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29 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of You Walk Away  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Wow, that was neat. I have no musical talent, so can't help you there, but how about "You walk away" as the title? Seems to be a running thread through the whole piece.

Honestly, I think this is my favorite line: "He calls to you and when he finds you, you smile and walk away."

Ah, that feels perfect, hopeful, and yet sad, too. The portion after the 'bridge?' seems the roughest, as if you're trying too hard to connect the first half with the second half. Is it supposed to be shorter? Perhaps add something like (oh geez, I'm no good at poetry), um, he can feel you watching, though you stay away?

The last part seems to be from Kynan's POV, though the rest is from Alan's. Is that intentional? It seems a little weird, but I do like how it ends, with the question, 'will you just walk away?'

Man, I can't wait to hear the actual music! This is so sweet and tender, it's like the whole thing is just one cautious question. Thank you sooo much for letting me see this!
2
2
Rated: E | (4.0)
Title of item:  Alexander the Dragon

Setting:  *Laugh*  Your opening had me chuckling! I love the dorm room! Oh, the horror! This is my favorite line: "WoodWyrm Academy was a monstrous facility nestled in the hills of Rottering Downs." Such a play on words, I love it! Remember, though, that you have other senses to use. What does the bog smell like? What about the room in general? And Fleevius?

Character Development:  I love how you set up Alexander to be the smart-alec, know it all. He thinks he's super-prepared, only to find out that he's not as prepped as he'd like to be. I can see the progression here, from struggling student to eventually a successful term, and that's going to be a challenge for you. Good luck! My only suggestions would be to really play up Alexander's superiority complex at the beginning. Right now you're not far enough along to see how much of his personality and you're going to need something concrete to juxtapose with the shot to his ego that he's about to take.

Historical Referencing:  I love the concept of dragons in school!  *Bigsmile*  However, I keep forgetting he's a dragon! That's not good. As you're describing things, place yourself in the dragon's shoes (or claws, at any rate). How is he wearing glasses, how does that work, exactly? And what use does a dragon have for clothes? How is he holding that pencil? Get the idea? Now, you've got a whole story to detail these things, so don't hit the reader with everything all at once, just keep these points in mind.

Plot:  Oh, I can definitely see the plot taking shape here. It's still early to tell, but it looks like you've got something wonderfully enchanting here.

Grammatical:  Hmm, grammar. The best advice I can give you is to read this aloud. If the sentence sounds awkward, then change it. These are a couple of the things I picked up on:

"There must be some mistake, he thought." Inner thoughts are treated just like regular dialogue. Set them aside. This sentence should be its own paragraph.

"Alexander’s planning was interrupted by a great commotion at the door." A verb should never follow 'was.' Change these sentences back to the past tense, like this: "A great commotion interupted Alexander's planning."

"A bewildered Alexander, who until now had been watching this new stranger with silent bewilderment ...." Under very few circumstances is it OK to use the same word multiple times in a sentence.

General:  Your title doesn't seem to match your story. One option would be to name it after the academy, but with your flare for words, I'm sure you can come up with something better. You write from Alexander's point of view, good job there, except for the two paragraphs in the middle about WoodWyrm Academy's history. Those should follow Alexander's reasoning as to why he picked WoodWyrm, told from his point of view, and in the same tense as the rest of the piece. Be careful that you don't borrow too heavily from Harry Potter. Make this your own!

Personal Opinion:  I find your dragon tale very enchanting and think it will make a very good young adult story. I find you wordplay absolutely entertaining and look forward to reading more about Alexander's adventures.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  4.0


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3
3
Review of One: Brother  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Title of item:  One: Brother

Setting:  I can almost see where they are, a darkened armor shop, the streets of a city at night, but there's still something missing. Where are the sounds? The people? There's no tension or suspense. Put yourself in the shoes of your characters and try to imagine what you would feel in their presence. With your eyes closed, what else might you 'see?'

Character Development:  Who is Rolandt? Why is he there at all, if this is the home of Brother's order/training academy? What makes him a paladin? When the sorceror intervenes, Rolandt understands far too quickly, there's no chance here for a transformation of any kind. And why solve the mystery so quickly? If Arden were as great a master of intrigue as he seems to think, why would he even feel the need to be there at all? Why choose Rolandt? You've got a huge opportunity here to take Brother from being a sinister fiend to a hapless innocent and ... there's nothing.

Historical Referencing:  What do the characters look like? What's the city like? There's not a lot to go on, but, on the other hand, this is only the beginning.

Plot:  Why was the sorceror tormenting Rolandt? Why did he want Brother dead? In this one conflict, you've solved too many questions, erased too many mysteries. This is only chapter 1, you've got a whole book to answer all these questions.

Grammatical:  If you follow 'was' with a verb, then that sentence should be revised. For example: 'was standing' --> 'stood' and 'it' is a very vague term. If you can replace 'it' with another word, then you should try to do so whenever possible. Otherwise, not bad.

General:  I'm a fan of multiple perspectives in a story, but I'm not so sure this suits you here. Is Rolandt your main character? If he is (and it seems that he is), then you should write the whole thing from his viewpoint. It almost seems that you're rushing the story. There are many areas that you leave totally unexplored, and the magic seems too related to DnD. You should be careful about that and endeavor to make the spells completely your own, your own take, and not just rename what someone else has already done.

Personal Opinion:  I think you have the possiblity for a truly fascinating beginning, but there's still a lot that needs work. However, you've caught my imagination, so good job there!

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  3.0


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4
4
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Title of item:  Shadows of Evil

Chapter number:  Prologue

Setting:  I know the characters are in a forest, in a land populated by dry lake beds, but only because you've told me that. There is no life, no description, nothing to make me feel or even imagine I'm there, no connection.

Character Development:  Now, this is a prologue, so there shouldn't be much in the way of development, ie how the chars change throughout the story, but none of the characters is developed enough to make me want to know more. The fourth adventurer isn't even named until you say he's dead. Who are they? Why are they there? If they're all dead, what hook is there to make me want to read more?

Historical Referencing:  What's the time period? Fantasy world or set on Earth sometime? This is another piece that isn't necessarily needed in a prologue, but would go a long way in generating interest and concern in the characters. Your prologue should be all about setting up the rest of the story, so some indication of where they are, history of the land or people, or, why they're lost??

Plot:  I'm sorry, I'm totally lost. There doesn't seem to be a plot at all.

Grammatical:  You need to seriously revise how this is set up, format-wise. It is not friendly to the eyes at all. You've also got some tense problems.

General:  First of all, re-think your character names so that they're not so obviously straight out of the PHB. Second, this should be a story and not flavor text. A prologue should add to the overall story, with information necessary to the reader to know, but not necessarily something that the main characters would know.

Personal Opinion:  I haven't read the first chapter yet, but so far your story would only be enhanced by dropping the prologue altogether.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  2.0


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5
5
Review of Atjeh's Folly  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
c:green}Title of item:  Atjeh's Folly

Setting:  How well you have described middle-eastern culture! And yet it was so subtle and beautiful as to be completely natural.

Character Development:  I first could not believe the title, what did Atjeh have to do with it? And then, as the story progressed, I saw that his character was growing, changing throughout as his beliefs were challenged. Absolutely amazing. I did not feel smacked over the head with a moral, just incredibly awed by your easy descriptions.

Historical Referencing:  This goes back to the setting as well. Marvelously done, I was not jarred by anything to take me away from the rythm of the piece.

Plot:  What I thought would be fairly straight-forward turned out not to be at all. You should be very proud of this story, to take a used storyline and make it new again. I had to go read the first paragraph again; I could not believe it was all memory. That was marvelous use of fore-shadowing!!

Grammatical:  There were only a couple places where I noticed any grammar mistakes, and the only thing I even want to mention is towards the beginning, where you write: "... You know this." The first words of the next paragraph, I suggest, should say "She did know." rather than "She knew this." I only highlight these two sentences because they seem to parrot each other and the prose does not flow well.

General:  This is normally where I would talk about things you can do to improve your piece, but I cannot think of anything!

Personal Opinion:  Throughout the whole thing I was going Oh no -- oh no -- oh no! and you did not disappoint. I have rarely read a story to which I am glad to give away this score. You simply blew me away. Thank you.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  5.0

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6
6
Review of Melody Of Words  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Title of item:  Melody of Words

Chapter number:  1

Setting:   The only time I really connected with the setting in this piece is the description of Stephanie's apartment. In fact, she's really the only character that seems to have any depth. But back to the setting. The words say that the first day of school is hectic and chaotic, but the characters and the descriptions don't make me believe it. Try picturing yourself in one of those busy hallways and describing what you feel and hear and smell (with your eyes closed) and see what else you can come up with to make the place come alive and be real. Everytime your character goes somewhere, you should try that. What kinds of things do you want your reader to associate with the school? With home? For example, comfort. How would you describe that sensation? Once you know that, try to place in the home those aspects that inspire the reader to feel that emotion.

Character Development:  Madison seems like a nice girl but you keep slamming the reader with her apparent humbleness. It's really annoying and at least for me turned me off this character, as if she's pretending to be something she's not. In fact, the only character I really care about is Stephanie. One thing about that, however, is that if Stephanie and Madison's mom were about the same age, then Madison was born when her mom was 11. You might want to re-think your math or otherwise explain that disconnect.

Historical Referencing:  There is nothing here that ties the story to any specific time period. In a vague sense, I'd say it's the present. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to keep that in mind if you are going to reference any pop culture, so you don't wind up tripping yourself up.

Plot:  So far the plot is Madison wanting to get into school and asking writer-friend Stephanie to hire her as an intern. How is this bad? I just don't feel that Madison has given the reader any reason that she shouldn't have asked Stephanie for an internship ages ago.

Grammatical:  There are a number of grammatical errors and places where the tenses change but the wording does not. Read this to yourself out loud and you should be able to spot those places. Nothing a good proof-reading can't fix, but too many for me to go into here.

General:  It's hard to resist the temptation to explain everything the first time it's introduced (for example, why she's living with her grandparents), but remember you have a whole novel that is just waiting to take on these burdens. If you shovel too much backstory into the first chapter, there won't be anything to explain later on.

Personal Opinion:  I really had to struggle to get all the way through your story. Madison's fake modesty does not make me care for the character, and that's not good, not when she's your main character. It might help in this case if you write yourself a small description of your character. What are her goals, near-term, long-term? What are her odd quirks or habits? What's her astrological sign? How would other people view her? How does she see herself? Just writing down a few of these will help you to find other ways of describing your character and may lead you to discover what her real motivations are. Characters can be tricky. Just when you think you have them figured out, they can do something totally unexpected.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  2.0


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7
7
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Title of item:  Brought to Bay

Chapter number:  1

Setting:  I love your opening paragraph! I can pretty much picture what's happening, the only question I have is that it's not clear whether or not Syphis is on his knees or lying down. Still, you've really described the room and the actions there very well. My suggestions here might be to include some of the other senses (the rotting stench of death or decay, for example, or of the juxtaposition of birds happily chirping outside a window? just thoughts).

Character Development:  I thought that Syphis had capitulated too easily. Why should he agree to the binding? Was it just money that sent him there as an assassin and therefore wasn't of much importance? or what? For someone that continued to resist her holding spell, it just seemed like a let-down.

Historical Referencing:  There's nothing to describe the time-frame that this piece is based on, but the richness of the rest of the piece makes this unnecessary at the moment. After all, you do have a whole novel to describe the environment. Overall, I'd say it's missing, but is not detracting from the story. Good job.

Plot:  Oooh, I thought this was fascinating! Just like Syphis said, "A healer casting one of the Forbidden Magicks!" ah, I so want to see now why it's forbidden and why a healer would be driven to such a step. What's so important about her son, anyway? This is a great hook!

Grammatical:  I didn't see much here, but watch out for the hads ("had retained ... had voiced ... had come", etc) as they indicate a change in tense which you should avoid whenever possible.

General:  I thought the switches in perspective, between Syphis and the lady, were really well done, I wasn't lost at all. The dialogue is very descriptive and I'm starting to get a feel for the characters, just from this brief introduction.

Personal Opinion:  This is the kind of first chapter that I love to read! You've captured my attention and made me want to continue reading. Well done!

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  4.0


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8
8
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Title of item:  Homework on Christmas?

Setting:  There's not much described here. Just because you're using the first person voice and primarily dialogue, doesn't let you off from setting the scene. This can be done by having the character reference it, like the bit about the teacher's nose.

Character Development:  Like the setting, the characters are lacking in some key areas. What is the kid's reaction to his teacher? How does he feel throughout? Palms sweating, hands trembling, heart racing, etc? He seems too calm to be talking to a 'monster' teacher like I thought you were setting up from the witch nose reference. Very disappointing.

Historical Referencing:  I can only guess at what time period this is set in. Present-ish day? I don't know, because nothing is described in the setting. There's also a problem in that I'm not sure how old the main character is and so I can't tell whether or not this story would be appropriate.

Plot:  I thought you did a really nice job here. The 'events' described by the main character make sense and I love the fact it's not Christmas! Haha!

Grammatical:  There are number of errors here. The one that really got me was the nose reference. It took me a couple of readings to figure that one out!

General:  Nothing more to add.

Personal Opinion:  Not bad, but I was not particularly moved, either. This story needs some more work to make a polished product.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  3.0


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9
9
Review of Excuses, Excuses  
Rated: E | (3.0)
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Title of item:  Excuses, Excuses

Setting:  There's not much described here. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Something you can do to add to the setting here is more description of Ellie's performance. The opening is great, where you can almost feel how frantic she is, but once you get into the dialogue, that get's left behind. Okay, you've said she sniffs and tears up for drammatic effect, but remember the saying "show, not tell?" Things to think about: how fast is her heart beating? Does she grab something to hold on to so that her hands don't shake? What about speaking so fast that she slurs her words together? Think about how you could describe those without simply stating them.

Character Development:  Like I said above, you did a good job at making me feel for Ellie at the beginning, but you lose that when you enter into the dialogue. Is she relieved at the end? because I can't tell.

Historical Referencing:  I can only guess at what time period this is set in. Present-ish day? I don't know, because nothing is described in the setting.

Plot:  Mr Sheldon seems reall nice, too nice, even. She's forgot her homework 4 times? Hmm, somehow I don't think that's particularly realistic. If it is, geez, I'd sure like to have him as my prof! *Wink*  Anyway, I didn't see anything else here that really stood out. Good job.

Grammatical:  There are a couple of errors, but the only thing that annoyed me was that you switch tenses a few times throughout. Not too bad, but distracting.

General:  Don't forget to develop Ellie as a character. Just because you're telling this from first person doesn't mean you can skip over her reactions. In fact, I'd like to know what expressions were crossing the teacher's face as she told her story!

Personal Opinion:  Not bad, but the great beginning left me feeling disappointed at the end.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  3.0


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10
10
Review of Bagged Improv  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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Title of item:  Bagged Improv

Setting:  There's not much described here, but by the time I got to the end I was laughing too hard for it to matter. Great job!

Character Development:  In this case, I really felt for the teacher - how ironic! Even though I could sense she was having the wool pulled over her eyes, I couldn't help but sympathize. And then, just when I'd decided that maybe it was for real, you throw in the last bit. I'm still grinning!

Historical Referencing:  I can only guess at what time period this is set in. Present-ish day? I don't know, because nothing is described in the setting.

Plot:  HeeHee, yes, the plot is very well defined; in fact, there's a couple twists in there, one I caught, and the other sneaked up on me!

Grammatical:  There are a couple of errors, but they do not distract from the piece at all.

General:  The only thing I want to say here is that you seem to jump around a bit in the POV. You started out by describing things from a combination of Gina and the teacher's POV, and then switch to Ali. I think Ali would be a good char to describe things.

Personal Opinion:  Overall, I really enjoyed this piece. I even wished it were longer!

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box):  4.0


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11
11
Review of Bounty Hunter  
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
Title of item: Bounty Hunter

Setting: I found this story to be very one-dimensional. You describe the actions fairly well, but leave the reader to imagine for himself what the place looks like, any smells, and noise. Something that may help is to imagine that you're watching your story, as a movie or tv show, and then having to describe it to someone who can neither see it nor hear it. Or another way to do it is to imagine that you are Korg and acting as he does. Think you yourself: what do I see? what can I hear? what do I feel? Nervous? Excited? etc. Remember that most of these things should be described and not stated. You can get a lot across by simply mentioning that his palms were sweating or that his hands shook as he readied his spear.

Character Development: Going back to the previous, the characters only seem like stick figures to me. Who are they? What do they look like? The only interesting thing about them is that Malnor doesn't like not getting respect as a bounty hunter, and that's at the end! These two guys don't have any personality, aside from that. When Mal was dodging the enemy, I should care about whether he lives or dies!

Historical Referencing: If I didn't have any background in role-playing, I would probably have had a hard time following this piece. This again goes back to the setting. There are no descriptions to give me any input here, aside from the fact that the two characters are ogres, and I don't find that out until the end. Very disappointing.

Plot: I was not quite completely lost here. The big question I had was, thankfully, answered in the end. A plot should have a beginning, middle, and end, and with a climax somewhere towards the end of the middle section. This story had no climax because there is no drama or suspense.

Grammatical: There are quite a few areas here that you should go back and take a look at, but I didn't want to list them all. The main thing was that I found myself counting all the errors, which took away from the story itself. One thing you should beware of (sorry, one of my own pet peeves) is the use of the word "it." Your third paragraph uses "it" four different times and each time I had to read into "it" the fact that you were referencing the spear. Whenever possible, if you can replace "it" by another word or by rephrasing the sentence, then that's what you need to do. "It" can be misread (and quite often is!) to the detriment of the story and the chagrin of the author.

Personal Opinion: This story needs a lot of work. Keep at it and let me know so I can come back and review again!

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box): 3


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12
12
Review of 1st Departure  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Title of item: Reflections of a Bin Bag Boy

Chapter title/number: Chapter 1: 1st Departure

Setting: I actually found the story lacking in this area. Where is he? What does he see/smell/hear? What did he concentrate on when he wasn't listening?

Character Development: You switch from being 6 yrs old to 7 yrs old without any transition at all. How did he perfect his blank/evil looks? You might try adding a bit about what Barry and Judith said to Pauline as time went on, like them commenting on his icy personality and being sure they could get through, to uncertainty, to fear, etc. That really bothered me, that you kind of announced that they feared you without going into how or why. Sure, throwing tantrums and urinating everywhere are things that could drive a person bonkers, true, but what was the emotion-level in the house? How did they handle it? Yelling? Giving him a "talking-to?" What?

Historical Referencing: This was not addressed. I have no idea what time period this is taking place, other than to assume it's somewhat present-day. 90s perhaps?

Plot: Did it leave you asking the right questions or were you totally lost? At the end, I was so dis-connected with the story that I had to ask myself why I cared about this little boy. I knew that in places I almost connected with the story, but then I would lose it again. For example, the paragraph about his grandmother where he's asking all the questions. They make me see a lost, confused little boy and I feel sorry for him and angry, too. But then, in the next paragraph, where he's talking about a subsequent conversation with Pauline, I found myself sighing and wanting to skip to the end. Actually, if you could inject some dialogue, that would help greatly. Writing in the 1st person is very difficult, and you might feel like you're distorting the story by adding dialogue you don't really remember, but if you treat this as you would if you were writing about a stranger, you might find that the picture becomes a little clearer for your readers.

Grammatical: I noticed a few spelling errors and a couple places where the returns were missed, but they didn't distract from my reading. What did bother me was your use of commas. Commas are used to make the reader pause, to help pace the flow of the story, as if you were telling it to someone rather than writing it down. Try reading your piece out loud to determine if you should put a comma there or separate the sentence into two. Also, "however" is a conjunction word, to join two separate sentences into one by using a semi-colon or a comma. Very rarely can it stand on its own to start a sentence.

General: Try to show more instead of tell about what's going on. The main character is very two-dimensional. It's like a dry lecture instead of a warm face-to-face confession, which is what I thought you were trying to achieve. I had an english teacher tell me once that you should write descriptions as if you're viewing a silent movie and trying to explain it to someone who is blind. If I tried to visualize this piece I would come up with an almost-complete blank.

Personal Opinion: To me, this is a simple recitation of a past experience. It is well written, but fails to connect to the audience. Remember that your reader can't see what's in your mind's eye as you write. Show more than tell and inject some life into this. You're so close to having a tear-jerker here, but your descriptions do more to isolate the reader than to bring him into the story.

Comment in a Box Score ("Comment-In-A-Box): 3.5

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