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Review Requests: OFF
531 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I generally give an overview of the item, then point out any corrections, suggestions or highlight favourite lines. I am a member of the Paper Doll Gang and a captain of the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group. See my reviews below for examples.
I'm good at...
Proofreading and catching typos, spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar.
Favorite Genres
Romance, fantasy
Least Favorite Genres
Horror
Favorite Item Types
Poetry.
Public Reviews
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51
51
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Laura Leary ,
I was browsing through your portfolio and found this wee gem. I adore witticisms like this, and as a parent, wow, I can definitely relate! *Laugh*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
This is a wonderful mix of parenting advice and personal experience. Some of the items on your list will be able to be applied to any child (particularly the first!), and others made me do a double take. I guess some of them were 'you had to be there' moments! I've certainly have my share of those too! *Rolling*


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
If you hear your children, in a mesmerized, whispered voice saying, "Wow, fire!" Run to them, it is probably not Scooby Doo and his pals sitting around a campfire.
This should all be one sentence, so use a lower case letter for 'run' (possibly with a comma after the speech mark). You could break it into two sentence with a full stop after 'run to them', but not after 'fire'.

You should never, ever put anything in your ear, expecting to be able to pull it out of your mouth, or any other orifice.
I think this needs another comma after 'ever'.

The head, or any other body part does not make an effective padding for falling weights equaling 70 pounds.
I think this needs another comma after 'part'.

*Don't blink, you might miss the opportunity to narrowly avert disaster, or at least the chance to laugh your belly sore!
I would remove the asterisk here. I don't see another one anywhere, and I think this sentence can stand alone just fine.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
If you tell your parents it is their lucky day, and then tape your mouth shut, it gives them ideas.
I loved most of them, but this one made me laugh out loud. I taped my kids' mouths shut one day (for a laugh, not because I was angry) and enjoyed the blissful silence until they demanded to be set free. *Laugh* They thought it was funny, but you're right, it totally gives you ideas. Luckily for our children, we're not mean enough to do it for real. *Smile*


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I have a similar list in my portfolio that you might get a chuckle out of - "Things I Have Learned Since I Became A Parent.... It seems every year I think of more items to add to it! *Laugh*

Thank you so much for the laugh, I needed one today.
Elle

Created for me by April!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
52
52
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi CJ Reddick ,

I hope you're enjoying all the birthday celebrations! There is so much happening around the site, but never fear, the blogging continues unchecked. *Bigsmile*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
First off, I love the core concept - that we are a group of friends who read and comment on each other's blogs. There's nothing cliquey about it though, as anyone is welcome to join. If we don't know them yet, they're a new friend! *Laugh* It's a wonderful idea though, creating friendships as we blog.

Your mission statement sums it all up nicely, and makes it appear both professional and welcoming.

The guarantee that a blogger will get at least one comment on their entry is a great incentive. Bloggers want readers, that's a fact. So this is definitely an incentive that not all the blogging groups on this site provide.

For someone like me, who blogs often, but not regularly (only blogging when a prompt inspires an entry or when I feel like I have something to say) I love that there is no minimum requirement for participation. My kind of group! *Laugh*

Your blogger of the week/month polls are great. I would strongly suggest that the polls themselves are actually done as polls and not surveys though, allowing anonymous voting, and greater visibility of the outcome. The incentive of potentially winning prizes is cool though.


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
It might be just my screen (because I don't use it full size) but the header images don't appear to be centered while the writing is. It looks a little awkward. It would be much smoother with the images centered as well.

In all the time I've been a member of the group, although admittedly I haven't answered many prompts yet, I never knew that it was compulsory to have the BCOF image on your blog. I think it's a rather unnecessary rule. I figure it's for advertising purposes, yes? I always link to the group that provides the prompt I'm writing to, which I think serves the same purpose. Perhaps you could say 'or provide a link to the group'? Maybe it's just me, because I'm not big on images. Anyway, it's a thought. I'm sure I never got told off for not having it when I answered a prompt, so presumably it's not a strict rule, or not enforced. Maybe it could be left out altogether?

Your page mentions regular monthly activities run by Lyndsay Rae. I know she has been absent from the site, but if you're not doing these activities, you might as well remove this note from your page.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
The prompts always arrive promptly *Smirk*, and they vary widely enough to appeal to anyone. With your incentives, your open welcome and your lack of a minimum participation requirement, this is a group that will work for anyone. Big thumbs up from me!
Elle

For PDG reviews
53
53
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Sparky ,
I found your poem at the "Invalid Item and wanted to drop by with a review.


*Burstp* GENERAL:
This is a complex poem, and although it flows well, I had to read it slowly (and more than once) to understand what you were saying. In the end, I interpreted it as taking a break from the mad rat race that we all work in, for a summer break, then returning to regular life at the end of that break. I can certainly identify with that idea. I can't wait for summer to return to our part of the world. I'm taking a month off work in December, and we're going away for two weeks over Christmas. I hope you'll get a lovely summer break too.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
This appears to be a form form poetry, with no set meter or line length, but it does have set rhyme scheme. It is AA BB CC all the way through except for the very first line which seems to stand alone. The only rhyme that didn't work for me was 'clamour' and 'drama'. It might be my Kiwi accent as opposed to your Aussie accent though. I say clamour as if it is 'clam or' and 'drama' as 'drah mah'. So the two words don't rhyme. That was the only hiccup for me though.

I find it interesting that you use a lot of short words, yet the poem has a smooth flow and a fast pace. I have a lot to learn about pacing in poems, but I thought lots of full stops would slow the poem down, but it didn't seem to. There did seem to be quite a bit of internal rhyme, such as morning and dawning in the 15th line. This definitely helps the flow too.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
I didn't notice any spelling errors, but there were a few words that had capital letters that didn't seem to need them. If I'm wrong, please ignore these points, but I wanted to point them out just in case.

Credit Cards.
Cards doesn't need a capital letter.

Forever Eternity Squared finally passes.
I wouldn't have thought that eternity or squared needed capital letters.

Also, this line seems to need a full stop at the end:
Summer fruit scattered across uncountable grains


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Sleep in morning. Breathtaking scene across the sea dawning. Sneeze.
This was my favourite line, and I don't think it's just because I'd love a sleep in! *Laugh* I also really loved the description of the surf as 'white noise'. I grew up being able to hear distant surf on clear, calm nights, and it really does have a wonderfully soothing 'white noise' effect.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thanks so much for sharing your poem, Rob. I found it quite interesting, and also a wonderful snapshot of modern life. Congratulations on coming second place in the contest.
Elle

For PDG reviews


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
54
54
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Carly - Merry Christmas! ,
I found your poem at the "Invalid Item and wanted to drop by with a quick review. *Smile*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
Your poem had a real sense of anticipation and wonder about it, which I loved, because that's exactly how I felt about the meteor showers. Sadly, I didn't get to see them as it is winter here and the clouds obstructed our views. I believe it wasn't as visible in the southern hemisphere either, meaning that 6am was the best time of day to see it, and even that was only on the edge of the horizon. No matter, there'll be more wonders to see another time, yeah? Even though I missed out on the show, your poem really takes me there. I love the emotion you've weaved into your poem, even more than the imagery. It makes me feel, which is a sign of a good poem. *Smile*


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
As best I can tell, being no expert, this is a free form poem. There is no set rhyme or meter.

I did find it interesting that you repeated a line.
waiting, waiting for the show to begin
The repetition of that line really amps up the anticipation, and almost puts me in mind of a kid practically jumping on the spot going 'Come on already!' *Laugh*

I love your use of figurative language where the dampness 'caresses' your skin. I would never have thought to use the word caress with dampness, and it gives it a more gentle, softer feel. It also makes me feel cold, because it's winter here and the last thing I want is to be damp! *Laugh*

I also liked that you noted that the streams of light were silent. It might seem an obvious thing, as meteor showers are general silent, but it gave a wonderful depth to the image.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
You don't seem to have been consistent with your punctuation. I do understand that punctuation is a poet's prerogative and so these are merely my opinion and you need not take note of them if you have used your punctuation deliberately to pace your poem. I just wanted to point out what felt like 'errors' to me.

I lay down upon the cool, hard ground
This line feels like it needs a comma at the end before it moves on to the next.

waiting, waiting for the show to begin
This line needs a full stop as the next line seems to start a new sentence.
Also, this is the only line where you haven't started with an upper case letter.

and holds the world still
This line seems to need a comma (or even a full stop) before the waiting begins on the next line.

Then light streaks across the blackened depths
This line seems to need a comma at the end.

Zinging across the celestial heavens
This line seems to need a comma or full stop at the end.

Breathtakingly awesome
This line seems to need a full stop.

Yet also so connected
This line seems to need a full stop.

I know I don't sound very confident with 'seems to', but as I say, punctuation is a poet's prerogative. If you read the lines as a paragraph, not a poem, the punctuation seems obvious, but it's not a paragraph, it's a poem. *Facepalm* So yes, those are my suggestions.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
The peace and tranquility of the midnight hour descends
and holds the world still

I love the idea of the midnight hour holding the world still. Brilliant.

Silent streams of bright, white
Zinging across the celestial heavens

These are such visual, intense lines. Love them.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thank you so much for sharing your meteor shower experience with me. *Smile* And congratulations on your win in the poetry contest, well deserved.
Elle

For PDG reviews


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
55
55
Review of Liar  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi alittletoolate,
I saw that you were attempting to write prose poetry for Darleen's "Night & Day Poetic Prose Contest, so I thought I'd read it and send a review. I must stress that prose poetry is NOT something I have any expertise in. I'm honestly still trying to figure out what prose poetry IS, so I can't comment on that side of it. But hopefully I can give some feedback that may be of help. *shrugs*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
So the item (do you call it a poem or a story? It's kind of both, right?) is about a woman who has ended up on a park bench, alone, and it sort of speaks about how she got there, but in an abstract way. No details, just a sort of musing.

The mood is quite contemplative. She discusses blame and the idea that she is responsible for her own predicament, but it doesn't feel like a lightbulb moment, like an epiphany. It also doesn't feel bitter or resentful. Quite soft and accepting. A gentle read in a way, although it incorporates some darker themes and speaks of suffering. There is some sadness, but it's not as violent as despair. Maybe more like resignation?


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
Obviously, as this is prose poetry, there are no line breaks as such. I do like the way you aren't afraid to have a single line stand alone as a paragraph though, which gives it greater weight. One paragraph was only a single word. It works really well, especially mixed with longer paragraphs as we might expect with prose.

When she sleeps she slips through the bars of her cell, something created of her own errors; horrors that are hers and hers alone.
I love the way her fears have been made literal by use of a metaphor here, as bars on a prison cell. And she escapes them at night. This is such a brilliant, clever line. I really love it. Fantastic.

You use alliteration quite a bit, which helps the flow of the piece. 'Cold and calculating', 'sit and suffer', 'she sleeps she slips', 'horrors that are hers' 'shivering in the summer', etc.

Repetition works well too - 'a single night, a single lie, a single person who has skimmed through her', 'for another night, another week, another amount of time', 'she barely noticed. She was barely aware'.

A little internal rhyme too - 'good and right and light'. The alliteration, repetition and rhyme all add depth to the piece but more importantly help the piece flow well.


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
She just remembers the times in between when, sleeping on the bare strips of wood, shivering in the summer and getting lost in the fog of winter.
You say she remembers the times in between when... When what? You never finish that thought. It'd make more sense without the word when, with just her remembering the times in between.

ruin the nature's hard work
I think this would sound better with 'the'. Just 'ruin nature's hard work'.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
She grew icicles on her arms and spider-webs spread over her sides, fine strands of ice and web that covered her completely as time passed.
I just love that line. So vivid and visual. Delicate too. Beautiful.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I really enjoyed reading this. It was a little sad, but beautiful too. To me, despite me lack of understanding of poetic prose, it felt poetic. That's where the beauty came from, the imagery. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing!
Elle

** Image ID #1739575 Unavailable **


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
56
56
Review of Music to write to  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Robyn,
I stumbled across this list while looking for music-themed items to review for "a very Wodehouse challenge. How had I not seen it before? *Confused*

I loved your introduction, especially the part about recommending music being like buying shoes for someone else. *Laugh* That is so true! Music is such a personal thing.

I also agreed with what you said about music 'sparking ideas, pushing us through difficult scenes' and 'helping to stoke the emotional fires of our characters'. All that, and it can just help to calm your mind so the writing flows more easily, blocking out distractions.

I don't necessarily agree that music with lyrics can't work. I find that if I'm writing short stories I can't have lyrics, but for poetry the lyrics help. I don't take whole lines, but random words pop out and me, and sometimes I'll use the word I hear, or it'll rattle around in my head until it becomes something else entirely. So once again, it's entirely subjective. I think it's harder for people to find really good instrumental though, so I think this is a valuable list. Most people already have playlists of songs with lyrics.

I love that you included gaming soundtracks. Most people are familiar with the idea of movie soundtracks I think (or I was, anyway!) but if you're not a gamer, then gaming soundtracks are not as easy to know about or identify. I think it's great that you've specified a whole bunch for people to check out.

Interesting, I don't know the soundtracks for any of the TV shows you listed, although I am familiar with the main Dr Who theme song (who isn't?). I don't watch much TV, so I'd be interested to listen to these.

I thought the last two suggestions were interesting. It wasn't clear at first that Immediate Music was the name of a company, not a type of music. I think it's probably worth adding that. It becomes clearer when you talk about Epic Score, but it does get a little confusing. Your very last sentence needs a full stop too.

Thank you so much for this list. I think what I'm going to do is put them all into one whopping great 'writing playlist' and slowly listen to them all! {e;bigsmile} Again, thanks for sharing.
Elle

** Image ID #1739575 Unavailable **


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
57
57
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Diane,
This contest has been on my 'to do' list to enter, especially after last round I mucked up my entry (by submitting it while set on 'private' so the judges couldn't read it, then editing it post-deadline so they could *Facepalm*). So I wanted to stop by and leave a review for you.


*Burstp* GENERAL:
The title is catchy and appropriate. The short description also grabs attention, but doesn't alert members at first as to whether they will be required to write stories, poems or have a choice of either. This may be because this may change from round to round, I'm not sure. I'm sure the last round was also stories.

Your genre choices are perfect, as one would expect from a staff member. *Smile*

The image is very good, and works well as both a cover image and a title. The fine print is lost when it is used as a cover image, but it is repeated in the title, so that's nothing to worry about.

There are a lot of members on this site who connect their writing very heavily with music, and a number of the authors I follow on Facebook talk about the soundtracks they use for various books, etc, so it is certainly something that I would expect to appeal to a large number of members.

The judges are listed, and you add extra information to make it clear what will happen if one judge can't complete their judging for any reason.


*Burstp* RULES:
Your rules are very simple and clearly laid out. No misinterpretation possible, I wouldn't think. You've got the word count, the deadline, when editing will be allowed, etc. Looks good. You've also made the paid membership requirements very clear.

I have never understood why a word count might be required for a contest entry, but I remember someone telling me once that if someone can't follow simple instructions (rules) then they'll never get their work seen by a publisher. Publishers have so many requests come across their desks each day they throw out any that didn't follow the rules. So if that's the intent here, to teach people to follow simple rules, then I suppose I can understand that. But truly, I don't see the point in requiring them to add the word count. What do you or the judges gain from it?


*Burstp* PRIZES:
The prizes are fabulous, as one has come to expect from official Writing.com contests. I think it would be nice to have the merit badge linked so people can see it, but that's just personal preference.

You don't mention what happens if you only get a few entries, so one assumes that if you only have three entires, they will all receive one of the three prizes. If that's not the case, this definitely needs to be made clearer.


*Burstp* PROMPTS:
You've credited the prompt to Andrew , and the link works well. I can't say how well the genre of music will appeal to all members, but I definitely understand the need to have original music and it's pretty incredible that you can do so. The beauty of classical music is that there are no lyrics, so it is entirely open to interpretation which means your entries should vary a lot. I'm not sure how exactly you can tell that a story has been inspired by the prompt and not just written without ever listening to the music though. Have you ever read an entry and thought 'This wasn't inspired by the prompt'?


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
The survey fields are all clear and there is little open to interpretation. On the whole, it's a fun idea for a contest, and one I look forward to entering again. Thanks so much for hosting this, Diane!
Elle

** Image ID #1739575 Unavailable **
58
58
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
House Hightower image for G.o.T.

Hi Smitty,
Before I start my review, I must congratulate you on winning first prize in "The Littlest Poetry Contest with this poem. *Bigsmile* I certainly appreciate you taking the time to enter, as the kids are having great fun acting as judges. It is a good learning experience for them too.


*Burstp* GENERAL:
This is a really simple and cute children's poem. It is a pleasure to read aloud, and has all the rhythm of the original. I love that your animals are given human names, and the descriptions of them are quite enjoyable.

I really like the way you add questions for the children to think about after they've read the poem. How many walked on two legs? How many had paws? *Smile*


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
I'm not sure if there is a name to this type of form, but to my uneducated eye, it is a series of rhyming couplets. But, with no gap between couplets. Does that make sense? *Confused*

The rhymes all work well. They're all relatively simple rhymes that children will easily understand.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
The turkey trotted all around. Was known just as Hank.
The second sentence in this line feels a bit too fragmented. Perhaps you could join these two together as something like 'The turkey who trotted round was simply known as Frank.' I think that works with your rhythm, but that's just a simple attempt while working on a review, so forgive me if it doesn't work! I do think this could be improved just a bit by combining these two sentences.

The pot bellied pig who snorted when laughing, is the one she called Frank.
I don't think this sentence needs a comma. I'm no comma-expert, so I could be wrong, but that's my thought.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
The pot bellied pig who snorted when laughing, is the one she called Frank.
The idea of a fat little pig who snorts when he laugh is just adorable.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thank you for supporting the kids by entering their contest. This was a really fun poem to read, and a well deserved win in the contest. *Smile*
Elle

Image #1739575 over display limit. -?-


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
59
59
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
House Hightower image for G.o.T.

Hi Kiya,
As with all really personal items and tributes, it is very hard to review this item, but equally it is important to recognise all the work and effort you have put into it.


*Burstp* GENERAL:
The header image you've used at the top of the item is very cute. As we have come to expect from your artistic work, the fonts, etc all work perfectly with the image. I did wonder if it's a bit..cute? for the purpose which is entirely serious, but I think we don't want the page to be depressing, rather a positive tribute, so on reflection, I think the image works fine.

I like that your introduction is well spaced and not overly wordy. I also like that you've used the doves to break up the spacing. It helps avoid the page becoming a big block of text and keeps it visually appealing. *Thumbsup*

I think the layout works well, and I really like the fact that people can add comments and these will be added to the memorials. This is an interactive site and an interactive memorial. Perfect.


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
I love the fact that you've used dropnotes, which again helps to avoid cluttering the page. It also means if someone is looking for someone specific, it is easier and faster for them to find that person. However, I do note that sometimes you haven't finished the dropnotes correctly so the next user is hidden within the current dropnote.

Specifically - PETTIECOOL 's dropnote covers Ramblin Rose so that Ramblin Rose can't be seen unless you click on Pettiecool. And the same with VerySara - her dropnote covers Spongebob Squarepants who doesn't show up until you click on Very Sara's dropnote.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Kiya, this is a wonderful service you provide for this site. I wholeheartedly applaud you. Other than a couple of minor errors in Writing ML, this is really great, and I think it fully deserves the five stars I give it.
Thank you so much for doing this for all of us.
Elle

Image #1739575 over display limit. -?-
60
60
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Mumsy,
As someone who spends a lot of time online and has a lot of internet-only friends, I was intrigued by the title and short description for this item and had to check it out.

*Burstp* GENERAL:
This is going to be a much less organised review than my typical ones. When I was reading this, I lost sight of any grammatical or spelling errors (I have no idea if there are any or not) and instead I was completely drawn into the story you were telling. Oh, how I can relate! So this review is more along the lines of an emotional response to what you wrote and to let you know how one reader was touched by your tale, rather than a technical response.

Despite the title and short description, I didn't really have any expectations in mind when I started reading. The more you told me about your friend though, the more tense I became, waiting for disaster to strike. I'm still not sure if that's due to your skillful writing or merely because I have had encounters too similar myself and thus I had begun to heed the signs. Let's call it skillful writing. *Laugh*

I thought your description of your frantic screaming and banging at the keys was very visual and vivid. I could almost see you panicking. The fact that your husband rushed in tells me that you were genuinely freaking out too. I know just how that feels.

I know a review isn't necessarily the right place to share such an experience, but the reason your item hit so close to home is because of two experiences I've had, both different in their own ways, but with definite similarities to what you went through.

I had a friend in real life whose girlfriend got pregnant. Her mother took custody of the baby, for some reason I still don't understand today. The girlfriend left him and he got depressed. He rang me late one night, crying, and I called my brother-in-law to come and babysit (in the middle of the night!) and my husband drove me to see him. I spent a few hours calming him down and he was okay, but I remember saying to my husband on the drive home 'He's going to commit suicide, I just know it. And I don't know what I can do to stop him.' He was already seeing a doctor for the depression, so he was getting professional help, and he had a large family (6 siblings) who knew. So what I could do other than be there when he needed me? A week later I was at work when I got a call from the girlfriend's mother. He'd texted the girlfriend and told her he'd overdosed on sleeping tablets and was going to drive to his mother's house and that would be the end of him. The girlfriend (ex-girlfriend I suppose) was freaking and the mother was obviously clueless as she rang me. *Rolleyes* I rang 111 (our emergency number, similar to your 911). I told them the situation and they worked with me to find his mother's address (which I didn't know, but I knew the name of the business she owned). It turned out she'd been home when he arrived and had also called an ambulance. He survived and I made him promise me (for whatever that was worth) never to try again. He got back with the girlfriend and they had another baby. The girlfriend thanked me but didn't like me (I think she was jealous because I dated him for a while, years before I met hubby) and we lost contact. I know they're still together though, so he obviously didn't try again.

Okay, second story. Almost identical to yours in every way except instead of trying to commit suicide, his best friend did. He fell apart, and had a mental breakdown. He was here on Writing.com and he left the site, deleting his account. I had an offsite email address which we corresponded through for a while. I was really worried about him and it even disturbed my sleep, you know? Just...worrying. Anyway, he stopped emailing and the email address was deleted. I had no idea what had happened and feared the worst. The agony was the not knowing. *Sad* It wasn't until some time later that I discovered that none of it was real. Not one bit of it. He was a troll - he was just making it all up for some reason I don't understand. He would create a Writing.com account with a fake name, fake personality and then a fake traumatic experience and suck people like me in. Guess what? He got me TWICE. It was only after the second time that I discovered that none of it was true either time. So unbelievably hurtful.

Now I hesitate to get involved, and I hate that. As you say, we've saved lives by believing that we could make a difference even though we weren't on the scene. And people like that troll take advantage of us. Argh! *Angry*



*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
This did have a strong emotional impact on me. I'm so glad you were able to be there for your friend. I'm glad she survived and went on to find happiness. That not only gave her something, but gave you something too as you now have proof of the true and real difference you can make in someone's life. That's a powerful thing. I'm glad you shared this, not only because I reacted so strongly to it, but because someone might read it and one day find themselves in a similar situation and act... Maybe it'll just be a stupid troll, but maybe they'll save a life. So I think it's worth sharing and I hope one day someone does write a review of this piece and say 'Hey, because I read this, I was able to do something similar.' *Smile*
Elle

Image #2039493 over display limit. -?-
61
61
Review of One Little Toad  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Mumsy,
I was browsing through your portfolio as part of the Game of Thrones activity and found this wee children's poem. I know you entered it into "The Littlest Poetry Contest, and I appreciate that. The kids are having such fun judging the contest, and I hope you'll enter again. In the meantime I wanted to let you know my thoughts on it (bearing in mind I was not a judge and had no say in the contest!). *Bigsmile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
This poem is very simple, which will appeal to children, especially younger children. The counting aspect of it will appeal to both children and parents who are trying to teach young children to count.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
Although I don't think this is a prescribed poetry form, there is a definite rhythm and an obvious rhyme pattern. Each line contains either nine or ten syllables, with the second half of each line (after the comma) always containing five syllables. The rhyme is internal, with the last word in each line rhyming with the word that falls just before the comma in each line. This works really well and will appeal to children.


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
I noticed that one of the lines has eleven syllables (line eight, about the llamas) but it doesn't detract, so I wouldn't worry about it.

I think the key to improving this poem (and do bear in mind that it is just a suggestion, you can take it or leave it) is the connecting rhymes. While the actual rhyming is fine, the things you choose to rhyme are sometimes more confusing. Okay, maybe just one. Mice slipping on ice? *Confused* Maybe it's just because we don't get ice here in Auckland, as our temperature is very moderate. Do mice walk on ice? I can't even imagine it. There's a whole other concept for a poem, story or movie right there! *Laugh* But it did make me pause and go 'Whaaaat?' *Rolleyes* So yeah, unless it's just some cultural (regional?) misunderstanding on my part, I think that line could be better.

I know you've deliberately avoided punctuation except for the comma in each line (at least, I assume it's deliberate!) but I do think this would be stronger with proper sentences, ie full stops at the end of each line.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Two little flowers, in the rain showers
Three little seeds, turning into weeds

I love the imagery these two lines evoke - adorable wee flowers getting drenched in a shower of rain, and then some seeds that don't turn into adorable wee flowers at all, but weeds! *Laugh*


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thank you for not only sharing this fun wee poem, but also for entering it into the kids' poetry contest. I enjoyed it. *Smile*
Elle

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Review of Notable quotables  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Mumsy!
I just could not resist reviewing this after I found it.

*Burstp* GENERAL:
I was intrguide by the idea that you had compiled a book just of your son's quotes. I record all the funny things my kids say too, and have considered compiling them all in one place before but have yet to do it. Having laughed my butt off at yours, I think I should. *Bigsmile* This was amusing and cheerful and I'm really glad I discovered it.

Your title is perfect. The little snippets you include are indeed notable and quotable, and it lets the reader know what to expect.

The short description gives more info - that these will be quotes from your son, but I got a little confused with the 'will someday be a writer' part. I really wasn't sure how his writing aspirations fit into this. It seemed more along the lines of the funny things all kids say as they're exploring the world around them, but maybe I'm missing something? Maybe he's deliberately making himself MORE quotable because he wants to be noteworthy? In which case it makes sense, but you maybe need to expand on this in the book intro.

The book intro is extremely brief. You don't give us any indication of his age, or why he's called Monkey, which are my first two questions. You could also add in the relation to the writing aspirations here. A picture would work well if you have an upgraded membership - not of your son necessarily, but more like a blog header. Something to draw the eye and catch attention.


*Burstp* ENTRIES:
Some of the entries might be a case of 'you had to be there' or perhaps inside jokes that are only funny to those that understand them (I'm aware that I not only don't know your son but I don't have an American sense of humour or a knowledge of American daily life to assist me). However, most of the entries contain simple, funny humour that will appeal to both kids and adults. I loved the creation of 'purpink' and it was perfect that you supplemented it with your own experience of creating a colour. I am both curious and wary of knowing what colour lavatory might be! *Laugh*

I like that you add your own little comments after the quotes like 'I dunno . . . magic perhaps?' and even the titles of the entries like 'Power of suggestion?' add to helping us put the quote into perspective and give it a setting which makes it more humourous.


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Apart from the comments I've already made regarding the intro, I would suggest that you don't need to add your signature image to each entry. When someone is reading the blog as a whole, they get this repeated over and over again. I think the entries would be better without the signature image.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thanks for sharing these hilarious quotes. *Bigsmile* They genuinely cheered me up this morning. My biggest request in terms of a suggestion would be 'Please update again! *Laugh* I will definitely be checking back to see what else your son has to say. Thank you so much for sharing these!
Elle

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63
Review of A thought...  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Sapph,
I'm having great fun browsing through your poetry. *Bigsmile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
I love, love, LOVE this poem. It appeals to the writer in me, to the girl who collects journals and dreams of filling them with thoughts and dreams. This poem is just...me. *Laugh* I suppose it's no surprise to find that kind of connection on a site full of writers, but I really do love this poem.

The poem speaks of a book, but doesn't tell us what book. We are left to imagine, but because it is going to catch all these things you mention, I think it must be a journal. Or is it just because I adore journals and can't stop buying them? *Laugh*


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
This is a free form poem, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. It starts off with short thoughts that move the pace along quite quickly, but slows down and dawdles towards the end. Don't get me wrong though, I love that. It is perfect for the mood and theme of the poem. And what might that be, you ask?

I think the mood of the poem is thoughtful and maybe even wistful. There are no strong emotions, even though you mention 'rage' and 'destruction', you balance that with words like 'ramble' and 'slowly'. And although it's quite punchy at the beginning, those longer lines help give us the idea that you are in fact rambling and that helps us feel like we're listening to you think aloud, or perhaps more accurately, like we're getting a sneak look in your head as you purchase, choose or perhaps just think on this book.

I love the use of the tides to symbolise the 'washing away' of your negative emotions. Very symbolic, very visual, well done.

I also like the use of light and dark to symbolise your positive and negative emotions. This is pretty classic, but your readers will connect with it, and indeed it is so common they'll accept it without question, without maybe even realising what you've done because it feels so natural.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
a passing moment;
This book shall catch

You don't use a capital letter after a semicolon, so 'This' should start with a lower case letter.

and destruction;
The three that swallow

Here too - after the semicolon 'The' should start with a lower case letter.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
A sketch, a thought,
a passing moment;

I love the idea of capturing a passing moment. The idea of sketches alongside words in a journal is always satisfying too (especially for someone like me who can't draw to save herself!).

and ramble, and
not be judged.

I really like this too, because I'm a rambler *Blush* and I think it's really important that anyone can write in their own journal without restriction, without having to hold back for fear of what others might think.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I really loved this poem, Sapph. It spoke to me. *Smile* Maybe I can steal it and write in the front of one of my journals? *Pthb*

Thank you for sharing this, it made my night to discover it.
Elle

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Review of Silence  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Rhyanna,
Here is the third of the three reviews I'll be doing today as part of the Game of Thrones activity. It has been interesting delving through your portfolio, and I hope my reviews have been of some assistance.

*Burstp* GENERAL:
You note this as 'free association' and have filed it as 'other', which makes it difficult for readers to know exactly what to expect when they open it. I was anticipating that you had started with a single word - silence - and then written everything that came to mind on that subject. I admit, I was surprised to see the item was quite short, but that's just my personal expectation, and no judgement on the actual piece.

I am curious if this was an exercise for a class or because you were having trouble coming up with ideas for poetry/stories, etc. What inspired you to write this piece? I'm also curious to know if it is complete, if you intend to ever edit it, work on it, or whether it will eventually become a poem or short story. If you never intend to work on it, reviews are probably a bit redundant, but as we don't know, and it is available for review, I do hope you get something worthwhile from the feedback.

The piece starts off with a dark, moody tone, then lifts a little towards the end. Words like 'barriers', 'scattered', 'dust', and especially 'false' add to this. I also loved the 'slow drip' which puts me in mind of horror movies. It is the word 'tranquility' that most lifts the tone towards the end, even though you follow that with the suggestion that the tranquility won't be granted. You use 'gentle' too which adds to the softer tone.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
There appears to be no form to this piece whatsoever. I do think it has the potential to be a wonderful poem if you were so inclined as to go in that direction with it. A little rearranging and I think it could be quite powerful as a free form poem.

I love the way you have taken intangible things like satisfaction, one's soul, thoughts, and even silence, and given them substance. You say the silence has shadows, the satisfaction drips, the thoughts lay like dust and the soul is carried by a breeze. Fantastic. I love all of that!


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
The slow drip of satisfaction competes with the scattered thoughts that lay like dust upon an open mind.
I love everything about this line. The slow drip of satisfaction and the dusty thoughts. Brilliant!


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I like this as it is, and you might note that I've given it four stars out of five, but I do think it could be even more powerful if you take this and create a poem or similar with it. It feels like beginning of something amazing. I also think you'll find a greater audience if you make better use of the categories available to you and currently this is probably prose, and that would be better than 'other' as it is currently.

I enjoyed reading this, and it will linger in my mind for a time as I savour the way you've given insubstantial concepts a tangible, concrete substance. *Smile* Thanks for sharing!
Elle

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65
Review of The Question  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Rhyanna,
I'm back with another review as part of the Game of Thrones activity. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
At first I found this prose quite confusing - the young man was obviously leaving, but why? And where? And why was she pleading with God instead of the young man who was going to leave? Or his parents? What was the situation? The only clue came after I had finished reading it, when I just happened to notice that one of the genres you had selected for this item was 'war'. *Idea* Okay, so that makes a lot more sense. The young man is going to war, and the writer is pleading with God not to take him. Yeah, that makes a lot more sense. I think a lot of people will miss that small detail, and it really does make a huge difference to the interpretation of the piece, so can I suggest that you either add it in to the introduction (the subtitle?) somewhere, or make a note within the body of the piece? Otherwise, another option would be to edit the piece and somewhere work the idea/theme of war into the actual prose in some way.

The tone of the piece is desperation and I think you manage to achieve that really well. It does come across a little whiny, but I suspect that if I had known that it was about war when I first read it, I might not have thought that it was whiny. *Blush* Certainly we all understand about the desperation that war can bring to a couple who are being separated.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
This is noted as prose, but I always believed that prose was written in whole sentences without the line breaks of poetry. So to me this feels more like free form poetry, but I am happy to be corrected on that point as I am still quite unfamiliar with prose in general.

You use a simile to compare the young man's face to a sunrise. I have to admit, my mind can't quite understand that. I appreciate that it was blindingly, or mesmerisingly beautiful like a sunrise, but I still struggle to compare a face to a sunrise. I have this image in my head of his face emitting light, which is probably not quite right! *Laugh* You specifically mention the array of colours in the sunrise too, and I'm a little confused how that relates to his face. I don't think it was your intention to suggest that his face was colourful, but that's how it comes across.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
For as he stepped in upon the moonlight,
This is a little awkward, suggesting that he both stepped in and stepped on the moonlight at once. One or the other would be better and I think 'stepped in' would work best.

It was spell binding beautiful,
You can say that something was spellbinding (one word by the way) or that it was beautiful, but not spellbinding beautiful. That like saying it was pretty beautiful or cute beautiful. The words don't work together. If you add 'ly' to the end of spellbinding, it works - spellbindingly beautiful. That's like prettily beautiful. I do think it's a little overkill to have both together thoug - spellbinding on its own is sufficient, but if you want to use both, then you'll need to add the 'ly'.

Each moment she encountered in his presence she prayed for for thanks.
You have two 'for's in there, one at the end of the line and one at the beginning. You only need one.
Also, she is praying for thanks. So she is praying that someone (God?) will thank her? Why, what did she do that deserves thanks? I suspect that you meant to say instead that she GIVES thanks, not prays for thanks.

He held within his palms,
You don't need a comma there, although with poetry (and prose?) this is always the poet's prerogative, so please disregard if you are using the comma to control the pace of the piece.

how their's could never be betrayed.
You don't need an apostrophe with theirs.

that, I can promise.
You don't need a comma after that, although again, this is the poet's prerogative in such writing.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thank you for sharing this piece, Rhyanna. I think you captured the desperation, the agony of impending loss, and the pleading that so many women must have done with God when their loved ones left for war. I do think it needs some work to make the subject clearer, and to tidy up a few grammatical errors, but it has huge potential, and I do hope you work on it. *Smile* Thanks for sharing!
Elle

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Review of The Answers  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Rhyanna,
I'm reviewing your poem as part of Writing.com's Game of Thrones activity. It is a pleasure to be able to come and explore your portfolio.

*Burstp* GENERAL:
This poem has a very light, loving tone to it. Words like 'peaceful', 'calming', 'song', 'hope' and 'faith' add to this mood and it works really well. It is always a pleasure to read poetry that feels uplifting and peaceful, and it makes a lovely change from reading some of the darker poetry that is out there.

You note that this poem was written for your husband, when he moved countries by himself. There is no mention if you were to follow him or not, but the information does help us as readers put the poem into perspective and help us to understand what you're trying to say. The poem contains a list of instructions, and they're all ways that you believe your husband can find peace and happy on his own in this new, unfamiliar land. There are positive commands - listen, dance, hear, surrender - and also negative commands - do not doubt, do not fear. This mix of positive and negative provides an interesting balance and avoids you falling into the habit of a too-sweet repetition that might detract from the poem.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
This appears to be a free form poem, with no set meter or rhyme scheme. For the most parts, the lines appear to be roughly the same length (visually speaking) except for the last line which is a single word. I find it interesting that you broke the line here and kept just a single word separate. It doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the poem, and I'm curious as to what inspired you to make that decision. It does put a lot of emphasis on that final word, and really hammers home to the reader that this poem is for 'you' (the husband). It is not an airy fairy letter to the world in general, it is specific, and written only for him, for the 'you' that you address. So although I note that I find it a little odd and interesting, you could also say that I think it works in terms of that additional emphasis. It's certainly not wrong, and any line breaks are always the poet's prerogative, but yeah, it is interesting.

You do use some darker words, which I think again help prevent this poem from becoming a little too sickly sweet. 'Howls' and 'shadows' in particular suggest a darkness that might await your husband in the unknown land he ventures into, but the way the poem is written, you turn those negatives into positives, and I think that speaks for the intention of the poem as a whole - it was about getting your husband to look for the good in all the new uncertainties he would encounter. Fantastic.

There is a level of personification in this poem which I love. The ocean lures him, the wind howls, the shadows speak of the past and the bird sings of hope and faith. I love that. It's quite enchanting.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
Do not fear that there is certainty of the future,
I'm a little baffled why someone might fear the certainty of the future, and wonder if you perhaps meant uncertainty rather than certainty.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Listen to the calming voice which howls through the trees,
for it speaks of the unknown answers.

I really love these lines. How does a calm voice howl? How does it speak of unknown answers? It is quite beautifully confusing. Wonderful.

I love the dancing with shadows sentence too which is an enchanting visual.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I really liked this poem, Rhyanna. It was positive, it contained beautiful imagery, and it had a message. I can imagine your husband really appreciated it. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Elle

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Review of Beyond Caring  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
A dragon reading a book by candle light

Hi Nixie,
I'm reviewing this item for the Power raid. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
Sometimes it is our strongest feelings that are hardest to put into words. It can be easy enough to write an ode to a summer's picnic or a rant about a bad day at work. But our deepest, strongest feelings have a way of tying us up in knots so we barely understand them, let alone have the ability to put them in words. I am so proud of you for putting your grief on paper (paper, screen, you know what I mean) and giving yourself that outlet. I know it wasn't easy.

This piece is flooded with grief. In reading it, the reader really gets to feel your sadness, your anger and your loss. It is quite heartbreaking to read, so I can't imagine what it must have been like to write. I only hope that in writing it you were able to release some of those emotions to some small degree.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
You've called this 'prose' but I think it's actually poetry. Well, I'm not sure about that, but that's my initial thoughts. I thought poetry was set in lines and stanzas, and prose was written in sentences and paragraphs. Which would make this a free verse poem. I know you claim not to write poetry, but I'm tempted to playfully disagree and use this as my evidence. *Smirk*

With poetry it is up to the author to use punctuation and grammar as the author sees fit, with no requirement to adhere to regular punctuation and grammar rules. With prose (and again, this is just my understanding) normal rules of punctuation and grammar apply. As poetry, I would suggest that while it is fine (and indeed common) to use a capital letter at the beginning of each line, it is disconcerting for the reader when you do this for every line except one. It highlights that line, and perhaps that was the intention, but the second line is far from the strongest in the piece. So I respectfully suggest that consistency would be more appropriate, and that a capital letter at the beginning of the second line would help the piece.

I loved your use of figurative language in the line 'Your eyes implored me'. That is a really strong, powerful line. And it is descriptive enough to drag emotion out of the reader, but still vague enough that we must use our own imaginations. Those readers who have lost a loved one, or been in a similar situation, will no doubt seeing the eyes of their loved ones when they read that. Very powerful.

You use the word 'you' or versions thereof repetitively throughout the piece. Including you, your and you're, the word is found eight times in only 11 lines. That gives the poem a strong voice speaking to the reader (putting us in the position of being spoken to).

The flow is a little choppy, with harsh consonants breaking it up here and there, but this mostly occurs at the end of a line, which actually works really well. 'Mask' and 'dead' give final punctuation marks to their stanzas. It really gives a solid pause for the reader. Well done. 'Despise' has a strong d sound, but the s's help with the flow there, so that one works well too. The last line is the most jarring, with few soft syllables and no s sounds. It is harsh and unyielding, and it leaves the reader with a real sense of dissatisfaction and negativity. But you know what? I think that's perfect for this piece. It's not a sweet poem. It's not a gentle poem. It's a poem of grief and anger, and leaving the reader feeling unsettled is exactly what I imagine you set out to do (well, other than being an outlet, but you know what I mean). You were unsettled and angry, so you want the reader to feel that. I think you've done that very well.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
There are no spelling errors, but there are some punctuation issues that bother me a little bit. For perfect punctuation, the trick is to write out the lines as if they were regular sentences, punctuate them, then break them back up into their lines again. But, as I said earlier, in poetry punctuation is at the poet's whim and you can choose to use it or not as you choose. So please bear in mind that these suggestions are merely that, and you need not use them if you don't want to.

Your eyes implored me
When next I saw you

I think both these lines need commas at the end.

Now you've died and gone away.
This was actually a question, so I want to suggest a question mark rather than a full stop. However, it is likely a rhetorical question, so perhaps no question mark is necessary. The pedantic side of me wants the question mark though. *Rolleyes*


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
I would say you'll rarely get suggestions for improvement on pieces like this one, because we as reviewers understand that this is very personal, and very close to your heart. Who are we to suggest that your grief should be structured in another way? I'm going to take the plunge and make a suggestion, BUT I do want to reiterate that I understand that this is a personal expression of your emotions and you should never feel like it needs to be adjusted to meet anyone's approval.

My suggestion is to remove the second and fourth lines. The second line is weak and dilutes the piece right at the beginning. It is a very visual line though, and I understand why you've used it. For pure art's sake, I think the piece would work better without it. And once you've taken that, it would work well to have the first and third lines together, without the fourth.

The last time I saw your face
Your eyes implored me

Anyway, it's just a suggestion. Just a thought. Use it or not as you choose. *Smile*


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Your third line was easily my favourite. As I said, very powerful.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
For someone who doesn't write poetry, Nixie, this is a powerful, emotive poem. I think you should reconsider your stance. *Smile*
Thanks for sharing this,
Elle


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Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (2.5)
*Pencil* A "P.E.N.C.I.L. Review *Pencil*


Hi Christina,
This chapter is very definitely separated into two sections. The first is Christina missing Butchie, which fits very nicely into the timeline, and the second is the story of Christina meeting her biological father many years ago. We have discussed flashbacks in previous chapter reviews for this novel, and I truly believe that information such as this meeting with Henry would be better suited to a memoir written in chronological order. To start with, it would enable you to write all the events in first or third person, in chronological order without numerous flashbacks (I think the general rule of thumb is no more than two flashbacks per book, but don't quote me on that) and secondly, it would enable the story of Butchie and Christina's relationship to be told in sequence without being interrupted, so we get a nice smooth flow. I won't belabour the point as I have said all of that before.

The first half of the paragraph works okay. My first impression was that it was a little too similar to the previous chapter. It is natural though that we'd see the pain of the separation from both points of view, so I think that's okay.

I liked that you gave us a glimpse of São Paulo in Christina's musings. I would have loved to have seen São Paulo through Butchie's eyes though. We don't even know where he went or what he saw. Did Christina show him the mansions or take him to posh restaurants? Did they drive through the slums? If not, then he's not likely to be thinking about them at all. If they did, it would be wonderful to see it happen - let us watch them explore São Paulo together, learning the city and each other at the same time.

I'm repeating myself from earlier reviews now, but it would be good to see what Christina is doing as she thinks all these thoughts. Is she lying in bed? Driving to work? Staring wistfully out the window? Writing in a journal? It would be good to mix the thoughts with action so we can visualise the scene. Currently, we can't 'see' the scene because we don't know where she is, what she's doing or what she's wearing, you know?

Beware of long run-on sentences.
She felt a longing...a missing... a strong feeling of wanting something which a person is unlikely ever to have but not with dire wistfulness...
She wanted, as a woman that she was, to touch him, caress him, scratch his back, kiss his neck, touch his hair and head with her open hands and let her fingers go softly through his hair.
What did he think of São Paulo, so big, so different, so metropolitan, so full of buildings and streets and highways, the graffiti, the poverty, the slums and the contrasts, the big, expensive cars, the richness, the mansions, the plush restaurants, the big billboards, the so many people, the big buses, the pollution and the traffic?

These sentences could be broken down into shorter ones that would make them easier to read.

Okay, now on to the second part of this chapter.

I like the fact that we can visualise the scene to some extent. You allow us to see Christina sitting in the airport lounge, watching passengers emerge from the terminal. This is great! It's much better than just being inside Christina's head, because we can imagine the scene. *Smile*

You need to be wary of run-on sentences here too, such as where you list all the things Christina loves about New York.

Another thing to be wary of is using more than one adjective for something. You did this in the first half of the chapter with 'her lovely, different, beautiful orchids' and you do it again in the second half with 'she immediately felt something maybe like a warm, great, familiar gut feeling'. Like the run-on sentences, these leave people feeling distanced from the action. Many editors will tell you that one of the things that an author needs to do after writing their first draft is go back through and eliminate unnecessary words. If you can describe it with one word, don't use two. If the orchids are lovely, don't we already know that they are beautiful? Or vice versa? What are we gaining from the extra word? Perhaps instead of beautiful or lovely, you could describe what the orchids actually look like so we can picture them.

When she looked into his same green eyes as hers... she immediately felt something maybe like a warm, great, familiar gut feeling and... what was the most amazing was that...



SHE

         DID

                   LOOK

                             LIKE

                                       SOMEONE

                                                 AFTER

                                                           ALL...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Quite apart from all the other things I've already said about run-on sentences and multiple adjectives, I think you need to avoid speaking in full capitals and also keep all the words on the same line with standard spacing. I realise you've done this for emphasis, but I think it looks unprofessional. Now, that's just my opinion, and if you like it the way it is, you can certainly keep it this way, but I'm not sure an editor (if you were aiming to publish this novel) would allow you to keep it that way. Anyway, you asked for the opinion of a reviewer, and that's my opinion. In the end, it is your story, so you should only make changes that you are comfortable with.

I'm waiting to see Christina and Butchie together again, so I'll have to keep reading! *Bigsmile*

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

Image for all reviews done for the PENCIL group.
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Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
*Pencil* A "P.E.N.C.I.L. Review *Pencil*


Hi Christina,
My apologies that it has taken me so long to come back to you for another chapter review.

This review is quite short and really centers about Butchie missing Christina after he heads back home. I am still disappointed that we didn't get to see more of their time together - it covered just a single chapter, after 19 chapters leading up to his arrival. I understand that a lot of time was devoted to the long distance aspect of their relationship, but the reader needs to see and feel that connection, and we barely got a chance to see them.

This chapter gives us a hint of Butchie's thoughts and feelings, and provides the opposite point of view from the previous chapter which was Christina's thoughts and feelings. You weave his musings in around his travels and allow us to catch glimpses of him sitting in his seat on the plane, falling asleep, navigating airports, etc. This is a good thing, and I know I've said to you before that I would like to see more of the character and what they're doing as they think, rather than just their thoughts.

It would be great to have more 'showing' than telling. I've explained this in previous reviews, but I'll give some examples here to illustrate what I mean.

He immediately fell asleep waking up an hour later, in São Paulo. The airport was full of people. He had to change planes and go to another airport - why another airport ? and he was confused by the language, the rainy day, the shuttle buses and the frustration of being a tourist in another country that is not yours. Then, he caught his flight to Miami, arriving there in the late evening.
So instead of 'he immediately fell asleep', you could say:
Butchie frowned as some clumsy passenger bumped his elbow, but slowly shut his eyes. The chatter of the other passengers slowly faded as he drifted off to sleep with Christina's image in his mind and a slight smile on his lips.
Then, 'waking up an hour later in Sao Paulo' could be:
Butchie's delightful dream of waking up next to Christina, the early morning sunshine streaming through a break in the curtains, was rudely interrupted by a stewardess alerting him to his arrival in Sao Paulo. He knew he had to hurry to catch another flight to Miami, but his feet felt leaden, as if every step took him further from Christina. His dark blue shirt was hopelessly crumpled from his snooze on the plane, and he fought a grin knowing that Christina would be itching to smooth it. He ran a hand over one rough cheek and knew that if he was with her he would have shaved by now, to avoid abrading her tender skin. How was it possible to miss someone so much after such a short time?

Anyway, those are just examples. I guess I'm trying to say that we spend all our time in Butchie's head, but don't get to see what he sees. We can't picture the scene. What is he wearing? What does he see at the airport? How does he feel, physically? What textures or sensations does he feel? What does he taste? We don't need all of these all of the time, but we do need some of them every now and then to help us picture the scene as we read. We want to be able to see it in our head like a movie.

There are some technical errors in the paragraph, incorrect tenses, that kind of thing, but there's no point dwelling on such minor details when it needs more revision than that, so I haven't pointed these out at this time.

We've witnessed Butchie and Christina's long distance romance, their brief meeting and their tearful separation. What's next? I'm off to find out!

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

Image for all reviews done for the PENCIL group.
70
70
Review of Equals?  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WDC Addicts Anonymous  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Header for The Gift Shop


This review is part of the gift basket you bought with your gift voucher. Enjoy!

*Burstr* GENERAL:
This poem is about a person in a relationship that feels hurt, taken for granted and unloved. It's quite powerful in getting that message across to the reader. The word 'whore' really jumps out and smacks the reader in the face - that's no gentle poetry, that's a bold statement.

I liked that you finished on a positive note, but found it curious that you wrote the entire poem in present tense, as if you started writing it while in the relationship and finished writing it after the relationship ended. Not that I assume it is a biographical poem, because I know I have written poems before that are just answers to a prompt, not heartful from me. But I do wonder if it the poem would be improved by having most of it in past tense, then finishing with the positive ending in present tense. Anyway, something to think about.


*Burstr* CONVENTION:
I found the poem started off with beautiful figurative language, but became more simplistic as it went on, almost as if you got angrier and angrier as you wrote it. It actually suits the theme very well, as the reader really gets this image of the person in the relationship starting off all 'woe is me' but then getting stronger and angrier until she has taken back her own life. I personally think the poem might be stronger if you were to carry that beautiful figurative language throughout the entirety, but that's a might, and I must repeat that it does work well as it is.

So, what beautiful figurative language am I referring to?
You mention a 'burning song of pain and sin' that blazes in your soul. Wow. That is powerful. I love that. Not only is the pain a song, but it is also a fire. It's a double metaphor that works brilliantly. *Thumbsup*

You also give substance to the rage, suggesting it seeps through you. That's an intriguing image, and I like the word 'seep'. It conjures up a distaste in me, much as the word 'ooze' does. An excellent choice of word.

In my opinion the first three stanzas are the strongest and they paint an evocative image. After that it feels more like you're being literal and just telling us how you feel, the unvarnished truth. It feels less poetical, although that's probably not the right choice of words. Less figurative? Erg, hopefully you know what I mean.

I don't recognise the form, but there is a clear pattern. The rhyme scheme appears to be ABA CDC and so on. I only noticed one place where the rhyme didn't work for me:
I see through your charms,
and my strength returns
I am rearmed.

I didn't feel that charms and rearmed rhymed very well. Charms and rearms would be okay, but of course, that wouldn't make sense without changing something else. Anyway, I bring it to your attention.

I didn't notice a set meter or syllable count.


*Burstr* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
It appears that you are using standard punctuation rules, so I give the following advise based on that deduction. However, punctuation in poetry is subject to poetical licence, so please take these only as suggestions.

I find that when I want to check the punctuation, it is easier to see what is needed if I remove the line breaks (temporarily of course!) and read it as if it were prose. That said...

Hateful pride deep within, a burning song of pain and sin. Blazes deep down in my soul, upon a bed of burning coal.
You don't need a period, or indeed any punctuation at all, after 'sin'. I think too that the break between the stanzas would continue to provide the pause you want the reader to take, so you can probably remove it without affect the flow too much.

I can't see it which brings the fear
This needs a full stop, and as it is at the end of the stanza, the reader is pausing anyway, so it shouldn't affect the flow.

as day by day I see the wrong You do to me from afar, taking advantage never on par.
You don't need a capital letter on 'you', but I can see that you might wish to use one for appearance as it marks the beginning of a new stanza.
You need a comma after 'advantage' and I think because there is a line break there, it shouldn't affect flow too much.

the cloud has lifted I'm not confused.
This needs a comma after 'lifted' but it is in the middle of a line, and so I know adding extra punctuation here WILL affect flow, so I only bring it to your attention and you can decide if it is better with or without the comma.

and my strength returns I am rearmed.
This also needs something after 'returns', perhaps a dash or a comma. It is the end of a line, so shouldn't affect flow too much.


*Burstr* FAVOURITE LINES:
Hateful pride deep within,
a burning song of
pain and sin.

I just love the idea of a burning song. That imagery really appeals to me. Beautiful.


*Burstr* FINAL NOTE:
I know this poem was written a year ago, but I hadn't seen it before today. Now I have, and I'm glad. The burning song image is going to stay with me for a while. *Smile* I definitely thought the poem's strength was in the beginning, but I also loved the sheer level of emotion that came through from beginning to end. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing.
Elle


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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71
Review of Titanic Letdown  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi Richard,
Me again! This time I found your poem through the "Roots & Wings Historical Fiction Contest. *Smile*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
My first impression is that you really hold a low opinion of Bruce Ismay! I can't blame you - many people believe that as someone who was at least in part responsible for the sinking, he should have put the lives of others before his own. However, you portray him as someone with absolutely no remorse and I have to wonder if this is realistic. Yes, the man was used to luxury, but would he really have been so superficial as to be worrying over the state of his hotel room in that time of crisis? It seems more realistic to me that if he did indeed suffer no remorse, he would be focusing on how to salvage his company's reputation as best he can and his own role in shipping industry. That seems more realistic to me than him worrying over the state of his hotel room. From my own research, it appears that records show that he had to be sedated after the sinking as he was so devastated by the tragedy. Records also appear to show that he personally worked on the insurance claims related to the Titanic, when he could have easily avoided this task by stepping down from his role on the board, and he donated a substantial amount of his personal money to related charities. Does that make up for what he did, in saving his own life when others lost theirs? That's a matter for personal opinion, but it does make me read your poem with a cynical eye.

You make good use of words to paint a picture of Ismay, with his 'handlebar mustache', 'five foot six frame' and 'gaunt face'. Those details really help us build a picture in our minds.

You do the same for the hotel room, describing the scene for the reader with a functional bed, no running water, 'the plainness of plaster with paint', a window overlooking New York, a cheap wood dresser, an almond and brown throw rug, etc. We get a great visual image of the room.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
You don't note a specific form, yet I see that the poem has an abba rhyme scheme. All the rhymes look good to me. *Thumbsup*

All the lines appear to have 12 syllables, and there was only one that didn't seem to match this pattern.
Running water was convenience and luxury--
To me, the above line has 13 syllables. It might be a matter of accent (since I'm from New Zealand) but I bring it to your attention just so you can double-check it.

I note that you rearrange the syntax to fit the syllable count. Having written syllabic poetry before, I know that this is often necessary, but I did want to point out that in some cases it does detract from the flow of your poem.
Ismay splashed his gaunt face with the water from bowl
My mind wants to insert 'the' before 'bowl' to correct the syntax. And of course, if I do, it messes up the syllable count which is why you have left it out in the first place. It doesn't feel right with 'from bowl' though.
being brought to New York by Carpathia* ship.
This is another one where my mind feels like a word or two is missing. You can say that he was brought to NY by Carpathia, or by ship, or by the ship, but 'by Carpathia ship' sounds awkward in my head. It might just be me though, so I bring it to your attention, but you should decide whether it works for you or not.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
So Bruce Isamy stood pondering his hotel room
'Ismay' is incorrectly spelled in the above line.

(There were not many happy with Ismay’s escape
as so many had perished when Titanic sank.

Here you start with brackets, yet never close the brackets.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Bruce espied all the walls with an air of high brow
and was struck by the plainness of plaster with paint.

These lines really illustrate your opinion of Bruce Ismay and his 'high brow' attitude, and I think these lines have really good flow too.


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I love the fact that you note additional information at the bottom of your poem for those who may be unfamiliar with Bruce Ismay or the events (and ships) of the time. You also note source material, which (speaking as a judge for the "Roots & Wings Historical Fiction Contest) is always appreciated.

Congratulations on winning the Writer's Cramp. It is incredibly hard to write something decent in 24 hours, and to stick to a set syllabic count and rhyme scheme makes it even harder.

Very rarely do we see any writing about the Titanic that doesn't focus on the sinking itself and the tragedy. It was really interesting to read a poem that focused on one particular player, and for the poem to be set after the survivors had been safely settled in New York. A really unique perspective, thanks for sharing.
Elle

My signature for all my Muse Masters work


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
72
72
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi PandaPaws,
As one of my tasks at "a very Wodehouse challenge, I have to review items that are set in (or are about) the civil war. As a New Zealander, I'm not familiar with America's civil war, and know only the very basics, so please bear that in mind as I do my review. *Smile*


*Burstp* GENERAL:
This poem isn't specific to a certain battle and isn't detailed enough to paint a certain scene, but rather is about the war as a whole. I like that it isn't about right or wrong, about commenting on victor or loser, but rather seems to point out that in war, everyone is a loser, and that we all win when peace reigns.

Your poem has a mood of grim reflection, then ends on a positive note that feels almost like relief. Words like 'dying', 'crying', 'worn' and even 'captive' add to that grim mood, but words like 'heal', 'unite' and 'hearts' really lift the poem in that last stanza. Well done.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
I was intrigued by the form of the minute poem, as this is not a form I've come across before. It not only has a set syllable count and a set rhyme scheme, but requires iambic meter as well! That's not easy!
The syllable count appears perfect. *Thumbsup*
All the rhymes look perfect. *Thumbsup*
I'm no expert on iambic meter, but it feels to me like the meter falters on the first line of both the first and second stanzas. As I said, I'm no expert, so have another look at them yourself and see what you think. *Smile*

I liked the way you used personification to say that the battles held the land captive. This both 'makes sense' to the average reader, and suits the theme of your poem.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
There were no spelling errors that I could find, but I did notice two small punctuation errors. You have used 'standard punctuation' throughout the poem, but in the last stanza you use capital letters on all the lines when this isn't necessary.
North and South would unite once more,
An end to gore.
Nation's wounds heal,
The hearts of steel.

'An' should start with a lower case letter, and so should 'the'. This will make the punctuation consistent throughout your poem, which is always a good thing. *Smile*


*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Nation's wounds heal,
The hearts of steel.

These two lines were the only ones that didn't 'make sense' to me, or feel right. I couldn't work out what connection hearts of steel had to do with the healing wounds. Were the hearts of steel wounded? Were the wounds of the nation healed into hearts of steel? *Confused* I can't quite work it out. Please bear in mind that this is only my personal opinion and interpretation (or lack thereof), and you shouldn't change anything about your poem unless it feels right to you to do so.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
The battles held the land captive,
cannons active.

I love the mix of personification and the image that second line bring to mind of cannons booming across the land, wreaking havoc and destruction. It adds power to your poem. *Smile*


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Even someone with little knowledge or understanding of America's civil war can appreciate and relate to this poem. It is a comment on war in general as well as this war in particular. I like the way it finishes on a note of hope and peace. I found the form intriguing and thank you for introducing me to a form that was unfamiliar to me. *Smile*

Thanks for sharing your poem,
Elle

My signature for all my Muse Masters work


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
73
73
Review of Antietam  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi Jack,
As one of my tasks at "a very Wodehouse challenge, I have to review items that are set in (or are about) the civil war. As a New Zealander, I'm not familiar with America's civil war, and know only the very basics, so please bear that in mind as I do my review. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
I read the poem and it felt to me to be a comment on the tactical nature of the battle, rather than a poem mourning the loss of soldiers or similar. There were only two words that really stuck out as indicating a darker poem were 'horrific' and 'bloody', although you could add that 'casualties' does as well, but to me the term casualties sounds a little more clinical.

I was intrigued by the description of 'Some falling into Antietam’s mouth', and so I looked up the battle on the internet to figure out if perhaps they were fighting on the edge of a crater or similar. I couldn't find anything that might have been referred to as 'Antietam's mouth', unless you are simply referring to the fact that some men may have fallen into, or drowned in, the river itself. But I did discover that the battle was indeed 'so horrific and so bloody' that it defies belief. Your poem is quite right in that.

The thing is, that's not the sense I get from your poem. You tell me that the battle was horrific and bloody, but you don't help me to see it or feel it. If you're only going to tell people, perhaps throw some sense of the vast numbers at your reader to put it into context. My suggestion though, as you've chosen poetry as your means of communication with the reader, is to show them with descriptions and make them feel with the mood of your poem.

Showing could be things like 'bodies were piled seven deep' or well, perhaps even more graphic terms, but I'm wary of going into too much detail as your poem currently has an E rating which means my review has a matching rating. You probably want to amend that, by the way, as war is considered violence and violence of any description is not E rated, even when it is not graphic.

Words like horrific do give a really good sense of mood, it's just that it's lost in this poem. 'A cornfield covered in dew' gives an entirely different mood, and while the two could contrast superbly, and I think that's what you were trying to achieve, the darker mood in the center is missing. 'Back and forth the battle went', gives us a sense of the tactical nature of the battle, that each were winning at different points of the day as I read on the internet, but it doesn't give us a sense of dread, disaster or anything that might convey a darker mood.

Now, I may be completely off track and you may not be looking for a darker poem at all. I just thought that it would suit such a gruesome battle, and it seemed in some sense that it was what you were aiming for. If you were going for a milder poem, suitable for younger readers, I apologise for what must seem irrelevant feedback!

*Burstp* CONVENTION:
There is no consistent meter pattern, although you do appear to default to seven syllables in a line, as this is the most common number repeated. The ones that aren't seven syllables don't seem to form a pattern though, so I assume there is no set meter requirement.

You use an abcb rhyming scheme. All of the words that were meant to rhyme did, although I notice that the first, second and fifth stanzas all use the same rhyming sound. It is fine, but I think the poem would be stronger if you either continued this throughout the remaining two stanzas, or used a different rhyming sound for at least the second stanza. The fifth stanza does repeat the first stanza in a number of ways anyway, so that one is okay.

Speaking of repetition, your second and fourth lines in your first stanza are repeated almost verbatim in your final stanza. This actually works really well, bracketing the poem and giving it a sense of being complete and coming full circle.

*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
I notice you use capital letters at the start of each line, which is fine. The remaining punctuation doesn't appear to be constant. For instance...
Burnside and Hill had a go,
Pushing over a stony bridge,
Neither side winning a battle,
And neither taking a hill or ridge.

Here you have used commas and a full stop at the end of the sentence. This is what I would expect and recommend (although I know that some poets use different punctuation rules by choice).

It began at Miller’s Farm
In the year of sixty two
When two armies met at dawn
In a cornfield covered in dew

Here you don't use commas or a full stop. Either is fine, but you must be consistent. My personal preference is to use 'proper punctuation' as you have done in the last two stanzas, but you should use whichever you prefer, and just make sure that you are consistent with it throughout the whole poem.

*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
When two armies met at dawn
In a cornfield covered in dew

I really like the picture these lines describe - of an empty cornfield, dawn just breaking and dew sparkling in the rising sun...then two armies converging on the space. I would have loved to have seen more lines like this that described the scene for me so I could visualise it. *Smile*

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Thank you for introducing me to the battle of Antietam. I had never heard of it before reading your poem, and yet it remains the darkest day in US military history. I found the details on the internet quite disturbing and horrific, but nonetheless, am more educated now. I'm a big believer in lifelong learning, so I appreciate you bringing new facts and information to my attention.
Thanks!
Elle

My signature for all my Muse Masters work


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
74
74
Review of July 1863  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi PandaPaws,
As one of my tasks at "a very Wodehouse challenge, I have to review items that are set in (or are about) the civil war. As a New Zealander, I'm not familiar with America's civil war, and know only the very basics, so please bear that in mind as I do my review. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
My first impression was that you use some beautiful figurative language in this poem. 'Marshmallow clouds' and 'chocolate torrents'! This doesn't sound like war at all, it sounds like my idea of a fantastic dessert! *Laugh* Certainly at first read, the poem has a wonderful flow and draws me in.
As I read it again, I take more notice of moody words like 'taunting', 'defeated', 'weary' and 'wounded'. I start to realise that my first impression of beauty and flow is not the reality in the scene.

I would imagine that with a poem like this you would want that dark mood to come across on the first read, and yet I am loathe to suggest that you change any of your figurative language, because I love the idea of marshmallow clouds and chocolate torrents. Do they truly belong in this poem though? Well, maybe, but they do have an effect on the mood, and I think it detracts from, rather than enhancing your poem.

When I look away from the poem and think of the scene you describe, I picture weary soldiers plodding on horseback through the rain and muck. I think you do an excellent job of portraying that scene, so please bear in mind that my comments about the mood of the poem were a first impression, and I note them for your benefit only, so you can get an idea of how I saw and interpreted your poem.

Despite knowing very little about America's civil war, there was nothing I failed to understand. Whether I knew what the different sides stood for, or which was which, was largely irrelevant. There were the Union forces and the Rebel forces, and they were on opposite sides. The rest could be any war scene in any country in history. Well, maybe the horses date it a little, they don't tend to use those much anymore! But it was easy for anyone to read and understand, which I appreciate.

*Burstp* CONVENTION:
Although you don't note the form of the poem, it appears to be free verse. I couldn't see any rhyme or meter pattern.

I think your use of consonance really helps the flow of the poem. For instance, 'taunting' and 'retreating' make good use of the repeating T sound, and then 'retreating', 'rebel' and 'forces' follow with a repeating R sound. 'Marshmallow', 'clouds' and 'daylight' repeat an L sound, and on it goes. I really like the way you've done this, as it makes the poem feel very smooth, as if it would just slide off the tongue when spoken aloud.

You use personification well when the campfire taunts the soldiers. That's excellent, and I can see how they would feel taunted by them. It fits perfectly.

*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
You alternate between using a comma and a full stop at the end of each line, yet to me it doesn't feel like that is where the sentences should end. For punctuation (when the poet appears to be using standard punctuation rules as you seem to be) I find it easiest to take the lines out of the equation and punctuate it as if it were prose. If I'm wrong, and you're not intending to use standard punctuation, please ignore this correction.
Currently you have this:
The Union campfires flicker, taunting the retreating Rebel forces. The marshmallow clouds of daylight, have since given way to rain. Causing once tranquil waters, to rush in chocolate torrents. As the badly defeated soldiers, trek through the muddy forests. Their general pauses on horseback, to inspect his weary troops. And the mournful cries of wounded men, drown out the crickets' song.
I would have punctuated it like this:
The Union campfires flicker, taunting the retreating Rebel forces. The marshmallow clouds of daylight have since given way to rain, causing once tranquil waters to rush in chocolate torrents. As the badly defeated soldiers trek through the muddy forests, their General pauses on horseback to inspect his weary troops and the mournful cries of wounded men drown out the crickets' song.
If you now convert those back into lines, the poem should read a lot more easily. Of course, as I say, if you have used the punctuation you currently have as a deliberate tool to create pauses, that's different.

Also, as General is a title, it should have a capital letter.

*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
I have mentioned the way that 'marshmallow' and 'chocolate' detract from the somber mood of the poem, and the punctuation. I can think of nothing else that needs improving in this poem, and I really enjoyed it.

*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
My favourite lines were the first two and the last two.

The Union campfires flicker,
taunting the retreating Rebel forces.


And the mournful cries of wounded men,
drown out the crickets' song.


They start the poem strongly and end it strongly too. To me, these lines are really clear on the mood, with 'taunting' and 'mournful', and they help paint a vivid picture too. Well done.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I really enjoyed this poem. I think the scene, of the soldiers riding away through the mud, the fires in the distance, will stay with me for some time. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Elle

My signature for all my Muse Masters work


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
75
75
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Lynda,
This is the final edit review I owe you from the auction package you won. *Smile*

Oh Lynda, I love this piece! I was drawn to it from the title and short description, and I was all ready with my virtual red marker pen, but ended up just reading straight to the end without stopping. Wow. This is really excellent. I love the way you've told it from the commanding officer's point of view, but it's about the young soldier's hopes and dreams. I love the way you share a mix of action, dialogue and internal thoughts. I loved the ending. *sniff* I had to go all the way back to the beginning to start looking for things you could edit. *Smile*

In truth, it does need a little editing and polishing - punctuation, use of italics, etc. These are easy to fix, and I'll give you a line-by-line breakdown to help you spot the errors.

I'm going home next month. No more tours for me. I've never even seen my little girl."
This needs speech marks at the front.

Too many soldiers lost and for what? Stop it Sergeant, he thought to himself.
You need to remove the italics on 'he thought to himself'.

Several men had been killed when they got there. He sent two of his very best men to find and kill them.
This sounds like the 'very best men' are being sent to find the 'several men who had been killed'. *Smile*

Now soldier, Go!"
You don't need a capital letter on 'Go'.

"Yes Sir, Serge!
I believe the shortened version of Sergeant is 'Sarge', not 'Serge'. I'll point these out for you when I find them, but it's over to you if you want to change them. I found 'Serge' distracting though, because it looks like it's pronounced 'surge' rather than 'sarge'. Anyway, it's up to you which way you want to go, I'll just point them out.

Serge, I'm not getting anything but static."
Again, I would use 'Sarge' here instead.

"Yes Sir"
This needs a full stop.

"Yes Sir, Serge."
Another 'Sarge' here.

Find those dam F_#@*rs and kill them"
'Dam' should be spelled 'damn'. You need a full stop at the end of the sentence. I would spell out the f-word in full, or substitute another word. Using symbols looks very unprofessional in a short story like this. If you're going to go with the word, use the whole word.

Martin was a sharp shooter and the best. He never missed his mark.
I would combine these two sentences. 'Martin was the best sharp shooter and never missed his mark.'

Looks like were in for a long night."
'Were' should be 'we're' as it is short for 'we are'.

"Serge! Company C is trying to get fire power over here, but they said they didn't know when they could send it."
Another instance where I'd use 'Sarge'.

"OK son, I guess we'll just have to wait it out."
I would spell out 'OK' as 'okay'. It's more professional to avoid using abbreviations wherever possible.

"Head for the building and take cover!" the Serge shouted.
'Serge' or 'Sarge' (whichever you end up going with) is an informal term, and shouldn't be used by the author, just the characters. I would call him 'Sergeant' here.

Mortar shells thudded and the AK's continued to fire.
Again, the author should avoid using abbreviations. Characters can, but not the author. You could use 'guns' if AK47's seems too long.

In the distance, black smoke curled upward, they heard the war raging.
This feels like it needs another word. Perhaps 'and they heard the war raging'. *Smile*

"Serge, here comes Martin and Brady.
Another 'Sarge' here.

"We found the bastards Serge," Martin said.
Another 'Sarge' here. I would use a comma after 'bastards'.

They're dead, but not before Brady took a shot through the shoulder.
This needs speech marks at the beginning.

We have a man shot over here!" The Sergeant shouted.
You don't need a capital letter on 'The'.

The Medic will take care of him."
You don't need a capital letter on 'Medic', as this isn't the soldier's official rank.

Damn't, he thought to himself, I shouldn't have sent a rookie to begin with.
You need to remove the italics from 'he thought to himself' as these aren't part of his actual thoughts. I haven't seen 'damn it' contracted in that way before. *Smile*

He's been over here three times now and says he is taking another tour when this one is over.Then there's Brady.
You just need a space between these two sentences.

He said if he left the service he would become a Mercenary.
'Mercenary' doesn't need a capital letter because it's not a rank.

Weems understood, because his wife took off with someone else while he was on his second tour. He made the service his life.
I'm not sure why you haven't italicised these sentences too, as they appear to form part of the same train of thought as the rest.

"Sure Serge." Martin said.
Another 'Sarge' here. The full stop after 'Serge' needs to be a comma, as the dialogue tag is part of the same sentence as teh dialogue. I'd use a comma after 'Sure' too.

" Private Brady, get that missile set up?"
Should this be a question? I wonder if a full stop or exclamation mark would work better, as it sounds more like an order.

"Any time now!" the Serge shouted.
Again, I don't think the author should use the informal 'Serge' or 'Sarge' but rather the more official 'Sergeant'.

"Private!, what are you waiting for?" Serge shouted.
You don't need a comma if you use an exclamation mark, but you do need to use a capital letter on 'What' as this is a new sentence. Again, I wouldn't use 'Serge' when it isn't a character talking or thinking.

Brady took his eye off of the telescope.
You don't need the word 'of' here. 'Brady took his eye off the telescope' is sufficient.

"Something's not right Serge."
This needs a comma after 'right'.

"Soldier, do I have to fire that missile myself?" Serge ask.
'Ask' should be 'asked'. And I would use 'Sergeant' rather than 'Serge'.

The tank had advanced far enough where he could see the United States Flag waving in the air.
You don't need a capital letter on 'flag'.

"Well I'll be dammed," the Sergeant replied.
'Dammed' should be spelled 'damned'.

"Thank you Serge, Thank you!"
You don't need a capital letter on the second 'thank'.

You got through and you're bringing back help," the Serge said.
"Sergeant' instead of 'Serge' here.

"Put that on you neck soldier, you don't want to lose it again."
'You' should be 'your'.

I was really impressed with this piece, Lynda. Excellent work. When you've edited it, be sure to let me know so I can come and re-rate it for you. *Smile*
Elle


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