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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/krholbrook
Review Requests: OFF
27 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I normally pick apart a story with line-by-line critiques, while also throwing in my thoughts on different information throughout--such as setting, character information, and punctuations problems. If I can't get through a work, I'll say so and explain my reasonings. Sometimes my critiques take me longer than three hours.
I'm good at...
Characterization, showing vs telling, grammar and punctuation.
Favorite Genres
Urban Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Paranormal
Least Favorite Genres
Science Fiction
Favorite Item Types
Flash fiction, short stories, novel chapters
I will not review...
Erotica
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of The Ice Lake  
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
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Overall

I'm not going to bother with any line-by-line critiques. This piece is short enough that I felt comfortable reading it the whole way through and didn't find any glaring problems with the style or punctuations.

So as an overall opinion on this work. Your style of creating sentences is something that I enjoy. It reminds me of my own writing style. I remember one of my own works had a character whose nightmare had her laying on a sheet of ice, then the ice breaking and having her plummet into the cold depths. It can't be a fun experience, mentally or physically.

I strayed away from the point though. I like how we get the inner struggle of someone, and how in the end they conquer it and are able to break through the ice. I've never had a moment where I was trapped in an abyss and had to mentally prepare myself to break through whatever I had to to find the lighter side of things. I can't imagine what it would feel like. You did a job well done with it in your writing, however.

Thanks for sharing.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of Witch Way  
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
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The Opening Line

It was a very warm summer day, so Caspella had dressed appropriately.

The first sentence, or even first paragraph needs something to hook the reader. We need a reason to want to read more, whether it's an event, a question of some sort, or a problem that makes us want to figure out.

This first sentence has nothing in it that makes me want to continue reading. There's no oddity to the weather, it's a warm summer day. There's no oddity to her style of clothing, she's wearing it due to the hot weather. This is like me saying, "Hey, it's cold outside so I wore my coat." All right. That's reasonable. You nod your head and go on with what you're doing. Now if it was a hot summer day and she was sweating beneath a wool coat and an extra layer of clothing underneath while rushing somewhere, then that would be an intriguing start. The reader would want to know why she's dressed like that. If I were to pick this story up somewhere from this first line, I wouldn't continue it.

Descriptions

You work with too much description at the start. Now, I'm a sucker for description and all, as long as the story continues its pace easily and the descriptions aren't nabbing the readers' attentions all for themselves. This is the case here.

Despite the heat, gangs of workers were toiling in it, splitting off large slabs of rock, cutting the slabs into blocks, loading the blocks into wooden, two-wheeled carts and pushing the carts up a ramp and down the road.

First, this is a pretty long sentence that gets choppy after a while because of all the commas. You're telling the reader what these workers are doing, instead of seeing it in detail through the character's eyes.

Second, how is this odd? It gets really hot in other places around the world and people still work out in the heat. So in this story, are people no known for working out in the heat? If so, then okay. That needs to be explained a bit through the narrative voice. If not...why do we have this sentence?

The next large paragraph is made up of an infodump regarding what both of the characters look like. It's kind of blatantly obvious it's an information dump. As if there was no other way to fit their descriptions in. When you're doing character descriptions, it's best to try and fit them in in bits and pieces of the story. Otherwise, it's like you're putting the story on pause and letting us read what they look like.

Ending Note

I'm stopping the critique here, because there's nothing of worth as of yet to hold my attention. There's not much going on, aside from a witch walking out in the heat, with clothes for the warm weather, and walking by a guy who's working. I'm still left wondering why I'm reading the story. What the point of it is. Where the hook is.

I understand from the description that the witch meets a guy, but what part of this happenstance holds the reader here? I'm unsure.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review of Peculiar dialogue  
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: E | (3.5)
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Overall

It's always interesting to better understand characters by making fun little writing prompts like this, or giving your character a specific quiz to take. Your characters obviously care about you, and you them. I do have to say that these characters are by far way different than my own. My antagonist would express his hatred of me being female. As for my protagonist...he hates me as well. I can't win with either of them.

It was a fun read. :] Cheers.


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4
4
Review of Apple on Eden  
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
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The Opening Line

Adam settled into his seat as the silent speed of Europa’s newest anti-grav monorail, Eden, sliced its way through the countryside.

Adam and Eden. Hmm, well this is certainly an interesting start. Just the fact that this is far different than what most people think of when Adam and Eden are mentioned is enough for this to be a hook. Any other two names, and I probably wouldn't have wanted to read too much farther. So far, well done here.

Also, I felt like I needed to say this--I'm not a religious person by any means, but when it comes to fiction, reading about how people interpret such things is always a fascination.

First Paragraph

While the first sentence did wonders for the start of your story, I feel like the rest of the paragraph doesn't match its quality.

The main thing for me is we get four proper nouns.

Outer Rim - I can see this as being a name. And the meaning behind it is obvious, but the outer rim to what? The reader has stepped out of the real world and into a fiction one. Which brings me to the next one.

Raja - The only reason I think I know what this is, is because I had read it in another story and it was kind of explained. If I hadn't read that other story, I wouldn't understand what a Raja is, unless I happened to stop reading entirely to browse Google to find the meaning. One thing you don't want to do is have the reader stop reading, because it will just turn their attention away to other things, and they may not find a reason to come back.

So, with my understanding, Raja is someone's title. A leader of some sort? Which leaves me still with wondering what the Outer Rim is connected to. A place, obviously, but what kind of place? City, town, state, world, house? I've got ADD, and normally when I can't figure something out, I'll keep thinking and thinking about it without ever really getting into the story. As an example, I've tried to read Cabin in the Woods, but I couldn't get past the first few chapters due to not having a name for the facility the people worked in. I did, however, watch the movie.

Yin and Yang - I don't believe these belong in the proper nouns category. Yin and yang kind of belong in the good and evil, so if those two are capitalized, then why aren't Good and Evil as well?

Line-by-Line Critique

As he told his body to relax, easing the tension that came from his chosen profession, he was reminded of something his teacher had told him once, “A perfect balance often hovers on a razor’s edge.”

Instead of a comma like you have before the teacher's speech, you could use a colon instead.

Onto the part that irks me. He's telling his body to relax, but I wasn't aware that he was on edge and tense from his work. So basically, we skipped that part of knowing, and decided to jump right into the part of relaxing.

As a reader, I like to be one with characters. I like to know what they feel, think, hear, etc. All the senses that I can get. When he gets on Eden, I feel like you could show us the tension he's feeling. Rolling his shoulders, stretching, breathing in and out slowly. Something. I think one of the things that is going on here is a lot of tell and no show. The small backstory of what he does is interesting, but when it comes to the here and now, showing is best.

And today, he felt every aching bit of it.

Here's an example of telling instead of showing, to me. He's feeling every ache of the price for his ability, but what are his aches? I couldn't tell you, because I don't know. I'm simply being told he's having aches.

He glanced about the car; a dowdy couple snogging in the back and three salesmen, not one older than 21, seated along the far wall like huddled penguins in black wool suits, starched white shirts, and oddly identical haircuts mumbling shop.

Agh, that's a big sentence. Chop it down and separate the people he is looking at, otherwise it reads as if the snogging couple are with the salesmen, which isn't right.

Numbers

I notice that you use numerals instead of writing out the number. In some cases, numerals are fine, but when it comes to writing age, it makes it sort of amateur writing. So with 16, write sixteen, and with 21, write twenty-one.

Accents

When Adam first notices the businessmen, I never would have guessed that they'd sound like...well, hicks.

“We make gooood comp’ny.”

This kind of speech can get irritating fast. I understand that some people do actually speak this way in reality, but come on, if I ever heard a salesman like this I would leave. But I digress.

Don't write out a word longer than it's meant to be, such as with "gooood." Write good, and in the narration say that he drew the word out. Otherwise it looks like an amateur move.

Another thing is how is it all three of these guys sound like hicks? No smooth talkers at all? All salesmen, or at least dressed like them? I don't buy it, even if their hormones are turbo-charged. The moment I got to this part, I would've stopped reading completely, unfortunately.

Ending Note

The ending was confusing to me. I didn't really understand what happened, so maybe a bit more description to fill in the blanks would work. I'd expected her to be Eve, so it threw me off guard when that wasn't her name.

All in all, a good story. Just needs to be plumped up a bit. But that could be just me.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: E | (3.5)
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The Opening Line

Downtown lay in ruins, not a single building remained intact.

*BoxCheck* The first line is definitely an intriguing hook. It makes the reader ask what happened to the downtown area to cause such destruction.

My only nitpick, I think, is the fact that I feel the second section can be omitted, and the second sentence can be added on to this one to provide more of a hook than you already have. Something like the below.

Downtown lay in ruins, the only buildings resembling a place of sanctuary were either unstable or on fire.


I didn't like the idea of "not a single building remained intact" in there. It just seemed like you were telling the reader that, instead of showing, which is where the only buildings standing came into view.

Line-by-Line Critique

Wood and steel bars stuck out of the smoking heaps of debris, and sometimes small explosions could be heard from beneath the rubble. Those had been the lucky ones, on the mostly untouched outer edge.

I'm not sure I understand the second sentence here. Explosions beneath the rubble. So does that mean there are explosions going on in underground tunnels, like sewage pipes and such? The word "those" technically points to the small explosions, which doesn't seem accurate. I don't know how small explosions can be considered lucky. I'm thinking you're meaning that some of the buildings that are still somewhat standing are lucky instead. If that's the case, you'll need to make it clear.

What could have been tanks at one time, but were now hollow carcasses lay on their sides in a semi-circle.

I don't like how this is worded. I think you could possibly cut it short and have it make more sense. It's the "what could have been tanks" that's annoying me, I think, because they were tanks. It's like you're trying to mess with the reader, but it's not working. We're not really fooled.

New:
         Tanks lay on their sides in a semi-circle as hollowed carcasses.

It cuts the sentence a bit, and gets rid of the unnecessary.

Not that it could overcome the smell of burning flesh.

Before the narrative voice sounded neutral, explaining what had happened, but there's starting to be a smug style to the explanations. This makes me wonder if the narrator isn't the author, but the character in the book. I've yet to take notice of a character however, so I'm going to rule it out. Since this seems to be your narrative going on, it needs to be more neutral, and not have some sort of accomplishment style of voice, when the author (you) technically isn't supposed to be part of the story in the first place.

I believe this is one of the things that could be touched up on during the rewrite.

"My turn," The boy said with a demonic grin.

"The" doesn't need to be capitalized. Also, I think this sentence would work better without the "demonic." Maybe a smile that slowly grew to make his face more sinister.

It was the smile of a kid in a toy store, she thought as he grabbed her by the her eyes, she hoped for a quick end.

"She hoped for a quick end" can be a stand alone sentence to make it stand out more. Also, a typo with "her by the her eyes."

Which brings me to my last point. He wouldn't be able to grab her by her eyes. Unless he's trying to squeeze both of them out? I didn't get that imagery. I thought of it more as him sticking his fingers into her eye sockets, and possibly popping both of her eyes. Doing so, he could grip her eyes sockets.

Ending Note

It's a definitely intriguing prologue. A book that I would probably read, once it's touched up a bit. I think one of the things you can also work on is creating more depth to the characters, specifically the boy. When I read a story, I like to be the characters, in a way. Feel their annoyance, see their hopelessness, etc. I didn't really feel one with any of the characters in the prologue.

But that's just me. I enjoyed it nonetheless.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*


Hullo!

Saw you were a new member and decided to glance at your work. I'm not much of a spiritual person and I don't often critique poetry, but I've decided to take a gander at yours.

First off, I love the structure of the poem itself. How every other of the two-lined stanzas is set into italics. It makes the writing stand out a lot better with what you have to say. My only nit-pick is the fact that that style breaks off toward the end. I'd try to keep to the structure.

Something I'd take out are the "the"s before "Truth" and "errors." I feel they aren't needed and can tighten the poem up a bit. You seem to use "the" constantly, until the end of the poem.

Aside from that, I've nothing else to point out. It's a well-spoken poem.

Keep writing, and only awesome will come of it.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 13+ | (1.0)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*


Hullo!

Saw you were a new member and for once I get a chance to critique the first chapter of a novel instead of stepping into one that's already twenty chapters in. I critique as I read!

One thing before I say anything on the main body of the story--for the quotes, you'll want to also write what it says in English. I, for one, don't know who Publius is or what the words in italics mean. I'm going to bet that a lot of other people don't know what they mean either. This is a slight put-off already, and we haven't even started the story yet.

I'd keep the italicized quote, then write what it means in English, and who the quotes from. Many quotes do that when the words aren't known to most people.

*Box* The Hook:
Liss hurried down the street, glancing over her shoulder now and then to make sure she wasn’t being nobody followed.

It is a hook, but it's not. It needs to be tightened up a bit, which is why I took words out and added one word in. When someone's being cautious, you need to really show that to the reader. Make us a little on edge too. Something--someone--might be following this woman. She's worried. Make us worried.

*Box* Action:
The action started in the firs paragraph, but then it completely ended. What's supposed to hold my attention in this chapter? The fact two characters are talking about stormwalkers and such? Nope, not working.

Characters

*BoxCheck* Liss:
Liss is kind of an odd first name. Is it short for Lissandra, maybe? To me it sounds more like a last name than a first. While on the last name business, I'm going to assume this woman is going to be a main character in this story? I'd suggest giving her last name here as well, if that's the case. Normally names are hidden only when the reader isn't supposed to know it, though we get to it later in the story.

I'm not sure if she's a believable character at this point. We start in on her hurrying down a street, constantly checking over her shoulder. That gives us the feeling that she's nervous someone is looking for her and tracking her for some reason or another. But her fear and caution isn't really there when she finds the man she's looking for. A man that randomly says her name that she hadn't noticed. She's on the lookout, so why wouldn't she notice him unless he's in shadow.

And it doesn't seem like she really knows who he is, so he could be playing her, acting like the man she's looking for.

Ending Note

I didn't bother with doing line-by-line critiques, because it's all conversation and no action. I don't know if this is actually how they talked in London back then, but I would go insane with the conversations. They're...bluntly put, ridiculous.

Indeed, Mr. Oliver

Of course.

Yes, of course

Oh, yes, of course

Yes, of course, Mr. Oliver


Those aren't even conversations to me. There isn't anything for me to enjoy about these characters because they are so robotic and one-dimensional.

The story is here, but it needs some serious work. Use action and description. Here you're only telling us of a woman who happens to be a stormwalker. While intriguing, it's not very capturing. I mean, I'm a writer.

Normally people would say, "Yeah, and?" But that's it. I'm a writer.

A dull answer, right? There's no meat to it. Same with your story. Interesting concept, but no meat.

Keep writing, and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: E | (3.5)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*


Hullo!

I noticed that you were a new member with a new piece of writing up. I've never really critiqued any kind of monologue before, so I've decided to simply read it over and give my thoughts.

*BoxCheck* The Hook:
I'm not sure if the hook is always going to be there in personal writing like this, but you want the reader to read it, so why not have a hook, right? The first sentence is good enough to be a hook. Most kids don't have filters, and that's what gets them into trouble most of the time. Shoot, at twenty-five, I still don't have a filter, lol.

*BoxCheck* Line-by-Line Critique
That was when I was the most creative,had the best ideas, made tanks out of a simple toolkit in my father’s priya(scooter), did not know anything about music but sang in my own way with no cares whatsoever, made anything mobile by adding wheels to it, loved to spend hours designed car tracks and made stories about a my own world that was just my creation,--unadulterated, pure and eutopic.

This is too long of a sentence. I'd cut it into shorter bits and maybe even take out some items that don't need to be there.

"Was the most creative" could be taken out, and just mention it was the time when the best ideas were created. The list following that will automatically tell us about the creativity.

I don't understand the scooter comment. How can one make tanks inside of a scooter? When I think of a scooter, I think of one of those bike/slateboard hybrid things. Maybe I'm thinking of it in the wrong way, or it could possibly be called something else. I wouldn't put "priya(scooter)" though.

"In my own way with no care whatsoever" can be cut down to "without a care." If you can cut a sentence without damaging it or leaving important information out on the reader, do so. Cumbersome words just lengthen a sentence and do nothing for us. I did this to a few other places, as well as changed a present tense to past.

This was the time when I knew what I felt, things were new and interesting.

Instead of a comma, I'd use a period and start off "things" as a new sentence.

Then came my schooling, I experienced a world outside my own.

At first I thought about how it would sound if you placed "I experienced..." as its own sentence. "I experienced" isn't needed however, so I'd simply omit those words to tighten the sentence.

I sought to please others, make them happy just so that I’d be appreciated, molding myself according to others.


Ending Note

I've stopped my line-by-line critique, because it's basically the same things mentioned above. You need to cut out the cumbersome words that do nothing for the sentence except make it longer. For a monologue, I think it's important to keep the readers' attentions more than when you're writing a fictional story. Give us a reason for wanting to read a piece like this. Some other things to touch up on are grammar. Try reading this work out loud and you'll find them a lot easier.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read.

Keep writing, and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
*BalloonR* Welcome to WDC from "Newbie Welcome Wagon! *BalloonR*

Hullo!

Here to check out your work and hand out a critique of my own. One nit-pick right off the bat would be to move this into the poetry section instead of the short story. While it does tell a story, it's still poetry. ;)

*BoxCheck* Subject:
The subject is definitely clear throughout the poem. The boy is thinking about all the ways to save energy from one thing to another.

*Box* Flow:
Here's where my nit-picks come into play.

From the first to the second floor.

Daddy could stand to lose a pound – or four.

It’ll save time, energy and – like, seriously – he could afford to lose a few.

Mommy could drink from her wine glass instead, he thought,


The flow of the poem was decent enough, but it seemed you could cut out some of the words that didn't do much for the line except lengthen the sentence. If this were a poem that stuck to a specific syllable pattern, then I'd understand the need to throw words in and cut words out, but I didn't find a pattern like that.

Why not make it a twofer? Bring the dishes into the shower!

This quote didn't read natural to me. I'd break off one sentence, or try to combine them into one.

*BoxCheck* Ending Note:
I liked the humor you threw into the poem, it was a nice touch. Nothing much else to say except it was a nice read. Some spots just need some touching up.

Keep writing, and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 18+ | (1.0)
Hullo.

I got your piece from selecting the random review generator. Interesting title you have there. Let's see how the writing goes!

*Box* The Hook:
Margret awoke out of a sound sleep to the sound of the her next door neighbor's dog alternating between a bark and a howl.

Ah, the wonderful waking out of a sleep starting sentence. In most cases this is frowned upon, since it offers a dull beginning. In other cases, it actually works. For yours, it does work for what's happening--why she woke out of her sleep and the basis of the story. One thing I'd do is take out some of the wording. Wordy sentences cause the reader to slow down and dulls the writing.

*BoxCheck* Line-by-Line Critique:
Sighing, she reached for her cell phone, but decided that if she could hear Misty then Joyce and Joel could hear the pit bull poodle mix as well.

This sentence totally threw me for a loop. First off, there's a bunch of names. Misty, Joyce, and Joel. I could get that Misty is the dog, but why say what breed it is when we get its name? Why couldn't the breed be mentioned in the first sentence, then use "dog" instead here? Does it matter what type of dog it is?

When she reached for her telephone, I automatically thought she was going to look at the time. I get woken up from sleep, I look at the time; I don't think about calling someone unless this kind of thing happens repetitively, in which case I'd be mentioning the disruption to the local authorities. If she thought of calling the neighbors to wake them up, then they must be really tight. The only neighbor's numbers I know of are my baby sitter from years ago and my relatives.

Bringing me to the next thing that wasn't clear: Joyce and Joel.

I swear I thought the two of these were Margret's kids. I don't know what gave me that idea, which means not enough information is given. A reader can't be allowed to think one person is someone else. They need to know who they are, because they are in the main character's head. What the character knows, to a certain extent, the reader should know as well. I think what made me recognize these two names as her kids is the fact she was thinking of both Joyce and Joel being awake from the dog's baying. No mother wants her kids to be awoken in the middle of the night, after all.

One more thing on the names. They're sounding a lot alike, and that can cause confusion. It may not be so bad here, because it's a short story, but for future reference, names that are close alike tend to get switched in a reader's head, so they forget who's who and mixes the character's up. Obviously twins and the like are possible exceptions, but you know what I mean!

Ending Note

I was going to do a line-by-line critique, honest, but there's too much to go over in this short of a piece. Punctuation to believability. Unless the character often talks to herself when she wakes up, abruptly or not, I wouldn't have her talking. Shoot, I'm groggy when I wake up no matter the time, so that early would scramble my brain. I'd become frustrated like her, but I wouldn't speak aloud in a yelling voice (until I'm directing it at the people with the dog). So the whole "Damn, it's one in the morning and I have a job interview!" I feel is redundant. You're hand-feeding the reader information, basically.

If someone's yelling, it's normally ended with an exclamation point on the end. Or even italics to emphasize a point. Most of the time when Margret's shouting, there's a period, and it has to be labeled she's shouting for us to understand.

Numerals. Don't write the numbers as they are, unless the specific numeral calls for it. "My neighbors at one-twenty Clay Circle are creating a nuisance." And the "1 A.M. speech."

Despite its shortness, I skimmed a lot of it to the end. It just couldn't hold my attention well enough. Don't get me wrong, it's a good concept, just needs to be written in a more realistic way.

Hope I've helped. Keep writing and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hullo.

You know what...I was going to go ahead and review this with a template I've created for myself, but normally I just critique pieces as I read them, and I'm going to try to mix and match here. It will take me a while to for my critique to be completed, but...I feel like I give more to the writer this way.

Everything stated is my own opinion.

*BoxCheck* The Hook:
The first sentence is a decent hook. It makes the reader wonder what kind of phone call it is, and moves us to read further along to find out. I also like how it stands out in its own paragraph, making it more important.

*BoxCheck* Line-by-Line Critique:
I still can't really believe it, standing here listening to the message on my answering machine.

In most cases "really" can be taken out of a sentence and not change the outcome. It's a filler word that people use when they speak more often than not, thus we're known for putting it into our stories as well when they aren't needed.

I get what you're going for with the main character standing by the answer machine and listening to who's talking, but something about the sentence didn't flow well enough. Like it needed an extra word. Instead of searching for an extra word, I trimmed it. It goes along with the "less is more" aspect of writing. You're trying to pull the reader in, and it feels like a tense moment for the main character, so have us on edge too. Shorter sentences make for tense moments. Longer sentences are a more relaxed state of mind.

Repeating it over and over. And over.

I get the repetition you're going for. I've done it a few times before in my own writing, but it doesn't work here for me. The second sentence seems more of a "in case you forgot--and over" play of words. It's tension here. Keep to the task. Over and over is fine, keep the story moving.

"Hello Ru… I'm… sorry I missed you. I'll call you tonight. Uhh… it's Myra".

"Uhh" can be changed to just "uh." The additional h is there for looks anyway. ;) Also, the period at the end of the sentence needs to be inside the quotations.

I want to go back a step into the topic of the additional "and over" you did in the previous sentence. After hearing this line on the answering machine is the perfect moment to have the main character press play again before being transferred back to their thoughts on the situation. That's just my personal opinion though.

Funny that I didn't need to be told; , that I still remembered your voice so well.

A lot of different bits taken out. The first part because "funny" struck me as off-key, unless it's dry humor, but even then the word isn't needed. "That" didn't feel right either since I nixed the "funny" in my mind. "Still" and "well" are two different words--like "really" and "very"--don't need to be used. They're filler words for the most part and can be cut out.

Instead of a comma, I placed in a semicolon instead. After revising the first clause and second could stand alone in their own sentences, and the semicolon is just separating them instead of a period.

*Box* Character Dialogue:
The readers have been given a piece of dialogue, but there's not much description to it.

The person on the answering machine--Myra--is hesitant, possibly nervous about calling and getting the machine rather than the main character. That's clearly noted by the pauses, nicely done. It gives readers a bit of insight, especially since it's been a while since the two have had a conversation.

What the reader doesn't get is the sound of Myra's voice. The main character obviously knows the voice down to the last audible note. But we're in the main character's head right now, so we should be hearing her voice now as well. Rich tone, soft, an accent? We have to make up a voice for Myra, which isn't fair.

So the sentence where the MC says they still remember Myra's voice is the moment where the voice should be replayed in our ears. What's so memorable about it?

*BoxCheck* Line-by-Line Critique:
God, it's been a long, long time.

I feel like it comes across better without the second "long" in there.

And feels even longer too.

Uh-huh, I knew I was going to come across another filler word sooner or later. "Too" can be taken out without damaging the sentence. Also, I was playing around with starting the sentence with "feels" instead of "and" and thought that it might be better--aka have more of an impact--but it's my style of writing showing, and I really want to leave that one up to you.

I remember the last time I heard from you.

I understand why you'd want to place this into its own paragraph--to make it stand out more to the reader, just as you'd done with the first sentence of this piece, but I'm not sure I like this stand-alone sentence. To me, it doesn't merit enough feeling to be alone. Well...I don't think "feeling" is a good enough word, because the feelings are there in the words, but it doesn't seem...emotional enough? Maybe you'll understand where I'm getting at. In any case, I think it could work a bit better as the first sentence to the next paragraph.

A tearful goodbye for both of us, though I'd like to fool myself that you didn't hear it in my voice.

This is sort of misconstrued to me. It was a tearful goodbye, and the narrator wants to think the tearfulness wasn't in their voice. Tearful would mean crying, so if someone's crying, what would it matter what the voice sounded like? I mean...it's noticeable without speaking. It's on your face. And since it was both of them, they'd both be crying at that point. Might want to rework the sentence a bit.

We'd become way too close over the previous few months.

"Way" can be cut without damaging the sentence.

*Box* Grammar & Spelling:
I'm probably sounding like a broken record at this point with all the cumbersome words that don't do much for the writing I've talked about. I apologize for this. I do get a bit long-winded on certain things, but I want to make sure the author knows what I'm getting at. Just so I don't continue on with pointing them out all over again (hey, I have to give you some work!), I'm going to tell you how I see it.

Imagine how a valley girl talks. She'll say "really" and "totally" and "seriously" a lot, right? Those are words that people use when talking, but they aren't wise to use when it's the narrator's voice going on--unless the words belong in the narrator's thoughts (ie italics). If your narrator is the main character, such as in this piece, and they are a valley girl, then fine, but don't expect the reader to like the character all that much unless they themselves are a valley girl as well.

Another method to look for are words that can belong, but don't always need to be there. Some of these are "too" and "well" as well as certain adverbs and adjectives. Depending on where they're located, they'd either be fine as is, or could be cut out.

*BoxCheck* Line-by-Line Critique:
All-encompassing, our passion for each other had taken over both of our lives.

I feel like this sentence can be shortened. That is has two of the same meanings that can be combined into one. Instead of "all-encompassing" being at the beginning, you could reword the sentence into something like: Our passion for each other had encompassed both of our lives. I was debating on taking the "both of" out of the sentence, since "our" implies the both of them, but I suppose it would work well enough either way.

Constant contact, via phone, Skype, email, instant messenger.

Maybe take out the comma after "contact" and place in an em dash instead.

It came suddenly but it was inevitable.

You could probably cut this sentence short by rewording it as: It was sudden, but inevitable.

*Box* Pacing:
The next few paragraphs need to have a better pacing to them. As they are, there's no sense of urgency. No anger and tightness to the sentences. The main character is angry, fuming, but it's not enough to just tell us this. Longer sentences create a more relaxed vibe for the reader, and most of your sentences are at that relaxed length, so it's hard to get into the main character's mood as it's being written. Short, tight sentences gets the reader on edge, because it's more intense, fast-paced. Try to reword the sentences into shorter sequences. Let the readers fell the main character's anger and frustration, and once that's done with, relax the sentences once more.

*Box* Character Dialogue:
The next section of dialogue comes off as sort of...skimpy, I guess. Like you were in a rush to write it? I hear their yelling and heartbreaking words, but I don't feel what they're feeling--or rather, what the main character felt at the time. The descriptions of the dialogue need to be better fleshed out, in my opinion.

*BoxCheck* The Ending:
Love the ending line, a great place to stop and let the reader have those words sink in.

Ending Note

I'd decided to stop where I did since I figured I'd given you enough information to engorge yourself on, haha. No use in overloading someone, and if I happened to do that, I apologize. I feel like there needs to a bit more description in some areas, as well as watching the pace and tightening it where it needs to be, while allowing it to just have a normal flow otherwise.

Hopefully I've helped you out a bit. Keep writing, and nothing but awesome will come of it!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review of A Confession  
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: E | (4.5)
*BoxCheck* Subject:
The subject is wonderfully portrayed, in my opinion. Just because the title says confession doesn't mean we know what kind it is.

*Box* Flow:
As many other poems do, yours has succumbed to an uneven flow due to irregular punctuation. You use commas and periods, but the commas are mix and match. It makes the reader pause, which isn't something you want.

*BoxCheck* Line Breaks:
I feel that the line breaks are fine as they are. The shorter lines place emphasis in the right places.

*Box* Punctuation:
To tell you the truth, I think you can simply nix the punctuation throughout the poem and have a single question mark after "hello", since that's normally the question people ask upon answering the phone. It will lead to a greater importance to having that one punctuation mark throughout the whole poem.

But that's just me!

Periods: They aren't seen very often in this piece, and that's fine. We see them at the end of each stanza, aside from the second to last one. I would actually switch the comma after "word" with a semicolon instead, as it will put more of an emphasis on "Hello." (Which I still feel should be a question mark rather than a period!)

Commas: Imagine you're writing a short story and this is all the words you need in the poem. Stretch them into actual sentences and read them aloud and you'll more than likely find where the commas fit naturally.

*Box* Redundancy:
I didn't see any redundant parts.

*Box* Cliches:
Nope!

*Box* Rhythm:
No real rhythm to it, so nothing to say on the matter.

*BoxCheck* Ending Note:
The first stanza was excellent. As was the last line. You did a wonderful job with portraying the obsession in such a small amount of words. A job well done, just needs a few kinks worked out.

Keep writing and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by KRHolbrook
Rated: E | (4.5)
*BoxCheck* Subject:
If the title wasn't obvious enough, the subject of the writing definitely is. ;)

*Box* Flow:
The flow is all right, but there are certain moments where the poem lacks punctuation that you put elsewhere, and that can be distracting in itself. Another thing you might look at is the second to last stanza at the last line. "That" disrupts the flow of every other line beginning with "temptation."

*BoxCheck* Line Breaks:
The line breaks of the poem are proper, in my opinion. I have no qualms with them.

*Box* Punctuation:
This is where clumsiness (usually) shows its face in a poem. If you're going to be using a specific type of punctuation in a poem (comma, question mark, period, etc.), then it needs to remain at the proper locations throughout the piece, rather than thrown in random places. Now, if a single quotation mark was put in a specific place for emphasis, then that's fine. It has reasoning.

Commas: You'll use these, then you won't, then they'll appear in locations at random. It makes the reader stop, wonder why there isn't a comma, then move on. They may repeat this process, which isn't what you want. Some of the lines that need commas are below.

Question Marks: Another punctuation mark that pops in and out throughout the poem. If something is being asked, there should be one, otherwise you can get rid of all the marks and simply use commas, exclamation points, and ellipses instead.

Apostrophes: Sometimes you don't use them when you should, and other times you use them when you shouldn't. Some examples are below.

If temptation had a voice to express it's plans would we comprehend

Such admiration and desire that warms us as a winters fire

Even on a women's clearest of days she wont let her mind of reason,


Exclamation marks: Never use more than one. While I don't think there are any rules to writing, merely guidelines, I think this should be a set rule. Using more than one exclamation mark together makes the writing seem more immature than it's supposed to be. One is more than enough to get a point across.

*Box* Redundancy:
I didn't see any kind of redundancy in the writing, aside from the overuse of exclamation points, but that was stated in the punctuation section. ;)

*Box* Cliches:
Nada!

*BoxCheck* Rhythm:
While there wasn't much of a rhythm to go along with (and that's fine), I did enjoy the last longer stanza that started with "temptation" with each line. My only nitpick is the "that" that begins the last line of that stanza. It breaks the flow.

*BoxCheck* Ending Note:
Wonderful poem. I don't normally read very many that I truly enjoy, because I feel most of them belong on a more personal level. I think that a lot of people who write should read this poem though, as it might allow them to get a little more personal with characters they're creating in their own story. After all, no character is complete until they're faced with a temptation of their own.

Keep writing and only awesome will come of it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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