Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/jdbenabides
Review Requests: OFF
19 Public Reviews Given
23 Total Reviews Given
Review Style
Above all things, I believe reviews should be honest. I think that one brutally honest review can do more good than 100 coddling, everything-is-perfect reviews. I will never be mean (it's unprofessional) but if you're really serious about making your work better, I'll be happy to help.
I'm good at...
I'm a published author and I've been writing since I was 6. I'm good at most things, but will struggle with hyper-specific genre stuff, like a mystery novel or a really specific style of poetry.
Favorite Genres
Erotica, Sci-fi, fantasy, fiction (I dunno - surprise me!) I'll love anything that is interesting, that doesn't waste words on needless description, and isn't overly self-indulgent of the author.
Least Favorite Genres
Horror Pedantic fantasy / sci-fi that spends 18 paragraphs telling me about the countryside of the kingdom. Vampires / werewolves. Religious stuff (I'm a proud atheist)
I will not review...
Horror. Religious stuff.
Public Reviews
Review by JulianBenabides
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Really good mood, but I was distracted by the syllables of each line.

Your first line has 7 syllables, your last has 9, and the lines in the middle all kind of vary. It feels weird to have a rhyming poem that doesn't have a consistent number of syllables. This left the poem with an awkward sort of rhythm that pulled me out of the experience.

I also didn't get who the keeper was - I expected more clarity on this later in the poem, so I was confused that the keeper was mentioned, but like... why?

Anyway, good potential, and a great sense of mood. Keep writing!
Review by JulianBenabides
Rated: E | (4.0)
This was so good! As a person who struggles with depression, this really spoke to me. I like how you mention the countless mini-battles that people with depression have to face.

I really like that the source of this character's strength comes from within. There is no outside help or magic fix. The character just summons up the strength and gets through another day.

I would recommend that you italicize the character's inner voice, that motivation to endure. I think it would make it a little easier to read.

I think it would also be really useful to cut up this story by time of day. So we can get the sense of how the character goes through the day. Almost like a journal. Something like...

7:04 am
Where am I?
You’re in bed. You’re safe.
It is safe. Maybe I can stay here?

2:58 pm
I hate hiding in the bathroom stall.
It’s alright. You needed the break, or you would’ve cried in front of everyone.
I don’t want to go back out there.

I found a few places that need fixing.

Can I cry to? - Can I cry too?

Come on put on a smile. - Come on, put on a smile.

Yes you are. - Yes, you are.

that one yelled at me a couple of days ago. - that one yelled at me a couple days ago.

Overall, a wonderful story. Please keep working on it. Also, just on a personal note- one thing that your character didn't do, which I recommend that people with depression do- reach out to family members, friends, support groups. Talk about it with people you care about.

Keep writing : )
Review of Damien  
Review by JulianBenabides
Rated: E | (3.5)
Oh, this was so creepy. In a good way.

What I liked
I liked the creeping feeling of dread I got as I sensed the worry in Cain's voice. I liked the simplicity of the ending.

What I feel needs work
I feel the story is a little confusing. Damien is dead? So then he's a ghost, talking to Cain? What does his death have to do with the woman in the hospital? Were they in a car crash together or something? What did he die of?

I didn't find the dialogue at the beginning very compelling, and so I actually skipped ahead to see where the story was going, and then skimmed to the end. I found the end intriguing and jarring (in a good way), and so I went back and read it more closely.

The story starts interesting me by about the mid-way point, but the beginning just doesn't do it for me. I might recommend editing down the beginning to get through it more quickly, or adding something to make the read more compelling.

It might also be nice to have the way that Damien died somehow be affecting him during the call. For example, if he froze to death in a blizzard, have him mention that he can't get warm.

One grammatical error.

“You know, I try to be very active in joining writing contests recently.”
I'd recommend making it simpler. Like this:
"You know, I to be very active in writing contests."

General impression
Overall, this was a fun, creepy story to read. I think it has a lot of potential, and can be a truly great horror story.
Review of Bones  
Review by JulianBenabides
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)

A great read. Did you use Rich Neville as a reference to I Am Legend's protagonist, Robert Neville? I just ask because i see a few small similarities.

The pacing and build up of tension was masterful. Great stuff there.

I was sad to see the cat die, but it connected well with the dream.

Descriptions were good. Not too much. Not too little.

I found the ending unsatisfying though. It just felt tacked on. You introduced his insecurity and fear of judgment toward the end, then had that be the ending. It would have felt better if his insecurity had been a running concept through the story. Because it just feels disconnected from the larger piece, like you couldn't figure out how to end it so you just made up something random.

It also bugged me having so many unanswered questions. I know some people dig that, but I just wanted a little more.

One small issue. You never introduced the radio. You just had Neville wondering if the cat could hear a rodent over the radio. What radio? You never mentioned there was one on, and it interrupts your flow to just toss it in.

I noticed a few sentences that were uncomfortable or possibly incorrect.

he emptied the syrupy residue it into the stainless stee
- take out 'it'

sat and considered as the yellowing machine hissed and sputtered to li
- you mean 'contemplated' ? Because you have to consider something. I don't think you can just consider.

He remained on the floor for what seemed like hours, but was in reality only about thirty minutes
-feels weird and unnecessary. Just leave it at 'seemed like hours.'

ef he experienced as he shone the light inside and peered inside the nearly empty crawlspace
- you use 'inside' two times right next to one another. Pick a different word.

Overall, a really good story. I'd like to see more.

Do you publish you stuff online, through Amazon or smashwords?

I ask because I'm trying to connect with other indie published authors and i like your style.
Review of Reflections  
Review by JulianBenabides
Rated: E | (4.0)

I really liked this. Some thoughts:


and the prospects of selling seem insurmountable-
change seem to seemed

out to the sidewalk to survey if there was anything-
Change survey to see

window in front and putting in some colorful flowers- Change putting to put

and adding newer awnings gave-
change adding to added, Change gave to which gave

I don't understand what's happening when Mrs D is talking to the neighbor. Is she imagining the dialogue? Why is there a predator mentioned here? I just didn't get it.

Also, add an extra space when you start dialogue.

1. What are the kids like? What does Mrs D think of them?
2. What's the neighborhood like? Ghetto? White suburb? Working class?
3. How does the neighborhood feel about Mrs D' s run-down dwelling and the fact that she's leaving.

You mentioned having trouble with the use of background characters. These ancillary characters exist to illuminate the depths of our main characters. They are the flashlights with which we will get to see Mrs D.

Use them more.

So let's say that a neighbor is beating their child in the street because the child stole something. How does Mrs D react? Does she save the child? Does she laugh? Does she lecture the child? Does she turn to her own child and say something deep?

The way she reacts will show the reader what kind of person she is. This is much more effective than just telling.

If you're looking for an example of how to use some of this stuff, check out the sample of my book, The first boy who was broken. Look at chapter 3. I introduce a character, and then i show him talking to another character to show how he behaves, rather than telling.

Also, i don't understand the challenge and idea part at the beginning.

But over all i really liked your story. I liked the writing style. I liked the pacing. I think this is going to turn out well.
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