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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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126
126
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Thank you so much for this helpful guide to shops! I set up "The Gift Shop - CURRENTLY CLOSED before finding this guide, and while most of it was straight forward, I did find some helpful things in your guide.

One thing I hadn't thought of was creating a 'tick box' to make an order anonymous or to mark it as a gift. *Smile*

Another thing was the use of images using HTML. I'm not sure if I'll utilise that, but it's very handy to know. At the moment, using Writing ML and images saved to my portfolio seems fine.

I appreciate your guide, and thank you for keeping it handy for those new to managing shops. Now all I need to do is figure out how to create gift certificates, or how to allow someone to redeem a gift certificate and I'm away laughing. *Delight*
Elle


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127
127
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi there,
I am reviewing this item as the judge of "The Lair. Thank you for entering!

I am so impressed by how much you wrote in just one week! Five chapters, a prologue and an epilogue! *Shock*

You've created a world for your unicorns with a language (for the spells), rules, and differences from Earth. Your story is quite different from the average unicorn story. There are no virgins, they're not all pure white, etc etc. Very original. Very impressive.

Your work needs editing, but most of it is just a simple fix, like punctuation. I've highlighted any errors below.

Or perhaps, an intelligent beast in hiding, whose horn caries magical powers?
Caries should be carries.

Yes they are in hiding.
You should have a comma after yes.

“Very good, Firenze.” Came a voice from behind them.
The dialogue tag should stay with the dialogue, so instead of a full stop and a capital letter, use a comma and a lower case letter. *Smile*

As him name said, he was master of air.
Him should be his.

5 feet off the ground Arion fell onto his back.
You should use the word five rather than the numeral, as it's the beginning of a sentence. I also had to go back and reread this again as I didn't quite follow what had happened. Perhaps if you worded it slightly more specifically. 'Five feet off the ground, he finally caught Arion on his back.'

“What happened?” He asked, getting to his feet.
He should have a lower case letter, as this is all one sentence.

Firenze grinned. “I won.”
Ha ha, I like that. *Laugh*

If they disappear, there’s no telling what will happen.” Said the one with brown hooves.
This should all be one sentence, so change the comma to a full stop and the upper case letter on said to a lower case letter.

“Remember, after we have taken the little ones and drank their power, you may eat them.
Drank should be drunk.

“Did you have to?” Said Arnesia.
This one too should be one sentence.

“Yeah!” Said Arion.
This one too.

“No,” Said Firenze, getting up.
And this one.

“Were going to walk.
Were should be we're.

“And,” He pointed out, “ You can’t carry both of us more than three feet.
This is one sentence also. You should have a capital though, as the dialogue continues after the dialogue tag.

Young one’s are always a delicacy.
You don't need an apostrophe on ones.

“Let’s go!” He shouted. “Before we lose them.”
This should all be one sentence.

He stayed far behind them, and galloped in the shadows, Worvane and Evintide close behind.
The use of the word 'them' is quite ambiguous in this sentence. At first I thought you meant the other two black unicorns. Perhaps saying 'the children' would make it a lot clearer.

“Come on!” He yelled.
This should be one sentence.

He took a breath.
You give us no indication who 'he' is here, and it is another nine sentences before we find out. You really need to use a name there.

“Hey,” He said, though no one could hear him.
This is all one sentence, so you don't need a capital letter on he.

He could feel his heart beating wildly inside his chest, as though it wanted to break free from it’s cage and get as far away from those dark unicorns as it could.
Its doesn't need an apostrophe there.

“He’s after us,” He whispered.
Again, no capital letter needed there.

“Let me,” She said.
This one doesn't need a capital letter on she either.

The passage was deserted, but had the markings of small light feet, like a fairies.
Because you said 'a' fairy, it is singular, not plural. Therefore it should be fairy's and not fairies.

Every day he comes in and takes one of us away to eat.” She shuddered.
You used the word shudder or shuddered three times in quick succession. Perhaps another word could be used to the same effect?

“No!” Shouted Firenze so suddenly that they all stopped crying and stared at him.
Shouted should have a lower case letter as this is all one sentence.

Firenze could feel that it’s magic was weak because someone had gone through it so many times.
You don't need an apostrophe in its there.

“Thank you,” She said, and was gone.
She doesn't need a capital letter as this is all one sentence.

They just had their breeding time, and I have to all but one of the mothers and one little boy so that they don’t overrun the cave.
I think you're missing a word there. 'I have to all but one of the mothers'??

His attempts grew weaker and weaker, and he looked up a Dorman one last time.
A should be at.

“On my back,” he ordered, and they flew on the dark winds, towards their prey, which had already captured themselves.
I think which should be who - 'who had already captured themselves'.

Only if they could fly would they be able to catch them.
You say they but you're not referring to any unicorn you've mentioned by name in this chapter so far, so you'll have to be more specific. 'Only if the dark unicorns could fly would the kids be caught.' Or something like that. Imagine if a reader was reading just one chapter a night before bed, and they read the beginning of this chapter. Help them get it clear without having to reread or think too hard. *Smile*

A small stream was at the back of the cave. Next to it was a patch of grass.
You could probably be more descriptive here. Help your reader to visualise the location.

“That was awesome!” She said.
She should have a lower case letter as this is all one sentence.

She smiled, remembering how the wind whistled through her hair, and the exhilarating feeling of freedom.
This doesn't fit with the previous events. They should be all talking at once, fearful and nervous, perhaps checking to see if they were followed, or reminding each other of the scariest moments. "Did you see how I opened the stone with the fire?" "I've never run so fast in my life!" "Wow, I've never seen so many fairies before. Or any!" For them to be smiling and excited doesn't make the danger feel real. Someone tried to EAT them! Show us the aftermath of their close escape.

He guessed that Worvane hadn’t made it out of the water.
How did he guess that? What knowledge could he possibly have that would help him draw that conclusion? Perhaps Worvane might be just outside, or off starting a fire to cook some tasty unicorn kids? It seems unlikely that Firenze would just guess that Worvane had perished without some prior knowledge that would lead him to that conclusion. Either change the conclusion, or allow the reader a glimpse of how he came to it.

His eyes met the cold black eyes of Dorman.
Dorman was surprised by the calmness in the ginger’s eyes, but he quickly hid it.
Firenze saw Dorman’s expression. He was surprised that there was no fear in his eyes.

These sentences lack a little something. You're 'telling' the reader and not 'showing' them.
'His eyes met a cold black gaze and he tried very hard not to reveal any fear. He took a calming breath, but when an evil glee shimmered in the black eyes before him, he couldn't help the shiver that ran through him.

Try not to change point of view too often. You switch from the thoughts of one unicorn to another with every sentence sometimes, and it is confusing for your reader. At the minimum, use one unicorn's point of view for a whole paragraph and then change, but it would work much better if you stayed with one point of view for a chapter or half a chapter. You can show 'what they're thinking' by their actions, expressions and body language. This also draws the reader in, because instead of being told what each unicorn is thinking, the reader is evaluating all that body language and drawing their own (hopefully right!) conclusions. Being 'told' instead of 'shown' puts the reader at a distance and reminds them that they're reading a story instead of being absorbed in one.

“Wednid!” Shouted Arion.
Shouted should have a lower case letter as this is all one sentence.

Evintide shouted, “Tessod!” and Arnesia shouted, “Delboud Back!” And Evintide was thrown into the air.
And should have a lower case letter as this is all one sentence.

Arion shouted, “Ceniahd!” And Evintide was thrown to the ground.
Again, and should have a lower case letter.

He shouted, “Pian!”
He who? I think you would be better served to use the unicorn's name.

And Dtaeh
You need a full stop after the end of that sentence.

Dorman and Firenze stood alone.
What happened to Evintide? He was crumpled by Arnesia's kick, but you never mentioned him leaving the scene. Oops, a bit of a continuity fail there. *Smile*

Then all of a sudden, a red and black began to glow.
A red and black WHAT began to glow?

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” He yelled, and then there was silence.
He should have a lower case letter as this is all one sentence.

Then he turned away and dropped to the ground with Arion and Arnesia.
How does the reader learn how Arion safely stopped Arnesia from falling to her death? Last we heard, he was wounded, and there was some doubt over whether he could save her or himself. You might need to add some additional info there.

“Thank you,” He said, and willed fire to come.
He should have a lower case letter.

Too evil to take your power from.
That's an awkward sentence. How about 'Too evil for us to want your power ourselves.'

The dragon’s pupils began to light with a strange blue glow.
Just a suggestion, but what about switching the words light and glow around? 'The dragon's pupils began to glow with a strange blue light.'

He felt himself being pulled, and he flew threw the air, his legs kicking wildly.
Threw should be through.

Soon it became tradition for the first-born female to visit Firenze and his ancestors every full moon.
I think you mean descendants, rather than ancestors. Ancestors are the ones who came before him and descendants are the ones that came after him.

I'm sure you've heard before that no evil character should be 100% and wholly evil, just as no good character should be 100% and wholly good. I think it would add to your story and the depths of your characters if Dorman and Evintide had helped save Worvane from the water and/or the dragon. This loyalty to their friend, and perhaps even love (or some weaker version of it) would prevent the evil unicorns from being too one-sided.

The thing I enjoyed most about your story was the originality. Your unicorn story was truly unique, and you have clearly put the background work into creating a world in which they live.

Thank you for entering my competition, I enjoyed reading your entry. My apologies for the delay in the review.
Elle


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128
128
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Hi Christina,
This is another chapter with a huge amount of information being 'told' to the reader. Very similar to chapter 4, so I won't repeat all my comments, but it definitely needs the same sort of reworking as chapter 4.


*Cut*He was delighted.*Cut*
Show us. Is he smiling? Grinning? Is his heart beating faster? Is he holding his breath as he waits for the message to load?

*Cut*Another message. He couldn't stop thinking about her, day and night. She was in his dreams, in his daily activities, even in little daily things and he would hurry home now in order to check his e-mail.*Cut*
Show us. Let us see how thoughts of her intrude on his day. Perhaps he is washing the dishes and thinking of her, and suddenly realises he is standing with his hands in cold water. Show us.

*Cut*I left him and scorpions, blue frogs and baboons, nuns, friends and cabbage and going up the hills wearing uniforms and a tie all behind to start a new life in another country, with a different language, another school, another home, different food (soon, fish for breakfast in the morning, in Spain!), different cultures and habits. This would be our life from now on, changing, moving, adapting, learning but in each place, leaving a bit of my heart.*Cut*
Great writing there!

*Cut*When we were halfway between Zululand and Swaziland something happened to us. *Cut*
What an ordinary start to a story. What about if you just say 'We were halfway between Zululand and Swaziland, and it was about 6pm. There was still a bit of daylight... Just head straight into the story. Grab attention.

*Cut*There we got on a big ship and crossed the Red Sea all the way up to Egypt, with Saudi Arabia and its hot dessert on one side and hot, hot Sudan and Egypt on the other. *Cut*
Dessert should be desert.

*Cut*We went by car to Cairo and where the Pyramids of Giza were, driving down South The Nile River to Luxor.*Cut*
That sentence doesn't quite read properly. Read it through and see what you think.

*Cut*We saw an enormous oasis, The Sphinx, the Great Pyramids and I rode a stinky camel that smelled like 7-day pee all over him and when I finished the ride I hugged him tight to say goodbye and then it was me that smelled like 7-day pee for 7 days, nobody got close to me, it was simply horrible! *Cut*
You probably need to break this into two sentences, but I love the addition of the smelly camel to those amazing sights you saw.

*Cut*Italians are happy, noisy people and I loved them but pizza in Italy is really, really horrible!*Cut*
Why? What didn't you like about it? Share your experience with the reader (and Butchie).

*Cut*I also learned how to dance flamenco, play the castañolas or castanuelas and went to the Plaza de Los Toros and saw a torada or bullfight. I felt sick to my stomach with the blood and violence! I never went to another again!*Cut*
Tell us about learning to dance or play... These are good opportunities for showing and not telling. Don't forget to weave Butchie's reactions to these stories all the way through the chapter.

*Cut*The school immediately fired the teacher, informed the parents and the students what had happened and that they would not permit this type of bias in the school. *Cut*
What did you think about that? Was she just doing her job and treated unfairly? Was there something else she should have done? I think there's more to the story here.

*Cut*I was the most popular girl in school after that but never again had good grades in History and always had problems with any History teacher.*Cut*
Why were you popular? I think this needs to be explained to the reader.

*Cut*I never forgot that kiss in the dark; it was a warm, wet cinnamon kiss.*Cut*
There really should be a reaction from Butchie to that story!!

As I said, many of the same comments apply as chapter 4 - more showing, less telling and intersperse Butchie's reactions and comments to break up the information and keep the focus on the developing relationship.


*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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129
129
Review of Time Amorphous  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Angels in my Ear ,
I saw your request for a review of this item.

Generally speaking, it's pretty good. There are only a few lines that I felt seemed a little forced. I'll give you my suggestions for the verse order, since you asked.

The first verse is one of the best. It flows well, has good rhythm and provides a wonderful lead in to your poem.

I like the first three lines of your second verse, but feel the last line there is a little forced. It doesn't have the flow of the rest of the verse.

I love the third verse, although I think it's should be its.

I like the fourth verse, but the rhythm falters slightly on the last line. I think you need another syllable in there. To make the rhythm work I have to stretch 'what' into two syllables.

I like the fifth verse, no changes necessary there.

The sixth verse is very good, although its should be it's, because you actually mean 'it is'.

The last verse has great meaning and a wonderful use of words, but the rhythm doesn't work for me at all. I do love that last line though.

Currently the order is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I would suggest 1, 3, 5, 2, 6, 4, 7.

Hope that is of some help to you!
Elle


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130
130
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (2.5)
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*Bursto* Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away! *Smile*

Hi Christina,
This is a very short chapter, but it has a startling beginning. The author is now talking to the reader. Up until now, the story has all been in third person, and now, in the fifth chapter, we have a narrator who is speaking directly to the reader? That's not something I would recommend. I'm sure you (or the narrator) have things, life lessons, to share with the reader, but you shouldn't suddenly change the point of view partway through the book. Also, telling the reader not to 'just sit there' isn't a good way to keep them reading your book. I would remove everything from 'He sent her this' to 'We must not wait too long' and just start the chapter from 'Dear Christina.'

*Cut*I do, when I go to messenger, not my regular email, get their matches, at least I checked the messenger once and had a series of weeks - it's too much trouble to look.*Cut*
This is a convoluted sentence that doesn't make much sense. I can't work out what he's trying to say here at all. This need to be removed or made clearer.

*Cut*It's the fundamentals in human beings that I look for, and I'm fairly use to the "inconsistent" female, the illusionist American woman, who thinks she can balance four or five males.*Cut*
'Use' should be 'used'. I'd be wary of saying 'the illusionist American woman' as you're likely to offend readers. I'd remove the word American.

*Cut*Here, as I'm sure elsewhere, the criteria I've noticed for "females on-line":
(1) there's generally a quick fix, someone near to get laid,
(2) totally impossible to figure out,
(3) failed marriage, recent, or failed romance, looks for replacement,
(4) neurotic, drinker, smoker, at 40 or so is depressed and miserable,
(5) codependent , there are some studies that show that about 10 per cent of "on-line romance" sites whether young or older and are looking for a final, desperate romance - something to fill the void. That's a pretty high number
*Cut*
Firstly, as I've mentioned before, bullet points don't work well in a fiction story, or romance novel. I'd find another way to write this. These are really harsh, judgemental sentences from Butchie, and I'm not sure this is the way you want to introduce him to your readers. He comes across as misogynistic, and that's the last thing you want a reader to think of a romance novel hero. Also, he seems to be judging the women that use online dating services, and yet he is a man that uses those same services. What does 'impossible to figure out' mean? Is that the woman's fault? And since when is codependency a flaw? I thought it was the aim of every romantic relationship. So as a reader, I'm not happy with this judgemental list of Butchie's, and it's not endearing me to him as a hero. My personal opinion would be to remove the list altogether.

*Cut*I'll send you the pics, but they're from either early 06 Paris, or 06, England.*Cut*
What pics? What is he referring to?

I feel like we haven't yet seen what Christina sees in this man. We have her thoughts, but SHOW US the man she is falling in love with. Let the reader fall in love with him too. Show us all the wonderful things that make him the right man to be the hero in this romance novel.

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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131
131
Review by Elle
In affiliation with P.E.N.C.I.L.  
Rated: E | (3.0)
*Pencil* A "P.E.N.C.I.L. Review *Pencil*


*Bursto* Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away! *Smile*

Hi Christina,
The first thing I notice about this chapter is the huge amount of information being 'told' to the reader. I liked the paragraph where you put us in Butchie's shoes and showed us what he felt, but I would have liked to have seen more of that. Perhaps you could intersperse his reactions with the email from Christina, so we see what he thinks about each new thing he learns, as he learns it. That's my primary suggestion for this chapter. I'll give you some technical feedback on what's there as well.

*Cut*
His heart was beating just as fast as Christina's in Brazil when he got this.*Cut*
I would take out the comparison to Christina. 'His heart was beating fast' is great 'showing'. *Delight*

*Cut*
He was pleased.*Cut*
And we're back to telling. This isn't necessary. Use things like his fast heart rate, a smile he can't keep off his face, a growing sense of excitement, etc to 'show' us how he feels.

*Cut*
He walked, naked, to his large window and saw the familiar Caribbean Sea, so blue, so calm. He had to meet her! Would she like him? Would she like it here? Would she like to live here?*Cut*
Great work!

*Cut*
I was born in Philadelphia, PA, USA on June 1st. 1950. I was a premature baby. My mother, Gloria Maria, a Brazilian from Recife, Pernambuco, said she fell from the stairs and that's why I was born with 6 months.*Cut*
'Born with 6 months' should be 'born at 6 months' or 'born 6 months early', whichever is correct.

Is it really necessary to have Christina's parents' life stories here as well? While you may have shared them, they detract from the story at this stage. A mere mention of 'we discussed my parents and how they'd met, what their lives had been like' would be sufficient. The reader wants to read about Christina and Butchie, not her parents. I would delete everything from 'They met in 1943' all the way to 'My brother Bruce was born and two years later, I was.' Keep the focus on Christina and Buthie.

*Cut*
The doctors said that I wasn't going to survive (imagine if I had been born in Brazil) but I was strong and determined and survived. I never broke a bone or got seriously sick. I always looked younger than my age and I was and am persevering, stubborn and an adventurer, never scared of doing new things and discovering this amazing world we live in.*Cut*
Good. What did Butchie think about this view into your personality? Share his responses here to break up the monologue.

*Cut*
After 10 years of marriage and living in Philadelphia and Colorado Springs, my mother decided that she couldn't live in the USA anymore. It was a modern culture and society with all the machines possible to help her in the kitchen but she wasn't suit to be a housewife and missed all the comforts, the pampering, the protection and maids in Recife. They decided something odd: she would go to Brazil with me and he would keep Bruce in the USA, forever. Why would parents deliberately keep a brother and a sister apart?*Cut*
What does Butchie think about that? For that matter, what did Christina think about it? Share the emotions, not just the facts.

*Cut*
She went to Brazil with me, in 1951. I only saw my brother again 16 years later and my father, 19 years later. In Recife, my mother discovered that it wasn't a good idea to live there after all. She was still young and beautiful to restart her life but in Recife, a small, traditional city in the northeast of Brazil, she was a divorced woman with a child, a bad, bad thing in those times and nobody accepted her, not even her own mother, Naninha. Her 8 brothers considered her a whore and me, a black sheep. This is where I first felt like an outcast!*Cut*
Butchie must have been angered to read that. Share his reactions.

*Cut*
My mother applied for a job in the Brazilian Consulate in Miami.*Cut*
I would just say that she got a job, and not bother saying she applied.

*Cut*
She applied for a job to work as a receptionist. She spoke Portuguese and English, was lovely and intelligent and very popular among her coworkers. My mother and Colmar dated and started a relationship.*Cut*
These sentences aren't really necessary, and take the focus off Christina and Butchie.

*Cut*
They fell in love. She told him about me, in Brazil. He was delighted as he always wanted a to have a real family. His ex-wife was a monster, he told, and his two children, horrible. He proposed marriage and she accepted. With this, it was time to get me back, have a family or better, pretend that she had a family, the perfect family. Everything with her was all about pretending.*Cut*
And more reactions from Butchie?

*Cut*
She called mamãe Lurdinha to get me ready for leaving when she came. Lurdinha cried and begged her to leave me with her. She refused. Mamãe Lurdinha said she would not give me back to her. So my mother had to call my father, Henry, to travel to Brazil and fetch me. He did. He went with Bruce. This was the last time I saw him and I did not even know that he was my father and that Bruce, my brother. I was 3 years old. He took me from her arms in the airport and she fainted in Babá's arms, who sobbed openly. I was taken from my "mother's" arms while screaming and kicking all the way to Miami. My father told me, many years later, that he had hated the rescue mission but he had to do it. They had agreed on a decision that was only good for her, for my mother. I was put in her arms and next day, I woke up in a strange world, a strange room, no Babá or Mamãe Lurdinha, no tio Mario, no beach, fair breeze and even the palm trees outside my window looked smaller. I was quiet for many, many weeks. I never said a word and Colmar thought that I was a weird little girl.*Cut*
That's great writing. What are Butchie's reactions?

*Cut*
Maybe this is why I am so childish sometimes, today.*Cut*
Perfect time for more reactions from Butchie. What does he think about her admission that sometimes she can be childish?

*Cut*
I learned about the Baboons and their red butts, the black king scorpions that liked to hide in boots inside your closet during the day and I learned about the tiger sharks spread all over Cape Town's beaches, that would come to the shore and grab the person's ankles, take the body to the deepest waters and destroy the corpse in minutes, worse than the Piranhas in the Amazon River in Brazil. I had nightmares about this for many months and was never allowed to go to the beach even if they had electrical wired fences around them.*Cut*
Great writing. More reactions from Butchie here! What does he think about all these strange creatures? Are they exotic to him, or is he familiar with them? Does he have some learning experiences of his own to share, that he might make a mental note of?

*Cut*
One weekend, I woke up with a scream coming from the kitchen. I got my teddy bear and went barefoot to the kitchen, rubbing my eyes. My mother was terrified, looking at my father, who was with a cigarette lighter in one hand and holding a bottle of alcohol in another, petrified. He was staring at the biggest and meanest looking African Scorpion I had ever seen in my lifetime (sometimes they would come into your house during the day - it was cooler than outside - to hide in closets, in boots and in secret places). He was kind of beige and black looking, hard and transparent, larger than a big tea cup (or about 8 inches), with 6 legs and 2 big pedipalps that he stretched out, both like a combination pincer and knife and he was ready to sting my father with his other enormous raised metasoma or "tail" with a stinger containing the deadly venom. I could hear his thin legs on the kitchen floor, skidding and moving while he observed my father ferociously. My father said: "Tina...don't you move, hear me?" Nobody moved but the Scorpion. I admired him, so mean, so brave yet so small. Suddenly my father cornered him on the wall by putting alcohol in front of him and lighting it with the cigarette lighter. Fire sparkled all around him. He rose. He observed. No escape. He tried again. Too hot. *Cut*
Great writing!

*Cut*
The predator could not bear it; he was not build for sun, heat, fire. Oh He knew this so well... maybe from decades, years, centuries of preying and many adaptations, surviving techniques and dwelling underground, colonial burrowing or maybe his pair of unique comb-like sense organs, called the pectines, informed this solitary soil digger that he was really f****d up, dead.*Cut*
These sentences detract from the action and aren't necessary. Also, you can't swear in an E-rated story.

*Cut*
Until today I never put boots on without turning them over with my feet.*Cut*
I'd change that to 'Even today', rather than 'Until today'. What did Butchie think about all that?

*Cut*
to like and eat smelly cabbage (which I hate until today)*Cut*
That should be (which I still hate today).

*Cut*
At home (we lived in a street called Swallow Field), I was both introduced to high society*Cut*
You don't need the word 'both' there.

*Cut*
I could set dinner tables for 10 people all alone with silverware and crystal glasses. I discovered Nat King Cole in Africa and when I heard him sing Stardust, I cried deeply. I wanted to be a ballerina dancer and I would dance all over the embassy's house dressed in a white, long nightgown and Emmanu, laughing and giggling, would follow me.*Cut*
Good writing. What are Butchie's reactions as he's reading this? Does he think she's too 'high society' for him, or is he thinking that she could cope with his lifestyle?

The emails are well written, you just need to a) keep the focus on Christina and Butchie, and b) continue to build the romance by showing Butchie's reactions to all he learns of Christina. How does it change his opinion of her? Does he admire her more? Pity her? Does he worry about how she'll cope with his life or does he now believe she can adapt to anything? Does he feel a kinship with her, or is this all totally foreign to him? How does this knowledge further the romance? That's the most important thing for the reader - how does this chapter further the romance between Christina and Butchie?

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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


Hi Rosesarered12 ,
This is indeed a dark poem as you warned. Well, perhaps depressing is a better word. Yet, being able to inspire emotion in your reader, even those less desirable emotions, is a difficult skill to master, so well done.

I loved the way you repeated the first verses, changing them slightly as you changed your perspective on your situation. I also liked that the poem didn't leave the reader feeling depressed, helpless and frustrated...because you showed them that even in the space of the poem you were seeing the silver lining to the situation.

Keep up the good work.
Elle


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133
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*


*Bursto* Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away! *Smile*

It might be just my personal opinion, but I'm not sure that a series of lists like this works well in a romance novel. I think this information would be better delivered in paragraphs, and a lot of this information could be woven around the story.

Having said that, I appreciate the idea behind this chapter - that Christina is on a mission to find out more about this man she is communicating with.

*Cut*Why would an intelligent, handsome, retired, 63-year old American man come to Brazil to meet her??? She wondered why such a man was available and thought: Well I am intelligent, handsome and available too!*Cut*
This is a much better way of delivering this information. We have found out that he is retired, 63 years old and American. We know that she lives in Brazil, and she thinks he is handsome and intelligent. This is much better than a list.

*Cut*She Googled him. Meu Deus! He was some kind of expert - Physics? Pharma? What was that? Who was he?*Cut*
I liked this too. I can imagine Christina Googling it and going 'Um, what's that?' *Laugh*

*Cut*He, on an island, but had left the Mainland USA.*Cut*
That sentence is missing something. He what on an island?

*Cut*But he was very different in some unique accomplishment, and this was very interesting.*Cut*
The first half of this sentence doesn't quite make sense. Perhaps 'He had unique accomplishments, and this was very interesting.'

*Cut*Extremely intelligent, and different and - hopefully, yes, like she was.*Cut*
Like she was, in what way?

*Cut*She wondered if he ever had weird thoughts about really stealing a bank while waiting in the bank line and escaping to places like Sydney, Australia or to Juneau, Alaska...*Cut*
'stealing a bank' should be 'robbing a bank'. And I'd move 'while waiting in the bank line' to just after 'weird thoughts'. 'She wondered if he ever had weird thoughts while waiting in the bank line about really robbing a bank and escaping to places like Sydney, Australia or to Juneau, Alaska...'

*Cut*She started sending information about Brazil to him and started telling him about her life...*Cut*
I would take out everything from 'She lived in Brazil' to 'And many other things so...' and then after the sentence above, I would start sharing her emails with the reader. Don't tell the reader, but include snippets of her emails to him, that show her sharing her life with Butchie and the slowly developing relationship. This is similar to what I suggested in the previous chapter. I like seeing snippets of letters and emails in a story, and in a modern online romance, they definitely have a place. Share them with us. It's far more interesting than Christina telling the reader directly.

*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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134
Review of The Loud Silence  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Aundria,
I was checking out your folder as posted on the "Invalid Item forum.

I particularly like this piece, as it speaks to my own dreams, plans and ambitions for my family history project. I started with just the family tree, and then realised I didn't just want facts, I wanted stories.

My biggest problem is that I resent fiction intruding into (what I feel) should be a strictly nonfictional realm. I wish the stories could be told in an interesting, captivating way without fictionalising them at all. But as you say in this item, adding that touch can 'bring them to the hearts of their children'.

I can't wait to see what you achieve. If I can do any 'finding of facts' for you, let me know. I have a full subcription to Ancestry.co.uk, although my subscription only allows me to look at records for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I'm in New Zealand, but 99% of my family history is in the UK.

I look forward to seeing what you create from the dusty facts and figures. Your post is inspiring and I might just head off to do some work on my own project!
Elle


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135
Review of The Wishing Place  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | N/A (Review only item.)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Nikola,
I found your poem via the Random Review tool.

It's a beautiful little poem. I really enjoyed reading it. The rhythm and flow is perfect and I can't think of any suggestions for improvement.

I like the reference to 'misty spirits' and 'mossy hiding place'. I also particularly liked the dancing sunbeams. *Smile*

Thanks for sharing!
Elle
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136
Review of The ANZAC Spirit  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


I'm reviewing your poem as one of the judges of the "ANZAC 2013 contest. Please note that I'm only one of two judges, so my opinion isn't the final say. *Smile*

Your poem says all that I wanted an entry to say - it speaks of the horrors of war, the ANZAC spirit, the bravery of the soldiers and that we should honour and respect them now. I couldn't have said it better myself. No, really, I couldn't, and I am VERY impressed at your skill with words. This is an excellent entry, and I really enjoyed reading it.

Even hell could not compare the trenches, gas and mud,
And fires of damnation drowned them in their blood.

Those two lines didn't work well for me. I think I read them too literally! How does one drown in fire? *Smile*

It's impossible to pick a favourite line or even a favourite verse. I tried to and thought 'I like verse 5, verse 6, verse 7 and verse 8, but 9 and 10 are good too.' *Laugh*

Excellent work and thanks so much for entering the contest.
Elle
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137
Review of The War We Won  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi SoLost ,
I'm reviewing your poem as a judge for the "ANZAC 2013 contest. Please note that I am one of two judges, so my opinion isn't the final say. *Smile*

I really enjoyed some parts of your poem, and others I found a little depressing. War is never a pleasing topic of course, but I got the impression from your poem that you felt we forgot the price our soldiers paid. To me, ANZAC Day is all about remembering the price they paid.

The third stanza was my favourite. The lines 'drowning in the infinite abysmal sea' and 'some moaning wind, ever fading in the mind' are beautiful. Sad and haunting, but beautiful nonetheless.

I also liked '“Goodbye, brave soldiers,” mumbled those left standing' and the word mumbled is a perfect choice there, it gives a real mood to the line.

It was 'With the help of the losers we left out there' that bothered me the most, and I feel uncomfortable with the word loser. I'm not sure if you did that deliberately or not.

A great entry and I really appreciate you participating in the contest.
Elle

138
138
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*


*Bursto* Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away! *Smile*

We get a lot more background information on the character in this chapter, and the budding relationship between the two main characters makes good progress. Once again, we have some major issues with telling instead of showing, particularly in regards to Christina's background and teaching. It's a lot of information just thrown at the reader, not really woven into the story. You might hear people call that an 'infodump', which tells you how common it is - they've got a name for it! *Laugh* It's hard to get the balance right, but there's definitely too much information being given to the reader in one big chunk, instead of little snippets here and there. As well as holding your reader at a distance, it slows the pace of a story quite dramatically. If you can keep the reader in the 'present' for 90% of the story, and show instead of tell, they'll start to care for your character and cheer her on.

I'll point out any errors or other suggestions for improvement below, but it's not a matter of fixing a few words. You need to take out everything that's not happening NOW and just weave bits of it back in as the story goes along. And the NOW story needs to be shown instead of told. If you want to write about some of her students, you need to take the reader into the classroom and show us her interaction with her students, instead of just telling us about them. I know, I'm repeating myself a little, but it's the most important feedback I can give you as a reader/reviewer. I'm not saying that the plot isn't good or isn't worth telling - I'm just trying to help you tell the story in a way that will win your reader over. *Smile*

I like the idea of including the emails, but suggest the ones that say 'You've received a new message' aren't necessary. Show the reader the messages Christina sends, and the ones she gets in reply, but the automated messages showing that she's received a response don't need to be written out in full. I've always loved the inclusion of letters and notes in books, especially when they're copied (not typed in as part of the story) or even placed in envelopes for the reader to take out. So keep the personal emails, just not the automated ones.

*Cut*"Inacreditável!" she though and this is what she read:*Cut*
You're missing the t on the end of 'thought'. Also, it would probably be helpful to have some way of letting the reader know what that meant, although we can assume it means 'incredible' or similar.
You could probably get away without 'this is what she read' and just put the email afterwards - we can deduce that she's reading it too.

*Cut*Somehow, she had slept 9 hours non-stop. Like as if she was free.*Cut*
This doesn't tie in with the first sentence which tells us that she woke up earlier than normal. You could remove this sentence altogether and just extend the first one to say 'Christina woke up earlier than usual, refreshed from a surprisingly restful night's sleep, and went straight to her computer to check for new messages.' Something like that.

*Cut*Also, she wanted to keep this treasure, this feeling of success, this h-o-p-e thing to linger on during the day, until she returned home later that night.*Cut*
That line gets her enthusiasm and excitement across to the reader. Good work!

*Cut*She was a free spirit and had always been one maybe because she was a GEMINI.
She never believed in astrology, though.*Cut*

Those two sentences contradict themselves. Either she believes in astrology and thinks that being a Gemini (which doesn't need to be all in capitals) has something to do with it, or she doesn't believe and it doesn't need to be mentioned.

*Cut*As a Wicca she was a lonely, solitary and good "witch" but she honestly hated cats, especially black cats.*Cut*
This idea of Christina being lonely and solitary doesn't seem to fit with the idea of an 'outgoing' person who 'loves to help and make a difference in other people's lives'. How can such an energetic and enthusiastic person be described as lonely and solitary? Perhaps you need to explain this to your reader, or show us what you mean.

*Cut*She was a dog lover (and a canary lover, a small, green and yellow turtle lover, a Beta fish lover, an orchid lover and she respected little spiders very much).*Cut*
The spider comment made me laugh, but a list like this could be delivered in quite a different way. Let us see the turtle, the fish and the orchids in her apartment as the story goes. Perhaps she talks to the turtle or the fish?

*Cut*She knew that traffic would be terrible at this time in Brasilia but she would listen to Dire Straits and probably arrive home earlier.*Cut*
I'm confused. Why would she arrive home earlier because she listened to Dire Straits? Or is she arriving home early because she has no afternoon class? If that's the case, it doesn't need mentioning, we can deduce that ourselves. I do like the detail of the music though, which could be a great addition when showing and taking the reader from the lesson back to the apartment.

*Cut*When she got home, she took a long bath and had some wine, checked her mail - mostly bills, and appreciated the silence and sweetness of her apartment.*Cut*
As a reader, I want to know why she delayed reading her email. What was her motivation behind having a bath first? Tell me. This is a great opportunity for a scene with lots of showing (not rude showing, but letting us see the candles (or smell that cinnamon scented one you mention later!), luxuriate in the hot water, hear her explaining to her turtle why she's putting off reading the email).

*Cut*She had bought it with her own money, money given to her by her Dad and that she had invested so wisely, not her Brazilian diplomat Dad but her American Dad that died because of the 9/11.*Cut*
You can't just casually mention something like that and then carry on with the story. This is the first we've heard about her dad, but you mention it like we should know she has two dads. That's actually pretty unusual, and if you're going to let us know it, then it needs additional explanation. HOWEVER, this chapter is already way too heavy on the explanation which is overpowering the action, so I'd suggest this information isn't necessary. We don't need to know where the money to buy the apartment has come from. Most readers will assume she earned it. Is it important that we know otherwise?

*Cut*She checked her e-mail and then she carefully read about that charming man's profile:*Cut*
I'm sure he is charming, but neither Christina nor the reader know that at this point. If anything, he's probably mysterious right now!

My only comment about the profile list is that a) you need to explain those readers who have never used a dating site what is meant by an 89% match, and b) put your comment about Christina's thoughts on sailing seperately.
For instance 'Christina reviewed the list and liked what she saw. Except for the sailing, she hated sailing and threw up easily when onboard a boat of any description. Maybe that was why the site said it was an 89% match. They had most things in common, but a few differences. If they liked everything the same, presumably the site would have rated them as 100% match. Hmm, would it be a good thing to like all the same things and have no differences? Christina mused over the idea as she reviewed her own profile, refreshing her memory of what he would have read about her.'

You probably don't need to list Christina's profile in full. Some of those things we already know about her, and others we should learn through the 'showing' that needs to be done. I think the questions she asks herself afterwards are far more telling and more interesting to the reader.

The musing needs to be worded so that instead of Christina TELLING the reader what she thinks, we hear her thoughts. Would Christina think 'On her way to the USA, last year, she had seen an article in a plane magazine: "Fall in Love Again! Join eheart.com." It was a relationship site.'? Or would Christina think 'It had been a risk, signing up for that relationship site she'd seen advertised in that magazine...' Christina knows she saw the article on the plane, she would hardly 'tell' herself that. You're telling the reader, but we need to either learn it from Christina's thoughts or speech, or see it in her actions or her vision.

*Cut*And so she answered his questions with all her heart and soul. After a week of messages and after he called her in Brazil she was head over heels in love with him! In love with a man she had never touched or seen; not even imagined existed before. It wasn't a blind date or a lunch/dinner date; it was just a fantastic-pure-deep-cyberspace-interactive-self-directed-alternative-modern way-Internet love.com relationship!*Cut*
You need samples of their emails after that sentence 'And so she answered his questions with all her heart and soul.' Show us her emails to him. Show us his replies. Show us them falling in love. Because without any proof whatsoever, we go from panic, confusion, worry and determination to 'head over heels in love' and your reader simply won't believe that. Take us along on that ride. Share those emails. Share Christina's growing emotions with us. Include us in a conversation with a trusted friend or family member as she giggles over something he wrote or she panics over what he'll think of her reply. Make us want to know how he responds. Have her lie in bed, trying to sleep but unable to because her mind keeps replaying what he wrote. I would have expected this part (the part between her reply and her being in love) to be the main focus of the book/story. THIS is the romance, the falling in love. Share it with us.

I hope this feedback helps you. I think this could be a great modern romance and I sincerely hope I don't put you off sharing this story with everyone, I only want to help you tell it in the best way possible.


*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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139
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Em,
I think you've got an awesome challenge here. It's complex enough to be interesting, but not so complicated that it's difficult to follow. It's well organised, has fantastic prizes and people can give their own creativity and personality to their entries.

I think the use of dropnotes in the forum is excellent - it allows the forum to remain as uncluttered as possible and yet all the information is there if it's needed.

All the information is current and up-to-date. There's nothing worse than seeing the details for a previous month and wondering if a contest is still going and what the details for the current month are. I've stopped by your forum several times and every time it has been perfectly up to date.

You've managed to find a way that basic and free users can participate, which is very generous of you. I think I'd have made it a requirement to have a blog on WDC, but you've made it so everyone can join in if they want to. That's impressive.

I like the different themes for the different days of the week - it helps to keep it interesting. I'm curious how you get so many prompts in your 'war chest'!

All in all, a fantastic challenge. I'm very impressed. You seem to have covered all the bases, and I can't think of anything you've missed.

Elle


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140
140
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*


*Bursto* Note: As a reviewer, I only offer my opinion, hoping you will find it useful: you decide what to keep or throw away! *Smile*

*NoteB* General Comments & Reader Reaction:
This first chapter is all about the arrival of the message and Christina's reaction to it. We spend a lot of time in Christina's head, and very little 'action' takes place. We do start to get a feel for the situation and Christina's character.
This chapter is is almost entirely 'told' and not 'shown'. I'll go into that further under 'writing style' below, but there's quite a bit of work to be done there.


*NoteG* Plot & Pace:
The plot so far is that a 56yo woman has placed an ad on a dating site, and received her first reply. She is nervous, unsure that this is the best thing for her, and worried about whether she made the right choice to end her prior relationship.
The pace is slow, as we spend a lot of time in Christina's head, mulling over things. While I appreciate that receiving the reply to the ad is the 'start' of the story, this chapter possibly doesn't have the pace, drama or action to pull in a reader. I wonder if this chapter could be shortened (to speed up the pace) and merged with another chapter where more action happens. It usually pays to start a story with action, not with introspection. Readers will happily read a slower chapter like this, but not until they're hooked on the story.


*NoteO* Characters:
So far we've only met Christina. She comes across as indecisive, but willing to try new things. She is independent and doesn't rely on anyone else, but is mindful of other people's opinions, even the way strangers view her relationship with a younger man. She believes strongly in love and 'happily ever after' and is willing to take a risk to gain that for herself. So far you've done a good job with her character.

*NoteR* Setting & Imagery:
You've given us quite a lot of setting information, but it is 'told' to us, not 'shown'. Again, I'll go further into this below under 'writing style'. However, the apartment setting is good, and you include enough description that we can visualise where Christina is, and what she's doing.

*NoteB* Writing Style & Grammar:
Okay. Showing instead of telling is something that most writers struggle with, including me. It's the most common refrain in reviews - show don't tell.
Here's an example:

*Cut* It was raining heavily and it was surprisingly windy in Brasilia - DF, District Capital city of Brazil.*Cut*
Rain drummed on the roof and wind whipped against the windows of the little apartment in Brasilia.

Do you see the difference? It was raining vs rain drummed on the roof. You can tell us it was raining, or show us what was happening. Describe the rain to us so we can imagine it.


*Cut*She turned the computer off and went to her bedroom.*Cut*
How did she turn the computer off? How did she go to her bedroom? Did she dance her way to the room? Stroll? Prance? Stomp?
'She stomped to the bedroom' is quite different from 'She wandered to the bedroom', yet in both cases, she went to the bedroom. Instead of telling us, show us how she did it.
'She leaned down and pressed the button to switch the computer to sleep mode. With her mug still warm in her hand, she padded noiselessly to the bedroom.'


*Cut*She switched the TV on to watch her favorite programs and spent the day in bed because she also wanted to finish reading The Kite Runner.*Cut*
Picking up the remote, she changed the channel to her favourite talkshow and settled comfortably against the pillows to watch. When the program concluded, she glanced at the dark skies visible outside her bedroom window and made a face. She reached past the phone on her bedside table and picked up the novel that was resting there. Opening it to the caterpillar bookmark her youngest daughter had given her, she lost herself in the world of The Kite Runner.

It's about writing the information so that the reader can SEE it, visualise it. If it's a smell, describe the smell. Don't tell us what it smells like, but how it smells. Or tastes. Or feels. How does she move? What does she see? It's not about knowing it's blue or white, but how the character sees it.

It will add length to your chapter to rewrite it with showing instead of telling, but it'll be worth it. And there are some parts you can trim down. Her thought processes are quite disjointed, and I think you could make it a little easier on the reader. Remember - the reader doesn't know what you know. We only know what we read on the page.


*Cut*While sipping her hot, favorite Brazilian coffee brand from her green, yellow and blue I Love Brazil mug and wearing her warm, comfy blue chemise, Christina went to the computer room in her little apartment, located in Guaraville, fifteen minutes from Plano Piloto, to check her e-mail messages.*Cut*
That sentence is really long, and could easily be broken into two. For example, why do you mention how far the apartment is from Plano Piloto, when we're in the middle of a sentence about Christina sipping coffee? To be honest, your reader doesn't need to know the exact location of her apartment. And if we do, that can come much later, perhaps built in to a trip from her apartment to another location.
'Christina blew softly on the hot Brazilian coffee in her green, yellow and blue 'I love Brazil' mug as she wandered into the computer room of her apartment. She sipped the hot beverage, closing her eyes briefly as she savoured the taste, and checked the computer for new email messages.'


*Cut*She blushed. She screamed in delight again. Yes!*Cut*
I'd be wary of using the word 'screamed' especially in this context. Your character screams twice, alone in her apartment, over an email. I would reserve screaming for times of terror, and I suspect her neighbours would agree! *Smile* Perhaps a squeal of excitement would work better?

*NoteG* Overall Impression & Conclusion:
Please don't take this as a negative review. As I said, 'show don't tell' is the most common issue for authors, and I am someone who struggles with it. It's always easier for me to point it out to someone else and much harder for me to do it in my own writing. Your character is good, and you have a great setting. You have the details, they just need to be 'shown'. Sorry to sound like a broken record repeating the same things over and over, but it makes a huge difference to a piece of writing.

I think the chapter doesn't contain the 'hook' needed to grab a new reader and make them keep writing, but that doesn't mean you should abandon the chapter. You could start with a chapter that has more action and work this in as 'backstory', you could combine this chapter with another one which has more action in it, or you could add more action to this chapter. You could easily add more action/conflict to this chapter by bringing in either a daughter or the ex-boyfriend. Instead of Christina discussing it all internally with herself, she could argue it with her daughter or her ex-boyfriend. Or both. All those reasons she's not with the ex? We can learn those by having her argue with him. All those reasons why she's not too old to look for love? We can learn those by having her explain them to her daughter. Instead of telling us, bring in action and conflict by showing us. Perhaps start the whole story with the end of the previous relationship. Have the breakup scene at the beginning of the story, then move to the scene we've got in this chapter. That might work as a hook.
These are only suggestions of course. You have to do what suits you, but as a reviewer, these are my recommendations.

Let me know if you have any questions on what I've said. I'm happy to help.


*NoteO* ~ Elle

*StarO* WRITE ON! *StarO*

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141
Review of Matthew's Letters  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Shadowpup!
I just wanted to stop by and say that this folder of letters to your son is brilliant. I am so impressed. It's one thing I always wished I had done for my kids. They're only 7 and 11 now, but when I found out about this neat idea of writing letters on their birthdays, it seemed too late to start and backdate. I do annual 'surveys' with them though, asking them the same questions every year. I love seeing their answers change. I've also kept a journal since I was expecting my son, so all the memories are in there somewhere!

I have no criticism, other than that it looks like you've stopped and that seems a real shame. These letters will be treasured by your son. Maybe not now, maybe not as a teenager, but later in life he will treasure these. I hope you will keep them going.

Thanks for sharing,
Elle


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for entry "Creamy Slaw
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hey, I just had to check out your recipe book when I saw it. I love cooking, and I'm working on my own family recipe book - "Secret Family Recipes.

Your recipes are clearly laid out with the ingredients listed first, then the method in simple, easy-to-follow terms. The flavours are interesting! Raspberries with mushrooms, blueberries with dijon mustard and chicken... Definitely interesting! I'll withhold judgement until I try! *Smirk*

I like the fact that you note which brands of various products you use. Quite often the brand affects the flavour as well as the necessary quantities, so that's really helpful.

I'd love to see some photos of your food. *Smile*

Thanks for sharing your recipes. Gluten-free ones are always in demand these days.
Elle


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143
Review of 140  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi Peter,
This item was recommended to me by my friend nicholson. I don't use Twitter, so I wasn't sure I believed you could 'tell a story' in so few characters...but I was proved wrong!

Some of these are brilliant, and some...I don't think I get. It's almost as if you've tried to come up with a 'hook' or opening sentence to lure people into reading further. I've been taught that the best first sentence is one that creates questions in the reader's mind - what is happening? Why did that happen? Who is he? Those sorts of questions. They make the reader want to continue reading. Some of yours made me want to keep on reading, and some actually felt like they were complete, which is bizarre when you think about how few characters there are, and yet, I believe that is exactly what you were trying to achieve, so well done!

I hope you'll bear with me, because I want to comment on each one. They're all quite different, and it seems a little difficult to give one overall comment that encompasses all of them.

Paranoia - I thought that was excellent. It definitely raises questions! So little information and yet I can imagine the scene, feel the dread... Brilliant.

Super Effective - I have to admit, I didn't get this. BUT, having said that, I did like the choking, laughing friend, he made me smile. *Smile*

Projection - I gave the computer a bemused look after reading this one. Erm... Okay! I hope you don't go around giving random people 'left crosses' (I'm guessing that's a punch?) in real life without knowing if they deserve it or not! And see, with just three short sentences you've got an emotional response out of me, because I now want to scold you, and check that the drunk DID deserve it!

Then I Disappear - It took me a few moments to work out what had actually happened here. Maybe because I'm not American? I was trying to work out if a Long Island Princess was a name for a drink. *Blush* Now I want to know who Shane is. And it's an interesting 'tweet' because a) he could never have written these 'last words' and b) the narrator is now dead. Story complete. We will never have our questions answered. Ooh, sneaky!

Beauty - I loved this one. You made us feel warm and cozy and then just tipped us out into the snow!

Treasure - This one sounds like the start to something entitled 'My horror holiday'. *Smile* I loved the beginning of this one - 'I felt Italian picking the figs the ladies couldn't reach earlier'. You have some serious skill, my friend.

The Hot One - Ooh, feisty! This one has a definite 'voice' that makes me think I know something about the narrator.

Juggernaut - Aw, what sort of attitude is that?! You definitely get an emotional response with this one. *Smile* I did wonder what the numbers stood for, but figured they were ages. I'm not sure that's clear straight off, but it might just be me!

Passing Interest - This one is my FAVOURITE! I love it! And you know what really makes it brilliant? 'The way a movie character meets his wife'. And yet...nothing happens! Nooooooo! It is brilliantly done. The most simple of encounters and you've made it something more in so few words. I am astonished.

The Entertainer - Another one where I must admit defeat. What is 'Bakshi's Everest? A club? I like the 'shrill cries' though.

Turing Test - If you wanted to create 'questions' in the reader's mind, this one does that better than all the rest. You bring in tension and drama and....leave us hanging. Argh!!! I am seriously thinking about employing you to write the first line of my novel. *Delight*

Small Comforts - I had to smile at this. I'm not sure why a nurse would ask such a question, but I can understand your frustration at it.

Just Cause - I can understand why nicholson was so adamant that I read this. You are a master of the extremely short story. This snippet comments on society and basically thumbs its nose at it (or flips the bird at it!). And yet...there is nothing offensive to anyone in it. I need to find another word other than 'brilliant' but that's the one that keeps coming to mind. Exceptional? *Smile*

The Comeback - I didn't get this one. I have no idea what you're talking about. What's a speed bag? Why did you knock a stand off the wall and onto your head?

While Your Body Decays - This one didn't make much sense to me either. What has Stockholm Syndrome to do with eating dinner? Isn't Stockholm Syndrome about falling in love with your kidnapper or similar? I....don't understand.

Game Theory - I did genuinely wonder if you made this one completely irrational just to teach us a lesson. I don't know why you would say that to someone buying a lotto ticket. Or why he was irrational for doing so.

The Romantic - This one seems to rely pretty heavily on shock value, and while it works, I don't think it's as clever as some of your other ones. I like the contrast between the beginning and the end, but it's not my favourite. *Smile*

Heroics - Aw, the poor cat! This is another good one. I think the last sentence lets it down just slightly, and you could improve it by working on that last sentence to bring it up to the standard of the first two. Also, that last sentence doesn't add a lot that we didn't already gain from the first two.

The Scrub - How can someone have cream green eyes? I would have rather had this one without the swear word at the end. I don't think it added much, and you could make it better without it. But, I like the way you contrast the narrator's attitude with the word 'cutely'.

Help Wanted - I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Levon Helm. I googled him, and, suspecting the last few lines were lyrics, I googled those two. I felt pretty pleased with myself for putting the puzzle together. *Smile* This one, while admittedly lost on me before my research, is very clever.

Only Gets Worse - I think we've all had those moments where we cringe at someone else's name. Every year they publish a list of names in the national paper here, onces that have been rejected on grounds of insuitability. That is, a parent has tried to register that name for their new baby, and the government has said no. One year, twins were registered as 'Fish' and 'Chips' respectively. Another parent tried to call their child 'Number 5 Bus Shelter'. Some people really are fucking awful.

Thank you for the read. It was far more interesting than I anticipated, and you have some real skill with the written word. I am very impressed.
Elle


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Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


Hi DarthVada , I just stopped by to read your work.

I wasn't sure where it was going, but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. A sign of excellent work!

*Cut*I handed it over to him, flinching at the frightening excitement flushing his face.*Cut*
That line is brilliant. I can absolutely picture it.

*Cut*Blood splattered the beige wall, and brains covered us.*Cut*
I thought the 'brains covered us' was a bit simplistic and seemed to be in there for shock factor more than anything else. Even if you removed that part and left the bit about the blood splattering the beige wall, it would work better I think. You definitely have the talent to write something a little better than 'brains covered us' because you have shown that in this piece.

It feels like you've taken more time and care with the beginning, and then just tried to finish it quickly. I'd like to see the same skill you've shown in the first half carried on through the rest of it. The beginning is excellent.

I did NOT see that twist coming! Ha! You definitely got me there. Very clever! *Delight*

I don't normally read this genre, so please just take what you can from my comments. Overall, a great little piece, but I think you've shown moments of brilliance and you can bring the whole piece up to five stars.
Thanks for sharing your work!
Elle


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


Hi Amanda , I'm just popping by with a wee review of your poem.

Your poem is very well done. As I read it, I thought the rhythm worked really well, and I didn't notice any errors. Some of the words don't 'technically' rhyme, like 'winds' and 'skin' but I don't think they detract from the poem at all.

The poem isn't particularly strong emotionally, and that's due to your choice of words I think. There aren't strong emotional words, but it is easy to read and the reader gets an understanding of your situation.

The third stanza was my favourite, and I liked the line about the stars the best. *Smile*
Elle


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Review of Dear...  
Review by Elle
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Ruwth,
I'm not sure how much help I'll be, but you asked for my thoughts, so here goes...

Despite what you said, it does read like a poem. I actually like that it does. It has an almost melodic feel to it as you read it. Very easy to read, and I think it would be easy to read aloud.

You start off questioning yourself. Do you like the person you are now? You WANT to like the person you are, but do you? And then it comes down to what I believe is one of the important issues in this letter - do you need to change in order to like yourself, or can you accept yourself as you are? That's not a question I can answer, but only you can. There's nothing wrong with needing to change in order to like yourself more...so long as that change is good and realistic. Believing that you need to lose 20kg before you can like yourself is not healthy. Believing that you need to stop looking at all the negatives in life and start counting your blessings - that is healthy.

Then you resolve to accept yourself and be at peace with yourself this year, knowing it will bring happiness in to your life. I hope you stick to that, Ruwth. No one is ever 100% happy with themselves. Every single person has flaws and weaknesses. But we are all unique, we are all wonderful and as a Christian you should believe that God LOVES you and you are living the life he chose for you. Small changes for the better are good and healthy, and we should never stop striving to be better people. But believe that you are worthy. If God believes it, who are you to argue? *Smile*

Elle


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Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
A dragon reading a book by candle light


This is my review as judge of the "CLASH! Original Character Tournament.

The first thing I noticed is that you ‘tell’ the reader a lot of information, instead of ‘showing’. This is something that a lot of authors struggle with, including me. I’m doing a course at "New Horizons Academy at the moment and I’m learning about ‘showing instead of telling’ and also ‘passive voice’ – both are things I struggle with, and both are used heavily in this item of yours. You do have moments where you ‘show’ us.
An example of telling:
*Cut*She goes to Blanket and cuts him loose from his binds with the sharp dagger she owns, and saddles him up again.*Cut*
An example of showing:
*Cut*Besa startles, jumping to her feet and whipping around to see Heavy drawing out a sword, slashing the offending air as he approaches her as quickly as his stumpy legs will allow.*Cut*

It’s hard to explain (because I’m not a teacher!) but you’ve said ‘she goes to Blanket’.
How did she go? Did she stalk to Blanket? Did she scurry to Blanket? 'Goes’ is a passive verb. Yes, she went, but how? Use a more descriptive verb. An ‘active’ verb.
‘She raced to Blanket’.
Instead of ‘and cuts him loose from his binds with the sharp dagger she owns’, you could say something like ‘she withdrew her dagger and sliced the bonds holding him tight’. Same action, different voice – one is telling, one is showing.
Like I said, this is very much a learning area for me too, so please take my comments in respect of one writer to another. When you do ‘show’, you do it very well, as evidenced by the excerpt above. There are moments of brilliance in your writing. You definitely have the potential to make all your writing come alive like that.

I loved the fact that you put Besa into conflict and allowed us to witness her at her best and worst in this short item. I also really appreciated the fact that Besa fought not for herself, but for her son. That’s a more powerful motivator.

Thanks so much for entering, I enjoyed reading your entry.

Elle


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


Hi, this is my review as a judge of the "CLASH! Original Character Tournament.

I like the fact that I can visualise your character physically, I have a good idea of her temperament and character, and also an idea of her skills. Excellent work. BUT I am most impressed that you have given her realistic weaknesses.

You’ve gone into brilliant detail – she doesn’t just have olive skin, she has olive skin from soaking up the sun atop the merchant’s caravan. That really helps us picture her.

I was actually sad when I read that her son was fatally ill! That’s how much you have gained my empathy for this character!

Thanks for entering, and congrats on making it through to round one!

Elle


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Review of Spring / Acrostic  
Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
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This item is being reviewed as part of the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group SPRING raid!

This is a neat little acrostic, which manages to cover a few different aspects of spring. There's the sunshine, the stormy weather and the extended daylight... I'm curious what fireworks you let off at picnics. What are the fireworks celebrating? I'm familiar with Guy Fawkes, which is in Spring if you're in the Southern Hemisphere. I'm in New Zealand, and we celebrate Guy Fawkes in Spring, so it works for me!

There are no corrections or changes required to this, and you've done a great job with it. The only problem (if it can be called that) is with the presentation. Currently you have the title, your username, a space, then the title again, then the acrostic. I would put the title, a space, then the acrostic. I'd also consider using a colour for the title, if not the acrostic itself. If you do something like {c:magenta} before the title and {/c} afterwards, you'll get this beautiful colour I'm using now. If you want other colours, there is an icon (looks a bit like a square rainbow) above the text box when you edit the item or create it, and if you click on that it brings up all the possible colours you can use. Just hover your mouse over one to see what word you need to use, then just do {c:colour} where you want the colour to start and {/c} afterwards to stop using that colour. You could use
{c:pink} or maybe {c:hotpink} or any colour that appeals to you. *Smile*
Another suggestion would be to center the whole thing, including the title. You can do that by typing {center} at the beginning and {/center} at the end.

Those are just my suggestions, you certainly don't have to use them. The actual acrostic is well done and I enjoyed reading it. *Smile*
Elle


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Review by Elle
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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This item is being reviewed as part of the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group SPRING raid!

I was drawn to read this by that first line that you so cleverly used in your intro.
*Cut*Glimpsed through naked branches the memory of you in Springtime wavers.*Cut*
My imagination was immediately captured. I could suggest a comma after branches though. *Smile*

*Cut*May in the year I turned 11, the year I dreamed of living in Tennessee and following Thor Heyerdahl around the world. In December I sang "Stille Nacht" in class ...in German.
The year you turned 11 too, before the leaves turned yellow in September.*Cut*

I think these lines could use a little reworking to bring them up to the same standard as the rest of your lines in this piece. They are right near the beginning, and I hate to think that people might form a poor first impression of this piece when the remaining lines are so well done.
I'm trying to think of suggestions for you. The part that bothers me is the 'in the year I turned 11' and The year you turned 11 too', because they don't seem to hold any imagery or emotion or.... They're just facts, and they stand out. Could they be restated in a more emotional way, or told in a less factual way?
I'm trying desperately to come up with a suggestion, so how about this:
'Glimpsed through naked branches, the memory of you in Springtime wavers. That was the year I dreamed of living in Tennessee and following Thor Heyerdahl around the world. I sang 'Stille Nacht' in class that December...in German. And you turned eleven, before the leaves turned yellow, in September.'
Have a play with it, and see what works for you. If you change nothing else, I would suggest writing the number 11 as 'eleven'.

*Cut*I had nothing to offer and even looking back through the kind eyes of time ...I had nothing to offer.*Cut*
I love that line!

*Cut*walked past through quiet snowfall and the quieter fog of May.*Cut*
I love the imagery you've used there too. Quiet snowfall and quieter fog. Beautiful.

*Cut*Their cold bare branches still cast shadows through my thinning hair.*Cut*
That's such an unexpected ending after the talk of turning 11, and yet we're given just enough warning with 'and every November since'. It's a bit of a slap in the face to the reader, but oh, you've done it so well. I wouldn't change it at all.

On the whole, an excellent piece of prose and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing.
Elle


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