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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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76
76
Review of Number Ten  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi Lynda,
I'm reviewing your poem as part of the auction package you won from me. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
I'm not sure what the prompt was that inspired this poem. I'd love to know. Would you consider adding that to the disclaimer, or maybe in a footnote? It would help to give the poem some context. *Smile*

The poem had a fun feel to it, which is enhanced by the rhymes and meter you've used. It's about a young boy going out to catch a chicken for dinner and it could easily be read aloud to children. I had this image in my head of a teacher reading it aloud to a class of children and all of them giggling at Joey's antics. *Laugh*


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
You've used an aabb rhyme scheme throughout the poem, but there are two 'thorn lines' that don't fit the rhyme scheme at all.
So, with his bare hands
We will start a New Year

Neither of these lines rhyme with any other line in the poem. I'm sure you've done it deliberately, but my personal opinion is that these thorn lines detract from the poem. They break the rhythm and flow, and give it a choppy, disjointed feel. I strongly recommend rewriting these lines so they fit into the same aabb rhyme scheme as the rest of the poem.

Not all the rhymes are what we would call 'perfect rhymes'.
P.M.
pen.

fate
crate.

crowing
knowing

I don't think these detract from the poem though. They remind me of the kind of rhymes that rappers use - when spoken aloud, they rhyme well enough to fool the human ear. I didn't notice at first that they weren't perfect rhymes, and it's because they fit well, flow well and are close enough rhymes for the purpose of the poem. When this is read aloud, especially to children, these will work just fine. *Thumbsup*

The meter falters on some of the lines. When I count the syllables, I get this pattern: 7, 9, 7, 9, 5, 7, 8, 9, 8, 6, 6, 5, 7, 6, 6, 9. At the beginning, when it was 7, 9, 7, 9, that's when I felt the rhythm was strongest. I stumbled pretty hard when I hit the 5 syllable line and found it hard to get back on track again, especially with those shorter lines towards the end. If you were able to keep a consistent 7, 9, 7, 9 pattern going throughout the whole poem, I think that would make it a lot stronger. A poem doesn't need a consistent syllable pattern, but in this case, I did feel that the first four lines were so strong that I'd loved to have seen that continue and I think adjusting the syllable count would do that.


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
You've chosen to use standard punctuation (rather than no punctuation or using a capital letter at the beginning of every new line), so it's best to be consistent and make sure that all standard punctuation rules are followed. The easiest way I've found to do this is to 'ignore' the lines and check the punctuation as if the words were in sentences.

Knowing well, one chickens fate Joey saw there was no chicken crate.
The comma needs to be removed from after 'well' to after 'fate'. Also, there needs to be an apostrophe in 'chickens', because the fate belongs to the chicken. *Smile*

So, with his bare hands He began chasing the hens As they scattered around the pens.
You don't need a capital letter on 'he' or on 'as'.

The rooster came out loudly crowing And Joey shouted all knowing Go away number ten I will take me a hen Go back to your roost or I will give you a boost We will start a New Year with number eleven and you will be in chicken heaven.
You don't need a capital letter on 'and'. Because Joey is shouting, you should have speech marks before 'Go away' and after 'heaven'. You need a comma after 'ten', and a full stop after 'hen' and 'boost'.


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Knowing well, one chickens fate
This line just amuses me. It sets the tone for the rest of the poem. *Smile*


*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
Hey, for someone who claims not to write poetry, you did pretty good! I think it would be really easy to polish this up into a pretty decent children's poem. Just remember, as always, that my suggestions are only that - suggestions. You don't need to change anything if it doesn't suit you because you are the author, and poetry is very subjective. Be sure to let me know if you choose to edit this, so I can come back and rerate it. *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!.
77
77
Review of Final Dance  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
** Image ID #2001331 Unavailable **


Hi Darleen,
It is a pleasure to review your poem for our third Muse Masters lesson. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
Your poem is about living life to the full because we never know just how many days we have left to enjoy life. This is something that we sadly find to be true too often (witness Leah's recent breast cancer scare) and it's certainly powerful and important enough to warrant a poem.

I found the poem to have a very calm mood, helped by the use of words such as 'peaceful' and 'serenely'. I like that it wasn't forcibly upbeat, nor morbid and dark (although I know you do like the darker poems!) but more contemplative. It felt like the kind of poem that you read late at night when everyone is asleep and the ideas play in your head for hours until you decide to act on them and make a change in your own life. *Smile*

I like the way you have a description of the form beneath the poem - this is always really helpful for those who aren't familiar with the form, and you managed to find an easy way to explain what a triolet was. I had to use a link. *Blush* I have to admit though, I think you should take out the words 'Triolet form in pentameter' from your short description. It's more enticing to the reader just to read a poem about one's final, carefree dance, I think. That's just my opinion of course, and it might be your practice to put the form in the short description of all your poems, but if not, I'd take it out. It is noted beneath the poem if anyone wants to know that information.


*Burstp* CONVENTION:
The full moon rises and comes out to play
I love the personification of the moon coming out to play. That's a wonderful image. The idea of the moon dancing and playing helps lift the tone of the poem too, as these are things we do when we're happy. It also reinforces the idea that we should take every opportunity to dance and play as much as possible, while we still can.

As this is a triolet, there is both repetition and rhyme in this poem. Your rhymes seem perfect to me. *Thumbsup* The repetition also works well. I think the line about the moon coming out to play is stronger than the one about life and love filling the air, even though that's the one you chose to repeat more often, but actually, I think ending the poem with the moon line works really nicely.

Life and love, free and peaceful, fill the air
The first line suggests to us that life and love literally fill the air, when they are, of course, emotions without real substance. I like the idea though, and we've all been in situations where emotions are running so high that they seem to permeate the very air, so I feel that this works well. (I just reread that, while previewing my review, and realised that life is not an emotion, but a state of being, of existing. Still, it can't literally fill the air, and yet your line makes it seem perfectly logical that it should do so)


*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
Breath serenely, as much as I can bear
Breath should be 'breathe'. The difference between the two words is subtle, but you breathe your last breath (hence the word in the following line is correctly spelled without the e on the end). Breathe has a long e sound and breath has a short e sound. I'm sure that you knew that, because when I pronounced it with the long e sound, it worked perfectly in the flow of the poem, so I'm positive it was a simple typo. *Smile*


*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
The full moon rises and comes out to play
Dancing among nature without a care

I really love this visual image of the moon dancing, carefree, amidst the darkened landscape at night. I picture moonbeams scattering everywhere like fairy dust... Beautiful.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I found the triolet really hard to write, and actually I gave up on trying to repeat full lines, as you noticed when you reviewed my poem. It's really hard to come up with a line worth repeating twice in full, let alone three times, let alone two lines worth repeating in the same poem *Shock* and it's even harder to get it to flow naturally when you finally settle on those lines. This is a really hard form, I think, and yet you've done really well with it. I'm so impressed. Great work, Darleen!

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!.
78
78
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Jeff,
I'm back for another fantasy story! *Bigsmile*

I'll be honest, I looked up the definition of cataphile before reading this short story. I had wondered if it was some kind of mythical creature. *Blush* Reading about the cataphiles was quite interesting (and distracting, since I was meant to be reviewing this piece!). I started the story curious to find out how you were going to incorporate fantasy into the catacombs of Paris - the possibilities seemed endless really.

I was intrigued by the plot when I realised that Stephen was at a faerie rave (loved that line, by the way!)...but then you totally caught me in the twist, and I wasn't expecting the story to go in the direction that it did.

This isn't gritty, intense writing, but it was fun and clever. I enjoyed reading it. I loved the descriptions you used, from 'their laughter and footfalls echoing off the darkened buildings and old cobblestone streets' to the descriptions of the wings that were so detailed I felt I could see them. This lent depth to your story and made it feel more real and certainly more enjoyable to read.

I liked the addition at the end of Marcel's next few visitors. That worked well to round the story off and give a sense of completeness to the story.

Probably my only question is why they needed the blood, and how it helped them. That wasn't fully explained, but probably isn't strictly necessary.

I only found a few technical errors, which are detailed below.

"Amazing, aren't they?" She asked.
'She' doesn't need a capital letter as the dialogue tag is part of the sentence.

But people most just call us faeries."
This sentence doesn't sound right. It seems like it should be 'But most people' or 'But people mostly'.

"Ow!" He yelped, craning his neck to see what had stuck him.
"Jesus!" He yelped, looking down to find one of the male faeries just pulling away from his leg with ruby-coated lips.

Although it's possible that you intended 'He yelped' to be part of a separate sentence, it is more likely a dialogue tag, in which case 'he' doesn't need a capital letter. I would also consider using another word other than 'yelped' as you have used this twice in relatively quick succession.

Thank you for another enjoyable fantasy read, Jeff. I have enjoyed all three of your tales, and discovered you are a master of the 'twist' in a short story. You integrate fantasy and mythological creatures into your writing with great ease and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Image #2003539 over display limit. -?-


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
79
79
Review of Nix  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Jeff,
It's a pleasure to read another of your fantasy short stories. *Smile*

The title gives nothing away, but the short description provides enough information for someone to decide if it's something they want to read or not.

I found the idea of a supernatural police task force to deal with supernatural criminals interesting, although not unique. I have read books with similar themes in the past, but it is a neat idea with plenty of scope for originality and interest.

I thought you had an excellent handle on Nix's personality. Nothing she did seemed out of character, and the more I read, the more I was able to predict what she would and wouldn't do. She became real, which is testament to your writing skill. I liked that she had weaknesses and flaws, as well as strengths, although her flaws were not of a physical nature, but rather in regards to her choices and decisions.

It seemed to take the story a while to get to the action, but during that time I felt that there was a constant increase in tension and anticipation that kept my interest. I know we are often told to start with the action directly, and that may make your story stronger, but it works well as it is.

The scene with the man at the port was played out in a way that kept the reader distanced from the action. Nix watched the action, she discussed the action, but the only time she participated was a single punch. It didn't feel like there was danger, tension or conflict. I felt like we were waiting for the real action to start. And we were.

The bank robbery took an interesting twist, but I kept waiting for something that never happened. There was no conflict, no tension. I didn't feel like Nix was ever in danger, not physically, emotionally, or in any way. So I found it a little anticlimactic. Perhaps if there was physical danger as a result of their antics outside the bank, or she was in danger of losing her job, or if the criminal went on to cause some fatal accident that she agonised over because she could have prevented it... There were a few scenarios that I envisioned, but none of them eventuated, and I felt like the story lacked a little something in that sense.

The writing was technically very good, with few errors. I noted a couple of places where you had used capital letters in dialogue tags that weren't necessary. I have highlighted these for you below. I have also made a few line-by-line comments.

When Nix walked through the Academy doors and showed the instructors what she could do, the LAPD knew they had something special.
Although this is pretty in-your-face obvious as a way to tease your reader with the idea that they must keep reading if they want to find out what Nix's special ability is, it works well. It made me want to read on and find out!

Even though her work carried her all over the city, Nix's office was in the Harbor Division out of San Pedro thanks to the LAPD frequently loaning her out to the Port of Los Angeles Police and the frequent smuggling and immigration problems they had to deal with.
This is quite a long sentence and I think it could be broken down in to at least two sentences. I also think it needs a comma after San Pedro.

"Who the hell are you?" He demanded.
You don't need a capital letter on 'he', as this is all one sentence.

"Thank God!" He said, relieved.
And again here, this is all one sentence so 'he' doesn't need a capital letter.

Do you need backup?" The officer called after her.
I don't think 'the' needs a capital letter here either.

"I've got a talent of my own," she said simply.
This is another way of keeping your reader in suspense, but it fits perfectly with the character and situation and works superbly. Well done. *Smile*

"Any idea what we're dealing with in there?" She asked him.
Another one where the tag doesn't need a capital letter.

Thank you for letting me read this story, Jeff. I haven't encountered these particular abilities before, so it was particularly interesting in that regard. *Smile*


Image #2003539 over display limit. -?-


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
80
80
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Shared butterfly

Celebrating "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group's 7th anniversary!


Hi Jeff,
It is a pleasure to review this item for you.

The title gives nothing away, yet looking back after reading the story, it fits perfectly. *Checkg*

The short description tells us a little bit more. It is fantasy, so we should expect the unexpected, and a battle. Both of these proved true! *Checkg*

The genre choices are perfect. *Checkg*

At first I was wondering why we were being distanced from the action of the battle, by the conversation between Raza and Raith. Why weren't we in the midst of the battle, in the thick of the action? Of course, I did discover why. Well played, Jeff!

I slowly figured out the manipulation behind the battle, just as you planned me to. But I never saw the dragons coming. Masteful! *Bigsmile*

As I finished reading, I realised I wouldn't change a thing about the plot and the way you have put all the pieces together. It works so well. However, the piece does need a little minor editing. Allow me to point out a few small things. *Smile*

while smaller faction of robed Priests of Zava faced them across the famed red grass.
I think this sentence is missing a word. Should be 'while a smaller faction'.

The residents of Zava were, in fact, each and every one of them casters,
I think this might need an extra comma after 'them'.

The Bloody Plains were, in fact, named for the fact
This sentence would be stronger if you chose a different word or rearranged it so that you don't use 'fact' twice in such close succession.

Long ago, a pact was made than any all-out, full-on battles would be waged here
Than should be that.

The pact has continued for generations and, as a result, this small patch of land has been stained with more blood than any other across the whole of the world. So much so that it's seeped into the very soil, turning the grass and other foliage a rust-colored red and leaving a lingered metallic tinge to the air. It's said by some that the Plains can cause a man to go crazy with bloodlust if he spends too much time in its red grass.
This excerpt is all in present tense, yet the rest is all in past tense. This section needs to be amended to match the rest of the story. So 'The pact had continued' rather than 'the pact has continued'. 'The small patch of land had been stained' rather than 'This small patch of land has been stained'. I think that will fit with the rest of the story better.

I did wonder why siege engines were being used on a battlefield. To me, siege engines are used in sieges against fortresses or castles. However, my husband assures me that they were indeed used on battlefields, so I stand corrected. *Smile*

It hit the tower, avoiding the worst, but hot oil still sloshed out and rained down on the nearby Priests of Zava, causing them to shriek in pain as their skin was scalded.
This sentence is really awkward. Perhaps with a bit of rearranging, it would be clearer for the reader. Perhaps 'The oil hit the dirt, but a few unlucky Priests were hit by splashes, causing them to shriek in pain as their skin was scalded.' That's just an example of course. The original sentence just seems a little unclear.

And then all hell broke loose.
I like this. I probably shouldn't because it is a 'narrator's voice' rather than us being shown the story as it unfolds, but it heightens tension and anticipation, and I think it works. *Smile*

hurling cannonball-sized globes fire
This is missing a word. It should be 'globes of fire'. Love the word globes!!

More cauldrons of oil sailed west, accompanied by archers' arrows and slingers' stones. In retaliation, the Zavans charged forward, hurling cannonball-sized globes fire and javelin-like lighting bolts conjured out of thin air. Siege engines toppled as the ground opened up beneath them, and robed priests cried out as cavalry charged and struck them down with swords and pikes. Screams of pain mingled with screams of triumph, and cries of victory became indistinguishable from cries of agony. The smell of burnt wood, burnt flesh, and blood filled the air, and the Bloody Plains welcomed these warriors home.
I love your use of repetition and alliteration here. It gives the text a nice texture.

Raith gasped.
This seems a little contrived. Perhaps using it as a speech tag with some sort of exclamation would work better. "Finally?" he gasped. I'm not sure, but as it stands, it just didn't fit the flow of the story.

Again, I must reiterate that I really enjoyed the 'twist' in the story, and I thought the plot was revealed to the reader in a very clever way. Excellently done, Jeff. *Smile*

Elle


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
81
81
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
summery sig Power Crew member to member reviews


Hi there,
I'm reviewing your poem as part of the Power BBQ raid!

*Burstp* GENERAL:
I was curious to read this poem after reading the short description. I was intrigued to know the meaning behind your handle. But I'm grumpy now - you can't go by a handle that suggests you're unworthy!! *Angry* Of course you're worthy! I shall make it my challenge in life to prove you of this. *Laugh* Seriously though, I hope the handle has become more an 'inside joke' than a serious belief that you are unworthy. None of my friends should be feeling unworthy or clearly I'm not doing my job as friend very well!

By the way, one of my pet peeves is people taking my poetry too literally - imaging that they are about real events and emotions when they're not, so please note that I only take this to be about you because your short description mentions that it gives insight to the meaning behind your handle.

The poem has quite a glamorous start, but finishes sadly, leaving the reader feeling unsatisfied. I have no doubt that's deliberate, so well done. You are writing an emotional poem, and you leave the reader with that emotion, that feeling of being less than complete, of being sad.

*Burstp* CONVENTION:
The rhyme pattern seems to change from stanza to stanza. At least, the first stanza is different from the other two. So it goes AABB, CDED, FGHG. I think it would work better with a consistent rhyme scheme (ABCB) which would make the whole poem flow better, but that's just personal preference.

I like your use of metaphors to potray yourself as a dancing monkey and a chorus-girl. They work well to paint the picture of yourself performing on demand.

Your use of sibilance throughout the first and second stanzas really helps with the flow.
First stanza: 'dancing', 'dressed', 'sequence', 'excess', 'squeal', 'spin', 'amaze', 'smile', 'please' and 'gaze'.
Second stanza: 'dancing', 'searching', 'applause', 'chorus', 'chasing', 'spotlight's' and 'pause'.
You don't use it as much in the third stanza, and it really helps give those last lines a feeling of loneliness and incompleteness. Is incompleteness a word? Those lines don't follow the same sound theme and so they feel...left out. Lonely. Like the emotions you are trying to portray. Very cleverly done.

chasing the spotlight's pause.
I stumbled slightly on the meter of this line. It felt a little long, but I love it and am loathe to suggest you change it in any way. I thought maybe changing 'chasing' to 'chases' would be enough to fix the meter issue, but of course grammatically it won't make as much sense. I'll leave it in your hands. It's hard when the words that are perfect don't match the meter you have chosen! I know what that's like!!

*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
You use the word 'sequence' when I think you mean 'sequins'. I love the idea of someone being dressed in 'sequence and excess', but I don't think that's what you meant.

*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
I squeal and spin, my audience to amaze.
Smile, monkey! Twirl! Please, hold your gaze!

These two lines felt a little awkward. The first was because 'my audience to amaze' feels like you've moved the words around in the sentence to make the rhyme fit. It just makes the flow a little awkward.
The second line feels like it needs some speech marks or something to make it clear that it is not the same voice talking.

*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
I am a dancing monkey
searching for applause.
I am a back up chorus-girl
chasing the spotlight's pause.

I love these lines. They seem to be the perfect explanation for the emotions you are trying to potray here.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
This is a neat little poem and I am definitely left with an image of a performing monkey, sadly wishing that people would value him (or her!) for more than his (or her!) tricks on the stage. For friendship. Aw, you made me sad. *Sad*
An excellent job at portraying your emotions. Well done.
Elle

Image #1922496 over display limit. -?-


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
82
82
Review of Sunrise At Pataua  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
summery sig Power Crew member to member reviews


Hi Kas,
I'm reviewing your poem as part of the Power BBQ raid!

*Burstp* GENERAL:
The title caught my attention first, mostly because of the word Pataua. You don't see Maori place names very often on Writing.com! *Bigsmile* It's also more up my way than down yours! *Laugh*

The poem has a real majestic tone to it - not sombre, but a rich, dramatic feel. That sounds weird. Not rich as in financial, but rich in depth, colour and detail. I felt like it was a grand moment in time, full of vivid colour and alive with detail. I know, that's twice I've used the word detail, but it really struck me. It's not just the sun rising over the waves, you've captured so many little parts that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and given the scene real depth.

The use of words like 'herald', 'king', 'throne', 'angels' and 'trumpet' add to the majestic tone of the poem.

You draw a vivid picture with colourful words such as 'orange', 'bluer', 'white', 'golden', 'blinding yellow', 'blue' and 'seaweed green'.

*Burstp* CONVENTION:
At first I thought this was free verse, and didn't pick up an obvious rhyming pattern, but a closer look revealed that I was mistaken. The rhymes are AAABBBBCCDDDEEFFGG. How unusual. I am curious as to whether this is a set style or if you have just created the pattern as you went.

The rhymes don't all work for me. You have 'stars', 'bars' and 'afar'. 'Afar' doesn't quite work to rhyme with the other two when I read it. Then there is 'sea' and 'green'. All the others work beautifully. Perhaps I am mistaken and 'Afar', 'sea' and 'green' are not intended to rhyme, and are instead thorn lines. I'd be interested to know what you intended there. As I said, I didn't even pick up on a rhyming pattern on first read, so engrossed was I in your use of figurative language to paint a picture, so they certainly don't detract from your poem.

The beginning of your poem has more hard consonants than the end, giving it the feel of something hard becoming softer as we read. Very clever, as the poem is about night giving way to day. Words like 'clouds', 'caped', 'calm', 'cold' and 'king' repeat that hard k sound and stop the beginning of the poem from being a smooth flow. Not that it doesn't flow (my lack of poetic education is starting to show now as I look for the right words), they just give these first lines a harder sound. Then as we go to the end of the poem, we have four lines without a single hard consonant - just beautiful soft, flowing words - before you bring it back with two more lines to complete the poem and bring it all back together again. The use of the hard k sound again in the last two lines with 'call' and 'king' work wonderfully to remind the reader of the start and give us a sense of having come full circle almost. They make the poem feel complete.

I love your use of personification. The clouds 'march', the waves 'chant and sing', the dawn 'ascends his splendid throne' and the land is 'thirsty'. Beautiful.

I noticed that whilst you personified the clouds in the first line, you later used a simile to suggest that they were 'like angels' who gathered. It worked for me! You use other similes in the poem too, such as the new day being 'like the dawning of an age' or 'like the turning of a page'. You have a lovely way with words.

*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
I noticed that you use standard punctuation, which I admit I'm in favour of. I dislike it when poems have no punctuation, although of course this is a personal opinion and either is correct. You do use a capital letter at the beginning of each line which is personal choice again. Because you have used normal punctuation, I must point out that there are a number of your lines which finish without a comma or full stop, when it seems they should have something. You do use commas and full stops to end other lines, but not these ones (below) when they don't appear to flow into the next line.

The beach is lit and the sands shine and glitter like stars
That streak across our thirsty land and drive the night afar
While sunrise deepens the ocean’s blue and shines on the seaweed green
So bright and warm a new day comes, like the dawning of an age
Unheard or seen by those who sleep, unheralded by trumpet call

I suggest reviewing them to see what punctuation (if any) is needed at the end of those lines. They felt to me like they needed either full stops or commas.

*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
Clouds march in from the horizon, caped in orange sunrise.
This was easily my favourite line. I love the idea of the clouds marching in wearing capes, and I can picture it and it just really appeals to me. Glorious.

while on the ocean his shadow is glimmering.
What a unique view to take! I love the idea that a shadow can be bright and glimmering! I would have said 'reflection' rather than shadow, but it works and so well.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
I may never look at a sunrise the same way again! *Smile* Truly, this was a magnificent poem, Kas. I really enjoyed it, and reading it was a treat.
Thank you for sharing!
Elle

Image #1922496 over display limit. -?-


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
83
83
Review of Marriage  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WDC Addicts Anonymous  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Header for The Gift Shop


This review is part of the gift basket that Rhonda bought for you from "Invalid Item with the message: 'Lina, just a little something to thank my "Partner in Crime". I appreciate all of your support and encouragement. ((HUGS)) *Heart* Rhonda.'

*Burstr* GENERAL:
Lina, I love the message in this poem. It's not the normal abstract emotions that we so often see in poetry (not that I don't love those too!) but to me this is more real. I really struggle to understand people who don't view marriage to be a wonderful partnership between two people who are prepared to face all their trials and triumphs together, united, stronger for being together. I felt that in your poem, and when I read it, I smiled and felt a connection to you, the author, and your poem.

*Burstr* CONVENTION:
I'm not familiar with the etheree form, and so I sincerely appreciate that you have included a footnote beneath your poem explaining the form. Thank you! All the lines had the right syllabic count, so thumbs up on that! *Thumbsup*
I found that it flowed relatively well, and this was helped by the -ing words - sharing, preparing, becoming, explaining and meaning. While there was no rhyme in this poem, this repetition of the 'ing' sound helped the flow.

*Burstr* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
I know that punctuation is very much the author's choice in poetry, and you have chosen to use commas, but no full stops. I would just suggest that the lack of punctuation does hinder the flow of the poem a little in a couple of places.
Is
Sharing
This day as
One, preparing

In the above lines, the reader moves smoothly on the next line without a pause, and it flows beautifully.
For the good and bad
A match made in heaven
to expand, becoming more
explaining, true meaning of bonds

The reader needs to pause after 'bad' and 'more', but there is nothing to alert the reader to this. I read it as 'preparing for the good and bad a match made in heaven', which of course doesn't make grammatical sense. Also 'becoming more explaining'. *Confused* So while I appreciate that punctuation is the author's choice, I believe you need something at the end of those lines to alert the reader to the need to pause.

In line 8, you have a comma between 'explaining' and 'true meaning of bonds' but I felt these went together. Otherwise, explaining is on its own. 'Explaining true meanings of bonds' made sense to me, but it requires that comma to be removed.

You start most lines with a capital letter, except for lines 7, 8 and 9. These should also have a capital letter to be consistent.

Family, in the last line, does not need a capital letter.

This is where I describe the ways I think a poem could be improved, if it's applicable. Again, this is another area to be gentle with. Always ask yourself if it's a matter of style or not.

*Burstr* FAVOURITE LINES:
One, preparing
For the good and bad

As I mentioned at the beginning, I love the idea of 'preparing for the good and bad'. To me, that is the very crux of a real marriage - not giving up when the going gets tough, but more than that, being the support that your partner needs. I really love that you included that. *Smile*

*Burstr* FINAL NOTE:
I really loved this glimpse into your life, and I love that I saw some of myself and my relationship in there too. It's like I discovered a new layer to our friendship. *Smile*
Thanks for sharing your poem,
Elle

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84
84
for entry "The Flickering Shadow
Review by Elle
In affiliation with Muse Masters Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hi LG,
I am reviewing your poem as part of the Muse Master's course we are both completing. I'm no stranger to reviewing, as you aren't either, but this particular style of formal structured poetry review is new to me, so if anything I say sounds odd, just let me know! I'm always open for suggestions on improvement. *Smile*

*Burstp* GENERAL:
Your poem has a mood of loneliness and loss, which is emphasised by the repetition of the word shadow in the title and the first and second stanzas. The very word 'shadow' suggests that some of the joy and 'light' has gone from the scene or situation. You use a lot of other words to reinforce this mood - hides, cringing, lurking, shatter, dying, tragic, chill, squalid and goodbyes.

I did struggle to visualise a scene in my mind - who is 'she'? Is she a person? An emotion? Hope? I couldn't quite interpret the poem to understand what you were trying to tell me. But in saying that, the mood and tone of the poem were so clear that I felt an emotional pull even without that interpretation. I felt that there was anger in the beginning, then despair.

*Burstp* CONVENTION:
The rhymes are perfect. *Smile* As a large number of the members on this site are American (and so few of them are from New Zealand as I am), I am always very alert to the differences that accents make, but this time, it all worked for me. *Thumbsup*

The couplets were written in pentameter, with ten syllables per line. There were three lines where I could only count nine syllables. This might be because of my accent, so take a moment to read through them again and see if you count nine or ten. If they still work for you with ten, then it is likely an accent problem. *Smile*
There, on the fringes, the Shadow hides,
She'd lend her life to the dying flames,
but night ends with the blanket of chill:

Because the meter falters on these three lines (for me), they interrupt the flow of the poem. If it turns out that they do have only nine syllables each, rather than ten, and it's not just my accent, I suggest rewriting these three lines to match the meter used throughout the rest of the poem, and then the whole poem will be more fluid and flow more easily off the tongue.

Your personification of the shadow works well. You have given the shadow a gender and she hides, cringes, dances, etc. This personification teases the imagination and I think it adds a lot to your poem.

Your use of repeating sounds helps to give the poem cohesive and knit it all together, as well as adding flow.
Some years ago this shadow used to dance
There are strong S sounds in this line that repeat in the words 'some', 'years', 'this', 'used' and 'dance'.
She'd lend her life to the dying flames,
This line emphasises the D sound - 'she'd', 'lend' and 'dying'.
Once a fire, now a flickering flame,
And this one uses alliteration to focus on the F sound with 'fire', 'flickering' and 'flame'.
These aren't the only examples in your poem, but just a few that I wanted to highlight. It's actually quite subtle and I didn't notice it on the first read - it sneaks in and works behind the scenes, which is absolutely perfect.

*Burstp* GRAMMAR/SPELLING:
cringing as waves of laughter swirls and slides,
This line feels slightly awkward in the poem, and after reading the poem through I went back to it and realised that it is because of the double plural - waves swirls. It needs to be 'waves swirl' or 'wave swirls' - with both the words as plurals, the grammar of the sentence is incorrect. The last word on the line, 'slides' need to be the same as 'swirls'.
To illustrate what I mean, these two examples are grammatically correct:
cringing as waves of laughter swirl and slide,
cringing as a wave of laughter swirls and slides,

Because you need 'slides' to rhyme with 'hides', I think you need to take the S off 'waves', but then you might need another word in the sentence which will throw off your syllable count. *Facepalm* Sorry, I don't have a solution, but I wanted to point it out to you. As always, do make sure that you read it through yourself and make sure you agree with my critique before making any changes. The poem is your work, not mine, and I am only offering feedback - you need to choose what works and doesn't work in your poem.

*Burstp* SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Other than the suggestions I have already made above regarding the meter and grammar, there was only one place where I thought you could perhaps tweak the poem to improve it. The words 'once-friends-now-strangers' didn't seem to have the same power and beauty as other words you could have chosen. I like the word strangers, as it really suits the mood and tone of your poem, and of course, rhymes perfectly with dangers, but the four words hyphenated together felt...awkward. It just didn't feel as strong as the rest of your poem, and I wondered if perhaps rewording this little bit might make this stanza stronger. Anyway, see what you think. There is nothing grammatically incorrect about it, and it fits the meter and rhyme requirements perfectly, so there is certainly no technical reason to change it.

*Burstp* FAVOURITE LINES:
There, on the fringes, the Shadow hides,
Disregarding the meter count for this line, the imagery is beautiful. I adore the idea of a shadow hiding on the fringes. *Thumbsup*

Some years ago this shadow used to dance
We see shadows 'dancing' whenever there are flames, and this line really speaks to me. It evokes really strong images for me, as well as sparking memories and an emotional response. I love it. *Smile*

She'd lend her life to the dying flames,
Again, discounting the meter, this is a strong and powerful line. I really like the idea of 'lending her life' to the 'dying' flames. It suggests more than personification - perhaps a magical quality that tantalises the reader. It speaks of hope and life, except in this context it is hope lost and life lost. Brilliant.

*Burstp* FINAL NOTE:
If I close my eyes now, I am left with a sense of dancing, weaving shadows and flickering flames that slowly fade and die, leaving a chill darkness in their wake. Your poem lingers and it leaves my fingers itching to express the emotions and imagery you have left me with. I am always pleased to read your poetry because you have a unique poetical voice that never fails to inspire my muse.
As always, it was a pleasure. *Smile* Thanks for sharing your poem,
Elle

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85
85
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Hi Christina,
I must confess I was surprised to find that this chapter starts with Butchie heading back home. We had such a huge lead up to him arriving and them meeting for the first time. It took them 20 chapters to finally meet, and in chapter 21 he's going home? *Shock* I barely got a glimpse of him! I want to know what Butchie and Christina did in those 21 days they had together. I've read romance novels where the entire book takes place in less days than that! There was so much potential for the reader to get to know these two characters better, to watch their relationship develop from an online relationship to a 'real' one (I know you'll argue that it was already real, but I mean an in-person one). I think you could do a lot more with the missing 21 days, and I think after 19 chapters of build up to the meeting, your readers deserve it.

This chapter baffles me a little. It's 900-odd words, but if you take out all the information about dogs, it's only 400-odd. There is more about dogs than about Butchie and Christina, and it seems like the human relationship should be taking precedence.

We don't get to hear Christina and Butchie's final goodbyes, what they say to each other, how they express their grief or love... I'd like to see more of them together and watch them interacting, rather than a playback after he's gone.

Having said that, I loved the description of Christina standing at the glass, her face pale, her eyes wet. Beautiful and evocative. Well done.

I like all the 'Who will do this?' things that Christina wondered about, but thought this might be better shown as dialogue. Instead of the narrator wondering who would do all of that, have Christina moan about it. Even if it's just to a potplant! A friend or one of her daughters would work well too. Have them give helpless answers like 'I don't know!' or 'Well, you could try this...' or just soothing her and keeping her company as she grieves.

I suppose my overall theme here is that instead of being distanced from it all, I want to watch it all play out like a movie. Give me the action and the dialogue to go along with the emotion.

I love that final line. 'What should she do to have Butchie in her life now...?' That really makes the reader want to find out what Christina does next, or even what demands life places upon her. Excellent stuff. *Smile*

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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86
86
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
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Hi Christina,
I'm back for chapter 20! I'm quite excited to meet Butchie finally. *Smile*

There is a lot more 'showing' in this chapter, and more description of the setting, which is wonderful to see. We get to see the movement and action of the characters more so we can picture what they're doing, which is great. However, we don't get a lot of description of what the characters look like. Does he have black hair, blonde hair, grey hair? Does she gesture a lot as she talks? What colour are their eyes? Does he frown a lot or narrow his eyes in concentration? This sort of description, just a little bit tucked here and there through out the whole chapter and onwards through out the whole novel, will help the reader to visualise the characters.

Because there is use of the f word, let alone a love scene, in this chapter, the chapter NEEDS to be rated 18+. I think I have mentioned this in previous reviews too. I would make this change as soon as possible as Writing.com are very strict on this.

I think your dialogue would be better written with speech marks and dialogue tags. I have mentioned this is a previous review, so won't go over it again, but let me know if you need me to give examples on how to do this.

I would suggest going through the chapter and removing as many exclamation marks as you can. I have given specific examples of places where you can do this in my editing points below, but in general, the less exclamation marks, the better.

I enjoyed the story about Texas, and it was quite well told, but I would suggest moving it so that it appears in chronological order (if you rewrite this as a memoir) or making it more clear that Christina is telling the story to Butchie rather than living through it at the time. What a funny story though. Your life experiences just keep getting wilder! *Bigsmile*

I've put my specific edit notes under a drop note for you. *Smile*
Specific review points

Overall, this was definitely my favourite chapter. More showing, more description, more interaction. I know it was harder when all the communication was online and they were never in the same place, but even so, I think your writing has shown definite improvement in this chapter. The exclamation marks and the way the dialogue is formatted were the things that I felt let it down, but overall, well done.

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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87
87
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WDC Addicts Anonymous  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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This review is part of the gift basket that Elle bought for you from "Invalid Item with the message 'Thanks for bidding on my item in the "P.E.N.C.I.L. auction.'


Hi there,
I chose this item to review because I was intrigued by the title. Surely all of us have come across this situation before, especially those of us who review for groups and have to fulfill orders.

I was intrigued that you chose to focus on a piece that the reviewer found personally distateful, rather than an item so poorly written that it was off-putting. To be honest, I have more trouble with the latter than the former. It's a case of struggling to find positive comments sometimes.

Your advice at the bottom of this item is excellent. It shows the reviewer a way to break down the item into its parts and focus on them separately. The writing, the characters, the plot, originality and creativity, and your personal opinion. I agree, wholeheartedly, that personal opinion should be part of a review, but only part, not the whole thing.

For me, the biggest thing missing from this is the damage a poor review can do to the author. It's not about the reviewer's reputation (although you were absolutely right with your comments regarding this), a poor review based solely on the reviewer's personal tastes, and not taking into consideration any writing skill on the author's part, can put an author off this site, and can put them off writing altogether. That might sound overly dramatic, but it's true. Especially if they are a newbie, have a small portfolio or get more than one review like it. How can they learn from your review when you haven't focused on their writing, just on the subject matter?

This item needs a little proofreading, mostly for rogue capital letters.
The second thing you could do is say, “This is a piece of Crap! How could you write This? I expected Better!” and you give the item a one star.
Crap, This and Better don't need capitals in this context. There were a couple of other instances of rogue capitals as well.

There were a couple of sentences that didn't seem to fit with the whole idea that the reviewer is so disgusted by the subject matter that they are inclined to give a one star review.
You want to stop, but you are glued to the whole thing.
Besides, perhaps this is your first step into an area you might want to try writing about in the future.

I felt you could probably take out those sentences without detracting from your item.

That boosts your assertiveness, and makes you feel better about the need to squirt liquid soap into your ear and scrub out your brain.
This sentence annoyed me a little, but maybe it's because I so strongly disagree with giving a one star review on this basis! *Laugh* Does giving a one star review boost your assertiveness? Surely not. Well, maybe for some people. I'm not saying you're wrong to have this in there, just that it caught my attention. The more I think about it, the more it seems like actually it should stay there. Why else do people react like that? There must be a reason, huh?

As for the second one, your Reviewing Reputation could be severely tarnished, as the guy could go around telling people about your cruddy review and show them it, and next thing you know, your email is flooded with “How could you?”s and many others have Blocked you from seeing their items.
This is quite a long, awkward sentence, and I think if you broke it up and reworded it slightly, it would work a little better. Maybe something like:
As for the second one, your reviewing reputation could be severely tarnished. The author could show people your cruddy review, and the next thing you know, your email is flooded with angry messages and people are blocking you from seeing their items.
That's just an example of course, but have a play with it and see if you find a way of rewording it that works well for you.

That might be tricky, as you might still feel the need to squirt liquid soap into your ear and scrub out your brain.
I did like the imagery of squirting liquid soap in one's ear, and while I didn't like it so much with the 'boosting your assertiveness' comment, that was more because of the context. It works well here to add a little humour. *Smile*

Overall, I think this is something every reviewer should read, because many of us run into this situation on this site. Some of us have the option of moving on to another item, and some of us don't. All of us can benefit from the tips at the bottom though, about looking at an item in terms of the various parts as well as the whole.

Thanks for sharing this,
Elle

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88
88
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Hi Christina,
It's quite startling to realise that the big meeting is just three days away. It feels like the story is starting to pick up pace now. I'm excited! *Smile*

I quite like the quick exchange of emails in this chapter. Although they are included in their entirety without being broken up by action as I have recommended in previous reviews, their short length allows you to get away with it, and the back-and-forth of the emails gives us both perspectives in quick succession, like a modern-day twist on dialogue. *Smile*

I would strongly suggest that you remove the header of the dating company from all emails, and I wouldn't include the ones that say that that they have progressed to open communication. These don't add anything to the story, and detract from the communication between the two main characters. I had trouble working out which parts the characters had written, and which parts were automatically generated.

Ohhh my God!!!
Ohhh Meu Deus!!!
Ohhh Mon Dieu!!!
She wasn't really making any sense...Oh my God...then; she finally made some sense and screamed: 3 DAYS!!!
He is coming in 3 DAYS! She was delighted! She was so pleased! She was so in love!
Ohhh my God, I must call Amparo, she thought, she will help me clean the apartment and cook food, fill the freezer up with food. She thought of going to the local supermarket that she loved so much and getting things that he said he liked and that she had kept in a corner of her mind. He liked Italian bread, he liked chicken, he liked cheese and he liked to have lunch. How could someone skip lunch? She loved lunch! Ohhh my God, she thought, Ohhh my God...He was really coming to see her.
Ohhh my God...
Ohhh my God...
Ohhh...my
God!!!

Ha ha, excited much? *Laugh* This excitement is written as if the author is excited, rather than the character. If you decide to revise this into a memoir as we have discussed, this sort of writing would work well in first person point of view, but for a romance novel, we need to see that the character is excited, rather than the author. Write the screams as speech, using speech marks and dialogue tags. Also, the less exclamation marks you can use, the better. Here's an example of how it might work a little better:
"Ohhh my God," wailed Christina. She shot off her seat, knocking it backwards. "Ohh meu Deus." Her hands covered her face as she tried desperately to control her breathing. "Three days?" Her voice echoed in the empty apartment, and she agreed that it was certainly worth repeating. He would be in here in just three days. She squealed and spun on the spot, arms flying out in an impromptu dance of joy. She sat down at the computer again, only to leap back up with a gasp. Three days. There was so much to do.

The part about what makes aeroplanes fly stumped me a little, I must admit. It was only at the very end that I realised that you were trying to portray that the character's mind was racing a mile a minute over silly inconsequential trivia as she waited impatiently. Before I got to that last sentence, I was trying to figure out why on earth I was getting a lesson in aerodynamics in the middle of a romance novel! *Laugh* My first suggestion would be to make a note before the musing, letting the reader know why Christina is thinking about aerodynamics. Secondly, consider what this adds to the romance between Christina and Butchie, and what it adds to the novel. Do we need it? If yes, leave it in. If not, take it out.

I am sure the meeting is just around the corner, and my interest is high. You have done a great job of building the suspense. I'm off to read more!

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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89
89
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.5)
*Pencil* A "P.E.N.C.I.L. Review *Pencil*


Hi Christina,
I'm back for another chapter. *Smile*

You have lived the most extraordinary life. You met Frank Sinatra, dated a Russian prince and slept in Brigitte Bardot's bed! *Shock*

This chapter is jam packed full of information. You've called it 'Christina's Walk of Life (and all the perils, confusions and magic she went through...)' and while that's an apt description, it seems like enough information for a whole book, rather than one chapter.

This chapter encompasses your marriage, the birth of your daughters and your divorce... If you were marketing this as a memoir (something I have recommended several times, as it is truly written in the style of a memoir rather than a romance novel), I would strongly suggest that each of these events be given at least one chapter of their own. These are major life events that shaped, and yes, continue to shape, the way you see and interact with the world.

Even for a romance novel, a past relationship like your marriage is a big influence on how you react to the current man in your life, and what you expect and need from him. If you've been cheated on, you might be more cautious, less trusting... We see this a lot in romance novels. If he had control over the finances and mismanaged them, then there would be a desire for independence and self-control. So the past relationship is important. But for this romance novel (and I must continue to review it as such), this chapter doesn't move Christina and Butchie's relationship forward. It is a really long letter from Christina to Butchie, and I am pleased that it is not Christina directly addressing the reader as we have seen in past chapters, but there is nothing of Butchie in it. There's no mention of him except that the letter is addressed to him, and you sign off with 'So here it is, Butchie, the last part of my life story.' There's nothing in the chapter that makes me feel like you were writing to Butchie.

Does a Prince charming really exist or it is an urban legend and a myth?

What makes you inspire your greatness? What would you do to showcase your talent? Starting over again doesn't announce failure. It is an opportunity to find a new direction. Do what you love and love what you do, even if it's simple and unimportant to others. Follow your insights. It can be a time to discover passions or pursue a dream.


These don't feel like questions from Christina to Butchie, they feel like questions from the author to the reader.

I am not trying to be negative. You have some amazing stories to tell, and truly, I think people will want to read them. And some of what you have written is excellent, but it's not a romance novel. So I suggest, again, that you include Butchie's reactions to the letter through the chapter, and indeed, possibly even extend it to be multiple chapters. What does Butchie think as he reads of Enio? Is he jealous? Does he laugh when he reads of Christina meeting Frank Sinatra? How does he react to the story of Christina's marriage?

All of the story is told by the character in past tense. The reader is hearing all of it second hand. Give us some current action, something to see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Now. Not the tastes and smells of Christina's wedding cake, but the tastes and smells of the coffee Butchie drinks as he reads her email or the apple Christina crunches on as she ponders what line to write next. Does she write a line, then delete it for fear of sharing something that will put him off? Does she have music playing in the background that suddenly reminds her of another thing she forgot to mention?

Let us be there to witness the relationship changing between Christina and Butchie.

Just another quick note - read your dialogue aloud to check that it sounds natural. Would the grandfather say 'I want YOU to have it and not my 8 sons or even Gloria.'? He knows he has 8 sons, as does Christina, is it realistic that he would mention it? Is it realistic that Christinas would say 'You had it made many years ago, on your 50th birthday. It's precious. Gold and diamonds, handmade.' He knows what it looks like, what it's made from, why would she describe to him? Read the sentences aloud, perhaps even with another person to play a part, and see if it sounds natural.

Truly, you have had some remarkable adventures. *Smile* I hope all of this helps you to take this amazing story and make it more enjoyable for your audience.


*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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90
90
Review of The Last Geisha  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi there,
I am reviewing this story as a student in the " The Rockin' Review Academy . These are just my observations about your work, and you should take what you find useful and disregard the rest.

General Comments & Reader Reaction:
You chose a scene of great turmoil and tragedy, and gave it a sense of peace and honour. Part of me feels that a little more hysterical screaming would be more realistic if one's family and indeed one's entire village were wiped out *Smile*, but I actually liked the way you dealt with the scene. I could picture the destruction, and feel how difficult it must be to see such horrific sights, and yet you finished with respect and a faint sense of hope.

Setting & Imagery:
You do an excellent job of painting the scene. We see logs that are broken like toothpicks, tattered remains of painted panels, flattened buildings, rubble... All of those things help paint a picture for the reader and allow us to visualise the scenes in our mind. Truthfully, I think this was the strongest aspect of your story, because I was able to picture it all so clearly that I felt like I was there. Imagery is something I really struggle with in my own work, so I know how hard it is. You have done a great job here.

Writing Style & Grammar:
Generally speaking, your grammar is correct, but your punctuation needs work. There are a lot of places where commas are missing, or are in the wrong place. I'll point out a few, as an example. If you struggle to fix up the rest, let me know, and I'll be happy to be more specific on this.
Click here to see specific examples.

There are a few places where you have used capital letters that aren't necessary, such as on 'earthquake', 'village' and 'tailor'. A word only needs a capital if it is a proper noun (a name) or at the beginning of a sentence.

Overall Impression & Conclusion:
The story does need editing to fix the punctuation, and there were one or two small spelling errors, but these are very easy and simple to fix. They're the easiest part of writing. You've done the hard part, the writing, now it's just the polishing. *Smile* I do hope you take the time to polish this up, because it deserves it. I enjoyed reading it, and I know others will too.

Thanks for sharing your work,
Elle

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91
91
Review of Promised Land  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WDC Addicts Anonymous  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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This is one of the reviews bought with the gift certificate you won for placing third in the "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest.

Hi Alexi,
I read the first two stanzas of this poem and was drawn in by the beautiful rhythm and flow you had created. The rhyming pattern of a,b,c,c works really well.

The third, fourth and fifth stanzas, you lost the rhyme and I completely lost the rhythm. I would love to see you rework these three stanzas and incorporate the wonderful a,b,c,c rhyming pattern from the first two stanzas.

The last line of the first, second, third and fourth stanzas are questions, and I'd like to see them end with question marks. Just a little touch that will make a big difference, I think.

The only other suggestion is that you use either he or He, but be consistent.
For example:
Just knock on the door of His mansion house
I'm sure he will wecome you in

See, you've used His and he, and either they should both have a capital letter, or neither should. Probably both in this case, as you are referring to God and a capital is customary. Not essential though.

Thanks for sharing your poem. As I said, the rhythm of those first two stanzas is beautiful - just perfect for reading aloud. You almost get caught up in it. I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of it, and I'm happy to come back and rerate if you change it.

Elle

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92
92
Review of Fatayer  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with 30-Day Bloggers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
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Hi Joel!
As you must know by now, I'm a big fan of food writing and recipes. *Bigsmile* I was drawn to this one because you mentioned it was your grandparents' recipe, and I love the idea of preserving family recipes, and am intrigued by how food has changed over the generations.

This recipe is easy to follow, and I think most people who are even slightly familiar with recipes would be able to reproduce this food. It uses simple ingredients that are still available today. My only question - what is a 'packet' of dry yeast? How much dry yeast is that? We buy ours in jars or similar - far more than a single serving in each container.

The pie, or fatayer, sounds tasty. I'd love to know more about the background of these - are they a common Lebanese food? A traditional one? Do they come in other flavours and if they do, do those have different names?

This needs a proofread and an edit, which is the reason I'm only giving 4 stars. Although it is entirely readable and easy to follow, like any written work, good punctuation and grammar make it more enjoyable to the reader. Mostly it's missing capital letters at the beginning of sentences, simple things like that. Check your short description too - grand parent's should be grandparents' (or if there was only one grandparent being referred to, then grandparent's).

Thanks for sharing. I just might try this one out!
Elle

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93
93
Review of Annie  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (1.0)
Hi there,
I am reviewing this item as a student in the " The Rockin' Review Academy . These are just my observations about your work, and you should take what you find useful and disregard the rest.

General Comments & Reader Reaction:
This piece gives a snippet of Annie's life - just a single night. We are drawn into the drama as she cowers in fear beneath her bed covers. I liked that the action focused just on Annie and her dog Buster. I also find it interesting that you never revealed the cause of Annie's fears, but left the reader wondering. Perhaps every reader would imagine their own worst fears. Very clever.
This piece does need a lot of basic editing, but don't worry, that's the easy part. I'll mention a bit more on this under 'Writing Style & Grammar'.

Plot:
The plot was simple, and I think that worked well for this piece. My preference would be to have the story end with Annie waking safe after her ordeal and realising that she can conquer her fears and live through the horrors of the night. What an awesome message to send people. I was surprised by the 'rejuvenation' you wrote of, where her arm was healed - I couldn't see a reason for this, or any warning that this might lie ahead in the story. I was also surprised that Annie died, as it seemed such an abrupt turnaround after surviving the night. Now, my preferences and suggestions are just that, and you should only do what feels right to you. This is your work - only make changes you are comfortable with, and that feel right to you.

Characters:
We don't get to see a lot of the characters, because this is such a short piece, but I do love Buster. Who doesn't love a dog that protects and reassures their human? We don't know a lot about Annie, but despite her fear and her screams, I think she came across as brave. She is clearly a survivor.
It would have been nice to have some more description of them, particularly Buster. Is he a big dog or a small dog?

Setting & Imagery:
You use some excellent words in your description, such as soulful, sullenly, chilling, cheery. These really help set the mood. When you use strong words like this, it definitely adds a boost to your writing.
You do have a number of places in your piece where you flick backwards and forwards between moods and emotions. Here's an example:
She giggled and remembered the time when Buster was a puppy and turned sullenly onto her side.
'Giggled' is a great word for conveying happiness. It is a stark contrast to 'sullenly' which paints a darker mood. Try to avoid switching too often like this, as it unsettles the reader. This piece needs to be full of fear and anxiety right up until Annie wakes up, when we can appreciate the 'cheery' sunshine.
I think the use of the weather to match your character's moods helps in such a short piece. The thunder and lightning add to the tension, and then the sunshine helps to brighten the mood. These are simple tools, and you can certainly 'break the rules' by going the other way with them, but it can be an easy way to add some extra depth to a short piece like this.

Writing Style & Grammar:
I think you need to do a basic grammar check on this piece, either by using a program like Microsoft Word, or if you don't feel confident to spot the errors, then ask someone to go over it with you, sentence by sentence. While a computer program should never be a substitute for basic proofreading, it can sometimes pick up small errors that our eyes can skip over.
There are a number of homonyms used inccorectly in this piece. That means that you have used a word which is pronounced the same, but it means something different. Once example is 'her waste was small'. Waste and waist are pronounced the same, but they mean very different things. In this case, you wanted 'waist'. Another example is 'that bit into her sole'. Sole and soul are pronounced the same, but in this case you needed 'soul'. These won't show on a spell checker, because waste and sole are real words that are spelled correctly, so you need to look for these as you proofread. They might be caught by a grammar check. If you have doubts over whether you've used the right spelling, look up the word in the dictionary (I use an online dictionary which makes life easy) and check the meaning to be sure.

Overall Impression & Conclusion:
You have the start of what could be a great emotional short story. If you work on the basics of grammar and spelling, I'd be happy to come back and take another look and rerate the piece, and maybe see if I can be of any further help in making the most of this piece.

Thank you for sharing your work. I know it can take a lot of courage to do so.

Elle

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94
94
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Hi Christina,
I'm back for another chapter. *Smile*

I love that you have included lyrics that were written from Butchie to Christina as part of their growing relationship. As a reader, I love finding little poems or lyrics hidden inside stories.

I won't critique the lyrics, because for all that you are writing a 'romance novel', I know this is a true story, and believe the lyrics to be those written by Butchie, not yourself as author.

What would have made this chapter truly outstanding is if you had included some reaction from Christina, or maybe some 'behind the scenes' on the lyrics. It's nice to see from Butchie's perspective that he is sad because she's upset, but it feels like we're only seeing the surface. What was Butchie thinking as he wrote the lyrics? Did he write some lines and then cross them out because they didn't say what he wanted to say? Did he send it off with glee or trepidation? Did he wait impatiently for a reply or nervously? Was he sure of his talent with a pen, or was this his first attempt at lyrics? Was he hoping she'd read between the lines to see how much he loved her, or was this truly a silly thing just to make her laugh because he was in a crazy mood? I wanna know! The reader wants to know!

Alternatively, or even in addition to all of that, you could give us Christina's perspective. How did she feel when she read the lyrics? How did she react? Did she cry? Laugh? Smile? Try to figure out what tune went with them? Did she instantly write back, or leave him waiting in suspense? Was it the first time someone had written her lyrics or poetry or the 100th?

There are no minimum or maximum chapter lengths - the author has full discretion over this. However, 331 words is a very short chapter, and I think there is a lot the reader wants to know, so you could easily extend this chapter without running into any issues with length.

I did like how this chapter focused on Butchie and Christina in the present, and think with just a little tweaking, it could definitely be a chapter that moves the relationship forwards, which is ideal for a romance novel. *Smile*

See you soon for the next chapter!

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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95
95
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (2.5)
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Hi Christina,
I'm back for another chapter! *Smile*

Following on from what I said in my review of the previous chapter, this is a real flashback into Christina's history, before Butchie even comes on the scene. While it tells us a little about Christina and her beliefs, and her attitude to love, it doesn't truly move the relationship/romance between Butchie and Christina forwards.

I have said before, but it's worth repeating - if you market this as a romance novel, which you have done, every chapter must move the relationship forward. If you write it as a memoir, which I would strongly recommend, you can write all this backstory as it happened, rather than flashing back and forth and relating past events from character to another.

With all that said, I'll critique it as you've written it.

She got up from the red, leather armchair and quietly opened the door. The room was dark but pleasant and full of shadows of things around it.
I love the description you use here and further through this paragraph. I'd love to see more of this in your work, so we can picture the scenes. Great work!

She raised an eyebrow softly and looked at her with keen curiosity.

(She had said nothing that she didn't know already...)

Because you are talking about two women, you can't refer to them both simply as she and/or her. It is too confusing for the reader. Which woman is raising an eyebrow? You need to go through this chapter and look for this, as it happens a number of times.

- Hum. You have two Orixás...

- ?

I really like the use of dialogue to move the story along, and wish you had more of it in your earlier chapters. It's a great way to put the reader into the action. However, I struggle to see how someone replied with a question mark. We don't say 'Question mark?' when we're confused. You need to write what was said, or describe the expression on the person's face, or in some way let us know what happened.

- (Picking up the cards from different piles during the conversation...) Hum.
You write all the action in this chapter in parenthesis as if it is some afterthought to the dialogue. I'd love to see this written out properly.
'The woman picked up the piles of cards and spread them in front of her, humming under her breath again before speaking.'

(She was totally goose bumps and in awe...How could she know about all this? My secrets, my life!
You switched between third person and first person here, using she and then my to mean the same person. You must stay in one tense through the whole novel, let alone a single chapter or paragraph.

My suggestion is that if you want to keep this in, as part of the romance novel, it needs to be just the bit about Butchie, not the whole experience from start to finish, and it needs to be related from Christina to Butchie personally. I can picture a lazy discussion in bed, where Christina says "A fortune teller once told me I'd meet you. She told me all sorts of things about you." "Like what?" Butchie asked. "Well, she said..."

I hope this has been of some help!

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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96
96
Review by Elle
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi there,
I am reviewing "How My Father Fought as a student in the " The Rockin' Review Academy . These are just my observations about your work, and you should take what you find useful and disregard the rest.

General Comments & Reader Reaction:
Firstly, congratulations on winning third place in the "Roots & Wings Historical Fiction Contest. *Smile* Family history is a serious passion of mine, so I am always excited to see someone else taking on the same challenge.

The story you share is both an important part of your father's life (and therefore your family history) and interesting to the average reader. Your first line caught my attention and I wanted answers - which I got.

As a family history enthusiast, I loved that you had actual facts which were woven into your story. You were specific - you gave exact ages, years, occupations, employers and units. Those details are worth more than gold in an item of this type.

I think if you wrote the story in third person, from your father's point of view, rather than first person with you retelling the story, that would make this story so much more powerful. I'll be more specific below, and give you examples of what I mean.

Plot:
This item tells the story of your father's fight to serve his country during World War II. This is a great tale, and definitely one worthy of retelling and recording. It says a lot about your father - about the kind of man he was, what his beliefs were and what he valued. It also gives us a glimpse into your grandfather, the way you've told it.

My preference would be for you to restrict this tale to the fight to serve and the circumstances that directly relate to that. I think you should end with him signing up with the Merchant Marines and heading out to sea. I think the tales of his various tours and his experiences at sea deserve their own stories. They turn this from a focused story with a hard-hitting moral, to an overview.

Setting & Imagery:
You give us hints of the setting, and a little description of the characters, but we could definitely use more.

The “pipsqueak, pencil-necked, cotton-picking idiot” was probably not quite so big.
I loved that line! It is descriptive, but also full of attitude. Perhaps not politically correct, but then, who was in those days?

“Sit,” Dad commanded the ashen man. While the frightened officer shook in his uniform and lab coat, Dad proceeded to change not one, not two, but all four tires on the truck.
Again, you are more descriptive here. We get a glimpse of what the officer is wearing, and the fact that he is 'ashen' uses the old adage of 'show, don't tell' to illustrate that he is frightened without spelling it out for the reader.

I know that it can be really hard to add these details to settings and characters in historical stories like this, but this is where 'poetic license' comes in. In fact, if you Google 'poetic license', you'll find that it's also called 'historical license' for this very reason. Paint a picture for your readers. We know that your dad was a big man - tall and muscled, but I still have lots of questions. What colour was his hair? Did he have any mannerisms? Did he have a mustache? Did he dress neatly or was he unkempt? Was he wearing a uniform for the trucking company or in casual clothes? We know as much about the officer (who appears for just a little more than two paragraphs) as we do about your dad who features from start to finish.

While you will have to make up the details of the scene, do make sure that they fit the historical period you are writing about. What was normal attire for an American working class man at that time? What was a common haircut then? Your dad's mannerisms will be easier, as you can use the ones he had later in life when you knew him.

Writing Style & Grammar:
You did a good job of checking for spelling errors and typos - I found none, and proofreading is a strength of mine!

As I mentioned earlier, I think the first person perspective, with you retelling the story, weakens the story a little. As a comparison, see the difference between these two examples:

I doubt there was much in the way of physical or occupational therapy in the first quarter of the 20th century. According to my dad, my grandfather got creative.

“Sit,” Dad commanded the ashen man. While the frightened officer shook in his uniform and lab coat, Dad proceeded to change not one, not two, but all four tires on the truck.

The second example is far more appealing to the reader. It puts us in the story, allowing us to witness the action. It gives the story drama and pace. The first example adds distance between the reader and the action, and slows down the pace. Speaking both as a reader and as a judge for the "Roots & Wings Historical Fiction Contest, I'd love to see this written out so that the whole story reads like that second example. I think it would be better written in third person, using your dad's name. I just realised I have no idea what your dad's name is. I went back through the whole story, and he's only ever referred to as Dad. We should really know his name. Anyway, just picking a name at random to use as an example, I think the story would be stronger if you wrote in third person, like '"Sit," Richard commanded the ashen man. While the frightened officer shook in his uniform and lab coat, Richard proceeded to change not one, not two, but all four tires on the truck."
The story will definitely be stronger in third person. Because you personally are not in the story, first person places unnecessary distance between the reader and the story.

When he was finished, he turned to the the colonel and said, “How's that for crippled, you stupid sonofabitch?”
This line and the pipsqueak line were my favourite lines, because they were full of attitude and emotion, they showed us exactly how frustrated and angry your father felt, and yes, they amused me. *Smile* They were punchy and grabbed my attention. Having said that, the example above means you should change the rating of your story, as you can't use that particular phrase in an E rated item. That last word alone puts it to a minimum of 13+, but I would guess actually it's 18+. Despite that, I still suggest you retain that line. The contest allows items rated up to 18+ (quite apart from the fact that your story has already been judged and awarded third place!), so I would re-rate it to that level.

Overall Impression & Conclusion:
You have taken a lot of information and given it to us in a way that tells us a lot about the kind of man your father was, and also the attitudes of the society he lived in at that time. Those two things are crucial to a family history item. All of us (and by us I mean genealogists and family history writers) want to share a piece of our family with the world. But sharing a glimpse into society or a country, as it was at a specific point in the past, is of real value to those beyond your family, and makes your story extra interesting.

Your story has a moral, about fighting for what you believe in, and not giving up, yet it delivers that moral in a way that is easy for the reader to digest. It doesn't read like a lecture or a fable, but we get the message nonetheless.

I love the personality and the character that comes through in this piece. I do hope that, despite winning third prize and knowing it is already a good piece, you are able to use some of my comments to improve it and help bring it up to five star quality. This piece is already good, but has the potential to be really powerful. I look forward to seeing what you do with, so please don't hesitate to share it with me if you do any editing, or indeed if you have any questions on what I have said.

I look forward to seeing you around the site, and to seeing more of your work in the contest. *Smile*

Elle

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97
97
Review of I am an Echo  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Aundria,
I'm here in response to your request for a review. *Smile*

I have seen these 'I Am' poems before, and in fact one of the official WDC newsletters challenged us to write one once. I can't remember what mine was like exactly, but it certainly wasn't as poetically beautiful as this one.

I really really love your repeating line 'I am an echo of thunder and light' and the way you've put that into your title. It's very evocative and has a wonderful sense of poetry, in and of itself.

I wonder if I'll fade away.
This isn't a strong line for me. Echoes always fade away, don't they? To me, this doesn't add a lot.

I love the rest of the first stanza though, especially the last two lines.

I pretend I am confident, I pretend I am proud, yet
I feel vulnerable and small

This looks like it needs a full stop after small, but I like the lines.

I touch the soul, the heart, the mind.
Beautiful.

I worry no one will care.
Aw, that's so sad. *Sad* I tried to find a more emotive way of saying this, a stronger way, but I couldn't, and in the end had to agree that perhaps this short, simplistic line sums it up best.

I cry, all alone, a voice in the crowd
I am an echo of thunder and light.

Fantastic! Does it need a comma or full stop after crowd?

I understand they can see me, yet I am not there.
I wonder if you need 'can' in that sentence. And I would have used 'I'm instead of 'I am', but that's probably just personal preference.

I dream of standing in the glow of the sun and
I try to walk in the light
I hope one day to break out of my prison, but for now
I am an echo of thunder and light

You mentioned that you were unsure of using the word 'light' twice in this stanza. I didn't notice it on my initial read-through, and had to look for it, so it's not a major. You could reverse it and say 'I try to step out of the shadows' or similar.
I think 'I hope one day to break out of my prison, but for now' is too long. I would say 'I hope to one day break free, but for now' or 'I hope to break free one day, but for now'.

I hope I've helped a little, but honestly, I enjoyed it very much as it is, and think you've done an excellent job. I must say again, I really really love the repeating line 'I am an echo of thunder and light'.

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98
98
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Yellow,
I found this poem through the "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest.

I hadn't heard about the Michelin Rubber Plantation before (although I've heard of Michelin tyres), nor had I heard that soldiers fighting in and around the area had to avoid damaging the rubber trees. It seems crazy that in a fight for life and death, one needs to be thinking of profit and capitalism. *Sad* That is a very sorry state of affairs indeed.

My personal preference would be for your poem to have punctuation in it, particularly commas where they would be found in a normal sentence, but I am aware that this is only my personal preference and not everyone agrees with me.

I think your poem could use more emotive words. You use 'damage', 'fight', 'hurt', 'soldier' and 'enemy', but it feels like you could have used your words to get your emotion across better. You tell us the story, and show your disapproval, but I feel that perhaps you could have shared your anger (and grief?) more with the reader. What about 'ludicrous', 'horrifying', 'furious' or 'distressing'? How can you share your emotions better with your reader?

My favourite stanza was the fourth one. I agree with your sentiments there - what were the men in charge thinking to make such a ludicrous ruling? And seriously, isn't it hard enough for a soldier on the field of battle, fighting for life and death, without such a handicap as that?

Thanks for sharing your poem, Yellow.

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99
99
Review of Oh, dear me!  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WDC Addicts Anonymous  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Header for The Gift Shop


This review is a gift from your Secret Santa. Enjoy!'

Gaby, this is a great twist on the Dear Me letter that most of us write for the official WDC January contest. I wish this was eligible! It seems so unfair that it's not.

I think there are a few small details that could be tidied up to make this stronger, but overall it's well written.

On any other day, I would have clicked on a different tab and checked my inbox, but there weren't any new tabs open and the new item I've been working on couldn't be put off any longer.
Opening a new tab is so simple and easy, that I can't see how it is a deterrent. You say 'but there weren't any new tabs open' and it seems irrelevant to your decision. I would just say 'but the new item I'd been working couldn't be put off any longer.'
Also, I think I've should be I'd to maintain the correct tense.

Not to mention, by clicking somewhere else, the project would have been forgotten and I would have closed it before remembering to save it.
I feel like this needs something like 'Knowing me,' to give the impression that you have come to this conclusion from past experience.

Typing in the pass-code on the fancy - which is another word for overpriced - phone, I noticed a new email on Writing.com.
Because you chose to check your email on your phone anyway, it seems that the distraction wasn't the issue, it was the possibility of forgetting to save your work. I think then you should leave out the part about 'the new item I've been working on couldn't be put off any longer' and just go with 'Knowing me, by opening another tab, I'd forget to save my project and lose all the work I'd done so far.' But a part of me wants to know why you don't just save your work in progress before checking your email?? Wouldn't that be the easiest option? Save, then check the email, then come back to the project. Or don't check the email until you've finished. Of course, this is hindsight being 20/20, but these are the questions that were raised in my mind as I read.

The project I worked so hard on, still on my mind as I double checked to make sure it's still present.
This sentence is a little awkward. I would suggest rephrasing it as 'My mind was still on the project I had been working so hard on, so I double checked to make sure it was still present in the other window.'

My eyebrow lifted off its own accord when I realized that the sender's name was mine.
Off should be of.

My To-do list sat right next to me as I scanned it
I would use either capital letters on both To and Do, or on neither, but not on just one.

nor have I seen any changes I proposed.
I would say 'any progress on the changes I proposed'.

In all fairness, you've been pretty lazy no matter the circumstances and I wish to change that..
I think the first paragraph of the email is sympathetic and supportive, and I think it's really well written. But then you finish it with this line, and it doesn't seem to go with the rest of the paragraph. You're basically saying 'Life has been tough and I understand that, but don't give up,' and then turning around and saying 'Actually, you know what, you've been lazy and using all these circumstances as excuses.' It's a real flip in the space of one sentence.

I kept reading, not agreeing with any of the statements made.
I assumed, since you wrote it, that you would agree with all of it, but perhaps not the way it was worded. So the last two years haven't been tough? Your life hasn't been turned upside down? You're not stubborn? I would have expected you to disagree with the tone, or with that last line, but not with all of it.

The last paragraph of the email goes back to being encouraging and supportive, even if it is unapologetic, but in no way does it say anything that could change anything about the way you live or do things. It doesn't tell us what changes the writer of the email wants you to make, or how it wants you to do things differently. It feels like there's a big chunk of the email missing. If there is, then you should allude to it with 'I read all the proposed plans and changes, before moving on to read the last paragraph' or similar.

I am amused that you're more confused by the idea that the email took a year to arrive than that it was sent by you and you had no recollection of ever writing or sending it. *Smirk*

It took me forever to learn how to delete notifications from my email, let alone something as important as this.
I was amused by this wee insight into your psyche - you have trouble deleting emails?

As we both know, neither you nor I have won the Dear Me contest last year, unless you're hiding something from me.
There was no mention of this, nor even the sarcasm you mention, in the original email. Was this in the missing part you forgot to allude to? *Smirk*

Shortly after I wrote you the letter, which you so conveniently misplaced,
What letter? There was a letter from 'me' to 'you' but now 'you' is referring to a letter which 'me' lost. Argh, so confusing! Are you referring to the original Dear Me letter you wrote? In which case YOU were accused of losing it, not the entity which wrote the original email. *Confused*

I loved the rest of your email. Go Gaby!! *Laugh*

After clicking on various items, none of which were the right forum but rather something shiny that distracted me from my task at hand, I found the right one and posted a note with my concerns.
Ha ha, I know that feeling well! *Delight*

With a quickness of lightening striking the ground, I exited out of the program and turned the computer off just to remember that I forgot to save my work in progress I worked so hard on.
Instead of 'a' quickness, I would say 'the' quickness.
I almost groaned aloud in sympathy when I read this line. Oh no! *Facepalm* *Pointleft* the facepalm emoticon was made for that moment!

*Facepalm* I went to bed devastated, the *Smirk* on my face erased.
I love the facepalm emoticon, and as I said, it was made for just this situation. However, I don't like replacing words with emoticons. This is entirely my personal preference, but I'd much rather you replaced the smirk emoticon with the word smirk.

I have to say again, I loved your twist on the idea of a Dear Me letter, and I found this full of your personality and charm. Very amusing and all in all, a fun read. Thanks for sharing!

Elle

PS. If you would like me to come back and re-rate after you've edited, just let me know. This has heaps of potential and I'd love to give it more stars.

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100
100
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,
I'm back with another chapter review for you.

Although you share some of Christina's excitement at Butchie's impending visit with us in this chapter, the vast majority of this is you, the author, talking to the reader.

Despite it all and the unseen horizons of our world, love is a magic word and works miracles. And we, mortal humans forget about this powerful tool. We need to remember this or program an alarm in our watch or cell phone to remind us about this everyday...We can't imagine how lucky we are when someone loves us and Christina was feeling warm and fulfilled.
I've mentioned in previous chapter reviews about you stepping 'out of character' and addressing the reader as the author or as a narrator, rather than us 'watching' Christina. You do this with almost all of this chapter except perhaps the last paragraph. This is you talking to the reader. If these are the character's musings, then they need to be written as such. Something like 'Christina clapped her hands in glee, rereading Butchie's sentence over and over again. He was coming to her. She felt so warm and fulfilled. She truly believed that love was a magic word and works miracles.'

She was both surprised and proud. Meu Deus! He's coming to see me! I've never been the happiest! And she remembered her conclusions about happiness...
You switch from third person to first person and then back again here. You need to stay in one or the other, and the rest of the novel is written in third person other than the email excerpts, so this should all be in third person too.

All of the musings from you, the author, about love, don't move the romance between Butchie and Christina forwards. This is a romance novel, and the majority of this, while important to you as a person, is not relevant to the story. I don't mean that to be harsh, because I understand that these are your opinions and just like anyone's, your opinions are important and valuable, but they don't belong in this chapter. This chapter should show us Christina's reactions to the news that Butchie is going to visit her.

Because of the What Am I To Do question she remembered going, many years before, with her friend Else, to see a big, fat, weird woman in the other side of town, in a place called Sobradinho. She would remember this meeting many years later...and observe the mystifying, intriguing, fascinating, uncovering insights, predictions and coincidences that that long sinister gypsy spiritual consultation had done to her; how all that chiromancy, crystallomancy, Jogo de Búzios and palm reading had deeply affected her. All this in the name of love. Or, was it mere curiosity? She would discover years later...
This paragraph at the end of the chapter seems oddly placed. It is written 'in character', showing us Christina's thoughts in third person, but doesn't seem at all relevant to the current storyline - that is, Butchie's news. Having said that, I have skipped ahead a chapter and seen that you show us the clairvoyant experience in detail in the next chapter. If you must include this, it has to be as Christina relating the story to Butchie by email, for the purpose of sharing something important of herself to him which helps move their relationship forward. I'll speak more on that in the next chapter review.

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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