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351 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I am honest and respectful, and try to be as diplomatic as possible when I review a piece of writing. I use a template to cover most writing elements, as well as giving you my personal thoughts and feelings about it. I rate fair and equal to the review I give, but I only give a rating of 5 if the piece is perfect, in my opinion.
Favorite Genres
Mystery, adventure, paranormal, historical, disaster/survival, political, detective, young adult, animal, folklore, comedy, inspirational, nature, romance, and fantasy
Least Favorite Genres
Horror, psychological, gangster, western, steampunk
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Flash fiction, short stories, blogs, chapters of novels, and essays.
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Articles, non-fiction
I will not review...
Technological, erotica, gay/lesbian, whole novels or novellas all at one time.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)


Hello Bob. I'm Dee. I found your story, Nothing To Sneeze At, in the Browse By Type: Short Story area, while searching for stories to review.

Title

I liked this title as soon as I saw it. My first thought was that it might be a comedy, but when I read the description, I realized it wasn't. After having read the story, I think your title is definitely spot on!

Description Line/Genre

The description told me the type of story it would be and that it was in the science fiction genre. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I think you might be able to touch it up a bit and really hook readers who are looking for something a little more unusual to read, without giving too much information away.

Comments

I liked the plot of this story. It's unusual and it kept my interest up to the end. All of the scenes contributed to the story's development, and it was a tightly woven plot around the one event in the city. You didn't leave the story hanging. By the end, I knew what happened. While you listed your setting, you didn't show it to me. However, NYC/Central Park is familiar enough that I could see it as I read.

I thought your characters felt like real people, and the dialogue seemed natural as well. It's to the point, peppy, and really keeps up the pacing throughout. I liked that you used the dialogue to show Henry and Alice's personalities as they discuss the situation, and that I could tell who was speaking, even without the dialogue tags. One thing I enjoyed was seeing Henry's determination through the crisis, especially when he was in the museum.

You do a good job of describing the scene and painting a picture of the weather as it changes. One thing that I didn't "feel" as much was the tension of the situation. I knew it was tense by the descriptions, but I didn't really feel it from Henry or Alice's emotions.

Example: "Sunlight reflected winking diamonds of snowflakes saying their goodbyes."
I could also see, hear and smell what was happening in the control room. Very descriptive, and again, it all moved your story forward.

I did notice some areas that could be touched up, mostly grammar, style and spelling edits that could really strengthen your story.

Suggestions

Two things were the reason for my rating. I found that the story had several places were you told the story, rather than showed it.

Examples: The ice caps were growing back in place, Sea levels no longer threatened shorelines. Drought and fire, category five storms, even air pollution had succumbed to human will.

Advances in quantum mechanics made the new software of the weather computer almost magical. It balanced minute historical and ongoing ocean temperature, wave action, five major winds zones, and other traditional weatherman records without pause. This one could easily be shown rather than told.

And a going over for some missing/unnecessary commas, a couple of misspelled words (anyting--anything), and a few words that could be changed for better readability, (began to howl--howled). A quick edit will catch these and a few others I happened to notice.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed your story. I love the topic of weather control, so I found this to be a great little read!




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2
2
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)



Hi Ghost. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, The Long Road Home, in the "Browse By Type" section, while looking for something to capture my interest.

Title/Description Line & Genre

I liked the title the minute I saw it. It's what caught my attention when I looked for something to read. But I admit, unless I looked at the genre you listed, the description didn't sound like a frightening story. While accurate and to the point, it could be made more scary and appealing to the reader if you touched it up a bit. Perhaps something like:

It was a long, desolate ride, but to Walter, sharing the road took on a whole new meaning.

Or something you come up with that can really pack a punch by giving the reader a hint of what's to come, without giving the plot away.

Plot/Setting & Structure

Great plot! You open with the setting, and set the stage for the conflict, which I see as two-fold. One conflict being the lonely, and uncomfortable ride, and of course the later conflict, (which I won't say, since I don't want to give away the plot surprise to anyone reading this review). You began to build the tension even prior to the inciting incident, being when Walter thought he ran someone over. Nice work with this opening. And the scenes where the rising action continues had me glued to the page. You show a talent for structuring your scenes. This story has a very defined beginning, middle and end. I liked that while you did give a lot of information, it was broken up through the scenes, rather than just dumped all at once.

Character

Walter is a very realistic and believable character. As a trucker, I could relate to his predicament with his vehicle and his comments and reactions. What I especially liked was that every time he got nervous, or stressed, he lit a cigarette or took a drag off it. Good characterization. I would say he's very emotional during this trip and his personality is clearly shown through his internal thoughts and actions.

Dialogue/Narration & POV

Good dialogue, even though it is limited in the story. But between the actual spoken dialogue and his internal thoughts, the story never looses momentum. It moves the story forward with every sentence and thought, directly relating to the plot. Your narrative voice is strong, focused and adds to the plot through the limited third person POV. His dialogue is also very realistic, but you do use several dialogue tags that aren't necessary when his feelings are shown.

Descriptive Writing

Good descriptive writing, with lots of action on the page. There are several areas of passive writing in the descriptions, however. I counted at least 15 sentences that should be rewritten to active tense.

Tone/Flow & Pacing

I believe your tone was one of frustration, showing annoyance and discouragement throughout the story, but the mood has an ominous flavor with fear and tension, as well as loneliness. You use these to accent the story from beginning to end. The flow is well done, all paragraphs and their subject flow one into the next smoothly, no clunky transitions. And story paced along well.

Punctuation/Grammar & Spelling

Now, while I've given your story high marks in the above elements, there is one area that does need attention. There are several places that need attention to punctuation, as well as several sentences that need to be changed from passive to active, and a number of words that could be changed for better readability. Just a few examples:


For better readability:

beginning to fall - could be changed to falling
began to fall - could be changed to fell
began to crawl - crawled
wasn’t going to - would not

Several Passive Writing:

what little light and heat were left - could be changed to: it left what little light and heat
was hooded - could be changed to: The person wore a hood
were glued - could be changed to: Walter’s eyes stayed fixed
the truck was plunged - could be changed to: the truck plunged into darkness

Many Adverbs: - These should be used sparingly or eliminated

cautiously
definitely
willfully
exactly

These are just a few examples. I did notice several more than I listed for each area. A good going over in an edit will catch most of these, I'm sure.

*StarR* Final Thoughts *StarR*

As I mentioned several times, I really loved this story, and I truly like your style of writing. With a edit in these areas, this story would rate 5 stars with me. I'd be glad to reread and rerate this story if you decide to revise it.

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3
3
Review of A Seasonal Thing  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
An image for September reviewing

Hello Beholden. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, A Seasonal Thing, in the "Browse by Type" area, while searching for short stories that begin with an "S."

Title/Description & Genre

Your title is interesting, and to the point, as far as the curse is concerned. Your description line tells the tale, so between the two, I had a good idea what to expect. You listed the genre as dark and death. They definitely fit the bill, but I think this could also be considered either occult, if you need a third category.

Plot/Setting & Structure

The plot for this story, while a typical device for this genre, is always a solid concept. Using one terrifying line to infiltrate George's mind through the seasons, you've used George's thoughts to build the suspense, while at the same time, panic him, unbeknownst to him that he's under a curse. Your plot follows all the elements, from exposition to it's climax. I have to say while you did a wonderful job during the rising action, the climax was brilliant. I loved the ending!

Character/POV & Dialogue

While George seems to be a believable and realistic character to me, I can't actually picture him physically. I do get a good idea of how he thinks, since most of the story revolves around his thoughts, more so than his actions, until the end of the story, of course. And I like that you used third person limited POV, as opposed to an omniscient narrator or first person. You've controlled the story well. And the interesting thing is, the only dialogue in the story is that one terrifying line! Very good use of limited dialogue.

Descriptive Writing & Voice

I found your paragraphs full of descriptions that I not only could see, but I could think and feel what George was going through. They were arranged in a way that continued to build suspense, and easily pulled me through the story. You have a interesting voice. Your use of verbiage and imagery conjure up that spooky flavor needed for a story like this, that is primarily told through George's thoughts in narration.

Tone/Flow & Pacing

The tone was depressing, ominous, and one of impending doom, although the impending doom was much more subtle. You moved me through the story at an appropriate pace. Nothing too fast, but not too slow. Just enough pacing to keep building the suspense. But I do have to say that there are three paragraphs that could be considered "slow," but since you broke them up and they did not follow each other, they did not detract from the pacing.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar

You do have a few punctuation and grammatical faux pas, but nothing major. A few missing commas, readability issues where deleting an unnecessary word would improve the story, and a few style changes, where a choice of a different word, perhaps a stronger verb would work a little better, as well as eliminating several adverbs. But all these can be easily changed in a revision. Your spelling seems spot on.

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. I especially love endings like the one you used. With a few punctuation and grammatical fixes, I would rate it a 5.0.

Write On!

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4
4
Review of The Santa Anas  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
An image for September reviewing

Hello Winchester. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, Southwind, in the "Browse by Type" area, while searching for short stories that begin with an "S."

Title/Description & Genre

Good title for this story! It's unique, and is actually a part of the suspense in the story, since everyone and everything gets antsy due to the south winds. Your description line gives a brief glimpse of the action to come without giving away the resolution. Although you listed the category of the story as a contest entry, and "dark," I found it to be more of a western.

Plot/Setting & Structure

You have an interesting plot here. It's pretty straight forward, following the five elements of plotting. I liked how the rising action and climax were very close together. Good structure here, and your paragraphs and action followed logically in that "western genre style" quite well. Your setting was a desert locale, either near the Mexican border or near Los Angeles, as stated in the story, so it was easy to picture in my mind. The scenes are rather typical of this genre, but with the right verbiage, dialect, and the right amount of tension, by the end of this story you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for something to happen...and it certainly doesn't disappoint.

Character & Dialogue

These characters are vivid in my mind. I see them as easily as people in the room with me. And the balance between the narration and their dialogue, made it easy for me to see them clearly, and distinctly. It was especially useful using local language and dialects, although you may want to stick with the normal dialogue tags of "said" and "asked."

Descriptive Writing & Voice

Your use of descriptive writing is well done, barring a couple of passive spots, weak verbs, and one or two areas where there was "telling" rather than showing. One thing I noticed is that you used the character's first and last name each time he was mentioned, which isn't necessary.

Ex: The air was warm with winds from the south. (Telling vs. showing)

Then the screaming began; a long, lone wail that went on and on and on until it suddenly stopped halted. (Stronger verb)

Tone/Flow & Pacing

I found the tone to have dark, impending, and nervous tension all the way through the story, which made for good suspense. Your story flows well, and the pacing is spot on!

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar

There are several missing commas, and a few other grammatical revisions needed such as using adverbs more sparingly, and starting sentences with the same word. But really, there isn't a lot of revision necessary, just a few things here and there. Your spelling is also spot on.

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I thought this story was like watching an old western on tv! I loved it! A few minor revisions and it will be a much stronger read.

Write On!


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5
5
Review of Shane the Pain  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
An image for September reviewing

Hi Orion. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, Shane the Pain, in the "Browse by Type" area, while searching for short stories that begin with an "S."

Title/Description & Genre

When I first read the title and description, I thought it might be a comedy or another genre. I had to look at how you listed it before I realized it was horror. Interesting title, though. It definitely fits the story and the genre category!

Plot/Setting & Structure

Your plot and structure has been set up rather well. Your opening gets us right into Shane's problem and plan, and the action gets us right to his external conflict. The scenes are arranged logically, with no choppiness between them, as you bring your reader through the story. You've given enough information for the setting to be clearly realized, as well as the environment outside the project site. You have not given away any of Shane's "secrets," so you build the suspense accordingly. The plot kept my interest, and the good thing was you did not use a lot of back story or info dump.

Character/POV & Dialogue

Shane is a believable character, very realistic and gritty. However, I would have preferred a bit of internal thought or internal dialogue to get a better idea of what he was thinking, rather than only narrative. At the same time, the narrative didn't slow down the story at all, and it gave me enough information to keep me reading on. You did fine with the dialogue, although there was very little of it. And of course, you chose third person point of view, which is probably the most popular for stories such as yours.

Descriptive Writing & Voice

Lots of good description in the story, and good narrative, other than a few passive areas. Your voice is strong, with that same gritty style and choice of verbiage, but not a lot of balance between your descriptions and dialogue, as I mentioned before.

Tone/Flow & Pacing

You chose an intense tone, that mixes and changes to excitement, worry and arrogance throughout the story. The pace kept me reading on, because it never really slowed down. It had a momentary pause when he was captured by Samantha, but the zippy banter between the two of them kept the pace moving forward, and rather quickly.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar

I think the weakest area you need to focus on in your revision would be punctuation and grammar, primarily the use of stronger adverbs and verbs, changing out the few passive writing areas and areas where a better word choice would improve readability. It may sound like a lot, but really, you don't have that many to revise. You did pretty good here in this area as well.

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I'm not a huge horror fan, but I do enjoy a good scare now and then. Surprise ending! I must say, it was satisfying because it was totally unexpected. Good job!


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6
6
Review of Sniped  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
An image for September reviewing

Hi Pam. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, Sniped, in the "Browse by Type" area, while searching for stories that begin with an "S."

TITLE/DESCRIPTION & GENRE

I love one word titles. They often speak volumes. This title was not only "cool," but along with your description line, it had me trying to guess what urban legend you'd be writing about! To my surprise, it was a fictional one. Good job fooling me too! I would say you could also list this genre as fantasy and/or paranormal, but entertainment works just fine.

PLOT/SETTING & STRUCTURE

Great plot! I love stories like this that use an urban legend for the story, especially being used as the basis for the joke too! All the elements of a good plot are here.

The setting seems to be in the school and then the woods when they look for the snipe, although you don't actually have any actual references to the school or hallways, and only one mention of the woods was listed.

I loved the "what goes around, comes around" resolution! It was a typical device used in a story like this, but it never gets old! This story is structured well.

CHARACTER/POV & DIALOGUE

Your characters are believable and realistic to me. I had no problem envisioning Jason, or Gina and Lily, despite no physical attributes given for any of them in your writing. This was more of an action story, so their own individual actions created their personalities in my mind.

Third person POV gives the story a larger scope. It helped make the joke come full circle by the end of the story.

You did a good job with the dialogue. The conversations between your characters are exciting, funny, and even created suspense. I felt as though I was walking the forest with them.

The only issue I had with the dialogue is between Gina and Lily. I have to admit, the dialogue sounds the same, whether Gina is speaking or when Lily is. Perhaps a few personality quirks in their speech could be used to differentiate between them, like a phrase they use, or the way they say a word, or a dialect of some sort. Something that will let me know who is speaking, even if you didn't say their name or use a dialogue tag.

DESCRIPTIVE WRITING

Interestingly enough, you have very little descriptive writing throughout the story or narration of any kind. It is comprised of more dialogue than detailed descriptions. But that having been said, I still could see, hear and feel what the characters experienced, because the dialogue included much the information in the chatter. It worked, because I didn't feel as though I was "missing" any information.

TONE/FLOW & PACING

The tone seems to be light hearted, and comedic throughout the story. There was some tension when they thought they saw a snipe in the woods, but it still remained a lighter tone, not menacing in any way. It paced along well, and had no jerky moments to it. Also, the paragraphs and ideas flowed nicely, one after another. No missing areas of information.

PUNCTUATION/SPELLING & GRAMMAR

I will say that there were several areas of punctuation and grammar that need to be revised. I saw many missing commas, an inaccurate use of quotations, a few weak words, several adverbs, and a few areas of passive writing.

Examples:

I really did try tried to explain it was just a joke - Limit adverbs to strengthen your story by using stronger verbs.

Her heart thundered so hard she was amazed the other two couldn’t hear it. (Passive writing)
Her heart thundered so hard it amazed her, but the other two couldn’t hear it. (Active writing)

Gina managed to look looked both hurt and expectant at the same time. - Readability is enhanced with a strong verb.

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I liked this story *very* much! It's the type of story I would read for fun and entertainment, just as you categorized it. My rating was primarily due to several grammar and punctuation issues, along with a few word changes here and there to make the story a stronger and a more satisfying read.

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7
7
Review of Surprise  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
An image for September reviewing

Hello Soxweaver. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, Surprise, while searching for stories that begin with an "S."

TITLE/DESCRIPTION & GENRE

Let's face it, a title with the word Surprise has got my attention! *Smile* I want to be surprised, so I was ready to read this story and find out what that would be. Since you wrote it for a contest, the description line was sufficient for the entry, but you could use this to give your readers a little peek as to what that surprise might be about. You have many of the elements for a dark fantasy story, including a great "animal" too!

PLOT/SETTING & STRUCTURE

Your plot was very intriguing to me. I loved the opening. You wasted no time getting me right into the situation, and showing me what elements of the fantasy were present and pertinent to the story. Also, you covered all five elements of plot, and the escape. You even had a denouement, where Beaoul falls into a deep sleep with the release of all her stress. Nice!

CHARACTER/POV & DIALOGUE

I absolutely could picture Beaoul and Seyona. These characters kept my interest because they felt real and believable. Beaoul and Seyona's character and personality showed through their actions, rather than by physical descriptions. I got a good feel for who and what they were, but it would have been nice to perhaps have a line describing them physically. Mira also came through as a strong personality to me, even without any physical traits to apply to her. But often in my own writing, people mention wanting at least a basic description of my characters, even when the characters have strong enough personalities to be able to "see them."

The dialogue between the characters, were kept simple, and not lengthy. In my view, they worked very well in the context of your story. Your choice of language or word choice, made the dialogue sound natural and appropriate for this genre.

TONE/FLOW & PACING

The tone of your story is very obvious. The story is dark, aggressive and threatening. Great combination for a dark tale! You did a nice job of building the suspense with the tone and flow, which I found flowed well and at a good pace. I did not feel the story slowed down in any place, or any way from those elements specifically.

PUNCTUATION/SPELLING & GRAMMAR

I did find a couple of things that slowed down the story. The main reason for my rating was the use of your main character's name over and over. You used it to begin many sentences, and even used it instead of a pronouns in several sentences as well. I had to push myself in my own writing to avoid doing that. I am always rewriting my sentences so they tell the reader who it was that something was happening to, without using their name, and even without using a pronoun, at times. This will make your story's readability much stronger and more satisfying.

I also found that you used about ten adverbs in your writing. With adverbs, it's best to always limit them, especially in a short piece of fiction. I try to eliminate most of them in my stories. I don't always succeed, but I try! *Smile*

Removing passive writing and/or unnecessary words can increase a story's readability also.

--> Mira had begun to beat on the prisoner. It was an unusual tactic.
--> Mira beat on the prisoner. It was an unusual tactic.

Your spelling looked good, and I didn't notice any other grammatical problems.

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I want to tell you that I truly enjoyed this story. I would have liked to know more of the background, and even what happens with Beaoul after her sleep. I understand this was a short piece for a contest, but I think this could be a part of a larger story, with a lot of potential.

Write On!


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8
8
Review of Soap Opera  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
An image for September reviewing

Hello Sherri. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers. I found your story, Soap Opera, while searching for stories that begin with an "S."

TITLE/DESCRIPTION & GENRE

Perfect title! Conjures up "funny" right from the get-go! The description line reels the reader in with humor before the story is even read! Nice!

PLOT/SETTING & STRUCTURE

The plot, while simple and concise, had moments of laughter and tension, with all the elements of structure in place. It kept me reading to find out if the ladies did actually survive Hannah's drama!

CHARACTER/POV & DIALOGUE

Your characters were realistic, and entertaining, giving them their own personalities, especially Hannah. The dialogues were spot on, and sounded quite natural, considering the circumstances. I've always preferred third person POV, which you've used.

TONE/FLOW & PACING

The tone of this piece feels intense/outraged and sarcastic from both Hannah's actions and Celene and Mindy's perspective. It was a short piece, so the pace moved quickly to the five o'clock hour.

PUNCTUATION/SPELLING & GRAMMAR

For the most part, your use of punctuation, spelling and grammar was fine, except for a couple of minor examples.

Fridays were usually relaxed and fun, but this day had been a soap opera since Hannah stormed in the office this morning ranting about a strange car in her boyfriend’s driveway. (Passive writing)

Hannah stormed in the office
Hannah stormed into the office.

“Go home and have a good weekend.
“Go home and have a wonderful/enjoyable weekend. (stronger adjective)

*StarB* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarB*

I enjoyed your contest entry! It was a great example of Soap Opera drama, for sure!

Write On!


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9
9
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Hi Dennis. Per your request, I have read your story, The Size of a Thought and I'm ready to do my review. I will be sure to answer the questions you specifically asked of me within these template elements. First of all, this was a very good story premise. It has the necessary elements for a thrilling sci-fi adventure, and I believe it is true to the genre.

TITLE/DESCRIPTION LINE & GENRE

Your title was unusual, and it got my interest right away. While I didn't know what it meant, it was intriguing. I then looked to the description line to sort of "fill in the blanks" where the title was concerned, but it didn't actually do that. I think the description line could be fashioned to give a much better idea as to what the premise of the story will be.

After I read the story, the description line made sense, but prior to reading the story, I really didn't have any idea what it was going to be about. Of course, the genre was unmistakably, science fiction, and you did a wonderful job staying within those requirements.

PLOT/SETTING & STRUCTURE

While I will say the plot held my interest and did indeed make me want to keep reading, I admit it took till the fourth paragraph until I was actually "hooked." There was quite a lot of descriptive writing in those first three paragraphs, which could be tightened up much more. You could have begun with the fourth paragraph and you would have grabbed me from those first words, rather than reading more description than really necessary. With a novella, you're not going to want to use such detailed descriptions, since brevity, and a few strong and well-chosen details are the nature of a novella.

I will say that the plot developed well, and at a consistent rate, from that fourth paragraph on, and the scenes and writing were realistic for this genre. You used the plot to build the action, and it was satisfying, although I would have liked to have a little better idea how Jonah II was going to execute the plan at the end of the chapter. Perhaps, the background could also be condensed a bit tighter. The setting was well established as being "in the future," and you explained the social and cultural situation, (the technology issues), that led to the time and place of the story, the future.

CHARACTER/POV & VOICE

I could picture Jonah II rather well. His description and personality came through in your writing in almost every scene, and they were well spaced out, so I didn't feel it was info dumped, or shown all at the same time. While the character of Jonah seems very well developed, and it felt as though I was reading about a "real person," Baby wasn't as "real" to me. Not enough info about her, other than a few of Jonah's memories/download.

Again, Jonah is etched in my mind, and I felt as though I was experiencing the same things he was while reading through the story. Baby was less defined. Other than her hatred of her father and for the technology, (her motivation), there wasn't much I could tell someone about her. Perhaps, that's all that is needed for the story, but she isn't as strong a character as Jonah, or even Elmo or Jason.

Your voice, as the narrator, is strong, and well-focused. Again, with Jonah, your voice makes him feel as though he is authentic and real in every sense.

DIALOGUE/NARRATION

This is one area where I feel you were spot on! The dialogue seemed very natural to the characters, but there didn't seem to be as much dialogue as there was narration. I found myself scanning for the dialogue within the paragraphs, because it moved the action and pulled me through the story at a better pace.

I thought the amount of narration seemed, well, quite a bit more than a first chapter or first act of a novella should have. Almost 9,000 words does seem too wordy for the beginning. As you've pointed out to me in the past, editors are picky when it comes to word counts and verbiage. I believe, if I'm accurate, that the middle of the novella should have the larger word count, rather than the opening chapter or act. But the narration, is captivating, detailed, and well-written.

DESCRIPTIVE WRITING

This area is the second element you excel at! While you have a lot of excellent description throughout the story, there's probably a bit too much, to be honest. There are places that, while the descriptions are detailed, they don't actually move the story further. Perhaps you can choose one or two details to reduce the word count used to describe those scenes.

TONE/FLOW & PACING

The tone of this story seems to be a combination of serious, ironic, and even depressing at times, especially after Jonah II realizes what is going on, regarding having no choice in the matter of returning the world to a technology based environment.

For the most part, I thought your story moved along at a good pace for this type of story, but as I mentioned earlier, there are a few places, such as the opening, that the pace was a bit slow to start, and a little cumbersome with so much detail in the first couple of paragraphs. I had no problems with the flow, as your paragraphs and their main ideas, connected to the next one logically, and smoothly. No jerky shifts, no jerky changes or thoughts. Very nicely done, by the way.

PUNCTUATION/SPELLING & GRAMMAR

Punctuation and grammar are the areas that I find need revision. It's the main reason for my rating. There are several places with passive writing. Those should definitely be changed to active tense, especially where the action is concerned. You have several spots with unnecessary commas, and missing commas, and a number of phrases that could have a higher readability by replacing your word choices. Easy fixes, nothing too worrisome here. Again, with your ability, I'm sure you will be able to catch those in your next draft. I saw no spelling issues.

*StarR* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarR*

I want to tell you that while I'm not a voracious reader of sci-fi stories, I do read my fair share of them, and I love sci-fi films. So, I am quite familiar with the genre. I honestly *loved* reading this! I read it in one sitting.

I found it to be a *very* good piece of writing. Most of the things I pointed out were in the nature of writing mechanics, which are easily fixed with revisions, especially by someone with your talent and ability. You have a real knack for the genre, and imagery. I'm sure you'll do well with this story if you continue writing it as a novella.

Just remember, with a novella the reader has a lot less time to get into the story world, since you have to convey it with less vivid, and less detailed storytelling. That's a challenge in itself, not to mention keeping to a much tighter word count.

Good luck, and Write On!


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10
10
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)



Hi James. I'm Dee, a member of the Super Power Reviewers.

I found your story, The Tollbooth (Revised), when I clicked on the "Read and Review" area to find something that would catch my attention.



Title/Description Line & Genre

The first thing that got my attention was your title. It's very simple, but very effective. I was instantly curious about a horror story around a tollbooth. Your description was also very effective. Two words, yet they said so much in the way of raising tension before the story even begins. The fact that this is a horror story makes it even more interesting, because I don't tend to review many pieces in the horror genre. It's not one of my favorites, yet at the same time, who doesn't love a good scare! Those three things are what got me to actually read this.

Plot/Setting & Structure

The plot is very original, and to me, that alone hooks me in to keep reading, along with the actual hook of the car being empty. I didn't skip to the end, wanting to read every detail of what "it" was! Also, you've covered all five points of structure, from exposition to resolution well, especially the rising action throughout, although I admit, the resolution wasn't quite as satisfying as the rest of the plot. The loved how you used all the things that frighten us the most to set your story, i.e., the fog, the car rolling along at a slow, demonic pace.

Character/POV & Voice

I must say, your use of character development and description was very well done! I could physically picture Bill, and his habit of lazily sitting in the booth listening to his radio. I got to know how his mind worked too, which really added to the tension. Example: Bill could now see it was a Cadillac, loading a great big gun full of great big bullets with his name on them. Your POV was consistent all the way through, and it was effective at continually raising the stakes.

Dialogue & Narration

While there was little to no dialogue, what you had seemed realistic and appropriate to your character. The narrative kept me on the edge of my seat. Since the only one speaking was Bill, there were no issues with overuse of dialogue tags, or not having a voice of his own.

Descriptive Writing

You excel at descriptive writing. That's what really makes this story work. You skillfully used your verbiage to induce fear, along with Bill. I felt his terror, could smell the night air, I could see the fog and the mist. Everything sensory came through with your descriptions. And the more descriptive you got, the more tension I felt. Nice work!

Tone/Flow & Pacing

The flow and pace was perfect. It starts out a bit slow, like the Caddy, then builds up to a crescendo with this scene:
The number plate suddenly seemed less important. Something else had caught Bill’s eye. The pace didn't feel rushed to me.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar

There were a few punctuation and grammar misses, such as:

Long Sentence: As usual, Bill sat in his booth listening to an old radio, which played more static than music, and staring down Falls Bridge: the only thing connecting Amaranth to the mainland. This can make the readability of a story a bit more difficult. You may want to make it into two sentences, or shorten them.

Should be lower Case: Before He realized that he was frightened,
                             Bill was aware of It moving towards him

Passive: All the fear he had felt upon watching the car approach
Could be rewritten as: Upon watching the car approach, all the fear he felt... (even though 'he felt' is still telling).

Many adverbs: frantically, suddenly, quickly, distractedly
These should be used sparingly, since sentences are stronger without them. You can always replace them with stronger adjectives or verbs.

*StarR* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarR*

Overall, I thought this was a really solid story, and I enjoyed reading it. It made me tense all the way through, until the resolution. That was my main reason for rating this the way I did. The story was really good, but I felt a bit "let down" by how it ended. It didn't have the same punch as the rest of the story. I also wanted to know who or what was in that car and in his tollbooth, and why it was cruising down the road in a Cadillac.

I had someone tell me a similar comment about one of my stories, that the ending wasn't satisfying to them the way I originally wrote it, and when I changed it to a more satisfying resolution for the reader, it became a much stronger story.

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11
11
Review of Take Flight  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
*Boat2*    Welcome to WdC from the "Newbie Welcome Wagon*Boat2*


Hello Eleanor. I'm Dee. I saw this short piece of prose in the newbie review area, and it caught my eye.

Title

The title, Take Flight, serves this piece well enough. It is simple and direct. Although I'd like to note that the piece seems to describe the sky and all its attributes as much as the feeling of flight.

Descriptive Writing

Now, this is where you do very well in describing not only the idea and feeling of flight, and how you want your audience to feel, but also the environment, the colors, and the way you see the sky in all its beauty.

Tone/Flow & Pacing

The lovely thing about this piece is the tone. Very light and airy, as if we are floating on a cloud, seeing the through your eyes, not simply words on a page. The pacing works nicely, flowing easy, as one sentence slides into the next. The only words that seemed a bit disruptive to that flow an pace were the words "for instance."

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar
A spot or two that would do with a comma, also a period to break up a long sentence might improve the flow even more.

Example: It is a curious color, the cloud. I decided dreamily, drumming my fingers on the wall.

*StarR* FINAL THOUGHTS *StarR*

This is a very nice piece of prose. It could easily be a paragraph in a novel of some type. Either way, I enjoyed reading it. Nice job.




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12
12
Review of Two Ladies  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)


*Boat2*    Welcome to WdC from the "Newbie Welcome Wagon*Boat2*


Hello James. I found your extract from your novel as I was searching for something to review. So, let me get to it.


TITLE/DESCRIPTION/GENRE - *StarR**StarR**StarR**StarR*

The title, "Two Ladies," seems to make sense. I assumed it referred to Amelia Green and Linda Cylkowski. It isn't a very mysterious sounding title, but once I read the excerpt, it *did* make me wonder about them quite a bit. So, perhaps the title works well after all. The genre also sounds like a hard-boiled detective story, a "Mike Hammer" sort of story, which I happen to like very well. Old style. I "saw" your story in black and white, if you get my analogy.

PLOT/SETTING & STRUCTURE *StarR**StarR**StarR**StarR**StarR*

The plot follows the typical set-up for this type of genre, complete with the beautiful and mysterious woman who arrives, leaving us with more questions than answers. Nice work. The structure is solid, with the exposition very well thought out, along with good setting details. I especially liked how you didn't reveal Amelia's reason for having Linda followed. It kept my interest and I knew Daniel would have his work cut out for him.

CHARACTER/POV *StarR**StarR**StarR**StarR*

Daniel Wood strikes me as a competent enough private investigator, although somewhat indecisive and not very motivated. The story, told though his POV, is indicative of the genre, and drew me into his world, despite his somewhat stilted POV. Could have used a few more details about his life, showing why his POV is a little stilted. Again, nice work.

DIALOGUE & NARRATION - *StarR**StarR**StarR**HalfStar*

While there wasn't much dialogue in this excerpt, it sounded natural and appropriate to the character's personalities, but I think I would have been even more intrigued if a couple more minor details came out in the dialogue. Just enough to ensure that I keep turning the page. Now the narration in my opinion was very well done. Like I mentioned in the genre section, I could really envision this opening.

DESCRIPTIVE WRITING- *StarR**StarR**StarR**StarR**HalfStar*

I found your use of imagery and description really put me in the middle of this setting. I didn't have to imagine it. And the fact that you put the story in "anywhere USA," makes this a story that many types of readers can relate to. Some of the descriptions have been used many times in other writing, but regardless of some of the generic stuff that you mentioned, like "She had a classy dress on and wore her hair the way woman used to do in the sixties; piled up on the top of her head" it still fits the form and I liked it.


TONE/FLOW & PACING - *StarR**StarR**StarR**HalfStar*

The tone seemed sort of nonchalant. As if Daniel didn't care either way about the way anything in his life was going. The tone of the story reflects that. The story paced well for most of this excerpt, but it was a bit slow during the part when Amelia arrived on the scene.

PUNCTUATION/SPELLING & GRAMMAR - *StarR**StarR**StarR**HalfStar*

Capitalize all first letters of the dialogue in a sentence or statement. Use double quotes " " for all dialogue, not single quotes ' '. Single quotes are for quoting something within a quote.

Example:

Yours: ‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘that’s me, all right. How can I help you?’
Mine: "Yeah," I said. "That's me, all right. How can I help you?"

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed reading this excerpt, and would like to see more. I will check your port to see if you have expanded this story or not. I found it kept my interest. I found it fun to read, and written in that "old school" style, as I mentioned earlier. I think this has the possibility of being a really great novel. Keep writing!




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13
13
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)


Hello Sherry,

I'm happy to review your essay, "Cup Half Full or Half Empty." I found it both realistic and uplifting, and it gave me a positive feeling about life in general, which I believe was the point you were trying to convey. Very well done, in that respect. I would like to suggest capitalizing the title, as that is proper punctuation. It may even make a stronger point by making it "The Cup Half Full Or Half Empty," or even make it a question, "The Cup Half Full Or Half Empty?"

As I read this I thought that it would make a good blog post, or even the first blog post that sets the theme for a blog. As for a couple of grammatical issues, there are a few things that could make your piece stronger. It might be even stronger to use a more direct word such as difficulties or trials, rather than "Ups and downs." Likewise for "bad times." A stronger adjective would make it much more clear to the reader. Readability can be the lynch pin in a piece of writing. The word "mothers" should be written with an apostrophe, mother's. There is a missing comma in between workers and the word "and," one or two other words that could be more descriptive.

Despite these few things, it's a great little post! Your resilient attitude really shines through! Nice job!


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14
14
Review of The Cave  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Your story kept my interest right to the end of it, although it did seem a bit slower paced. I didn’t get a feeling of impending danger until they actually found the cave. Perhaps adding a detail like finding a footprint or something that would make me realize the characters feared for their lives or were more concerned than they seemed to be.

The plot was good, but one more strong detail could make my heart race while reading it. The setting worked pretty well, and I was able to imagine the scene with no trouble. And while the dialogue was natural enough, I didn’t get the sense that they were overly worried, or panicked.

I would have liked to have had some idea who was behind them. While you leave it to the readers imagination, and that can have its advantages, one strong detail could make this a short read with a lot of tension.

I enjoyed this story overall. There were one or two unnecessary or missing commas, but spelling and readability was good.





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15
15
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)


Hi James! I saw your request in the "Please Review" section of the Community Menu so I thought I'd give your story a read!

Title/Description/Genre *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**HalfStar*

The title of your story made me curious, and that is what prompted me to read yours first. While I found the title somewhat humorous (after reading the story), it didn't give me any clue to what type of story it might be, or what a little of the premise was, until I read the description. Without the description line, I might have passed it by.

Plot/Setting & Structure *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**HalfStar*

What can I say? Great little plot! I liked it *very* well! You set up the plot without giving the story away and still kept the mystery throughout. Good Job. You've made the setting crystal clear in my mind. I can "see" this trailer park as clearly as if it was on the end of my own street, but you didn't name the town or state, although I gather it was down south somewhere from other elements of the story. The structure of your story is well-crafted. It has a definitive beginning, middle and ending, and the ending is quite satisfying as well.

Character/POV/Voice *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

These two characters, Corky and Harlan, came to life on the page for me. Corky a familiar redneck, and Harlan the local boy trying to shed any of the trappings of a typical redneck, played so well off each other. You really did fine work with this aspect. Your use of third person POV works well also.

Dialogue & Descriptions *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

I especially enjoyed your descriptive writing; not too many details, but enough to make me "see" the trailer park. I like descriptions that make me feel as though I'm there, seeing the story unfold, yet not so descriptive that the story could be almost any town. That takes some skill. Good work with this!

Tone/Flow & Pacing *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

The tone remained mysterious, yet had a slight touch of humor to it, (based more on the characterizations than the premise, I think). The story paced along well, with the right amount of tension and action as they attempted to see Gibby on tape and in person. It also flowed well too, as I did not notice any breaks in the story, no choppiness, or abrupt paragraphs or action. Very smooth.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**HalfStar*

There were one or two missing punctuation marks I noticed offhand, but I try not to nitpick this area if the writer does a good job with it overall. A grammar check and editor check can catch most of the little things we miss.

*Pencil* Closing Comments *StarY*

I enjoyed your tale and found it exciting, as well as a little humorous too. Corky made this story come to life for me!

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16
16
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Hello again, Jeannie. I'm reviewing a poem you wrote during GOT, "If I Could Change The World."

*StarP* MY THOUGHTS *StarP*

I loved the premise of this poem! How many of us have written or spoken about how and what we would do, or what we think should be done to change the world. You were able to use countless examples of things pertinent to living in today's world, and I think you did a very good job depicting many of them. Interesting that you began with "letting our flag unfurl." I smiled when I thought of that line since our flag is being disrespected by groups of people today, it seemed a very appropriate example, to begin with.

While the poem was written by you, it could be spoken by almost anyone in their respective countries. I also found it to be a lovely thing that this poem could be speaking of almost any country today, so it is relatable to many people who would read it. Obviously, it's addressed to other "citizens," and without mentioning a specific place or country, you make it everyone's poem. Very nice!

The tone of the poem seems to be a bit of frustration over the way of the world, and adamant that we do something about it. I liked how you conveyed that throughout the piece without actually saying you were angry or disappointed at the way things have become. The mood is one of awareness and consciousness of the way the world has changed, and the author's need to not only express that but to offer suggestions at the changes that could be made.

You chose to use the Quatrain form with several stanzas and some usage of consonance/assonance. Your use of imagery is very good. I especially like this stanza (which seems to sum up the theme of the poem):

Bring back the motto, ‘United we stand,
Divided we fall,’ what’s so hard to understand?
Why can’t they see this, which amazes me?
What’s in it for me seems to be their decree.


Your rhyme scheme was good, and the verbiage was chosen well, although some of the rhyme was not completely "true rhyme," it was lyrical and made its points in a cohesive way. I like how you showed the many ways people have changed, and how our concerns have changed along with them, showing the negative side in a lighter way, in order to make others hear your words. Good work. To the point, but not preachy. And your ending sums up your personal feelings, and what we need to fix those things gone wrong. One thing's for certain, you have a good grasp on reality and you're well aware of life on earth in the modern world, showing both your feelings of hope and pessimism.

I really enjoyed reading this as it appealed to me in composition and form, and especially regarding the subject matter. You have good structure and meter, and it was a contemplative read indeed! Nice work.

*StarP* FINAL COMMENTS *StarP*

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17
17
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Hi Jeannie. I'm reviewing your story, "A Christmas Letter."

Title/Description/Genre

The generic title for the story was accentuated by the description, in this case. I liked how the simple title made me anticipate and wonder what silly accident was going to happen. Nice job creating a bit of suspense, especially in a letter.

Plot/Setting & Structure

This is a more original Christmas story. I liked it because it actually had all the elements a satisfying story would have, a bit of a mystery and a lovely message, perfect for a Christmas story. I also thought it was going to be a laughable moment when Bob fell on Martha and made the joke, but it was a good twist to the story that it was not laughable, but serious. The letter had a few surprises and showed family values at their best. You did a wonderful job portraying these values and loyalties. The letter itself actually has very good structure. It feels complete by the end of it, and as I mentioned, the ending is satisfying. You don't often see story's based on a letter, but this was really quite intriguing.

Character/POV & Voice

Mary is a well-rounded character, with values and etiquette. You show her throughout the letter, through her statements and her actions. Her voice is consistent throughout, with her concerns being voiced in the letter, and her personal beliefs being made clear and she spoke about other people's reactions.

Dialogue & Descriptions

Since this is a letter, there was little verbal dialogue, but the dialogue that was in the story added to Mary's character and to the ending of the story. It basically tied up the loose end of knowing what happened to Great Aunt Martha, and whether or not Mary would attend the dinner without her. Your use of description is quite detailed and made the letter a good recount of the incident. We learn that the silly accident can have a serious outcome, but that during the time of miracles, things can, and often do work out. Wonderful message.

Tone/Flow & Pacing

The tone felt light, at first, and even possibly humorous, then changed to a tone of concern. By the end of the letter, after the phone call, I felt Mary's tone and the tone of the story changed one last time to relief and warmth once again, until a little facetiousness popped in at the end regarding Uncle Arnie. The letter flowed easily, as a letter naturally would sound, and the pace of it was fairly quick. It didn't bore or drag.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar

The story could use a recheck of the grammar and punctuation. I noticed a few passive verbs such as "was left, were filled, to be released, etc," several readability issues with unnecessary words such as "began walking," which grammatically would be better to say "walked toward the house." One last thing I noticed is something I do all the time. I believe you have several sentences with a comma interjected that do not need one, such as after the words them, breathe, pulse, air, etc. But this is easily fixable with another grammar check. Also, I believe the story would read better with the word Xmas spelled out as Christmas, but this is just my personal opinion.

*Pencil* Closing Comments

I enjoyed the story/letter rather well and thought you did a fine job with it, other than a few grammar changes. Keep writing!


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18
18
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)


Hi lostwordsmith! I'm doing a review of your team poem, "Life's Heirloom Quilt."{c}

*StarP* MY THOUGHTS *StarP*

The idea was to use the subject of "Memories" for the poem, and you did a beautiful job conveying your interpretation of how memories can be both bittersweet in thought, depending on the experience.

Using the analogy of an heirloom quilt was a very creative way to show the theme by use of association, and gave the poem a warm and old-style feeling.

Also, the pantoum form was interesting as well as challeging while restating the theme, although it didn't leave a lot of room for additional reminicing due to the refrains.

This has a lovely, country feel to it, real texture to the stanzas. The language was well-chosen, but I found myself wanting to see more of it, over the refrains.

Very good use of alliteration, and assonance.

*StarP* FINAL COMMENTS *StarP*

This was an amazing poem, and showed your poetic talent!

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19
19
for entry "The Throne
Review by Dee
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Very funny, indeed! Excellent tribute to the throne!
20
20
Review of The Prayer Quilt  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)


Hi GemGem. I saw your story, The Prayer Quilt, and I had to read it.

Title/Description/Genre *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

The title of your story is what caught my eye as I went through a list of stories about breast cancer. I believe in prayer, and the prayer quilt is actually a wonderful idea. So, naturally I think it makes a wonderful title for such a heartfelt story! The genres you chose are also perfect. Spiritual and friendship go hand in hand when it comes to this type of support, and the description tied it all together, beautifully. I wanted to know who and why it was meant for.

Plot/Setting & Structure *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

In my opinion, you have a very emotional plot and storyline. It doesn't get any better than divine inspiration, like Trina experienced, so I must say, the "voice" was a creative and devotional way to show her motivation, and explain her actions throughout. An easy plot to follow, yet this simple storyline tugs at the heartstrings in such a lovely, and personal way, I couldn't help but become immersed in Trina's world. Nice work setting up the plot. The structure of the story is clearly defined, as you have the beginning set the stage for what we think will be Trina's story, only to find out in the middle that it isn't her story at all. By the time we reach the end, we are moved by her feelings and her actions to support her friend by sending the quilt. I found that by not using a specific setting, you showed how this could be anyone's story, anywhere. That's the difficult truth of cancer, but you show it in a supportive context, rather than the frightening way it can be in reality. Again, excellent work with the plot and setting.

Character/POV & Voice *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

Experiencing the story through Trina's POV, (her eyes and her thoughts), made this a powerful story for me as a reader. You show Trina's most visible character attributes--her compassion and her belief in a higher power that helps her through not only her own scare, but helps her help her friend through her time of difficulty with cancer. Trina is a strong and devoted individual, who puts her faith at work for her and her friend through her own ability to overcome hardship and fear. She has a clear and comforting voice through the piece, which made me feel at ease.

Dialogue & Descriptions *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

You didn't use dialogue in your story, but the narrative and descriptions were well drawn for me to not only see Trina, the quilt, and the situation, but you made me feel what she felt as she heard the voice, and feel what she felt as she read the email from her friend, etc. The narrative never felt as though it told the story, because you showed me so many things Trina thought about and felt, with a simple word or two, or with an action, much more than even dialogue would have shown. This story is an inner thought story, or rather a story from within, so your style of showing with narrative and description worked very well in this case.

Tone/Flow & Pacing *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

Again, while the tone was a little fearful at first, but then changed to a more sympathetic tone as Trina was convinced the quilt was not for herself. While the mood changed to hopefulness by the end of it. The flow and pacing was just right, because I read through the story without even thinking of those elements, even after the second read through. Each paragraph slid smoothly into the next, and did so with nothing pulling my thoughts away from the story itself. The pacing felt appropriate for the genre and type of story.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

I saw nothing that caught my attention in the way of punctuation, grammar, or spelling problems. Everything looked spot on. If there are any missing marks, then I must have missed them as well, because the readability was also smooth and easy.

*Pencil* Closing Comments

I enjoyed reading the story very much. I have known women who went through breast cancer, and I find this to be a lovely, supportive, and comforting story to offer someone. Honestly, I couldn't offer any suggestions. I found the story perfect the way it is.

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21
21
Review by Dee
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)


Hi DeNine. As you know, I'm Dee. I'm a member of the WDC Power Reviewers also. I finally had a chance to read the first chapter of your novel, and I'm glad you asked me to review it! This is a story that kept my attention from the first word, all the way to the last. I plan to continue reading it.

Title/Description/Genre *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**HalfStar*

The title is interesting, and made me curious about the story. Yet, while it is intriguing, the title and the description sort of give the story premise away. The moment you wrote Nephilim's Fall, and asked the question, What Am I? I basically knew what the story was going to be about, a fallen angel, or rather a demon with an agenda.

But please understand, I think the title and description offer much in the way of visual versus emotional impact. And I think the title is an effective choice. The only comment I would say about the description line itself, is that I think Kyle didn't comprehend the deal he made, but I don't know if I'd say he unknowingly made it, because he was aware of the deal he was making, and even asked questions about it.

Plot/Setting & Structure *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

What an exciting and mysterious plot this story has. It's dark, that's true, but it also has some wonderfully innocent moments, such as Kyle's reaction to Stella each time he's around her. Since I'm only on the first chapter, I don't know the exact plot, other than the Nephilim's desire to get something from Stella, and him wanting Kyle to bring Stella to him, as a part of of their deal. If that is the plot of the novel, then you've begun with a bang, and a great start! The story keeps my interest, and never once did it wane. Good work!

The setting could have been any town or place, since it wasn't defined or specified. This often works to the writer's advantage, providing the opportunity for reader association, giving just enough details to make the reader feel they know the place the story takes place in. Now, if the setting will become important to the story, then showing me that early is always best.

As far as structure is concerned, since this is only the first chapter, my comment would be that you set the first chapter up very well, and you do have a definite beginning, middle, and end to this unit, and you left the ending with a question that made me want to know more. In fact, I did look to see if you had more chapters written. So, if you follow through with your remaining chapters with the same structure you used for this first one, it will be a very well written story, no doubt!

Character/POV & Voice *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

Telling this from Kyle's POV was a satisfying read. If this was Stella's story, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much. Kyle, despite being depicted as a weak individual both physically and even to some degree, mentally, is a strong fictional character with definite opinions, physical attributes, and desires. Several times your narration describes him in relation to his physicaI deficiencies, and how even he thinks about these same things, which make him feel like a real person to me-like someone from next door you know and feel sympathy toward. Kyle's voice is sympathetic towards other people, but also sarcastic, but he has a demoralizing voice when it comes to thoughts and opinions about himself. Since he has this POV about himself and his own life, you'd think he would have the same outlook about the world, but as I read through the story I realized he doesn't have that same attitude about life. In fact, he convinces himself (after dying), that life offers more opportunities he never took advantage of and how he would do things differently if he had the chance. Great job showing his POV and attitudes.

Dialogue & Descriptions *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

Your use of dialogue is excellent. I never once thought your characters sounded alike. Not at all. They are all unique individuals with a distinct "sound" to their body and verbal language. Kyle, with his blinking eyes, shuffling feet, and eyes looking down instead of at Stella's, compared to Derek, where he is confrontational, loud, and obnoxious. And of course, Stella, being kind, fun, and compassionate, as well as self-confident. And each of your characters have a particular style of language and thought also, with their own verbiage.

I must say, you truly have a exceptional gift at writing description/narration in a way that does *not* bore or tell too much, and it gives this story a wonderful flavor. I can see, hear, feel, and almost touch everything and everyone. From your description, I could feel it when Derek hit Kyle in the nose, and I could almost feel the blood, as if I was Kyle, touching my own nose. Just about every scene in this chapter came to life, and flew off the screen at me to experience.

Tone/Mood/Flow & Pacing *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

The tone and the mood of the story seem to be similar in effect. They both are on the dark side, and they both are somewhat depressing from Kyle's POV. This dark, depressing, "I'm nothing special, I don't have much to offer" attitude permeates Kyle's attitude in almost everything he does.

There are some places in the story where the flow and pacing is a bit slower, although the story isn't "slow," just slower. And there are parts of the story that flows and the pacing is perfect. But for the most part, they work well throughout the story. Each paragraph moved easily into the next, and never gave me the feeling of being choppy. It never felt as if they were randomly put together. Each paragraph had a purpose and an idea holding it together, which is exactly what a paragraph should have. Again, excellent work.

Punctuation/Spelling & Grammar *StarY**StarY**StarY**StarY*

There were several things that caught my eye as I read along. Nothing that can't easily be changed, edited or reworded, if you choose to do so, but they did slow the reading down a little for me. This is the only area I saw many things that made the readability of the story a little more cumbersome. Some of the things that I noticed are:

- Unnecessary words or "telling" phrases (Examples: "started walking," rather than just using walking or walked. "Found myself shivering," instead of just using shivered. There are many words and phrases that can be deleted or reworded. A couple examples are: "begun shaking, be facing" and "beginning to feel, was so frightened," as well as many others.

- A lot of adverbs. While most editors understand people use adverbs in dialogue and in their narrative, it's still considered taboo to overuse them. It's always best to reword a sentence to use fewer adverbs. There are many of them in your story. I love using them, but I always run my writing through grammar checks to find them and I remove most, and opt to rephrase to do it.

- Passive verbs. I did find that you used many passive verbs. These absolutely need to be made active. This is something all editors will notice. Believe me, I know. I have seen the "red pencil" more than once on my writing. It's funny how it's easy to see these things in other people's writing, but we miss it in our own! *Wink* But passive writing is a real no-no in publishing. I don't know if you're planning to publish your novel, but if so, it will require a grammar and punctuation edit. That's the only reason I rated your story 4.5 instead of a 5. This is a five star story, grammar withstanding.

*Pencil* Closing Comments *StarY*

I honestly didn't think I would enjoy reading this story when I first read the title and description, because stories with the nephilim and demons don't normally appeal to me. I usually tend to find them just more of the same ole thing. BUT your story was so well written, the descriptions so realistic, and the emotions displayed by the characters so natural and heartfelt, that I found myself wrapped up in the tale much more than I thought I would be. Very, very good work!!

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of The Final Leap  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A "Game of Thrones-- House Martell Review

House Martell image for G.o.T.


Jellyfish, I've chose to review your story, The Final Leap.

*NoteR* My Thoughts & Impressions

Another excellent story, and I find myself thinking many of the same thoughts that I had when I reviewed the story about Bella. Another awesome animal adventure, and I knew you would have an exciting "tale" to tell. (Pardon the pun!) I enjoyed this story very much. I know a bit about the salmon's run to the ocean, and I must say, you've captured everything they must face while they attempt to make it, and you tell it beautifully, all through these two wonderful characters!

Angus and Brave are familiar, in the same way as any best friend would be. They are loyal, caring, and lovable characters that tug at the heartstrings. I could feel the temporary anguish as Angus thought perhaps his friend Brave didn't make it.

I would have to say that your narrative talent, along with very natural, yet zippy dialogue, are your strong points. The narrative style, and the descriptive writing makes your story! You layer your narratives over each other perfectly, so the story flows easily, and you put the core message in the middle, friendship, as you did in the story with Bella. Everything paces well together, and concludes with a heartwarming ending.

Plenty of conflict in this story as well. All the difficulties getting upstream and out to sea, is enough for any salmon, then you added the extra conflict of the two friends trying to stay together in the new world they would face.

*NoteR* Suggestions

I would eliminate the elipses at the end of the last sentence, "toward their new life..." I did notice several adverbs such as slightly, playfully, increasingly, etc., and a few passive verbs in the story such as "was calm, had vowed" etc. should be shown rather than told in the narrative.

*NoteR* Final Thoughts

Other than a few tweaks in the grammar, this story was perfect. I have enjoyed your work very much.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
Review of My Creativity  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A "Game of Thrones-- House Martell Review

House Martell image for G.o.T.


Fivesixer, I've decided to review your Twitter Post, My Creativity.

*NoteR* My Thoughts & Impressions

I thought I would review something a little more unusual and something I found amusing! Understanding that you probably wrote this as a joke, it definitely made me laugh!

But since this post is about being creative, and writing is all about creativity, I thought I would offer up a few thoughts I had. First of all, I thought I'd die laughing when I read this post! I can just imagine you swearing off at your toaster, or your razor! I think all of us have actually had days where we do this, although (I don't think everyone would admit it!) Of course, I've never seen cursing my blow dryer as a benchmark for how creative my writing was going to be! *Laugh* I do come up with some good ones that I yell at my truck when she can't get up a hill better! (And I mean, really colorful stuff!)

I suppose the most important question is, do they swear back?? *Laugh* I think we all have our quirky ways to get energized and creative, and that would definitely fall under Quirky 101! I wonder if that should be taught in writing courses? It is funny how creative people think. I mean, someone who doesn't write probably would never even consider saying something to an inanimate object, much less swearing at one, for real or not!

You should have posted the responses you received to this post! Something tells me those were probably just as colorful.

*NoteR* Suggestions

Nope, no suggestions, just laughter! You've got a interesting way of looking at things, that's for sure!

*NoteR* Final Thoughts

Very funny post! I'm always amazed at your creativity and style. Your take on life comes out in both curious and humorous ways quite often.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

24
24
Review of Beautiful Bella  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A "Game of Thrones-- House Martell Review

House Martell image for G.o.T.


Hi Jellyfish. I've chose to review your story, Beautiful Bella.

*NoteR* My Thoughts & Impressions

What a lovely, and precious story this is! I truly loved reading it. Anytime I can read a well-written story, where the main characters are animals, well, I'm hooked. I thought you outdid yourself with this children's story. It's everything a story for this age group would need to appeal to kids. And you wrote it in such a way, that a child can even associate their own personal situations at school with Bella's situation. Reader association is always a strong element to have to attract or keep a reader reading, and this story reaches on this level, even to me.

The plot is quite appropriate and entertaining. It's a common situation for kids--having to make new friends in a new home and school, and your story shows how difficult it can be as well as how misunderstandings can happen also. Excellent work with this theme. Bella was an easy character to like. In fact, she is warm, and kind, and I found myself sympathizing with her about her nervousness. You kept her in character once she reached the schoolyard also. She continued to feel insecure, and even sad.

Lots of tension on different levels in here. Anxiety at home about her first day of school in a new place gave way to the start of the tension. Her trip to school, as she avoided others, increased it, until it reached it's peak at the schoolyard when she begins to cry as the teacher speaks with her. The situation creates just the right amount of conflict, so the tension comes naturally from it.

The dialogue is wonderful, by the way! The teacher has a "mother goose-like" way about her, and Bella is Bella, lovely, sweet, and upset that she doesn't think she fits in, as she explains this to the teacher. I loved how the teacher calls the other children over and confronts the problem right away. A good message in your story, too. Take care of problems right away, and they won't grow any larger. Nice!

The flow and pace was perfect. I glided through your story, like I was riding down a peaceful river. Smooth and cohesive, nothing choppy, or out of place. I barely realized I was at the end. I wanted more. And *that's* a good thing!

And finally, your punctuation, spelling, and grammar was spot on. I saw nothing I need to mention, at least, nothing that caught my eye or attention. That is also a pleasure, not to mention increasing the readability, making the story easy to finish.

*NoteR* Suggestions

None. Plain and simple. I can't think of a thing I would add or change. It's the perfect story, to me. And I don't rate many stories this high, but this tale deserves it.

*NoteR* Final Thoughts

I had a smile on my face as I read this. A wonderful story for any age!

Thank you for sharing your work with us!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review of Cruise Ship  
Review by Dee
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
A "Game of Thrones-- House Martell Review

House Martell image for G.o.T.


Hi Fivesixer. I've chose to review your prose piece, Cruise Ship.

*NoteR* My Thoughts & Impressions

The title of this prose is the first thing that caught my eye. I've been on cruise ships, but not as a divorcee. I really liked this piece, but I did find it unusual that the speaker took the same ship they were married on to try and forget their life. I'd say that's going to be impossible, since the ship and the time they spent on it together will always be a reminder.

This first line is my favorite. I gave you my heart once and you returned it, wrapped up in our divorce papers. What a powerful statement! Very good imagery too. The images you use such as, the weight of the ash, make his demeanor and his outlook on life perfectly clear to the reader.

The tone of the prose, and the mood of the speaker seem to be in unison. Both of them evoke sadness, depression, but also possibly an ever so slight outlook of hope, as he looks to the future, not knowing what he will find.

*NoteR* Suggestions

Since I'm not a poet by nature, and I'm only learning about poetry and prose, I would offer no suggestions, other than saying the title leads me to think the speaker would associate more with the ship and the memories they had together, more so than the piece speaks about.

*NoteR* Final Thoughts

I seem to enjoy your poems and prose very much. I noticed you mentioned you once wanted to write like the poets we have to study in school. Well, I find your writing to be deep, intensive thoughts most of the time, with much insight about the world around us. I think you've achieved that level of poet on some level. Very compelling prose.

Thank you for sharing your work with us!



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