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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/kijilinn
Review Requests: OFF
11 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I tend to be very forthright and analytical in my reviews, which sometimes comes across as harsh or unforgiving. I'm always willing to engage in discussion about what I've written in a review and may ask questions to encourage critical thinking and self-analysis. I'm willing to review multi-chapter works on a chapter-by-chapter basis.
I'm good at...
Thoughtful, in-depth constructive criticism and character development. I tend to focus on diverse viewpoints and balanced representation. I will review graphic and explicit material. Bonus points if it's LGBTQ+ positive, especially with positive representation of bisexual men and women. Polyamory is also a bonus.
Favorite Genres
Horror, science fiction, high fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Least Favorite Genres
technical non-fiction, children's books or juvenile literature, poetry
Favorite Item Types
Short stories between 1,500 and 10,000 words.
Least Favorite Item Types
Poems and poetry. Also, multi-chapter open-ended stories without a planned ending point. If I'm going to invest in multiple chapters, I need to know approximately when the story will end.
I will not review...
Poetry in any form: I don't know anything about it and you would get nothing useful from my review. I will not review fiction which glorifies rape, pedophilia or bestiality.
Public Reviews
1
1
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
This review is in response to your request. I hope you find this feedback useful. As per request, I will focus on character development, style, setting and general impressions rather than highlighting technical errors or mechanics. This review covers the prologue and first two chapters.

*Check2* Overall Impression:
This story stretches my ability to suspend my disbelief. Vampires, while trying to maintain a veil of secrecy, are allowing humans deep into their private rooms while openly drinking "dark wine" and showing their fangs. Since their human guest is obviously clued in to their nature, referencing dark wine seems unlikely: he wouldn't think it was anything but blood and neither would the reader.

*Check2* Plot:
I think the plot has a lot of potential. The idea of a pharmaceutical company with personal agents who double as salesmen is really interesting and intriguing. I'm curious about the world and the people who live here, how they are going to develop and what they're going to do next.

*Check2* Style and Voice:
Much of the style and voice I struggle with in this piece has to do with mechanical errors and believability, as related elsewhere in this review.

*Check2* Scene/Setting:
I have no idea when this is supposed to take place. The first chapter highlights vampires in a Victorian or Edwardian setting but later chapters indicate that it's a modern story, referencing email.

Additionally, you may want to consider how secret the vampire/werewolf society really is. Having Brass Pharma being the only company that acknowledges them seems very unlikely and hard to explain to a business loan officer.

*Check2* Characters:
In the first chapter, it's very difficult to tell what kind of character Richard is. He starts out seeming nervous and uncertain, then whips out a pistol and starts shooting his prospective clients. This seems very inconsistent with the timid man who enters the building.

*Check2* Dialog:
In chapter two, Richard literally demands to know his new partner's backstory and proceeds to info-dump his own. This doesn't sound natural or conducive to developing any kind of relationship between them. It might be in your best interest to give them more time to get to know each other before history and backstory come into the mix. Let them learn about each other more naturally.

The conversation where Debra and Richard argue about the weapons seems forced: Debra knows it's dangerous and that Richard is vulnerable. Since she isn't new to this dog-and-pony show, she would understand that some protections are necessary. At the very least, let them compromise and bring holy water or garlic, something that's largely defensive rather than offensive in nature.

Telling the main characters "It was all a clever ruse" is never a clever ruse; it ruins your chances of actually surprising them, gives them a chance to prepare to fight back or even run and generally makes you look like a mustache-twirling villain. At the very least, if the bad guys are going to spring a trap, make sure the good guys are all the way into the trap before letting the villain start to gloat.

*Check2* Grammar and Mechanics:
As per request, I'm not focusing on this aspect of the story but I would like to note that there are many tense slips, awkward sentences, and confusing subject-verb clauses through all chapters.

*Check2* Suggestions:
Most people would not use "parasol" in reference to a man's umbrella.

Mustangs are manufactured by the Ford company, not Chevrolet.

Being choked for several minutes is going to make anyone pass out or potentially die. Humans can't survive without oxygen very long: 30-180 seconds until passing out, at the one minute mark, you start dealing with brain damage.

Please. Never use the word "luscious" to describe a woman's body. Ever. At the very least, after engaging in that kind of battle, she is going to be spattered with gore and blood, potentially wounded herself and exhausted from shapeshifting. She is very unlikely to recline attractively and then scream demurely when discovered.

*Check* In Summary:
There's a lot here that needs work but the core of the story is fantastic! I'm very excited by the ideas of the plot and how the characters may expand on the world but your writing needs more practice mechanically and more research and world-building.

Thank you for sharing your story and I hope to read more from you! Write On!
Linn Browning


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: 18+ | (1.5)
This is in response to your requested review. I'll mention when I start that I don't know anything about the fandom, so I will be reviewing the characters on their own merits as opposed to how canon the character representations are. I hope you find this feedback useful.

*Check2* Overall Impression:

I found this very difficult to read. I struggled through the first three chapters, wondering when there was going to be something interesting happening. I've written and read a lot of fanfiction in the last five years but I think Yu-Gi-Oh is beyond me.

*Check2* Plot:

I felt that there was very little plot involved in the story since it seems to be centered on the professional interactions between the characters with little to no focus on personal interactions. There seems to be no notable conflict or tension to the plot: what Seto wants, he gets by throwing money or Roland at.

*Check2* Style and Voice:

Your style is very quick and clipped, which may be a benefit in some cases but didn't appeal to me, personally. In addition, while this is clearly intended to be a sex-positive story with a positive focus on open relationships, you indicated an intent to describe polyamory, literally loving more than one person. I felt that this story does a decent job of portraying poly-sexual relationships but I was left wanting in the area of love and affection.

In addition to the quick, clipped nature of your style, I find it very hard to read about a character who is described as falling "into his arms a quivering lump of woman." That's not even taking into consideration the description of Marc as a "tall, Filipino descendant of Genghis Khan." It seems overly dramatic unless Genghis Khan is going to play into the story at some point.

*Check2* Characters:

As noted in Style and Voice, the characters feel emotionally distant to me. I find little to no reason to care about Joan or any of her satellite system of friends and lovers and many of them feel one-dimensional and wooden. The only time I felt sparked to interest was listening to Roland talk to some of the secondary characters.

*Check2* Suggestions:

I really tried to read this as objectively as I could but I think there's a far larger fandom gap than I was able to overcome. I had a lot of trouble moving past the first chapter for lack of a compelling sense of dramatic tension.


Thank you for sharing your story. Write On!
Linn Browning


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: E | (4.5)
As someone who has named a copper dragon "Pfeffenpooper," I just couldn't resist reading this fairy tale involving Grundlebletch von Hoogenspit. Beyond the delight in the character's name, I found myself enchanted with the story itself, an origin tale for bridge trolls, the intellectuals of the troll community. I love the concept that trolls only move in straight lines and that other species use them to flush out ambushes for this reason, too. The story is charming and I think it would make a really good spoken-word piece for a storyteller.

On a technical note, the parts in parentheses threw me off occasionally but didn't distract from the story as a whole. Excellent work!

Can't wait to read more!
Linn Browning
4
4
Review of Illustrations  
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: E | (2.5)
--Story--

I found it very difficult to tell who this story is actually about, the creator or the subject. I felt like there was a lot of time spent—more than half of the story, in fact—focused on the story of the graphic novel without enough ties back to the real world and Abby’s motivations for illustrating. Additionally, I think most artists are aware that their day jobs will have to sustain them and they can’t expect a sudden flush of cash from their drawings and artistic passions. But maybe that’s just me being cynical.

Also, it’s stated that Abby will be paying her bills and raising her child on her own. Where is the child’s father? Did he die? Abandon her? Were they married? Does she even know who he is? Does she have any other family who would be standing up to help her with this or is she truly on her own?

--Characters--

Abby feels very 2-dimensional to me. In the first paragraph, she has just finished making a cappuccino and additional orders are coming in hard and fast, yet she has no emotional reaction to this, no sense of being overwhelmed or exhausted. She simply thinks of her child and all the bills she has to pay. As the only manifested character in the story, I need to care more about her than this little bit of information inspires.

--Mechanics--

The only major thing I caught is that the Avengers is usually pluralized. It’s also the title of a comic, which means it should be either italicized or in quotations (I’m not sure on the styling for that).

Also, Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster. Personal sticking point. :)

--Setting--

The setting is clearly inside a coffee shop but we have no indication at all in what part of the country (assuming it’s American) that coffee shop is. It’s particularly relevant because $15 an hour goes a lot farther in the rural Midwest than it does in a big city like New York or L.A. I live in central Virginia near a moderately-sized college city working full-time as a paraprofessional library clerk and I’m not even making $13 an hour, for perspective.

--Additional Notes--

I think this story has a lot of potential to be a heroic story about a mother determined to give her child both the best life and the best understanding of what I assume is her son’s congenital condition. You have a good grasp of description and the narrative flows quickly but I feel like the story would be better served if you spent a little more time shaping the real world, the main character and her situation. Granted, if you’re aiming to keep the story under 1500 words, that might be difficult. Good luck and good writing!
5
5
Review of Ted's Morning  
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: E | (3.5)
This short piece is beautiful and heartbreaking. You really do an excellent job of conveying emotion, but I have to admit that I struggle to see this as being from the perspective of a seven-year-old. While clearly, children are capable of great depths of emotion, I feel like the average seven-year-old wouldn't have this kind of clarity of introspection and self-awareness. I feel terrible for Ted and his family and this is a beautifully written, emotional short story with a lot of potential for conveying the inner life of a child. Well done.
6
6
Review of Making it Right  
Review by Linn Browning
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is delightful. I've always been fond of dialog-only stories and you've done a great job with this one. You get the story across in a minimum of words and the tone of the characters is great!
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