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1
1
Review of Searching  
Review by Lightbringer
Rated: E | (2.0)
So I had done a full line by line review but unfortunately the page closed. Sadly I'm going to be lazy now and give a briefer review. I will try however to make it, if not as good as the initial review I intended, at least a passable review. Here goes:

This poem is titled "Searching" but that's not what you've written. Lines 3, 5, 7, 8, 11 and 12 are all about waiting. There's only one line in the poem that tells me there's any sort of search happening. "When I find her I will treat her..." That's it. So waiting vs searching/finding, that's a 6:1 ratio. The ratio should be the other way around. The only line where it's okay to say you're waiting is the last one. Up to that point it should all be about searching/finding. When you get to the last line, only then can you say you're still waiting. But you're waiting not because you're not looking but because your search has yet to find her.

The last line is problematic too. But it's not because of the waiting, it's because of this, "where she belongs". Girls are not possessions. Yes, it worked for Sting's song "I'll Be Watching You" where the lyrics go "Oh can't you see, you belong to me", but even that is possessive. Personally I think "belong with me" sounds better, less possessive. And his is kind of stalker-ish. But he made a lot of money off it... so good enough I guess.

I went off on a bit of a tangent so lets get back on point. The rating I'm giving reflects this passivity of voice and the issue I have with making it sound like a girl is nothing more than a mere possession, even though I don't believe that's what you intended. There are also a few typos, punctuation issues, and at least one instance where I'm pretty sure there's a word or two missing. You can ask me about those later if you like. I didn't include them because, as I said earlier I inadvertently closed my initial review, and because I felt it's more important to focus on the content. Though those issues, punctuation, etc., should be addressed at some point.

To conclude, your poem should be about searching, not waiting. This poem should be about being with someone, not possessing someone. I apologize if my reviewing style comes across as a bit abrasive but I feel this is the best way to convey my message. Feel free to reply to my review with any questions or comments. Scratch that, don't feel free, do it. Active, not passive.

Hope this helps. Good luck,
Light


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of The Final Breath  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi Patrece,

Because of the story's brevity I'm giving as concise a review as possible.

Grammar issues: The description - "girl's" because you're writing about 1 girl.

Not feeling enough conviction on the drowning girl's part. The 1st sentence should draw the reader in, but instead feels passive, lacking terror. There is too much tell and not enough show.

Just to give you an idea:
"The tube was ripped out from under me, tossing me into the murky water. I grappled with the tube, panicking as it flipped over and over again, gasping for breath. "Please help me!" I pleaded, sputtering water from nose and mouth, my feet dragging across the muddy bottom of the swim hole."

I don't want to give the impression I'm rewriting your story so I'll end it there but you should see a drastic difference. When something is this short every single line has to pack a punch. You want to share as much of the drowning girl's terror as possible.

Hope this helps,
Light


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review of In the Woods  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi James,

This is my 2nd review since being inactive on the site for 6 or 7 months. With my return comes a new style of review which I'll be referring to as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (named for the movie because... well... I liked the sound of it). So here goes:

The Good -
Pacing: The story was well paced. The balance between dialog, imagery and actions compliment each other.
Relationship: You do a great job displaying the relationship between David and Jennifer. While there is clear conflict between the two, the connection between them still exists. They're not so far gone that they no longer care about one another. Though there may be arguments, the lines of communication have not broken down. David tries to reassure Jennifer they are safe when they find themselves stranded in the wood with a flat, the argument between them forgotten. When the attack comes, David's immediate response, once he's safely away from the hail of pinecones, is to protect Jennifer. She, in turn, doesn't want to leave him to face the attackers alone but respects his choice and doesn't argue. Though she fills the more passive role, she leaves not because she doesn't care about David but because she trusts in him.
Conflict: The conflict is initially present between David and Jennifer when it appears, not for the first time, that they have found something to argue about. While they do manage to halt the argument the conflict hasn't gone away. If not for the accident occurring, there's a good chance it would have continued. And even then, there's still the possibility the argument could start up again; it's only when they come under attack that their argument truly ends. It also leads to the next stage of conflict, a conflict from an outside and potentially dangerous source.

The Bad - I have two complaints.
1) The description should double as a subtitle. While the title of the story is pretty solid as far as titles go, the description does not present the story well. Unfortunately, because I'm out of practice with reviewing I can't think up a potential substitute but what you've got isn't working. It diminishes what is otherwise a fairly well written story.
2) The ending feels like it's cut short. There was an excellently described scene, a scene where the reader gets to see David's heroic nature... and it quickly goes nowhere. I want to see something more from this ending. It doesn't have to be David confronting the creatures (or possibly people) and slaughtering the lot of them; that would be unrealistic and take away from the narrative. But there needs to be something more. Maybe the creatures are something exclusive to that particular section of the woods. I could see a scene where David stumbles out of the woods as the voice close in on him, falling to the ground, spared by the attack because it's a line the creature won't cross. The yellow eyes gleaming as they glare out of the darkness at them. Or maybe expand the existed ending. Show the interactions between David and Jennifer with the other people at the party. Wouldn't the others notice the fear in David and Jennifer's eyes, notice how disheveled they looked? There's so much more that can be done with this. Don't sell yourself short. Revise that ending, make it work. You have the potential to make this into a far better story.

The Ugly
Listed below is every instance I could find, mostly minor issues, where the narrative could be improved. The bulk of these are instances where words can be removed to allow for more concise language. When writing one should be as concise as possible without detracting from from the overall feel of the piece. If an extra word or phrase adds color to the story, great, keep it. If not, get rid of it. There were only two typos I noticed, one of which was only an issue for reasons of consistency which I'll refer to below. The final issue, also a consistency issue, is with indentation. The occasional line appears without indentation. This is likely an unintentional formatting issue which is easily fixed.

Line 4: According to the display on the dashboard, it was now almost 7:30”
The word “now” doesn't add anything to sentence so best to get rid of it.

5: He shifted down again and braked as they approached another curve.
While likely David shifted down earlier in the drive, there's no prior mention of it so there's no reason to say “again”.

11: The road had only been paved since [in] the late sixties and he didn’t think anyone had bothered to repave it since.
There's a contradiction in the way this is phrased. It implies the road had been paved sometime after the 60s while it's clear from the context you meant it's likely the last time the road had been paved was the 60s. Recommendation, lose the two marked words and add “in” after “paved”.

14: The sun was hidden behind [in] the hills behind them, throwing the entire canyon into shadow.
The phrase “behind the hills behind them” sounds odd. Substituting the first behind with “in” removes the awkward phrasing.

16: He abruptly swerved, but the right front tire hit a rock the size of softball.
Swerving is an abrupt action so the modifier “abruptly” is unnecessary.

21: When they were finally stopped, he switched off the engine and looked at Jennifer.
The word “were” adds nothing to the context.

28: He walked around the front of the car to examine his right tire. It was flat, of course.
Because Jennifer will ask if the tire is flat which David will confirm, a few lines down, there's no reason to point it out here.

34: “How long will this take?” She [she] asked.
The question mark here doubles as an inquisitive comma based on the context so “she” should not be written in uppercase.

43: Jennifer was looking back into the forest beside them.
Is she looking over her shoulder at the woods or looking off to the side? I think you're better off cutting both “back” and “beside them”. But if you want to show Jennifer looking in a direction, pick one to avoid a directional conflict.

49: Jennifer moved over next to him to watch the progress.
The word “over” adds nothing to the context.

62: She nodded and wordlessly went to get the light. He couldn’t see for certain, but he had the impression he [her] eyes never strayed far from the forest.
Missing the “r” in “her”.

66: A second later, he too caught a whiff of a very unpleasant smell. It reminded him of very bad body odor, like that of habitual homeless person, but ten times stronger. It almost made his eyes water.
The 1st two sentences in this line would benefit if restructured as follows: “His eyes watered as he too caught a whiff of a very unpleasant smell, one that reminded him of the stench of a habitual homeless person, but ten times stronger.”

67: Jennifer also moved the beam of the flashlight from the tire to the edge of the forest.
No one else moved the flashlight beam so there's no reason to write “also”.

72: As if on cue, something in the darkness behind them made a “chuff” sound [chuffed].
Get right into the audial imagery. “Chuffed” is a much more vivid then made a chuff sound.

78: Behind him, the strange vocalizations continued in the dark forest, becoming more frequent and more aggressive. Brush rustled as bodies moved around. Branches snapped. It was like they were working themselves up to something.
Clip “working themselves” and the strange vocalizations seem even scarier.

83: Missiles were flying steadily now, smacking into him, bouncing off the sides and top of the car, the windows. Most seemed to be green pine cones [pinecones], but there were a few rocks and branches mixed in.
Too much description. Be a little vague, leave more of the scene to the readers imaginations. Let the readers imagine which parts of the car those pinecones are bouncing off of. And why do they have to be green? Maybe they're brown tinged with red. By describing the pinecones as green it limits the visual imagery. This is also the only place “pine cones” is written as two words. Both versions are correct but consistency is important. Since this is the only instance it's written as two words it'll be simplest to change this instance to one word instead of the other way around.

87: He scrambled to his feet and sought cover on the other side of the car. Pinecones pounded the car like a bizarre hailstorm and bounced over him onto the road. The creatures in the woods had worked themselves into a frenzy. They hooted and thrashed the underbrush and see med [seemed] to cheer each other on.
Unintentional spacing turned “seemed” into two words.

97: There was no way he was going to [would] be able to finish changing the tire.
I'm often guilty of this one too. Conversationally a lot of people would phrase it this way but written words should be more precise than verbal words. Since this isn't dialog, use “would” instead of “was going to”.

99: As far as he could tell, they only had two options. [They didn't have a lot of options.] They could stay put and hope someone in another car came driving by to either [would] help them escape or scare their attackers off.
Because their second option (David trying to distract their attackers) isn't mentioned for another few lines, this can be a bit confusing. "They didn't have a lot of options" removes that issue. I think “would” also works better than “to either”.

112: For a second, he [He] was met by silence.
Seems silent a lot longer than a second.

117: Behind him, glass shattered to the ground and [as] something slammed on metal.
If you substitute “as” for “and” it creates a more powerful image. Now you have an image where something slammed on metal so hard it shattered the glass.

121: They didn’t hear or see any further sign of the things in the woods.
Probably more of a personal preference than an actual fix needed but I think “see” should be listed before “hear.”

This has the potential to be a pretty good story. The biggest issue setting this story back (the main reason I don't rate it higher) is the anticlimactic ending. Work on the ending, don't sell yourself short. Good luck and keep on writing.

~ Light


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of The Gifted Ones  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi Paradox,

*Pool* Overall Impression: The story started off interesting. The narrator is this mysterious figure that is cared for by some sort of group or society that provides anything and everything he could possibly ask for. The narrator is shown special favor because he is gifted, and it's implied that there are others like him, which is why (or at least seems why) his eldest keeper is sending him off to a special school to refine or hone his gifts. This sounds like a pretty good concept and for a while, it seems like it's working. The problem is the story seems incomplete.

Just as the story is starting to go somewhere, just as the plot is developing... the story ends. As a reader I am dissatisfied not because the story isn't told well, but because the story doesn't seemed finished. The narrative cuts short, leaving no resolution. So now the narrator has a mentor... what else? Where's the relationship with the mentor going. What's so special about the narrator and the school he's going to? Too many questions left unanswered. While the grammar section below is important in its own right, it's more important that you finish telling the story, or at least add another installment. Hope this review helps.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:

Section 1
Paragraph 1, 2nd & last sentences: Before the School.... I had anything [everything] I desired, and could act on a fleeting whim if it meant that I would gain some brief moment of happiness.... Ella always said, in her matter-of-fact voice[,] that I already knew everything they would try to teach me. Everything is the correct word because it implies there is no limit to what the narrator can have. Anything while similar, has a different meaning. This link below explains the differences between the 2 words.
http://www.differencebetween.net/language/differen...

P-3, all but the 1st sentence: It was Gregory.... She spoke of my incarceration as though it were a joyous event, and she announced [announcing] that I would leave within the week and that it was to a far off school that allowed for none of my keepers to follow. When Gregory began to state [stated] his dismay, with his [usually] clear voice roughened in concern, Ella dismissed him[,] and forbade [forbidding] him to speak of it to anyone within the home, especially to me. Announcing, as opposed to and she announced is better for the flow of the sentence; the same reasoning can be applied to replacing and forbade with forbidding. Try to use the minimum amount of works necessary to communicate your ideas if it doesn't take away from description. It's also a good idea to avoid phrases like began to or started to; unless the action is something that takes time to develop or something that is interrupted -- examples: 1) I began to climb the mountain, eager to make it to the top, or 2) I began to tell my theories but I was silenced. I suggest cutting with because it's obvious that he's stating his dismay vocally, and adding usually to show the roughness to his voice is not how Gregory's voice usually sounds.

P-4: It was at that moment that I knew without a doubt, that my doting Ella had sold me into a life of solitude, where I could trust no one and no one could [would] trust me. Could implies some degree of choice. He could not trust anyone because no one would trust him. Would is more forceful. The narrator can't trust anyone because he knows they will not give him the chance to be trusted.

Section 2
Paragraph 3, sentence 4: Hours had passed.... His hands, stained and calloused, passed over a paper-wrapped bundle that was wound with a simple piece of cording, but [he] refrained from offering me any words. Without the word he it sounds like Gregory's hands, as opposed to Gregory, are refraining from giving words.

Paragraph 4, sentences 3-7: I was hesitant.... Everything spilled out in a tumble of clothing, covering my lap and the seat next to me with my new possessions. I looked through the heap carefully and began to pull [pulled] out a raven-black pair of trousers and a pressed ivory shirt. I folded them carefully, smoothing out the wrinkles as they formed, before continuing onto the next of my [other] new things. A suit coat that matched the trousers perfectly was next to be [briefly] examined and then put aside in lieu of more exploration. Sleek black shoes, polished to the point of reflection, came next along with smooth leather gloves that wrapped perfectly to my hands. Avoid phrases like began to or started to; unless the action is something that takes time to develop or something that is interrupted -- examples: 1) I began to climb the mountain, eager to make it to the top, or 2) I began to tell my theories but I was silenced. Lastly, the original version of this paragraph includes the word next 4 times. The edit cuts the word usage down to 2. Try to get into the habit of varying words. Variation is an important component of strong writing.

Paragraph 5: Somehow, I doubted that Ella had this in mind[ ]when she signed the contract that bound me to this supposed school. Somehow, I knew that Gregory had been suspicious of her decisions and had tried to dissuade her from committing me to strangers[ ]tutelage. The 2nd comma in the 1st sentence is unnecessary, as is the apostrophe after strangers towards the end of the 2nd sentence.

Section 3
P-1: I had been in the School for three weeks[,] attending private meetings with a never-ending series of professionals that would question even the smallest of events before spending the evenings in a small study where I would be given instruction by a different instructor each night. The lessons were challenging at first, courses in Latin and advanced mathematics, in cultural etiquette [cultural etiquette, advanced mathematics and Latin,] and a half-dozen foreign languages of which I had only the most rudimentary knowledge. There are two reasons to use a semicolon. The 1st is to connect 2 closely related (complete) sentences; that's two independent clauses. It should not be used to break up a lengthy sentence if any parts of that sentence is a sentence fragment. The 2nd reason is to separate items in a list such as dates or groupings of cities and states to avoid confusion. Unless there is more clarification concerning the questioning of events I suggest deleting the text as indicated by the strikethrough. The last change noted in this paragraph has to do with sequence. Since the paragraph ends by mentioning foreign languages, Latin should come right before the mention of the half dozen languages because it's a language too. I suggest placing math before Latin because math is a language of sorts as well.

P-3, sentences 3-4: I arrived at the atrium.... This was the mark of an older student, the crest of a fraternal organization that denoted their areas of expertise, and I was told by one of the professionals who regularly saw me for private meetings that I would be advanced into one of these organizations as soon as I was caught up to speed, having begun later in the year than most. This advancement would place me above those within my age group, but I was told in the strictest of confidence that I was expected to surpass those within my year with in [them within] a few months of my arrival. Either use caught up or up to speed, not caught up to speed. The sentences are a bit lengthy. Writing them, as opposed to the crossed out text, says the exact same thing in a single word and does so more clearly. Additionally, within should be written as a 1 word, not 2.

P-4: The Masters that sat in the chairs turned when I cleared my throat softly, and by the first utterance they all were facing me[.] “Good evening....” While the dialogue has a connection to the proceeding sentence it's not actually a continuation of the 1st sentence and therefore needs a period as opposed to a comma in between. Apply these comments to paragraphs 5 to 7.

P-5: The blonde stood and took a few steps towards me, extending his hand in greeting[.] “Rowland. It’s a pleasure to meet you[ ]Liam.” When the formalities of introduction had been met, he offered a brief smile[.] “I’m to be your Mentor....” See paragraph 4 comments.

P-6: I nodded at his words, and allowed my mild curiosity to speak for me[.] “That means....” See paragraph 4 comments.

P-7: My Mentor, smiling in approval, nodded[.] “Absolutely....” See paragraph 4 comments.

P-8, last sentence: I allowed myself.... “Now, if it pleases the assembled Masters, and specifically my Mentor, I wish to take my leave and begin to prepare myself for the rigorous training and class schedule I will undoubtedly begin in the morning.” Avoid phrases like began to or started to; unless the action is something that takes time to develop or something that is interrupted -- examples: 1) I began to climb the mountain, eager to make it to the top, or 2) I began to tell my theories but I was silenced.

P-9: When I received their blessing to retire, I offered a slight bow and returned back to my dormitory. Back is redundant.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
5
5
Review of Lucky At Cards  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi TomVee,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: This is a good stand alone tale. The card game (well technically the argument over the card game) was well described. The narrator is depicted as a no nonsense sort of guy. I found it amusing that he didn't like being accused of cheating yet he immediately admits to the reader that he was going to cheat; he just didn't get a chance to. So here is a character who is willing to lie and cheat but doesn't like being accused if he hasn't done so. He's also a character who while not opposed to violence, gives other parties a chance to let things lie. Can't think of anything offhand that needs improvement. Well told.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
6
6
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi Michael,

*Fleurdelis* Overall Impression: It's hard to judge this piece because there's not much to work with. It's a single paragraph in what is clearly meant to be a much longer story. Because this is the 1st, and at the moment, only entry, any advice I can give is limited, but I'll try to help you steer this in the right direction. Because the reader knows that James can not die (at least until the very end of the story) because this is his diary, it'll become very integral, as the story progresses, to include life and death situations concerning other characters that James will introduce later in the story.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement
Description: This diary style series will give a survivors [survivor's] view of the end of the world. Unless this is a shared diary, an apostrophe is needed in survivors.

Sentences 3-7: Original - I remember it so clearly, it was a summer day in Texas, you know one of those cruel days when the heat reaches well above 100. Well I was out walking around our 58 acre land in Central Texas. Really, I was out doing a little target practice with my dad’s 45. automatic pistol. I was getting pretty good with it and he trusted me with it. By now I could shoot one handed from a good 10 feet and hit dead on.

Sentences 3-7: Revision - I remember it so clearly, it was a summer day in Texas, one of those cruel days when the heat reaches well above 100. I was walking around our 58 acre land in Central Texas, looking for a good spot to do a little target practice. Once my dad started trusting me with his 45 automatic pistol I took it out as often as I could. I was getting pretty good; now I could shoot one-handed at a target from 10 feet away and hit it dead on.

Comments on 3-7: You've got the basic idea, but the lines aren't quite connecting as fluidly as they could be. In the 1st sentence shown get rid of 'you know'. The 2nd and 3rd sentences make it sound like James is using the walk around the property as a cover for going shooting. His dad trusts him with the gun, so why not have the walk about be in part because he's looking for new places to practice. I'd also lose the '.' after '45', that why it won't look like a mid-sentence period.

Sentences 9-15: Original - We all heard of the CDC doing tests on people and compelling them to get away from major cities and avoid the “Infected” at all costs. Well we out here mostly ignored that s***, it just didn’t happen around here. Hell we didn’t even know what the infection was. Figured it was some bird flu bulls***. So we just went on as usual. I went to a small school district had a good bit of friends, all that jazz. Well when the school shut down we didn’t really have a problem with that.

Sentences 9-15: Revision - We all heard of the CDC doing tests and compelling people to get away from major cities and avoid the "Infected" at all costs. I lived in a small school district. When our school was shut down, my friends and I didn't think much of it. There were no signs of infection. Hell, we didn't even know what the infection was. We ignored it, figuring it was some bird flu bulls***, and took advantage of the free time we had to ourselves.

Comments on 9-15: The two paragraphs pretty much say the same thing, but I felt the language needed a bit of tightening up. There were a couple things I felt needed to be taken out though or replaced. 1) 'it just didn’t happen around here' is vague, but 'there were no signs of infection' more James' lack of concern sound more like an awareness than a denial. 2) 'all that jazz' sounds like filler; avoid adding lines that make it sound like you're adding text for the sake of adding text because you're not sure what to say. Finally, with a bit of sentence rearrangement, I think the concepts presented work much better.

Sentences 16-24: Original - Anyways, as far as my shooting skills concerned, I was doing pretty good. I had ear protection of course that pistol will leave your ears ringing for a good while. Emptied the first 9mm clip on the target and injected the 10mm clip in with deft precision. When suddenly I was grabbed from behind and dragged down. I didn’t waste any time kicking my assailant off me. I rolled to the side and quickly got up, what lay on the ground slowly crawling up was something so hellish I couldn’t even begin to comprehend it. It was what looked like a man but was missing half its face. It's skin seemed rotten to the bone, the worst thing however was the way it moved. My kick, which landed center mass on the beast, was enough to stun it but when it stood up it was as if the thing had no intellect at all just a body moving at pure instinct.

Sentences 16-24: Revision - I decided to use my free time for target practice while I could, thinking to get as much interrupted practice in as I could before school reopened. I had just emptied the first clip on the target and injected the second clip when I was grabbed and dragged down. Adrenaline pumping, I rolled away, kicking out at my assailant and getting back on my feet. I still had my ear plugs in so I hadn't heard it coming. What I saw slowly crawling towards me was so hellish I couldn't even begin to comprehend it. It looked like a man missing half its face, its skin was rotted to the bone. But the worst thing was the way it moved. It had been momentarily stunned by my kick, but when it stood up, there was no trace of intelligence in it's eyes, just the instinctual hunger of a mindless beast.

Comments on 16-24: It's already been mentioned that James was getting pretty good at shooting. Instead of backtracking, use new details to connect the retelling of the school closing with James' target practice. Now it's no longer simply background, now the school being closed is why James is able to do target practice in the first place. Also, make the ear protection really work with the story. Yes, he's protecting his ears, but it's also why he wasn't able to here the zombie approach him in an open field. Additionally, you may want to abandon the switch from 9mm to 10mm clips. Unless you intent to elaborate as to why he's using two different sized clips, it's a detail best left out. Can the same gun even fire both a 9mm and 10mm clip? From what I understand, there's a compatibility issue. The bullets are different sizes. Unless James can swap the barrels, he's more likely to blow off his fingers than shoot the zombie.

Sentences 26-end: Original - When it did not respond or stop getting up I shot a warning shot into the ground, something I was told I should never do “Only shoot to kill”. However, I had no idea what else to do, it still didn’t act in response at all and when it finally clawed itself up using a small tree (leaving its rotten fingernails in the tree) it lunged at me. I only had time to react in pure reflex and shot it right in the stomach. It didn’t stop, in fact this seemed to motivate it. It lunged at me again this time harder I kicked it in the leg and it fell then I brought the pistol to its forehead and pulled the trigger.

Sentences 26-end: Revision - I fired a warning shot, but it kept coming. My father taught me I should “Only shoot to kill” but I'd never killed a man before and I had no idea what else to do. The creature pulled itself up using a small tree (leaving its rotten fingernail embedded in the bark) and lunged at me. Reflexively, I jerked my gun and shot it in the stomach. It staggered from the shot but lunged at me again. I kicked it in the leg, knocking it off its feet, then brought the pistol to its forehead and pulled the trigger.

Comments on 26-end: The original is too wordy. Show don't tell. If the zombie keeps coming at James, the reader knows it wasn't responding or stopping so no need to tell them. Trim the fat on this portion and the introduction will be much stronger.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: There are a couple things needed to make this story work. First, tighten up the telling. Get rid of any unnecessary words or phrases and make sure that the sentences flow into one another smoothly. Secondly, don't forget the importance of research, even when writing fiction. Can a 9mm and 10mm be fired from the same gun? Maybe if the barrel is changed, otherwise I don't think it can. If you want to include all the detail concerning different calibers, makes sure the right bullets are being fired from the right guns.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
7
7
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi KerrieAnn,

*Books3* Overall Impression: This was a minimalist piece, visually speaking. While I normally prefer a story with more imagery, the lack of description can be helpful in conveying the somber mood. The problem remains that some imagery is still needed, otherwise the story becomes flat. Minimalist visual imagery is good for portraying the somber mood but it should be replaced with audial imagery so it's not too light on description.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement: A steady beeping is described early on, but that's the only audial imagery in the story. There's an opportunity to really work the sounds that are available and the contrasting silence that goes with it. There are other things you can do as well to enhances the imagery. For example, look at the original version of the 4th paragraph and then the revision I suggest.

She wanted to scream, didn’t he understand how hard this was, how impossible this was? She didn’t move.

She wanted to scream, the incessant beeping of machines making her head pound. Didn’t he understand how hard this was, how impossible this was? She didn’t move, could barely breath as she felt the walls of anguish closing in on her. Okay, so the end of this revision probably has a bit too much flourish but do you see my point? Use sound and the sensations of emotional pain she feels. Give depth to what is otherwise a flat image.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:

Paragraphs 8 & 9: The doctor stood still, staring at her, considering whether or not to push the issue. He decided against it and as he turned off the machines he heard her whisper, “I love you baby! I love you!” Seeing as the dialogue in the 9th paragraph is directly connected to Mrs Lawton's whisper in the 8th, they should be a single paragraph.

Final Paragraph: After what felt like a lifetime she stood and picked up her coat. Looking over at her son she cursed the driver who had stolen him from her now after torturing her for 7 months since taking her husband. Up until this last paragraph, there was little to find fault with. Here however, the ending damages what is otherwise a cleanly told story. To put it simply, the phrasing is odd. The phrase "Stolen him" can refer as easily to son as to husband. Make sure there's no confusion as to who you're referring to. And while the intention is meant to show Mrs Lawton's anger at the driver for the 7 months she spent at her husband's bedside and eventually watching her husband die, because of the phrasing it could easily be misconstrued that the son is being included in the accident. The revision I propose, marked in green, clears away any potential confusion.

After what felt like a lifetime she stood and picked up her coat. Looking at her sleeping son, she cursed the driver who had caused these 7 months of torture and finally stolen her husband away from her. Notice how with a little rearranging of the text, the event becomes much easier to follow? Additionally, there's a small plot hole in the original. Mrs Lawton's son is in the room with her the entire time, yet this is the first time he's mentioned. The logic of the situation would dictate the son would react to the situation of his father dying, but he doesn't. If her son is a small boy or a baby, then a simple enough fix would be indicating her son is sleeping. If he's asleep it's not necessary to explain his reaction to his father's death, and all it takes is the addition of a single word - sleeping.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: This story can potentially be an emotionally wrenching story but the ending is phrased awkwardly and the descriptions are too minimalist. Fix the last paragraph and add those details of audial imagery and describe more fully how her husband lying comatose in the bed makes her feel. Maybe his suffering and impending death makes her feel like she can barely breath, or that colors seem duller than they used to, or she's unable to think clearly. Anything at all which will drive the emotions from the page and into the imagination of its readers. If you can do that, this story will be significantly improved.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
8
8
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Mara,

*Thought* Approaching the review: I decided to review this piece because I noticed the only person who reviewed it gave it a one star reading. That seems pretty harsh. To deserve 1 star something has to be pretty much unreadable. So the question is was the rating deserved or was your previous review way too harsh? I'm going to comment on presentation and grammar first, then I'll get back to the content and let you know what I think.

*Graph* Presentation & Layout: I've seen far worse, but this could use a bit of work. In looks like the intention was to center the text but everything seems off-centered. Did you use the align center feature or try to center everything manually? Avoid trying to manually center text as it rarely works well. Next, the paragraph spacing is inconsistent, alternating between single and double spacing between paragraphs with no discernible pattern. My suggestion, do a quick edit and chose one or the other. Finally, bold the in-text title. If all these things are done it will give your monologue a much cleaner, crisper look.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:

Paragraph (stanza?) 4: So, they get manicures, and highlights, and get in touch with their 'inner child'...why? You got kids in front of you that need clothes, and food, and toys, and cable TV (they can't miss iCarly you know)[.] Missing end punctuation.

Paragraph (stanza?) 9: GO TO WORK! Yes, it might not be your dream job, but if you can actully [actually] find one, take it and pay your kids' bills. Stop whining, you can achieve your dreams while working a real job, women do it ALL THE TIME[.] Missing 'a' in 'actually' and missing end punctuation.

Paragraph (stanza?) 12: We want you with dirt under your fingernials [fingernails], a paycheck, a smile, dirty, but cleanable, and to be that strong shelter kind of guy. Reversed letters in 'fingernails'.

Paragraph (stanza?) 13: In the bedroom, we just want some who can get us to 'that place', with vigor ;) and be romantic w/o [being] mushy, please. Missing a word.

*Thumbsupl* Overall impression: To be honest I wasn't expecting much going in. But I wasn't expecting something that deserved a measly 1 star rating either. I wasn't too fond of the monologue at 1st, but as I read through its entirety it kinda grew on me.

Now I could argue that the monologue is your opinion and you should try to back your statements with research... but this is a rant. Ranting is the one time your not supposed to include your research, and instead simply well... rant. So no problem there. Obviously not every woman (or girl) is going to agree with everyone of your assessments but that's irreverent for the direction this monologue took.

At first I thought oh no this is going to be one of those excuses to bash men, but it's really not. In the end I found your monologue amusing. This piece definitely has a lot of flavor to it. Your 1 star reviewer is an idiot. I suggest you pretend you never received that review. Keep up the good work, but work on the visual presentation and be more diligent about avoiding typos and leaving out punctuation.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
9
9
Review of Women  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi MasterRastin,

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:

Description: my [My] feelings and thoughts on the women in my life and how I see them. Make sure all sentences, including the description, begin in uppercase.

Paragraph 2: There was no affection from my mother. She was distant, preoccupied, she still is, her mind is [was] constantly moving and thinking of things[.] and [And] when I was a child something else was always the number one focus of her attention[;] and my [My sister and myself were just there. The 2nd and 3rd sentences are overly long. The 2nd in particular is a run-on. I suggest breaking the 2nd sentence into two and connecting the two parts of the 3rd sentence with a semicolon. Additionally, 'is' in the 2nd sentence is the incorrect tense, and should be replaced with the past tense 'was'.

Paragraph 3: My grandmother was much more of a nurturer. She sang us songs[ ]in what she will openly admit was not the most beautiful voice,... No need for the comma in the 2nd sentence.

Paragraph 5: In high school, my worship of the opposite sex manifested itself in ways I can't even begin to relate to you. The now blossoming girls I was surrounded with for eight hours a day were plying [playing] games with my brain, though none of them talked to me enough to willingly do this. Missing 'a' in 'playing'.

Paragraph 6: A slew of other popular, pretty girls would take on the titles of "Mistress", "Queen", and "Goddess", loving [lovingly] scrawled next to their pictures in my year book [yearbook]. Jessica, Tessa, Ashley, Rebecca, Shanna, Brittney, so many, too many too [to] name. Missing -ly in after loving, the preferred way of writing 'yearbook is as a single word, and the 2nd 'too' has too many o's.

*Reading* Overall Impression: I'm not entirely sure how to approach this piece but I'll give it a shot. The 1st paragraph is pretty straightforward, giving the reader the the basics to the hows and whys concerning what you think about women. You begin with family explaining the distance you felt from your mother and how you remember your grandmother as more of the nurturer. You also mention a sister, but only in passing. Was your sister not an important figure early in your life or is this a detail that was simply overlooked?

The 2nd part of this monologue talks about the girls you know in school, how they effected you and what you thought of them, not so much emotionally, but what you thought in your fantasies. Short of the 1st two girls there's not much too them other than their names. There isn't any mention as to why these names stuck in your mind, no indication that you had anything to do with them other then imagining what it would be like if they fulfilled your fantasies. But maybe that's the point. It sounds like they were all fantasy and there was no emotional attachment to any of them. I don't want to analyze this too much because this is a review and not an analyzation of your character. I will however leave it as this. If there were any that were more than another girl to fantasize about, but be worth mentioning. If not, try to explain why none of them was more than just a fantasy.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
10
10
Review of To Be or Not  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi Max,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: This is a surprisingly informative article. While I would have liked to have seen the research that went into this piece, the points are nonetheless persuasive. The only thing I would add to a piece like this is the one thing that remains unspoken: humility. I agree that beginners, and writers that aren't necessarily beginners but are unpublished and/or amateur writers, should not try to break the rules that published authors break. I mention humility because this concept goes beyond simply thinking they shouldn't break a rule because they might not get published. A writer who is humble is capable of learning for their mistakes, capable of understanding what they should or should not do in writing.

Lately, in attempt to improve my reviews and stories, I've had to sit back and think about comments I've received. Only by admitting that my stories may not be as "awesome" as I originally thought them to be, am I able to now spot plot flaws that I may not otherwise have noticed. Not breaking "the rules" that many amateur writers think of as rules that don't apply to them, allows that humility to develop. Is it possible to improve as a writer without learning humility? It's possible, but a writer who doesn't learn humility and how to recognize that they aren't always right will not grow in ability as fast as they could otherwise grow. By admitting that they have to follow certain guidelines, even if those guidelines seem arbitrary, a writer will, through discipline, become better able to spot the flaws in their writing style.

Show don't tell is a great approach to writing. But a truly good writer will do more than just show. A great writer can show in such a way that the reader can almost smell or touch what is written in the story. I know I'm not there yet, but that's as good a goal as any in the approach to writing a strong tale.

I'm going to cut my review short because I don't want my review to become a mini article, but this is a very useful article for writers to keep in mind as they develop the craft on this site.

The only fault I can find with this article is the rating. Why is it rated 18+? There's no content within the article that should only be read by a mature audience. This should be rated E, because this article is useful for writers of all ages. Thanks for sharing.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
11
11
Review of I am Sham  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi Kalai,

*Magnify* Overall Impression: While I felt the message of 'Sham' got across to the readers, I don't think it had the power it was meant to. True, a failure shouldn't be bursting with charisma or a powerful voice, but the message can be improved upon nonetheless. This poem comes across weaker than it should, mostly because of the 4th and 5th stanzas. Those two stanza need work. If those two stanzas are improved, you'll find you have a much better poem.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:

Subtitle/Description: Am I an unsuccessful failure? - I understand the picture you mean to convey, but this is not the way to do so. Think clearly about the words you put down on the page. You appear to be using unsuccessful as a modifier for failure. In other words, you're trying to deepen how the reader sees the failure that is Sham. A successful modifier should either enhance the word or phrase it's being paired with, or alter its meaning. This does neither. If Sham was a pitiful failure or a wretched failure, the reader is far more likely to see a failure that's not just a failure but a pathetic creature. To be, Sham, the unsuccessful failure, is exactly the same as Sham the failure, but used more words to give the exact same image. Is there any other way to be a failure other than to be unsuccessful at what one does?

Stanza 2: Thinking down [about] my early twenties/when none [no one] considered/either my skills or perfectness -/devoid of flesh on bones/none [no one] ready to choose me. - "Thinking down" is an odd turn of phrase, it'd be "thinking about", not "thinking down". Also, I think "no one" makes more sense than "none" based on my reading.

Stanza 3, last line: I am called 'Sham'[.] - I know that poetry is lose with its rules on punctuation, but once you start ending stanzas (poetry's equivalent of paragraphs) with periods, you must continue doing so for the sake of consistency. Either end all your stanzas with proper end punctuation, or leave out that end punctuation entirely. The same reasoning applies to the next stanza.

Stanza 4: Never learned how to be false/I always believed to be [I was] frank./Biased or not[,] to call me 'sham'/slapped me on [was a slap to] the face./Never should I believe again/'I have achieved' - Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong, but if I am understanding correctly, and the message was that 'Sham' never lied and only spoke the truth, then "I was" makes more sense than "to be".

Stanza 5: The word hits me on my nerves/spreading pain everywhere./It let my eyes open wide./Would I ever be treated so/for life is false at all levels - The intention is to display powerful imagery, but poor choice of wording makes for weak imagery. The word striking my nerves/spreading pain./It forced my eyes open wide. Doesn't something like that sounds far more powerful? I didn't include the last two lines because I wasn't sure what you were going for, so I don't have any suggestions.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement: How come this poem doesn't have a content rating? I'm not sure if you realize this, but whenever you have an item that doesn't have a content rating, it's always difficult to find. The only reason I know about this poem was because I still had an old email from you and looked at your portfolio. Make sure all your items have a content rating. Don't leave them blank.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: I see potential in this poem. The content is very much workable, there are a few strong lines, but the weaker lines make it difficult to admire the stronger lines. This all comes back to consistency. A few minor changes, and this will likely be a strongly written poem.Good luck.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
12
12
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hi Charlie,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: The message of the poem was very dark, something no normal person would want to read about. Not because it's poorly written, because the subject matter is about something that should never happen. The story, in poetic form, is unique because the secrets of a molested child are not told by the child, but by her mother instead. The reader never sees the events through the child's eyes. How many years had the child hidden the secret before the mother finally discovered the horrible secret? Did the mother discover it on her own, or when the child felt she was old enough, did she reveal the awful truth to her mother? The mother's portrayal of her daughter's secret is a mixture of beauty and ugliness. The readers see, through the mother's eyes, the child grow up, a child who seems to glow with beauty within and without. A child with a talent for dance. But underneath the beauty there is ugliness, not of the daughter or mother, but of the father. His depraved desires are damaging to the girl, yet somehow she has the strength to get through it. By the end of the poem, daughter and mother are free of the father, but the damage is already done. There is some justice in the end, as the father is locked away for the crimes against his family. Yes they have healed, but a wound like child molestation leaves its scars, scars that will never fade.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: I'm sure most, if not all, of us have been guilty of not proofing their own work properly. Next time you post an item, read through it slowly and double check that there is no odd spacing, misplaced punctuation, typos, or reversals between upper and lowercase. I'm sure something like this would have been error free had you properly proofed your work.

Stanza 2: Have you ever felt the gentleness of a butterfly on your palm , - There should not be a space before the comma.

Stanza 3, line 6: I watched her grow.... She was such a happy baby and knew how to make her mom[']s heart soften. - Missing apostrophe in "moms". Without the apostrophe, two or more moms are implied.

Stanza 4, line 2: By the age of six.... she [She] danced with the grace that surpassed her age, with the elegance of a pro. - Sentence should begin in uppercase, not lowercase.

Stanza 5, line 4: During her grade school years.... To start all over time and again,[ ]to feel misplaced ,but never tell. - Missing space before "to", and the 2nd comma should be against the right side of "misplaced" and not the left side of "but".

Stanza 6, line 4: She danced on through.... My hope was always that she knew if I could have done more , I would. - There should not be a space before the comma.

Stanza 7, line 2: Her childhood.... Heaven knows I failed her by not knowing,[ ]not seeing her pain. - Missing space before "not"
Stanza 7, line 4: If I could change all the horror she endured,[ ]I[']d go back again. - Missing space before "Id". Speaking of which, missing apostrophe in "Id". Without the apostrophe, you are referring to the Id (the part of the psyche that is unconscious and is the source of psychic energy derived from instinctual needs and drives) as supposed to saying "I would".

Stanza 8, line 1: She[']s now a gorgeous lady, still with poise and grace. - Missing apostrophe in "shes". Without the apostrophe, two or more shes (even though the plural form doesn't exist) are implied.
Stanza 8, line 3: Now that she's older ,I can see a tinge of sorrow in her face. - The comma should be against the right side of "older" and not the left side of "I".
Stanza 8, line 6: While the man I had loved,[ ]her father, his evil I could not see. - Missing space before "her".

Stanza 9, line 1: Years have come and gone now, The [the] divorce is over ,the charges filed. - "the" in "The divorce" should be lowercase. Also the comma should be against the right side of "over" and not the left side of "the".
Stanza 9, line 2: Not a day passes that I don"t [don't] struggle with the guestion[question]..."Why?" - Should be a single apostrophe, not a double in "don't", and there's a typo; the g in "guestion" should be a "q".
Stanza 9, line 4: He was my high school sweetheart.[ ]Everything I thought I knew was a lie. - Missing space between the sentences.

Stanza 10, line 3: Have you ever felt.... Knowing does not always bring joy.[ ]Knowledge can make you feel like dying, - Missing space between the sentences.
Stanza 10, line 5: Sometimes there are no right answers,[ ]just the never ending grief. - Missing space before "just".

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
13
13
Review of Lost Lyrics  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Lavender, I was reading through the writing.com newsletter Noticing Newbies: Tips and Tricks and saw that your poem was one of the editor's picks, so I decided to stop by and share my thoughts.

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: I'm not sure how to put something like this to music, but I could see how a piece like this could work as lyrics to a song. A somber song, perhaps something with angst. The feeling of the speaker in the poem are at odds with the world around her. She does not know how to share her feelings, her pain, without hurting herself or those around her. And so she is stuck. She remains silent as her fears and pains scream from within, denied their release. There is a sad sad song that she wants so desperately to sing but is too afraid to voice.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement:
Subtitle/Description: When everything you do is wrong in the eyes of others. - This was close to the mark, but it went a bit over. From my reading of the poem, I understood the message of the poem was that the speaker felt that everything she did was wrong. I didn't see that the speaker felt that her actions or inactions were wrong in the eyes of others. One can say I'm arguing semantics, that there's not much distinction between the two, but they are two very different scenarios. Wrong in the eyes of others is wrong in the eyes of others. How's that for circular reasoning! :) In all seriousness though, in the eyes of others implies that everything the speaker does wrong in the eyes of others, but does that imply the speaker feels she's doing everything wrong? "When everything you do is wrong" tells me the speaker is hurt, feels she can do nothing right. The addition of those few extra words dilutes that same message. With those extra words I'm no longer certain that the speaker agrees with the others. Maybe that was your intention, to show the speaker doesn't feel the same way the others do, but I feel the poem is far stronger when the speaker feels that pain more intensely, when the speaker feels nothing she does ever turns out right.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: I felt the song was well written. It's strange, but once I took the time to write this review and express my interpretation of this poem, I actually liked it better. Well written, keep up the good work.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
14
14
Review of Stormy Mind  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi William, I spotted your poem as one of the editor's picks in the Writing.Com Newsletter, Noticing Newbies: Tips and Tricks, and decided to impart my so-called wisdom.

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: I kinda liked that wave you've got going, left to center to right and back again. It gave some movement to poem, took away some of the stiffness that might otherwise have been in place. Unfortunately, the looser feel the layout provided was canceled out by the choice of phrasing in each of the sections. There is no reason for every line in the 1st stanza to begin "I know", 2nd stanza to begin "I wonder", 3rd stanza to begin "I fear", and 4th stanza to begin "I choose". All this does is stiffen the poem. Instead of seeing a poem that flows, I now see a poem that is like a scratched record, or to modernize the image, a scratched cd. Now what I read is "I know, I know, I know". The words are caught in place and it ruins the imagery for me.

If for example, the first stanza looked like this:

It will hurt and I know I will cry.

I know because it already does, sometimes so bad I want to die.

You are the only one I want, and the one with whom I'll never be.

I know that my brain sees it is true, but my heart will never agree.

After all this time I can't live without the dreams.

I know I will have to, as it falls apart at the seams...

I know while I will be alone, you will have so many from which to choose.


This is not meant to be a final suggestion. I randomly knocked out ever other pair of I knows except the last because it had no pair. The point being that there is variation in good writing. By not using variation, by beginning every single sentence in a stanza with the same words, it vastly diminished the value of the poem being told. My suggestion, move away from that forced same beginning for each of your lines and do so quickly. It's very limiting. By restricting yourself to beginning each line the same way, the poem is unable to develop to its full potential. This needs a second draft. The basic content should probably remain the same, but if you give yourself the opportunity to structure those lines differently, you'll have a much stronger writing piece. The poem could probably use a bit of rephrasing otherwise, but I have a feeling that something like that will likely be fixed in the process of getting rid of that repetitive limitations you've set for yourself. Hope you found this review helpful.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
15
15
Review of Sanity  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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Hi David,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: Not sure why, but it took me until the 8th paragraph to figure out that Leticia was a figment of Susan's imagination. Once that was figured out, it was an easy enough to figure out that Terrance was also part of the same delusion. Leticia and Terrance aren't quite the little devil and angel on Susan's shoulders, but it's clear Terrance is the more naturing of the personalities, while Leticia is bitter and resentful of being saddled with Susan. I don't believe that the Leticia aspect of Susan's persoality wanted her to succeed in her suicide attempt, rather Latecia is the aspect of Susan that thinks she is weak, and uses aggression in attempts to make Susan stand up for herself. While the ending admits to Susan having schizophrenia and hallucnations, it never says outright that Latecia and Terrance are the products of her hallucinations. There's the possibility that not all your readers will catch on, but the story would be damaged somewhat if Doctor Vaughn had stated that Terrence and Leticia were manifestations of Susan's other personalities. I'm sure the vast majority of your readers will catch on, so no reason to concern yourself for the few that might not.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: All the corrections below are minor, but are necessary to give the story a polished look.

In-story text: SANITY - This is more an issue of preference, but I think the title should be centered and either bolded or underlined to make it distinct from the text that follows.

Paragraph 2: “I suppose you just enjoy making me suffer[,]” Susan whispered. - The action of whispering is not separate from the dialogue, the dialogue is being whispered. Sicne that's the cause, it makes no sense for a period to separate Susan's whisper from the dialogue.

Paragraph 3: “You belong here in this dreary dismal room,..." - Remove needless words.

Paragraph 6: “STOP it [IT], stop it now.” -I would cap the 1st "it", because the sentence otherwise feels unbalanced. "STOP IT" is shouted, and the comma provides the pause between it and the more softly spoken line. Whereas the wway it's introduced now, Susan stops shouting midphrase, and that doesn't work well.

Paragraph 13: Leticia slapped Terrence with incredible swiftness. - Something about incredible swiftness don't work; all it does is show she slapped him really fast, but it doesn't convey the power behind the slap. Had the line instead been something like "Latecia silenced Terrence with a ringing slap, that image would have much greater impact on the reader. The nit could be followed up with a moment where Terrance is dazed before he continues with the line "typical, so typical".

Paragraph 21: "You are such a bitch Leticia,..." - There's nothing wrong with this, but I underlined the word because of the story rating. Now to me and any other adult it seems harmless enough, but seeing as there are some child writers/reviewers on this site, this piece should be rated ASR, even if most of those children already know and possibly use those sort of words in their vocabulary.

Paragraph 22: “Oh, her valiant chivalrous knight has arrived to protect her.” - The 1st definition given by merriam-webster for chivalrous is valiant, so it's redundant.

Paragraph 30: “She will have peace[,]” Terrance shot back at her. - For the same reason I suggest a comma ending the dialogue in the 2nd paragraph.

Paragraph 33: Terrence looked deep into her eyes, then back at Leticia who was standing there [with her arms crossed over her chest] grinning cruelly at them with her arms crossed over her chest. Her [The bangs of her long] black hair was long and straight with her bangs across her eyebrows [shaded her eyes as she glared at them]. - Description of an individual, whenever possible, should be worked into the story, not simply stated so that the reader knows what they're looking at. My intention wasn't to remove the straightness of her hair from her description, but I'm not sure how to include it in my suggestion. Nor did I intend to lengthen her bangs, but something about having her glare and Susan and Terrance with shaded eyes appealed to me, so I thought to suggest it.

Paragraph 35: Susan’s sobbing got louder, “mean [Mean], vicious, CRUEL!” - Remember to cap when beginning new dialogue.

Paragraph 45: “NO, he’s not sure, look at him[,]” Leticia spat in his direction, “quack, Quack, QUACK!” - Her spitting in the doctor's direction could be a separate action from the dialogue, but I feel the image is much stronger if Leticia is spitting the words at him as opposed to just spitting at him. It can go either way, but if you choose not to use the comma, then the 1st quack would have to begin with a capital letter, as it would be separate dialouge without the comma.

** #1781865 Not An Image ** - Clearly the intention was to add an image to the bottom of the story, but it looks like it was entered incorrectly. Thought I should bring this to your attention so it can be corrected or removed.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: I wish I could see the image from the prompt so I'd have a better sense of what the contest was based on. Is the broken image at the bottom of the story meant to be the contest image? If you're unable to include the image in the text, I suggest providing a link to the image or finding a similar image to include with the story. Overall I found the story interest. Thanks for sharing.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
16
16
Review of Bloodthirsty  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (2.5)
Hi Suteki,

*Reading* Overall Impression: I was looking through the newbie section when I spotted Bloodthirsty. I read the title and description and thought this sounds like it's going to be a cool piece. I was excited to see what you had in store for me, but was instead faced with disappointment. Poetry, as defined by Meriam-Webster, is "writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm". The language, the words that comprise the poem, work well for the most part, but the presentation is severely lacking. The writing is so jerky, I have a hard time seeing any rhythm.

This knife has not
Tasted blood for many years.
They told me not to
[but] I listened with both ears.
The sad and lonely truth
Is that there’s nothing left to stop me now;
But I don’t,
I’ve forgotten how.


Had the poem been presented more along the lines of how I show it in bold, I would have enjoyed it more. Another issue I had was that some of the verses seem incomplete. "But I don't", but I don't what? Seems like something is missing there.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: My suggestion is this, change the line by line approach so the poem doesn't seem so choppy. Overall the wording used works, but it's hard to tell exactly how much change is needed because the poem is so choppy. The title and description were so strong, and the words themselves potentially have great power, but the presentation just killed the poem for me. Really consider changing your line by line approach. The change of presentation alone will drastically improve this poem.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
17
17
Review of reflection  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Shyla,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: The message of Reflection was well told (though you should consider starting titles with caps). This is a poem about a girl who wants to be seen, known, for more than just her looks. Just because she dresses well and looks good on the outside doesn't mean what's happening to her on the inside is, to use your own words, happy, normal, and true. People can be petty and cruel, and it doesn't matter if the person being spoken about it attractive or not. The girl in the poem is hurting. So she asked not to be judged by her looks, but rather by her character.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement: These are the thoughts of a girl in emotional pain. Her parents are splitting up and she doesn't know what to do. While the words themselves express her emotions quite clearly, the presentation misses the mark. Rhythm is a good thing in a poem, but this one has a bit too much bounce. The lines are too even. Though the words speak measures of her pain, the rhythm makes her seem almost happy, despite the text of the poem. It's a good poem but it would be vastly improved if it didn't have so much bounce. I'm not a poet, so I'm not sure what to suggest. Perhaps find a more experienced poet on the site and tell them about my concerns. Maybe they can come up with clearer suggestions.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics - Stanza 6, line 2: but the [they] judge me on what they see.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: Don't judge a book by a cover? but that's how I pick out books from the library. I like going into a story not knowing what's going to happen, which means I can't read the jacket and have to base my decisions on the cover! In all seriousness though, the only time I've ever judged books by their covers are with actual books, though I usually base my picks on what other authors I read like and what friends with similiar reading interests suggest.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
18
18
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Clee,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: This was an amusing tale. It's difficult to pull off written humor, but it appears you had little difficulty doing so. Misunderstandings happen, and are harder to avoid when it involved people from another cultural background. Granted, the embarrassment would never have happened without the comment of the other man, but there always seems to be someone waiting for an opportunity to make a wisecrack, and the man in the post office had a golden opportunity to do so. Who wouldn't want to piggyback off an opportunity like that. :) I liked how the story was concluded. It was an embarrassing moment for the narrator, but even he could find humor in the situation in how it effected both the foriegners and himself.

*Tools2* Areas of Improvement: The in-text title should be bolded or underlined to distinguish it from the body of the story. Additionally, there's a bit of excessive spacing before the last sentence in the 1st paragraph; not too big a deal, but the story will look cleaner if that's fixed.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: A humorous short story; glad I took the time to read it.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
19
19
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Panda,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: Taken with its title, the poem has an added depth. No longer is it simply rapidfire imagery, now it's the impressions of a man looking up at the storm filled skies, observing its power. Each line seems a controlled observation. There are no added words, only quick responses to the storm above. Well writ.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
20
20
Review of the grim reaper  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Scythe,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: You use great imagery, describing the chill of Death as he steals the narrators breath away. The victim, frozen with fear, does not run, but he pulls his cross to ward off Death, ineffectually. Once the valley of death is entered, there is no return, no way to ward of its master.

*Audio* Style and Voice: Clearly effort was used to ensure each paired lines matches, but it wasn't so much the rhyming that impressed me, rather, it was was the rhythm. A well written poem should come across as if it's a song. The pace was steady, and though it might not be a song, the poem has an unmistakable beat.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: Likely it seems a silly thing to focus on, but get into the habit of writing titles in caps and always beginning lines with capital letters (even when it's a description). Also, "i" is written in uppercase "I" regardless of where it appears in a sentence.

Title: the grim reaper [The Grim Reaper]
Description: from [From] the victims [victim's] point of view - The poem is from the perspective of a single victim, not two or more, so make sure to include an apostrophe before the s.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
21
21
Review of Sweet Embrace  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Corey,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: A tale that is both supernatural and heartfelt can be difficult to pull off, but you've succeeded with Sweet Embrace. The gray sky, the wind, even the description of the white dress lend the environment of a ghost story. It's a somber tale, one of remembrance. And though John is long dead to the world, the woman in white remembers him. It's her memory of him that keeps him connected to the world of the living, allows him to return to her, even if for just a moment, every year. Is the need for her to remember him for John's sake or for the sake of his wife? It's hard to answer that question but the link remains. For better or worse John returns to her for a moment every year. The couple is reunited and given a chance to live out the happiness that was taken from them.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: In addition to the issues pointed out below, the 1st paragraph must be indented to match the rest of the story. Secondly, the layout feels clumped together. It helps, visually, to add a single line spacing between each of the paragraphs.

Paragraph 1, sentence 3: She stood.... Her raven hair swayed in the direction of the wind, covering her ocean-blue eyes which were still gazing [gazed] at the dark clouds soaring across the land towards her. - The language is too indirect. By clipping unnecessary words, the image flows far more smoothly.

4th paragraph from the bottom, sentences 3-5: She remembered.... She thought it over again and again in her head. She looked up at the sky; mud covered one half of her face and it slid down her check [cheek] like jelly. Her only lover was forever gone, except for a small moment every year. - Seeing as thoughts take place in one's head, it's unnecessary to say "in her head". Lastly, moments are considered small or brief unless specified otherwise, so there's no reason to specify "small".

*Idea* Final Thoughts: A brief but interesting tale that goes to show that even the shortest of stories can hold power. Well Written.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
22
22
Review of Wilgar's Dilemma  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Bertie,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: Upon reading the title, I anticipated Wilgar would be faced with either a moral dilemma or a a dangerous situation. Instead I discovered a delightful story which presented levity. Humor can be found anywhere, even in a warrior's life, where he finds himself being nagged by his wife. "Take out the trash" or "walk the dog" (or wolves, in Wilgar's case) is not something one expects a warrior would have to deal with. But even warriors, when they are not in battle, can be family men. However gifted they are in combat, they're people too. Wilgar's dilemma, though it does not take place on any battlefield, is a dilemma nonetheless. It's one he cannot escape. He finds himself faced with a quandary. Though he does not want to be made a fool of in front of the other warriors, he knows this "battle" with his wife is one he cannot win, so Wilgar must swallow his pride and do what he is told.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: The only real issues I'm seeing are how to properly connect punctuation to dialogue and when words connected to dialogue should or shouldn't be capitalized.

Paragraph 1, sentence 2: Wilgar Ofenstart.... The little cubicle carved out of the stone wall was really very warm and he was loath to leave it's [its] comfortable surround [surrounding]. - Use "its" in the possessive form. To avoid this mistake, always read the word it's as it is or it has. Seeing as "he was loath to leave it is comfortable surround" makes no sense, the apostrophe must be removed.

Para-3: He heard his wife call him[.] "Shut up, you old hag!" he mumbled into his thick red beard. - Use a period, not a comma; don't connect his wife calling him to the dialogue that follows, otherwise it sounds like Wilgar's wife is calling him a hag.

P-7, S-3: Wilgar pulled....He looked around; it would be a long time before he once again saw his comfortable home [again]. - Whenever a sentence can be written in less words without losing any important description, do so.

P-16: Wilgar threw up his hands, "then [Then] let him do it today . . ." - Though it comes after a comma, "then" begins the dialogue, so it should be written with a capital T. This site http://learn.lexiconic.net/dialoguepunctuation.htm... explains dialogue better than I do, so take a look if you're still uncertain.

P-19, S-2: He grabbed....Over his shoulder he said, "you [You] know, Herta, a lot would be solved if you kept the wolves outside as should be." - New dialogue always begins with a capital letter.

P-22: "Hoy, Wilgar!" One [one] of his companions yelled. - I've seen this done both ways, so I'm not sure if the way it's written here is technically incorrect, but for the sake of clarity, write "one" in lowercase. The school of thought behind this is that you are technically writing this "Hoy, Wilgar," one of his companions yelled. In this instance, think of the exclamation mark not as a period, but as a very excited comma.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: Though not what I expected, well written. This was an amusing tale, I'm glad I took the time to read it. Make sure to look at the link I provided concerning dialogue. You'll find it's very useful.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
23
23
Review of A Tortured Mind  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Dave,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: There is no doubt that the man in the story is emotionally tortured. Whatever it was that he did or was responsible for, whether directly or indirectly, was so horrid that he was forced to leave his family and his old life behind. The photo, most likely, is of a wife and children, though it can be any relative or friend that was important to him in the past. He desperately wants his old life back but he knows it cannot be. The photo represents that last connection, that last hope. Though he knows life would be easier without the constant reminder provided by the photo, he cannot part with it. So he lives on with the torment, knowing that to give up that one moment is to give up his whole past. He is neither strong enough to survive without it, nor weak enough to toss it aside.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:
Paragraph 1, sentence 5: He holds.... He begins to shake slightly,... - Avoid quantifying. He's either shaking or he isn't. Using slightly diminishes the image. Only use adverbs to modify an image when they add something to an image. Good examples: walking stealthily, thinking erratically, laughing madly, crying happily. Bad examples: shaking slightly, running quickly, thinking intelligently, crying sadly. Each of the good examples modify the original word to give it new depth or meaning. All the bad examples accomplish are either adding a redundant word, or providing such a minimal modification to the original word that it's best to leave out the adverb entirely.

Paragraph 4, sentence 10: The man lies down,... He watches the photograph a bit more, and then carefully pulls it close to him, shielding it from the wind. - "and" is redundant.

Paragraph 5: Once again, he pulls the coat closer to himself, acutely aware of that last bit from a time before resting in his pocket. - What last bit? I understand the intent is to be mysterious about what's haunting him, but this is too vague.

*Idea* Final Thoughts: This is a great depiction of a tortured soul. The setting implies that whatever terrible thing the man did to drive himself from his family, it also drove him into the streets. Without a family, without a home, he is emotionally and to a lesser degree physically tortured. Whether living in the streets is a necessary to avoid authorities, or his past crime left him jobless and homeless, the outcome is the same. He survives, but only just. He lives in limbo, not quite dead, but not truly living.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
24
24
Review of The Fun House  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Tom,

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: There was very little to find fault with seeing only one misused semicolon, and one area where the phrasing seemed incomplete. Other than those issues, the story was flawlessly told. The illustration provided at the beginning of the story was a nice touch, contributing to the setting of the story. Often I find stories centered around teenagers aren't as exciting as those with an adult cast, but this story kept me riveted. Kevin's seemingly harmless dare ends in disaster. When Johnny speaks the words, "C'mon Kevin. What if we get caught?" it's an excellent use of foreshadowing. Ultimately, Johnny and Becky are caught, not by the authorities but by something far more sinister, by something which resides within The Fun House.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics:
Section 1, last sentence: I'm hoping [I hope] that telling my story will help, without making the warning come true. - More direct this way.

Section 2, Paragraph 99: I looked back once as I bolted[,] only seeing the glowing red letters that spelled out The un House[,] seeming to mock[ing] me. - A semicolon is used to combine to independent, but closely related, sentences. The 2nd half of the sentence cannot form a complete sentence and should, therefore, not follow a semicolon. Furthermore, seeing as The Fun House was legitimately mocking him, you can safely write that the letters were mocking him, as opposed to seeming to mock him.

Section 2, Paragraph 105: Late that afternoon, a policeman came to our house. "I'd like to ask your son a few questions," I heard him say [as I listened] with my ear against my bedroom door. - Normally I don't suggest adding more words but the image seems out without them, as if the policeman was holding Kevin's ear against the door (which is clearly not the desired image).

*Idea* Final Thoughts: A well told tale. Not much needed in the way of improvement. Glad I took the time to read it.

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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#1831090 by Lightbringer
25
25
Review of WHY LIFE GOES ON  
Review by Lightbringer
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi "John",

*ThumbsUp* Overall Impression: While I liked the general approach of Why Life Goes On, it lacks focus. All the ideas are there, but they are strung together instead of having their own voices--which is a shame because this is clearly an emotional piece. Hope this helps in giving the memory of your friend a stronger voice.

*Gears* Grammar and Mechanics: Every time [If] you look down at the[ ]ground, [that's all] you will see just that, the ground[;] but if you keep your heads [head] in the clouds, you can't [won't] see your own path[.] sometimes [Sometimes], when something life[ ]shattering happens, we want to do both of these things[.] but is [Is] it really worth it? Is it worth the pain, the struggle? We all have a place, even after death, and we will meet there. I do not look behind me, nor do I look at where I'm at[.] when [When] things get real bad, we think that the sun won't rise. But no matter how bad we feel, the earth does not stop, years go on, and people will pass from this world into the next. Love is never lost, even if you were never to see them again, this love will be reborn into something even better than what you had[.] I pay my respects to my best friend, who died on this date today, [July 29, 2012]. You will be missed. - The biggest issue facing this brief essay is improper punctuation. The message should make an impression on the reader, but fails to do so because it seems rushed. The thoughts, because of the overuse of commas, instead of end punctuation, bleed into one another. The conviction is lost because each idea is not given a chance to stand on its own. A brief essay, when focusing on the loss of a friend, needs to come across more directly, less scattered. Do not let your thoughts run away with themselves: this does not mean they should lack emotional conviction, it means that presented the proper way, the emotional impact will come across with a far greater voice. Lastly, instead of saying: "...on this date today", mention the actual day (if not the day the essay was posted, whatever the actual day was).

Keep writing,
Lightbringer
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