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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/fishsayshello
Review Requests: OFF
91 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I tend to respond to a piece as a reader first (what I liked and didn't like, how different parts of it affected me in different ways, places I got confused, etc) and as a writer/editor second (technical stuff, structure and word usage, and generally trying to articulate WHY I liked or didn't like various elements).
I'm good at...
Fakin' it 'til I make it. I'm not an expert on writing or reviewing, but I figure if I look at a piece from as many different angles as I can I'm bound to find something useful to say.
Favorite Genres
Umm... YA? A lot of my favorite pieces happen to be science fiction or fantasy, too.
Least Favorite Genres
I'm not that into emotional poetry or personal essays. Epic fantasy also doesn't do much for me, especially long pieces with lots of tricky names to remember.
Favorite Item Types
I like short stories, chapters, form poetry, free verse poetry, and even activities. I'm not fussy!
I will not review...
I won't review a whole novel unless I'm really enjoying it. I'll happily look over the first few chapters though.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Ten to One  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*

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Hey IM! I found this in the random review thingy, and thought I'd leave my comments *Bigsmile*

My response:
The short, to-the-point sentences gave the piece a serious feel, and even in the first few lines I got a sense of foreboding. By the end, it was uplifting, a challenge to define yourself. I felt…confronted. Like, you were daring me to give up the bits of my personality that I think are key but aren’t, and really look at myself. It was an interesting read, for sure.

Suggestions:
I would have liked to know what some of the others were, before you crossed them out or “while” you’re crossing them out, rather than just later on. I think that might make the act of crossing them out more meaningful, because you’re crossing out particular things not just abstract list items.

I misread:
When you said “and finally cross out one” I assumed you meant cross out the last one (in your case heartfelt) and thought “woah, that’s dark… so you define your personality then take it away?” Of course, going back I realised that “one” was the second-last one. Looking again it seems obvious, so maybe it’s just me. If anyone else make the same mistake I’d suggest changing it to “and finally cross out all but one” or similar, just to help out those of us who can’t count.

From RainbowFish


PS I love the book picture on your bio! It’s so cool!
2
2
Review of HAIKU  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hey Capric! I read and enjoyed your poem, and thought I'd leave my comments.

Concept:
I liked the image of the crows and the personality you gave them. It brought forth a kind of familiar unreachable feeling…like, their up to something, but we’ll never know what. The final line made me think of an oblivious hoard. Maybe city people un-intune with nature, and maybe a metaphor for just not noticing stuff beyond your own eyeline in general.

I like the idea of ‘comparing’ crows with a crowd, but I didn’t really get a clear enough picture of the crowd to do much comparing. I still think the last line worked well and added to the poem, but given the description I thought I should let you know that the comparison didn’t really come through for me.

Oh, and I’m sorry for missing any other deep philosophical stuff. I’m not so good at picking up subtext, and lots of stuff just zooms over my head.

Words:
I notice this is longer than most haiku I’ve read. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I’m all for being loose with the form if it makes the poem better), however, I do think it could benefit from being cut down. There’s a bit of redundancy: “crows (plural)” kind of implies a flock, “tree tops” implies that their high above, and “fluttering,” to me, conveys restlessness. This redundancy isn’t automatically a bad thing either, given that it’s emphasising key points, but by the final line, my adjective/adverb fill had been mostly used up. One thing I like about classic haiku is the way that nouns are left to speak for themselves. To me, the unnecessary wordiness of this piece put me off a bit.

The little hints of alliteration was nice. It wasn’t too much, not enough to hit you over the head with it, but it was enough to add an extra layer of songness to the sound.

I hope I haven’t been too critical in this review. I think this is more ambitious than many poems of a similar length, and definitely worthwhile reading. Thank you so much for sharing!
From Rainbowfish


3
3
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hey Tim! I found this with the random review tool. I know it's an old piece, but maybe you'll find some of my ramblings useful anyway!

I like how naturally it all flowed. Like, it felt you were just speaking normally, and it happened to sound poetic, rather forcing it to sound good.

This was written using full sentences, which I liked, however the capital letters at the start of each line kind of got in the way of my reading. I assumed the previous thought had ended which tweaked the tone in my head. I’d suggest putting caps only at the start of sentences, new line or not, to avoid this dissonance. (Unless you’re specifically aiming for dissonance, I guess…but it didn’t really work for me).

I really enjoyed the first stanza. It was powerful and determined. The other stanza were similarly well written, but I didn’t enjoy them as much. I felt a little lost in all the abstract stuff—you know, talking about concepts without giving me a specific character or situation to latch onto. That might be just me, I don’t know.

I quite like how this was a poem about hope that emphasised hopelessness. Like, you say what’s good in the world, but end with “Aimless, tiresome drones” (great line by the way) which instills the opposite of the emotion it was technically encouraging. The extra element of complexity worked well, and made it interesting to read.

Thank you for sharing. So long!
From RainbowFish


4
4
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*

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Hey Wikiemol! I saw this on the review request page and the title caught my attention, so I thought I'd leave my comments!

Praise:
*Balloonr* Fantastic story. The ending was absolutely perfect, and the creep factor was through the roof! It had darkness, teeth, and a false sense of security. Excellent combination!

*Balloonr* Dorothy’s personality was well done, and I enjoyed those paragraphs that went into how she’d lost her sight as she aged. I could really relate to her fear and her nervousness, and it set her up so I could understand her headspace once we got to the climax.

*Balloonr* The title was excellent. It could have meant anything. Being cut off from visual perception and having it replaced by a new reality is a super scary thought. I was a little disappointed to not have the question really answered, though.

Areas for improvement:
I loved this story, but I definitely see what you mean thinking that it could be better. I think it could have a much bigger impact if you expanded on the “discovery paragraph.” Like, linger a bit on the discovery of the dog’s corpses and show the distinction between them and the noise. In particular, you might want to consider why the ‘sound’ made her scream. If you could go into more detail and have the reader figure out that something was wrong, not just have her scream for some unknown reason, I think it would improve that sense of horrified realisation.

You mentioned this was for a daily contests so this might have come to late to be useful, but I hope you develop it further anyway!

Good luck, from RainbowFish.
5
5
Review of Winter Night  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hey Eric! I'm here because I saw you'd entered the Haiku Hunt, and figured I'd leave my comments.

Praise:
I really liked like the “twisted skeleton limbs.” It was pretty and dark, and a very cool image.

I also liked how they were given a sense of movement, although it might have worked better to have the physical object established first before bringing in the more abstract stuff.

Stuff other than praise:
The final line was a bit of a let-down for me. It a pretty additional description, but compared to the previous line was less dramatic, and didn’t really offer a twist of perspective. I felt like it was only there because ‘a haiku has 3 lines,’ and if you got rid of it the poem wouldn’t change all that much.

Overall:
Despite my criticisms (which I hope are constructive!), it still think it's a great example of a short poem. Write on, and good luck in the contest!

From Rainbowfish


6
6
Review of Nature Haiku  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (3.5)
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Hey there Pumpkin! (Love the handle by the way). I was reading over other entries for the haiku hunt, and thought I'd leave my comments *Martian*

Praise:
*FlowerV* “tree cast in gold” was a beautiful way of describing that stunning outline you see when the lighting is just right. I’ve tried to put the image into words before and failed completely, so I am glad to read this poem.

*FlowerV* I also like how “lingering” personifies the time of day. You’ve given the sunset a hesitant feel, which was interesting and added another dimension.

Areas for improvement:
The middle line is less smooth than the others. It kinda feels like the word “on” has been omitted purely for the sake of the syllable count. Additionally, I wondered if it was necessary to include the word “orange” here. Combined with the word “gold” in the final line, that’s a fairly large fraction of the poem telling us what colour the scene is, and I think the rest of your imagery is stronger in comparison.

Stuff other than praise that isn’t really criticism either:
I notice you’ve got, like, three different titles for this haiku: “nature haiku,” “Day turns to night” technically a description I know, but acts the same way) and “evening.”

I’d suggest picking one and getting rid of the extraneous. No need to make your poem compete with its introduction!

Overall:
This haiku contained some lovely wordings and clearly came from a creative eye. It could possibly benefit from a little extra polish, but it was still pleasant to read. Thank you very much for sharing!

Best of luck in the contest,
From Rainbowfish


7
7
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hey Weirdone! I'm here because I saw you'd entered the Haiku Hunt, and thought I'd check out my competition!

General Praise:
I enjoyed this one *Smile* It was a fun scene, and brought back fond memories of playing in the mud. I like how you used all different snippets of sensation mashed together to create the unmistakable image of playing in the grass.

Specific Praise:
The turn was quite well done. I liked that that you introduced the squishiness in a way that some people might think is repulsive, but you tweaked the perspective in the final line to being definitively positive. If I had to think of ways to improve, I might suggest making the yuckiness even more pronounced—make it even grosser, so that the turn is all the more surprising.

It was interesting that the turn occurred in the middle of the last line, instead of between the lines like in most haiku. I think it works, and it’s made me think that I’ve ‘boxed myself in’ by not considering alternate placements in the pasts. I’ll have to give it a go!

Areas for improvement:
*Fishp* My least favourite line was the first one. It wasn’t bad, and it fulfilled its purpose of setting the scene, but it wasn’t as fun as the next ones.

*FishP* I wasn’t sure why ‘Hair’ was capitalised.

Thanks for sharing this, and thanks for making me smile! Best of luck in the contest,
From Rainbowfish


8
8
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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Hey Schnujo! I read, I thought, I wrote my review. Let's get to it!


Aesthetics:
The first half is beautiful:
*Turtle1* I like the colour scheme. The soft pastel stuff is pretty *Smile*

*Turtle2* The clueless panda is adorable, but I’m not sure why he’s confused. A smiling version would make a perfect cover image though!

*Turtle1* I quite like the asterixes (asteri?) as line breakers. It’s simple, and since the writing is colourful its nice to have a bit of black in there.

*Turtle2* Consider using the same emoticon for line breakers as bullet points. Right now they’re quite similar, and if they were identical it might add to the cohesion.

However:
The blue writing in the second half is pretty ugly in comparison. If you’re going to have blocks of text like that, I would strongly suggest making it black (or at least a dark colour). It’s just not easy on the eyes. Consider giving each paragraph a colourful subheading instead, to break up the text. Maybe even hide the elaboration under a drop note—I think the short version covers most stuff well, so the extended version might not need to be immediately visible.

Concept:
*Turtle1* A year is a long, long challenge. It will require prolonged commitment from the organiser and the competitors. I applaud your ambition, and if you can keep it up then good on you.

*Turtle2* One the competitor side of things, I can imagine a lack of motivation when the prize is several months away. The fact that many people enter contests anyway offsets this a little, but is there any way to reward participation throughout? Maybe a random entrant from each month gets some gps, as ongoing motivation?

*Turtle1* I really like that you can join at any time, and if you mess up you just keep trying. The low barrier to entry is incredibly important when completing the challenge may be difficult.

Prizes:
*Turtle2*I think the prize could use more focus. I think you should personally choose MBs to give away, rather than giving a choice. Say, if a person entered lots of horror contests, a horror MB. I always think an MB means more if it’s rewarding something specific about my writing. If you end up commissioning a MB, this could be given alongside this handpicked one. If not or until then, a generic “persistence” or similar should do the trick. And I don’t think you should choose between 2 normal or 1 special. Once commissioned, they cost the same to give out, so why be stingy?

*Turtle1* A good thing about this challenge is that you can judge much funding you'll need a fair way in advance. Plenty of time for fundraisers if necessary!

*Turtle2* And as I said above, monthly participation prizes might be a good addition, although I understand funding restraints.

Words:
Nicely explained. I felt confident that I understood the rules, and didn’t struggle to pin down any details. The short version, in particular, was very well done. I totally got the gist from very few words. I liked the extended version too. I think it was good that the short version came first, so I could more relax while I was reading the elaborative bit.

I think this is a good idea for a challenge. Hope my comments were helpful!
From RainbowFish
9
9
Review of Bird of Prey  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
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Hey Thaddeus! I saw your entry in the Haiku Hunt and thought I'd leave my comments.

Praise:
*Turtle1* Even without the title (and I admit, I actually didn’t take a lot of notice when clicked on it) the image of a hunting bird was clear and definite. I really liked how the first two lines described something interesting but mysterious, and then that last line brought everything into context and made it all make sense.

*Turtle2*It’s nice how you go from the graceful first-line to the apparently clumsy second. It was interesting to see a dive described that way.

*Turtle1* I found it funny that “spotted” could mean “covered in spots” or “seen”. I assumed the latter, but I noticed that either would make sense. So it’s like you gave us both!

More praise:
Seriously, that last line is really good. It didn’t just clarify, it added to the image. In so many haiku, the last line is there because it’s necessary, but it’s not really as interesting as the other lines. This line not only tells us what was happening, but gives us MORE information—there’s a mouse. And still, it never explicitly mentions the bird! Very well done, I shall keep this in mind for my own attempts at poetry, and try to emulate its clever display of information.

Stuff other than praise:
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the dash in the first line. I think haiku often use a dash to indicate the turn, which in this poem occurs later on. Maybe a comma would work too?

Thanks for the example of how to say stuff without actually saying it. Best of luck in the contest!
10
10
Review of Winter Haiku 1  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hey Turtle! (I'm not even going to TRY to pronounce that second part). I'm here because I saw you'd entered the Haiku Hunt, and thought I'd leave my comments!

Praise:
I quite like this one. I like how the first two lines set up our image of the moon and the horizon, and then the final line shifts our focus closer. I especially liked that you introduced the forest before that twist occurs, so that even though the hawk was unexpected, it didn’t seem out of place.

I also liked how the “cold” acts as a double meaning for “distant/detached” and accentuates the difference between the near and the far. It's, like, metaphorical and stuff! Praise!

Stuff other than praise:
I wasn’t sure how strongly the winter theme came through. You describe the moon as “cold,” that didn’t really change my visualisation of the scene. I think if you reinforced the sense of coldness in the final lines, the wintering feeling might come through more. It might also make the word “cold” seem more literal—at the moment it seems to be used only to ominously describe the moon, and doesn’t seem as relevant as the physical aspects of the poem.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful haiku. Best of luck in the contest!


11
11
Review of Frozen Moon  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
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Hey Turtlemoon! I saw this entered in the Haiku Hunt, and thought I'd stop by with my comments!

My reaction:
*Turtle2* I really like the final line. It was a unique way of describing a reflection in ice. I like how the word “traps” somehow personifies both the lake and the moon. The malice/reluctance you’ve embedded in their interaction adds a whole other dimension to the pretty image.

*Turtle2* I didn’t like the middle line as much. It sounded pretty, but there wasn’t a solid image for me to grab on to. As such, it felt ‘empty’ compared to the other lines.

*Turtle2* The first line adequately set the scene. It wasn’t as jaw-dropping as the final line, but it fulfilled its purpose.

Sound:
There are a lot of trochees in the first couple of lines: midnight, sleeting, winter, magic, playing, all these words have the stress on the first syllable, and they’re all mashed together. Those first lines read like a metered poem. This can be good or bad, but for me it felt a little repetitive without having the length to set up that rhythm like a longer poem. This wasn’t a big issue, just so long as it’s something you’re aware of.

Overall:
I think you’ve got a good image here, but there was some other stuff that got in the way. I’d suggest really focusing on that key image and emotion to make it a tighter poem. If that means deleting some words and losing the 5-7-5 pattern, I think that’s okay—I see you’ve submitted this in the Haiku Hunt, and Eyestar has specifically allowed (even encouraged) ‘non-traditional’ haiku.

turtlemoon-dohi or Turtle ~ KanyáthƐko:wa:h , who will win? Good luck to you both *Turtle2*


12
12
Review of Cellar Dark  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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Hey nomlet! I'm here for the "Invalid Item. I chose you specifically because I saw you'd been online.

Your portfolio:
Your portfolio is adorable! I love the name “storylet” for flash fiction. Being vertically challenged myself, I laughed at the folder description too. I could tell straight away that you’re the kind of writer I want to read!

Praise:
*Sun* This was a well written piece. I didn’t spot any grammatical flaws, and it was easy and natural to read.

*Sun* The simplistic word choice really reinforced that Jack was young. Great example of showing character traits without having to explicitly state them.

*Sun* The 3rd person limited was expertly executed. I felt firmly lodged in Jack’s head the whole time.

*Sun*I quite liked Jack’s personality, too. He was endearing and relatable.

Ending/impact:
I liked the ending. For a moment I thought it was just going to be a cat, and was prepared for an anticlimax. You’re choice of monster was extremely creepy.

However, that one paragraph wasn’t quite enough to really immerse myself in the creepiness, you know? I liked the build up (the open door worked well to build the tension), but I think MORE build up would have helped to feel the full effect of the climax. Hinting at the ending (maybe so that I could guess that it’s a child, if not Jack?) might be an idea.

The very end (the winky bit) wasn’t super original, but it did the job.

One suggestion:
I found the word “intelligence” to be out of character a bit. It broke me out of Jack’s head just for a second, because it seemed too military/official to match a child walking past a cellar door. Could it be replaced with “information”? Or something even simpler?

Oh, and while I’m here, I really liked the line about feeding imagination but starving reason. Nice way of putting it!

Thanks for sharing! Hope to see you around *Laugh*
From RainbowFish


P.S. If you're interested, come check out "Invalid Item MBs are up for grabs for participation!

13
13
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
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Hey Jeff! I saw this was one of your highlighted items and that it was yet to receive any ratings or reviews. I thought I'd change that!

Praise:
*Fishp* The highlight of this piece was the strong, consistent voice. It’s the kind of character I can imagine getting to know over the course of a novel and not getting tired of it.

*Fishp* Along the same lines, the grammar was excellent. It all flowed easily and sounded very natural. There was nowhere that stood out to me as awkward or ‘off’.

Favourite lines:
The description of Flannagan as a splinter was beautifully done. It’s the type of metaphor you see as a “how to” example.

Stuff other than praise:
I found myself losing interest in the second paragraph. I’d didn’t really seem the time for waxing lyrical—I just wanted to know what was going on!

I would have been more engaged if you’d given me more straight information. You don’t have to give the big reveal straight away, but I think a more obvious “story mode” would have held my attention better than apparently random ponderings.

Place of confusion:
The key information was easy to overlook, which left me with lots of unanswered questions.

I think the meandering was the culprit, as there was a lot of non-vital information going on. It took me quite a while (including combing through each paragraph, one by one, to see exactly what information I’d been given). I finally located the key bit of information, hidden deep in a middle paragraph: there was something heavy and metal in the case. The narrator’s yelling at Flannagan caused it to be discovered. Whatever it was caused the police to be called, and the narrator was implicated.

First off, you should know that I come from a very tame school in a very boring, very safe area. When I heard “something metal in a school bag” my immediate thought was a thermos holding his lunch. Given that it caused the police to be called, I now deduce that it’s meant to be a weapon of some kind. But when I didn’t catch that the first time, it left me frustrated with the following comments. I kept thinking “what secret?” and “are you going to actually reveal it, or just talk about it being revealed?”

I would have been much less confused (and much less interested) if the comments AFTER this great reveal were less vague—if they reinforced, specifically, WHAT had been revealed, instead of merely stating that something had been. You might consider going into more explicit detail of what happened after the object was found.

I still have no idea what the ending threats were referring to.

Overall:
It’s clear that you’re a talented and experienced writer, but think your methods of communication were a little too subtle for me to pick up on. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have, simply because I didn’t understand what the events were.

Hope this is helpful and you weren't too offended by my lack of understanding. I really do enjoy your style, and would love to read more of your stuff.

From Rainbowfish




14
14
Review of The Fog  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hi Rmkv! (Not even going to try to pronounce that one). I saw this piece on the 'please review' page, and thought I'd leave my comments!

My response:
I cracked up laughing at the last line. I love stuff like this, where you’ve made us think it’s all dark and mysterious but really it’s just an everyday occurrence! The melodramatic tone built nicely, and the timing was just spot on—any longer and I might have lost interest before the punchline.

Favourite line:
“Closest friends, dissolved.”
This works well as a line in a serious poem (all metaphorical and original and stuff) and is also a creative way of describing the experience of poor vision.

Places for improvement:
*FlowerV* I found the first few lines drag on a bit with all the commas in similar places. The second line in particular didn’t do much for me. Would it be possible to rephrase it without the comma? I might suggest that “unrecognisable” might be overkill. I think their unrecognisability comes through fairly clearly, given the context.

*FlowerV* Also, I thought the line “whispers deafening” was a little cliché. For me, it had less of an impact than the other lines.

Overall:
A highly enjoyable poem. There were a couple places (as mentioned) that could be refined to more closely resemble, and thus more effectively satirise dark poetry, but this poem absolutely set out what it was trying to achieve.

Thank you very much for sharing!


Oh, and if you're interested, come pay a visit to "Invalid Item There are merit badges on offer for participation *Martian*
15
15
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*

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Hey Stiker!

First impressions:
Wow, super creepy! The title let me know I was in for a scary time, and you kept up the sinister atmosphere throughout the piece. Nicely done!

Praise:
My favourite part was the anticlimax just as Ace hit his toe. Just a toy! What a relief! But then your chilling description beheaded and bloodstained doll made things scarier than ever. Dolls are the classic scary object, and you’ve used it well! I quite liked the ominous voice, too. It was all disembodied and mysterious.

Stuff other than praise:
One line I liked less was “surrounded by a dark aura.” It sounded kind of like a movie special effect, you know? Looks good on screen, not as much impact when you’re describing it in words. The physical stuff, like the doll, drew me into the scene a lot more.

Suggestions for improvement:
You might consider expanding on this piece by lingering on the scenery and character interactions a little more. You've got all the details that are key to the plot, but some non-key details might help to immerse the reader in the story before/while you scare them silly!

Technical issues:
There were quite a few technical issues. The most obvious is the lack of capitalisation for names and the starts of sentences. You’ve added a few correctly so you’re on the right track, but there’s a lot missing. For example:
<<" let me bring some snacks, " said ruik.>>
should be
<<"Let me bring some snacks," said Ruik.>>

Overall:
This is full of dark creativity. There's improvements to be made in terms of style, but that will come with practice. I look forward to seeing how your writing develops!

Thanks for sharing! Maybe I'll see you around the site.
16
16
Review of Into the Light  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
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Hi Jyo!

First off::
Your portfolio was a delight to dig through! The meal theme was fun, although I’m kinda hungry now. I also had a look at “A Gathering of Gryphons”, “Encounter of a Close Kind”. This was the one that interested me the most, so I thought I’d leave my praise!

My response:
This short piece describes violence and distress. I felt caught up in the adrenaline, and did not know what was happening. Then, with the final line, it all made sense. I understood that everything was okay, and I felt relief.

Basically, you had me wrapped around your little finger the whole way through. Very nicely done!

Favourite:
The most interesting line, to me, was “the world became dark.” Functionally, it works as a red herring, making us think that you are being shoved ‘in’ somewhere or losing consciousness. It suggests, though, that the pre-born child experiences the womb differently than to what we might imagine. I suppose that makes sense—if everything I had ever felt was ripped away, I would perceive the replacing sensations as “darkness” too.

Form:
I would not have guessed this was written specifically to have exactly 55 words. I felt like every word was there because it needed to be, and every word that need to be there was present. It was refined, polished, and an all-round job well done!

Thank you very much for sharing this remarkable example of micro fiction. I enjoyed it very much!
17
17
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.5)

Congrats for winning the cramp yesterday! I really enjoyed reading your entry. It was beautifully written (especially considering the time constrains) and the idea was a creative and intriguing one.

The only negative thing I had to say was that it felt a little rushed at the end. It ambled along at an enjoyable pace, and then it got to ‘"Is it Carly?" she asked.’ and I was like, woah woah woah, a complex addition to the plot with only a hundred words to go? I can’t process this. All to do with the constraints of the contest, I guess.

This was such a good story within those restrictions. I’m going to look through your port now and see what you can do when you’re set free *Smile*

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Review of Little David  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
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Hey... Nine? Kindred? Christina?
Hello, whatever your preferred name. I found this item tucked away in your portfolio, and thought I'd show it some love!


Praise:
*Ornament3V* The dark atmosphere was built really well. The tone was "stone-cold-killer", and mixing that with the youth/cute clothing was extra creepy.

*Ornament3V* I liked that you implied who David was without saying it, allowing for the humorous twist. I really enjoy this kind of serious-not-serious story, where it’s written just like any other dark tale until you realise the author was pulling your leg the whole time.

Favourite line:
“After dinner; maybe she would reveal all.”
Capturing natural language, especially when it's monologue, can be really hard to do well, because the written rules of grammar just aren’t precise enough to capture it. I think the punctuation here captures the sound of the thought and the underlying abbreviated phrase really nicely. Not trying to lay it on too thick, but this is exactly the kind of writing I aspire to.

Ending:
(spoilers)

Technical suggestions:
*Ornament2B* I thought “he lay there. Dead on the table” could be removed. I think you showed that he was dead pretty strongly already, and this just felt a little excessive.

*Ornament2B* “would be killing; little David.” I don’t think there should be a semicolon or any other punctuation after “killing.” Just “killing little David” sounds most normal to me.

Overall:
A short, fun story, especially if you enjoy reading the dark stuff. It didn't have quite the impact it could have (on me, at least) but I could see where you were going. You seem like a competent and creative writer, so I'll definitely read other stuff you've written.

Thanks for sharing! Just remind me to never ask you to babysit, petsit, or cook dinner.


Current item I'm promoting: "Invalid Item Come take a look *Martian*
19
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Review of Magic  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Hey Chris *Smile*


First things first:
I here because I saw another review of this piece, and wanted to put forth an opposing viewpoint.

1. This is neither “garbage” nor a “miserable failure.”

2. Of course this “resembles free verse”! Free verse is defined as FREE, and you can do what you like. Even in my limited knowledge of published poems, I can confirm that repetition and stanzas are just as common in free verse as in form poetry.

Sound:
The flow of words is quite beautiful. Although you don’t adhere to any set meter, it’s clear you’ve paid close attention to the sound of each word. This, in my opinion, is exactly what free verse ought to be.

I think the lines that best illustrate this are “From the chestnut on the open fire/To the star atop the tree” Here, you use the balance of stressed and unstressed syllables that gives metered poetry its sense of power and resonance, but without needing to rely on pre-determined pattern.

One area for improvement might be to further explore how sound can give greater finality to ending lines, even to the point that full stops become unnecessary. As it is, the lines “All wonder in the eyes of a child.” left me hanging just a little more than the full stop suggests you’d like to convey. I thought “Hand a gift under the tree to a child.” was less up in the air, because it was longer than the other lines, which set it apart. However, I didn’t like the sound of this one on its own as much. Maybe a short line to end or something? I dunno, I’m not an expert. Good luck *Smile*

Imagery and stuff:
You set up a warm, homey atmosphere to speak about the magic of Christmas. I especially liked it when you described the room, because I could see the scene. Other lines, like “The holidays seem filled with magic” offered support/set up for the images, and although they were less interesting, they served their purpose.

One line to work on might be “There is fairy dust everywhere.” I couldn’t SEE it as much as the other lines, and it didn’t contribute as much to the picture in my head.

More thoughts:
When I first read this, I found the ending (last two lines) a little unsatisfactory. I think because you set up this sense of magic but then switched straight to the mundane, it felt unresolved. Like, “what about the magic? Where was that going?”

It took me some thought to establish that maybe the contrast WAS the point, and that these two seemingly incongruent ideas are actually the same—the simple things of Christmas make the magic, or even are the magic. I liked the poem much more when I considered that angle.

To make it more obvious you might consider putting lines 6 and 7 with the previous stanza, and having the last two out on their own.

Good luck in this contest Chris. From your reviews and a few other pieces I’ve read, I get the idea that you prefer form poetry, so well done for giving free verse a go. Don’t let one curt review scare you off!

From RainbowFish


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Review of Fired  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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Hey Cat! I found this with the random button, and ZOMBIES caught my attention!

Motivation:
You did the villain-who-thinks-they’re-not-a-villain thing really well. It was cool to see genuine, realistic motivation behind the cackling mad scientist we usually see. I liked that you gave them that little bit of spitefulness, too, to make them that much more terrifying.

Voice:
Praise! The narrator’s voice was consistent and engaging. The combination of natural sounding speech patterns and, for example, the varied sentence lengths for dramatic effect, was really nicely done. I’m taking notes and trying to learn from this!

Spoon feeding:
I wondered whether explicitly telling us that the narrator was at fault for releasing the virus was necessary. I was expecting that as it approached, so I THINK it’s implied strongly enough to not be needed (although that will of course vary from reader to reader). I felt a little spoon fed when you went right out and said it. What’s more, I think it suits the narrator’s motivation more if they believe they’re firmly in the right, even if the readers suspect otherwise. But that’s a minor thing, so whichever you think is best.

It was interesting to see zombies featured in flash fiction, since you usually see them in longer pieces.

Thanks for sharing,
RainbowFish


21
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Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
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Hi Ryan! I’m considering a career as a computer nerd myself, so this piece caught my eye *Smile*

Praise:
I liked that you embedded a bit of history in the story, and a little bit of insight into how things we take for granted had to be made.

Stuff other than praise:
The severity of your criticism of the person who needed help made me a little uncomfortable. Like, it does seem silly (and I was amused by their mistake) but I could kinda see how you might reach the conclusion if you weren’t familiar with the technology. Isn’t that more or less how photocopiers work? You hold it up to the screen?

Places to expand on:
It might be nice to hear a little more about Chris’ previous pranks, if you can sum up an example or two in a few sentences.

Thanks for the giggles Ryan. Write on!


22
22
Review of Rain  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*

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Hi Theresa!


Praise:
The imagery in the first two lines was vivid and beautiful. I like that the “glistening on eyelashes” makes us think of tears and prepares us for the final line, which puts the whole poem into its emotional context. A very nice haiku, in my opinion.

Just one thing:
I would suggest getting rid of the “the” at the beginning, even if it means not having the nice 5-7-5 syllable count. Although the syllable count is emphasised when the form is taught and for some competitions, I don't think it's all that important compared to the other elements. Moreover, the “the” is not really contributing anything, which really stands out in just a short poem. It’s just filling in space and weighing down the rest of the poem.


From RainbowFish
23
23
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
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Hi Weirdone! I had a look at this piece because I was interested in entering the AI prompt for the "Other Worlds" contest as well. Thought I'd leave my comments!

Theme:
An advanced AI takes over most parenting duties. She seems less robotic than the parents who hired her. Judy rebels, and uses her skill in emotional manipulation helps them all to recover some humanity. An interesting concept, to be sure!

Voice:
The third-person narrator was limited to Judy’s thoughts. This was done flawlessly, I felt like I was in Judy’s head the whole time. I think this was a good choice of point-of-view because the detached, robotic tone meant the piece was non-confrontational. It could easily had come across as preachy, but it was presented objectively enough that I felt able to make up my own mind about the big questions that were explored.

Introduction:
I quite often read the first paragraph of a piece and then move on to something else because I’m bored. This did not happen with your piece. By the first *** divider I was hooked, and knew I was going to read the whole thing. This was due to the strong voice and immediately engaging style, and of course the content. One thing that hooked me was the “wellness rating.” It was different, I didn’t understand it, and I was intrigued.

Middle:
The story built well. The dribble of new information was always engaging, never boring or overwhelming. I like that we gradually worked up to the true conflict: Judy’s conflicting prime directives, and whether the one her designers said was more important was what they really valued most. The threat of harm to Judy, and to civilisation as a whole, was tension filled. Judy overcame adversary with a logical, matter-of-fact method of arguing, which was entertaining to read.

Ending:
The ending felt a little rushed. I didn’t feel the arrangement between Allison and Charles wrapped things up quite enough, although I could see what you were going for by bringing the two branches of the story together.

Setting:
You didn’t spend much time discussing the setting, but it definitely came through. I envisioned a world much like the one today, still with parks and buildings and whatever, but with scanners in every room. I imagined the children living in barracks. It was interesting to read about their uniquely designed breakfasts. The coffee comment made me smile.

Technical stuff:
*Turtle1* “Judy always thought it a bit strange that some humans would thank an AI merely for fulfilling its programming…” this line felt a bit of. It didn’t really seem like she was talking about herself.

*Turtle1* “I believe that a conversation with a parent. Specifically a female parent. Specifically you will help to raise it.” I could see what you were going for with the punctuation here, but the funky grammar meant I had to go back and read it again to understand what Judy was saying.

*Turtle1* "I believe humans sometimes refer to it as ´hugging´. " Judy knows lots of stuff, and up to this point has seemed perfectly comfortable with terms for things she cannot physically do. It seemed out of place that she would hedge her bets here.

*Turtle1* I noticed you didn’t use colons in the times. Was this intentional? Like, a computer thing?

*Turtle1* Allison seemed very comfortable about the prospect of the sex talk considering her earlier reservations.


This was a good read. Thank you very much for sharing!
24
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Review of Sand  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
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Hey Jeff! Saw your poem and just had to leave my thoughts!

First thoughts:
I smiled as soon as I saw this. Brilliant idea for a concrete poem, it looks great! Along with the title, I immediately got that it was going to be about time.

Sound:
Alliteration Allosaurus approves. I really liked how you interlocked the different sounds through the lines—wh then ss then wh again. I liked that you clearly put though into which words you chose, not just ones which included the letter you were looking for. Like, in the first line, it wasn’t just a repeating “wa” sound, like “water.” You used words that had a breathiness, really emphasising why so many of them are spelt with a h.

Structure:
Approaching the pinch point in the middle, I felt the increasing tension with the shortened phrases, then relaxed again as they flared out. It drove home the point about running out of time. You really used the structure to your advantage.

Stuff other than praise:
I found the line “to what we had when we were” difficult to read. I know it makes sense grammatically, and I could see you were going with the sound, but it just did my head in.

All in all, a great poem. Thank you for sharing!
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Review of My Precious Kevin  
Review by RainbowFish
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
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Hello there! I was checking out your portfolio because I saw you give someone a really nice review, and thought you deserved one in return.
I clicked on this piece in particular because I saw the words “young mother,” and it suddenly struck me that I’m easily old enough that it could apply to me, if I wanted to, in the next few years.

Overall:
It was such a sweet poem. Your adoration came through strongly, and it was touching to read.

Sound:
*Turtle1* I liked how you wrapped up each stanza with a short, non-rhyming phrase. It gave little points of finality, wrapping up each one.
*Turtle1* I liked the connection across stanzas by rhyming ‘adore’ and ‘awe.’ It held it together, without being overdone.
*Turtle1* There was similarities in the stanzas, but you weren’t afraid to change up the structure, like in the third stanza when you used a three foot opening line instead of four, and of course the fifth stanza.

Meter:
Meter was present, but it wasn’t my favourite aspect of the poem. Even though I could hear a nice rhythm inside most individual lines, some of it felt a bit forced. I think it’s just that I’m reading it wrong. “shining hair creates a halo” I would naturally read as “shi-ning HAIR cre-ates a HA-lo,” and that sounds quite nice with the next line, but because the expectation of meter was there I automatically tried to read it as “SHI-ning HAIR cre-ATES a HA-lo” which sounded a little wrong, but it was close enough to right that I didn’t realise how it was meant to be.

It would be interesting to hear how the poem would sound when it’s read the right way, as you hear it.

Stuff:
There were lots of really nice lines in the poem, especially near the beginning. I really liked “Making sweet contented sounds” and the bit about sighing rainbows. Further along, especially in stanzas 3 and 4, things were a bit more mundane, but it was alright.

Ending:
I really liked how it ended, both soundwise (mixing up the structure worked well) and emotion-wise. That final line – how could it be anything else!

Formatting:
One thing I really did not like was the blue text. I don’t know why I hate it so much. I think it’s just in my head that it’s “the linking colour” so whenever I see blue text than isn’t clickable I think, “bleh!”

I’m not planning any kids in the near future, and this piece made me kind of sad/wistful. I wish I had siblings so I could be an Aunt instead!
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