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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/katie_alford
Review Requests: OFF
401 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
 I review both the technical and creative aspects of writing. I look for
 passive voice, excessive telling and redundant words/ phrases. 

I am British and so write, myself, in UK English. However, I have a good 
understanding of US English and so I am happy to review pieces
 in American English 

Character development is important to me as is tone and atmosphere. 
I am happy to review chapters and novels as long as requests are placed
 one chapter at a time. I will not review a chapter from the middle of 
a novel without having reviewed the rest as plot and character 
development can not be effectively analysed.

Feel free to contact me for reviews.
I'm good at...
I am good at reviewing short stories and chapters. I can not review poetry as I have little experience in that area
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Sci-fi, Steampunk.
Least Favorite Genres
Non Fiction and Articles.
Favorite Item Types
Short stories, novels and flash fiction.
Least Favorite Item Types
Poetry
I will not review...
Poetry, Erotica
Public Reviews
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1
1
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


The first thing that strikes me with this piece is the obvious formatting issue. You either need to line space or tab at the start of each paragraph. This may be an issue with the text being copied and pasted from a word processor directly into the item. In this case you will need to either click the box “preserve formatting” or you’ll need to manually insert tabs using writing ML (a guide can be found here: link:http://www.writing.com/main/tools/action/writingml ) or leave a line space.

The formatting issue becomes more serious after the first paragraph, as it isn’t even broken down into paragraphs at all. It is just one long wall of text from the start of that second paragraph to the end. You need to break this down, as a long wall of text will likely put off potential readers as well as being technically incorrect.

The rule with paragraphs are to start a new paragraph when the main subject changes. Going by these rules I would arrange the following section as follows:

Martin hadn't seen them coming. He felt a blow to his back and landed on his face. Two teenage boys grabbed Martin's arms and forced him to his feet. He winced under the strength of the two boys. His eyes filled with tears. He was scared. (This is all relating the attack on Martin and so is one single subject matter.)

The tallest of the boys was now in Martin's face asking him his name. (This starts a new action and so needs to start a new paragraph.)

"Marty", had trembled out of Martin's small mouth. As he answered, he tasted salt from his tears, now streaming. (This counts as dialogue and so needs to be in a paragraph of its own)

The tall boy had his hands behind his back and told Martin that his name was Angus and he thought "Marty" was the perfect name for a little faggot. He explained to Martin how the three boys had seen him dancing in street like the little fairy faggot he was and they had brought him a gift.

Sometimes where paragraphs start and end aren’t cut and dried, and so there can be some element of author preference, as two related subject matters can make up a single paragraph, but in terms of dialogue, dialogue should always start in a fresh paragraph, and each time the speaker changes the paragraph needs to change too.

The opening sentence of your piece is “He hadn't seen them coming.” This is quite a clumsy way to open even a paragraph, let alone a story, as it fails to give the reader either a name or a description. Despite the fact that the next sentence gives the name and an age of the character referred to, I think you need to change the opening sentence to “Martin hadn’t seen them coming.” And then change the Martin in the following sentence to “he” as at that point the reader will know who the “he” is referring to:

Martin hadn't seen them coming. He was eight years old and it was his first Saturday spent in the new trailer park

Martin was eight years old and it was his first Saturday spent in the new trailer park. The day had been beautiful.

Tenses have also been mixed up here. We are on the same day, yet it is being referred to both in past progressive tense (was) and then in the next sentence in past perfect progressive tense (had been). You need to choose one or the other. Now you can mix these, but only if you are changing from referring to something that happened in the past to something that happened even further in the past. For example:

Yesterday the pond was frozen, but last week it had been fine.

So you need either:

Martin was eight years old and it was his first Saturday spent in the new trailer park. It was a beautiful day.

Or:

Martin had been eight years old and it had been his first Saturday spent in the new trailer park. The day had been beautiful.

I would suggest you use the first option as it feels more immediate. To set the full the story in past perfect progressive tense will distance the reader further from the action than using progressive tense.

Warm, spring wind had danced through his hair and his favorite Ninja Turtle t-shirt as he danced along the edge of the street hoping to see a frog to take home to his mom.

There are a few issues with the above sentence. First you will need to start the sentence with either “The warm, spring wind” or “A warm, spring wind.” To start without either is grammatically incorrect.

The second issue is that you have two sentences joined together here with a co-ordinating conjunction “as” which means that you need a comma before it.

The third issue is the lack of a comma before “hoping” which leaves the sentence reading that the street was hoping to see a frog to take home rather than Martin was hoping to see a frog. To correct this you need a comma before hoping to refer it back to Martin:

The warm, spring wind had danced through his hair and his favorite Ninja Turtle t-shirt, as he danced along the edge of the street, hoping to see a frog to take home to his mom.

That Saturday had been no luck for frogs but Martin was two houses down from home and had decided that as of right then, lunch sounded way better than scaring his mom.

Again we’ve got some bad grammar here. For a start it needs to be “there had been” and not just “had been” Then we have the phrase “no luck for frogs” which would literary translate as the frogs had no luck, whereas I think you mean that Martin had no luck finding frogs. I think the fact that Martin didn’t find any would, actually, be lucky for the frog so clearly they did have luck. You would be better wording it “no luck in finding frogs”.

Again you also have two sentences here joined together and so you need a comma before “but”.

That Saturday there had been no luck in finding frogs, but Martin was two houses down from home and had decided that, as of right then, lunch sounded way better than scaring his mom.

The start of the second paragraph needs to be altered the same as the first paragraph with Martin’s name being used in the first sentence but I like the fact that you repeat the first sentence, as I think it is important the reader’s attention be drawn to that sentence in context of what follows.

Due to the length of the piece, I can’t really list all of the grammar and formatting issues in this review, but should you want a full list then just drop me an email and I’ll send it through.

The content of the story is good. There is a decent level of characterisation for Martin and the bullies and the emotions are conveyed well, as are the actions taking place. The story also has a good structure to it with a defined beginning, middle and a conclusion. The main issue with the piece appears to be with the formatting and grammar. I’ve noticed you write a lot of poetry, and there does tend to be a lot more creative license with regards to grammar and formatting in poetry, but unfortunately in prose the rules need to be kept to. Hopefully, my review has given you a few pointers.

Please do let me know once you've fixed the story's formatting and separated it up into paragraphs and I'll be happy to re-rate it.

Good job so far and keep up the good work.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


You have a very interesting and engaging story here. Unfortunately, there are serious issues with the technical elements of the writing, which robs the piece of a lot of its impact. The most serious issue is your use of tense. Tense isn’t just as simple as past, present and future. There are different types of past present and future tense and you are mixing them up within the sentence. You really need to choose a tense and stick with it.

Second, while I like your opening paragraph where the narrator questions the reader the second and third paragraphs would be better shown rather than told to the reader.

You could have the main character screw up a failed sketch he’d done, hurl it across the deserted office at the clock showing a time after 10pm.

This gets a number of things across to the reader: that he has a normal desk job; that his job isn’t going as well as he would like it to and it shows his anger/ frustration caused by that failure, and the fact it is gone 10pm clearly shows he works late.

When I was not working, I was home by myself and sometimes I would look out the window at the bustling city, admiring the view of the world from a quiet corner, unjudged by the eyes of society, wondering where I belong in it.

Again, above is something you could easily show just, by having him staring out of the window.

I really would suggest that you merge paragraph 2 and 3 into the main story and keep only the first paragraph as narration.

In the first half of the chapter after the 3 paragraphs of narration you seem to wobble between past tense, present tense and narration.

'Am I seeing things?' I asked myself as I closed my eyes and opened them once more. I wasn't. Whatever happened, it was real. I was still fresh with panic, shaken by the sudden roar of the quake and the mysterious sound of bell toll which came from out of nowhere. For all my years spent here, this city has never seen an earthquake, not even a minor one to begin with, thanks to its geographical location. Thus, it didn't make any sense that one would occur then.

You need to choose a tense and a style and stick to it. Tense isn’t the only issue, the grammar is also quite bad in the above paragraph but I’ll get to that later.

I would suggest that the first paragraph remains narrated and the rest of the piece is written in first person past tense.

'Am I seeing things?' I asked myself. I closed my eyes and then opened them once more. I wasn't. Whatever had happened was real.

I was fresh with panic and shaken by the sudden roar of the quake and the mysterious sound of a bell toll, which came out of nowhere. The city had never seen an earthquake. Not even a minor one, thanks to its geographical location. That an earth quake had happened just didn't make any sense.


Otherwise you could do it in present tense:

'Am I seeing things?' I ask myself, closing my eyes and then opening them once more. But everything looks the same. Meaning the events must be real.

Fresh with panic, a sudden roar of the quake shakes me, as a mysterious bell tolls out, appearing to sound from nowhere. In all my years spent here, the city had never seen an earthquake. Not even a minor one, thanks to its geographical location. Why would one occur now?


I don’t use present tense often but it is good at making a scene more immediate. I would say that present tense would be the harder write if you struggle with tenses, however. Past tense is more simple.

Here are some more in depth technical suggestions:

If your answer is no, and you are someone who delights in the pursuit of the goals and pleasures of life

You need to remove the comma after “no”. You only need to just a comma after “and” if you are joining two complete sentences together. Here what you have is a list, so you don’t need the comma.

If your answer is no and you are someone who delights in the pursuit of the goals and pleasures of life

I felt the office building trembled, a distant roar coming from deep beneath the earth.

Tense confusion there, it needs to be tremble or just “The office building trembled”.

I looked around me at the gathering dark.

I would remove the “me”. It isn’t necessary to understand the sentence and disrupts the flow of the sentence.

For all my years spent here, this city has never seen an earthquake, not even a minor one to begin with, thanks to its geographical location.

This is quite a long and cumbersome sentence. I would split it into two:

For all my years spent here, this city has never seen an earthquake. Not even a minor one, thanks to its geographical location.

Cautiously, I pushed myself and stood up from my seat, afraid that another would come.

Slightly clumsy wording here. Something can be pushed in any direction. Hence you need to say if he is pushing back, forward, down etc. When someone stand, however, it is automatically implied that they are standing up. Therefore, I would move the word “up” and put it after “myself” and not “stood”

Cautiously, I pushed myself up and stood from my seat, afraid that another would come.

The room was eerily dark despite the ceiling lights were still operating.

You need to add “the fact” or “that” after “despite” or the sentence doesn’t make sense or you can remove the words “were still operating” and replace with functioning.

The room was eerily dark, despite the fact the ceiling lights were still operating.

The room was eerily dark, despite the functioning ceiling lights.


Fortunately, the office layout was already carved in my memory owed to the countless additional hours spent working there.

Tense confusion “owed” should be “owing”

The ambience of the corridor before me painted a deep and dark grey which was light with smoke, its cold marbled floor led into the now uncertain boundaries ahead.

Two issues in the above sentence. Tense confusion “light” should be “lit”. Second is the fact that you have a spliced sentence here. You need to either split it into two or separate with “and”

The ambience of the corridor before me, painted a deep and dark grey which was lit with smoke. Its cold marbled floor led into the now uncertain boundaries ahead.


I like the idea and the structure behind your piece and when it gets into the second half, the pace picks up nicely reaching a good end of chapter climax. This is a good structure for a first chapter. You introduce the main character and the problem he faces. You introduce the world he lives in and the chapter did draw me in. However, you urgently need to look at the technical elements of the piece because if you write the whole novella with the mixed tenses and grammar errors, you'll be leaving yourself a mountain of editing work to do at the end. If you fix it now in your first chapter then you’ll be more likely to get it right the first time when you write the following chapters and will save yourself a lot of time and grief in the long run.

This is a decent piece and has a lot of potential, so keep up the work and try to fix the technical elements the best you can.







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


The plot you have here has a lot of potential. The contract assassin who ends up taking responsibly for a twelve year old daughter, he didn’t even realise existed, could produce a rather fascinating and dysfunctional relationship with a lot of potential for drama. I think you need to work on your characters. The twelve year old who has just seen her parents murdered and then been abducted by a stranger is far to calm and should be extremely upset and still mentally disturbed by the murders. I think you need to explore the emotions more. She thinks far too clearly for a young child who has just witnessed some very traumatic events. You need to remember that this is a twelve year old girl whose whole world has just been brought crashing down. The loss of one parent is traumatic for a child, but the loss of their whole family and in violent circumstances would be soul shattering.

I also wonder why you’ve decided to start at the point you have, in the motel, rather than the scene where Courtney’s parents were murdered and Max abducted her. By skipping that and choosing to tell it later rather than show it, you are losing a potentially dramatic and absorbing scene.

There are also a number of very basic mistakes on this piece. The first is the general layout. You need to either tab or line space your paragraphs. In this format line spacing is generally preferred. You have also split the dialogue from the dialogue tags with both in separate lines. The structure for dialogue is “Speech”, dialogue tag. For example:

“Too late now.”
He muttered sarcastically, and got back to the task at hand.
He combed her fringe neatly and gave it one last snip with the scissors.
“There we go all done.”
He murmured out aloud to himself.


Should be:

“Too late now,” he muttered sarcastically and got back to the task at hand.

He combed her fringe neatly and gave it one last snip with the scissors.

“There we go all done,” he murmured out aloud to himself.


You also don’t need to mention whose viewpoint it is in headings:

MAX

Getting Courtney into the motel room late last night had not been too difficult.


This is considered extremely bad practise. A good writer can make it obvious a change of perspective has happened without headings and if you intend to write in the first person then you need to learn to do this. Also, you start the story out in third person and then change to first with seemingly no real reason behind it. I think you need to choose if you want to write in first or third and stick to it. As you are new to writing I would suggest third person. To mix perspectives like this is not generally done and needs either artistic or dramatic reasons behind it. As a new writer, I would advise you to keep it simple.

There’s also a lot of grammar/ spelling mistakes throughout the piece. It needs a serious proof read.

For example:

She could easily be mistaken for a nine or ten year old. Which played right into Max's hands.

This should be all one sentence:

She could easily be mistaken for a nine or ten year old which played right into Max's hands.


With that I felt him move and then I heard him walked out the room closing the door.

Above has some tense confusion, felt is present tense and walked is past. Also you need a comma before door otherwise it means that the room is closing the door and not Max.

With that I felt him move and then heard him walk from room, closing the door.

Shaking his head subconsciously annoyed with himself.

The word subconsciously doesn’t work here, not only is it unnecessary but that sort of action, the same clenching your fist when you’re angry, is done consciously as a reaction to the emotion. When you shake your head like that, it’s sort of like trying to shake the annoyance away which is a deliberate action. Tapping your finger when you’re deep in thought or twisting a lock of hair around your finger is more the sort of things that people do without realising. Also the grammar of the sentence doesn’t work, tense confusion again.

He shook his head, annoyed with himself.

He walked over casually towards me.

Over and towards have the same meaning. You only need one of them.

He walked casually towards me.

My eyes felt like they had rocks in them, I struggled to get them open.

Spliced sentence. You either need to separate it into two sentences or join it with “as”.

My eyes felt like they had rocks in them. I struggled to get them open.

My eyes felt like they had rocks in them, as I struggled to get them open.


“Good morning Courtney, are you hungry and thirsty?”

Again this needs to be two sentences. You could join it with “and” but I wouldn’t suggest it in this case. It would be more natural in speech to just have two sentences.

“Good morning Courtney. Are you hungry and thirsty?”

I almost pee myself from fright.

Tense confusion again here.

I almost peed myself from fright.

Anyway, there are a lot of mistakes in the piece and I won’t point them all out. The above is quite a good selection. You just need to look similar mistakes.

The piece is clearly very rough but I think it does have potential. As a writer you could do with looking into the rules of grammar, particularly the use of tense as mistakes in that are quite prevalent throughout the piece. I do think that there is potential here and that this could develop into a really good story, so keep it up. Once you’ve corrected any mistakes, I’ll be happy re read and rate your piece, as with an edit it would be greatly improved.







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of The mill.  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


As a first piece this is a very good start. I like the plot and the setting of an industrial town where people are forced to work in the factories. There is a rather neo-victorian/ industrial revolution theme to it, which is quite fascinating. However, there are a few issues, some quite major that do hamper the flow and structure and sometimes disrupt the readers suspension of disbelief. I’ll go through each of the issues in order:

Layout:

At the moment all you have is one large block of text:


Milo labored to open his eyes. Almost imperceptibly at first then slightly faster as the sight of the smoky haze was filtered through his eyes and became accepted by his swirling mind.
"Where am I?" he thought as his eyes snapped fiercely open.
He pushed back violently into the arms of the two bystanders that were holding him.


This is very hard to read and needs to be either tabbed or line spaced to give it structure. This could well be just because you copied and pasted it directly into WDC from a word processor. If you do this then there is a box that needs checking on the item creation page which preserves the spacing in the text but this doesn’t always work. I would suggest line spacing as follows:


Milo labored to open his eyes. Almost imperceptibly at first then slightly faster as the sight of the smoky haze was filtered through his eyes and became accepted by his swirling mind.

"Where am I?" he thought as his eyes snapped fiercely open.

He pushed back violently into the arms of the two bystanders that were holding him.


Redundancy:

In writing, less is generally more. If you can convey an action or notion with two words rather than three then it’s best to be concise, otherwise you risk redundancy which clutters up the sentence and slow the pacing. For example:


"Where am I?" he thought as his eyes snapped fiercely open.

In this example “fiercely” is a redundant word as “snapped” also conveys the image of a sharp, sudden action. It would be better to remove the word “fiercely” in this instance.


"Where am I?" he thought as his eyes snapped open.

Punctuation:

You have a lot of long sentences and in long sentences it is important to structure it properly.For example:


The frozen roadway he sat on as the well-meaning strangers propped him up was asphalt, not the filthy brown dirt of the road outside of Basra?

There are a few things wrong with this sentence. First you don’t need the question mark as it is neither dialogue nor internal dialogue or asking a question. It is a statement and therefore does not need a question mark. The first half:


The frozen roadway he sat on as the well-meaning strangers propped him up was asphalt

Is a bit clumsy and a little confusing for the reader. It could do with being rearranged to make the meaning clearer. I would suggest:


The frozen roadway he sat on, with the well-meaning strangers who propped him up, was asphalt

I’ve done two things. I restructured the statement to make it clearer and I moved the “with the well-meaning strangers who propped him up” into commas as it can be considered a non-essential element, in that the sentence would still make sense with it removed. With the length of the overall sentence this gives it more structure and makes it easier to read.


The frozen roadway he sat on, with the well-meaning strangers who propped him up, was asphalt, and not the filthy brown dirt of the road outside of Basra.

I’ve also added “and” after asphalt as “not the filthy brown dirt of the road outside of Basra” would work as a standalone sentence and therefore needs to be joined properly, not just with a comma.

Structure:

The story, to me, starts out a lot weaker than it continues and ends. The dialogue doesn’t feel natural between Milo and Sergeant Martinez. This is a shame because your description is quite strong in the piece. In a piece of writing the opening paragraph is the most important. It has to grip the reader and pull them in. I don’t feel your start does this.

I think starting with Milo confused is not the best option with regards to drawing the reader in. With the main character confused, the information given through him is also confused and therefore the reader is also confused and cannot properly visualise the world and scene they are being presented with.

This is likely to turn a lot of people off, as people can’t become absorbed into a world which isn’t being presented in a clear and defined manner. I think it would be better that Milo know exactly where he is and what he is doing and that he only acts confused to hide his actions and intentions. That would add to the clarity and also the tension of the piece, if the reader immediately knows that Milo has something to hide.

Overall:

I think this is a promising piece. You description is vivid and well described and the character of Milo with what appears to be a mountain of mental health issues is an interesting character with plenty of depth and personality.

Like I said before the dialogue needs looking at as, at the moment, it is letting the piece down. When writing dialogue you have to imagine not just what the character would say but how they would say it, as people speak differently to how they write. In dialogue it’s quite fine to break a few grammar rules, as people rarely speak with perfect grammar.

As I also mentioned before, I feel the opening of the piece needs a bit of rejigging to make it clearer to reader and to set the scene more cohesively as at the moment the opening feels clumsy and this will affect the pacing of the first half of the story and may put people off reading.

However, for a first piece this is a very good start. You clearly have skill in description and world building as both those elements are strong in the piece. It is just now about working on the weaker elements of dialogue and structure to get strengthen the piece further.

Very well done so far and if you need any more help the feel free to drop me an email.

Happy writing!







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of Oak  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


This an enjoyable little story. The perspective of life as a tree is quite a fresh angle to take. The tone is quite innocent and I think that works well to contrast the darker mood of the storm and the destruction caused.

There are a few aspects which jarred, for me. Most prominent was the description of trees as having hands, feet and arms. These terms feel alien to me in reference to trees and broke my suspension of disbelief whenever they were used. I would suggest using terms already associated with trees, head, limbs or crown. You could also use words like reach, which automatically implies an action of stretching a hand towards something and yet does not use the word hand. To say a tree reaches for the sky is perfectly understandable, but to say a tree reached for the sky with its hand may stretch some people’s ability to suspend their disbelief a little too far.

For me, as a fantasy reader, the description of a tree with hands and feet raises a much more Tolkien like image of treants. Unless you want to go down that road, I would anchor this story more firmly in reality and stick to accepted terms and associations.

There is some beautiful prose in this piece but in some places it does feel a little clumsy.

Here are a few specific suggestions:

‘My feet ache, trying to push free from the covering closing me in.’

I think you need ‘from’ in place of the comma. I can see why you took it out as it would then leave two ‘from’s in the sentence but with a little rearranging you can avoid that while keeping the meaning intact:

‘My feet ache from trying to break free of the covering enclosing me.’

‘My arms are against the walls. I strain against the sides of my prison, and they soon fall away and my head shoots above the surface.’

You could remove the first sentence completely by just adding one extra word to the second:

‘Next I strain against the sides of my prison, which soon falls away, and my head shoots above the surface.’

I’ve also swapped ‘and they’ for ‘which’ otherwise you have two ‘and’s in the sentence. The other solution would be to just split ‘and my head shoots above the surface,’ off into a fresh sentence:

‘ I strain against the sides of my prison, and they soon fall away. My head shoots above the surface.’

There are a few places where I think it might be better to replace ‘and’ with new sentences:

‘The time comes when the sun dips below the horizon, and I am sad to see it go.’

‘They are thick and heavy and the sky grows darker instead of lighter.’

Grammatically these are fine. I just think that in this sort of story with a young, innocent style voice that shorter sentences carry more impact and that the rhythm of the prose is disrupted by these occasional joined sentences.

However, this is a well-crafted piece and I really enjoyed reading it. At the end of the day, a story is a personal thing and my suggestions are simply given from my own perspective. There is not a specific right or wrong in the aspects I’ve raised.

Very well done with the piece so far and keep it up.








*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


I’ll be straight, romance isn’t my usual cup of tea. However, I think you have you a good piece here. It’s wordy in places and that does need looking at, but I feel the second half reads much better than the first. Unfortunately, the first half is the most important as that is what will hook your reader. Anyway, I do have a few suggestions but I did also enjoy this piece, so a very good job so far.

Here are my suggestions if you dare read them:

The first sentence of any piece is the most important. Now I like the image of yours, but it’s more wordy than it needs to be which saps some of the power away. My first suggestion is to get rid of ‘slowly’. Definite statements are always more powerful and adding ‘slowly’ muddies that.

The evening sun slowly lifted its golden rays off our naked bodies.

My second suggestion is to replace ‘its’ with a possessive on ‘sun’. I just feel the meaning carried in referring to the sun as a sentient being over clouds the main subject matter which is the couple. As an opening line, the meaning needs to be clear and the subject matter well defined, or you risk setting the reader off on the wrong foot, leading to discomfort. I would suggest:

The evening sun’s golden rays lifted off our naked bodies.

I, personally, would add the second sentence onto the end of the first sentence, as due to the reference to ‘approaching night’ you can then cut another word from the first sentence ‘evening’. :

The sun’s golden rays lifted off our naked bodies; its crimson streaks blending with the purple hues of the fast approaching night.

Like slowly in the above example, I think you would be better off removing ‘almost’ from the below sentence as well, for the same reasons. Personally, I would also get rid off ‘Both of us were’ and join the rest of the sentence to the one before but using semi colons rather than commas with the exceptions before ‘yet’ and ‘perhaps’. This does result in a rather long sentence but I, personally, feel there is enough structure in it to carry that off. I wouldn’t say either is a matter of right and wrong, however. It’s just a suggestion.

Yet we remained silent and unmoving; too exhausted to speak a word; too lost in the moment to think of anything to say; too warm to stay so close, yet too cold to let each other go and, perhaps, too scared to reflect on what just happened.

The clock idly ticked away as our labored breathing eventually faded in to even breaths.

Now here, I had a real issue because in the opening paragraph with the description of the sun on naked skin, it feels like the couple were out doors and this revelation they aren’t jars slightly. Personally, I like the idea of an outdoors scene on a mild summer evening. It just feels more romantic that your bog standard bedroom scene. If you do want to keep your bedroom scene then you need to alert the reader to the fact they are indoors in the opening paragraphs and not hit them with it in the second paragraph, just as they are feeling settled in the imagined world.

His fingers slowly circled the skin at the back of my neck. Occasionally when they slid down my spine, they would send small currents through my whole body, and each time my body shivered just a little in response.

I think the above needs cutting down. I definitely think you need to remove one of the ‘my body’s as you have it twice in quick succession.

Occasionally when they slid down my spine, they would send small currents through my body, as each time I shivered in response.

I also think you might want use a different word than ‘shivered’ considering your mentioning of the cold in the previous paragraph.

easily finding our ways around our bodies as if we had practiced these maneuvers a million times in the past.

I think ‘each other’s bodies’ rather than ‘our bodies’ would sit better in the context. It would also avoid the repetition of ‘our’.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I enjoyed this piece. I think it has real potential, but I do wish you had set it in the garden, instead. That would add a whole extra layer of danger when she receives the text.

Anyway, good job and keep up the good work. I hope my suggestions are helpful.







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review of 3321 (WIP Story)  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


First, these are my opinions only. I think you have a really interesting idea here and it has potential. The suggestions and opinions I am giving below are given with the intention of helping you make the piece all it can be.

Well there is certainly a twist at then end but while it can be good to surprise the reader, it is also possible to go too far and ruin their suspended disbelief. For me, it lacked any sense of realism by the end. Now this isn't to say that you can't have inanimate objects come to life in a story, but that you need to add some hints, something to take sharpness out of the jolt from reality to a speculative reality. You do describe the cars, but I think there needs to be something a little more unusual about them, other than tinted windows so you can't see if there is a driver or not. Something that might hint at a possible animal nature.

Mood and tone wise, I also think you could make a few improvements. The piece, for me, lacked tension. Everything feels rather bland and normal right up to that final scene and I think you need to add more threat and menace. Perhaps the main character might be relieved when Ben turns up, still feeling uneasy about the men and the cars. She might catch a glimpse as they are driving of a black car to keep that tension going.

I just feel at the moment that there needs to be something to grip the reader and pull them into the story, as up to the final quarter, it feels rather bland. There is nothing to really connect you to the main character, and I have to confess to have felt rather disconnected from her the whole story. I didn't really care what happened to her. You need to give her more feelings, more emotions and more personality, as she almost felt like a null entity to me.

The rule with judging the strength of a character is to take out any traits related to job, social standing, family position (brother, sister, mother etc) When I'd taken these out of Tanya and Ben the I really didn't find anything left. I just feel that character development needs a look into. Even simple things like Tanya's childhood dreams. I mean she can't have intended as a child to be a prostitute. I would expect a person to occasionally reflect on their childhood dreams and wonder what had gone wrong and why they'd been condemned to their current life style.

I also feel there needs to be some explanation as to why Tanya and Ben had been target. Why not the people in Tanya's motel? To follow Ben and Tanya to another motel would suggest rather strongly they had been chosen specifically for the sacrifice, in which case you would need to reveal why.

I honestly think this piece has potential. It does have a fair bit of room for improvement, but it is a work in progress and so that is to be expected. I honestly think that with a little more attention given to developing the characters and the tension in the piece that this could be a really good piece. Writing takes effort and constant refinement to reach a polished finished piece, and if you have the dedication then this piece can get there. Should you revise the work then I would be happy to re read and re rate it.

Anyway. Keep up the good work and keep writing.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


I apologize for the delay in this but here is my review.

I like that you have a few faster paced scenes in here, the slip from the cliff and the car passing them at the end of the chapter. In the first two thirds of the chapter, however, I still struggled seeing it as a race. There seems to be no urgency from either character. Now I know that Toby isn’t really bothered about winning but Ellie has her sister’s safety at stake, and I would expect more urgency from her and perhaps even some frustration with Toby for his lack of urgency. I think the relationship is going a little too smoothly between the two characters. They are stuck together in a car in very hot weather and for extended periods of time. I would expect tempers to fray at least a little and for a few low key arguments over trifling things that may seem ridiculous later. I just feel that at the moment the relationship does not feel real.

I still feel that the race element should be instated much earlier than this chapter. There needs to a sense of dread that they could get taken over at any moment and perhaps a few more incidents to delay them, flat tyres, overheating engine etc. Something to ramp up the tension as I just don’t feel much at the moment. I also think they need to spend less time in the hotels and more time camping in the car, in the wilderness. There is too much connection with the modern world and the survival element is getting lost. It is feeling more like a long drive up the motorway rather than a drive across wild and dangerous terrain.

I like the scene where Toby slips down the cliff but I did question that if it was a race would they really want to waste the time hiking up a mountain to admire the view. I think Ellie at least would not take to the idea well seeing as her sister’s safety is riding on her winning. I think there at least needs to be some protest from her and more panic when her fears are realised and they get overtaken.

As for technical issues, I could find no real mistakes to note. It is a fairly clean piece. I think you need to watch out for passive voice as there are still large sections, particularly in the first third of the chapter which reads rather passively and therefore reduces the pacing and dulls any tension or drama there may have been.

My concern for this piece is mainly with regards to the pacing of the novel overall. I think it is taking far too long to get going. I can see people getting bored after just a few chapters, as it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It’s all too cosy and too safe. There needs to be more danger and more urgency to keep the reader engaged. You could solve this just by adding some friction and conflict between the two main characters. There just needs to be something to add some spice and prevent it from feeling bland. I think the plot of your novel is good and the personalities of you main characters are well thought out. However, you need to explore more how their differences in personality will rub against the other. They’re getting on too well. Personalities of their types would have some clashes and it feels unnatural that they sail so smoothly.

Anyway, good job so far. Keep it up.








*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


What you’re tackling here is a deep and powerful issue. I don’t feel that your story quite makes the most of it but I can certainly see potential here. I like the father not realising that he’s passing his own failings onto his sons as his father had to him, as a plot line it has a lot of promise.

The first thing I suggest you change is your opening. The ghostly torsos just made me think, oh my god not another one of those ‘Sixth Sense’ type stories, and it isn’t so you need to get rid of that association and make the opening more in keeping with the plot and tone of the rest of the story. I would start out with the flashbacks to the battle and not just describing them as they happened from a viewpoint in the present but actually putting the character there. Real flash backs. I would have him wake in the middle of the night and stumble out of bed into the bathroom to avoid waking his wife, perhaps embarrassed, like he feels his trauma is a sign of weakness.

You seriously need to look at the formatting of the piece, as at the moment it is just one long wall of text. You need to line space it or tab it:

Tina was no fool she knew something was wrong, she turned and saw me creeping away. “ Philip! Where do you think your going?” I froze, and turned to face her, I smiled a nervous smile. I looked down at the ground the same way the boys do when they’re caught doing wrong. Tina sauntered over and lifted my chin. She shook her head and put her hands on her hips.as she took in the dried blood under my nose and on my shirt. My knuckles were raw and bloody. Tina sighed, “What happened now!”
“Why does it have to be my fault?”
“I asked what happened, plus, I know you!”


When people first open an item and see the above they will just immediately hit the back button and find something else to read. I’ve given an example of how to space it out below.

Tina was no fool she knew something was wrong, she turned and saw me creeping away. “ Philip! Where do you think your going?”

I froze, and turned to face her, I smiled a nervous smile. I looked down at the ground the same way the boys do when they’re caught doing wrong.

Tina sauntered over and lifted my chin. She shook her head and put her hands on her hips as she took in the dried blood under my nose and on my shirt. My knuckles were raw and bloody. Tina sighed, “What happened now!”

“Why does it have to be my fault?”

“I asked what happened, plus, I know you!”


As well as the formatting, there are a lot of grammar issues in this piece. Comma and punctuation usage is particularly bad:

We stopped at the gate I thought the gate would fall off it’s hinges if I tried to open it.

This needs to be two sentences:

We stopped at the gate. I thought the gate would fall off its hinges if I tried to open it.

Also ‘it’s’ is an abbreviation of ‘it is’ here you mean it as a possessive which is ‘its’.

I started to say something, nothing came out, I was speechless, my eyes narrowed I could feel the wrinkles on my forehead standing at attention.

This needs restructuring. You have a lot of spliced sentences here which require a joining word.

I started to say something, but nothing came out. I was speechless, and my eyes narrowed as I could feel the wrinkles on my forehead standing to attention.

Anyway, the above issues run all the way through. It makes it hard to read as it feels very incoherent.

I also had a problem with some of the dialogue. The persona of the main character as someone quite strong willed and unwilling to accept help seems to be contradicted in dialogue with his wife and his father where he comes across as extremely submissive. I think there needs to be more spirit and a little more resistance, that doesn’t mean full blown arguments, maybe more agreements for the sake of peace, rather than him actually meaning them. More ‘yes dear’ and less easy agreements. The dialogue also didn’t feel natural to me either. It didn’t strike me as what real people would speak like. The accent feels uncomfortable when compared with the actual words used in the speech. The way things are conveyed in the conversations is too formal and uses to many words and the accent contradicts that as accents make things less formal and because of this the dialogue feels unnatural.

“Well, you’re teaching them our way. I’ve learned anger isn't the only way to settle things. Matter of fact it causes more problems. Look at today your anger brought you here. If’n you had settled down that hog wouldn't have hurt you. Think about it. I know you’re hard headed and don’t care for busy bodies. Just sip on that beer and think for a spell. I've had plenty of time to sort my problems out.

I would shorten it to the below:

“You’re teaching them our way. Anger isn't the only way to settle things. In fact, it causes more problems. Look, today your anger brought you here. If’n you’d settled down, the hog wouldn't have hurt you. I know you’re hard headed and don’t care for busy bodies. Just sip on that beer and think for a spell. I've had plenty of time to sort my problems.”

I think, overall, that you have a piece with real potential, but it does need a lot of work. I think you need to go back to main theme and rebuild it. It strikes me, as it is, to be overwritten, in the way of being over the top and a little crude as a result. I think you could make it more subtle and yet more powerful. I would focus more on the emotions and less on the hard events, as the emotions of his wife and children are barely explored, especially when he is seriously injured by the hogs.

I think the section with his father needs to be more surreal and dreamlike, and I would shorten it, as I think it has a little too much prominence in the story. The event of his injury while trying to drive off the hogs is the real change initiator, the father only works to drive that home, and I think it takes too long and slows the pacing.

I think you need to look long and hard at the whole piece and think, is this section really necessary? Have I already raised this before previously, and is it communicated in the best way?

Anyway, I hope this review helps to point you in right direction. This piece could be great and I do think it is worth putting the time into to achieve that. Do not be disheartened by the low rating. If you just fix the formatting and space it out, it will climb and every writer had to start somewhere. So good job so far and keep it up!







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review of One Magical Night  
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)


This is a review on behalf of the Showering Acts of Joy group.


This is a short piece and I recognise the fact that world and character building can suffer in shorter pieces. Even so, I don’t feel you have made the most of the word count available. The piece is slow paced and not very immersive due to passive writing and redundant words and sentence structure. I don’t feel the world, or differences of this world between our world have been properly explored. Particularly, the mention of the teacher who had a spell cast on him, I feel, is unnecessary in a piece of this length. He is not a main character or has any direct relevance to the story and with only 1000 words to use you need to make every one count. I think you need to go straight to the issue here of the main character, Mary, feeling left out as her magic is slow surface. I would also cut out Tom and Jenny and just concentrate on the relationship between Ace and Mary who are the real core to the story here.

To me, the actual content of this piece, while short, is actually too long, for what it is. I think the core of this story could be written in half the word count and that the extra currently in it is disorientating rather than accentuating the main theme. I think you need to pull it all apart and rebuild it from the main theme and main characters out.

The actual main plot I think is good. The structure has a beginning, a build up and a conclusion which makes it a fully free standing story, and that I commend you for. So many people when writing to a low word count will write only a fraction or chapter feeling story rather than a real short story. To be able to envisage a plot that will match a specific word count is tricky and many writers struggle with it. You have managed this. The story comes to a nice, full conclusion.

There are also a number of mistakes:

"All day long she waited for that wonderful power feeling as her magic reservoir filled up and she could start the practice of magic."

You need a comma after “all day long”. There are a number of instances in this story where there are comma’s missing and I won’t point them all out.

“Mary felt so sad about not getting her powers. Her friends had a hard time cheering her up as they walked to Mary’s home.”

Show don’t tell. Does she drag her feet, sigh, notice others using their powers more keenly? The way you’ve written this sentence is very passive, you need to visualise the scene more and rather than just saying a character is feeling an emotion, show how that feeling is affecting them.

“Quite a bit you have never hurt me in any way or allowed others to hurt me.”

The above should be two sentences:

“Quite a bit. You have never hurt me in any way or allowed others to hurt me.”

Anyway, I won’t go into too much detail on technical mistakes. Feel free to email me if you want more details.

As a story I think this piece has potential but that it needs the deadwood pruned back before it can be fully appreciated. A good job so far. Well done and keep it up.









*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
In affiliation with The Steampunk Authors' Gui...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This review has been done on behalf of "The Steampunk Authors' Guild


Apologies for the wait. I’ve been on holiday and had to wait until I had a stable internet connection.

I think the characters are coming along well in this chapter and the friendship between the two seems to be tightening. My main concern with this section is the lack of plot advancement. The only thing that seems to be achieved is the passing of physical distance and their arrival in Lima.

I think their emergence briefly into civilisation would be a good opportunity to update on the wider picture. This is a race, so how far ahead or behind are the other participants? It’s also a good place to have a little more interaction with McKenna as while he is mentioned he doesn’t make a direct appearance and it would seem from previous interaction that he is the type to make use of any opportunity to twist the knife.

For me, while the detail is good, the tension and urgency just isn’t there. It feels more like a holiday than a race. I think you need to make more of the race aspect. There needs to be more tension and more uncertainty about if they can make in time, and I would expect Ellie to feel a little more frustration at the slow pace they would have to take when driving off road through the jungle. I think the tone you have throughout is just too cosy and dangers mentioned just feel distanced and not immediate. However, as I mentioned, the characters are good and the detail is great of the discomfort caused in camping and travelling through the jungle.

I hope you find this review helpful and let me know if there are any other areas you want me to comment on.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a review on behalf of the Coffee Shop for the Fantasy Society



I think this chapter is where the pacing should pick up, but I don’t feel it quite does, yet. You tell about Toby’s excitement and Ellie’s fear/ trepidation but I didn’t really feel it. I think you need to show their emotions more through their movements and behaviour rather than just telling the reader how they feel.

A particular section that I feel could be more actively written is the bit where Ellie has to free the truck from the mud. You could raise some real tension here if you actually showed her boot getting stuck in the mud and the panic that would cause, rather than just writing the whole scene in an overview type way which distances the reader from the action.

I think, overall, what this piece needs is more tension. The characters are now alone in the jungle and reliant on their jeep and their supplies to get them through. Even if Toby is used to it Ellie isn’t and while it is mentioned that she feels scared and intimidated by the sheer size of the task, I think you need to find a way to show it as her feelings feel a little superficial at the moment and not really fully part of her. I think you need to find a stronger emotional connection to the characters. The emotions displayed while fine through the first two chapters, when they were still safe in civilisation, are not strong enough in this chapter now the action has kicked off.

Also, I think the whole chapter has too cosy a feel and not enough edge. It’s great that Toby and Ellie already feel comfortable in each other’s presence but it feels too much like two friends going on a simple camping trip, rather than two strangers being thrown together on a dangerous journey across uninhabited jungle. The mood and tone of the piece needs to sharpen now they have left the safety of the modern world behind, as, at the moment, the plot and the danger you say is around them seems to jar with the mood of the piece which is almost laid back.

Anyway, there are a number of mistakes in this piece. I haven’t bother pointing out the comma issues as I have pointed out a number of these in my previous two reviews and usage mistakes are the same.

Seated in the front seat of the jeep and nibbling on her bottom lip, Ellie squinted out of the windows, people watching.

That should be “with people watching” or “as people watched”.

"Don't let the chaos worry you." smiled Toby. "Last minute panic, that's all it is."

That should be “Toby smiled” rather than “smiled Toby” because smiling is not in itself the act of speaking.

They crunched their way over brittle twigs and meandered between gaps in trees.

That should be “gaps in between trees” otherwise you are in fact saying that they are driving through the actual trees and I’m pretty sure you can’t fit a jeep through a hole in even the biggest tree on earth.

“This is nothing compared to what we’ll be driving through later on,” informed Toby about the terrain.

Again, it should be “Toby informed, about the terrain.” Kept the other way, it means someone is informing Toby rather than him informing someone else.

I think there is room for improvement here beyond the simple issues of technical mistakes but I do think the plot is there and the characters are well written. I like your description of the jungle and the challenges it raises. The bugs, and the jeep getting stuck in the mud. While this isn’t, at the moment, a fast paced story, I think this chapter does have the potential to be so with more tension and stronger emotions from the characters. I think Toby and Ellie could be a good contrast to each other. Toby clearly finds danger exhilarating whereas Ellie is used to her home comforts and feels out of her element, so I would explore that more deeply.

Anyway, good job so far and keep it up.




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review on behalf of the CSFS.


I think you have done a good job with this chapter. The characters are developing well and the plot is progressing, although I wouldn’t class it as fast paced. I think if that is your intention then starting right from the point the race begins with some action would be better. However, I quite like it as it is and I don’t think it needs the label of fast paced. You asked about active writing and I would just like to point out that active writing and showing not tell does not in itself make a fast paced story. That is dictated by a swiftly moving plot, which I don’t think this story has.

So, on the subject of active vs passive. Yes, this piece does have some passive writing but that isn’t a bad thing as we haven’t hit the action yet. These first two chapters feel, to me, like the calm before the storm which should work well to contrast the fast paced action which I am sure is likely coming. To me, a novel shouldn’t be all active. It should have a rhythm to it, natural rises and falls. If everything is written actively then the action scenes will lose impact. There needs to be definition. So, to me, this section of the story is fine as is.

That said, again there are a lot of mistakes, mainly with the punctuation and a few tense issues. Here are a few examples:

They both woke up covering their ears, and then quickly guffawed at each other.

You don’t need the comma in the above sentence.

Something about his friendly exterior put her at ease and he was extremely easy to get on with.

You do need a comma before “and” in this sentence as it is two sentences connected together.

Regardless of her lack of faith, she sent silent prayer to the Big Guy

Simple typo you need “a” before “silent prayer”.

With their luggage packed, their seatbelts clipped securely into place, and the cab driver transporting them to the Dragoman Challenge headquarters, there really was no turning back for Ellie.

You need to remove the comma before “and”.

She wasn’t afraid to admit to herself that she was scared.

This sentence feel clumsy, the afraid to admit she was scared. I would change “afraid” to “ashamed”, personally, but that is just a suggestion.

He remembered she said earlier that this was her first experience participating in the race.

This should be “she’d” not “she”.

When all was said and done the crowd of people who had formed around them during the chaos dispersed into their pairs again.

You need a comma after “said and done.”

The meeting was called to order by the older gentleman who kept the peace earlier.

“Who” should be “Who’d” and I would, personally, put a comma before “Who’d kept the peace”.

Making herself comfortable in the passenger seat, wondering what it was like to camp, Toby drove them to a local hotel where the contestants could stay until it was time to leave for the race.

You don’t mention in the this sentence who is making herself comfortable. Now “she made herself comfortable” would work, but as it is , it seems like Toby is the subject which he clearly isn’t.

Other than the mistakes this is a good chapter but, as I mentioned, if you’re intention is to write a fast paced novel then the place you start is not the best as the build up is never going to be fast pace. You would need to plough straight into the action.

A good job so far, however. Keep it up.




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review on behalf of the Coffee Shop for the Fantasy Society.


Apologies for the delay in getting to your reviews, been a very busy week. Hopefully, I’ll get chapters 2 and 3 done over the weekend.

You say just before the chapter that this isn’t really a chapter and I, actually, disagree. Chapters don’t always have to contain action or end on a cliff-hanger. The purpose of a first chapter is as follows: to introduce the main character, to initiate the main plot elements, in this case the bet behind her entering the contest, and to introduce the antagonist, clearly this McKenna guy. Your chapter does all of the above and so, in my opinion, works perfectly as a first chapter. You explain enough to fill the reader in and yet not so much that you blow all the mysteries in one go.

There is one area I think you can expand on and that is this McKenna guy. I think we need to know more about him in this first chapter, not necessarily about the bet and direct past with the main character but I think he needs to show his nastier side. At the moment all we have is the main characters animosity towards him but he, himself, seems to be behaving reasonably affably. I think there needs to be one thing to help the reader share the main character’s hatred of him. Perhaps just one taunt or snide comment on her sister. Something that shows his teeth.

Other than McKenna, I think the character development is fine. The two main characters come across strongly and have unique personalities and clearly different reasons for entering the contest.

I think, the main area where this piece falls down is in the technical aspect. There are a lot of grammar mistakes and areas where the sentences feel a little clumsy. I have listed a few instances below:

By the time she had got into the airport her t-shirt was already stuck to her back.

I would replace “got” with “reached”. The used of got here just feels like very rough English.

She drastically underestimated her ability to deal with the change in climate; she hadn’t expected Colombia to be so stifling hot in the summer.

There is some tense confusion in the sentence above. “She” will have to be “she’d” also I would remove the “she” before “hadn’t” and replace it with “and” which will make the sentence less awkward.

She'd drastically underestimated her ability to deal with the change in climate and hadn’t expected Colombia to be so stifling hot in the summer.

The excitement of the weather change had promptly dissolved.

I would swap “the” for “Her” as otherwise you have a more general comment not linked to an individual and you are clearly referencing her own thoughts and feelings rather than those of everyone in the room.

When he was out of sight, she glanced around the small meeting room made up of participants from the race.

As your sentence stands it means that the structure of the meeting room was made up of the race participants, quite a grizzly meaning which I don’t think you mean. I think you mean “full of”.

more worst was braving one thump too many

“More worse” is poor grammar. It should be “Even worse”.

Overall, I don’t think this is a bad chapter. The content is there, it just needs a good edit.

Good job so far and keep it up.




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
In affiliation with Rising Stars Luminous Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a rising stars member to member review.


This is a really sweet story. The characters are well developed and the emotions well conveyed. The mood and tone is perfect for the genre and is consistent throughout. However, while I did enjoy reading it, the punctuation needs a lot of work. There are mistakes in nearly every sentence which just works to disrupt the flow of the piece and make it slightly hard to read in place. Saying that, the creative content is all there so all it needs is a heavy edit.

Here are a few examples of things needing correction:

Keeping her eyes shut she worked her mind to try to remember what had transpired last night.

You need a comma after “eyes shut”.

Jack's apartment building was a stone's throw from the beach, the sound of the waves and birds flying overhead came drifting in.

This is a spliced sentence. You need to start a new line at “The sound of the waves.”

She had known..since they started dating three months before, she needed to know he felt the same way.

You need to remove the”…” and replace it with a comma as this is not the right spot for that type of punctuation and what you are trying to do is label it a non-essential element which is done with commas on either side.

A visit to the rest room was in order, vanity will always triumph… racking her brain, the tune she knew,

The racking her brain is not directly connected to the sentence before. Therefore, you need a capital letter on “Racking” to show it is starting a new sentence.

Feeling her face flush, she turned the faucet on, she splashed her face, and ran her wet fingers through her hair to smooth it.

Again you have a spliced sentence here. You also don’t need the comma before “and ran”

Feeling her face flush, she turned the faucet on. She splashed her face and ran her wet fingers through her hair to smooth it.

The toothpaste, neatly with cap on it was sitting in a dish in his clean bathroom.

Either you need no comma before “neatly with cap on” or commas on either side.

She loved looking at him when he was engrossed in something he had an endearing habit of blowing his hair out of his eyes.

Again, this should be two sentences.

She loved looking at him when he was engrossed in something. He had an endearing habit of blowing his hair out of his eyes.

However, despite all the technical errors in the piece, this is a very sweet and emotional story that explores the damage done to a person’s self confidence when a relationship fails. It is a touching piece and I think, with a decent edit it will be a very powerful story. Well done so far and keep it up.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review of Bridge to the sky  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


It seems to me that your short stories are mainly set in the same world and yet some important establishing information seems to be left unexplained. For example, what is a Ravenur? The race is mentioned in the first story and yet is not described until the second story. If you are going to market this as an anthology of short stories then I think you need to first look at each individual story separately. Make sure each one can stand alone of the others, because people don’t always read short story anthologies, start to finish, cover to cover, but can pick and choose which to read or read them in a different order. Therefore, you need to polish the stories as individual pieces.

The world needs to be established in each story with the elements important to its plot described and explained irrespective of if it has been explained in a previous story. Otherwise, if it cannot stand alone then what you have is not really a short story. All your stories in this piece have the same issue. They are not standalone pieces and yet also do not really carry on either with the exception of your multi part – Dark Skies - which has no establishing section at all at the start which could be extremely disorientating for any reader who tried to read that one first.

I think you need to look at what an anthology is. An anthology is a collection of story stories. They aren’t novels. You can have a collection of short stories set in the same world and with the same characters, but they still need to be stories in their own right, with an individual plot which concludes with in the story and, perhaps, an overarching plot to connect a series, otherwise what you have is just a chapter not a short story.

As it is, your anthology is not close to being publishable and to make it so you need to stop looking at it as an anthology and take each story back out into its own piece, fix the structure and elements and develop each as a separate story. The world needs to be set and the races introduced. The tone of your stories do match and so they will fit well as a collection.

Another thing you need to look at is your formatting. As it is, in your item there’s no tabbing or line spaces to show where paragraphs start or end or even where stories start and end. Everything is mixed in one long line of text. This needs to be fixed. You can’t just copy and paste across from word and expect it to display correctly on Writing.com. You need to take the time to go through it and re space it. As it is, it is very reader unfriendly and if you intend to publish this as an ebook then you may well come across a similar issue. Always check and item after you post it to ensure it displays correctly. People who click on a link and are assaulted by an apparently endless wall of text will just close the page without reading it and find a different piece that is set out correctly, so you need to be wary of this.

However, despite the technical and structural issues, you clearly have a strong imagination. This and determination are the two main things a writer needs to succeed. So keep it up.








*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review of Magic & Iron  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


Apologies for the wait, been a busy week, but here is your requested review. Normally, when I give a review the issues tend to resolve around character development. It is refreshing to come across a piece where the characters aren’t the issue. However, there are a number of other areas which do need improvement. I think the element which this piece is most lacking is world building. Dialogue seems to play a very heavy role in this piece, too heavy a role. At the very start you have twelve paragraphs of dialogue without any hint of scene setting. Throughout this section the reader is left clueless as to the environment, world, scene and period in time/history in which the characters are. In fact, many of these are still left unclear at the end of the chapter. I think this is the major failing of the piece.

It seems to me this is a fantasy piece, and yet with so little information into the world the characters inhabit it is really hard to tell. It is very important that with pieces involving fantasy elements that you fully describe the world and set the rules, as once a story leaves the realm of reality, if new boundaries are not set the reader will be left floundering and lost without any point of reference in which to readjust their perception to. You need to build the world as strongly as you have the characters, lavish description on it. We need to know more details into current technology, you mention horses and carriages but little else to give an idea of the advancement of the culture. Do the use candles still? Have they discovered gas? Do they still fight with swords or guns? You need to strongly link the story to a particular period’s technology and currently there just isn’t enough details to this.

However, a word of warning, be very careful when adding all this information not to fall into the trap of telling over showing. There is already a strong issue of info dumping through your dialogue, mainly involving the old shop keeper’s dialogue which needs to be sorted. She, basically, tells great swaths of backstory which slows the pacing, disrupts the action and makes her dialogue feel unnatural and forced. You need to find another way to communicate this with the reader.

Another thing which I found lacking is atmosphere. With your evil fairy type creatures, this could be a creepy piece with nice tension. However, it is currently missing this, and I think the main reason is the lack of description of the scene and world around them. The description of where the characters are is mainly limited to quite basic information like: a village, a warehouse or just single line descriptions whereas you lavish the characters action with much more description, indicating their mood, thoughts, feelings. This is what you need to do to the setting around the characters. Give the world they are in a character. Give it a mood. That way when the story plot darkens, the mood and atmosphere will darken with it, whereas, at the moment, the plot is trying to do a solo and falling flat. It needs back up to strengthen the performance.

Grammar and spelling wise the piece is decently polished. No mistakes jumped out at me. The main issue with the piece is setting, mood, tone, atmosphere and info dumping. The tone of the piece seems to rattle about a bit but to me feels quite teenagey and so I assume this is a young adult piece, but, I feel, this is mainly set by the age of the main characters and so may not be intentional.

I think the plot has promise and a certain folk lore feel to it. There has long been stories of fairies kidnapping humans and trapping them in the fairy realm, never to be seen again. Yet this plot seems to have something unique to set it apart from that. I think it could advance in an interesting direction.

I hope you find this review useful and that it helps you reach the piece's full potential. Good job so far and keep it up.






*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
18
18
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


This is a tricky piece to review. The tone is certainly light hearted but I don’t think I would call it a comedy, as such. The humour just isn’t strong enough. The piece, to me, feels awkward, trapped between a state of trying to be serious and then trying to be humorous, to the point where it doesn’t quite manage either. What humour is in it feels forced rather than natural which is, I think, why the humour failed to hit its mark with me. It struck me as absurd and unrealistic but not in a funny way.

The opening does not work as it is. You have twelve paragraphs of dialogue before any scene setting and that feels clumsy and disorientating for the reader. You need to add a proper scene setting paragraph at the beginning or at least build a little description of the scene into the dialogue. For example where are the characters standing? Are they inside the restaurant or out the back at the delivery entrance? What do the characters looks like and what is the main character’s usual day job? As his normal day to day life isn’t mentioned at all, and that leaves the story extremely ungrounded. For every unreal aspect to a story you need something normal that the user can relate to. At the moment that is lacking leading to a story that is hard to relate to, which can then lead to a lack of emotional involvement and cause the story to just fall flat.

The characters need working on. They just don’t feel very strong at the moment. The main character, himself, feels very generic and this is possibly due to the reader just not being given much information about him, not even his physical characteristics. I would suggest you write a full character profile for him, including age, height, weight, likes/ dislikes, characteristics, friends/girlfriends/ relations etc once you know this information you will find it will seep into the story as you write and will result in a stronger more identifiable character, as it is the character just comes across as a vague stickman.

Anyway here are some technical issues I spotted:

Vikram looked around as he prodded on towards the bus stop.

I think you mean “plodded” as in walk rather than “prodded” as in poke.

“Hi, I'm Vikram. I saw you want ad outside and...”

I’m guessing the above is meant to be “I saw your wanted ad outside and…”

You have an interesting plot idea which does have comedy value but I feel that at the moment you are trying to force the comedy, which feels over the top and overworked. True comedy should write itself, born from a situation meeting a character resulting in comedy as a by product or born of two characters with personality types that clash in such a way as result in humour. Creating comedy is a delicate process which needs a certain balance to work in harmony. I don’t feel yours is quite there yet. I can only suggest that you study other comedy setups and try to identify the combinations and mixes that form them which should help you write your own. Again, though, I can see this piece has potential it just needs refining and expanding. Good job so far and I hope you find my opinions useful.





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19
19
Review of Genesis One  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


While I appreciate the idea behind this story, I feel there are a number of areas where it currently falls flat. My first issue is your opening line, which I feel needs to be changed or removed entirely:

“Space travel is fucking boring! “

There are a number of issues with this line; the first being that if this is a thought within a character’s head and not spoken, as it is mentioned it is in the next line, then you need to remove the speech marks. Speech marks are only used in spoken dialogue not internal dialogue.

Second is the content of the line. I’ll point out the swear word first. True, there is no real issue using swear words in a piece so long as it is rated correctly but I would not suggest using a swear word in a opening line unless the swearword adds significantly to the meaning of the sentence, as the use of a swear word in an opening line will likely put a lot people off. In this case, it doesn’t add anything to the meaning. It only seems to work to emphasise the characters dislike and bad mood which a simple slamming of the hand or stamping of the foot would do without the risk losing readers at the outset. Also, as far as I can see, this is the only swear word throughout the piece, so it isn’t even indicative as to the overall content. If you are going to use just one swearword in a piece, use it in the place of highest impact and the first line is not that place.

Third issue is the “space travel is boring” comment. If space travel is boring and the story is clearly about space travel then my first thought, as a reader, is why bother reading on? I think in relation to this particular line you should delete it entirely and show the fact the main character is bored, through his actions rather than tell us he is bored and risk making the reader think the story is not worth reading.

Anyway, onto the rest of the story. I find the overall structure of the story rather wasteful. You start off with the character in space on his way to Mars which would hint that this setting and period is core to the story but then you flash back to his childhood and his first murder. The flashback story is well written. It has impact and the character of the girl and her situation is very well conveyed giving the reader a real empathy for the girl and her fate, however, the whole flash back has little relation to the current scene. The homicidal nature of the main character had already been shown via his violent and graphic day dreams.

The fact the flash back scene accounts for near 50% of the word count and the fact the writing is more vivid, realistic and atmospheric gives the flashback far more weight than the current scene and therefore the flashback becomes the main focus of the story and the travelling to Mars just feels like a pointless add on. You need to re address the weight by adding to the present day storyline. The main storyline needs to be brought to a full conclusion, with the actual killing of the crew or attempt at killing of the crew rather than just hinting that it will happen, because in comparison to the flashback where the threats are actually carried out, it feels a very weak ending and sort of fizzles out the tension the flashback raised.

However, there are some very good aspects to this story. The murder scene of the girl included his every sense to describe the elation the character felt at committing the anticipated murder. This gives the piece impact and a gritty sense of realism. However, I would like to know where this homicidal rage comes from. People don’t just wake one morning as a murderer. It is caused by physiological issues and past trauma, perhaps being beaten as a child or having alcoholic parents who beat each other, or being cheated on or abandoned by someone he loved. There would have been an event or trigger to his homicidal tendencies, which I think needs exploring.

Anyway, overall, I think the flash back scene is really well written. The characters and their situations are strong, the environment and atmosphere works well and the tension is just right. However, the characters in the main storyline, in the spaceship, are comparatively weak and the storyline really doesn’t have much substance and therefore it becomes lost against the backdrop of the flashback. The characters and tension in the main storyline needs to be strengthened and the plot fleshed out and given a full conclusion, otherwise it will not stand up to the flash back and will continue to feel like unnecessary packaging.

You clearly have strong writing skills, but in this piece they come across as slightly patchy. However, other than the mistakes with the thoughts being in speech marks, there were not too many grammar issues and the piece was technically well written. The issues are mainly to do with the plot structure and the piece’s clear confinement by its word count. A large part of the skill in writing short stories is the skill to create a plot intricate and yet tight enough to fit the envisaged word count, and I feel this one is just too expansive and should have been written as a longer short story.

Word count is not an excuse for a fragmented or incomplete storyline as it is a consideration that has to be taken into account before the story is written. In this case I feel, considering the length, you needed to choose if the story should have been told in the chosen timeline of the journey to Mars, in which case I would not have included the flashback and would have written the full plot of his escape to mars and then the murder of the crew, or if it should have been written in the timeline of the flashback, which could have acted as a standalone story. The combined plot of both was too much for the word count but one or the other would have fitted nicely.

Anyway, this is just my opinion and what you decide to do with your work is entirely your own choice. I think this piece has potential and that with some reworking it could be a strong piece. Good job so far and keep it up.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review of Loss of Control  
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This review has been done on behalf of the WDC Angel Army. Welcome to Writing.com.


I enjoyed this story. It raises an important issue of women forced to quit work to look after the children and the lack of fulfilment that would result in, for most.

However, part of me does lose sympathy on realising she has three children, thinking how many mistakes can you make? If she had one or two then you can pass it off as pressure from the husband who wanted children. The wide age gaps also made me lose sympathy. Having children in quick succession there seems to be the excuse of not quite realising what you’re getting yourself into but to have twelve years between the first and third, it just made me think that she was more a glutton for punishment than a downtrodden housewife but that’s just my opinion.

My other major thought was, who was looking after the children while she was busy shoplifting? If she had someone looking after them, then why didn’t she do something more intellectually stimulating with her time as she’s clearly been doing this routinely? I think it would be better if she had the children with her. The two older ones could even have helped, by going off into another part of the department and acting as a diversion, pulling off clothes and making a mess while she stole the clothes. Or maybe I’m thinking too much into this… Shoplifting could just be my next profession.

My last issue is, is there really a crime section in the newspapers that lists minor crimes like shoplifting? Because I’m pretty sure that breaks privacy laws, murders and rapists, fine but shoplifting? I would find it more believable if the police just called her husband at work, which would be very embarrassing for him, especially if he had to be called out of an important meeting.

One mistake I found:

She startled and jumped up when it vibrated,

I think you mean “started” otherwise it would have to be “Startled, she jumped up”. But I don’t think that works if she is expecting the call.

Overall, I think this a good story. It is technically well polished and didn’t seem squeezed or stunted by the word count. Good job.





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review of Happy Accidents  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


I think the plot is fascinating but I feel it is too expansive for the word count. I think the pace moves too fast. We never really get a full understanding of what the main character’s life is usually like, or how he normally behaves, it just jumps straight into this obsession with this Valerie; which, I think, leaves the whole story feeling ungrounded.

I think the story needs to take a step back, and we need to see this obsession grow gradually, pushing out his usual thoughts and taking over his life but in this version there seems to be no previous life to push out. What job does he do and does this obsession ever interfere with that? Family, friends, hobbies? There isn’t really much to the main character other than this obsession. I think his character needs to be strengthened and I don’t think you can do this within the current word count.

I think his wife should feature more as well. It would be nice to feel a little more grief from him, especially as events are so strongly linked with her. Perhaps memories of his wife and Valerie can become almost superimposed with Valerie appearing in memories instead of his wife. I just think he gives into this obsession a little too easy and that someone still feeling grief over losing their partner would feel guilt at developing feelings for another person, even a supposed imaginary one. Most people would see that as a betrayal of their lost loved one.

Anyway, here are a couple of other bits and pieces:

Finding a checkbook under my car in the parking garage unsettles me.

I really don’t like the term “parking garage”. You say garage to someone and they will say, place where you park your car, so I don’t think adding the word “parking” gains anything. Although, I get the feeling that you mean an indoor car park. I really think car park is fine on its own.

Grind thoughts to a halt.

I don’t think the above works as a standalone sentence. As part of the previous description using “grinds” might work but alone the subject is missing. I’m assuming he means Valerie grinds thoughts to a halt, but I think you need to make it clearer.

So, overall, I love the concept of the piece and the plot but I do feel it is rushed and that it never feels real. I think it needs grounding before the supernatural element takes over. I think the main character can be made stronger as I don’t feel I ever really get to see his real character just the obsessing one, but I enjoyed the story regardless. Nice job.








*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of Alone  
In affiliation with Anime and Manga Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Review on behalf of the Anime and Manga Group


You requested my comments to help in attracting more interest in your work. My first comment, the thing which I think will put off the reader most is with the presentation.

You need to remember that there is a lot of choice even just on this one site, let alone across the literary world in general. My first impression, looking at your piece was that it was messy and not laid out with much care. This not only makes it harder to read but also gives the impression that the writer doesn’t care enough about their work to lay it out properly. Half of it is indented and the other half just blocks of text.

First impressions are important. If the reader clicks on an item and is immediately confronted by an un-spaced block of text, they’re just going to hit the back key and choose something else, so first I suggest you go through your piece and line space, not tab it, and always be sure to test view it after you save it and make sure it looks ordered, structured and presentable.

The piece also doesn’t strike me as very coherent. It wobbles and seems to be confused as to what it wants to be. It feels, to me, to be a story of three pieces and three pieces that don’t quite work together. I can see what you are trying to do but, it just feels crudely realised at the moment. You need a smoother transition between the start, middle, and end which all have a different mood and tone.

I think you’re trying to hard to get impact and to try to shock and it just feels overdone and a caricature that you can’t quite take seriously. I think you need to tone it down, give it a little more subtly. Silence and darkness breeding a sense that something is lurking, can be more frightening than a monster in the open. I would suggest going for coldness, perhaps a disjointedness from reality with your main character rather than paint him as an obvious monster from the start.

Leave a doubt when he goes outside and calls the woman as to what he might do. Leave some questions, because questions are what create suspense. As it is, the story is predictable and therefore I felt no suspense and the story fell flat.

Also, I didn’t like the opening. It didn’t have impact and I don’t think does the piece justice.

I stared at the beige ceiling. Rolled over to stare at the beige walls. The paint scheme was intended to be calming, soothing. It was blah. Like me. My existence sucked.

It’s wordy and not really all that gripping, plus you use the word blah, which put me right off. Don’t get me wrong. I used that word all the time at university. It was the most used word among my housemates, but I would never use it in a story, not out of dialogue. I would go for:

Beige ceiling, beige walls; they were no longer calming, just empty like life.

This conveys exactly the same meaning with a fraction of the words. The trick with writing is to say more with less. The first third of your story is very slow and doesn’t really convey all that much. Then it picks up. The detail of the party and the way the main character views it from a distance, the memory it triggers. That bit is good but then it progresses into the cliché erotic vampire feeding scene which I felt was a let down, in part because I saw it coming a mile off and there was never any doubt that’s where it was heading.

You clearly have potential as a writer but it needs focus and a little more originality and certainly more subtly and some tension building. But you said this is only your second piece and this is a good start. You have potential, all you need to do is start refining it. Hopefully, I’ve given you some direction on how to achieve this.

I hope you find this review useful and please don’t be discouraged at not receiving fantastic ratings to start. We all start somewhere and true talent has to be built, not stumbled upon. Keep working at it and I’m sure you can write great things.






*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This is a review on behalf of the Coffee Shop for the Fantasy Society.


If I had to choose one word as to what this piece most needs, it would be formatting. The entire piece is split into three long blocks of text with no tabbing/ line spaces between paragraphs or dialogue. I’m not sure if you just did a straight copy and past from word and didn’t think to check it, but even then I would have expected the dialogue to, at least, start on new lines. I can therefore only assume that you have written it this way.

Here is what you need to do:

Tab or line space at the start of a new paragraph.

Tab or line space for each new piece of dialogue.

Check where your line spaces are already because at least two of them are double line spaces which usually denotes a scene change and yet both parts are the same scene.


Moving on from that, there are also a lot of technical mistakes. Here are a few below:

Walking towards the outlying houses of the tahn the Shen thought of the full circle he’d made through these lands.

You need a comma here between “tahn” and “the Shen” as the first part is an introductory phrase.

Walking towards the outlying houses of the tahn, the Shen thought of the full circle he’d made through these lands.

“Humph, it’s taken me long enough to return to this place!” he thought.

If the above is thought and not spoken then don’t mark it as dialogue and remove the marks either side.

Humph, it’s taken me long enough to return to this place! he thought.

He saw that the village had grown, more of the trees had been cut down on the outskirts of the tahn, and he could see several foundations being put in towards the north of the tahn.

This is a spliced sentence. The first section needs to be a separate sentence:

He saw that the village had grown. More of the trees had been cut down on the outskirts of the tahn, and he could see several foundations being put in towards the north of the tahn.

You use “he saw” a lot to start the sentences. This is unnecessary and only works to distance the reader from the action. You can delete most of this, like so:

The village had grown. More of the trees had been cut down on the outskirts of the tahn, and several foundations were being put in towards the north side.

From the path on the other side of the square he could see very little change to the inn at first glance.

Again this sentence needs a comma, after “square” and before “he”.

However, as he slowly crossed the open space he started to see the differences.

Same, the above needs a comma. This time after “space”.

She laughed, and with a smile explained, “A good few years back a Nea came, strange he was, said he wanted to buy the whole inn.”

You don’t need the comma before "and" in this instance.

Once in, he lay back relaxed, farted and promptly fell asleep with contented smile on his face.

Really? The farted comment does not match the tone of the novel. In a comedy this would be fine, but the tone of the novel to this point is serious and relatively sombre. This comes as a bolt from the blue and not a good one as it stands out like a sore thumb and jolts the suspension of disbelief the reader has to that point attained. I really think this needs to be deleted. Also you need a comma before "relaxed".

However, I do like the plot and the characters. Particularly, the conversation with the bar owner, is very well done and shows a pre-established relationship between her and the main character.

The detail in your description is rich, although the multiple mentions of the fact the tahn has grown does get a little repetitive. Maybe try to condense it all rather than drag the description out.

There is no immediate indication of the overall plot but the characters and setting have been well introduced. Despite the difficulty of reading the piece, in unformatted blocks, I enjoyed the content. If you fix the formatting and give it a little edit, I will be happy to re-review it and up the rating, as I do believe that despite the technical issues this is a good piece and that you are a good writer.

A good job so far. Keep it up.







*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Review on behalf of the Coffee Shop for the Fantasy Society.


I really enjoyed this piece. The detail is fantastic. The world and society you have built is vivid and rich and the details of the personalities you give into even the minor, peripheral characters, gives a strong illusion of reality. I love the attention you give even the small every day things and activities.

Some people may complain that you give too much detail and that it slows the pacing of the story, but I don’t think that is an issue. The level of detail and the telling style of the writing matches the mood and tone of the piece, which feels more like a documentation of a world gone by than a story purely for entertainment. I think, if this sort of rich visuals and high detailed style is what you want then go for it. It does slow the pace but I think the extra emersion carries a magic all of its own.

It’s hard to judge the plot as that hasn’t really emerged yet. Normally, I would point that out as problem as stories that ramble and seem to meander aimlessly can lead to a reader losing interest, but with the restlessness of the main character it is clear that a change is coming that will likely kick start the plot, and with the richness of your world, I didn’t have too much issue with the slower start.

I would like to know a little more about the parents. I think considering the detail lavished on the villagers and peripheral characters that the parents are being eclipsed. True, this does show a certain disinterest from the main character, showing she finds the life outside her home far more interesting and worthy of attention but I do still feel her parents need to play a slightly larger role.

Here are a few other things I picked up:

"it's just.. she's only a small child."

This strikes me as a little too wordy for casual dialogue. People tend to use as few words as possible when talking. I would go for:

"it's just.. she's only small."

absolutely glaring.

The word absolutely strikes me as too modern for the setting and I don’t think the word is needed in the sentence at all. It disrupts the flow and doesn’t really add much to the meaning. I think “glaring” is a strong enough word on it’s own.

"Torri, your mother and I are making dinner, won't you join us?"

This is the one thing which struck me as unrealistic. If her family are rich enough to live in a large house and not work, one would assume they have enough money to pay others to do their cooking. If there is one thing that seems pretty consistent across cultures, it’s that nobles pay others to do day to day tasks. If this is not the case then I just think you need to justify it, as people will jump to that conclusion.

However, as I mentioned before, I really enjoyed this piece. You’ve clearly devoted a lot of time and effort to it and it shows. Very well done, so far.

Keep it up.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review of Mending the Sword  
In affiliation with The Coffee Shop for the Fantas...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

I quite liked this story. It is a nice little piece on forging relationships. I think the plot works well as does the interaction between Bann and Mica. I did have a few issues:

Sleep, when it finally came to Bann, was no refuge.

with the anger of yesterday and the restless dreams of the night raging on,


Considering you mention Bann’s sleep being disturbed and affecting him the following day, I feel you need to mention how and why. Also, disturbed sleep is usually caused by problems a little more immediate than a simple case of shyness and in the way you describe the issue through Bann, it doesn’t strike as something he is so bothered by that it would have such an impact on his sleep. If he has a crush on Mica and he feel ashamed at not making more of an impression then that might cause restless sleep but that isn’t given directly as a reason.

I just think you need to expand on this bit.

The tiny lizards had grown, but were still smaller than her hand.

As with a lot of your short stories there is no relation to the passing of time. It is unclear how long it has been since her last visit to the hatchling. This lack of timing leaves the story feeling floaty and not properly grounded in reality. I think you need to work on your scene settings.

There is no need to scene change if you are just swapping the point of view. You do it a few times when swapping between Bann and Mica in the same scene. If this piece was in first person then a scene change would be advised as it is not immediately obvious a change of point of view has occurred but with third person you can just jump back and forth as long as you mention the name of the character before and action or dialogue.

He fidgeted, “please Lady?

You need full stops after descriptions. Comma’s should only be used before or after dialogue tags.

Overall, I think you still have an issue with your scenes breaks, timing and setting. I didn’t find this quite as much of an issue as in some of your other pieces, but you do still need to work on it.

I enjoyed the story, over all. It flows well and the pacing is fairly consistent. The characters of Bann and Mica come across well and I like the friendship they finally strike up. I like the issue raised of dragons seen as monsters by the greater community and Bann’s determination to reveal the truth. The mood and tone stayed perfectly consistent and matched the subject matter and plot well. Technically, this piece is decently polished. I didn’t find an overabundance of mistakes.

I think this is my favourite piece of the ones I’ve read of yours, so far. However, the ending I do feel wasn’t a full enough conclusion. It left too much hanging to make this an effective short story. It feels more like a part of a longer work. If it is part of a longer work then it shouldn’t be classed as a short story. But I did enjoy it. Good job.






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