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Public Reviews
Review by Greg Stevens
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is brilliant and fun. An excellent short piece, and a great riddle. I think I "get it" and know the solution, but I won't but it in a public review for the sake of your other readers (I'll send you an email).

I am biased toward liking the "mind-bending" riddle part of it, but additionally I like the actual writing, as well. The dialogue is clear and realistic, with a the right amount of flow but also the right amount of interruption and hesitation to be like actual dialogue. It is almost entirely driven by the dialogue is there, so there is minimal description, but what is there is clear and vivid enough to convey the setting easily.

Excellent work!
Review of Turning Dark  
Review by Greg Stevens
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Title - Ambiguous but powerful, suggesting the tone of the piece without revealing anything in particular

Character/s - A troubled man in a troubled world, the reader is given a very realistic window into his thoughts and feelings.

Plot - What is going through a man's mind immediately after committing a crime, returning home, and then later when he finds out the penalty for what he has done.

What I liked: The writing is fantastic. Your descriptions are vivid, you convey a consistent and convincing tone with the character's voice. I enjoy the film-noir-meets-the-future style of the writing, and you obviously are able to easily and effectively carry of the "voice" of the main character. It comes across as natural, believable, and very authentic.

I also liked the sci fi concept: the look at the impact of cloning on the economy and workforce, the prejudice and blame that people inevitably feel towards them, and then of course the odd and unexpected twist of the punishment at the end, reflecting the status of clones in society. The way you play with using the term "cop killer" to mean "copy killer" and contrast it with "police killer" is beautiful.

Errors and suggestions: Only one possible typo that I caught, and I could be wrong: "I said good riddance to the Glock and chunked it into the dumpster." Should this be "chucked" into the dumpster? It's also possible that "chunked" is slang that I'm unfamiliar with.

The only other thought that might be a suggestion: I do find it a little surprising that the main character would not be aware that the penalty for his crime would be so mild. Did he think that it would be like murdering a person? If so, why would be not be aware that the penalty for copy killing was light? Isn't this something he would have been exposed to, in movies or television if not day-to-day life? It's not a major deal, but part of me feels like there could be some way you could introduce something earlier, that would explain why this comes as such a surprise to the main character.

But that is really very minor: overall, this is a beautiful piece and I'm very glad that I read it.
Review of A Russian Novel  
Review by Greg Stevens
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is extremely good. Stories that address coming out are very difficult to write and often end up awkward or cliche, and this story has none of those problems. It is well-written, intelligent, emotional, and compelling.

OK... on with the details

Title - The title is based on the main metaphor of the story: confusing at first but leads to a great "aha" feeling when the reader discovers its meaning.

Character/s - Your main character is very honest and very real

Plot - The plot is presented as several "snapshots scenes" over the course of a childhood with "fast-forward" cuts in between that create a nice arc.

What I liked: *CheckV*.

Your descriptions, especially in the first half of the piece, are very vivid and very detailed, and very enjoyable to read. I really felt "in" the scene. Your prose is very intelligent, and the analogy with life being like a Russian novel is both hilarious and very insightful.

I also enjoyed your insight, from the younger child's perspective, seeing the older gay couple as "flawed" and not living up to the "fairy tale." You do a good job of making the child's view feel very honest.

As you "fast forward" through other elements, I get a real sense of how the maturing character is having to deal with these issues and how that affects the lens that he uses to see the world.

Errors and suggestions: *XV*.

I would like this to be a little longer. The first segment of story is the most detailed, and it sets the stage very well. Then you fast-forward through several other moments: the first kiss, the actual coming out. These seem like they are not as detailed or vivid. I would like to see more description. Some of it comes out in later sections (e.g. the detail of hiding behind the pillow is endearing and really conveys feeling), but I think you could commit to more, in both the coming out story and the in-between "kiss" segment.

There are a couple of places where the language is a little overly-formal, and in some places it borders on being incorrect. So go through and I would recommend reading it out loud to yourself. If it feels awkward to say out loud, you may want to simplify the writing. For example, you say, "about 200 pages later, I am found lying in a dorm room....". You don't really mean "am found", I think, right? You mean "I found myself....". Nobody in the story has found you there, I think?

But these are small details. In an excellent story, my main suggestion is to add more to it!

Great job.
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