him early, at least his name. you start off with The black-faced man grimaced, his sudden outburst breaking a personal imperative if you changed that to Sam grimaced, his sudden outburst breaking a personal imperative You can tell the reader right away that this is a man they are following and his name. using a name is important in helping the reader identify with and feel invested in, a character. the usage of simply "black-faced man" just tells me he is black and a man, but still nobody "important" if you get what i am saying. (sort of like the memory in chapter one, changing "the little girl" to Merci, made it a bit more intimate without harming the overall story.)

You give good character building... but again i feel it is too much. this isn't some 2 chapter short story where you need to cram a lot of information about the characters to make them feel real in all at once. you have 30 chapters to add more and more in each time he is on the pages. even something small like him smoking the cigar... leave that out until he begins talking to the General in chapter 3/4(or whenever) he pulls out a cuban and says "mind if i smoke?" gets the reply of "I didn't know you started smoking". Replies with "Picked it up a few years back, nasty habit i know, but i like the taste."

Such moments of dialogue can add flavor to the story while setting flow, give that character development, and not have to go into too much exposition where you spend a paragraph telling me the hows and why's. Later on you can have him open the cigar box and read the inscription, making me as a reader think that it was fidel who started him smoking, or any number of possibilities. you don't even have to put in a lot of that exposition, just have him read the inscription and the reader makes assumptions that add character traits and a bit of mystery until you flesh them out more later at the right time.

so while i cannot say this character is bland or "flat" I can't say i really appreciate him as a character either. that information overload really kills so many aspects of this chapter to me. perhaps if as i mentioned before it were presented in a slightly better fashion i could appreciate him more, but as of right now, personally i cannot.



While you get from point to point, it doesn't feel natural all the time. almost as if it feels a little forced. As if he was thinking one thing then suddenly decided to think of another. not as if his mind linked the two occurrences together. if i said 2 words and told you to go from word 1 to word two how would you do it? Chocolate and Tangled the movie. you could go, chocolate is brown and dark chocolate is almost black sometimes. mickey mouse is black and white. mickey is a staple of disney. disney made the tangled move. (there are tons of ways to connect them from your own experience, such as remembering you ate M&M's while watching the movie in theaters.) the point is that natural thought process form point A to point B is also part of the flow. perhaps that is another rwason i found this chapter a bit hard to get into.


So first off, two places i saw things that didn't look quite right for some reason:
...the veins on his neck pulse with every heartbeat. to me it sounded better as:
...the veins on his neck pulsed with every heartbeat.
and also:
...a supernatural status among the covert grunts Based on the sentence before shouldn't it be overt and not covert? Covert means hidden, not intended to be seen while overt means "what is seen." or unhidden I heard the covert threat underling the overt one he gave me.

Now that those small nitpicks are out of the way... no other slaps across the face:P


Setting was all over the place :P. yes he never left his room, but he was taking us on a trip through his memories. i would have liked a bit more description of these places, aside from crying children. i understand his memory is supposed to be fuzzy(presumably from age and the beer) but still there would be vivid things that stuck out to him. even odd seemingly unimportant things. The streets were packed dirt, and the buildings were all a bland tan color that melted together in my mind to form a faceless wall. But the lamppost stuck out in my mind over everything else. In this backwater village in a poverty stricken land that seemed right out of the middle ages stood this modern day lamppost. It didn't even work as far as I knew, yet still there it stood. Rising proudly like a beacon of change on that dirty faceless street in the middle of nowhere.

I gave some description, I gave some flavor to the world, I keep the flow, I add speculation and add to the implied fuzziness of his mind without waisting a few sentences telling the reader his mind is addled, involve the reader slightly, maybe even a small hook, and i even give the lamppost a bit of personality. (after all how can a lamppost be proud?)

Which brings me to another small dislike of mine.... the use of the same words over and over. it makes the story itself lack character or that gripping feel. did a word check and saw you used black-faced 7 times in your story(not counting the 2 in this review btw). There are so many other descriptions you could use. Black-faced, dark skinned, tanned, black features, ashen flesh, midnight, charred, chocolate those are just a few i came up with, and there are more that just depend on the sentence and the way it is all presented.
He had heard the whispers, Sam Ramy, the midnight assassin. who's skin was as dark as the nighttime he struck in. some said he was just a slave to the higher ups, another case of the white man looking down on me because of my color. But I didn't feel that way.

but aside from the little nitpicks, the descriptions you gave worked. it brought to mind a picture well enough, though it didn't really bring it "alive" all the time. that could be because my eyes weren't glued to the story, or my interest kept waning.

Final Thoughts:

This is still a solid piece as it stands, though it just didn't work for me for whatever reason. perhaps that is just me and others will enjoy it I don't know. but a rule of thumb i go by when use a new chapter to introduce someone new for the first time is this: Hook the reader like it is chapter one: I think I told you that before though. This way if I'm not sold and hooked into caring about Merci, I care about Sam and will read through another Merci chapter to get back to him. the first few chapters of any novel are crucial. there doesn't need to be a lot of action, nor a lot of plot/character development crammed down the readers throat (heck look at my story sacrifice you are reading, the first real action comes in chapter 3 with the soldier behind the way station.) you have the entire book to do all these things. but the hook, that mystery and that entertainment are what's most important. if you focus too much on the other things you don't get that hook at all. not because everything else is uninteresting, but because there is just so much the mind doesn't know what to latch on to first.

I say again and stand by this statement, that slow starts are NOT bad. but even in a story introducing multiple characters in the first chapters, you cannot have too many slow starts. if chapter 1, 2, and 3 all introduce new people and all three of them are slow starts but uninteresting at all... i don't want to keep reading. but if all 3 are slow starts yet still manage to capture my attention and hook me, or at least one of them does, then yes i will keep reading.

always remember these are just my opinions and thoughts from a slightly crazy man. people are free to disagree with me if they want (but they'd be wrong :P) still i like what i like and dislike what i dislike. take what you wish form this and throw the rest away. hope this helps and keep righting! (see what i did thar?}

--The early bird catches the worm. The second mouse gets the cheese *Laugh*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Merci
In affiliation with Novel Workshop Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello JJ: Escape Artist,

Well like I said, took a few days to get to this. As per my usual... *Disclaimer- Disregard any misspelled words, lack of capitalization, or misused words because I simply cannot be arsed to hit the shift key every single time I write i or after every period. Nor do I feel like going back after writing to find every single one of those points. You have been warned.*

Now on to the review!

First Impressions:
I actually read the prologue as well before this chapter, but so far there seems to be no link between the two. Except for the island the boy landed on and knowing there is a mysterious island guarded by the military from your intro/preface blurb on the folder. So these impressions are only about this chapter since there are really no other connections i could see. And those first impressions are... I like it. Some people say a beginning chapter needs to be action packed, informative(plot wise), or really character building. But I disagree. What it NEEDS to be, at least to me, is entertaining enough to keep the reader reading. throwing in plot/characters/ action as needed and just enough to tantalize as a mystery to be solved in future chapters. I believe you accomplished this, since though any plot/character development was a bit minimal, i continued to WANT to read. Yet still having enough of everything else that it didn't feel like fluff.

Based only on the story without the preface blurb, there really isn't a lot we know about Merci. at least not personality wise. though since this is a novel, I think that is a good thing. I don't want to know everything about the main character after the first chapter. i want to go on this journey with her and discover her likes and dislikes, her fears, and everything else when she shows them like I was just meeting her for the first time.

Because in my mind, as we go on the journey of the story I am making these assumptions on how she will act and react to given situations based on what i know. The valiant hero who has slayed dragons goes fearlessly into the woods with the fair maiden. A man sized spider jumps out, i expect him to fearlessly protect the girl. instead he cringes and quivers because he is deathly afraid of spiders. such small things and new insights into the character can really add to a story.

You give a good insight into how Merci deals with her problems of the visions, though without actually stating what the problem is. Such things as medication, vibrator, etc. that almost instantly made me more interested as i tried to figure out the problem. (as if I didn't already know from the blurb :P) her small flashbacks to moments with her father and the recollections of how she got to where she was were done well, they didn't seem liked forced exposition.

Though one small thing i wasn't sure of. You mention that 9 year old Merci watched her father carve the words into the table, but then a bit later you said he was her oxygen for 7 years. perhaps this is cleared up in a later chapter, but in my mind I imagined the father died when she was 7, so how was he alive when she was 9? or did he die much later and the 7 years was only what she remembered from like the age of 3-4(when children start to retain memories) so he died when she was like 10-11? It might be good to define what age she went to live with her grandmother. so if I were to say something like: It had been hard for her at first, a girl of only twelve, to adapt to living with such a grandmother. In this way we can work backwards so to speak to create that mental timeline.

I also like the small picture you make of her lover. Even if he doesn't make an actual appearance in this chapter, it still sets the stage for our first impressions when we do meet him. Is he just like she describes? Or is he different from the rose tinted glasses she sees him through? to her he is a dashing hero, but in reality is he just a playboy and she doesn't want to admit it to herself? This can help create mood and give a look into Merci's psyche later. If he isn't like she imagines, how much of that fantasy is her own making and how much is his deception, or any number of other possibilities.

When I talk about flow, I mean how the story gets from point A to point B. How easily it transitions from thoughts/ actions into dialogue and back. even from paragraph to paragraph sometimes. Does the action feel rushed? the dialogue forced? the thought process contrived and unrealistic?

I think you did a great job on this front. as my eyes traveled from paragraph to paragraph, they didn't stutter. they didn't have to go back to the previous sentence to link the two together. the dialogue point(s)(I am including the memories in this since while flashbacks they were words she had heard.) came at the right times while feeling natural.

Just based on this chapter alone, without the prologue, without the blurb, I really don't see much of the plot until the very end. even then it is more foreshadowing than plot. But because i was still entertained enough to keep reading until the end, that doesn't matter. yes some might call this a "slow" start to a story since it doesn't automatically hook the reader, but I feel that is fine. there is enough to keep them moving on to the next chapter. though I think some of the plot, the dangers to Merci and such need to show themselves in the next chapter if you hope to keep the reader going. if i read chapter two, even after the prologue and this chapter, but nothing exciting/dangerous/out of the ordinary happens.... i will lose interest. how such is presented will be important too. If it is something like, she will lose her boyfriend... not a good selling point to be invested. If she will lose her life... now I'm interested because that means she might be doing things she wouldn't normally to stay alive.(making almost impossible leaps across giant crevices to evade the horde of wild demons chasing her since she is dead anyway if she doesn't.)

If anything, i would say you might need a bit more foreshadowing in this chapter. You mention her episodes at the very end.... but that is almost like you are assuming they have read the blurb before reading chapter 1. if you assume no one knows anything going into the story it might help you a little more. if you insert the information that she has these episodes earlier into the story, and the things she sees, when she feels the pain at the end, the reader automatically assumes it is one of these episodes. then gets just as confused as Merci when she says it is not in fact the same pains as the episodes. it will also reinforce this thought in the readers mind that when she passes out at the very end, neither she nor they know where she will wake up. will it be in the apartment still? will she wake up in an episode reliving someone else's life?

I loved the descriptions. I even learned a few new ones i will freely steal... ahem. plager... err... borrow for my own stories. even though when I write, I prefer a more simple approach, using simple words and imagery, I can still value this kind as well. In my mind the trick to setting the scene when using description is to not go overboard while at the same time not skimp. I've been accused of not putting enough description in my work.(and indeed I have had that problem before) but I also think about the overall. yes it is nice to read 3-4 paragraphs about the beauty of the house you live in, or the city the story opens in or the green meadow you frolicked in. but if you are going to leave it all behind for the rest of the story to never return.... whats the point? If the main focus really has nothing or little to do with those things, shouldn't a single paragraph be enough? Then just mention additional information later to add to that image in my head.

I really didn't feel you went overboard or under-board in this chapter. Maybe a tad bit more description in a few places, but I personally didn't feel like my mind was lacking.( then again i have an overactive imagination so "seeing" is easy for me.) You didn't use a ton of off the wall imagery or tons of big words a normal reader might need to whip out there dictionary or thesaurus to understand, which helped with the overall enjoyment. i was able to focus solely on the story, not trying to decipher what some strange word i had never read/seen before meant.( I once read a story with words like Bibliobibuli and Petrichor in it.... if you don't know what they are go google it like i had to and you will know why i didn't finish the book :P)

There were some things i did see that i thought you might want to clarify to the reader though.
... brain was thrown open and lit with Tokyo neon. What does Tokyo neon look like? is it blue, white-blue, pink, purple? Just this all encompassing white that blinds everything? Those were some of the thoughts in my head when I read that. I've never been to Tokyo, probably not many people have. All i have to go on is movies/anime and we all know those are always exactly like real life. While such descriptions sound good, and can paint a nice picture, if i have no reference for such a thing it doesn't help. When i read that, i thought of Giant billboards lit up in flamingo pink and deep blue overlapping white bulbs that flashed like christmas tree lights. was that what you wanted me to "see"? did you have something else in mind? maybe it doesn't matter in the long run, as every person can then put their own interpretation on it. But if it matters to you, or if there is a specific "look" to the world you want me to see, you might want to be a little clearer. tell me ...brain was thrown open and lit with a bright neon blue.

Also something like this: ... in the retina and iris, creating vivacious, gemlike colorations. Again, great imagry, but what color are her eyes? will you tell us later in the story? will they change color as the story goes on? is there a reason not to tell us right now? what if that is a plot point we need to know? if her eyes are a bright ruby red, perhaps every time we come across characters with ruby red eyes we know, or think in the back of our mind, that is someone she jumped into/can jump into when she has her episodes. There are a dozen Gem's out there that range from the normal eye colors fo green/hazel, to the supernatural of purple and fiery orange like a sunset to multicolored. With a sort of time paradox thing going on like it seems from the blurb and from the tenuous link to the prologue, coupled with a supernatural feel, such small things can pull a story together. (btw when i read that i imagined bright blue sapphire eyes with little white reflections on the surface.)

I've said before, I'm no grammar police. I don't really point out such small mistakes unless it is glaringly obvious or takes away from the story. With my slight dyslexia and lack of professional learning in engrish,( not to mention I live in A-mur-ee-kah, home of the texting shorthand and topp noch enish spelin an gramar pro's tht r n noway illitrite) I rarely feel qualified to say anything. But since you also specifically asked me to take a look at this I did. on the whole I didn't catch anything really obvious. But then again, I didn't go over it with a fine tooth comb and backwards in a different language after encoding it before using a Grammar dog to sniff out potential problems either. (If there is a grammar dog out there able to sniff out typos and the like... i want one :P)

I did find a few I thought I would mention:
She glanced at her new high-tech chronograph; where she is headed, the multi-functional instrument could be a lifesaver.
I had a problem with the word is. In this context and with the rest of the story it doesn't seem to fit. perhaps it is correct and I don't know.(entirely possible.) but it makes it sound like she KNOWS she is going on some great adventure soon. As if she is expecting it. or even a small breaking of the 4th wall. I don't know if there is any way to change just that one word without making it sound like the writer wants the reader to stay disconnected form the story, not believing they are really there. even something like where she was headed, gives that foreshadowing by breaking the 4th wall, making it feel more like everything already happened in the past and i am just reading it much later after it happened. maybe just take that part out completely? She glanced at her new high-tech chronograph: 11:55, right on time. again, this is based only on what i know right now of the 1st chapter.

...strange opera once again began to play in her head...
My issue with this is ending it with ... Now I am not 100% sure on when exactly to use this, but to me the ... is used to denote a long pause. Longer than a comma or to denote a thought,sentence is trailing off.
I think commas are more like taking a small breath while talking, though i could of course be wrong. as for the ...(don't know what the actual name for it is if there is one) it is more to say "You thought I was done talking? Ha!" That's all I have to say on that... or is it? Maybe even used as a bit of a stutter. "I need to protect him! and save him and... and...!" In that previous one i let it trail off on a ... to denote that the speaker couldn't finish the sentence for some reason. as if the mind went blank, or the throat tightened up.
Your use of that ... didn't seem to fit. Since after that it segways into a memory. even with the ... starting the next line it doesn't fit. it almost seems better if you simply ended it with a period. or maybe something like ...began to play in her head: then begin the memory like a regular paragraph.

Also that memory paragraph of the little girl felt slightly off. perhaps i am wrong without reading the rest of the chapters, but right now I think the little girl is her and this is her memory. if this is the case, why write it like the girl isn't her? if this is when her troubles started, then wouldn't writing it like she was in the bed make it more powerful? She lay trembling in her bed, awakened by the storms first jarring roll of thunder.... Merci screamed as the beast pulled itself up onto the foot of her bed and sat staring, If it is not her memory, this is fine, but because you have not established she can see into other peoples minds/memories beforehand in this chapter it doesn't make much sense. (again, not using what i know from the blurb and acting as if i know nothing but what i am reading right now)

Final thoughts:
A very solid beginning. I found it interesting enough to want to read on. And despite some of the small things i mentioned here I found it very enjoyable. If you want more specific comments/insights/mad ramblings that i did not address here, feel free to email me with them. I hope some of this helped you in some way. As always, take what you want from this review, agree with some of it if you wish and throw the rest out as a crazy illiterate writer who has no clue what he is talking about.

--Beauty is in the ears that hear and the eyes that see, not the mouth that speaks.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Survivor  
In affiliation with Novel Workshop Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello Alexander Stone,

So today I shall be your reviewer for the evening, as per your request. Please disregard non capitalization (such as i instead of I or at the beginning of every sentence). When I do longer reviews I tend to forget to keep hitting the shift key :P Also, please disregard misspellings I might not catch, such as from turning into form or ending things in -ign instead of -ing. I will try to be as concise and expansive as possible with my explanations, though I am no professional. With all that said, on to the review!

Disclaimer* All thoughts and suggestions are the reviewers own personal opinions and in no way reflect the views of this website, professional authors, or even anyone who has been published. He has in fact been described as being clinically insane, so his random bouts of comedic insertion of sarcasm or other nonsense should be chalked up to this fact. Take anything he says with a grain of salt and remember that in the end you are the author of your own story and not him. Listening too closely to his mad ramblings can result in nausea, indigestion, upset stomach, vomiting, brain cell loss, cramps, a taste for raw meat, and even spontaneous fetishes for glasses. In some rare cases people have been known to burst into uncontrolled fits of giggling from listening to him. You have been warned,

First Impressions:
It has potential. I do not think it is by any means close to being finished, or even if you plan on taking it farther. There are a lot of things wrong with it, from grammar to punctuation, to word usage. But I still liked it well enough. It didn't have me gripped to the point of being unable to put it down though. (In fact I did jump over to another tab to watch a youtube video once or twice.... which means it lacked that catch of a good story)

Point of View:
This was part of what kept me from being immersed in the story. You jumped from 1st person to third person to omnipresent (I think) You might want to think about keeping it all in one PoV. Don't get me wrong, I understood what you were trying to do (again I think). And the whole "diary" entries can lend itself well to that. but being jumped from PoV to PoV made me keep pulling myself out of the story. That hurts the story more than helps it, especially in the beginning when you are trying to hook the reader. I think if you had made each section more compelling to read I wouldn't have minded so much. But the problem came with each one for the most part being too short to make it all that compelling to get into that particular PoV.

The exception to this was the 1st person with the boy and his dog. This felt like the real "meat" of the story and as such I personally feel you could have either done without the other sections/characters or perhaps found a way to integrate them better into the story, perhaps in a flashback or something. Don't get me wrong, having some background information is great, and it allows the reader to get immersed in your story/world that much quicker. But how you present it is also important. Prologues (at least to me) are there to give the reader information they might not be able to get anywhere else. Long lost heroes and the outcome of wars waged thousands of years ago that time forgot, The secret of some innocent character they will meet later that holds the stick of arse whomping who has lived for hundreds of years.

But all that information sort of felt like you could give it to the reader within the context of the main story without too much problem. In fact you sort of do with him "hearing" it on the radio when he wakes up. Why not open with the boy rolling out of bed and running helter-skelter around the house packing up, making the reader wonder what the hell is going on. then once he gets in the truck he turns on the radio and hears the newscasters repeating what he already heard. Though for him it will be for a second time, for the reader it is the first and so will then give them an "aha!" moment as they realize what is going on and why the protagonist was rushing around in the first place. making sense in their own minds what to them had been senseless before.

Nothing really new. So far it seems like your run of the mill zombie apocalypse. It reminds me strongly of the walking dead, but then again that too is pretty much your run of the mill zombie outbreak. the problem with such things are how exactly you make your story stand out. there really isn't a lot of "wiggle room" if you just follow a standard zombie fare, that is: go by everything already established in other zombie movies/stories.

How were the zombies created? chemicals, random act of nature, experimentation? all of these have been used before so anything you say won't be "new". So the trick then will be in either A) What you focus on, B) How serious you want to take this, or C) How much you want to redefine what a zombie is. In the case of A: Do you focus on the survivors ala walking dead (like it seems you are already) Do you focus on those fighting the outbreak/zombies head on (ala dead rising video game) Or do you not focus on the zombies much at all and instead on the way humans act and react? (such as you made an example of when someone stole his truck, showing how morals and values are thrown out the window in the desire to survive. putting a lie to all the talk of people being civilized and cultured.) If you go this route of human on human interaction, it gives you license to throw all the -ism's in peoples faces who read it. (you know racism, bigotism, sexism, etc.)

If you go route B: Do you go super serious, which is how it seems at the moment. a sort of realistic outlook of what might happen. The problem then is it might be compared to other stories that people might feel do it better or are more familiar with (again ala Walking Dead) do you make it more humorous, such as Shaun of the Dead or even more off the wall crazy to the point of stupidly funny (ala an anime called High School of the Dead... in that show a girls boobs could jiggle separately faster than a speeding bullet to allow one to pass through their crevice without touching them.)

In case C: Everyone pretty much accepts zombies follow a set of rules 1) they are stupid 2) they are blind and follow sound 3) they are dead and if you get bit/scratched by one you get turned 4) Only way to make sure to kill one is to destroy the brain. 5) they have bottomless pits for stomach's. So, do you keep with these widely accepted cliche's or do you break away from the mold a bit? (not too much or people won't accept them as zombies) but what if they are somehow smarter then people expect from zombies? you put a foreshadowing in the story with the question of what if a zombie learned how to shoot a gun. So what if zombies were smart enough to climb up ladders, or were able to do some form of drunken boxing/martial arts? what if they could drive cars or perhaps even a few had the ability to speak in more than moans? something as simple as that can greatly change up the dynamic of the story and give it some of that interesting factor that can hook a reader.

So far, none of them had too much personality to me. Then again, since this feels like it is more than a short story, that's not exactly bad. In any novel/novella the writer has time to flesh out the main character(s). I do feel you could do with fleshing them out little more though. right now I just didn't have too much attachment to any of them. With the diary/journal format it doesn't need to be too much since the chapters are relatively short. But perhaps a bit more description of the important players to make me as the reader imagine them in my head.

As an aside... where is section 2? It goes from prologue to section 1 then jumps to section 3... was that just a typo? or is there another part that just isn't here?

Since i mentioned description of the characters, might as well jump right into that now. I would have liked to see more description period. It is the difference between saying "He went into the house" and "He went into the run down building he claimed was a house. The broken shutters and crooked door made me wonder at that assessment." Imagery, in any story, is your friend. It's all well and good to say you are driving down the highway and leave it at that. me(the reader) knows how dull and "same" highways can be. I can imagine quite easily the miles of grey asphalt going by. But if you take that minimalist approach to everything from descriptions of people to scenery outside, to actions, to even the thoughts in the head, I feel it makes the story really fall short. Especially when you have this vivid world of undead with mass panic and mayhem going on all around. How can i truely appreciate the depth of despair or anger or sadness if you (the writer) barely touch on it all?

A few cars had seen misfortune and not been able to escape. They hardly knew how to react when the monsters walked to their vehicles, began climbing and grabbing through windows, and tearing them apart. We ran to the parking lot of a Sears and I led Marvin into an empty Taco Bell. It was abandoned minutes ago, and some of the stoves still ran. The smell of burning food prevailed in the room as I led Marvin behind the counter to hide. We slid under the counter, pushed past the stacks of cups and hid from the Hell outside.

This is just one section I picked at random. With a few tweaks of my own and some liberties I transform it a bit into this:
Me and Marvin ran to the parking lot of a Sears, avoiding the ghouls as I shut my ears off from the screaming. The people in the cars who had been unable to escape the misfortune haunted my vision as I ran almost blindly. Memories of the last few minutes ran like a horror film across my mind. They hadn't known how to react, or reacted too slowly, as the monsters shuffled towards their vehicles. Crawling in and grabbing through open windows to tear them apart. I had tried not to notice as the blood flew along with limbs from the motionless cars. Veering to the left I led Marvin into an empty Taco Bell which seemed to have been abandoned only moments ago since some of the stoves still burned. the stench of scorched meat choking the room as I led my dog behind the counter to hide. Shoving the stacks of cups out of the way onto the floor, I wedged into the tight space with him. With one hand I stroked his fur for comfort, while my other one clasped my mouth in an attempt to hold in the vomit and other sounds as we hid from the Hell outside. I heard a small whimpering as I squeezed my eyes closed but didn't know if it was me or Marvin.

This sets up a much more vivid picture (at least to me) of what is going on. It gives slightly more insight into the boys mentality and ads more flavor to the entire scene as a whole. Description isn't all about describing what is going on though, it is also about word usage. even if you don't write much about a scene, if you use the proper words you can make it that much more powerful. a few things I noticed you using was a lot of "and"s and "past tense words.

And is a good linking verb to describe doing more than one thing. but many times when you use it you have to follow it up with past tense words. "and ran, and skated, and xxx-ed. He went to the bathroom and washed his hands. consider changing up and with something else, even using a comma instead. when you do this you can turn those past tense words into present tense action ones. Some good ones to use are because, with, as, after, while This way if you can make the word end in -ing it makes the action feel more immediate and pulls the reader in more. Running feels more exciting then ran. Smashing my fist into the arm holding me while grabbing for the revolver just out of reach, I felt my heart hammering against my chest. So many -ing words makes you feel like you are really there. when there are so many and's and -ed words it just feels like i am reading what happened yesterday or some long time ago.

It had a good flow. there were no real big obvious hiccups where things felt too forced, aside from some of the parts with all the and's. There were good transitions from one thing to another. some places i felt might have been able to be clumped together into slightly larger paragraphs, but that is my personal opinion. If anything, it didn't have enough flow, but that was also due in part to my thought that it lacked description.

Grammar and punctuation:
Now this is a part I usually don't mention unless specifically asked, since lord knows I am not an authority. with my slight dyslexia (hence sometimes changing from to form and vice versa) I make more than my fair share of such mistakes. But reading this, I did feel you might want to go over and check on your comma usages again, aside from maybe looking at an expanded vocabulary for descriptions. I noted places where you put a comma that I wondered why exactly.

comma's are used to create a small pause in a sentence, but if you add one where it isn't needed it can screw up the entire feel of the sentence form what you want to get across.
I am always tense, in the city. Being surrounded by literally tens of thousands of zombies will do that to you, but I had learned to be quick and quiet. This is just one example of what I mean. I see no reason for the comma to be there. without it the sentence becomes a statement, but with it the words just feel wrong. that pause isn't needed. Same thing if I were to say something like: Roses are red, violets are blue if I change that to Roses are, red violets are, blue it not only changes the way you read the sentence but you also know something is off about it deep down.

You can use "and" at the start of a new sentence... if it links back to the last one. this can help you avoid run on sentences, linking one paragraph to the next to ease into a transition easier.
The gun was a lifesaver. With only twelve shots I had to make each bullet count. I had never actually shot anyone or anything before except in a video game. These thoughts ran through my head as the zombie came shuffling towards me. My arm rose of its own accord but still I hesitated. Still the fear gripped me as my finger refused to pull the trigger. even closing my eyes didn't help. The creature let out a low moan as it reached for me. I felt his cold dead flesh brush against my arms from the darkness behind my eyeballs.
And finally I fired.

Yes you could just put down "Finally I fired" just as well, but i personally think when used correctly that "And" changes the feeling of the whole sentence/environment depending on the set up.

Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent in the last section. As for environment.... it was lacking. But I think if you added in more description that would change. from what little of the environment you did describe, it wasn't bad. I still couldn't "see" everything too clearly, but I at least knew i wasn't in some alternate reality limbo made up of endless white everywhere.

I think it needs a bit of work on it, but it's not a bad start at all. Though I wasn't hooked into the story quickly, there were moments that did catch my interest. I think you already have a kind of clear direction you want to take this, so I hope some of my ramblings help you better define that picture you have for this story. Though as I said, it feels a bit of a generic run of the mill zombie apocalypse story. But despite that it can still be entertaining to read if done right. There is a reason anime, TV, and movies stand by a formula for some things, they know it works. they know if you mix personality type A with personality type B, you get ratings. So if in the end this becomes a sort of "walking dead" esque story, so what. People find the TV show popular, so I am sure they will find this popular as well... as long as you make it entertaining for them to read. Don't get discouraged and keep writing, the best stories always come from trial and error.

I hope some of what I said was useful. I have already doused this review in gasoline so you may light it on fire in case it was not. But not me though. I refuse to let you light me on fire. I can do that well enough on my own. In fact tomorrow is Friday so I plan to do just that. It's my weekly cleansing ritual you know. If there are any other specific things about the story you wanted me to touch upon that I did not in this review, feel free to shoot me an email and i will be glad to answer it. If you decide to re-write this and you want another review of it done, I would be glad to do a second look at it as well. Until next time!

-A writer's path to creating a story is a journey. A reader's path is a journey through creation.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello again Brigitte Mileson,

So we meet again! how did you find me? I spent months digging this hideout deep into the ground and covering my tracks. *looks at the review request* ....Oh. Well then i guess i should get on to the third installment of this rewrite. (re-rerwirte? O.o) I will try to keep to a similar format as the last one, going on a chapter by chapter look and then giving you my final thoughts. Interspersed with some suggestions of course. keep in mind these are all personal suggestions and I am in no way a professional. that being said, On to the review!... again.

This flows so much better. there is more of that imagery that helps get the reader into the story but not so much as to feel drawn out. there are still some things you could do to tighten up I think, but those can be found and touched on in a small edit since i look at this as a rough draft still.
Why won’t they just leave him to rest? Leave him to his own demons, his own enemies.
This sentence is fine as it is don't get me wrong, but if you look at the context of the paragraph around it and think both of both flow and speech patterns how does it look if i changed it to this:
Whydidn't they just leave him to rest? Leave him to his own demons, his own enemies.
I don't know where you live, I live in A-mur-ee-ka *grin* so speech patterns can be different in different parts of the world obviously. but to me changing won't to didn't in my mind gave it a more personal feeling. since he is sort of talking to himself in this section. both sentence structures are correct (i think) but to me it just feels like didn't makes it flow a bit better while making the unseen summoners more real. if you get what i am saying, since i don't think i explained that as well as i had hoped.
(by the way like how i am getting fancier? I'm using black AND red now :P)

I see you sort of appropriated my rewrite of the elements and healing the dragon :P maybe not word for word, but still. I don't mind though, I'm glad you thought it good enough to use. but one thing to watch out for on the proofread and tightening up phase, watch out for repeating words too close together.
Azar next.... A miniature whirlwind next
... white shirt with a white waist coat, a black short-waisted cut away coat with tails...
Both next and coat here make the story slightly "jerky" or as if it is stuttering. when it feels a bit repetitive, at least to me, the enjoyment is lessened and it halts the flow of the story. when i read i want to be taken on a buffet of words where i can eat to my contentment. i don't want to go to the restaurant where it's 100 dollars a plate to eat instant mashed potatoes. (maybe that was a bad example but i just wanted to say it anyway ^.-)

Azar next..... Summoning Avira, a miniature whirlwind tenderly blew out any loose debris
Just taking out that one next and switching the words around slightly, keeps that flow going. does that make sense?
For the part about the coat, i don't know if that is a redundant bit in there that you changed but didn't take one of them out, or if i just don't know what some of the pieces of clothing actually are lol but this goes back to that when is there "too much" description. think about it, this is the prologue, the reader won't see him in this getup again, unless he never changes his clothes the entire book. so letting them know he has a bit of fashion sense and can create clothing is enough. whats wrong with something like:
his clothes changed to a collarless white shirt, a black short-waisted cut away coat and a white neck scarf. Plain beige wool trousers that exposed the simple black leather shoes. To finish off the look of the era was a fedora hat he privately thought looked quite dashing.
This still gets across what you want to convey without loading it down with too much "unnecessary" stuff. (again unless these clothes are meant to make him instantly identified to the reader later in the story while you are following someone else. I.E. Tierra makes note of him while walking down the street and the reader goes I know him! while Tierra walks past oblivious to his importance.) I added that last bit after the fedora to both give him a bit of "flavor" and to make the sentence not feel like it ended too abruptly.

Ok I've gone on about those things long enough :P again i know this is like a rough draft( and i am reviewing only on this piece not what i know already btw.) and if i see such things again later in the story i won't note it again. now on to

Chapter 1: *scrolls up to reread it before continuing on*
*clap clap!* I see you took much of my suggestions from the last review into consideration! this one also flowed so much better. it gave just enough "screen time" to the side characters, and you focused more on the interaction between Tierra and Anita. i felt much more invested in Tiera in this chapter. i could see where we were in the school building, the narrow hallways, the whitewashed walls and plaster tiled ceiling in my mind (perhaps that's not what you envisioned but it doesn't matter, you gave me enough environment that i pulled memories of my own school days into it to fill in the blanks like i was saying before)

I also felt much closer to Tiera in this one, getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach while i yelled at her in my head to slap that mofo around girl! I'm invested both emotionally and mentally in wanting to know what is going to happen to her. meaning that even if the plot is weak i will still read on simply for that fact alone. because i want to see her get one over on Anita now. there were a few spots you might want to double check punctuation and such though.
Focus Tierra, she scolded herself scouring her super, advanced brain ... that comma might be better after herself.
Focus Tierra, she scolded herself, scouring her super advanced brain ... there were a few other spots where it looked like a word was missing and such as well, but again, easily fixed without any reworking.

You might also want to watch out for past tense or non-action words and tenses, especially when you are looking to magnify action sequences.
as she snatched Tierra’s backpack wrenched her arm
as she snatched Tierra’s backpack, wrenching her arm or even
as she snatched Tierra’s backpack, she wrenched her arm this keeps up the pace of the invisible action going on, keeping you in the moment and visually seeing it as it happens instead of feeling like someone is telling it to you as a story of what went on say yesterday.

Again, not a big deal and easily fixed with a quick once over. I also see you took my advice to stay our of damenco's mind at the very end, recognizing the things from Tiera's perspective, another thing that made the chapter work out better. Reading both the prologue and this chapter i didn't have that desire to go look at another web page, or stop reading or anything like that. (which by the way is good considering i have basically read these pieces at least 5-6 times in the 3 different reviews i have done of it lol) I actually had the thought of "Oh I'm done already?" because i was so immersed in the story at the time.

Now it's time to get into the big guns. the chapter that i really disliked in both the original and the rewrite of prior reviews. the bane of my existence which seemed to have no redeeming qualities and even ended up killing my non existent cat before it was born because of how horrendous it was"

Chapter 2: *hold on while i go read it*
NNNNOOOOOOOO!! What happened to gabbi and Spencer! they are gone!.... good for you! this ties in very nicely with the last chapter, by introducing a new character at the very end of that chapter only to "slide" into learning more about him in the very next one, it makes for a smooth transition. you don't introduce too many new people and concepts too fast, giving the reader a chance to digest what they know and add to that information. It flows well and it has the right amount of description needed, at least i think. after all you have a whole story to focus on the important things, or expand upon any given environment if it becomes important. i don't need to know "everything" about where i am right this moment if in the end i won't see it for more than a split second or two.

again the flow between dialogue and non dialogue is for the most part smooth. as with the other two chapters you could tighten it up slightly in word usage. (such as the repeat word thing i mentioned in the prologue section) and things like this:
His boxers he had been sleeping in... i think it should be The boxers to make it sound better. i honestly wanted more in this chapter though, after i was done i felt it was a bit too short maybe. not so much in description wise exactly, but more like watching a 30 minute TV show. you know it is actually 23 minutes long but you have to leave after watching only 20 minutes and you have this desire to stay and watch the last 3. that's sort of what this was like, i wanted more.

and that's good. that's the hook i was talking about. each one of these chapters features a different person, and you made each of them have that hook feeling of wanting to know more about that particular person or people. remember how i told you before you needed to treat them each like they were the 1st chapter of their own book and not connected at all? well i think you pulled it off. you got me invested in each of the main characters introduced so far so i will keep reading on. even if i wasn't invested in say Tierra, i would continue to read, waiting until i could read the stuff involving Damenco again. which gives you, the writer, time to hook me again with Tierra in another chapter.

Final thoughts:
First off, you must be British or something because you spell color as colour and maneuver as manoeuver : ^.^ plus i had never seen the word Audient used before. i actually thought it was a misspell, but then looked it up and found it was an archaic form of a real word O.o. still audible or audibly would have worked better in that instance because people are more familiar with it.

Now more seriously... well as more serious as i can get.... I think this new rewrite is really good. i'm glad my suggestions from the other reviews was helpful and must also applaud you for not giving up on this piece. I know how hard it can be to get heavy criticism and then not go back to a work you wrote for a while because you are like "guh i don't want to change so much after the work i put into it!" this almost feels like an entirely different story than the ones i looked at the last two times. I think you did an excellent job in encompassing the essence of what i had been trying to say. while far from a finished product, this is much closer to that stage in my opinion than the other two.

I saw some hints of the plot, but i am glad you didn't try to bog it down with trying to reveal too much of it. you focused on characters and hinting at something not right which did it justice in my opinion. if there is anything more specific about this story you want feedback on let me know in an email and i will be glad to answer as best i can. if you keep this up through the rest of the book then i know it will really suck in the readers.
Beauty is in the ears that hear and the eyes that see, not the mouth that speaks.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Wasted Years  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello JeremyBuxton,

So first off I will reiterate the fact that I am NOT a professional and anything said in this review is solely my personal thoughts and opinions. Also, ignore any lack of capitalization since I can't always be bothered to hit the shift key :P. With that being said, on to the review!

It's not a bad plot for what it is, though it is slow to start and then feels a bit rushed at the end. Personally it felt like there either wasn't a real clear focus, or this is supposed to be part of a larger work.Let me see if I can explain what I mean about the focus....

If you break down the story you basically have 2 clear separate parts, The office- consisting mainly of mental dialogue and personal thoughts that give some back story into his/her personalities. and Emma's Home- consisting of spoken dialogue mainly and the action. The problem then becomes.... what use was the office parts except to segway over into the house section? Yes it's nice to know more about the character(s), but of what use did you put that information to in the second part? Really the only thing form the first part that carried over is "I'm not good with computers" which could have been left entirely in the second part.

So, if your focus was on the office, what use was the house section except to introduce your stolen goods? And perhaps the blossoming romantic relationship between your two characters. If this is all you are going to do with the story, you really don't need all the back story. A little here and there interspersed throughout the story will help without slowing down the pace. Consider if I spent two pages of a book describing to you the hazards of being a firefighter. i describe in great detail what the flames feel like as I recreate a burning house for you to imagine. Now you read the rest of the book, all 360 pages and not once does anything relating to a fire or the skills i gained as a firefighter ever come up again. what was the point of those 2 pages except to fill the book?

You kept focus on two main characters which is good. Too many stories can turn from good to bad by bogging it down with too many people "on screen" at once. the burly men at the door were kept to a minimum and stayed in their "background" character roles. That being said... what do they look like? I know Howard is 30 years old, but what else? does he have a slightly balding head with thin hair? what color is the hair, does he have any grey in it? wrinkles, eye color? Same with Emma. You don't have to go into great detail on this stuff, but if the reader has an idea of what they look like, they can infer some of the hardships life has thrown at them. Or if you focus on the romance part, it can make their pairing unlikely.

Howard stared at himself in the bathroom mirror after having another one of his attacks of claustrophobia. At thirty years of age already his brown hair was thinning out. With his already high forehead his balding hair made it look like he had lost more than he had. He could even see a small island forming in the front to make it look even worse. The dark circles under his brown eyes and the way his skin had that slightly grayish cast made the few wrinkles around his forehead and mouth look all the worse. This was the mockery life had made of him. Old before his time because of one burden after another being loaded onto his shoulders.

Emma was youthful and pretty. Her Long black hair she kept done up in a neat ponytail seemed to have a shine of its own. The light pink lipstick she wore matched the rosy hue of her cheeks. Howard figured her age was close to his, but she looked at least five years younger. Her bright blue eyes met his drab and dull ones at least once a day and he had started looking forward to those brief moments. they were like a small holiday away from the office.

Obviously i took a few liberties there but just from that little description you can get across whole lot. you can also "see" the beginnings of a relationship. maybe not a romantic one, but for a guy who is inside a shell all the time, perhaps an interest in the outside world where he can make a relationship to open up.

Like I said before, you focused on 2 main areas, the office and the house. for short stories I go by the KISS rule. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Mainly because you want to focus on the action and/or the plot. such things get slowed down by having to describe each new place to get the reader "in" the story. that is a big goal of any story, get the reader to feel like they are in your world no matter how short the story is. that is where story flow comes in and Environment. In a short piece like this, again with character development you don't need a lot. just a bit to give the reader an idea of where they are.

For example, you are in an office building. That's fine and all, but what kind of office? what do they make or sell? This can be answered with a few short sentences or even a little aside the reader doesn't expect.
Howard had never wanted to work at Universal Paper Pushers International Transitions Yearly to begin with. But it was the only place he was able to find a job and so he had taken it. now he had to deal with people always calling him an UPPITY person and he couldn't even deny it.
As Howard waited for Emma to close down her computer, he noticed she still had the default work desktop background proclaiming she worked for UPPITY as if she could ever forget that fact.

Small things like this make the world more real to the reader. otherwise all they "see" is a giant white room with people walking around (imagine the weapons room in the matrix, where nothing exists until you want it to. That all being said, making a "white room" didn't hinder the story too much. but if this is going to be a longer piece it might. if they imagine the room is square and you need them to think the room is a circle... well then there are going to be problems :P.

Grammar: I'm not a grammar Nazi and didn't see anything that really stood out.

Final thoughts and Suggestions:
Personally I would cut out much, if not all, of the Office section. A lot of that information is either unnecessary, or can be added into the House section. This will help speed up the pace a bit and not feel like the story is dragging a little. You can continue to do the breaks where you jump form Howard to Emma and get that information across as well.

How had he ended up here? He was in a woman's house alone with her. It had all seemed so innocent at the time, He even remembered how it had all gone down earlier today at work. But now he didn't feel so confident. Today had been like any other day, being shunned by his coworkers. No one speaking to him. Granted He saw no point in their mundane conversations, but even he liked to be noticed sometimes.

If you do want to keep the Office parts in, find a way to speed it up a bit and keep the reader hooked enough to get to the house section. and then try to find a way to tie in the office to the house to make the information you imparted useful. As I said before, the plot itself(stolen laptop with secret information on it) feels a bit weak and rushed. it's a good start, but it didn't have enough meat behind it. that meat being taken up on side information and back story.

As for the title... well I think it doesn't really do this piece justice. Wasted Time makes me think Howard was going to come to some epiphany about how he had wasted his life until that point. Especially after the way you started the story. If you had maybe ended the story differently the title might be clearer as in "His life flashed before his eyes and he saw he had wasted it" kind of thing. but as it stands, why didn't you uses the concept of your plot for a title? like Stolen Lives to refer to the names on the computer and the way the 2 main character's lives might also be stolen at the very end? The title is the first hook you have to catch the reader. they read the title and begin to wonder what the story is about.

The woman who kills men or The Widow maker which one of those titles grips your interest more? Both of them could be the title to the exact same book, but if you saw both those titles in a bookstore, which one would you pick up first?

Again, these are just my own personal opinions and thoughts and i hope they help you out. This does look like the makings of a nice little story, perhaps even a short story of a few chapters if done right. but the way the first half seemed to be completely wasted did put me off a bit. the slow start i didn't mind so much since i have started slow as well. But if you start slow, you need to hook the reader with something aside form the plot, like environment or characters.

A writer's path to creating a story is a journey. A reader's path is a journey through creation.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Brigitte Mileson,

So I've gotten some time to review the original of the work. (And go back and reread the rewrite for comparison/deeper review) I will Review this one slightly differently because it is the 2nd version of something i read (even if it is the original it is still the second one i read)

To that end i am going to go more of a chapter by chapter with my thoughts as i compare. I still saw a few small places where grammar/ spelling was an issues, but not much. things like The energy bolt like no other, and hit is target perfectly, yet he was here as was Kaida. I think you meant The energy bolt like no other, had hit its target perfectly, yet he was here as was Kaida. These are the kind of small things I spotted but that can be found and corrected in proofreads so I won't harp on such things more unless they hurt the story to a great extent. With that being said... on to the real review!

PS. Wall of text ahhhhh! my eye's! my eyes are bleeding! Ok now i can carry on.

I like this prologue better than the first one honestly. It had more of that description i was talking about and it was a bit "simpler". What I mean by that is you didn't try to introduce too many hard concepts or those alien ideas i mentioned before, too fast. the prologue, if your book has one in the end, is set up to give the reader a HINT of what's going on or going to happen. Letting them in on the secret that there is something going on behind the scenes or a bit of back-story they would not otherwise get. An ancient war thousands of years before the start of the main plot that will impact the present hero's for example. Lost magical arts that the main character has to rediscover presented so the reader is shouting at them to go to this place or do this because they are so close to discovering that secret that only the reader knows. (Reader knows the secret to saving the world is in the ice caves and has been for a thousand years... hero journeys past the ice caves searching for the power to save the world, decides not to investigate the place and moves on. Reader has a head slap moment at the hero's expense.)

That being said, there are some things you could do with this prologue to make it better, mainly in the presentation department. one example is your presentation of the 4 elements. Why even tell the reader what they are? I mean i get what you are going for, along the lines of "in order to control magic you need to know it's true name" or "Since i come from another world i call things differently." Both of these have the same effect of giving things such as primal elements a different name. Just use the "new" name and a description, the reader isn't dumb, they will figure out what element it is on their own and it will let your sentences flow better. then if later the heroine has to learn magic (or anyone else) from this guy he can say well you use XXXX and then the heroine is like, what's that? this opens up for you to "teach" the reader some of the laws of your magic helping confirm or deny a few of the ideas they come up with themselves.

As an example:
Water – Arlyn – first. He watched as the beauty of a cascading waterfall flowed from his palm to the open wound to cleanse it. Fire - Azar – next. Again the energy centred in his palm, this time flames imitating a quiet log fire gently licked the wound, sterilising it. A miniature whirlwind next, Air – Avira – tenderly blew out any loose debris. Finally Earth – Avani- to fill and seal it. He focused as the energy ball in his palms transformed into the shape of a mud covered root – devil’s claw which slowly reached into each section of the previously torn and damaged flesh.
Finally a flash of fire baked the root into place and transformed the brown mud covered area back into crystal clear scales completely healing his injured beauty.

Turns into this with just a few tweaks:
Arlyn would be first. He watched as a cascade of the purest water flowed from his palm onto the open wound to cleanse it. Next would be Azar, the untainted flames of life gently sterilizing the wound. Now to remove any debris and dead skin. closing his hand on the tiny flames he concentrated for the barest breath of a second before summoning a small ball of Avira to blow into the wound like a gentle breeze on the face. Now he needed Avani, the power of earth and soil, to fill and seal the wound. The energy in his hand bent to his will with ease, solidifying into a mud covered root. The devil's claw reached into each section of the torn and damaged flesh he had just treated. Finally another burst of fire to bake the root in place, transforming the brown mud covered area back into crystal clear scales, returning the dragon to her former glory.

things like - can really break up a story flow and normally i try to stay away from them. there are so many other ways to get the information to the reader without breaking that immersion. some of that comes with experience but part of it is also learning to feel the story and the characters. many times when i write, i have this general idea of what i want to happen and a basic outline for my characters. but once i actually start writing i let the character take over and have his own adventure, going where he/she wants and simply going with the flow. I don't force them into the plot i want, i simply let them make the plot while keeping in mind where i want them to end up. This makes my dialogue feel more natural and the flow and pacing also seem realistic and not forced. Which when you break out of the pacing of a story is what it feels like, things are forced,even if they really aren't.

I would suggest keeping this prologue over the other, perhaps adding in a few details from the other one if you want but focus on adding in that description and tightening the flow. That is of course if you can't think of a way to put this in as say a flashback later in the story. ask yourself, does this Prologue NEED to be here? does the reader actually NEED this information right now? Or can i present it to them another way? Because having too many loose ends, or too many unanswered questions right off the bat can be a big aversion point to anyone enjoying the work. Would starting off with the unassuming girl in school be more compelling if presented correctly? (again just goign off these 3 chapters)

On that note: Chapter 1:
I also like this one slightly better than the other one, for much the same reasons. there is just "more" here. the question then becomes i guess is that "more" useful. The secret to a good story will rest in the first few chapters. even if the story is "meh" in places, if you can get a good hook and set up a good plot/character in those first few chapters it can carry the weak parts until things pick up again. So for chapter one, who will be the main characters? I already know Tierra will be, I assume Anita and Kyle might be. Probably Damenco, but what about Becky? or the other two girls? I assume they are just "walk-on" characters. ones we won't see much of if ever again in the story.

Reason I ask this question is that helps you define who/what and where you add the "more" in at. Why waste too much time on Becky if she is unimportant to the story? yes she might be important for this chapter to some degree but why waste too much time making the reader care about someone they will never see again? the time you take to create one of these "walk-on" characters character, the more you take away from the main ones, making them a bit more paper thin and generic.

It's totally up to you of course, put personally i would have pared down the interaction with Becky, perhaps using the one from the rewrite which was shorter. along the lines of- Becky asking what's wrong and Tierra simply blowing her off without trying to act nice and converse with her long. this will tie back into the abject fear she feels at the moment to the point of her alienating her friend. you can then have another small section where she apologizes later to flesh out Becky if you want, this way you don't flood the first chapter with too many people to focus on.

Kyle and Damenco were fine in their introduction. you gave just a hint that they are important but didn't try to dump too much information on the reader. the same with the 2 sidekick girls. since they are unimportant they only get a bit of notice along the lines of "they are there" or what is called background characters. (you know like in movies where they are in a crowd but you don't really notice anyone besides the main actors) I do feel you need to flesh out Anita more. she feels like she will be a main villain or a constant thorn in the side. as such fleshing her out a bit in the first chapter along with the heroine is key. focus on those two as to where you add the "more" for best effect.

The dialogue is a good start to bring the conflict between the two girls into focus and show their differences. but without the action/description in between it falls a bit flat. now you do have some action going on in between but it is sparse. it doesn't bring out her desperation, or Anita's vindictiveness enough.
“We have got something here,” Christine sang sweetly evil, interrupting the attention on the floor display.
Releasing Tierra, Anita pounced on the book Christine was holding out. Tierra caught a quick glimpse of the book. Her heart shattered, she now began to hyperventilate. Her Diary. God, she thought she had left it at home. Desperate to get to her feet, Tierra pushed up off the ground, only to find her face back in the disgusting tiles.

Into this:
"We've got something here!" Christine crowed evilly in her too sweet voice, forcing all eyes away from the action on the floor.

Releasing Tierra, Anita pounced on the book Christine was holding out. When Tierra caught a glimpse of what she was holding her heart shattered and she began to hyperventilate. Oh god, not her diary! Hadn't she left it at home? Desperately trying to scramble to her feet, Anita's foot in the small of her back pushed her back to the ground. She felt the shoe grinding back and forth lightly and all she could do was reach out helplessly in a vain attempt to get it back.

It's not much extra but do you see how the usage of words and a few small extra actions thrown in made that little section not only flow better but also gave you more of a feeling of how helpless she was and how mean the girls were? Perhaps taking a look at where you could put that "more" i am talking about in. Ask yourself- Who do i want to focus on? What emotions/thoughts/ideas do i want to invoke? What is going to be the hook to keep the reader reading? the characters? the plot? the world?

If you try to hook the reader with too many things at once you won't catch much at all because their mind is going in too many directions. so focusing on one main aspect to hook them with and setting the foundations for the other hooks is what you want to do in a novel type story. the only other small thing that felt out of place in this chapter is the last bit. Damenco gamely took her hand. The energy exchange was instant, so was the sudden almost overpowering pulse on his right hand side by his rib cage. It immediately reminded him of his time and place and why exactly he had come here. He had found her. One of the five.

This felt out of place because up until this point you focused mainly on Tierra's thoughts/actions. we the reader are following her and in her head so to speak. but then at the very end we get insight into this guys mind which makes the pacing feel off. if we had some insight into say Kyle's mind or Anita's or anyone else s earlier in the story it wouldn't feel so off to me. you might consider either omitting this for now, further extending the mystery, or rewrite it in such a way as Tierra makes note of it. As she shook his hand an inner fire seemed to come to his eyes, as if he had suddenly remembered something.

Now to Chapter 2: (wow 12000+ characters already O.o Am i boring you yet lol)
Ok so... the first thing i have a bit of a problem with is the way you switch perspectives from Gabbi to Spencer with no break in between. even something as simple as putting an extra spacing between them or adding in *****. The thing with having multiple perspectives is it throws the reader out of the story if done improperly. a good rule of thumb is to stick with one perspective until a new chapter and THEN jump to someone else. this isn't always the case of course, but it is the one i go by. if you feel you must switch perspectives in the middle of a chapter, try to limit how many times you do so, trying to get everything you NEED that 1 person's perspective for in one go.

In this case, look at parring down the reasons you are jumping between people. Gabbi is used mainly to reminisce about all the past failures. describing what Spencer was like before he got a hold of the letter. and as a voice of reason. there is a bit of fluff to flesh her character but those are the main points that i saw. Spencer on the other hand is used to tell the story of how he got the letter. of his feelings on being brought into this downward spiral because of it.

I would suggest rewriting this entirely so the main focus is on Gabbi she can tell all the important bits about his downward spiral from her perspective. talk about the past failures and the old Spencer just like normal. If you still want to get the history of the letter out then have Spencer talk to the letter, further making the reader feel he has gone a bit mad in the head because of it.
“When did you own me! When did you take over my life!" Gabbi watched helplessly as the man she loved paced back and forth in front of the fire shaking the letter in the air as if to make it answer.
"I know it all started with those blasted men on the train! If I had never met them you would never have haunted my life! It was foolish of me to try and open you. I know that now. Two years you sat doing nothing in my desk. Two years I was able to forget about you! Then that one fateful day I tried. I gave in to my curiosity and tried to open you. Oh the explosion in the office that day! I truly thought I had been beset upon by terrorists. But it was you! You created that destruction! Now I can't show my face there again! I've been run off from my home, lost years of my life and weeks of sleep over you! And I can't stop! That's the kicker! Like a moth to a flame i keep trying to open you over and over with the same results every time!"

That was just a quick rewrite off the top of my head but i hope you see what i am talking about. it gives the letter a life of its own. as if it really is alive. and seen form the outside it does make Spenser look more crazy because he is talking to this inanimate object like it is real. this also makes you just a fraction invested in the letter because you do feel it is real. (this has been done to great affect in lots of books (think The One Ring from lord of the rings. it is an inanimate object that you bond with through the stories even though it doesn't actually DO anything the entire time)

In this respect the rewrite was a little better at keeping things focused on 1 person, though in my opinion in both the rewrite and this original one this chapter is the weakest and worst. just reading this one alone made it hard to get pulled into the story. I understand you are setting up the plot with the first few chapters, perhaps introducing all the main characters, but ask yourself if this is the wisest move? Perhaps focusing more on Tierra in chapter 2 would be better. follow her and completely forget about Spencer and Gabbi until she meets them (if indeed she does) and THEN do a sort of flashback of this moment to give the reader an idea of where they are coming from. perhaps seeing how much the character has changed from the crazy man talking to a letter to a more stable individual.

The thing is it is hard for me to make such judgments having not seen more of the story. with the diary like entry format under the chapters i get the feeling that you need the reader to see the timeline progression of events before the real story begins. if that is the case you really need to hook the reader with these first few entries. since you are basically making them grasp at least 3 or 4 different plot lines at once.( the Asgard with his dragon, Tierra's, Spencer's and perhaps Demenco who might or might not be the Asgard) that means each plot has to be good enough to make the reader want to know more about it and stand on its own as if it was a completely separate book not linked together with the other entries at all.

So in conclusion... I liked this one better then the other one, it still needs more work on it in many of the same things as i pointed out in the first one i looked at-- flow, plot, description. but this one does have a bit more immersion to it. i think if you strengthen your plots a bit more and see about using descriptions to grip the reader while focusing on only one or two aspects you could really polish this nicely. I hope you were able to understand some of the concepts i was trying to get at and see from my examples as well. i hope this helps and doesn't make you too discouraged from writing. it takes time and practice, that's all. just remember this is all my own personal opinion and not that of some great master writer.
PS. Feel free to check out
 Living the Dream part 1  (ASR)
a tale of Chris from the lost years after Lenna left him...
#1967144 by Shadowstalker-- We got this!
from my portfolio. It is a 5 part mini story that i used characters form my other work for. they are already fleshed out in the main story BUT I also have to flesh them out for the reader in this story as well in case they never read the main ones. this might give you some good examples of what i am trying to explain about hooks and flow and such.
A writer's path to creating a story is a journey. A reader's path is a journey through creation

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Heart's Cry  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Evening Klynn,

... Or perhaps it's morning or noon or night? Well I've just covered every possibility now so no problems. so first off i am honored to review your piece. your my first *flutters eyes dramatically* please be gentle..... Wait shouldn't it be you saying that? Oh well. On to the review!

*Disclaimer: This reviewer may or may not be full of BS. He has not been cleared as Clinically sane and has escaped from the asylum more than once. His words are considered to be extremely opinion based and he should not be assumed to be a professional no matter what he says. He has a tendency or making slight misspellings and failing to capitalize some of his letters. If such are found in this review please notify the Grammar polise immediately. we shall apprehend him and return him to his regularly scheduled dosing.*

So, where to begin. Well I guess it should begin at the beginning huh? Since that is the logical thing to do i will start with the plot. So far there isn't much of it. More along the boy meets girl, boy and girl fall into lust. This isn't a bad thing though since you have already stated it is for a larger work. You have time to flesh out the characters and the plot and everything else you feel like.

BUT... Since there really isn't much to the plot here you need the chapter to be carried by everything else. The environment, the characters, the action. Whatever it is you need to hook the reader into being interested until the plot can really get going into something that hasn't been done to death in a million cheap dime romance novels.

On this point I feel you might have dropped the ball a bit. You are using 1st person PoV, which isn't a bad thing since I use it all the time myself (look in my portfolio it is all 1st person lol) This allows you to get inside a person's head, but only one person's. that means that 1 person better be dang interesting, or have the ability to pull the reader in quickly.

My biggest problem started form the very first paragraph. There was quite a bit of "lull" talking. you could have used a bit more action to pull the reader into the party with you. EX:
Sitting on the edge of the overstuffed chair, I could not feel more out-of-place. Drunk and drinking party goers were huddled in little groups or mulling about the lavish sea side estate home of Aleksander Kikorov, the local import/export magnate. Kirkorov was very well known for both his savvy business sense and a very active night life, and this party was a testament to the latter.
this sounds more like I am describing something to a diary or not a part of the scenery. it could work as a set up to the real story, if you are letting the reader know where it is taking place. but from the getgo i didn't feel "in" the story. I am going to take a few liberties here and there by the way to try to explain what I mean. If I rewrite this a bit...
What was I doing here? I sat gingerly on the edge of the overstuffed chair, trying to fit in with the drunk and drinking party goers and feeling like I was failing miserably. They clustered in their little groups or mulled about completely ignoring me. I felt like a country bumpkin. I didn't belong in this sea side estate home. A home owned by none other than Aleksander Kikorov, the local import and export magnate. He was known for his savvy business sense and having a very active night life. this party was proof that at least one of those things was true.

That was what I came up with on the fly without changing -too-much. from the very first words it helps hook the reader into not only the PoV, but also the mindset of the protagonist. You can identify with being "out of place" and some of the more simpler sentence fragments make her feel more real. Because humans think in fragments a lot.

You could do with a bit more description of the environment and a little "fluff". things that can change a simple action like: He smiled at me. into something more intimate or sinister. His lips curled up in a slow grin. He gave me a roguish smile. He smiled languidly.

since you have 2 people conversing you don't always need to put in he said/she said. with 1st person PoV, it should feel a bit more natural. EX:
“Sure, please do” I replied with a soft smile.
Turns into something like this:
“Sure, please do”
A soft smile. spread across my face as I stared into his eyes.

“Yes, really.” He said with another chuckle. ‘Why would that be so surprising?”
“Yes, really.”
A chuckle escaped his throat, making a deep rich sound that seemed to reverberate in the air.
"Why would that be so surprising?”

See how you know exactly who is talking and it doesn't interrupt the flow of the story? It also gives you great points to give the characters more definition while not dumping it on the reader all at once. by using this method you can also take out slightly reduntant words and phrasing in favor of focusing more on dialogue or character building.
“I…ok” I finally consented.
The words themselves tell the reader she is consenting. you don't actually NEED that "I finally consented" part. which can then make it easier to transition into the next part of the story with better word choices.

Ok I harped on that stuff long enough. now for the characters: of them i know next to nothing. you gave a short description of Alek, but not of Kat. (or if you did i completly missed it.) The short description was fine, but at the same time it doesn't give me much aside from his hair color, eye color and size. Is he well muscled? have a neat beard? clean shaven? Long hair? Does it feel silky? or glitter in the light? You have so many opportunities to add these little bits of information in between the conversation or such. Knowing it will turn into a vampire plot later, My first instinct is that Alek is a vampire.

Based on this assumption i would want to make him look and feel sexy and irresistible, as if from the very first moment he had cast a spell over Kat with his charm and vampiric powers. Even if he doesn't turn out to be a vampire, it makes the readers THINK he is because of that initial reaction as they "meet" him along with Kat. I won't say much about characters though more than this. since you have more chapters to flesh them out. But you need at least enough for a "first impression" as the reader "sees" them for the first time. and really that was a bit lacking here.

A few things to look out for as well is wording. No sooner were the words out of my mouth, he stopped and turned to face me. Gently he placed his hands on my upper arms and turned me to face him. Looking down to my five-foot seven inch petite frame, his gaze caught mine as he spoke in a stern, but soft tone.
Now I do understand the way you wanted this scene to look, but the wording makes it difficult and the use of face so close together ruins the flow a bit.

No sooner were the words out of my mouth than he stopped and turned towards me. Gently he gripped my upper arm in his large fingers and spun me to face him. Those cerulian eyes caught mine as he looked down on my petite five foot seven inch frame. his words were stern and soft, but also so compelling and commanding.
do you see how i changed it only slightly but it helps pull the scene into a clearer picture in the head? (at least to me it does.)

In conclusion, I think you got a good start going here. a few tweaks and work on the flow a little more and it will be even better. I don't have that "I need to read the next part" feeling right now, but i see the potential for it. I hope to see this if you rewrite it. Just remember these are only my personal opinions.

Hold on, someones at the door..... "Yes officer?"..... "No! It's the grammar police! Who called them! You'll never take me alive copper! * Jumps out the back window while throwing a grenade behind him*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello Kat,

*Pulls the giant Q-tip back and forth through his ears while whistling a merry tune.* OH! It's me again Kat! Don't mind me, just cleaning out the cobwebs. *Drags Q-tip out, along with a giant spider.* There we go! he won't be making any more messes in there for a while!

So... chapter three huh? Well I must say, I don't know if it was because of my suggestions or not, but I see a bit more description in here! (Ok it probably wasn't but let me keep my big head, it lets the spiders get back inside easier. They tickle and I like it :O)

I see this has to be a rough draft as well since I saw quite a few grammatical mistakes. I only point this out because it was actually detrimental to the story. An example of this is in the very first paragraph: Her dressing gown was as slightly different color that her new gloves but she decided to wear them anyway. ... I think you meant Her Dressing gown was a slightly different color than her new gloves, but she decided to wear them anyway.

I saw a lot of places where such small things were missing, out of place, or misspelled. I suggest going back over it again and really try to get a feel for some of the sentences. a simple period or comma would go a long way towards enhancing the sentence. As it is some of them feel like run on's or awkward without the slight pause from a comma.
EX: “I know how you feel but it is wrong to disobey your parents. putting a common between feel and but would help stress the but and make the sentence flow more naturally.
EX: He mother spoke cautiously and with great emotion. Audreena wondered if there was behind it all. - This took a bit of deciphering by reading the context around it. I think you meant Her mother spoke cautiously and with great emotion. Audreena wondered if there was a valid reason behind it all.

I said before you might try expadning your list of words as well as look into the flow of your sentences to make it a bit easier to get into the story. That seemed to rear it's ugly head here and was almost highlighted by certain sections and sentences like this:
“Oh let’s do!” He popped up and bobbed as if he had a string pulling at him. Audreena laughed just a little and she walked briskly as Philleep bobbed towards the kitchen.
Having bobbed almost back to back like that is one bit of drawback. If you want to use the same base word change up the tense of the action. Bobbed, bobbing, bob. (plus the and and as don't let the sentence flow well at all) With some minor changes to the sentence you can make it flow nicely.

“Oh let’s do!” He popped up and bobbed as if he had a string pulling at him. Audreena laughed just a little as she walked briskly,Philleep bobbing towards the kitchen after her. ("After her" could be replaced with next to her or in front of her or whatever. It is just there to give the reader an idea of what his placement is in regards to the heroine. If he is behind her, it is assumed she will look over her shoulder to talk to him without you having to actually write that. Same with him walking next to her, she is assumed to be "looking over" at him without having to actually write those movements of the head.)

Also, another thing that might make this a bit easier to read and transition through the story from conversations to actions is give conversations their own paragraphs. Taking the above example I just used, break it up like this.....

“Oh let’s do!”

He popped up and bobbed as if he had a string pulling at him. Audreena laughed just a little as she walked briskly, Philleep bobbing towards the kitchen after her.

This gives clear definition of when someone is talking and when they are not. Allowing the reader to focus on either the dialogue or the action at any given moment instead of it being all run together. Another example of this is in longer parts where it can really help. EX: This....
“I know just hear me out.” She sighed and then she went on. “The council is discouraged by the pilphering going on in other residences. There are Lordships who are accepting payment from ablemen to not turn them in. The council is very angry and does not trust the Lordships. Not even those of us who have complied with their decree to turn in those that misuse their abilities. They have been discussing a solution for some time now. They have come to the conclusion that all people with abilities must be gathered into a camp near where the council resides or be murdered. You know about my grandfather and what that could mean for us. What if one of the girls suffers from the abilities? What if they are taken away from us?” Audreena felt sick. So her mother knew it was possible that she could get abilities and never told her!
Turns into this:
“I know just hear me out.”

She sighed and then she went on.

“The council is discouraged by the pilphering going on in other residences. There are Lordships who are accepting payment from ablemen to not turn them in. The council is very angry and does not trust the Lordships. Not even those of us who have complied with their decree to turn in those that misuse their abilities. They have been discussing a solution for some time now. They have come to the conclusion that all people with abilities must be gathered into a camp near where the council resides or be murdered. You know about my grandfather and what that could mean for us. What if one of the girls suffers from the abilities? What if they are taken away from us?”

Audreena felt sick. So her mother knew it was possible that she could get abilities and never told her!

(by the way... what did you mean by pilphering? Did you mean pilfering or is that a word from your "world"?)
Do you see how much easier it is to just flow with the story. You just transition from the spoken to the unspoken easily without your mind having to figure out you just stopped talking.

In conclusion, I still think you are doing a good job. I know it might seem like I'm nitpicking or really don't like your work from all the opinions I have, but that's untrue. You are free to disregard my suggestions remember. (Even if i did just write over 6000 characters :P) You have a strong backbone for your story, now you just need to work on presentation of it.
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