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26 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of The Last Cynthia  
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Blue,

Thank you for sharing your work with the world. This is a brief review.
Who am I? I am decidedly an amateur fiction writer but I have a BA in English and extensive experience in writing.
My motivations are to help you and thereby make myself a better writer.
I only review what catches my eye and I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

Your first line made me laugh, always a good sign.
This was a short piece but nonetheless you managed to invoke some complex feelings and emotions in this reader.
You used almost no adverbs, Bravo!
The plot was interesting because it was an interesting twist in a well worked over genre.
The characters were believable because they had real feelings and motivations.
The dialog was believable and the people were characterized well. Also, your dialog tags were unobtrusive and clear.
Your sentence length was well varied and helped with the pacing. Overall, I found the pacing to be very good.

I would change a few things.
*In the beginning, the voice was a bit passive.
*Also, you use a bunch of adverbs. The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 17 instances of words ending in -ly.
You use only one cliches that I could find ("the fact of the matter") The rest of that paragraph is very strong and I would kill this cliche and although it is a minor comment, I think the piece would benefit from a more original phrase.

My favorite line was "I've dubbed him has been a busy little nasty." I found it clever and original.

Overall, this piece was memorable for me because it was fun and made me think.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurt Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

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"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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2
2
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Jim,

Thank you for sharing your work with the world. This is a brief review.
Who am I? I am decidedly an amateur fiction writer but I have a BA in English and extensive experience in writing.
My motivations are to help you and thereby make myself a better writer.
I only review what catches my eye and I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

I loved, really loved the tile, it hooked me right away.
Then your opening line nailed me, in particular "shadowed by the blood of the innocent. "
The plot was interesting because it was an interesting twist in a well worked over genre.
The characters were believable because they had real feelings and motivations.
The dialog was believable and the people were characterized well. Also, your dialog tags were unobtrusive and clear.
Your sentence length was well varied and helped with the pacing. Overall, I found the pacing to be very good.

I would change a few things.
Throughout, the voice was a bit passive.
Also, you use a bunch of adverbs. The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 42 instances of words ending in -ly.
You use a couple of cliches ("with all due respect", "with pleasure, "spitting image") and although it is a minor comment, I think the piece would benefit from revision from something more unique.

My favorite line was "Juana was entranced by the beauty of the new green bonfire for a moment" It captured the wonder that you invoke throughout the piece.

Overall, this piece was memorable for me because it was fun, engaging and unique.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurt Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

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"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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3
3
Review of A Slave's Tale  
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Gvg,


Review Tag Lines

Thank you for sharing your work with the world. This is a brief review.
Who am I? I am decidedly an amateur fiction writer but I have a BA in English and extensive experience in writing.
My motivations are to help you and thereby make myself a better writer.
I only review what catches my eye and I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

This piece made me feel melancholy as it was meant to.
The plot was interesting because it was an interesting twist in a well worked over genre.
The characters were believable because they had real feelings and motivations.
The dialog was believable and the people were characterized well. Also, your dialog tags were unobtrusive and clear.
Your sentence length was well varied and helped with the pacing. Overall, I found the pacing to be very good.

I would change a few things.
Be careful of those times when the voice becomes too passive.
Congrats on not using too many adverbs but I would still try to get rid of the rest. The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 19 instances of words ending in -ly.
You use a couple of cliches ("made out" and "in the middle") and although it is a minor comment, I think the piece would benefit from revision from something more unique.
There are a bunch of spots where you missed the possessive 's ending words like Zarks when you meant Zark's.

Overall, this piece was memorable for me because it was fun and made me wish to engage with the world that you have built again in more stories.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

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"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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4
4
Review of FANGS (original)  
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Liz,

Thank you for sharing your work with the world. This is a brief review.
Who am I? I am decidedly an amateur fiction writer but I have a BA in English and extensive experience in writing.
My motivations are to help you and thereby make myself a better writer.
I only review what catches my eye and I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

This piece made me feel intrigued and made me laugh.
The plot was interesting because it was an interesting twist in a well worked over genre.
The characters were believable because they had real feelings and motivations.
The dialog was believable and the people were characterized well. Also, your dialog tags were unobtrusive and clear.
Your sentence length was well varied and helped with the pacing. Overall, I found the pacing to be very good.

I would change a few things.
In the beginning, the voice was a bit passive.
Also, you use a bunch of adverbs. The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 17 instances of words ending in -ly.
You use a couple of cliches ("steer clear of" and "black eye") and although it is a minor comment, I think the piece would benefit from revision from something more unique.
I would try to pear down the descriptions of violent action a bit. Remove some of the names of the characters and let us hear more sounds and smell some more odors.

My favorite line was "Come on, let me see those pearly whites!" It had me laughing out loud.

Overall, this piece was memorable for me because of the original idea of experimenting with a vampire. As you already know, this concept has rich possibilities.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

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"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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5
5
Review of Father and Son  
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Review of "Father and Son"

This review is presented by Jay Stevens.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

First off, I need to enter the disclaimer that I am in no way related to the protagonist, Dylan Stevens.
That said, I found your story to be engaging and a pleasure to read.

Nit-picks
You use the word "that" a great many times in the piece, you should probably comb through and enhance the piece in most of the places where you find it.
Also, you use "suddenly" a lot. It even starts out a sentence. I would definitely vary that language and find a more creative way to show that action and detail.
Sentence length. You use many long sentences that run up against each other. I believe that it would improve the pacing and the immediacy of the piece to intersperse some shorter sentences.

On this one, please feel free to disagree with me, it is a creative choice. I found the repetition in the paragraph starting "Sometimes I wonder if he even remembers..." to be distracting and although it expresses the desperation and confusion of Dylan, I think that a longer paragraph that has the same elements, the ideas are great, would serve the piece better.

Stuff that was great
I thought that your use of dialog tags was varied and did not distract in any way. They felt like they were a part of the piece and the few times that you used non-generic ones, "chanted" and "threatened", was appropriate and enhanced the dialog.
This was a brief piece but I was moved by it. Despite some of the technical things that held me up, I was moved by your character and want to know more about him.

Stuff that needed work
When you used the phrase "that had now formed" I think it would be better dropping the "had now"
I was confused at the time of the fight if Dylan was 12 or 16, I thought 16. If he was, I think that he would be a bit too old to end up in a fight like that. It seemed to me to be more of a grade school fight.
I don't think that if Dylan is 12 or 16 that he would address the school secretary by her first name.
Overall, I felt that Dylan's dialog was a bit too mature.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story and want to learn more about Dylan and his world.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***


"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

{Image #1838580}

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

{Image #1838572}
6
6
Review of Do Not Go Gently  
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Early,

This review is presented by Jay Stevens from Dream Team reviewers.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

In the immortal words of Dorothy Boyd (from Jerry Maguire), "You had me at 'Do Not Go Gently.'" Ok, I am paraphrasing but when you start with Dylan Thomas, you immediately have my attention. The unfortunate thing is that once you start that way, you must follow through. Fortunately Early, I believe that you have delivered.

You started right in with a strong opening sentence that both characterizes and pulls the reader in.
Lumen, great name and I feel her tension right from the first words. I would, however, suggest the you comb through and get rid of all, or most of the uses of the word "were." For instance, in the second sentence, "Her fingers were curled" I think that without the were, the sentence is stronger.

Your sentence length was pleasingly varied and helped to enhance the pace and flow of the story.

As for pacing, I found your characterization of the Dying One to be so clear and chilling. However, I would have taken some of the descriptions and spread them throughout the dialog that follows. Let Lumen observe them bit by bit, build them up. Let us see his mannerisms.

Overall, I found your characters to be so real and the imagery extremely vivid. The story left me wanting more.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

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"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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7
7
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This review is presented by Jay Stevens from Dream Team reviewers.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

The famous editor Sol Stein has said, and I paraphrase, "Shoot adverbs on sight." I agree with him. You use 37 instances of words ending in -ly and you begin the piece with a paragraph that is filled with them. "Pretentiously present but never looming, he casually walked by the rows of desks, caressing his fingers on each one." This was wonderful but would be far better if we could "see" the character being pretentious and if we could "see" his gait being casual would be much better than you telling us that he is pretentious and was walking casually.

I would focus on re-crafting incidences where the action is being described passively. Search through and every time you find a was or were, make a change.

Very often, when we write first drafts (I do this all the time) we can fall into the trap of writing cliches. This is because they are very familiar to us and are comfortable ways for us to express our thoughts. This is precisely why we should be brutal in finding them and crafting them into more creative and fresh expressions. I found the following in your work: at peace, out of place, after all, melt away, on the edge, free hand, all at once, word to the wise, and pressed for time. These can be fine when we are characterizing within dialog to show that a character uses cliches but our narrators should never use them.

I think that it would benefit your story greatly by interspersing your narrative descriptions with dialog and actions. For instance, you start this paragraph very well with "She looked up, shuddering as a gasp escaped her throat." But then you linger on a loving description of the the "young man" with most of the bits being critical characterizations and wonderfully apt when set apart from each other. However, bunched together in 75 straight words, it was jumbled and some lost their effect.

Overall, I found your piece engaging and at time chilling. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

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"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

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8
8
Review of Father and Son  
Review by SteveJK11
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Review of "Father and Son"

This review is presented by Jay Stevens from Dream Team reviewers.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

First off, I need to enter the disclaimer that I am in no way related to the protagonist, Dylan Stevens.
That said, I found your story to be engaging and a pleasure to read.

Nit-picks
You use the word "that" a great many times in the piece, you should probably comb through and enhance the piece in most of the places where you find it.
Also, you use "suddenly" a lot. It even starts out a sentence. I would definitely vary that language and find a more creative way to show that action and detail.
Sentence length. You use many long sentences that run up against each other. I believe that it would improve the pacing and the immediacy of the piece to intersperse some shorter sentences.

On this one, please feel free to disagree with me, it is a creative choice. I found the repetition in the paragraph starting "Sometimes I wonder if he even remembers..." to be distracting and although it expresses the desperation and confusion of Dylan, I think that a longer paragraph that has the same elements, the ideas are great, would serve the piece better.

Stuff that was great
I thought that your use of dialog tags was varied and did not distract in any way. They felt like they were a part of the piece and the few times that you used non-generic ones, "chanted" and "threatened", was appropriate and enhanced the dialog.
This was a brief piece but I was moved by it. Despite some of the technical things that held me up, I was moved by your character and want to know more about him.

Stuff that needed work
When you used the phrase "that had now formed" I think it would be better dropping the "had now"
I was confused at the time of the fight if Dylan was 12 or 16, I thought 16. If he was, I think that he would be a bit too old to end up in a fight like that. It seemed to me to be more of a grade school fight.
I don't think that if Dylan is 12 or 16 that he would address the school secretary by her first name.
Overall, I felt that Dylan's dialog was a bit too mature.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story and want to learn more about Dylan and his world.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

"A story has to be a good date, because the reader can stop at any time....Remember, readers are selfish and have no compulsion to be decent about anything." Kurtz Vonnegut as quoted by Janet Burroway

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
9
9
Review by SteveJK11
In affiliation with Dream Team HQ  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This review is presented by Jay Stevens.
Although decidedly an amateur fiction writer, I do have an undergraduate degree in English and extensive experience in writing.
My review is intended to help you because I care about writing and find that by producing reviews, I make myself a better writing.
The only pieces that I review are ones that have caught my attention in some way. In other words, I thought your piece was good from the start.
Please take my comments or leave them. This is your creative work and what I think about it only matters if you think my comments are valuable to you. I hope they are.

Nit-picks
Spelling: "shrivelled" should be "shriveled", :

Grammar:
Beside that, a pair of delicate glass slippers" should be "Besides that, a pair of delicate glass slippers".
"Off to the side she could see that the furniture had been rearranged and the couch" Passive voice, consider revising.
Be careful of the past perfect. You start off with "The day had blurred" It just isn't as active as it could be.
In the second paragraph you have 2 sentences that start with "And" which I found a bit jarring.
Your sentences were very varied and kept the narrative moving nicely.
This piece is very good so I am going to suggest a very nit-pick thing which is minor but will help. It would be worth it to comb through and remove the instances of cliche that I found and replace them with something more original.
For instance; "Had kept screaming at her, over and over again ."
"Cindy made her way out"
"letting them fall in a heap"

Your characterization was really well done and I appreciated the updated take on an old favorite. Bourbon on the Prince's breath was priceless. The story moved quickly and despite knowing the basic story so well, I wanted to see what would happen next. Your use of words in parentheses, (dark, empty) (slashed) was something that I hadn't seen before. If it had been described to me in concept I would have rejected it outright but you have used it to very good effect. I don't know how others would view it, but I liked it. It is very original and enhanced my experience.

Overall, very nice job.

Write On! Dream of compelling people, places and stories.
Keep giving the world the benefit of your creativity!
I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay

***

10
10
Review of Dew of hope  
Review by SteveJK11
Rated: E | (3.5)
Lillie, Excellent start. I love the premise, although I have to admit that I have an emotional connection to the topic.
The story moved forward and the characters were immediately alive for me.
Your dialog was generally tight and believable.

A few nit-picky things:
"Everyday it was getting worse. Russia, I mean." The tense should be present throughout. It will give more immediacy. "Everyday it is getting worse here."
In the next section, "I can feel it in my bones..."

I love the thundering Papa does in the next section.

I get it that the family that you are writing about it Jewish but many will not. I am not sure that just giving them Jewish names is sufficient. It may be good to add something blatant to get it across.

"And she reminded me so much of Mira. " This and what follows was very touching.

I believe that the best way to spell bubble, if I get what you mean, is bubbeleh. Maybe some more Yiddish would add even more flavor?

It seems that you move from a "letter" into the action. Which is a great choice to get the reader deeper into the action and make an even closer connection with what is going on. I think that this is fine but you need to make the separation a bit more clear.

Like I said before, I think your dialog is wonderful.
I want to know more about these people and the lives that they have lived.

Write On! Give the world the benefit of your creativity!

I look forward to reading more of your work.

My best,

Jay
11
11
Review of Whisper Of A Name  
Review by SteveJK11
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is my first review on this site so please take my comments as being from a newbie.

The overall tone of your prose is poetic and at times quite beautiful. I particularly enjoyed some of the bits in the middle when I got caught up in Azra'il's story. This, of course, is the hallmark of engaging writing, the reader being caught up in the story.

However, you need to be careful and make sure not to forget the craft of writing. Pour over each sentence and say it aloud and make sure that you don't have any fragments that disrupt the flow of your melodic narrative..

That flow is important and can also be interrupted by words that are more complex than are necessary to achieve the nuance of meaning that you are shooting for. For instance, I am not sure that "submergence" in the third paragraph carries the meaning that you intend. I do know that it hinders the flow of the sentence. Along these lines, I am also not sure what you meant by "As revelation morphed into trite " It seems to be a fragment and I feel like you wished to say something here of great import.

This work can benefit both from a fearless removal of some bits and pieces and a joyful expansion of others.

A final word, the story definitely gets its legs when Azra'il is deep into her narrative and the story of the sons is compelling. I was left wanting to hear more and feel that this wonderful story of yours is the core of an even better story.

I look forward to reading more of your work and the possibility of seeing a revised version of this story.

My best,

Jay
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