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26
26
Review of Insert title here  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.5)
I quite liked this, especially the way you used the same word several times in repetition. This had good rhythm and strong rhymes. :)
27
27
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello, I'm just going to be writing things down as I come across them so some of my comments might be invalidated later on.

So, depending on how physical enhanced your Dhampire's are this sentence, "strands of her long silver hair falling into her face as she moved." might or might not work. If she has greatly increased physical abilities I doubt her hair would fall in front of her face while running, it would be more likely to be pulled back by the air flow. That's just a thought, though.

I think this sentence, "Hooting of owls echoed in the night air..." needs to start with a "the." Also, You can probably remove the "air" because it doesn't actually add anything to the sentence. The image you give the readers is the exact same with or without it.

You don't need to designate the weapons as hers because she was the one who drew it, "surrounded the black metal of her blade."

So the phrase, "She walked carefully..." can be replaced with "she crept" which says basically the same thing with a more specific word and removes one of those pesky LYs.

The odor of death was already prevalent before she entered the cave, so I don't think it can greet her, "as a strong odor of death greeted her."

This "as" echoes the "as" you had in the previous sentence, "Dirty stands of black hair lined his face as he..."

I'm not an expert on dead bodies but I don't think a decapitated head would retain any substantial amount of blood for very long, "He took a bite out of a head that he carried in his hand..."

This phrase, "he swallowed the flesh of a human." is needlessly melodramatic. Most readers will automatically assume it's a human head so you don't have to tell them that. Beyond that, the mere fact that he's eating a head like an apple is plenty creepy for your purposes IMO.

By the nature of combat people are striking at one another's bodies. Thus, this result, "as she watched her blade fly out of her hand..." reads a little off to me. If she was blocking his assault then her sword would be between her and his club, which means then their weapons collide and she gets overpowered the club would drive through her sword and into her. Taking this sequence of events into mind, I don't know if her sword would fly way off to the side as opposed to fly in the same direction as she went? Either way, just think a little bit about how this fight would progress just so you can see and describe it clearly.

Up above you gave the impression that her power was red? "faint purple aura began to surround her body..."

There would be a comma before the "Dhampir" because he's referring to her directly, "So, you do have some power dhampir."

Early you said her sword flew away, which generally indicates a great distance but here she's reaching for it likes it's right next to her. "Cateria said as she reached for her sword." you might want to specify where the sword flew.

Your wording up above already indicates that he can move really quickly so you don't need to say so here, "with quickness that was unexpected given his size..."

So, on the whole I thought this was pretty good. You had a nice energetic first chapter with a promising supernatural world and hints of a deep mythology/history. There are two general thing I believe you could improve on, though. The first is a tendency to the melodramatic. For instance this line, "as I ravage you, just as I have done to the female vampires and hunters that have dared to challenge me." Now, this one is melodramatic in a subtle way because superficially it's him boasting about how he raped a bunch of women before (I think, ravvage could be used differently here) but it comes across more as the author telling the reader that this is a big bad guy and you should fear him.This second bit doesn't work because it breaks the reader's immersion in the story. More than that, you don't really need to spend any more time telling the readers he's evil because you had the glorious imagery of him eating the head up above. That is an instance where a single picture is worth more than all the other words you spent telling the readers he's evil. It's a distinct, threatening image layered with color and strains of horror. It tells the reader all they need to know about the character.
The second thing is a little more description. In this whole chapter the only thin you describe is the cauldron with a head in it. I think you have the time to slip in a few more details like have her come across the cave instead of it just appearing. Or describe the interior of the cave up to the cauldron room a little more. (this one I strongly suggest doing because I envisioned it as a single passage, which in turn made me wonder how a Dhampire walked right past a giant ogre?) I don't want a lot more detail, but you have to give us enough so we can envision the scene. It just has to be the two or three relevant details about their surroundings and characters that really help to bring the story/scene alive.

I hope you find my review useufl and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
P.S I probably will review the next chapter in a couple days.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
28
28
Review of Delivery Man  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hey, it's me. I'm returning your review from the other day.

For this sentence, "Snoofk pulled a sheet of paper off of..." I believe you can replace the "off of" with a "from" which will flow better and remove a glue word.

For this sentence, "said Carl, grinning wolfishly." I don't believe you need the "wolfishly." you already gave us a good description of Carl's personality through his physical appearance so the readers will naturally envision his grin with a touch of malevolence.

I feel like this sentence, "...And you can't afford to lose any more." is unnecessary. Popular depiction always shows Santa's elves as being short so the concept of this comment is already going to be in the reader's mind.

This sentence is little more complicated and might be most personal opinion, "...that bottle I can smell in your cabinet. How about it, brother?" Up till now Carl has been rude (which doesn't change here) but I feel like the second sentence diminishes it a little bit for this part specifically. I feel like like the simple, "I'm talking about that bottle I can smell in your cabinet." will add to his rudeness because of his brevity. but you can also go the other way and add more onto the second sentence so it becomes more taunting. Maybe have Carl leaned forward with a new grin, saying, "How about it brother? Want to be naughty for once?" (I admit that my adlibbing here is terrible but I'm just trying to convey my thought process.) Either way, its just a small thing and to leave it as it stands won't really hurt anything.

I don't know how large the glasses are or how hard of a liquor Schnapps is but it struck me as kind of strange that Carl, who is portrayed as quite the reprobate thus far, would cough over it? It might just be the movies talking, though.

You have a small typo here, "Carl’s face twisted into grotesque a impression of innocence" the "grotesque" and "a" were switched.

On the whole, I rather liked this. The conclusion was a little predictable, not expected but not surprising either, but that's not a bad thing considering the story in question and the season. The reason I gave it such a low rating as opposed to what I think It would normally merit is because there's no actual objective here. Neither Santa nor Carl really have something they're working towards. You sort of have Santa trying to convince Carl to do the delivery, but that's more of an obstacle and it only consumes half of the story. It needs something for the reader to hope for, a desire that you can fulfill. Carl and Santa don't need an objective, and one for them might even be out of place for this story, but you need something to invest the readers in these characters, something that makes them want to see the conclusion. I know I contradict myself a little bu ti hope you understand what I'm trying to say nevertheless.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck :) Happy Holidays. :D


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
29
29
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Hey, it's me returning your review. :)

For this sentence, "Her teachers at her high school thought that she was a very strange girl..." I don't think the "that" between "thought" and "she" is unnecessary and I think it would flow better if you removed it.

For this sentence, "She had long dark black hair that had a red streak in it." you don't need both "dark" and "black" because black is dark. I also believe you can substitute the "that had" for a "with" and cut a glue word in the process. Finally, I don;t believe you need the "in it" because her hair is the subject of the sentence which means any piece of description will be passively applied to it. If you did all of this you would end up with something like, "She had long black hair with a streak of red." If that sentence feels incomplete, you can a little bit of detail about where the streak is, something like, "... with a streak of red cutting through her bangs."

For this phrase, "and she almost always wore black clothing as much as possible." you don't need the "as much as possible" because you already said as much with the "always."
The other about this descriptive paragraph is that's it's almost entirely passive in composition. I think you could rearrange it with a little work to be more active. Something along the lines of, "She loved black." instead of "black was her favorite color." You might also be able to get away with a simile of some sort, something with the word "emo" maybe? I don't have any suggestions off the top of my head for that so I don't really know if it will work here.

for this sentence, "She had the power to bless water to make it into holy water, which vampires don't care for." You don't need to say that Vampires dislike holy water, it's a common enough piece of mythology that most of your readers will assume that's the truth automatically. The next thing is that the phrase ,"she had the power to bless water..." is a little wordy. You can cut the majority of it by use of "could" resulting in something like, "She could sanctify/bless, purify water with a word." By using an active verb synonym of the phrase "to make holy" you escape the need to explain what she's making. If this situation, though, you end up with a very short, abrupt sentence that probably won't read well so might want to join it to the next sentence and make it a litany of what she capable of.

For this sentence, "She learned about these things from God; He would tell her how to make up appropriate magic spells and she would diligently follow his instructions." you don't need the second half. The simple fact that she learned them from "God" (finger quoting just because he doesn;t really sound like a god at this point) conveys all the following information passively.

For this phrase, "about how she was always sacrificing her teenage years..." I would suggest removing the "always" as it doesn't really add to what you're trying to convey. If you remove it the sentence would read, "... how she was sacrificing her teenage years..." which is an absolute statement in of itself so you don;t need to add the all-inclusive "always."

For this sentence, "She didn't have any friends that knew her secret and it was making her depressed." I think there's a better, more active way to convey it. As it stands, this doesn't build any empathy with your MC because it's conveyed to the readers in a passive, factoid way. I would change it so your MC is actually doing something, maybe something along the lines of, "For a moment, she wished she had a friend, or anyone besides God, to talk to." You could leave it there or you could take a moment to delve deeper into her loneliness/psyche to build empathy.

First, I like the theme being conveyed in the sentence where she's thinking about them worshiping her. It's a nice change of pace from the usual teen heroine. Beyond that those, this phrase, "Being worshiped sounded like a nice thought; it's much..." has a small tense issue. The opening bit is past tense while the second bit is more present tense because of the "it's." I think you can resolve it by just removing the "it's and replacing the semi-colon with a comma.

I think that this sentence, "Mr. Colter looked furious at Jean and she instantly felt her cheeks blush with embarrassment." can be removed. The relevant details are that he's angry with her and that she's blushing, both of which can be conveyed easily in the previous sentence. Think something like, "Jean woke with a start to see the biology teacher, Mr.Coulter, glaring down at her, and immediately blushed."

I have two things for these sentences, "It was a friend of Jean's named Jesse. Jesse wore clothing appropriate for a punk girl and the two had become friends based on that and the fact that they both smoked weed." The first is that you already stated the Jean doesn't have any friends so Jesse is a small inconsistency. Beyond that, I feel like you're trying to paint Jean as a punk without actually knowing how to convey it. I think it's mostly due to the phrase, "because they both smoked weed." which just read a little silly to me. I was homeschooled so I'm have no real experience in them either, but I feel like a more organic way for this bit of back to be conveyed would be for you to show them actually using Marijuana. Something along the lines of Jesse walking in and have them start smoking marijuana cigarette together (or however people take marijuana) then you can go into a little detail about their history. By showing this, you won't have to go through the awkwardness of telling them through various means that Jean's a punk-goddess, vampire and demon killing witch. :)

Jesse's offer to Jean for a smoke, "...I have a couple of roaches from this morning. Do you want to smoke them out of my pipe?" feels little bit forced and a little bit unnatural. You already indicate that they smoke marijuana up above so just have her say something along the lines of, "you want a smoke?" This is something very common place for them, so their interactions would be casual and comfortable.

For this sentence, "Jean and Jesse proceeded to smoke the marijuana and each of them got a good buzz." I think most people realize that marijuana is a drug so you don't need to say "each of them got a good buzz." Just show them smoking and having Jean try to ignore the voice in her head.

I don;t know if this is "God" speaking but I don't know why he would worry about this, "and force the lesser demons to suck his dick for protection." If it is "God" speaking then I would probably take the time write out his speech and put it in quotation marks.

This sentence, "were also gay male vampires that basically did the same thing." made me wonder if there were no lesbian vampires? If there are lesbian vampires that this whole segment can just be streamlined to something along the lines of, "Vampires would seduce their intended victim with the promise of a hookup and then bleed them dry."

I think this sentence, "...gay male vampire lead an unsuspecting victim..." can be conveyed with a little more detail. You don't need to specify the vampire as gay if you indicate that his victim is male. Something along the lines of, "... a gorgeous male vampire leading an unsuspecting young man..." It's a small change but it goes from telling the readers that the vampire's gay so showing them.

This sentence, "and he had lost all self-awareness of his surroundings" has a "had" that is grammatically incorrect.

For this sentence, "Jean yelled at the man whose life she had saved." the readers already know Jean saved his life so for you to say it just makes it a little melodramatic. Just use the young man or the vampires intended victim.

For this sentence, ""Tell me everything you know about Ozzy or I'll beat you more!" you don't need the "or I'll beat you more!" because it's kind of implicit in this scenario.

This sentence, " the vampire looked like he was struggling to make up his mind about what to do" is entirely telling and I feel like it would be better if you could show it through the vampires action like him looking from side to side in search of an escape or something.

In writing, it's genereally better to commit to what you're saying. words like "almost" or phrase that merely approximate to something tend to weaken the story. That's true for this sentence, "then he'll know I might have snitched." This will come across far more desperate if you remove the "might have" and leave it at "Then he'll know I snitched!"

When you're writing violence, or any sort, the shorted the sentence is the more brutal it will be. For this sentence, "Jean said as she plunged the silver knife through his eye and into his brain." You can also write it like, "Jean said and plunged the silver knife through his eye." you don't need the "into his brain" because the brain is behind the eye so if it's going through the eye then it's going into the brain. And by switching the "as" for an "and" you give the act of killing him greater definition in the sentence, which in turn makes it stronger.

This phrase, "before Jean had a chance to do them in." is one where colloquialisms don't really help. When writing, just say what you mean. They fled before she had a chance to kill them, is what this sentence is about, so say that.

You might be able to get away with it being a modern crossbow, but a crossbow still takes forever to load, "fired bolts into three of the vampires." and these are vampires with superhuman speed, strength and dexterity. I don't think she would have time to load and fire three bolts.


Even if it's a vampire, a silver bolt through the eye is probably lethal, " bolt into his eye, which killed him" so you probably don't to say as much.

For this sentence, "muscle shirt big enough to fit his big frame." you don't need the "big frame" becuase you already told us he was huge. Just leave it at "a shirt big enough to fit."

Why is she screaming he's a monster? ""You're a monster!" screamed Jean." I would think that she's been killing vampires long enough this his threat wouldn't faze her. I would also image that she's heard of or experience fouler things than this fellow.

For this sentence, "She quickly jumped behind the bar and was starting to feel afraid." I would remove the quickly because it's a fight and I doubt she would be lethargic in this situation so you don't have to say she moved quickly. Also, I believe you can change the passive bit about her starting to feel afraid to "she rolled/leapt behind the bag with a pang of unease." Those probably aren't the correct words but you can probably find an action/physical responce of some kind that will highlight her growing fear.

This sentence, "Just when all hope seemed lost, Jean had one last trick up her sleeve." is very cliche and I would suggest changing it to something else.

So I have two general comments on this. The first is that you rely heavily on telling to get your point across and that does hurt the story. Whne you show something its far more visceral and builds a far stronger connection with the reader because it invests them in the story. Instead of saying she smoked marijuana, have her smoke marijuana. instead of saying Ozzy was terrifying and power, show it. Have fire bolts at him only to bounce off or be knocked aside. Have the room darken when he entered, give him a presence that affects the world. Have the surviving vampires cower around him, have Jean instinctively cower before something she knows is far beyond her. All of these things will make the story far more visceral and impactful.
The other thing is a reliance on the passive sentences (anything with was is passive" instead of black was her favorite color do she loved black. The reason passive is considered inferior to active is because active (by its very nature) is brimming with energy because it's doing something. It has a natural sense of momentum that a passive phrase just doesn't have.
Finally, be a little care of cliche phrases even if they're ease or perfect. Then tend to be melodramatic which weakens whatever moment they're being used in.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
30
30
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
On the whole, this was a fairly intriguing start, but the opening paragraphs were a little rough.

You start out with passive phrase, "A steam veneer was the only shroud to the infinite stretch of support structures before Damien Black." which in turn saps it of energy because it has no momentum in of itself. this is a misstep because the first sentence of any story has to be powerful it has to draw the reader in and tell them to keep reading. A passive opening does not do this because passive.

The next sentence I noticed something for was ,"After every turn he would glance behind him, every time..." here to have two echoing "every's" and the second one is unnecessary. Every is absolute so you don't need to say it twice. Just write , "After every turn, he would glance behind expecting..."

This sentence has a minor error, "In the distance a sanguineous orb poised impossibly midair." In the previous sentence you indicated that the Actuator had arrived, thus marking the next thing to appear in this story as a relevant entity but then you use the generalizing "a sanguineous orb" (which is unnecesarily complicated if you're just referring to its color. Just use Sanguine. And if you're not suing it for just the color then you need to find a different word because the Actuator does not seem to be made out of blood.) You go from naming something specific to referring to it in a general sense, which can be confusing.

Next is the sentence, "The orb shattered, and in its tessellation created a liquid hiss and crack in instant vitrification." So there are a couple things with the sentence. First, I believe you are using "tesselation" incorrectly. In Lehman's terms, Tesselation is the arranging of differing colored squares into a chess-board like pattern, but this sphere is shattering as in going everywhere. Then you have it making a liquid hiss as it turns to glass. Beyond that, Tesselation and vitrification are two very esoteric words which means most readers won't have any idea what you're saying here. Finally, and possibly more grievously, there's no clear image of what you're trying to convey, it's just a knot of events that is difficult to unravel.

Next is the phrase, "towered above him oppressively." So I've discovered through my own writing that adverbs (verbs ending in LY) are often unnecessary. You don't need the "oppresively" here because that concept is already conveyed by the image of this orb towering over him.

This is another instance of an unnecessary adverb, " Slowly dark tendrils dripped out of the drones surface..." you don't need the "slowly" because "dripped" already has a natural connotation of slowness. The same goes for the next slowly further on in the sentence. Everything this slime has done so far has been gradual and icky, you don't need to add the "slowly" because the reader's mind will naturally envision it as such.

Based on the distinctive parlance and what he's saying, you don't need to designate the inspector as the speaker in this situation, "The inspector continued."

This sentence feels incomplete, "You continue considered impenitent." but that might be intentional.

Beyond those things, the only general object to comment on that I noticed was a reliance on passive sentences (basically anything containing a "was." I think most of these could be rearranged/rewritten to be more active.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the ver best of luck. :)



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
31
31
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
You had good rhymes but the poem itself felt a little haphazard. I had a vague idea of what it was about, but only because I had read the synopsis before hand. Beyond that, this poem didn't really seem to have a point. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but you chose to fashion this poem as a story and a story does have to have a point to be relevant.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
32
32
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hey, it's me again. Apologies for taking so long to get to the next chapter.

Let's start with this sentence, "Bartholomew, James, and Jonn sat near each other..." here I think you can replace the "near each other" with a "together." There is a slight difference between the two, but not so much that it disagrees with your intent.

So for this sentence, "Jonn gazed at the floor deep in thought, he did not look up." the second part is unnecessary because "gaze" is a prolonged action with no obvious conclusion. What that means is that if you say somebody gazed at something then they will continue to gaze at that something until you give them a new action. Thus, you don't need to say "he didn't look up" because he looking at the floor.

This is one of the unnecessary speech designators IMO, ""Not today," said Jonn flatly." We know it's Jonn speaking because he had the last designated action and you didn't start a new paragraph. It also echoes with the previous use of "Jonn" because the readers know it's him speaking. If you want the brief pause in-between his bit of dialogue then you can get away with replacing the "Jonn" with a "he," which would resolve the echo. Or you can insert a small action like sighing or rubbing the back of his neck.

So I think this sentence, "Rumors are told of unfamiliar ships..." is a little more passive that it needs to be. I think you can switch the "are told" with a "tell" without breaking your chosen style.

First off, you need a quotation mark at the end of this phrase, "women do not understand these things. " second, that kind of misogynistic thing to say. And while that would be appropriate for the time period, it still came across as sexist. You don't have to change it because there's nothing technically wrong with it, but I did have an "Oh Really?" reaction to it. :P

(never mind my previous comment about the absent quotation mark, the paragraph jump through me through a loop.)

So it might be a little nit-picky, but I feel like this sentence, "He wanted to get on with it." breaks you narrative style a little bit. It feels like a slightly too modern parlance. Besides that, it's also a slightly cliche phrase.


I think the paragraph is a little messed up here, ""James, I have heard enough.

" Son, come here... please," Jonn called out." I think you have the same person speaking, but to have him start a new paragraph (if it was intentional) made me think somebody new was speaking.

So for this paragraph, " William heeded his father's call from across the room..." you suddenly switch over to William's perspective when previously it had been from that of his uncle or father. The standard rule is not to do this (I don't know if it's an official rule) without some form of hard break in the story like a chapter or a line to indicate a change of perspective/scene.

you might be able to cut out this sentence entirely, "It came to him that this is what great men look like." It's elucidating William's thoughts, but I don't really think they need further explanation because he shivered beneath their gaze two sentences prior (indicating a feeling of awe) and then notes that they looked different. All that being said, it's not particularly obtrusive if you wish to leave it in.

Sudden is one of those funny words that are often unnecessary. "Startled by this sudden action,..." if an action is sudden, it usual comes across as such in the story and thus does not need to be labeled as such. Thus sudden is oftentimes simply reiterating something the reader already knows. That all be said (again :p) you might be using that phrase as a catalyst to involve William in the sentence. If that's the case, I still think there might be a better way to say it, something that adds further detail to the scene rather than repeating itself.

First, this sentence, "was one of a grim and grave purpose." is passive in an unpleasant way and I would consider changing it a more active tense if you can. Second, the "grim" and the "grave" echo one another because they both start with the "gr."

This is a small thing but in the sentence, ""William, you have a solemn choice before you!" I would replace the Exclamation Mark with a period. An Exclamation Mark indicates that this sentence was spoken loudly if not shouted but I feel like this sentence was spoke more solemnly. Those are just my thoughts, however, and should hold no more weight than that.

For this sentence, "William was taken aback and panicked but he did not run nor did he back away so much as one step" I think you can make it more active by using the word blanched. Something along the lines of, "William blanched, but he did not run or step back." As for the second half, something will almost always be stronger when you understate it. I believe that's the case here, you don't need to espouse on William's act of courage, just let it stand for itself because it can.

So you have a wayward quotation mark at the beginning of this sequence, ""What was his father saying! How can he be expected to make such a decision? How will his life change?" If you're trying to indicate inner thoughts, those are designated with either italics or an apostrophe.

This is another instance of telling where showing/leaving alone would be stronger, " In a commanding voice, the Wizard said,..." here let the words themselves convey their tone. Use strong words and a commanding syntax and the readers will hear them spoken as such. You don't need to tell them the wizard spoke strongly becuuse it will be evident in his speech.


I would just remove this sentence, " The Wizard said, "Do it, William! Join us! Take up your father's sword, do not be afraid!"" William doesn't need further cajoling and the previous sentence rung with power. Having this here just diminishes the power of this scene because it delays the moment of William's acceptance. Have his father speak and have William answer.

you don't need the "all" in this sentence, "running wolves swept across all the walls" and to have it in just slows down the momentum with a weak word. All can be strong, but only when it brings weight to the sentence. Here, is does not.

You have a couple of good lines in this chapter, but this one is one of my favorites :D "A new vision came to him and the evil voices were banished. He had a revelation of an island floating in a fog surrounded by mountains. The sign gave him strength. The power and the glory of his heritage revealed entered into his consciousness and he heard the sound of distant thunder and waves lapping a far shore. He would never be alone with his fear again." It all has all of the quite power and glory that I love reading in these kinds of stories and ends with a soft statement of power that nonetheless speaks loudly. This is what it means to understate. There is no fluff to aggrandizement the grace of William's heritage, nothing that says "look upon me and be awed" because it does not need the embellishments.

This is another great line, "Now, ten years later, long after he had forgotten; James felt that love return. He beheld the exceptional young man before him and thought he would never love anyone as fiercely. There was a greater glory in his soul than resided in his father, or his uncles, a power surpassing the grand splendor of the Eldest. James had never married nor had children. There had been no time. Now the Wizard would have a son and he would show him the true way through the deceptive path of his destiny."

This is a great return to the form of the first chapter, for which I am very pleased :).
Besides the things I mentioned up above there was only one paragraph that I felt needed a lot of work. It's the one where William hear's his father call and returns to join them. You run through his emotions, telling the readers what he's thinking and how he's feeling but it just doesn't read well. It reads passive. The readers have no involvement in what you're trying to convey (which incidentally is the difference between bad telling and good telling.) The only I have is to try and make it more active.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
33
33
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.5)
I liked this quite a bit. It has strong rhythm and momentum along with good rhymes and poignant mien that I found very pleasing. The fact that it speaks of an accurate sentiment (in my opinions at least) also helps it. finally, I think the last few hopeful lines are appropriate for the message its trying to convey.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
34
34
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hey, it's me again.

So I have two problems with these sentences,

""Little Brother!" The wizard cried out.

"Big Brother!" Jonn exclaimed..." The first is that since you have an exclamation point the dialogue tags "exclaimed" and "cried out" are unnecessary because the exclamation point already says that the dialogue was spoken with enthusiasm.
Beyond that, up till now you have portrayed Jonn as being fairly reserved, so for him to go bounding off with a jubilant cry seems to contradict his character.

You probably know this but when direct addressing someone, "So William, what do you think of my hotel" the name is always bracketed by commas.


Something that occurred to me in the previous chapter, which I forgot to mention, is that the word "hotel" seems a little too modern for a renaissance setting. I think something like a tavern, inn, or wayhouse might be a little more appropriate.


So in this sentence, "...William," said Mary-Rose blushing slightly." the dialogue tag unnecessary, we know who's speaking due to the flow of conversation. I would consider removing it, or replacing it with an action if you think it's necessary for rhythm or flow, because dialogue tags (and said's in particular) tend to read poorly.

So here is one the rules in grammar that I myself just learned. When someone is speaking loudly or with excitement it is actually required to put the exclamation point it. So in this sentence, ""Yes," said William enthusiastically,..." you need to put an exclamation point after the yes.

So this sentence was a little confusing, "The Paladin regarded this man closely;..." because up until now you've always referred to Jonn as a priest, which is not a synonym for paladin. Moreover, it's generally best to stick to just one name for a character just to avoid possible confusion. Different characters can refer to one another with pet names or the such, but an author can't.

So one of, if not the, golden rules of writing is to show, not tell and this is one of the examples that proves this. "Not now son. I will explain later," Jonn looked perturbed." In this sentence you tell the readers Jonn looks perturbed when it would be far more compelling to show it. Have him frown or observe Bartholemew with a clouded gaze. Don't just feed the readers the relevant information, let them infer it on their own.

Why is there a long pause in the sentence where James is revealing Jonn as a Paladin? "then came a long pause, "your father is a paladin."" People pause when they're under some kind of stress or purposefully building tension, but neither of those seems appropriate for this situation.

So I found this chapter markedly less enjoyable than the first :(. I think there are two reasons for this. The first is the switch from first-person to third-person. You have a very telling-heavy style, but it worked in the first chapter because it was written in the first-person which is somebody telling a story. In third-person, however, the reader isn't being told a story, they are experiencing the story first hand.

The second thing was that your first chapter had a huge amount of personality invested in the prose, something that made it feel very Tolkienesque and made it very enjoyable to read. This second chapter lacks that. I don't know if this is a result of the perspective switch or because of some other reason, either the story suffers for its loss.

Finally, my last comment is about your dialogue. It comes across a little wooden and childish. Some of this is the dialogue tags you add on the end like in,'"What is the 'family business'?" he inquired shyly,...' the shyly takes this from being a perfectly acceptable question to feeling like something in a children's book because you're walking us through every detail in the story instead of letting us experience it.
(I just went through looking for another example and I think that the wooden dialogue is almost exclusively because of your dialogue tags. Every bit of conversation has a dialogue tag that rarely adds anything to the dialogue itself. The only really wooden pieces of dialogue are most of Mary-Roses lines and some of James's.)

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Angelique  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
So hello again. :)

I'll start with the phrase, "The blond barman didn't look young enough to drink." this doesn't really make sense. I think you meant to write "old enough to drink" instead of "young enough to drink." If not, then I don't really know what you're trying to say.

Here's a funny thing about writing, a lot of times a writer will say something's obvious, but the thing about something that's obvious is that you don't need to state it. That's true for this sentence, "It was obvious why they called her The Demon, yet there was nothing evil about her." I was able to infer she would be spectacular on the drums long before the music ever started and I was also able to guess that's where the moniker "the Demon" came from. So this sentence is generally unnecessary, even the bit about there being nothing evil about her because most people will not passive view music in an evil light (even if it's death metal.)

So this sentence feels a little contradictory, "Though he knew the truth of the scriptures better than anyone in this hall, yet he'd still turned his back on God" Up above you state that he "knew the truth of the scripture" or something to that effect and even state the same here. So for him to turn his back on god, despite being such a devout believer, feels off. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it still doesn't feel right.

That was quite the interesting conclusion. On the whole I thought this was nice but that it relied to heavily on telling to convey the story. My guess it that you were constrained in the number of words you could use but the telling still weakened this. The thing that makes a story like this (and romance more than any other concept) are the small details that fill in the cracks:the way someone likes their coffee, the way they walk that different other people, the way they. It's these small things that only somebody who is intimately aware of another person bothers to notice. It is by showing these things that you build a good romance, here, in this chapter, you convey everything through telling which deprives these small things of their power because there's nothing intimate about telling.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I really enjoyed this from your descriptions to the style you chose to employ, especially the very Tolkienesque phrasing in some places.
I saw only two things that need to be corrected. The first is when Wiliam's father is blessing the baby, you have,'"!'m sorry Father"' here you have an Exclamation Point instead of an "I."

The second thing was with the sentence,""Yes Sir," said William with his head down" here you switch to the third person when the rest of the story in written in first.

Other than those two things this was really good and I plan to read more in the future. :)
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
I liked this. The shape, flow and contents of the story you told was good. The prose was a little weak though (I'll give some suggestions below) and you relied a little too heavily on telling to convey information.

I'll start with the Telling. Telling in general is considered weak prose, but it's is most egregious when in reference to emotions or thought process and it is these that were the most notable in your story. You were constantly telling us what one character thought of a situation and the emotions that they felt at the time when both of these would be far stronger if conveyed through actions. To your credit, you don't generally didn't straight up say their emotions most of the time but use their thoughts instead. Take the sentence "eyes full of melancholy and anger." You describing her eyes here but that's just a veil, you're actually telling us her emotions. It's not something that's easy to fix, especially if you're writing in a fable/mythological style, but it would be the best way to improve this story.

As for the prose, much of its weakness comes from the telling but there are a few places where it's a little wordy. I won't name them all because I just want to show you what I mean.

In your second sentence you have, "If one traveled past the silent forest, and through the misty marsh, they would arrive at the lake." here the phrase "misty marsh" echoes itself because of the two Ms in close proximity. Also, (though it might just be me) descriptive words that end it Y tend to sound weak. I, personally, would change the sentence to "mist-laden marsh" but it could just as easily be written with a different adjective or no adjective altogether.

At the end of the first paragraph you have, " And the icy surface of the lake looks just like it had a certain night, long ago." Here the phrase "and the icy surface of the lake" is both wordy and echoes with your previous use of lake. The echo has less to do with the word "lake" and more to do with the "the." The echo is of the phrase "the lake" rather than just lake. As for the wordiness, that derives from using a lot of glue words (the words used to hold a sentence together and connect the important words) and the unnecessary specification (though that's not quite the word I want to use.) It's not the icy surface of the lake that looks the same, its the entire lake (at least that's how most readers will interpret this sentence.) I would write the sentence something more like, "And the frozen lake looks just as had on that night so long ago." The image you're trying to convey is that of a frozen lake, so use the appropriate words. Say a frozen lake.

In the third sentence of the next paragraph you have, "Even after they migrated to this faraway region by the lake," here the phrase "by the lake" is unnecessary because you already indicated that they lived on this lake in the opening sentence.

In the same sentence you have, "it has been said that they retained their old barbaric traditions from their homeland." Here the "it has been" is just wordy. I believe you can abbreviate but exchanging the "has been" for a "was." "It was said they retained the old traditions of their homeland" or "it was said they retained their old traditions." The adjective phrase "of their homeland" is unnecessary because it's inherent in the word "traditions" but you might want to keep it in nevertheless if you think the flow of the story. The word "barbaric" is unnecessary because you already labeled them barbarians up above.

The last thing I want to mention concerns the phrase, "and never hunted fish or drank water from its reserves" here the phrase "from its reserves" is unnecessarily verbose. What you're trying to say is that they never drank from it, so say that. Don't bother with the reserves even if you think that parlance is appropriate for the story. Just say , "never hunted fish or drank from it." If you want to make sure they know they're drinking water than say , "hunted fish or drank its water."

Like I said above, these aren't all the things I noticed (and there are probably more besides those I did) but I just wanted to give you an idea of what I was saying.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (1.5)
So I'm just going to be writing down thoughts as I come across them which might lead some of them to be invalidated later on.

Alright, in the immediate first sentence you have, "As he enters the abyss of darkness he sees a faint light." This is a strong imagery and immediately gives an impression of the story you're trying to write but it's also unnecessarily wordy. The phrase "abyss of darkness" is self-iterative. By itself the word "abyss" indicates darkness/evil, so to add the "of darkness" gives a subtle quality of lack of confidence/slash control. That might be a little too meta to be taken seriously but it has its roots in a strong foundation. Strong writing is confident writing, it's writing that doesn't need elucidation or compounding phrases. Strong writing is using the right word for a sentence without addendums to make sure your meaning comes across (I.E confidence.) In this sentence, the "of darkness" is expounding on something the reader already registered. (The /of control comment was just a reference to writers, myself included, who tend to get so wrapped up in their prose that they add words just because its sounds good.)

In the second sentence you have, "When he approaches the area where the light is coming from he realizes that there are an array of rooms, each having a number from one to six." Here the opening phrase is wordy, its reads poorly because it has so many small glue words (the filler words people throw people add inbetween the main meat of a sentence to make sure it flows comprehensibly.) I would try to cut out as many of these as you can (without compromising the story of course.) Personally, I would have written this sentence more like, "When he reached the light (you don't need the "where is coming from" because readers will automatically assume that it has a source) he found an array of six numbered rooms." This sentence has much few glue words while still conveying the true purpose you wished to convey. It's far from perfect of course but I was just trying to show you what I meant.

Alright, concerning the paragraph where he's at work and thinking about his sister, it read's a little like a shopping list. Every sentence is a stated fact wholly encompassed within itself. There is little to no flow from one sentence to the next which makes the whole paragraph read poorly. It's very nature also makes it heavily reliant on "telling" which is rarely enjoyable to read. It's basically a long list of you telling us things which don't feel very relevant because after you're finished you immediately send him home. I expect the sister might be relevant later on but if none of it is, the story would probably benefit from its just being removed and you writing a smoother transition into the main purpose of the chapter.

Alright, so we have the paragraph where he returns home (which has the same general problems as my previous comment) and you have him meet a specter of some sort. First, though, she have him expecting it would no explanation for why he expecting to find a ghost or even any information concerning what he was expecting. I was left confused whether he got robbed (because of the doo being open) or if it was only the ghost. After that you have him say something about being unable to sleep in his own home then having him fall asleep in the next sentence, which is a small contradiction.

I have a general writing tip for you. A lot of the time, you don't need to add dialogue tags. If the readers know who's speaking and the tone the character is using, then a dialogue tag is completely unnecessary. Take this sentence, "There is nothing I fear! Go Away!” He demanded." We know it's Brian speaking (because the ghost just spoke and there's only two of them there) and the exclamation tells us he speaking loudly. Even without the exclamation (don't remove it though because it's grammatically correct to have it in there) the phrase "go away" is enough to tell us his mindset.

At the end of page two you have, "He realized he wanted" which is cut off from the "cup of coffee" because of the "page three" notation. I don't know what these page notation's are but they're unnecessary for the reading of your piece and this one confused me at first.

Okay you have a sudden pov switch on page three. Up till now its been third-person present tense but then you switch to " I said nonchalantly" which is first person past-tense. You need to choose one tense and pov and stick with it or you'll confuse your readers.

So the problems with telling are ubiquitous through the chapter as is your style of using statements. Together they really detract from the reading pleasure (telling in particular.) It doesn't feel like I'm reading a story, it feels like I'm reading a list of details/events. You have good imagery throughout with the six doors in Brian's dreams and the old house at the end but the reader never gets to truly experience any of them because it's never "shown."
I knows it's a lot of work and that my review will be depressing but I think you need to just completely rewrite this first chapter. Take the time to walk the readers through the story you want to tell them, take the time to build the atmosphere through imagery and hint at the demons until the times comes for them to truly make a frightening appearance.
Start with the dream because that is a powerful image, then have him wake up gasping (or something other sign of distress.) Then, don't just tell us his wife wakes up ( I know he wakes but my comment still applies) tell us how she wakes up. Something like "his wife stirred beside him and then sat up, woken by his cry (or whatever turbulent event you wish to use.) "Brian, what is it?"" Then tell us his actions and response and color it in. Is the dark suffocating? Is his blood cold?
A story may be about the overarching events, but it's the small details and colors that makes a story what it is.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of On The Road Again  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
This was a pretty good hook from the beginning to the end. It had immediate momentum and continued building up until the final revelation (which felt a little lacking to me but that might just be because I knew the prompt beforehand.)
There are a few technical areas where I think it could be improved, though.

Starting with the opening line, "I have always heard that life on the run isn't fun." Here the words "Run" and "Fun' echo one another which made me do a double take. The double take might just be me but regardless the echoing words read poorly. I would consider switching the "isn't fun" for "sucks." That's just a synonym I came up with on the spot so its probably not the best word but I felt it matches the parlance of the MC thus far. The removal of a word (isn't) also gives the statement more power by increasing its brevity.

In your third sentence you have, "I have seen movies where people on the run..." here the phrase "on the run" echoes with your previous use of it in the first sentence and read a little clunky to me because I know there's a specific word for this (fugitive.) It's not a large problem though and might be more appropriate for your MC's parlance than fugitive. Either way, I just wanted to state my thoughts on the matter.

Several sentences down you have, "... roach infested hotels with dark colored stains..." Here the word "colored" is unnecessary. There is no difference in meaning from "dark stains" to "dark-colored stains" and the latter adds a word thus slowing the momentum.

You have a typo in this sentence, "And I have dreamed about living and exciting, action-filled life more than once." the "and" in between "living" and "exciting" needs to be switched to an "an."

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Old Story Told  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
I really liked this, it had great rhythm and powerful emotion. I also liked the repetition of certain phrases, to an extent. The times where you repeated the same phrase twice and then again with a slight variation didn't mesh well IMO. The repetition of a phrase can have power (like your use of "Why is it always wrong?) but only if used correctly. The use of the same phrase twice/three times actually disrupted the rhythm because there was no progression in the momentum, it leaves the reader feeling ever so slightly trapped in that moment. And while that is an able simile for the purpose of this poem, its not the most enjoyable reading material.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you the best of luck :).
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Review of Dinu  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
The first half of this is a little rough, its lacks rhythm and flow. It might be because of the style you chose but, either way, it read a little discontinuous to me. The second half, though, reads well with a good flow and a nice word selection.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review of Quest  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I really liked this, you flow and rhyming are both excellent as is your pacing. The one line that I think could use a little change is "Day three will find a dark, bleak rhyme:" I think it might be the comma into the second description but I'm not certain, either way that was the one line I stumbled over while reading.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck :)
P.S Don't bother reviewing any of my stuff, I don't write poetry :p.
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Review of Gate 11A  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I liked this, Paul's mental process was interesting to watch unfold as well as his reactions to the very events. I also think the writing style you employed here worked well with the story. There was only twos thing that I noticed. The first was a tendency to use LY words (I can't think of their actual name at moment) which are often unnecessary and a little melodramatic.

Take the sentence, "Sitting depressingly by himself..." Here you don't need the depressingly. You indicated up above that he was lonesome and the phrase "by himself" alone is enough to give the impression of loneliness. Not all of you LYs are unnecessary and you don't use them that often, but there were a couple I would consider changing.

Tieing into that is the second thing, a tendency to overstate something. This was a little more prevalent but harder to pinpoint because some of its was Paul's character coming through into the prose, which I enjoyed. just to give you a could examples, "definitely his favorite" instead of just "favorite" and "way more" instead of just more.

Neither of these are hard suggestions, just merely things I would consider looking into.

I hope this review helps you in some way and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Dust  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
This had good flow and rhythm with a nice, varied word selection. I got a little confused, however, when you introduced the Herder. I feel like you switched scenes and characters without telling me. There's nothing wrong with the second half, it just feels like you took two separate, but similar, poems and strung them together.

I hope you find this review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review of I Fade  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
You succeed in conveying your emotions and inspiring empathy along with a sense of intimacy throughout this piece. Your prose is solid with a small, almost poetic rhythm, and a good selection of words.

I hope you find this review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review of Shaman's Trance  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
Some lines of this were really strong, the concluding phrases in particular, but the sharp dialogue and interruptions disrupted the flow causing for an unpleasant read. Besides that, your rhythm and word choice were all quite good. The occasional incomplete thought, while no doubt intentional, also disrupted the flow a little.

I hope you find this review helpful and wish you nothing but luck. :)
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I found this a very enjoyable read from the imagery to the prose to the conclusion. I particularly enjoyed the conclusion with the appearance of Docility. To manifest the Sins is always an interesting concept, but to contrast that with a manifesting of the Virtues was extremely enjoyable, and handled with superb grace.
There were two things I noticed as I read through, the first is that you misused Heinous. The first time is the more egregious of the two and really should be changed. I could accept your second use of it, but it was still not used with the exact definition in mind. Heinous is something unforgivably terrible. so while it can be used to describe a smile it's a small stretch.
The other thing was that you occasionally would subtly reiterate yourself. Take the bit of dialogue where Pierre is complaining about something (I tried finding it but couldn't) and then you say "Pierre complained." The dialogue tag itself it necessary, but using the "Complained" reads poorly because it was obvious he was complaining, so you saying it just read as pointless filler. There were a couple other times throughout this where you had a similar situation or telling the reader something that was blatantly evident.

I hope you find this review helpful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review of The Offer  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.0)
I'm just going to be writting thoughts as I come by them so some of them might be invalidated later on.

Let's start with the first line, "Gold emblazoned tapestries straddled the long and inviting welcome lobby of the hotel." there is very actually wrong with this, nothing concrete, but the problem I have with it is that there's too much going on. This is only a twelve-word sentence but you're presenting us with six or seven relevant details through it's duration which leads it to feel a little overstuffed and to trip over itself a little. I think some of it comes from the extraneous words "inviting" and "welcome." A Hotel lobby will almost always be inviting (that's part of their purpose) so to say it's inviting bogs the sentence down unnecessarily. The word "Welcoming" falls into the same context, a lobby is meant to welcome some into a hotel or business, it's very often the first room a visitor sees, so to call it a "welcoming lobby" is unnecessary, lobby alone will suffice.
(This is actually a consistent theme I noticed through the opening paragraph, a tendency toward slight wordiness.)

In the last sentence of the paragraph, you have, "just what reason he had no inclination." Here, I believe you used "inclination incorrectly. You're using it as a synonym for thought or hint but, while similar, it doesn't mean that. Inclination is the act of favoring something or physically leaning in one direction, it is a verb, here you're using it as a noun.

In the third paragraph you talk about how everyone in his small town was nice to him and gave him an incorrect view on people but this isn't really plausible. People are just as likely to be mean in a small town as in a city, especially when there's eighteen hundred of them. He can be naive, just not to that extent. Also, the concept that he could bring wealth to a small town is a little far fetched, maybe if he was a certifiable genius but even then I don't know. He would have to do something amazing and then die first so they can get that tourist money.

Still in the third paragraph you have the phrase, "he constantly thought everyone was in his best interest." I feel like this is either missing a word or has a typo. "Everyone being in his best interest" just reads off.

Several paragraphs down you have, "The man looked up, “Mr. Starcose”" here you have him looking up, but he was already looking at Remy. Also, the period would go inside of the quotation marks, not outside.

All right, in overview what you have here is somewhat interesting but its potential is weighed down by the wordiness and unnecessary prose which is pervasive throughout. Phrase like red blood (what other color is blood going to be?)and less obvious stuff like telling the reader everything when the circumstances alone would suffice (if Mr'Starcose is alone in a dark at what should have been a huge party then you don't need to call him mysterious or dangerous it's pretty evident.)

Besides that, you have a lot of backstory/ character exposition with Remy's history and Mr'Starcose's Socrates bit. These slow down the story and didn't really interest me; Remy's felt like you exposed upon it a little too much and that the emotion and purpose behind it could have been achieved in just a few lines. The Socrates bit just felt entirely irrelevant, yes it built up Starcose's character a little but it wasn't interesting so it didn't really add anything to him.

Finally, we have the conclusion. You have to be careful with ending like this because you risk leaving the reader unsatisfied (which unfortunately is what happens here.) We never really got connected with Remy, yes we knew his history but it was given to us in an information dump which never allowed us to emphasize with him. After that you have Mr.Starcose who is dark and mysterious, but we never really get to know him as an antagonist or a character which means we never get invested in liking/hating him. Thus, we have no real investment in your two main character's which means we never really become invested in the story or its conclusion, which left me unsatisfied at the end.

If would allow me to tender some suggestions I have two concerning your characters. First is Starcose, I would ease off on telling the readers he's a mysterious, dangerous individual. Let the setting, his presence and dialogue convey all of it. Let the readers experience the danger he brings instead of telling them they should fear him. Then, hint at what he intends, not enough to reveal it, just enough to invest them in the outcome.

As for Remy, the vast majority of his character is told to the reader through exposition and I would remove that. Have Remy show his character somehow and make it something they can root for. It hard to grow attached to Naive characters (unless it's a beautiful naivety) and harder when those characters come across as weak on top of that (Remy wimping out of college and then running away from home.) So, give them somebody to root for; he doesn't have to be perfect, but show them his better qualities before the eleventh hour. You can up the tension by giving him a grayish morality, a sense that he might go either way in the final decision. You do touch on that as he's making the decision, but it lacks weight because we have no history of the character wavering between "right and wrong." If you add the actual fear that he might choose wrong while contrasting that with the hope that he'll chose right you'll build a lot more tension and investment in the conclusion.

I hope this helps you in someway and wish you nothing but luck :).
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Review of The Benign  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (2.0)
So I didn't really like this, the words themselves were fine, but their composition was really grating for me. I don't know if you intended for them to be read that way, but the short sentences made the poem read incredibly jagged and ruined any rhythm the words themselves might have had. The meaning in the poem itself was nice, though, and a pleasant thought to consider.
I hope you find this review useful and wish you nothing but luck :).
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
I found this somewhat hard to rate because it evokes a strong sense of control from the author, always a good thing, but the opening paragraphs read a little dry. They were well constructed and used solid prose but consisted mostly of setting the scene which is generally uninteresting. At the same time, though, I recognize the necessity of setting the scene else wise the import of the terrace in later paragraphs will be lost.
After the midway point the story picks up and gains a subtle tension as the reader wonders if there's something sinister about the house, a question you never answer (which I like.) Something else I like the ending with it's mix of hope, questions and the uncertainty as to what exactly just happened and if the reader should be glad for it. Supporting that fact is the moral ambiguity of the MC's actions which are at once wrong (he's stealing a picture) but not immediately reprehensible because you almost get the feeling that the pictures are meant to be taken.
Beyond that, there were a couple places where your wording could be improved, just small things like better words and removing a little wordiness.
I hope you find this review useful and wish you nothing but luck :).
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