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Review Requests: OFF
288 Public Reviews Given
288 Total Reviews Given
Review Style
I do not use templates, I prefer to send my thoughts in letter form. But be forewarned most of my reviews are over 5000 characters in length. More especially the first. Seconds and third reviews tend to be more concise as I learn what you would have me comment on.
I'm good at...
Being,(or at least trying to be) objective, never forgetting why we are all looking for reviews.
Favorite Genres
Epic Fantasy, Historic, Action, Crime Drama, Techno-thrillers, and many of the classics. I like some erotica when tastefully presented with a plot that could be plausible. I think snippets of porn lack talent and are just graphic self-indulgence.
Least Favorite Genres
Poetry: but only because I am not very good at it. That is not to say I am unwilling to share the emotion your poem may invoke, you must understand you will get what I feel, with little help on any technical aspects.
Favorite Item Types
I am eclectic! I truly like everything, my favorite is whatever the book is in my hand at the time you ask the question.
Least Favorite Item Types
I'm not a big fan of Gay (male homosexual erotica)But to exclude any genre based on perceived phobias is to lessen my understanding of our art. How can I succeed with a closed mind, when the opposite is what creative writing is all about?
I will not review...
Nothing is off limits I believe as writers we must be willing to understand the entire spectrum of our art, even if a particular area is disturbing to us. Testing our limits is what makes us better at what we do. It does not make us into what we may read or comment on. To have an opinion one must first experience the subject even if it is only in the peripheral. If you are never exposed to a germ, that germ can become paralyzingly dangerous. Minor exposure can sometimes give immunity.
Public Reviews
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Review of Prep Poll  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | N/A (Unratable.)
I liked the SWAT Cop/ Comic Writer....there were so many possibilities I could see crossovers everywhere. Crime drama, a love interest between the two, could go Rom/Com too...

Or how about this: There are even some supernatural possibilities in there... what if the bad guys in the SWAT Cop's world originate from your graphic novelist?

Or so it seems... maybe that's one of the side plots. The cop doesn't believe it is her characters coming to life... but she knows in her heart they are her villains somehow coming to real life, and she is the only one who knows it.

What does she do to try and stop the real-world villains she thinks she is responsible for creating... Does she do things in her Graphics to help? Do they work, but nobody but the artist sees how. Maybe the rest of the people in the story start thinking she's crazy. After the bad guys are put down, everyone looks to put the artist in the lunny bin. But something happens in front of the SWAT Cop that shows him that the Graphic Artist was right all along.

Does the duo run away together? Do they discover that all the crime in our world originates from Graphic art? Do they become the next Marvel crime-fighting team?

And that is just 60 seconds of my muse without her leash... Yes, lots of stuff in your other choices, too. But the one I think that has the most possibilities is the above. Think real-life Rodger Rabbit...with an underworld twist.

Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Hi Indecisive

I found your story item via the random Read and Review tab here in the forum. I hope you are up to a few candid observations. I offer them in the spirit of writer-to-writer sharing what we have learned on our journey to the Times Best Seller shelf at our local media outlet.

What did I like about your story? That it is short... Haaa, that could be a joke. But really, I just needed a quick break from the Novel I am helping edit. And wanted a short two-thousand or less-word story. Something completely different from a Western. Your story is a welcome respite.

I like the primus, even though it is a commonly repeated theme. Of a mourning lover in search of reunion. And everybody knows it is against all the rules to bring someone back from the dead. I liked how it recovered quickly to heavenly transcendence. I like that you only had three characters. Many of today's writers put too many in their short stories.

Invariably, the first negative issue is SPAG. Why...first, because it is the most straightforward. Spelling, Punctuation, And Grammar errors stick out. SPAG costs you, the reader/reviewer's, attention and trust. If found in the first five pages of your manuscript, they earn instant rejections from agents or publishers. You can't get to any real publishers with SPAG. I found 79 instances of SPAG and a couple of minor redundancies. I edited it in Word with Track-Changes on. I will send you a copy in an email. Don't worry too much about the number... if you spend some time working on your comma use, it resolves 88% of your SPAG issues.

Next, forewarned, this will sound harsh, but it is not meant to be. Your item has numerous issues experienced editors label as Beginnier's errors or mistakes. I don't like the terminology that "Mistake" implies. I am not listing everything I observed in one review because there are no rules for writing, only rules for getting published. Doing so always carries a negative connotation that discourages. I am only noting a couple of things as examples.

You have three characters in this third-person limited Point of View. Eric, Elenor, and the Narrator. There is a problem: the entire story is told through the eyes of the Narrator. If Eric is the Protagonist, then Eric is who the reader needs to identify with. Still, your story suffers from what editors in the business label "POV Filtering." Your Narrator gets between the reader and Eric. The Narrator tells the reader what Eric is doing, thinking, and feeling. That leaves very little for the reader to connect with.

You start with the Narrator telling the reader about an unidentified man in a graveyard. I understand you are looking to build suspense. But this is a short story...there is no time for indirect scene-building. The Narrator speaking... using "the man" is not mysterious. It is arrogant of the Narrator to keep Eric hidden, standing between him and your readers. (that's just one place)

Your story would open better with Eric directly thrown into the action. More like this, maybe:

"Ouch... " Eric swayed left, passing the rose bush beside the headstone. "Okay, that's one. Three more rows." His face scanned the moonless sky, only three shades brighter than the inky black surrounding him. His head tilted, ears straining to identify anything in the faint whispers of wind slipping through the sporadic, leafless trees. His gait quickens forward, gimpy legs noodling over the sporadic grass until he bumps into another short granite wall.

"That's two, one more... take your time, old man, don't miss it." His breath heaved, hanging as hoarfrost in the cold air.

Eric adjusted the shouldered bag and continued until he reached the stone after next; kneeling, his fingers traced the depressions on the face of the stone.

He fumbled in the bag and then lit the candle before setting the lighter's flame to the candle base and sticking it to the headstone. From around his neck, he retrieved a locket, touching it to his lips before kneeling.

Okay, perhaps this is enough to demonstrate what I am trying so badly to show you. Work on letting the reader get into the scene using Eric's senses instead of the Narrator's voice. I used a lot of words to only provide a couple of ideas, but they are pretty big.

Fixing the SPAG and your "POV Filtering" would significantly improve the story's readability. There are a few other things that you could do as well, but adding them to this review would only add frustration. If you are not offended by my suggestions and want more... let me know, and we can begin a line-by-line edit. Sometimes, writers like to look at and fix one thing at a time. (Me, for one)

I look forward to hearing from you.


P.S. I added a few Gift Points as a Welcome to the forum token

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Let It Grow  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Oh, my word.. and three times more... Amethyst Angel I just looked at this latest draft. You did well, my dear girl. This reads much different from the first...

I would counsel more if it were not a contest piece. But as the French say, "c'est la vie."

I want to send you two sites: these are tools that, once you start using them, you will not understand how you managed before...


Although probably the most helpful advice I ever received from a real writer came in February 2013 from the late Elmore Lennard: "Always write for yourself first, then worry about how to get it ready to publish." He clarified that if we write what is on our mind in our own words, without fear, worry, or concerns about pleasing anyone else. The ideas get on the paper... yes he said paper. He never typed a single word on a computer. He did it all long-hand with a cross pen and yellow legal pads. That includes all 49 best sellers, 39 screenplays, and a dozen TV and movie scripts.

His second monumental hack shared was, "Never leave your house without a pen and something to write on...Never! Never! Never," he said.. (redundancy is acceptable for dramatic effect.) he followed up with examples from that morning when he was having breakfast with his son Peter.

My improvements did not come at once (if ever) over the years of toiling at our craft. However, learning what editors are looking for in today's markets helped me a ton when figuring out when, what, and how I needed to prepare my work before sending or posting it anywhere.

I encourage you to find a copy of https://www.amazon.com/First-Five-Pages-Writers-Re...

You can get a used copy for under $2 bucks. I met Noah several years before he became a big shot in the industry. He was eager to help anyone who asked... I haven't looked to see if he is still touring the conference circuit anymore... but if he ever does, you might think about going to listen to him speak.

Again, well done. I haven't looked to see if the contest was judged yet, but it is a contender... I am sure others will take note as well.


Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi Lynn,

I found your item in the "Review, please." section. I thought I would share a few observations. Now, I'll add my disclaimer here. I am a published author, but most of those accomplishments are in technical writing. I am an engineer by training and vocation. I didn't start my endeavors in creative writing until after I retired in 2007.

Fiction is as different to technical writing as a dog is to a whale. Both creatures are mammals, but beyond that, they have nearly nothing in common. Nonetheless, I will offer the following without sugar-coating. My first attempts at writing fiction were failures, but luckily, I made a few friends in the publishing business. One, in particular, returned my first two pages of a manuscript with more red marks than black. I was mortified and embarrassed to the point of uttering the most common phrase known in the writing world. "Man, do I suck! What was I thinking." But then I learned I didn't understand the rules for fiction writing.

I have found that most of the more experienced writers (sadly, even here on WDC.) Look at an item and often shy away from the ones with more than three or four issues to speak to. But I would have given up my quest to sit in the tall chairs on the Friday morning "Today Show." years ago if someone had not taken the time to speak candidly about my creative offerings in 2007

The first rule for writing. "There are no rules for writing, only for getting published." Worse yet, these rules change between genres. Oh! Authors can break these rules whenever they like if it is purposeful. Millions of new writers each year try to become the next Jane Auston or Jo Rowlings. But fewer than a hundred will sign a contract with any legitimate publishers.

SPAG issues are first on the list of known instant rejections from a publisher. Spelling, punctuation, and Grammar. You have 229 SPAG issues in 9 pages. More than a dozen in an entire manuscript will bring rejections. Most of your errors are over commas, hyphens, and other standard punctuation missteps. You have issues with clarity, engagement, and style. There are many ways to combat SPAG. The fastest and most efficient is to use one of the Grammar correction programs, Like Grammarly, Styles 3, or Prowritingaid, to name a few. Most have a free trial option. Try one. They are much improved over these last years.

The first words you (or any writer today) will hear from their editor is, "Cut your word count by 15%." Every word in our manuscripts must be essential... So, having a clear, concise flow of information needs to be easy for the reader to understand without conscious thought. Following traditional rules for paragraph structure often accomplishes this without the writer having to think about it as much.

Paragraph structure
I saw many opportunities to improve your sentence structure. Like other forms of writing, paragraphs follow a standard three-part structure with a beginning, middle, and end. These parts are the topic sentence, development and support, and conclusion. This is never shown more critically than in today's fiction.

Generally, dialogue is separated from narrative/exposition and is usually treated as a paragraph. Almost all your dialogue is buried. The reader doesn't hear the characters. They hear the narrator telling them what they are saying.

Topic sentences, also known as "paragraph leaders," introduce the main idea that the paragraph is about. They shouldn't reveal too much on their own but rather prepare the reader for the rest of the paragraph by stating clearly what topic will be discussed.

The development and support sentences act as the body of the paragraph. Development sentences elaborate and explain the idea with details too specific for the topic sentence. In contrast, support sentences provide the reader with evidence, opinions, or other statements supporting or confirming the paragraph's main idea.

Last, the conclusion wraps up the idea, sometimes summarizing what's been presented or transitioning to the next paragraph. The content of the conclusion depends on the type of paragraph, and it's often acceptable to end a paragraph with a final piece of support that concludes the thought instead of a summary.

Clear characters and their roles in the story:
I can't determine if Charlotte or Violet is the Protagonist of this story.
There are too many named characters, most of whom do nothing to move the story forward or fill in some essential information. And if the mother (Edna) is the antagonist (at least in these chapters), her interaction is highly lackluster.

Knowing that Charlotte has eight siblings may help suggest the scope of her responsibilities within her family as a caregiver. There is little need to provide their names and descriptions unless they are significant to the story.

While telling exposition is part of creative writing, knowing when to "SHOW" v. "TELL" is one of those style issues that takes time for a writer to learn. Again, because the rule changes. But there is one pretty constant consensus among the big-name writers. Never let a protagonist (or antagonist) tell or be told about! Never tell your reader what the hero/heroine is thinking. Always show their thoughts with their emotions, actions, or reactions.

Info Dumping
I spotted more than ten paragraphs with background and mostly nonessential information sharing. There are much better ways to give the reader a picture of your character.

I realize this is but one chapter in a larger story. But what is the purpose of this chapter? Other than character development, hidden in a giant "Tell." Do you have an outline, or are you a Pantser, making it up as you go? I will tell you from experience that the latter only works if you know your characters well.

I know I have shared a lot of ideas without examples. And I am willing to discuss more if you are interested. But the truth is line-by-line editing is costly in time and mental prowess. I have found it's easier to answer a fellow writer's specific questions than to send examples of how I might write something... that doesn't help. It only turns their story into something written in my voice.

But then doing so might spark a bit of warmth under your muse's tail. Looking at these ideas, I think... I understood the story elements except for the mother's return and Leo's demise. I condensed four pages into one. I think you could get it down to three pages. With a lot more spice and show. Then, in the current nine pages. Let me know what you think.


The black Model T touring sedan roared by with purpose, its right front wheel splashing through the pothole, sending a spray of mud and gravel to coat the police call box on the pole in front of 35B Halsted Street. It would not make it more noticeable than the dirty sidewalks and stoops on any side of the Kenney household.

Inside Charlotte, a girl of sixteen summers empties the last sweepings into the dustbin before placing the broom back in the sparse pantry.

"Take Sonny with you, or I'm never getting these lunch dishes finished," said Gloria, the second oldest sister.

"I'm going to take Violet with me, you keep Sonny. We won't be long."

Charlotte picked up her little brother of three and sat him at the kitchen table. He instantly started to get down until his sister gave him that look, saying ... go ahead, try me! The boy froze, his face scrunching to signal his displeasure. Charlotte reached into the jar on the counter, took one of the last two cookies, and handed it to her brother.

"Don't forget to stir the beans every little while so they don't stick." She didn't wait for a reply as the swinging kitchen door rocked behind her. The first tread squeaked beneath her well-worn laced boot. She took hold of the rail, straining to lean as her neck arched toward the second-floor landing.

"Violet, it doesn't take this long to get your coat. You only have one!"

The face of her little sister of seven appeared at the railing, looking down at Charlotte.

"Why do I have to go? I would rather stay here."

"We need to catch Leo before he leaves work, and then we will see Mr. MacAlister and Mrs. Swanson on the way back. They will more likely spare us some flour and a few vegetables if your sad face stands at my knee."

Ten minutes later, Charlotte and Violet cross the lumber yard, walking directly to the loading docks. Leo spotted his sisters before they saw him. He jumped from the horse-drawn wagon he loaded to intercept them.

"Charlotte... is something wrong?"

"No, well---maybe... Leo, at lunch, before father returned to work, said he had received a telegram from Mother. It seems she will be home near supper time today."

Charlotte's hand withdrew from the pocket of her green kirtle and extended toward her brother.

"Here's 35 cents. I need you to go by the butchers on your way home and buy two chickens."

Leo studied the coins in his hand briefly before putting the money in his pocket.

"Hey, does it have to be chicken? What if I could get three or four nice Channel Cats instead?"

"I know what you are trying to do. There isn't time for you to get home, get your pole, and return from Peter's Pound before supper."

"That's my worry."

"Leo... four pounds of fish or chicken by 5:30, do you hear me? 5:30 pm today! Not a minute after, or I will tell Father you wasted the money on comics."

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hey Max,

First, this is a great idea for quick access to "Stuff," Not only for personal refreshment. But for Newbie and not-so-new writers alike. I applaud the concept and the simplicity of its list format. Quick reference ... should be just that!

I have a possible addition to your list you might consider: https://literarydevices.net/. This site shows and quickly explains the hundreds of Literary Devices and Terms used by today's editors. (I didn't find this website on my own.) I am a member of ACES (the American Copy Editors Society)... The site above was suggested by several other members. It has tons of good stuff in the tabs across the top page.

Possible corrections and suggestions:

1.          The item, third for the top, in your Stuff list, has a broken link!

2.          I recommend capitalizing the Stuff item names, ie. Stuff about Writing: As opposed to Stuff about writing

3.          Maybe consider changing text color so your expostion is different from your hyperlink: (Stuff about words to avoid )
         so those not used to WDC formating can see the place to click more clearly.

I hope you find something usful in this review.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of One Hot Day  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hey Edified Ronin it is good to meet you.

I liked your piece... it was intense, emotionally loaded, and quick-paced for an item of its length. I did find 153 SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) issues. I noted them in a Word document that I will send in an email. It sounds like a lot of SPAG but the truth is we miss these because our brains see what is supposed to be on the page instead of the reality. Most of the errors were (about 80%) comma usage. But there were a few clarity, and readability issues.

I also discovered that I did not have track changes on went I did the edits (sorry) but read over the document I am sending. Maybe you can reload it to your item and be fine. But if not and you want to see the individual edits I can re-edit making sure to have the "Track Changes" function on so you can see each suggestion on their own. Let me know your preferences.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Let It Grow  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Amethyst Angel ,

You said you wanted more of my thoughts on your contest entry. Okay, I told you I had many suggestions and comments on this item. I am pleased to beg your forgiveness for the following:

You chose Romance as the Genre! Yet, this item fails to follow the traditional format of this Genre. Many nuances can be used and explored within the category of love stories. Still, it has been my experience that a reader expects five Essential Elements for Sweet Romance when they pick up a romance novel or short story, whether contemporary or historical.

Here is the most basic on these elements needed for a romance story to work:

First element: A sympathetic heroine. The heroine is the key to any romance. Because women are the most significant readers, they need to be able to identify in some ways with the heroine to draw them into the story and keep the pages turning. She must be strong, without being rigid, vulnerable, but not weak, intelligent, ethical, attractive, capable, and have some sort of personality quirk. As if that isn't enough, she must be, at least, girl-next-door pretty, and unlike a Barbie doll. She must be human and likable.

Second Element: A robust and irresistible hero. Your heroine and your reader must both fall in love with the hero. Strong, but not overbearing, not abusive, vulnerable enough to need the heroine, as intelligent, capable, fascinating, and of course good-looking. While I know at least one Fiona that falls for a troll, most female readers want their heroes more like that Pit fellow.

Third: Emotional tension. This is the heart of every Romance. The emotional conflict keeps the heroine and the hero from being together throughout the story––even though they want to be. The tension must be complex, engaging, and believable and grows from the interaction of the two characters. Allow the characters to work on these obstacles as the story unfolds. This journey is the whole point of the story. in your current version Joseph spends his time interacting with Paul and Lorna

Fourth: A believable plot. The plot is the context of the two characters' emotional journeys. It must be logical, credible, realistic, and engaging. The story world is the backdrop and the canvas for the emotional journey.

Lastly: A happy-ever-after ending. Of course. The lovers must commit to come together as a couple, whether you write the marriage ceremony or not. Happiness is part of the promise of Romance. One thing you never want to do as an author is to disappoint your readers by breaking a promise to them.

Even though your entry is a two-thousand-word short story; for it to work and win accolades, it still needs to follow all genre elements. No, you cannot flesh out everything in a 2K short… but that is why well-written shorts are so in Vouge these days. Writers who figure it out have fans lining up at Amazon for the next clicking.

Okay, what specifically do I suggest: First, your story is about Joseph, not Fiona! How about starting the story with Fiona meeting Lorena or Paul for lunch? You could have Fiona. Adjust her hat and in the restaurant window before she goes in. This might allow an opportunity to hint at Fiona's good looks. There are a thousand ways to give the reader impressions without a single word of telling description. Once inside the luncheon event, the conversation can start the story's plot.

What are the essential points, and how might you twist them differently to include all the elements? Finding the answers to these queries often ignites a monumental blaze under your Muse's tail.

Introduce and show Fiona's character traits first:
1. What can she do to demonstrate her strength without being rigid?
2. What are her vulnerabilities?
3. How does she reveal her intelligence? Does she use it to talk about politics or her understanding of some local controversy? (Here's a thought… What if this story is more historical than modern, maybe 18th-century England?) This might lend dozens of new story opportunities.
4. English Gardens are used quite well in Romance. This can give you a leg up in short story word counts if your reader already has an image of an ultra-garden in her head. You don't need a thousand words to show the garden's magic. Although when it is time, I would devote no less than a good paragraph.
5. Does Fiona's stance on any new laws show her ethics? Did you know that women's rights and, specifically, their sufferage movement started before 1648 with revolts and demonstrations over women's rights to inherit their husband's property?
6. What sort of personality quirks might Fiona have? Is it a poker tell, a funny smirk, a twitch, or maybe she shows her malcontent with a whispered curse word? A word whispered because she still respects her mother's convictions while being rebellious.

Facts in the story… natural or alternative…
1. Fiona already knows at least the man Joseph used to be.
2. The two were on the "presumptive" road to Romance, but three years ago, something happened, and Joseph disappeared.
3. Although she fights to hide the fact, Fiona is devastated by Joseph's leaving and perhaps angry as she is hurt.

Adding intrigue:
1. What if it is at my proposed her lunch date, Fiona finds out Joseph is back in town? Is this an opportunity to slip in a bit of backstory with a flashback?
2. Is this where the reader sees how hurt she is by his leaving three years ago?
3. Can Lorena give the reader hints about Joseph's appearance without a massive info dump?

4. How can you show the emotional tension between Joseph and Fiona? Do they have chance encounters as Joseph runs all over town gathering materials for his secret project? (his Special garden, his gift to her if she will hear his proposal?)
5. Are these suggested chance meetings where you share insights about what happened to Joseph? could being in 18th-century England provide a reasonable explanation for his leaving. Did you know that 80% of European Navys of the time used Press Gangs to man their ships? Did you know the usual pressed enlistment was three years? Could that be the why?

How can you show information about Joseph?
1. Was Joseph pressed into Naval service?
2. What would his acceptance of being unjustly disciplined on the ship for a crime he didn't commit say about him and his character?
3. Did one of the chance encounters between Fiona and Joey somehow allow her to see the evidence of his strength, perhaps she somehow sees the hidden scars on his back from a flogging at the ship's mast for that unjustified conviction at sea?
4. What would the reader see, if they watched Joseph hauling crates of books, barrels of flowers, and exotic plants to the building at the city of town? Doesn't the whole town talk about the new building, the one shrouded in mystery behind tall scaffolding draped with tarps.

Happy ever after?
1. Does Fiona go gaga over the libray and garden Joseph has built for her?
2. Is this another opportunity for Fiona to describe something special in the library/garden greenhouse.
3. What are her favorite book titles? Might they tell the reader something about Fiona. How about the Garden? If Joseph was at sea? Did he go to the Galapagos islands? Is one or more of those unusual plants in your description of Fiona's Garder Library?
5. What if Joseph was washed overboard and ended up on a Tropical island before being rescued?
6. I wonder how much easier it might be for Fiona to accept Joseph's proposal if she learns that he isn't the garden caretaker. Instead, in his adventure to return to her, he stumbled upon a significant hoard of gold and was now the wealthiest man south of Edinburgh.

Final thoughts:
Okay, I have offered many wild ideas and am not suggesting you change anything. I aim to prod your Muse… to wake her to some possibilities your story could grow with.

One last comment, I am not in love with the title. It seems flat, perhaps overused; maybe I am unamused by my remembering of The Secret Garden. I know a completely different story. But close enough to spark possible unwanted correlations. Oh, wait what if that title was Joseph's motivation for building the Library Greenhouse… Is The Secret Garden Fiona's favorite book?

I hope any of my endless banter can provide a usable twist in your Muse's tale of Romance. There is plenty of time for edits and rewrites.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of The View  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hey Jim,

         It’s been a good while since I have been out and about, aggravating our pals here on WDC. But then your post caught my eye. I think I understand it is probably a piece of a larger story. And I am guessing that the Bolded text is for the contest prompts. I’ve done some of these in the past. They are great fun and most often written as pantsed (as in by the seat of).

         I started trying to do a review but didn’t know how closely you want it scrutinized. There is a ton of SPAG, but notwithstanding, I saw a lot of opportunities to expand and maybe add more shows. But then, if it’s just a contest piece that you may never do anything with, I thought I’d take a bit of an unauthorized license and plug in some thoughts and suggestions. I do not presume to be anything but another writing hack. Please, don’t take my offerings as anything but a fun twist of your tale (hee hee, tale/tail, is that a good pun?) Oh I added a few GPs for letting me abuse your story.


The View
by Sum1

The brows on Rick’s face rose in high arches, and his head tilted ten degrees to the left. You’re insane. Rick’s mind raced as he sat on the stained sofa, staring at the image he found while aimlessly scrolling through the news feeds on his phone. Why is it such a horrible idea? After all, it’s innocent enough, in case, I am wrong. Rick’s eyes cut toward the clock and then to his roommate, and the slightest tightening occurred in the corners of his mouth.

“Eve, anything planned tonight? Or are you up for a little adventure?” Rick’s lips pouted out, slightly open to form the same hopeful face his mother thought cute when he was five and asked for more cookies.

Eve got up from their small dining table, carrying her empty chilly bowl to the kitchen. “Sure, Rick. What’s on your mind?” She replied, pulling her sweat-soaked flannel top over her head. “Do I need to change out of my workout stuff? does your plan require more .,.. or maybe even fewer clothes?” Eve’s left knee bent as her heel twisted and rose on its toe while her hands moved out in a super-model runway pose as if the image of her standing there in white ankle sox, frumpy gym shorts, and her tight Ahh-Bra were ripped from the latest cover of Sports Illustrated.

Rick realized he was staring and quickly snapped his arm out to point the pictures on his phone toward Eve. “Well, there are five planets in alignment tonight. I thought I’d take my dad’s old telescope to the top of Blind Man’s Hill. The light pollution isn’t as bad there. It should be a great view! Maybe a once in a lifetime event.”

“Rick, it sounds kinda dull for a Friday night. Unless you have something else in mind?” Eve said, raising her eyebrows suggestively.

Oh, sugar maggots, what does that mean? She’s testing me.“Nothing ... You’ve made it plain that I shouldn’t perve out on you. Just thought it might be cool to see it.”

Eve’s lips formed a pout. Wow, still too chicken… but staring at the same tiny stars for hours. Now that is the definition of boring! He’ll never think of me as anything other than a roommate. “I think I’ll pass. Melanie wants to go clubbing. She turns 30 Monday and wants to party it up this weekend and… well… you know, birds of a feather….”

The hopeful grimace on Rick’s face distorted into a stony gaze. {font: times}Stupid, stupid, she will never think of you as anything but a roommate. “No worries, have fun.” Yeah, No worries, sparks, or special moments for … well, something with more of a future.


“Crack!!! Crunch, crunch, crackle” Alone on Forelorn Pinnacle at the top of Blind Man’s Hill, Rick’s head snapped around, eyes scanning the treeline thirty-foot behind him and the small outcropping where he sat overlooking the Martinville Valley below. The willowy grey fingers of the bare oaks and maples surrounded the small clearing. The creaks and scrapings indicated the stalking; unseen creatures would be on him soon.Why … why didn’t I see it coming?

Cowering at the cliff’s edge, Rick sat, his chest heaving, heart pounding, and mouth so dry his lips stuck to his teeth. A tiny pair of sparks caught his eye. The small flashes appeared everywhere. But the images he saw were unlike the ones he’d seen growing up. Oh, that’s strange; the Fireflies around you look weird; their tails stay on, don’t flash. Are they connected to the willow beast?

         A small voice carried on the wind. “We can save you. Step off the edge. It will be okay.”

         Rick looked around the outcropping, searching for the source of the crazy-sounding voice. Again, barely above a whisper, the words floated around him. “We can save you. It is our number, not strength, that rules this night.”

Rick’s eyes focused on the tiny face of the strange insect before him. “Oh, Holy Mother of …. It’s you… you are who is talking. But how can you save me? They are three meters tall. You can’t escape their shadows, sick braying, and smelt their putrid breath. Face it; I’m doomed.”

“We can save you, still.”

“That’s a great idea. I’d love to be saved. But I can’t see how jumping off a cliff saves me.”

“Then your fate is your own, and it cannot be said we didn’t try. Good luck to you, John Richard.”

The sky around him blushed with fire as the wind came to life, a swirling cloud of red, orange, amber, and gold, before the thousand-streaming fingers of light dove over the edge to float away into the night.

         “Crack!!! Crunch, crunch, crackle.” Rick’s eyes returned to the forest’s edge again, and there was no mistaking the approaching shadows or their evil intent.


         The pressure in her bladder finally demanded the action that her alarm clock failed to arouse. Eve’s feet rose violently, kicking at the cover before slapping at the bare wooden floor to pat out a steady run for the bathroom. Before standing, she noticed her missing socks and didn’t recognize her pants.

         At the sink, Eve looked at the mirror and gently poked at the dark circles under her eyes. She took up her brush and studied the wild tangle of hair that generally hung sleek and straight instead of the greasy-looking mat. It was currently.

Eve opened the bathroom door and yelled toward her roommate’s abode. “Hey, Rick, you up yet… bet you had a better night than me...”

There was no answer. Eve went into the kitchen and, while looking in the frig, said, “Hey, you want some breakfast?”

But again, there was no answer. Eve went to Rick’s door and knocked, then slowly opened it. “Rick… Rick, what? Did you sleep in the woods? Maybe, I should have gone with you?” Her face scrunched, and her fingers pressed lightly under her left eye. “Although, I am not sure chigger and mosquito bites are better than a blackeyed hangover.”

         Eve stood in the middle of their apartment. “Ricky, Where are you?”

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Hi Rachelle,

I always like to return the favor of a review, with a review. Since you are a new member to WdC (What we lovingly call a "Newbie"), you don't have a lot in your portfolio that fits in my bailiwick. But then I came across this posting, what appears to be an example of a letter one might wish to write to someone special.

First, I will share that I am no expert on writing, (there are none!) But it has been my experience that large blocks of text will stop a reader in their tracks. If our goal is to write and share ideas, feelings, dreams, encounters, and other wild meanderings that our muses may paint on the canvas of our minds. Then, we must present those expressions in a manner that encourages a reader to enter our worlds.

You seem to have taken a lot of shortcuts in your writing, using “text-speak” or acronyms like ‘ur’ for ‘you are,’ or ‘you’re,’ this may work on your phone, in friendly emails, and sometimes as a dialect in a character’s dialog. But in a piece like this, it tends to put the readers, on this, and most other forums, off. Thus, reducing your readership.

SPAG issues (a publishing acronym for Spelling, Punctuation, And Grammar) run ramped and amock within your text. In fact, there are too many errors to list or point out individually.

We as writers are a dying breed. Each year, though our number may grow, as a percentage of the population we dwindle. One day there may be less than one percent left to color the world’s pages with words of romance, mystery, suspense, thrills, spills, fantasy, and other wild imaginings. Hell’s Bells they have even quit teaching handwriting in our schools. So, it falls on us… those few remaining to try and save our craft. Make no mistake, creative writing is art no different than drawing, painting, sculpting, singing or playing music.

There are as many types, styles, and nuances to writing as there are in any other art form. You as a budding wordsmith will need to find your own voice. But no matter the type, style or genre, you will need to be cognizant of today’s standards for our art. There are no rules for writing, but there are guides for publishing! Whether you are posting a page here, on a BLOG, or a laundry room wall for it to be noticed and reviewed it needs to be its best.

With all the love, understanding and encouragement I can muster I tell you that this posting doesn’t example your best. I read some of your poetry, and it shows the depth of your soul, but your wishful letter is a departure from the care and craftsmanship I saw in those efforts.

Before I add my exampled suggestions for your letter, I will state that my unsolicited revisions of someone else’s work are not considered a noble feat and not all that difficult to do. The only one I know who makes a living from it is James Patterson, who it seems is quite unashamed at polishing other peoples stories and putting his name on them.

I am not going that far. But I did show my presumption by revising your posting to show you a difference between your first draft. Mind you this is a quick twist, and there are a hundred different ways to express the ideas and feelings you used. I tried to use as many of your original phrases as possible, in hopes of providing a useful example to compare to your posting.

There comes a time in our lives, when we meet a person, whether man or woman, and we get all crazy inside. Whether its love or just plain lust. We all want that person to like us too. But sometimes it doesn't work that way.

We all want to be loved, cared for, and have that special someone to be there when we return home from work. Isn’t it natural to want someone to be there, to hold you, hug you, and tell you everything is going to be ok?

So, when you meet that someone, why can't we tell them everything we feel? Why is saying the simple things in life, never as simple as they should be? Like, “I want to be with you.” Or “I love you.” or “I’d like to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Regardless of how different our lives seem. Is it wrong to think maybe, for once I can be happy, and have a real family with you?” But for many reasons, those things go unsaid.

Is it wrong to love someone even when you are not sure whether they love you back? You say, “I love you, not sure if its the right reason.” What does that mean exactly? Do you really need a reason to love someone? I thought it was just something that happened, something unexplained. So what's the big mystery? If you love someone, how can you not want them and be with them? How can you love someone and not tell them every day, or as often as you can?

Some profess the words lose their value if said too much. But is once a day too much, I think it lets the person know that you really care. How can we know, if you think its dumb or the idea loses value if you say it too much? Is there even a thing as too much?

I don't understand a lot in my life lately, and it's somewhat confusing. I don't know whether to protect my heart and get used to the possibility I won't have you, or whether to keep this illusion going and risk wrecking my soul.

When asked, I can't seem to get the answer, in return I get… or “I love you but not sure what to do about it?”

Is there really no hope for us? Are we so different that love cannot overcome and allow us to be entirely together? It seems like everything is falling apart, and quickly too. I'm not sure why you say, I am pushing you away? Saying I can't talk to you and won’t completely open up.

Maybe that’s true. But how can I open up to someone I’m not sure I am going to end up with? If it doesn’t work, that person knows everything about me, all my secrets, things one wouldn't want out. And for what? Nothing really… it's like being second best to the world. Just waiting for that next hot number that takes you away from me. Then, what? I get nothing, I spend the best days of my life to find out that the man I’m in love with seems to not belong to me.

In fact, shouldn’t it be a warning when every day you manage to put your EX’s name in at least one sentence? Doesn't that tell you she’s still somewhere in your mind?

So, indeed, it’s scary to open up… to not want to talk about things. Does it really matter? Hiding my thoughts save my feelings, and from looking like a complete tard, for imagining I’d actually land a decent guy.

Truth is, I guess us tomboys never do land a decent guy. But we can sure tell someone where to find the perfect asshole. The one that will hurt you in every way possible.

The more I don’t tell you, because I can’t find the courage… the more I bottle shit up. The more I want to be the one and only. But how frustrating, it's not something I can see happening.

I fucked up before, big time. I told an old boyfriend in an email that I loved him. He wanted me to say it, hoping, maybe I’d believe it, that it would change the fact I left him. But it was appeasement, not a reconciliation on my part, the feeling wasn't there.

But you saw and read the email I had sent to him. You got mad, even though, at the time, you were not my official boyfriend. You were willing to walk out of my life and almost did.

The point is, I think I read my feelings wrong and don't know if I am ever going to be yours. I keep messing up. You told me if you hadn’t seen the email, you were going to ask me to be your girlfriend. I believed it, and it tears me apart thinking I was wrong.

But now, the more I think about what you said, I don't believe you meant it. How can you want to make me your girlfriend then, when you barely knew me.

So, I don't get it. These days there seem to be more reasons not to be my boyfriend than anything else. So I'm confused and not sure whether to let you go or to try and make you see I have fallen in love with you… and want to be with you for real. But what's the point if you don't feel the same way.

There are so many things I can't tell you, and the confusion makes me miserable. It's not that I don't want to say to you what I think is the truth. I’m just afraid of your reaction and or what you might say in return. I want to say, “I want to be yours, to be there for you, and only you. I want to be the best you've ever had.”

But you are always busy, noticing my faults. You say you want to be with me, but it doesn't seem real. How does one cope with loving someone, that says, he loves you. But can barely show it? Or constantly points out every fault and detail of why we don't belong together?

Just another insight into my life, and a reason to wonder and write.

Rachelle Jessup

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
An interesting poll,

Great job, Sy,

It is easy to see you put some thought into your choices for the different options. My interaction with the internet and PCs has always been at a desk since their inception. My first computer was an IBM-X1 back in 1981. Before that, I wrote with pad and pen, then was off to the desk where my typewriter sat.

You showed us how to put a bit of research into a creative form. Well done sir. I give this a five-star rating for its creativity. And am adding a few GPS for the quick chuckle from those who pretend to be writers on their phones.
Review of Horse Racing  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Shaara,

I found your short story on the “Read and Review” link from our main page. And how pleased I was with one of my favorite writers with a piece in the current rotation. You know I’m a fan— so I won’t waste time with the usual disclaimers about candor and opinion, you already know I love your work, and this is just to let you know what I saw that might provide you a bit of insight into a reader’s view of this one piece.

First, I saw that it was a contest entry from a good number of years back (2004) so it’s obvious you are not grooming the tale for a current race. But since it is still in your portfolio and you have updated it in 2016, it is still an essential piece to you. And rightly so, it is an excellent entry. I don’t know if the contest required you to write it from any particular point of view. But I loved the filly as the protagonist. Seeing the track from her POV was a refreshing opportunity and entirely unexpected. Bravo for the idea.

Again knowing it is a contest entry long past, I am not sure SPAG notes are all that important. But I did see a few. As well as a few style issues that looking at might add value to the story’s place in your portfolio.

They took me away from Mother when I was only (a) one-year-old.

I’d been bought by Calumet Farm(s), and that was far away… There is only one Calumet Farm! It's singular

I vowed I would someday beat him(,)if (only) I had that chance. No comma needed… and “only” is vague and redundant, I suggest deleting it. Maybe the sentence could work something like: “One day, given a chance... I will beat him.” The reader then knows the filly’s desires without it being passive or a direct tell it becomes almost internal exposition.

I am, in fact(,) doesn’t reach full growth until the age of seven. In fact is an interrupter needs a comma.
In between

I trained and trained and trained. The different jockeys in their (satins) of red and blue were as common as…. In modern times, the uniforms are primarily made of nylon taffeta, satin, and lycra. But within the racing community, their racing wear are referred to as “A jockey's silks” not satins, in either case, the word is being used in a proper form, a name, and should be capitalized.

You used eight passive verbs in this one-page story: was bought- were corraled - was perched - was often used - was fired - was put - been trained - be raced… you could improve readability and punch up the intensity of her story by being more direct and active verbs phrasing.

You used "Kentucky Derby" twice, in the first sentence, of following paragraphs. This is one of the redundancy flaws today's publishing interns are told to use as a manuscript disqualifier. Perhaps you might consider changing one reference to another name for the race, like; “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and it is also called "The Run for the Roses." after the blanket of roses bestowed upon the winner.

“Then the jockey took me out. He pressed me to run faster and faster. My bones, soft from youth, often hurt long into the night, but I followed my mother’s counsel. I put my heart into everything they asked….” I think the whole secret to getting the tale to work depends upon the reader’s ability to anthropomorphize the horse. To be able to attach human traits and emotions. To that end, how does a youngster, human or not, know that intense exercise is detrimental to their bones? I think there are some places where you can make the conversation more natural… less telling. What if the above sentence read like this; “On the packed clay again, his heels dug into my ribs. He wanted more but why, can’t he feel the pain in my legs? But through it, my mother’s voice echoed and from somewhere inside a deeper breath and extra heartbeats pounded.”

Oh yeah, I know you by now, you are saying, even if it's sweetly… “Be still Joey", or is it, "Shut the F... deleted expletive... up! Why doesn't your own portfolio reflect such insight and characterization?” Well, the secret is, I suffer from the “James Patterson Syndrome” you know where it is easy to take someone else’s work and tweak and twist it until the reversion seems like the editor is learned beyond the usual grace of existence. I know it's an illusion on my part. So don’t set store in my offerings. Yours is a great story already... with or without any comments and offerings from me. But I wouldn't mind permission to play with your story sometime in the future, to see if I could somehow get the images that popped into my crazy brain down on paper.

Here's to hoping any of my ramblings made sense, and even more astonishing that they might be helpful.

Always your fan and Pal,

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)

This is a great item and I have had fun playing here before, and will as promised, (boasted in the newsfeed a few weeks ago,) will add my .02¢ worth later. I think your item is great and I only have one comment to offer as a possible addition.

Maybe at the bottom of the page, you could add a link to a condensed list of past entries and winners, (by round number,) so those interested don't have to scroll through all the forum postings and comments to find them. It's not difficult now, but over time the number of posted items is going to grow.

I hope that my coming entry will dazzle you with its brilliance, though often my efforts come off as baffling bullshyte. Still, they are always from the heart.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Outstanding job with this one Jeff,

I might have included that these examples were intended for presentations on the WdC forum and the formatting is different for sending in a manuscript to an agent or publisher.

For those, the prevailing standard is double-spaced with 1/2 inch indents on the first line and no empty line between paragraphs. I have also found that having a sentence longer than 30 words or more than seven sentences in a paragraph will get you rejected by their intern screeners.

But then, a manuscript presentation is not what your posting was about, was it? I would say this was an exceptional item for our newbies, but then it is surprising how many old hands still post black walls of imposing text.

Though, I find those big block postings less aggravating than the Circus parades of a thousand colorful animals and rainbows that clutter the screens from folks trying desperately to draw attention to their writing. Funny how if they spent as much time writing something worth reading as they did hanging bells and whistles on the page they would garner far larger readership.

I have spoken to SM before about adding some features like (columns) for blogs and articles which might make us more competitive with other sites like Word Press. But he currently sees no need, in fact, as I recall, he said, he didn't want to be like any other site. But there I go deviating from the script a second time.

I give item Five Stars because it is a great job, and I will add Kudos to Ms. Adrie Whata DearthOfSpoons for including a link to your item on her contest page.

Even though this item is eight-years-old it is still pertinent. Well done Sir... you prove my tenancy to limit my reading of WdC items to the most current as flawed. But then, I always have learned more from my mistakes than successes. Sadly, after all these years, I am still learning so much!
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Greetings my fellow, WdC member, I came upon through a review challenge. As part of 2017 "Game of Thrones We are asked to belay our usual disclaimers to abbreviate the extra content, So hopefully as a seasoned member, you know the drills. I am also using a template for GoT reviews, I pray you will forgive its lack of personality. With this said because the content of your posting is about your religious beliefs I feel compelled to include that my comments are only offered about your writing and are not meant to question or make suggestions on or about the strength of your faith.

Overall Impression:
After reading your posting, several times I was confused as to what your message is. You seem to have simply cobbled together a number of random biblical quotes from a King James version of the modern day book know as the Bible. That somehow is to stand as testimony about Jesus as the Christian Truid or Son of God.

Your title: Knowing Jesus and Knowing of Jesus seemed redundant at first because as readers of English our brains learn not to see the preposition “OF.” without additional content, it 's hard to understand your intent without stopping to read the title several times. Perhaps if you had used “The difference between Knowing Jesus and Knowing of Jesus” the purpose of your dissertation may show more apparent.

I also got the impression that you are promoting Jesus as God when he is not named anywhere in any version of the hundreds of differing books called the bible. The study and debate of divinity are possibly the oldest questions of Man. It is conceivable that from our first reaching the ability to posse self-awareness that our next question would be where did I come from, is this all that I am, or will be. Add to that the concept that within the physical world we are mortal. It is seeking answers to these question that theology is born.

Mind you I am an engineer and have been taught to trust what can be tested and verified. So to have faith-based on a few unsupported words of often mistranslated and misinterpreted origins goes against everything I know and understand of the world. I am not offering to start a debate on the subject. That discussion has been going on since 397 AD when at the Council of Carthage, Jerome's Latin Vulgate, was assembled (the origin for the books later called the bible) Scholars and historians continue the debates of what is genuine and other within the stories of the modern bible. That is why if I were to share why I believed God is real, and that there is only one. I would choose a different vehicle. I would have leaned more on the use of personal experience.

That is not to say one should or could not use passages from the bible to set a point. But to hope to have a reader accept the passage as indisputable, simply because we have had 550 years of indoctrination is not reasonable. (The first hand written book as a Bible didn't appear before 1443 AD and the first printed not until 1455 "The Gutenburg")

I believe that it would be far more convincing to illustrate the existence of God and that he/she is merciful through anecdotal testimony. If I may give but one example.

In the spring of 2014 I was in Mali, Africa working for the USAID. While there I could not stand by and watch innocent children left to die of starvation and their remains eaten by wildlife. In my attempts to do something about it, I ran a bit afoul of the local government and my bosses. It is a rather long story, too long for this venue. But within those misadventures One night, I found myself laying in the dark, under a bit of sparse underbrush with seven Orphans and two women who went with me to try and save the children. As we laid there hiding from members of the al-Mulathameen Brigade, an al Qaeda sub-group who were searching for us and in a gully only a few feet away from our hiding place. We / I could do nothing but pray to God for help, Then without explanation, without logic, the terrorist turned and went in the other direction. There was no reason for them to miss us, they were close enough to have seen us, even in the dark. That night there was only one possible explanation for our salvation, the grace of God.

I have other examples, and over the years I have met many other people who have experience events that defy reason but for the intervention of a divine hand. I am sure that you may even have the similar testimony of your own. I think that if you shared those, whether your own or those of friends or family. It would go further to promote you believe that there is a God.

I also believe that your posting would read much easier if you used the {quote} function to insert the bible quotes I think that would help identify or let your narrative become more personable.

Thanks for sharing your ideas and beliefs it is a brave person who lays their faith out in the open for other to see. Please continue to Write On!

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Good Girl
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Oh, T, this is awesome dark, black even. I don't know whether to send you a cheer, beer, a jug of hooch, a hug, or a bounty of flowers. for fear that any part of this might ring true, if only in a troubled mind. Really you made it feel so very real, I wanted to cry, hoping you'd find a stick and stab him in the eye.

Well done girl, this was a great post. it sent a chill through me, and that's not all that easy to do. (I've seen a lot in my 61 summers)

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I included the banner, might as well get a few points, even though this review was a spur of the moment inspired by a great story post
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Kairi,

Well, this is certainly a very poignant beginning. Make no mistake, I think it is a provocative subject implied and I think it brave for you to choose it as your first posting.

Again, let me offer a hearty “Welcome to WdC” We are for the most part an excellent resource for feedback. Though it takes a while to build up a group of friends and followers to expose your works too. And even then, most of us (just like you) have active lifestyles, filled with daily work and family duties. Once you make more friends, and I am more than willing to introduce you to some here, I’ll even tag a few at the end of this review to get your WdC family growing.

(These are just a few folks, who I think you will find very friendly and empathic to your writing. I am tagging them so they see this review, and know that I am putting them on the spot. Hopefully, they will stop by too and welcome you to WdC. There are over two hundred in my friends and fan files, these are just a few that I am sure you will find crazy fun. Lord knows I do! )

Purple Princess
Choconut ~ Busy Writing!
Charlie ~
Mare ~ extended hiatus
Elycia ☮ Happy 2023!

Now, I will offer our customary disclaimer, in that, you must always remember that there are no experts in the art of creative writing. There are some experienced folks, but no experts, and I recommend you stay clear of any who might imply they are. As for the rest us, we all struggle to find our place on the page. I, like many others, am still developing my voice and style, and unless you are sandbagging us, I assume you to be doing the same.

The best way to get feedback is to give feedback! By that, I mean real productive reviews. That does not mean fluff if you like something it’s okay to say, “Wow, I like that!” but be a good reviewer and let the author know why you liked it, explain any emotions it stirred, tell them about the images that popped into your head. (For me this is very important as I want to know if the reader is seeing a scene I am painting the same way I have it in my warped brain.) And you need not be afraid to say you don't like something either, just explain what rubs your feathers the wrong way and it's great. For me, I learn more from my detractors than from a hundred sweet praisings, (they just make my head swell). There is a role in the world for the fluffer, but it's not in this art form

I believe every word written has value, there is no such thing as bad writing, however, there is a distinction between everyday soul cleansing and what one can get published in the conventional marketplaces. But today, getting published and finding one’s novel on the best sellers shelve at the corner market is an extremely challenging task. But make no mistake, that dream is attainable!

Okay, my next review will not start with as much verbosity, though I will offer that I am long winded, and I frequently get distracted and off topic. I have more than once been accused of being “Stilted,” But then, I do not despair I love trying to write with some Vim and Vigor. (Although, not much in my port reflects that talent.)

Okay, on to your posting, 203 words to start this story. As I said at the beginning very intriguing, you spin a good hook, Which I have learned is a must for getting readership. It is plain to see that you are willing to, as I sometimes metaphorically say, "Stand naked before the throne." What I mean, I think writing is about dragging your reader into your skin, and they are not going to do that until you convince them you are real, You have been there, that you understand why they are reading your story instead of dancing at the Casbah.

I will comment that many reviewers will make notes, about SPAG issues. (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) however, back in my school days, they scheduled my English class and my nap time for the same period and I was not as good at multitasking back then. But luckily, I didn’t see anything noteworthy. So, you are already a mile beyond me. Though, if It's something obvious I will note it for an author, in this posting I saw nothing wrong

Contextually, your story provided intrigue and I had no problem seeing the target you were aiming for. It is quite powerful. Though, I wonder if you worked on adding more Show vs Tell, could you pack a bit more emotion into this opening? Mind you, remember what I said to start, about other people’s suggestions for your writing. In the meantime, I'll say that I hate going here, as the mantra of "Show" vs "Tell" is used so often by folks who can't think of anything else to comment on. But in this case, I think adding a bit of show is all you could do to crank up the juices in this one.

Please, forgive me if, for a second, I pretend to be James Patterson, (you know that famous best-selling guy who buys other people’s stories, edits them, and then claims them as his.)

This is important! I am not suggesting that you change a single word in your post. No, the rendition below is just a vision that I saw in my head after reading your short. I only offer my adaptations as something to spark a bit of imagination and hopefully, I can manage to fit a small bit of “Show” over “Tell”

That is not to say that the “Tell” is bad, but today’s readers need action, emotion, and the rawer it is, the better they seem to like it. You cannot write everything as all “Show” or your story becomes “real time” and takes thousands of pages to share. No, we need the “Tell” it is our time machine, our magic transporter. It is how we convey the parts that are needed but contain little or no emotion.

The trick is to know when to Show and when to Tell. My best mentors explain to me that if a story element is important then we must try to reveal it with Show, and the other stuff, like your character getting from point A to point B we use the “Tell”

I am told that we should never tell our readers what a character is thinking, as our readers can read minds, and facial expressions. That is if we let them see the twisted brows, wrinkled noses, and thin twisted lips.

We are admonished never to “tell” the reader what the character is feeling, instead let the reader figure that out from the character’s reaction to the events happening to them. No need to tell anyone the character is sad if she has a river of tears dripping from her chin to stain her blouse.

Which is a more vivid scene, saying she was scared, or relaying that the character sat trembling, crunching her knees together, fighting against the crushing pressure pushing on her bladder?

We are always supposed to put an action in their acts. That means, we find a way to let the reader see her face, feel the tears running down her cheeks, we need to punch the reader in the gut so they can empathize with our protagonist. To do this, we plant images in the reader's mind. Things they might have experienced for themselves. the most skilled of us learn how to do that over several sentences even a page if they most.

Stop for a second and think of yourself standing on a rooftop, the wind is gently blowing, the sun warm on your skin until, out of nowhere a gust blasts you. Pretty exciting image, yes?

But imagine the difference if instead of telling you “a gust of wind blasted you,” a giant’s hand reached out and grabbed you by the hair, and yanked you back so hard your scalp felt as if a torch fired poker combed through.

Anyway, here is a little different twist to your story. I hope somehow it gives you an idea of what I am trying to share:

I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The gnawing in my gut churned and twisted my bowels into a knot. It was like I was standing in the middle of the street knowing a huge bus was coming, I could hear it in the background, but no matter how hard I stared, it somehow stayed invisible.

I pushed the bed back in place and tucked the rest of the lamp cord behind one of the table’s back legs.

“Aunt Jonnie, why is this thing so damned nagging, it’s Déjà vu like. Where did it come from? Was it Mom’s?”

“No, dear, it was Uncle Luke’s. I thought it's simple lines would match the rest of your bedroom. Anyway, we need to empty out his storage locker, and Lord knows, your new apartment could use a little more filling.”

“Well Thanks, I do need…ha-ha, just about everything. But there is something about this thing that seems…I don’t know…foreboding.”

“Ha, the nightstand was about the only thing left fit to use. Men are such pigs, and your uncle was one of the worst. I am sending that bed of his to the dump.”

After some tea, and a long hug goodbye, Aunt Jonnie went home and I returned to my unpacking. But try as I might, every time I stopped, the image of the little table popped back into my mind.

It was a horrific dread, the unnerving anticipation like when you go to the Doctor and are told you needed a shot in the bum. You stand there bent awkwardly over the end of a padded bench, waiting with your pants at half-mast. Every muscle in your legs screaming in stress, your back aching as your vertebrate fuse together to hold you steady. Waiting, and waiting, afraid to look back, and thus admit you are about to piss your pants if the nurse doesn’t poke you soon, it seems like an hour even though it’s only 20 seconds.

I tried to block it out, even more so, when I realized I was crossing my legs at my desk, dreading, resisting the trip to the bathroom. “Oh, for shyte sake, it's ridiculed,” I said to the empty apartment as I ran past the end of the bed, I didn’t notice that I closed and locked the bathroom door behind me.

When I came out, I stood and stared from the foot of the bed, but there was no answer. My glance turned to the reflection in the mirror, “You are either really tired or going crazy” I said aloud to break the stillness that seemed so suffocating. No, the sense was more like that urgency you have just before you come up for air after diving off a three-meter platform.

I went into the other room and spent the rest of the night at my keyboard. Awhile later, I looked at the clock on the microwave and it read 1:30 AM. Damn, I got to get up in five and a half hours.

I changed, pulled back the covers and slid into bed. But sleep would not come, I tossed and turned flipping over a dozen times, until, I gave in, opened my eyes, and let out a mournful sigh. The beam from the streetlamp outside shone through the window like a spotlight onto the bedside table.

I just lay there staring at it. Then its smoky brown finish came to life, crawling like a snarl of serpents that pulsed with my every breath. Then, it happened, in the nook, that space between the upper tier with the lamp and the bottom table base. I could see it; a large crystal ashtray, it filled to overflowing with a thousand silver coins.

A bulky darkness settled in, pinning my arms and legs as a building paralysis crushed the air from my lungs. The scent of Old Spice and beer washed over me, so pungent, it burned my eyes. My tears, now a steady rivulet, streamed over my cheeks collecting in my ears.

I laid there, unable to move, my eyes bound to the coins, I was counting them to determine how much money there was. I was going to take it all. Yes, run, run away as far as it will take me.

The room rocked with the intensity of a California quake until the mass on top of me rose up like a whale breaching the ocean surface. A Roman candle shot off and the fireballs chewed at my lower stomach like a rabid Pitbull. I screamed and sat up.

Looking around the room there was nothing, it was empty, nobody there. My nightshirt was drenched, my sweaty hair matted to my face covering my right eye like a leather pirate’s patch.

A chill rushed over me from the wake of the squeaking ceiling fan. I turned and looked at the nightstand, gone was the ashtray, there were no coins, nothing there, but the lamp and my alarm clock, which read 4:30 AM. But it didn’t matter I knew now why it haunted was me.

I kicked the covers off my legs it fell onto the floor. When I rolled out of bed onto the floor, it was like hammers had smashed my knees when they hit, but I gave the pain no mind. Standing, I snatched up the table letting the lamp and clock crash to the floor, their cords still plugged into the wall.

I ran for the apartment front door, I didn’t stop running until I was beside the complex’s trash dumpster and I tossed the table in as my other hand pressed the button to start the compactor motor. I watched as the huge ram slowly crushed the table, smashing it into splinters.

And for the first time since my Aunt Jonnie had come over, I drew in a breath that didn’t taste of seaweed and salt. I collapsed on the curb as the tears started again, only this time, I remembered where they came from.

“For Christ sake, how could I not remember and damn you all, how could you have let it happen. I was just a little girl.”

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Air of freedom  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Oh my,Krystal,

A few years back I had the privilege of knowing the late Governor Ann Richards and believe it of not, one day back in 1991, over lunch, She described to me her excitement for riding her Harley almost exactly as you just put onto paper. well done.

I am very pleased that Geoff has taken the time to introduce you to us! Welcome to WdC you will find this place a grand refuge from the rest of the world. And if this tidbit is any indication of your imaginings you will do well here.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Greetings Cheri Annemos }

I am Joey C, and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/Birthday-bash for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY, and this is my task today,

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I have dispatched this raven to provide the review and reply to your recent posting of "Never Underestimate Two Women.

Why I picked this entry to review -

I almost always prefer reading and reviewing a WdC author's newest or most recent works, as it reflects their current skill levels. This item was the most current static item posted that I saw.

What I read -

Okay, a contest entry of romance betrayed. I am in the service for the house GreyJoy and the Game Of Thrones, and the battles are furious we have little time to court our bannermen. So, I hope you will understand the need for brevity and tight word counts as we must swing our broadswords with gusto and move on to the next target before we find our livers skewered, impaled even, on pikes of many words.

This short of yours is like that, quicker than Buggs stealing a smooch from Elmore. (How cool it is that you share a birthday with Buggs Bunny? he was born today back in 1940.) Sorry, I digress, back to the story as I saw it, Two otherwise well-to-do, educated women (Amanda and Emily) meet soon after the turn of the 20th century. They find themselves sharing a leisurely bath in a local hotel (guessing that, as the room on a second floor) bathroom. During their soaking, they discover that they are both seeing the same man. But instead of engaging in a naked catfight in the middle of the room, they turn their ire's focus to the common denominator, namely their beau Mr. James Buchanan. They devise a plan of revenge, and soon after James is sitting in the snow, with a belly full of knockout drugs and liquor. The two women later return to the bath to acknowledge their deed before parting ways.

A few notes on SPAG and Style -

I did see opportunities where you could have used more active verbs and could have opted for better words selections in place of overused words. Now, I am the worst with SPAG; I have to use copy-editors on my finished stuff, or it is unreadable. So please, do not think I am complaining, No, I only point out that the SPAG police are probably going to cite you, right after, they send me my summons for this hastily written review.

I saw three contextual spelling issues, "full length" should be hyphenated, "play toys" should be two words, and there is no "s" needed at the end of the word "upward".

There is two grammar issue:
Item 1) "...could afford the finer things of life on their own terms." It appears that "of" is not the right preposition to use in this context. Try "...in life..."

Item 2) "...upwards and caught the Emily’s blue eyes in the room ..." It is unlikely that your sentence needs both the article "the" and the determiner "Emily's" you should remove the "the".

I also counted one punctuation issues, "... respective tubs, and dressed ..." It appears that you have an unnecessary comma in a compound predicate. You should remove the comma after "tubs."

But other than those few very minor items your command over SPAG puts me to hang-dog shame,

A few thoughts on the story -

This storyline was a fun idea, and screams for expansion there are some great opportunities to paint a vivid story of revenge and retribution, but I think you need to provide more reason to do James in. Killing him just for dating two different women at the same time is not really cause. You gave no indication as to their marital status. Perhaps, if they found that he had married them both, and was abusive toward them, then maybe, yes. But barring some deeper despicable act on his part, killing him seems a bit drastic.

What if, you had the women be more creative, maybe drug him and have him wake up naked in a pigpen next to a big sleepy sow. And later, when he opens his afternoon paper, he finds a picture on the front page of him all snuggled up with his four-legged mistress.

I think you could have a lot of fun letting the women debate different plans for their revenge. Let them delight the readers with various pictures of the humiliation of James.

I hope you continue this story, Perhaps a few review/raids from GOT teams will spark your muse into a fevered frenzy of ideas. I hope so. We need the WdC pool of writers to be active and growing, else we stagnate and die. It is evident that you have all the imagination necessary to put together an entertaining tale. So continue to join the fray with us, as we all look for our voices, the one, that will be one day, cut through the din and garner the attention of the world.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 1
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Greetings very thankful } }

I am Joey C, and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

{c:.navy}I have dispatched this raven to provide the review to your recent posting of "Bloodshed on the Blue Moon.

Why I picked this entry to review -

I almost always prefer reading and reviewing a WdC author's newest or most recent works, as it reflects their current skill levels. This item was the most current static item posted that I saw.

What I read -

Okay, the first chapter of a new sequel to your first book. A fantasy/Sci-Fi Western. How cool is that? I am not sure how marketable a novel of this genre would be; the few most recent books and movie efforts of this type received mild success. But then, one never knows what the taste of the public will be at any given moment. And then, if it is perceived as well written readers will overlook the genre to connect with a favorite author's style. There are dozens of examples of orphan genres having succeeded with the right moniker on the cover. (Look at "Zoo" Patterson didn't write a single word inside its covers and its made nearly a 100 million in sales.)

A few notes on SPAG and Style -

I didn't see a lot of SPAG, a couple of missed commas, and a missing "l" in "elderly," a "threw" that should have been "through" but overall few errors.

I did see one, or two, opportunities where you could have used more active verbs and could have opted for better words selections in place of extremely overused words. Like "good" is often overused. Consider using a more precise synonym or phasing to improve the sharpness of your writing. You could make the same statement of "Ya no good bitch!" with Ya, rotten bitch!" which might paint a clearer, if not a faster sentiment to the reader of Dylan's anger.

A few thoughts on the story -

I liked that you open the story with action, a gunfight from jump street makes a reasonable hook. But it seems a bit forced without knowing who is who. Perhaps, had I read the first book, I would know the characters, and it would have given me a better connection to the intensity of the moment.

It's hard to comment on a story with just this small start (there are only 550 words in the chapter), So it would be premature to offer comment on plot, or other story elements at this point. However, I was overwhelmed by the number of characters 11 of which ten are named. Wow, that's a lot to try and sort out. Perhaps you might look at reducing the number of players in this opening scene.

In Closing -

I hope you continue this story and other efforts; it's been more than a year since you have posted anything new. Perhaps a few review/raids from GOT teams will spark your muse again. I hope so; we need the WdC pool of writers to be active and growing, else we stagnate and die. It is evident that you have all the imagination necessary to put together an entertaining tale. So come out and join the fray with us, as we all look for our voice, that one, which one day, cuts through the din and garners the attention of the world.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of All About Women  
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Greetings Charlie ~ }

I am Joey C and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones" I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

I have dispatched this raven to provide the review and reply to your recent posting of "All About Women.

Why I picked this entry to review -

First, I am more interested in stories over poetry mostly because I suck at the latter. So providing comment on this gentle art seems less worthwhile, even a waste of an author's time to impose upon them my views of rhythm and rhyme.

So, through your portfolio, I rambled, looking for tales of love, hate, adventure, mystery, crime, the sublime or even the horror of drama. And yes the were folders with more than a few, but they were all dusty with limp covers from their waiting on the shelves, a year or even longer. I wanted fresh, something new, a reflection of the current you.

This was an entry for Wodehouse Challenges: you were to List five female artists (music or the arts) - who were pioneers in their field. Give brief summaries of their accomplishments. List five women who have broken the 'glass ceiling' by becoming pioneers in the business/entrepreneurial world. Give a brief summary of their accomplishments. Give five reviews of women writers, and lastly, write a brief essay on the woman that has most impacted your life.

I found your picks for your lists astounding, there was not one I would have disagreed with as worthy. You chose women of distinction and that fit the categories very well. It seemed that you were quite attuned to the important contributions of women to the arts and business.

I also found your choice the women who most influenced you to be special as I to set great store in the lessons imparted to me by my grandmother, but I too would choose the inspiration of my mother as the most influential in my life. (but then in fairness, wouldn't most men?)
Had it not been for my mother, I would have most likely followed a career in the military, law enforcement, or politics as did my father. But thanks to my mother, one of America's pioneer female engineers I followed the path of creation over destruction.

I found your writing easy to read, insightful and entertaining. I would, however, encourage you to think about writing a few stories now and then, poems are sweet but more often just tweets. Give us some meat, a leg with a bone to chew on, even if it's only once in a while.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The Iron Bank of Braavos  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Presley

I am Joey C and I am here in your port as part of our teams Review/challenge for "Game of Thrones I am pressed into to service for the House of GREYJOY

House Greyjoy image for G.o.T.

And I pray you will give this raven’s note the attention it deserves. For, though, you are not a bannerman of GREYJOY, you are still part of the North. (I read your profile page and NYC is part of the North!) Know that, we make no demands. No, this raven brings news of sullied eyes that come from those dastardly southern houses that would flay you for no more cause than a misplaced puppy paw (also known as commas.)

I have in passing, inspected the battlements of your poignant pose the "The Promontory - Chapter 7 I before I should speak to it drafting. I should offer a comment on SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar.) While remembering that the story’s content is of the most importance. We as writers should always try and control Our SPAG issues, if for no other reason than to lessen reader distraction or misunderstanding. If we would further wish to avoid the grammar police then we must be vigilant, as they are everywhere. (it seems, I can’t put three words together without citation.) But an accomplished writer as yourself would no doubt be interested that I found a goodly number of issues.

I think it is worthwhile to note in passing. I found both critical and stylistic errors just in this one chapter. (21,) contextual spelling, (excluding the obvious proper noun Names) (12,) Grammar, (29,) Punctuation, (3,) Sentence structure, and (10,) issues with style. MS Word spell check sucks and its designers should be beheaded, (if only I were king)


Now, we come to the language, not as in dialect, but in word choices. I had no trouble understanding your story the language seem to match the common everyday voices we tend to hear around us. And if one checks the scoring of Flesch reading ease you score an impressive 81.5 and for grade level, it logged out as 4.7 the latter might even be a bit on the weak side. Most of the so-called experts suggest that adult reading is best found at the 6.5 to 8.5 levels, of course, your overall scores are most likely lower due to some short dialogue statements used.

Okay, now for the fun stuff,

The opinions of a maturing, been a bit of everything, Jack of many trades, master of none, engineer. I better qualify that. I‘m enjoying the warmth and humidity of my 61st summer, so that puts me closer to the end than the beginning, hence maturing. As to the other, I have worked for corporate America (3 different fortune 200 companies.)

I have owned and sold a successful family business. I am published, (but it's just some old boring engineering textbooks and a few articles in trade magazines.) Though, very recently, I have been luckily enough to trick ESPN.com into sending me a few dollars as did Lightspeed Magazine. But none of the four novels I have written are yet on my local store’s shelves.

Okay, what about your efforts, I think this is a splendid start, the plot seems new (to me anyway.) it flows well, fast without too many bumps. I really liked the multiple wives in the end. That was a great twist to have the haunts clone Julie. Hells-bells, I thought chapter seven the best of the lot. You did very well with describing the interactions as they attacked Peter and his reactions seemed to fit the occasion quite well.

Your characters were okay, I didn’t hate anyone, (at least not in a right way, it could have been more fun if you made the mother-in-law more dislikeable. That would have helped me feel better about her parting-scenes in the story. I mean who doesn’t like the old drop a house on the mother-in-law trick. More especially if she is a first class witch.)

I realize that it is just a short story so one never has a chance to really flesh out the characters to their fullest. But I didn’t fall in love with either Julie or Peter they seemed a bit flat.

I think, (you know those two words are a very dangerous thing to hear from an engineer,) that the empathy issue could be fixed with more “Show.” (OGM. Did I just say that to you, I am sorry? I swear I am note saying it because I can't see other stuff to talk about.) No, it just that I think that many of the other issues that the editors/interns would gig you about could be overlooked if you could manage to make Peter or Julie more endearing.

Now, I did read all seven chapters, I am just sending the review in this one. Here’s an example, Julie loses the baby (Oh, and the wife who is a Nurse says a fetal concussion is not possible, a miscarriage for other issues like a ruptured or detached placenta. Or another severe trauma is not uncommon in a fall. But she says the mother would not survive a fall high enough to give the fetus a fatal brain injury. Note; that I am just repeating what she told me.) Anyway, you tell us how Julie is reacting, you tell us how Peter feels about it. But Peter is to calm when he is talking about it to Ramie. I think you could show us more rage, more results of his anger, or his confusion over Julie's reactions. How in the hell, can he accept Ramie’s nonchalant comments without throwing stuff across the room?

I never found a connection to the level of anger that would allow me to follow her back into the Premonitory. Where are the raw nerves playing on their senses? Let them see more colors or lack there of. Where are the smells of decay in the house now that it no longer is in pristine condition? Where is the nerve biting shivers from the cold entering with the spirits of the dead? Julie is barefoot was there no consequence for that. Feeling it with her might let me be more connected to her. Where was the ear piercing cries of metal scraping floor as they pushed open the secret doors?

I think if you could manage to describe the event by showing us how they affect Julie and Peter, let us see the reaction that their senses cause. Not only would we get better pictures of the underground hallway, but we would connect with the fear in Peter better.
I am not always good at providing examples, but I am going to try to show the direction I am desperately trying to explain. Here is the first paragraph of Chapter seven and I follow it with an example that might help.

I didn't have the strength to argue. I dumbly followed her out the door and across the street. It was cold and gray, but this didn't seem to bother her. She led us right to the high-walled perimeter and the rusting, wrought iron gates. A wind had picked up. It was strange, undulating in gusts and streams, and sounding like an ocean surf; waxing and waning in loud exhalations that crashed against the trees. The leaves hissed their silvery response at us. I shivered from the chill of it.

Here’s what I am trying to get at:
“Haaaaa” my breath escaped in an uncontrollable cloud of mist, my legs ached, and my stomach was turning as if I had just stepped off a Six-Flags coaster. “Blaam-pow” the door slapped against the porch wall and my eyes cut to the sound of pattering feet on the pavement.

“Julie wait---we can’t.” But her head never turned, the stones flew from the bottoms of her feet with no end until her face pressed between the gates iron rails, her hands rose to grasp the rusty metal as if the clenching with her now brown stained palms braced her against the undulating gusts of foul wind raging over us. Its waxing and waning crashing onto the forest’s edge. The ravaging rustle of bending branches and silvery leaves echoed in a swirling cloud of gray sand like the froth of storm fed surf. I pulled up my collar, but it did little to stem the angst crawling up my spine.

There are other things that screamed for more; the ending was a bit limp after a great chase scene. But then, I have almost used more words in this review than you did in the chapter. So I will cut it short for now.

In closing
Okay, does anything written here mean anything, most likely not? Nothing I offered, changes the value of a single word in your post. Nor do I think it will provide you a single step to the next level of greatness you may espouse to. If I wasn’t clear I did like your story it is good, But I think it could be exceptional with just a bit of work. I think it could work as well as O’Connell’s “Its Hard to Find a Good Man.” I am always interested in sharing what I see/read in serious writers like you, folks who it is easy to see enjoys working on our craft. I will revisit this to see how your revisions might work. (should you decide to make any.)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
In affiliation with The 4 Controversies Contest GR...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi QueenOwl ~ A New Day Dawns

I am helping Whata DearthOfSpoons read, review, and add a few cents to the mix, in hopes that I can make it a bit easier for "Whata" to pick a winner for this round of "The 4 Controversies Contest.

Judging doesn’t start until the 15th, but because we have so many entries we need to start reading and becoming familiar with the items entered, or we will never finish by the 29th. This review is just a note from me, a group member, so please, do not freak if you can’t find a sentence that says you won or lost because the winners are announced on the 30th.

So before we get to the entrée, let’s dispose of the small stuff. Ah, what is that you ask?
Qualifying points

• Subject is non-fiction
• Word count is 1000 words or more
• Entry written between contest dates for this round
• Doesn’t exceed rating level
• It’s a static item

Yeah, all answered as Yes! So now a few other little things I looked at:

SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar), while remembering that the entry content is of the most importance. We as writers should always try and control Our SPAG issues, if for no other reason than to lessen reader distraction or misunderstanding.

I would not discount the value of any commentary on this forum for a few commas or stylistic indifference. But I think it is worthwhile to note in passing. I did notice six critical errors (misspelling, missing or incorrect punctuation,) and 28 non- critical issues (wordiness—sentence over 30 words, redundancy, unnecessary ellipse—instead of an em-dash, and Passive voice opportunities) just to name a few. As I said, in this forum it doesn’t count against you, I’m just offering what I saw.

First, again a small thing, but you do have a few large blocks of text. Thanks to the powers that be, that there are no set rules to the length of a word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, or book. Or some of our best works would be in trouble.

That said there is a prevailing consensus among today’s editors. They insist that sentences over 30 words and paragraphs over six sentences tend to fatigue readers and promote the losing of one’s place while reading. These so-called experts recommend that we condense and break up large blocks of text into smaller units.

I usually don’t set a lot of store in the experts, but in this case; I find their advice prudent. More especially, when we are mixing text and numbers together as you did (by necessity) with the Bible quotes. Adding extra spaces or breaks, in this case, might ease or lower the readability level. (It’s funny how readability is like the game of Golf; the lower the score, the better.)

Now, we come to the language, not as in dialect, but in word choices. Well, this is a mix, as there are your narratives and the quotes. The quotes are from the Bible and as such archaic language. (You didn’t use one of the new rewritten Bible revisions, which is a plus for me because I’m 60 and grew up with King James.) I thought your narratives reflected current modern English and seemed to express your thoughts very well. Though again, I think sticking in more clear breaks between the quotes and your commentary would have significantly increased focus on the many points of your essay.

Okay, now for the fun stuff,

The opinions of a maturing, been everything, including Southern Baptism Deacon, Oh that’s former, at least for this month. I know---I better qualify that. I‘m enjoying the warmth and humidity of my 61st summer, so that puts me closer to the end that the beginning, hence maturing.

As a baby, I was christened a Lutheran;(also know as Catholic light,) my maternal family was German. But in my twenties, when I was in the Navy, I went looking for spiritual answers to all the usual questions.

I have attended and participated in services, in Churches, Cathedrals, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples and even a few surrounded by circles of stacked stones with the sun and breeze slipping through the trees around us.

Then, I met my wife, the Methodist turned Baptist, and being a good husband; I followed her on Sundays.

I enjoyed most of the folks in our church community and count several as very close friends. We became very active, and for a time, I even serviced as one of our church’s deacons. But over the years, God has chosen to test me, and I have failed to keep the faith. Well, that may not be entirely accurate. It is more a matter of my disappointment in organized religion.

Which makes your commentary on Baptismal poignant for me; I think it is crazy to require people to submit to the organization’s custom and ceremony to belong to their church. Why should the fact that my profession or circumstance required me to move to a new city or town, nullify my previous baptism (or any other declaration of faith?) I will not be baptized again, thrice is enough for my God and me.

Too often the supposed faithful forget that the church is the people as a whole, not the building, not the preacher, not the deacons, or the executive committee alone. And it exists for one, and only one reason, to serve the sinners not the saved. We do not need to gather to give praise. It says the same thing in every religion that exists. One’s faith is a solitary trust in God. (No matter by what name you call him.) I have reached the conclusion that those who require me to amend my faith to match theirs are not worthy of my company. So, I do what the Bible tells me, and I worship in private where God alone judges the worth my prayers.

The closing
Okay, does anything written here mean anything, most likely not? Other than, to observe that you have indeed provided a worthy subject to stir the pot of controversy which is what the contest is about? Nothing I offered, changes the value of a single word in your post. Nor do I think it will provide you a single step to the next level of greatness you may espouse to.

However, for the sake of good will, I say profoundly “Well done” and I give you my accolades, even an “Amen” if you please. To those who would disagree, then I say, “So Mote It Be!”

Thanks for your participation I am sending a few GPs for that as well.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Joey's sayi...
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Hey Cinn,

This looks like an interesting idea.

Not sure how else to send you funds, But I am good for helping however you might need me.

Here is a donation to get things started.

Oh, hot diggity, I only had 175 characters, and I hate to give up of Story Master's free GPs. So a few more words to push the count over the minimum. that's 125 Gps more I can send later.

Review by Joey's sayi...
Rated: E | N/A (Review only item.)
Here's some gps just to boost the bank.
Review of BANG!  
Review by Joey's sayi...
Rated: 13+ | (1.0)
Yes, this is bad---Badass! I hope you win this a great bad story!
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