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1
1
Review of He who remains  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Simon331. I'm Linz, and I came across this via the Read and Review page. I hope you find something of use in my musings. *Smile*

Overview
This is a flash fiction story of about 500 words, written in first person with an unnamed narrator, who is immortal. The story is about the narrator and (her?) friend, who had died. She casts a spell that would bring her friend, Isabel, back, but something goes wrong, and by the end, her immortality is in doubt.

Opinions
I enjoyed this. It's well written. There are great examples of showing vs telling, in the way the author has managed to paint the narrator as a witch, without telling us she's a witch, and that the recipe is a spell, without telling us that it's a spell. There's no twist at the end, but there's a definite sense of closure, so the story feels complete. The character feels real, and there's a deep sense of her emotional state coming through the piece, even though the author doesn't say it.

My one criticism is that the opening is a bit cliché and a bit weak - 'the day... started like any other".

Suggestions for Improvement
Try to find a stronger, more original opening, as this should grab the reader and hook them.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Joesmoe, I'm Linz, and I came across this via the Please Review page.

Overview
This is a powerfully written flash fiction, written in the unusual 2nd person format, in which the main character has an undisclosed mental health issue (the author deliberately leaves this out, so that the reader can guess which one it is. My guess is the MH issue that used to be called paranoid schizophrenia). The voice tells the MC that his best friend from the town over is going to die, and that he'll lose everyone close to him (or her)

This seems to come true, and the story ends with the MC believing everyone is gone, and that they are all alone, with just the Voice to "talk to".

Opinions
This is powerful. Dark, but powerful. And a gripping read. I'm no psychiatrist, but it feels on point. The author speaks as though he (or she) knows what they're talking about, so if they've experienced this, I hope they're better now and/or receiving the help they need.

The end is fitting to the rest of the story, and there is a sense of closure for the reader.

Suggestions for Improvement
There are a couple of SPAG errors that need addressing - would have been 5 stars but for those. But otherwise, great read.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a re-review, as requested by the author.

Overview
Written in diary format, this is a 1st person point of view story in which the narrator and her friends go to a secluded cottage in the middle of the desert (why you'd want to go on vacation in the desert is beyond me, but.. Not my story). The reason for the vacation is because the narrator's has a tough week and needs to relax with her friends. The author has added more description about the environment surrounding the cottage, and in an attempt to make the characters more memorable, has given us a brief description of each of them. As a result, we know that Marleny is a motherly figure, who calms the narrator and Diego down when they "get a little too crazy", Diego is into sports - a "killer baseball player" and Fernando is studying engineering, so is "brainy".

The author has added a lot more of Chapter 2. In it, she explains the narrator can tell Marleny is chopping watermelon because she can smell the sweetness from her room (I'm not sure watermelon has that much of a scent - however sweet. It has to be right under my nose for me to smell it, but perhaps I have a weak sense of smell). They have a great, uneventful day, and then later that evening, as the narrator is changing into her pyjamas, she hears booted footsteps " like her father's" and the sound of a man's laughter. She sends the boys out to investigate, but there's no sign of anyone there.

Opinions
The author has painted a great picture of the scenery surrounding the cottage, the state of its garden and how it compares (badly) to the picture sent by the person renting it out to them. But apart from the fact that the narrator's bedroom doesn't have any curtains, there's no real description of the interior of the house, and none of the characters have any physical description - the narrator still doesn't have a name yet, although perhaps that comes later - and what we learn about the other three characters feels forced.

There are a few spelling and grammar errors too, which were not there before - namely a badly placed apostrophe in the word " stands" (opening sentence of Chapter 1), and I think "Spinage-green grass" is meant to be "spinach-green grass", and she uses the abbreviation, "PJs" instead of pyjamas.

As for the main character, we know she's young (as the four friends are still in college) but she comes across as a bit of a moaner. She loses her job, which she suspects is because she refused to go out on a date with her boss, spills coffee on herself, has money stolen from her (but still manages to afford a trip for four to a cottage in the middle of the desert) and finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman. I think this is an attempt on the author's part, to garner reader sympathy for the narrator, and to include them more firmly in the story, but for me, it misses the mark.

However, Chapter 2 ends on a great hook, and while I'm not entirely convinced the narration fits the story, it flows well.

Suggestions for (further) Improvement
HappyDonut, the longer you are a member of writing workshops such as this, the more you'll hear the phrase "show, don't tell". This means that instead of telling us something, you "paint a picture with words".

The ideal situation for this in your story, surrounds the description as you give of the narrator's three friends.

You tell us that Diego is a "killer" baseball player. But we'd get a much better feel for his sports prowess, if you had the narrator tell us about the time he singlehandedly changed the course of a match so that they went from certain defeat through an amazing recovery to a glittering win.

Marleny - instead of telling us how motherly she is, and how she stops the narrator and Diego from going "too crazy" - you could include a scene in which she does just that. Describe what "too crazy" means for the narrator and Diego, and show us how Marleny steps in to calm them down.

And Fernando - instead of telling us he's studying engineering, tell us about a time he built something from scratch. Perhaps he built something in class and he wanted to show it off to the narrator and the others.

Things like this are what make the characters memorable and distinct from each other. Telling us that Diego plays baseball, Marleny is a motherly figure, and Fernando is studying to be an engineer - these things are easily forgotten.

Try not to use abbreviations - you might use it in a real diary entry, but you need to be a little more professional when writing for an audience.

No need for an apostrophe between the d and the second s in "stands".

Proofread before posting. *Wink*

Hope that helps.
4
4
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (2.0)
Hi, HappyDonut. I'm Linz and I came across this story vie the Read A Newbie page.

Overview
This story is a series of diary entries in which the narrator, of indeterminate age (but comes across as young) who goes on holiday/vacation with her friends. At the start of the story, they've just arrived to find that the house in which they are staying is not as impeccable as it was advertised. Chapter 1 introduces us to the characters, a description of the house and some backstory, in which the narrator tells us that she's been sacked from her job for reasons unknown to her, turns to her boyfriend for comfort, only to find that he's in bed with another woman.

There's also part of Chapter 2, which may as well have been saved to submit later, as it consists of one or two sentences and therefore doesn't reveal much.


Opinions
The author is good at describing the house and they use language that young people so often use, so if the story is in the form of a teenager's diary, it reads true.

The whole getting sacked and running to a lover, only to find them in bed with someone else, is glossed over, and I think this is a mistake. It would add drama and tension and how she handles those stressful incidents would reveal something of her character, as well as perhaps help the reader come to the sympathetic conclusion that this girl needs to grab her friends and take a break, so in my opinion, that's where the story really starts. But. That motivation is a bit of a cliché.

Right now, the characters are forgettable. The nameless narrator comes across as a self-entitled teenager, and there's been no interaction with any of her friends, so they're like chess pieces - there, but easily forgotten or merged with each other. But this is only the opening of the story. Hopefully that will change.

The house is supposed to be haunted, but there's nothing at all in Chapter 1 and what's been submitted of Chapter 2, to give that impression. Yes, the house is dilapidated, but at the start of Chapter 2, the narrator tells us she wakes up after a very good night's sleep with her two male friends cleaning the pool and her female friend cutting watermelon in the kitchen (how the narrator knows her friend is cutting watermelon exactly, is unclear. There's a point of view shift going on there) so another potential source of tension has been missed. There is the possibility that this is misdirection, and the character in the kitchen is not the narrator's friend at all, but there's nothing in what's posted to suggest that's the case.

The format of the story - ie, diary entries: I'm not sure how effective that is going to be to draw the reader in. At the moment, it feels very superficial - too much like a diary, where the narrator knows what happened, and starts to tell the reader, but then leaves out the vital "juicy" details that would really hook them. The reader should feel like a parrot on the narrator's shoulder, experiencing what the narrator experiences... but, we don't.

Suggestions for Improvement
HappyDonut, I think you need to rethink where the story really starts. I recommend going back and show us the scenes where the main character is standing in her boss's office, being sacked, and the subsequent running to her boyfriend. Yes, it's cliché, but that's where the story really begins.

You do need to work on your characters a lot more. They shouldn't be forgettable, and they shouldn't easily merge into one.

The format needs work. You already name the chapters Day 1, Day 2 etc, but I'd recommend actually putting in the day of the week, and the date, and maybe the time (eg: Day 1: Friday the 13th September, 8pm), and then abandon the diary entry mode and go into novel mode.

As always, these are just my own opinions. Others may think differently.

I'd be happy to re-review if you do make any changes.
5
5
Review of OUR LITTLE SECRET  
Review by Linz
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
This is Chapters 5-7 of Liz's story entitled "Our Little Secret" which is about a group of four friends who are navigating life in contemporary Egypt. The two young women are Muslim, one of the men is Christian, we still don't know the religious beliefs of the other male.

We know from previous chapters that the two protagonists Sara and Malik are now dating while things are a little more complicated for their friends Amir and Layla.

In these three chapters, Layla, who has so far come across as an unfeeling gold digger, is confronted with the reality of an arranged marriage after her father tells her of her upcoming engagement. Her mother is worried that Layla is taking it too well and mother and daughter have a heart to heart. Layla seems to change her mind about arranged marriages after the discussion, and after her mother gives her her blessing to make her own decisions.

Meanwhile, Sara is not so lucky. She and Malik discuss the possibility of Malik (a Christian) converting to Muslim, so that they can marry, and she hopes to talk about this with her father that evening. Unfortunately though, her father comes home from work in a rage after seeing a young couple walking on the streets in the way that lovers would. Sara wisely decides to try to talk to him later, but when she does,
, he flatly refuses to give her his permission to continue to pursue this boy.

Meanwhile, Amir talks to his dad about converting a disused apartment that they have into a shop so he can earn enough money to make Layla, his love interest, happy. At first, his father is unsure about it, thinking it's another attempt of his son to scam him, but when Amir reveals that he hopes to make a living and buy a house for his intended bride, his father quickly changes his mind, but not without warning Amir that love doesn't last and he'll be heartbroken soon enough.

Thoughts and Opinions

The story should probably come with trigger warnings, as it deals with cultural sexism and the normalisation of rape in arranged marriages.

The author is not a native English speaker, and this shows throughout.

The character continue to feel real, although there were some instances where certain character seemed to act in a way that is at odds with their personalities from previous chapters, but the story is still young, early impressions may change.

Suggestions for Improvement
The most two boring hours of the week

The two most boring hours, not the most two.

A black gate. Up to five meters. One security man was half awake

This is good.

there’s nothing such for fun friends for me.

I think you mean, "There's no such thing..."

I go to clean somewhere else

New paragraph between the closing quotation mark and this sentence.

All in all, three very good chapters. I'd read more. *Smile*
6
6
Review of OUR LITTLE SECRET  
Review by Linz
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hi Liz. I'm Linz and I came across this via the Review a Newbie page.

Overview

This is a story about four friends - Sarah (a Muslim) who is the female protagonist, Malik (a Christian), Amir (whose religion is not yet revealed) and Layla (Muslim). It alternates between first person from Sara's perspective, and third omniescent and is set in contemporary Egypt.

It begins in first person with Sara daydreaming about Malik and being with him and only him while she waits for her friends to arrive for what turns out to be a dinner date. Layla knows her friend has a crush on Malik and tries to get her to open up about it, but Sara is reticent. Amir and Layla flirt and it transpires that Amir has feelings for Layla, but she is only interested in money. They leave early, leaving Sara and Malik alone, at which point Malik confesses he loves Sara and Sara responds, saying she feels the same. They go to his apartment, which he informs Sara (who's already known him for a year) that he lives alone. Just as things get serious, her father calls her and demands to know where she is. There's an altercation and Sara gives in, saying she has to go home.

Once alone, Malik starts to have doubts, phones Amir for advice or to compare evenings, and hangs up, deciding to call it off as it could never work.

The next day, Sara is confronted by the reality of her religion as her father tries to arrange a meeting between her and the son of an acquaintance of his. She and Malik skip college, something which does not go unnoticed by their friends.

Thoughts/Opinions

It's obvious that English is not the author's first language, but she does a lot better than I would if I were to attempt to write in a second language, so fair play to her. There's a lot of telling, and not much showing, and in places it gets a bit political - the author's true opinions seep into the story.

It seems odd to me that Sara has known, and been friends with Malik for a year, but doesn't know that he lived alone until he tells her at the dinner table. Surely it's come up at some point, so it comes across as infodumping for the reader's sake.

Other than that, it's full of clichés. Sara lives for Malik and only for Malik. She feels like she can't breathe without him, spends all her time daydreaming about him and being with him and escaping to a tropical island where they can be alone and spend hours kissing each other on the sand. Teenaged girls will love it, but I worry about the message it sends them - that they only exist for men. In a story which repeatedly points out this is 2021, surely it's time for female characters to live for something more than men?

Having said that, all four of the main characters are distinct from the others and memorable. The scenes feel authentic, too - I knew this was set in Egypt because it felt like it was set in Egypt. There's a smattering of description, such as the restaurant's black chairs against yellow tables, the red taxis and the colours of Sara's hijabs, but I feel like there's room for more.

Suggestions for Improvement

It isn't clear in the opening of Chapter 1 that the characters are going out for the evening. It wasn't until Layla says she has to be back by 10 that it becomes obvious that this is an evening scene. Suggestion: You already tell us that Sara checks her watch, and that minutes, not hours have passed, so telling us what time it is would be an natural inclusion.

I swear to god this is not even a flirt.”

No one would say this - not quite like he does here. It's clearly there only to inform the reader. Consider modifying it. Maybe Sara doesn't believe him and says he's just flirting - that way this would become a natural answer. Otherwise, delete it.

Isn’t it cute how humans think of doing things they grow up believing it’s impossible? Just when it comes to feelings like love. The sad part about it is when it doesn’t come true. They start realizing how pathetic they were being hopeful About something with a very low chance of happening.

This appeals directly to the reader, something known as "breaking the fourth wall". In my opinion, it doesn't belong here. Suggestion: delete it.

I guess that is the dopamine secreting.

Again, no one (except a scientist, perhaps) would ever analyse how they're feeling like this, so it reads awkwardly. Suggest deleting it.

Will probably read more.
7
7
Review of Forbidden Wants  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi VeryWell. I'm Linz and I came across this through the Read A Newbie link.

I wouldn't describe this as a short story. I wouldn't describe it even as flash fiction.

However, it makes for an intriguing synopsis and conjures up images of Romeo and Juliet. It grabs me by the imagination and makes me wonder what happened.

I'd read more.
8
8
Review of ഞാൻ  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi Rishi. I'm Linz and I found this through the Read a Newbie page.

I had to copy this into Google Translate, which is why I think you may not have received any reviews until now. There may be things that have been lost in translation, and there are strange word choices in the translated version, such as the woman constantly laughing, when I think you mean she's constantly smiling, to hide her problems from her husband?

The story is written in 1st person and is about a woman who has tried to be a good wife, the idea of which has been passed down by generations of women - namely her grandmother and mother. There's also mention of a "she", that the protagonist and her peers aspired to be like when they were young - perhaps the role model for the protagonist? But who this role model or female figure is, is not revealed.

It transpires that they could have hired a maid, to stop the protagonist from doing all the housework, but she refused because to her, that is what a good wife does, and she wants people to look at her and admire her skills as a wife. She has a child by her husband.

There's not much in the way of dialogue (maybe 3 sentences of it), and what there is, isn't really enough to reveal anything about the other characters, although it does reveal something about the protagonist. There's an air of pride and ambition, the ambition to be the best wife, the kind of wife that men want, and women want to be. This is at odds with the Western ideal, but this is not a Western story, and the reader has to bear that in mind.

Something goes wrong, and someone ends up dead, but whether that is the husband, the child, or the protagonist herself isn't clear. It could equally be any one of them and indeed, when I reread it, my imagination alternates who it is who has died. Perhaps that is a translation issue.

There is a lot of ambiguity in the story. None of the characters have names, descriptions are minimal, we don't know who the role model is in relation to the protagonist, and the scene in which one of the characters dies is basic. We don't actually know what happened, and my mind played everything from wife killing husband and standing over his body, husband killing wife and standing over her, to their child being stillborn.

Whatever the scenario, the one thing that is clear is that the protagonist feels like people are looking at her and whispering about her and that she is lost in her own home. The story ends with reference to a key and a doll? Another translation issue?

It's hard to rate a story like this because it's difficult to work out how much of the problems in it is because of the language barrier and how many are problems with the writing itself, and it doesn't seem fair to rate something harshly when it may not be the author's fault. The story drew me in, despite the ambiguity but it needs some clarification - especially the death/dying scene.

3 stars.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi. I'm Linz. I came across this story through the Read and Review page.

Overview
This is a first person story about a cop and a murderer. We follow Seb as he learns that a serial killer has struck again, and that the killer has a clearly defined pattern of killing three women over the cause of three days and then going quiet for three years. Seb has been in charge of the case for the nine previous murders so when he learns that the killer has struck again, he asks Ryan if he could be involved in the case this time, too.

Ryan is a detective of the same or similar rank to Seb, but gives him the go-ahead without running it by their superiors. Seb and Ryan then split up and each patrol two likely targets for the next kill. Seb strikes it lucky when he sees the killer running away. He gives chase, catches him, but then let's him go because this guy killed Seb's wife and catching him would mean closure.

Overall Impressions
There's so much that's implausible about the story that suspending disbelief takes a concerted effort.

I'm not convinced that Ryan would go under his boss's nose and just include Seb in the case without asking - there may very well be a reason why the Higher Ups don't want Seb on the case - like this a-hole is suspected of murdering his wife, or that he's already failed to catch him for 9 years at least. Maybe both... Probably both.

Nor am I convinced by Seb's motive for letting the killer go. The fact that this guy murdered Seb's wife would be an even stronger motive for bringing him down and slamming him in the clanger. Probably after a good old' right hook.

There's also a problem with narrative use.

This story is 1st person, and initially, it works in 1st. But once Ryan and Seb split up to stake out the two blocks, you switch between 1st for Seb and 3rd for Ryan. In first person, we shouldn't know what other characters are up to when they're not on the scene, so we shouldn't know about Ryan jotting down the street names, or that he calls the office.

Finally, I'm not sure why Seb starts "shaking like an earthquake", when he learns that the killer has struck again.

And yet, it's a riveting story. The argument about whether or not there's a pattern in the streets the killer chooses to target feels realistic. Ryan himself feels real. Misguided, willing to breach protocol, but real.

I also like the earthquake reference, although there are better similes.

The dialogue also flows organically.

Suggestions.
Switch this to third person omniscient. That way you achieve what you need to achieve and can keep Ryan's car scenes in the story without confusing the reader.

Likewise, split up the scenes so that you're either writing Seb's scene, or Ryan's, instead of mashing them together in a jumbled mess.

Find a better motive for Seb letting the killer go. If it were me, I'd opt for making the killer a close relative or a best friend. But that's me. You might come up with an alternative.

Work on adding some description. You don't necessarily have to tell us everything about how the characters look (readers will form an image of the characters in their minds anyway) or go into what or how many newspapers were on the desks, or the exact number of buildings on a street, but some descriptions would be nice. Indulge the five senses as much as possible - especially if you intend to keep this in first person.

"A earthquake" should be "an earthquake", but other than that I didn't notice any SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar,) errors.

I would read more.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review of Guilty Pleasures  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
Reads like a blub, or a synopsis. If that's what it's meant to be then job done. Would I read the story based on this? Maybe. But I think a love triangle is pretty cliché now. I'd want a hint of something else to keep me interested.

If it's actually the sample of a short story, or a novel,or anything in between, then it doesn't do enough to draw me in. I don't fins myself caring about either of the characters, or whether or not they gave an affair. Her life is mundane (which is almost always a way of saying "boring") and he's an exotic stranger that brings some excitement into her life.

Based on this (and that's all I can base opinion on), it's distinctly average. Now, " average", for a newbie isn't bad. There's just nothing here to draw me in and make me want to read more.
11
11
Review of A stronger magic  
Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a return review.

I enjoyed this, and it's along the lines of the novel series that I'm writing, so it's something that I'm interested in.

The story follows Sarah, who we learn is a witch who will be married in 6 months. We also learn a bit of back story about her mother.

The story opens with Sarah on the balcony of her bedroom, watching as a shipping company owner oversees the unloading of his cargo. Sarah casts a spell that dislodges an amphorae which nearly kills the shipping owner's servant. The owner is first puzzled by the fall, but spots Sarah and seems to realise she's responsible. Problem, he's not human and the author hints at an ancient, stronger power than Sarah's. Sarah is tormented by dreams that night and the story ends there.

To me, it feels unfinished, like the end of a paragraph instead of a story. In many ways, it reads like the beginning of a longer piece. I love that the newcomer is mysterious and I took an instant liking to him. Sarah herself... The jury's out on her. I'm not sure how I feel about her.

I would say that comma use needs to be looked at. They seem to appear in clusters, making some of them unnecessary and absent where they are perhaps needed.

Pacing could be improved, perhaps - I didn't really get a strong feeling of suspense, but again, that could be built if you decide to expand on it.

Would certainly be interested in reading more. Well done. *Smile*


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
You have the premise of a good story here, but the grammar issues let you down.

(at the same time somewhere else, I will give the location if I can.)

Of course you can - it's your story... But...


A boy and girl are running through the forest like someone or thing is chasing them. both looking about the same age as naruto, the boy has black hair and his clothes ripped and burned in several places, the girls has Red hair and her clothes look better then the boy’s but not by much. She looks like she is struggling to run as she is leaning on the boy as she runs with a limp.


This paragraph serves no purpose. Yes, you give a description of them, and yes, we know they're running from something, but then you go and say pretty much the same thing two paragraphs later. Suggest you delete it.

Capital Letters
Capital letters denote names (characters and places) and the beginning of sentences. Any capital letter in the middle of a sentence that is not a name should be replaced with a small one. Likewise, character names should always have a capital letter (Naruto sometimes doesn't).

Dialogue.
I find myself saying this a lot, so please don't think it's just you, but each time a different character speaks, you should start a new paragraph. It just breaks up the narrative and makes it easier for the reader to keep track on who's talking. Example:

"Morning Joe," said Cathy. "Nice day, isn't it?"
Joe looked up from washing his car and squinted in the sunlight. "Certainly is, Cathy, but knowing my luck, it'll rain later." He gave a rueful glance at his soapy machine.
"I'm sure it won't," Cathy smiled.

As long as the same character is speaking, I continue on the same line, but as soon as I switch from Cathy to Joe, I hit the Return button.

To - a place: "I'm going to the market.
Too - also: "I'm going too."
Two - number: "That makes two of us".

Overall

I'm conflicted over the names Sasuke and Sasuke S. On the one hand, I think it makes for a touch of conflict that humanises the characters, and that slight confusion when the vampire wakes up and asks for " her" Sasuke is realistic, but on the other hand, I think they're a bit too close and confusing. There is a danger, too, that they sound so similar that they merge into one character - at least to the reader.

Speaking of the vampire waking up, I'm not convinced by Sasuke's reaction - or lack of it. If I were sitting by the bedside of someone who turned out to be a vampire, I'd run screaming from the room - or else kill it before it had a chance to fully recover. You're going to have to explain why Sasuke doesn't. But then Ayame doesn't really behave like a vampire. There's a vulnerability and innocence to her that is a bit too human.

Finally, I suggest getting rid of the whole "Orochimaru wiped our memories" thing, because they wouldn't know their memories had been wiped. You could replace it with "The first thing I remember is waking up in one of Orochimaru's pods." And maybe have the character describe the pod.

However, the plot is fine, Naruto and his original buddies sound real enough, he behaves in a way I would expect a male lead to behave and stands shoulder to shoulder with Saruke S, and I'm intrigued as to both the girl in the pod at the end, and her rescuer. That would keep me reading. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review of Out of Sight  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (4.5)
Loved this. I thought it was really intriguing with a nice twist at the end that I didn't see coming.

All I would say is that the last sentence should be in past tense, like the rest of the story

Well done.
14
14
Review by Linz
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Loved it!

I really feel for Lucy. Going clubbing is almost a rite of passage, isn't it? But certainly not for us quiet shy types.

Will read more. *Smile*
15
15
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (4.0)
Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's well written and drew me in from the start.

One things that stands out for the wrong reason is when Cyn declares his love for Stella so soon after his wife's death. He loved his wife, he grieves for her, he can't stand being in company a second longer than he has to, but the moment Stella's in danger, he thinks nothing of declaring his love for her, without a moment's hesitation about betraying his wife's death. If he loved his wife, I can't see that happening - people worry about betraying their dog's and cat's memory if they think about getting another pet so soon after the death of the first - never mind declaring love for another woman when his wife hasn't even been buried. He wouldn't even be thinking about another woman in that way - never mind acting in that way.

And she reciprocates? Even if she loved him - in fact - especially if she loved him, she wouldn't do that. It would feel like taking advantage of him when he needed her the most.

So that bit didn't gel with me but the rest is great. Well done. Looking forward to more. :)
16
16
Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
cause."

"Wha


Closing quotation marks indicate that that character has stopped speaking, so the reader will expect another character to answer. If a character (in this case, Harrington), is speaking over multiple paragraphs, you don't close the dialogue with quotation marks - you simply open the dialogue with fresh quotation marks and carry on - so the "66" opening quotation mark is like the character taking a deep breath.

I'm trying to imagine a school-aged child doing someone harm, or at least, doing someone like a gangster enough harm to warrant kidnap - and can't, so I'm wondering if Harrington would spell it out that his grandson hasn't hurt anyone Or if he would say that his grandson is innocent instead. But that's simply reader reaction - I'm not suggesting you need to change it - see what others say.

Other than that, there are a few grammar errors - full stops after a question mark (which could be there courtesy of autocorrect, because my tablet does the same) and a quotation mark slap bam in the middle of dialogue (in addition to the unnecessary closing quotation marks previously mentioned).

There are no spelling errors that I could see and the plot is coming along nicely.

Well done. :)
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Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Much better... Isn't Chapter 2 supposed to be four weeks previous to Chapter 1?

There are just a few grammatical errors that need ironing out.

"Rush hour" thought Jack.

I noticed this on previous readings but it slipped my mind on the first review. If a character is thinking something, you don't need to put it inside quotation marks. If you want to denote it as internal dialogue (aka thought) you could italicize it, but there's no need to do that, either - used correctly (which you have), the change in tense and the dialogue tag ("he thought", "he said", "he asked") is enough to alert the reader that it's a thought - especially if it's short and to the point, like it is in this case.

And how people could be so ignorant.


I'd move this sentence to the bottom of the paragraph, just after the guy in the baseball cap barges past him, and delete the "And". It'll tie that whole paragraph together, instead of leaving the reader wondering why barging past him is something he can't get used to. That's an oversight on my part though. I should have said this on my first review.

Jack's gripped

You'll probably know why I've highlighted this, just by reading it yourself. But, there's no need for the apostrophe and the "S" on the end of Jack here.

Further down, there's an extra question mark - "//Jack asked?" It's like you're asking the reader if Jack asked a question. Lol.

Nice touch with getting him to use the pen to dial the room number - I particularly liked that detail.

Overall, it's well written and flows well. The protagonist feels real and matches the archetype that you want for this kind of story. It's just a matter of tidying it up a bit now.

I'll read Chapter 3 tomorrow.
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Review by Linz
Rated: E | (4.5)
Great story with an interesting plot. I particularly like that the aliens are benevolent as opposed to being intent on wiping us off the face of the planet. Makes a nice change. *BigSmile*

Would an alien race refer to the sun as "[Earth's] sun?" Or would they refer to it as Earth's star, or by some other name? Perhaps they would comment that humans/the denizens call their (star/orb/fiery nuclear fusion chamber) the sun? Possibly the same for Earth itself. Dolphins, being an Earthly creature, yeah, I can see why they might refer to them by their human-derived nouns, but just like we designate names for other stars/star systems, perhaps intelligent, extra terrestrial beings do the same for our system. Or maybe it's human nature to label things that other life forms don't share. . . ? *Martian*

Interesting. Really interesting. *Think*

Well done.

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Review of WP-20 Years  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi. Welcome to writing.com.

There's a lot of walking, a lot of sitting around, a lot of sobbing, the point about how alone he is hammered in. . . and a touch of magic. That's the story in a nutshell.

Think about all the times you add "having been. . ." And see if there are other ways to get the same message across. A little repetition is no bad thing - it can be very effective in getting the point across - but too much of it slows the pace of the story right down, and this piece is riddled with it.

I think you could do with tightening it up a bit. For example, instead of saying he walked, he walked, he walked. Say (for example) ;

The old cleric stood on top of a hill, gazing down at the village he'd once called home. Twenty years had passed since he'd packed up his things and left in the middle of the night. Now he'd returned to a place he barely recognised - abandoned, dilapidated, and overgrown with weeds. He set off down the hill towards the town, fighting nostalgia and hoping for the strength to get through these next few hours. . ."


Imagine telling the story aloud to an audience. They'd tell you to get to the point, and this . . . Never really does. You could do with adding tension - for example I expected the cleric to encounter an old enemy, or a storm to happen or the dead villagers to haunt him/become the undead, or something, but nothing like that happens. You could basically say "An old cleric returned to his abandoned village and built a grave for his dying owl. The End."

You've mixed past and present tense within the same lines - "he walked" and then a few words later, "Twenty years have passed.". To avoid confusion, stick to one tense - either past or present.

However, it's not all bad. There's a lot of good description and there are no spelling errors that I could see.
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Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Much better. Easier to read, and a lot of the problems ironed out.

But, now we have another problem;

Chapter 2 opens with the line "The Present Day". Problem is, readers will assume that a book that starts with buses, mobile phones, a watch and flashing blue police car lights . . . Is set in the modern day. Especially if there's no information to the contrary.

I'm still not sure why the police wouldn't just wait for him at the bus stop, nor why he'd cross the border twice, (unless he went back for the package but again, why not just take it with him the first time round?) Maybe it becomes clear later on in the book.

Are you in the UK? If so, ever watched the Channel 4 reality show, Hunted? In case you haven't seen it, it involved contestants trying to evade police capture in the hope of winning £100,000. (Might have been adopted by other countries too). A couple of things stick out;

1). Public transport has CCTV.
2). If your suspect is going to use public transport (and even rookies with no training quickly learn to avoid public transport), best to buy a ticket to one destination - and get off a stop or two before you reach that destination.
3). The Met don't need to roadblock. They simply track a suspect remotely through the CCTV network and ambush them at their destination.


Now obviously, this is for Britain - the CCTV capital of Europe, so it might be different on the continent, but do your research, because if I'm asking these questions, readers will too.

Link to Hunter's Wiki page:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunted_(British_reality_TV_series)

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Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
business suits


Why would they be in business attire for a funeral? They'd likely be in formal wear or tuxedos, but business suits. . .?

Sobs filled the room as a boy and a girl sat behind the pastor.


This makes it sound like the boy and girl cause the sobbing.

brothas and sistas/c}


Brothers and sisters.

that's understanding{/quite}

Understandable, not understanding.

I’m talking.


Sounds like Judge Rinder.

Interesting story about the Afterlife, although I'm not sure how much I believe the Almighty would be lying asleep in a chair when he knew a soul would be coming up for judgement?

I also feel like it's a continuity error to have God do all these checks on him in the computer, only for Travis not to be on the list.

And I'm not sure this is the end of the story. To me, it feels like it's just beginning. I'm wondering how Travis manages to convince his wife to go back to the path of God?

Well done.
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Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
Jack's character needs working on. One minute, he appears to care for Olivia (he was on the one to put his hand on her arm), next he doesn't (walks off without a backward glance and leaves her to her fate), and now he's back on the search party.

You said last time that he's supposed to come across as narcissistic. To me, he's coming across more mercurial.

I'd have liked to have seen more of Olivia in this chapter. It seemed to me that you cut that bit off just when it was getting interesting.
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Review by Linz
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Good opening chapter. If he managed to get across the border once, why was he stupid enough to go back and get the bus?

Why would the police use a roadblock on him? They suspected he might be on the bus, they knew its destination, they knew it was a non-stop trip - why not lure him into a false sense of security, let him get to his destination - and ambush him at the station?

Fitted with Wi-Fi and charging ports passengers were fooled in to believing the bus was modern


You've literally just contradicted your own opening line - "The bus was new..."

Their illuminated by the roof light


"They were."

Please change the font size. Not everyone has 20/20 vision and the small print is harder to read.
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Review of Thank You!!  
Review by Linz
Rated: E | (5.0)
You're most welcome. Glad to help. *BigSmile*
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Review by Linz
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a good story with a tragic little twist at the end, but lacks the tension that would make it great. Think about the signs of anger - red (crimson) face, flared nostrils perhaps, clenched fists, seething. An angry person might punch something, slam the phone down, whack it off a surface, throw something on the ground, stamp their feet, pace, grind their teeth, growl, scream, even cry. Sometimes they might even go quiet, or toss their head. They might storm out of the room.

Now think about how Pearl demonstrates anger. Chances are, she won't display all of these, but there will be enough telltale signs that she's angry.

She doubted a bit


I think the word doubt is the wrong one in this case. More like indecision.

"Hang on! That's Ryan! With another woman. What the heck is going on?"

This is where she would hesitate, wracked by indecision, maybe looking around her while she wondered how to handle this.

The next morning


She already knows that Ryan was with another woman, and who this woman is, because she confronted him the previous day. I would suggest have the sister spot him first, then she sees him, "confirming" her sister's suspicion, like this:

[Pearl's sister phoned her one bright afternoon.
"Pearl," she said, "I have some dreadful news. . . Are you sitting down?"
Pearl slowly sank down on the white couch. "Yes, I'm sitting down," she replied. "What is it?"
"Well, darling, you know I love you dearly and would never say or do anything to hurt you?"
"Yes..."
"Darling, I have to tell you that I . . . I was out shopping this morning and I saw Ryan ... Honey... He was with another woman. I'm so sorry, bu..."
Her sister's voice faded into the background as Pearl's world crashed around her. No. No, he wouldn't do that to her. There must be some mistake — maybe it was someone who looked like Ryan? Not her Ryan. Her sister was lying. Jealous. She wouldn't believe it. Couldn't.

The next morning, Pearl was out shopping when she saw Ryan with another woman...
]

Now that's my take on it, but of course you might see it differently - probably do, in fact. But hopefully you can see where I'm going, and apply your own vision to the scene to make this story even better.

Well done. :)
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