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164 Public Reviews Given
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26
26
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Such an engaging tale, and, as readers, we feel so much, even with just the barest outline of a story to work with. I think that spare framework is what makes this story so compelling. We invest a lot of ourselves in imagining exactly what's going on with Paula. We never do find out the specifics, but it doesn't matter. What counts is the emotional impact on us of two broken hearts.

I like much of the language here. "...the words rolled around in my head and I couldn't catch them and make them speak" is very nice!

I found the switch from past to present tense near the end to be a little jarring and am not sure what purpose it served in the narrative.

Nice job with this!

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27
27
Review of Living the Dream  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I love the dialogue in this story, managed with a clearly practiced hand. Sarah's stammering statement, "I don't...it's not how I thought it would be," is completely natural, sounding just like someone would actually say it and helping to plant us right there in the scene, beside Sarah and Miguel.

Small details convey character well here. The fact that Sarah packed so lightly for a year's stay suggests an adventurous spirit and, in a way, foreshadows her decision at the end, although I was left guessing about what she would decide until she finally verbalized it.

An original idea for this prompt -- bravo!

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28
28
Review of The Audition  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
It's always a delight when a story carries you along like the wind and you find yourself racing toward the conclusion, wondering what's going to happen. That's certainly the case here. The characters and scene are set quickly and we're off and running, rooting for our hero.

For me, the especially entertaining elements include the reference to the antagonist not by his real name, whatever it is, but by the fantasy name cooked up in Riley's mind. I also liked how quickly James Cagney was set up as the antagonist. We're in the middle of the conflict immediately.

Speaking of conflict, there's so much of it expertly packed into this brief tale. Riley vs. Cagney, of course, but but also urban vs. rural life (I was born and raised ten miles from Wisconsin and have lived for years in a sprawling urban area, so maybe that's why I felt this story element so keenly), and dreams vs. reality. A very rich mixture!

As I raced through this story, I was hoping against hope that Riley would somehow be cast for the play, in a nice story twist. But I think the fact he clearly isn't going to make the cut gives the story even more power, especially with the clever insertion of the key line, once again but with a new meaning this time, at the end.

Well done!

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29
29
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I think this is well written, a smooth narration all the way through, starting with the effective and concise placement of setting, character, and plot. Without thinking about it, we know what's going on, the mark of a skilled and experienced writer at work.

I'm left wondering about Munna Seth's motivation. As a reader, I've missed any clues about why she's changed her mind about Jamal, unless she'd always intended to freeze him out after getting him to haul all ten sacks of potatoes to the kitchen. That's the explanation that makes the most sense to me, suggesting a theme here of a hierarchy among slaves, which is, to me anyway, an inherently interesting idea.

For me, the narrative is more a portion of a longer, as-yet unwritten piece, as compared to a complete story in and of itself. The skill with which this is written makes me eager to see whatever the longer story might be.

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30
30
Review of Team Play  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I love how much is suggested here by implication, how much we know about what's going on based not on direct explication but by such elements as names (people and places), clothing, and weaponry. We know we're not in Kansas anymore, if we ever were.

I also really like the layers of conflict so expertly woven into the necessarily brief story, the tension between the two men and between such time-honored concepts as honor and greed.

Conveying motivation is so tricky, so challenging, in flash fiction, and this story makes Luc's motivation really clear.

Nice job!

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31
31
Review of Kelli  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
You do a masterful job here of moving the story along without getting bogged down in a lot of explication, conveying the critical elements of characters and character, setting, plot, tone, etc. from within the flow of the narrative. Your effective use of the "show, don't tell" idea is especially effective; the pictures you plant in the reader's mind via the characters' actions land with particular force and are likely to remain because of the way you engage the reader's imagination in your storytelling.

None of this is news to you, obviously, but I thought you might enjoy the affirmation of what you clearly know you're doing.

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32
32
Review of Kelli  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
You do a wonderful job here of moving the narrative along, clearly and cleanly, without getting bogged down with a lot of explication. You convey characters, character, setting, plot,and tone from within the story, making for a memorable read. You make particularly effective use of the "show, don't tell" strategy. Planting pictures in the reader's mind, of course, means those images will stay.

A memorable story, thank you!

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33
33
Review of Water Games  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I enjoyed this very much. Your story structure suggests an experienced writing hand at work here. You set your reader up quickly with the expectation of drama to come with the slingshot image in the first sentence, and with Denny's nervous reaction to the situation in the second. Then you immediately gave us enough backstory to get the reader oriented, returning immediately thereafter to the action, which, of course, is where the reader wants to go at that point.

I loved your sentence structure in the fourth graph. The rat-a-tat description of the intended target, the compound sentence with the ultra-short independent clauses, perfectly reflects the pace of the story and the mindset of the kids who are so eager to get the deed done.

I especially liked how you identified the victim using what is clearly the kids' name for her, without actually coming out and saying it's the nickname they use, more evidence of an experienced writing hand.

Then, of course, the twist at the end reveals that there's life in those Old Bones, and there's nothing snoozing in her spirit, either.

A fun read -- thank you!

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34
34
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A fun yarn, and your title is no small part of it! Nice job of setting the scene and then concealing where this was going until you revealed their ages.

Will he get away with it? Well, presumably the autopsy will reveal plenty of alcohol in her blood, so you have all the makings of a standard pool accident.

I wouldn't be surprised if this wins today's contest!

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35
35
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I enjoyed this very much! The humor provided a doorway I was happy to traverse into the story, with the yo-yo and pizza imagery. And, of course, those images did a nice job of concealing where this story was going.

Fun twist at the end, although I'll confess I'm not entirely certain about some of the details behind what's going on. Clearly, they're off to another planet, one the guy is either from or is familiar with. I assume the narrator is an earthling, and that she's either transmuted by the powder into a Hythlogronite or she's been converted to a form that will enable her to survive the trip, after which she'll be transformed back to an earthling for her new life. I guess the former makes more sense.

Thanks for a fun read!

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36
36
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
If I'm interpreting your plot correctly, your twist here, and it's a fun one, is that the person the narrator assumed was a guy all these years is actually a girl. With your choice of words and phrases here (the fake smile, etc.), you do a great job of conveying the narrator's continuing annoyance with Jason, which makes what finally happens logical and believable.

At first I thought the other kid's name was Jason, which would have fit the story line, since Jason could be a girl's name. But the last sentence suggests something else, that the narrator had simply been mistaken about the kid's name all along. If that's true, I was left wondering why "Jason" wouldn't have said something to her about it at some point during the five years they've been acquainted. In any case, I was left a little confused about what's going on here.

I love how you kept the story moving right along with the dialogue and tone, a really enjoyable read.

As it happens, I wrote something a little like this a few years ago. I called it "Out," and here it is, from my Writing.com portfolio, in case you'd like to take a peek:


I wanted to keep playing. Jeez, I was two for three at the plate already, blocked about a million wild pitches from that crazy Kulisek, who shouldn’t even be allowed on the mound, he’s going to kill somebody, I swear. But my mom said to be home by three, write the thank-you note to my grandmother, it’s so overdue it’s embarrassing, blah blah blah. Don’t you get a year or something? I heard my mom and dad say once that you get a year for wedding presents. Why not the same for birthdays?

I nail some idiot at the plate to end the inning. Trying to score from third when he thought one of Kulisek’s fancy curve balls was heading for Mars. Sorry, pal. Holding the ball, I plant my bare hand on his trunk as he starts to slide under me. Close, but out. Out, out, out.

“I’ve gotta go,” I tell Kulisek as we head off the field.

“What’re you talkin’ about? Go where?”

“My mom wants me home by three.”

Kulisek is pissed. “You can’t go. Last inning, down by a run, you’re up third. You’re hot. We get somebody on ahead of you and you poke one out, we win. You gotta stay.” Kulisek is so mad his face is on fire. Who cares? He’s always mad. That’s why I never hit against him. He’d probably kill me.

I pull off my catcher’s mask, dump it with the mitts and bats in the dust by the bench. “I’ve gotta go,” I tell everyone.

“’Whaddya have to catch up on your beauty sleep?” sneers Kulisek. What a jerk.

“I’m outta here,” I tell him.

As I leave, I hear Kulisek say, “Forget it. Somebody else can catch.”

I hear Freck say, “Not like she can.”
37
37
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Great job, especially considering this is your first flash fiction! Making the story mostly dialogue, of course, helps you maintain the pulse-pounding pace, but the challenge when you do that is to give the reader a complete-enough sense of plot and setting -- of what the heck's going on and where all this is happening. You do a great job of conveying that within your 300-word budget by using the "show-don't-tell technique.

Hope you do more of this!
38
38
Review by Megabob
Rated: E | (4.0)
Yep, and next up, they'll be painting the fence outside the office building. I think most of us have known someone like the happily clapping Sadie, especially at work, so it was easy to identify with this story. A fun read!
39
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Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Oh, a great surprise at the end of this one -- double suicide! You do a great job of setting the scene here, and especially of so cleverly and so quickly conveying what's at stake, in the second sentence. Almost immediately, then, we're on edge, which, of course, makes the story instantly compelling.

I love how you plunge us so completely into the world of inter-stellar space, building that world in the reader's mind with objects (the Atmosphere Evacuation button, the airlock, and the hibernation chamber) and with the quick glimpse into Jason's state of mind (regarding oblivion as freedom).

No chance Scotty is going to be beaming Jason up to safety here, and unlike HAL 9000 in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey, this is no triumph for Vicky. Nonetheless, a thoroughly enjoyable story!

My review has been submitted for consideration in "Invalid Item.

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40
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Review of Taking Shelter  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very strong and effective use of language here, with evocative figurative language and vivid descriptions. The reader is drawn with deft skill into a growing realization of what's going on, to the truth about the narrator's circumstances. You invite your readers in here, permitting us to come to this apprehension gradually, a technique that is what really powers this story, at least for me.

The force that pulls the readers to the end of the story is really irresistible. We can see what's coming, the decision the narrator will face about the umbrella, and we wonder what he's going to do, at least I did. It was hard to resist jumping ahead to the end, to see what he ends up doing.

Great skill at work here. Thank you for a powerful story!



My review has been submitted for consideration in "Invalid Item.

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41
41
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
For me, the tone of this story is the most delicious ingredient in a delectable stew. Word strings bursting with verbs but devoid of subjects sound just like someone too hung over or exhausted from late-night revels to speak in complete sentences. The rollicking use of parenthetical phrases is really funny, right in line with the tone of the narrative. And the ending is spot on, a delightful surprise. In retrospect, could this character, this story, end up any other way?

I'm not sure I could keep up with FiFi Jo, but it would certainly be fun to try. Thanks for a good time!

My review has been submitted for consideration in "Invalid Item.

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42
42
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a wonderfully crafted story, full of skillfully placed descriptions and vivid imagery. The sentence variety is also a big plus here. You clearly know what you're doing with sentence fragments, using them effectively. The details about the artwork give the story impressive depth within the strictures of the word budget. And I absolutely love the ending -- I was wondering where you were going with this, was thinking about the challenge of hitting us with something to raise our eyebrows as you were running out of words. And with the last four words, you nailed it.

I seldom give a story a rating of 5, but this one deserves it!

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43
43
Review of Busted  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This one is great fun! Terrific trip into the story, carried along by the imagery. You've paid a great deal of attention to the details, making sure that everything in the first part of the story is accounted for in the reality of the ending -- no loose ends. And the inclusion of the riotous name of the horse, Puddles, just before the twist, is just masterful. As a reader, I was not quite sure why this hard-bitten bank robber would give his horse a name like that, but I was too close to the end, and too eager to get there, to think about it much.

Wonderful skill at work in this story!

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44
44
Review of The Lawman  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
For this reader, effective use of language and dialogue is everything in this one. The setting could actually be anything, from contemporary (suggested by the name of the hotel) to Old West (suggested by the term "lawman" and the bad guy's straight razor and his fear of hanging). But the important thing is that the reader conjures specific images arising from the language, including effective use of metaphor (I especially liked, "Anger boiled at the edge of his voice...." and "The words hung in the air like a heavy cloud of smoke, settling over them both."

Thanks for a good yarn!

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45
45
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I like this story a lot. You clearly have a nice facility with language, sprinkling your narrative with vivid details, especially of the scene at the warehouse-district club.

I was ready for the menace to carry through the ending, and was a little disappointed at the thought it might be just another vampire yarn. So I was delighted with the twist at the end, ended up with a big smile stretched across my face.

Bravo!

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46
46
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I like this story very much. It certainly pulls you along, or down, with the force of its narrative. The verbs, like "somersaulted," and adjective-noun combinations, like "killing strike," create vivid images. This is true even when the specific additional images are left to the reader to conjure (such as exactly what a killing strike is). The author understands that asking the reader to supply some of those details is part of the writer-reader connection.

I also liked the delineation of the two languages, with the use of the term "Common." It isn't necessary to even know what that language is, since the central point (to this reader, anyway) is that there is a class distinction at play here, as reflected in the presence of two languages.

Nice twist at the end, revealing that Sandy has been tested.

Thanks for a good story!

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47
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Review of The Bucket Murder  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Oh, how we love mysteries, or at least some of us do, and creating one that's complete in 300 words is a considerable challenge. The hard-boiled dialogue here is what carries the day, succinctly conveying character and moving the plot along.

I wasn't sure about Roberts' motive, but there's only so much you can do in 300 words, and Sailor did a lot here! *Santahat*

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Review of A New Lost Soul  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
For me, the strength of this story is the original vision, the idea of a pub for souls trying to navigate their circumstance, a vexing mixture of uncertainty (what might happen at the pub on any given day or night) and certainty (in terms of setting, every day or night is going to be the same). The element of the lack of memories is an intriguing one and, of course, is the key to what happens at the end.

And the ending -- yikes! What if Melissa hadn't pulled out the picture? On the other hand, in this circumstance, maybe it wouldn't have mattered.

You've created a story that lingers after the first reading, and that's a sign of good writing!

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49
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Review of Trapped  
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
The strength of this story is the tone that sets a breakneck pace, pulling the breathless reader along from sentence to sentence. I wanted only one thing: to find out what was going to happen next. I needed to backtrack a couple of times at the beginning, to get my bearings, understand who "they" were and figure out who was where, and that slowed the pace of the narrative just a little. But the plot was so compelling, I was bothered less by that detour than I otherwise might have been.

Very effective use of sentence variety, short, punchy sentences ("We were all scared." "It screamed in pain." "I looked around. Everyone was gone.") mixed in with more complex constructions. That sentence variety mimics, and emphasizes, the chaotic events at the hospital.

I suggest breaking the story into paragraphs. There's no change of pace here to suggest obvious places for new paragraphs, but you could start a new one when there's a shift in focus; for example, the sentences, "They surrounded the building....", "I called the remaining people....", "I searched the hallways....", "Suddenly I heard a low rumbling....", or "My legs moved swiftly....."

I suggest proof reading your stories out loud, and slowly. You'll catch typos and such inadvertent missteps as in the sentence, "Without thinking a grabbed a syringe...."

It's a mark of your writing skills that we know the evil entities are zombies, even though you don't actually use that word until the last sentence.

This story is a wild ride!

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50
50
Review by Megabob
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I love the tone of this story, the way the narrator's words tumble along, not quite stream of consciousness but, with the run-on sentences, certainly conveying his state of mind. The last sentence of the second paragraph says so much about him, had me really smiling.

Wonderful imagery with "...smelled like morning."

I had a little trouble figuring out who was saying what in the initial dialogue. An attribution for one of the dialogue lines would solve that. And at first, I didn't get that they left the library and went back to her abode. I was thinking there was somehow a couch in the cubby, and that didn't make sense. So stopping to figure out where I went wrong brought the narrative to a momentary halt for me.

For me, it's a tribute to your skill as a writer that the aforementioned elements didn't tarnish the appeal of this story. I look forward to reading more of your stuff!

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