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276 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
The Haiku was nice, but I found the actual story you told above it more affecting.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
My personal opinion is that you didn't achieve the desired effect with this piece. The format you employed here is entirely reliant on the dialogue, but several of these lines didn't feel complete like they were missing a word or a phrase. I know that it's probably just a typo most of the time, but their absence still had a deleterious effect.
Beyond that, the dialogue didn't feel energetic, it had a very simple, somewhat boring pattern: she would ask something and he would explain it. There was no character in their dialogue, their personalities were entirely conveyed through you telling us in-between the lines of dialogue. This led to the dialogue feeling kind of flat because it had no real emotion. for a piece like this, the dialogue has to be able to stand on its own, to convey the emotion that drives it and to reveal the personality of the characters who speak it.
I hope you find this helpful and wish you nothing but luck in all your future endeavors. :)
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Review of Untitled  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I'll just be writing stuff as I find them so some of my comments might be invalidated late on.

In the first paragraph you have, "I saw nothing in the darkness in which I slept." here there is a slight echo of the "IN" and the which is a passive word. You can fix both of these by switch the sentence around a little to something like, "I saw nothing in the darkness that clothed/surrounded/enveloped me." Yes, you lose the sleeping, but you had her waking up so you don't need it.

In the next sentence you have, "I lay still, consciously recognizing the cold on my skin, the hard stone beneath my body, and hearing every minute sound." here you start a litany with the active verb "recognizing" but then break it by adding the "hearing" later on. By adding the second action you interrupt the reader's flow and diminish what had been a lovely sentence. I would suggest changing "hearing" to a descriptive "ING" like whispering ( "and the whispering of every minute sound" I know whispering and minute are a little iterative but I'm just spitballing to show you what I'm thinking.)

In the third paragraph you have, "Gentle lighting surrounded ups, lighting..." here the "lighting" echoes with itself and can be easily replaced with something like "illuminating." You also have the typo "ups" which I believe should be "us."

In the seventh paragraph you have, " deep within which seemed to..." here the two "WHs" stacked on top of one another echo a little.

In the ninth paragraph, you have, "...the stone. The words were so ancient..." here the "THEs" echo slightly. I think it'll read better if you replace the period with a semi-colon and remove the "the" and the "were" so you end up with something like, "...the stone; words so ancient he should not have been able to pronounce them."

In the twentieth paragraph, you have, "...know, I’m afraid,” he replied. “I don’t need you going after him." Here the "he replied" interrupts the flow of reading and the sentence might benefit from its removal. You don't need the dialogue tag because we know who's speaking and the tag itself adds no color to his words. The other thing I found disruptive was the "I'm afraid" it doesn't fit his personality up to now and he's not actually sorry. That type of phrase is basically an apology, but he just bound the MC into his servitude for the rest of his life; he has no reason to tell her anything in the first place.

In paragraph twenty-one you have, "I had decided that his cocky attitude did not require me to be polite." I think this is the wrong way to take you MC, this phrase indicates she's cautious of her new master, that she would be polite if it was appropriate but I think she's a much more compelling and interesting character if she's (for lack of a better word) a dick all the time. It's an unusual but vibrant character trait that suits her very well, so I wouldn't water it down at all.

In the twenty-second paragraph you have, " I shook my head, regarding him steadily with my most unnerving stare." here, everything after the "I shook my head" is telling and thus loses the impact you want. I think an active verb would serve you better like "glowered" or even "just stared at him" might work well also. You don't want to tell the reader what's going on, you want them to intuit it and to feel her anger because it will be much more intimate for them that way.

A general thing I've noticed is that you have a tendency to add dialogue tags where they aren't really needed. Dialogue tags are only necessary when it's uncertain who's speaking or in what tone they're using. You only have two character's thus far and her personality is very clear. Take this phrase for instance, ""I KNOW how it works,” I growled." here the "I growled" is unnecessary because the capitalize "I KNOW" indicates her aggression plus we know her personality and that she found the sound it made unpleasant. So the "I growled" doesn't really add anything to the narrative and slows it down by elucidating something the reader already recognized on their own.

In paragraph thirty-three you have him turning on an electric fire but up above he said he would build her a fire. This isn't a large discrepancy but I think his phrasing would change because to "build a fire" has a very specific meaning that won't really be subverted by colloquial speech. I think he would say more accurate like "I'll turn up the heat once we get there" or something.

In paragraph thirty-four you have, "When the man returned to the room, he was carrying a pair of fleece lined slippers, and a very warm looking housecoat" this phrase is passive when it doesn't have to be. if you replace the "was carrying" with a simple "carried" the phrase transitions from passive to active and reads stronger.

In the next sentence, you have, "Both were too big on me, as the overcoat had been,..." here the "as the overcoat had been" is unnecessary because we know it was too big (you stated as much.)

in the forty-fourth paragraph you have, "I spat the word at him, leaving no doubt about how much I despised it" here you don't need to elucidate on her emotions with the "leaving no doubt..." because you stated her distaste for it up above and then clearly showed it with how she spat the word at him.

In paragraph forty-five you have, "proper names,” he said. “What name..." here the "he said" is unnecessary because we know who's speaking. But, the pause in the dialogue it provides is appropriate because there would be a natural pause there if the dialogue was actually happening. Some this might be just because I don't like the way "said" reads in most situation but I would switch out the dialogue tag for a quick action like him leaning back or something. It's fine if you don't change it though.

That's the conclusion of my line by line; I didn't mention everything I noticed because I didn't want belabor any of my points or be nit-picky. On the whole I found this quite interesting with a lot of promise. You have an intriguing set up with her being his slave and something inhuman, and the bit with her being susceptible to the cold was very pleasing from an organic, world-building standpoint. The two character's you've presented us with a distinctive both from one another and in of themselves. They need a little polishing, though, so that their personalities can really shine forth and interact with one another.
As for the dialogue, it depends on what you're going for. For here, I feel a longer, more proper speech would be appropriate considering her age, though not with a medieval accent. Just stuff along the lines of "I am" instead of "I'm" and a generally more proper and considered speech pattern. (That's just my opinion and should not be taken as any other than such.)
His dialogue felt a little more off. I don't know the vibe you were trying to give him but it was a cross between ivy-league and more colloquial and humorous and they clashed. in this type of situation, a person's speech patterns would reflect their emotions and personality rather than their education. He has a more easy going personality so his speech would mirror that ( more "I'm" and other abbreviations rather than "I am.") It would go beyond just abbreviations, though, he would abbreviate his speech pattern as well. Instead of , "When we arrive, I will build a fire for you" it would be more like, "I'll build you a fire once we get there." Of course, if he is Ivy League then some of his word choices would stray toward the more high-brow but I can't really help you there. In general, though, his speech pattern would be very flowing and easy even with more advanced words.

I hope you find this review useful and wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. :D.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of CRAZY MAZE  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I really liked the beginning few lines, they had a wonderful dark aesthetic and a sense of building momentum. That momentum broke, however, when I got to the "aze" portion. I guess you were just trying to coincide with the title, but the lines lacked power and didn't sound good in my head. The pace and momentum picked up a little after that until I read the line "dark & big" and big just didn't sound, read, or rhyme well.
Your rhythm is a little jagged after them, sometimes it reads well and sometimes it doesn't. Occasionally it's because your lyrics need a little more space before the rhyming word because they echo one another too much.
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Review of The Burden  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hey, it's me, I'm back from the dead! I apologize for the wait.
Anyway, I really liked the conclusion to this piece bu the first two-thirds of its felt a little bland. I never really felt connected to Mariel or Bran or felt particularly interested in her mother's secret history.
Mostly I think that this story was just a little too large for a short story. Something like this really needs time to reach its full potential so you can make the readers question both sides and wonder which is the right choice while being invested in all parties.
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Review of The Hollow Keys  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
On the whole this was an interesting piece with a nice conclusion. I also really liked the title. I did, however, notice some small areas where it could use some improvement.
In the sentence "The monastery perched, like a bird of prey, waiting for a mouse to creep up." perched needs a little for description. Perched generally indicates height and that there's an edge but you mention neither of these which makes the sentence feel a little off and incomplete. You need to specify what the monastery is perched on.
The second bit that needs a little work is when he's entering the monastery and you describe it as he felt like he was being eaten. This description felt a little off and I found myslef asking why he felt like he was being eaten. You mentioned something about the jagged teeth about the ruins ( which is a very vauge description, where are these teeth protruding from?) but ruins are by their nature sedentary which makes the feeling of him being eaten by them a little off. Eating requires movement, obviously, but the monastery doesn't move at all and you never describe the entrance as mouth like beside a vague reference to jagged teeth, which makes the simile feel false.
the next sentence that feels off is "...and some were even stacked against the walls." Here the "some were even" is saying that cages stacked against the walls are something unusual and worthy of extra notice but that there were only a few of them. Bird cages stacked against a wall doesn't seem that unusual to me so I would probably remove the "even." The "some" is another word that I would consider changing. The image I had to that point, and the I still have, is that of a room filled with bird cages, almost overflowing. So the description of "some" ( "some" generally being a reference to a small number of objects from a much larger group)feel discordant with the mental image I had at that point. If this image is incorrect then I think you might want to rearrange the initial description of the room slightly.
The last point, though it's very small, that I felt was a little off the the "scent of rotten meat" Leif smells as he's entering. I don't have a problem with it being there, but with it going unremarked upon. I don't know where Leif is from (and that information is unnecessary) but if he's from the city/suburbs the smell of rotting flesh would probably make him balk or at least question what the smell was. If he's from the country ( where it's somewhat common to run across a dead animal) he wouldn't balk at it but he would still react differently than you have him doing. Instead of saying that he smelled rotten flesh the wording would be more along the lines of "it smelled liked something had died" or "the smell of a dead animal reached Leif." I know those are horrible suggestions I was just to say that a country would immediately equate the smell of rotting flesh with a dead animal and would think of it in that way. "Rotting flesh" is a very gothic/horror description (yes I know this is a horror story but Leif doesn't so his thought process would still be country boy-esque) and doesn't feel authentic. all that being said, this is a minute gripe and strictly refers to the vague intricacies of verbiage.
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Review of Story Maker  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I really enjoyed this, especially your descriptions and imagery. My favorite line is probably the one where he talks about storing previous victims/contestants in the books after he ran out of wall space.
There are three lines where I think it could use a little editing though. The first is, "He was about six and a half feet tall with dark, tangled hair, and a hungry build." I love the description "hungry build" but I don't actually know what you're trying to say.
The line is, "...he was either going to try to rape her or devour her whole." There's nothing technically wrong with this sentence, but I don't think rape is the correct word, it disrupts the aesthetic. Rape is such a human, such a worldly/pedestrian fear that it doesn't fit with a Dark Fantasy aesthetic. You want something dark and unearthly, the bespeaks of ghouls and ghosts, vampires and werewolves. Like I said, there nothing technically wrong with it, I just think the term doesn't fit as well as something else could.
The other thing, and my only true grievance, is the conclusion. I have no problem that she guess correctly, but the aftermath where she becomes a hugely successful Novelist is ever so slightly disappointing. You have a wonderful story with a lovely dark aesthetic that culminates in something entirely human. I feel like this deserve a more unearthly conclusion. I'm not saying that she has to die but there has to be more to it that her having all of her wishes granted for free because she guessed correctly.
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Review of Graveyard of Time  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
I like the concept and the opening lines, but after the first stanza/paragraph (forgive I don't know the technical name) it lacked some rhythm and flow. Some of this is probably because it felt like some words were missing ("some as fragile as a wrinkles of old woman" instead of "some as fragile as the wrinkles of an old woman") but that's not the entire reason.
In first paragraph/stanza you present us with a pattern ( the naming of two "somes") yet you abandon that pattern from the second paragraph onward. At the same time, the some's also echo one another, detracting from the "sound" of the words in the reader's head. This echo exists because you have a single line separating the initial "some" from the next (buried in the graveyard of time.) So the timing of the words is slightly off, at least for me, which further disrupts the rhythm.
The other thing I mentioned was flow. This is a poem, but it's still inherently a story must evolve in some way. This poem does not; the feel of every paragraph/stanza is the same as the last. The reader is left with the feeling like almost every paragraph/stanza is the same as the previous just worded differently.
The one line where there is change is the fourth paragraph/stanza but the change is so abrupt and so immediately differently from the previous lines that it further disrupts the reader. One moment your conveying sorrow and loneliness, the next it's gore, bloodshed and brutalized individuals.
I do like the final paragraph also; I feel that it offers a satisfying conclusion to the overall piece. That being said, it does feel a little lost; like a mix between another stanza and the conclusion without wholly being either.
I hope you find this useful, I'm still figuring out how to review poems.
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Review of Moirai  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.5)
This was good. It has a nice progression of emotion and emotions while simultaneously managing to convey all the necessary information about the current situation. The concluding sentence to main body of words perfectly encapsulates the thoughts I was experiencing in the process of the reading it and the countdown provides impetus towards the final, true, culmination.
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Review of Blacky  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
This was a nice little story. The largest inconsistency I noticed was Blacky's personality shift at the conclusion; previous to the concluding paragraph he/she was somber, depressed, and lonely but then he/she changes into mocking and triumphant at the final moment. This is just slightly discordant with his/her personality up to that point.
I hope this helps you in your future endeavors.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
The thing I liked best about this was how they both had a different concept of what happened; him seeing her as reversing quickly and her seeing the opposite. The thing I didn't like was that it wasn't really an argument; for me, an argument has to be more than three lines of dialogue. Both characters have to have the opportunity to state their points of view to one another and the conversation has to evolve as those points are stated.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I liked the swift, almost distant, style you used here. You also manage to convey a lot of emotion and a world of information despite the pace and scarcity of words which is to be commended. Finally, you have the conclusion which is at once joyous and subtly tragic. On the whole this was very nice.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hello, you read one of my chapters a couple weeks ago so I'm returning the favor.

This was quite enjoyable for the most part. You main protagonist had a clear and pleasant voice with strong characterization and your setting was both clearly defined and full of diverse, colorful life.
There are two areas that could use some improvement. The first is Shadowsteele; he was fairly monochromatic and didn't come across as interesting. Part of it may be because this is first chapter and I barely know him but I more inclined to think that it's because you put too much effort in making him seem powerful/cool. The best way to make a character seem powerful or threatening is to subtly understate it. You do this really well with having everything fall quiet and the mention that he runs the Rogues of Fyron. You loose it, however, when you starting using his physical actions to make him dangerous (the bracers and threatening the barman.) The first came across as a little melodramatic and the second was a little too classic/cliche of his character archetype.
The second thing, and the large one, is Asureles's fighting. You indicate very clearly that he is a skilled fighter throughout the chapter and you do it in such way that it's fun and feels authentic, This really sell his skill in fighting and build anticipation within the reader to see what he can do. Then you go and say "I attacked." All of that preparation, all of that anticipation and promise, and you did promise the reader that Asureles would have an awesome sword fight, and all we get is "I attacked." I would really suggest taking the time to write the fight and show us just how truly awesome of a fighter Asureles is. The other thing, even though it's a mild contradiction on what I just said, is that this fight is actually a slight Composition misstep. You hint at a cool detail in Asureles's fighting skill, and in so doing you make the readers a promise that he will have an awesome sword-fight at some point, and then make it feel authentic. This is Hook, a reason to keep the readers reading. You don't want to deliver on your promise immediately, you want to let the reader anticipate for a bit, you want to drop a few more hints, give them a taste here and there before finally completing your promise in a moment of power.
I hope this helps in someway.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Let me start by saying that your prose was mostly solid and just need some general tightening. One qualm that really needs fixing is your billing; you put this under fantasy and 13+ but it's closer to paranormal, as this is our world with such extra magical elements, and has adult situations which would bump it up another level.
Beyond those small things, you have to larger flaws that need to be addressed; the first of which is your choice to start out with a basketball game. Sports need investment to work, your have to be invested in the team and then players, to want them to win otherwise they're not interesting. As readers, we have no prior investment in the team you present us with and no investment in the protagonists which means we have no real interest in the outcome and it doesn't matter how nailbiting the game is, without that investment, it'll mean nothing to the reader. To clarify, and it just might be me, spent the first half of this segment waiting for something interesting to happen and I watch sports. You can cheat this sport rule by making a blood sport ( think hunger games) but even in hunger games the author took the time to build up and investment in the main protagonist so we would be invested in her winning.
My next qualm is very similar and it has to do with the drama. Drama only works if you take the time to build up prior investment, and you had no prior investment for when Emily and JJ started fighting. There was no tension because I don't know those characters, I don't know their story and I haven't developed a liking for either of them. Thus, most of the second segment was also me waiting for something interesting to happen.
My next gripes are fairly small; first is that you give us a hint of the magic in your world but it's fairly boring magic so it didn't wet my appetite for more. Magic is supposed to be amazing and if my first taste of your magic is something pedantic, like super strength/speed, it's going to undermine my confidence in your ability to build and interesting magic system. That's just a small thing, though, you undoubtedly have a much larger magic system behind the curtain.
The last thing is your ending chapter hook; this is a fantasy/paranormal book and your ending hook is Chaz interrupting the main character as he's about to have sex. I would suggest something a little more inline with the fantasy/paranormal aspect because that's this pieces main billing.
I know this might have come across as a little harsh so I apologize, I don't mean to deride you. i hope you find this helpful.
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
My first impression is that this progresses a little too quickly. Your rushing through events but your character don't seem to be in a hurry. I would like to see you take more time so the readers can really get familiar with your protagonists.
On a related note, I would consider writing the first chapter from a single viewpoint. By constantly switching so quickly you never let the reader settle down and get comfortable with either of your main protagonists.
Your descriptions are pretty good, I generally have a very clear picture of whatever you were describing. I also like the prospects offered by the desert setting, they have the potential for some pretty cool scenes.
The greatest problem, though, is your lack of a hook. You don't offer the reader much in the way of a plot besides Brett taking unnamed objects from the back of the Beast, probably bodies, and your characters aren't immediately interesting enough to hold the readers interest on their own.
Lastly, I would suggest capitalizing the Light and the Camp, as both are very specific items with proper names.
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Review of Aiden's Mammoth  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (2.5)
On the whole I didn't really care for this, I know its a short story but the main protagonist never struck me as compelling. Carrying on from that point, the prose was a little weak and you had a couple distracting typos. Lastly, and probably greatest flaw even though I know it's a short story, is the lack of originality. The concept of being caught in a game is common enough that you need more to differentiate it from its peers than the main protagonist being a child of seven. Second, you have the main character being addicted to gaming, but,again, this is something that most people will be very familiar with.
I hope this helps, though I doubt it will. :(
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
It was okay on the whole: you have a descent prose, but there are places where it could still be tightened, and your main protagonist sounds more american than British. Also, neither your characters or your descriptions really 'sparked' with me, though that might just be personal bias.
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