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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/murphy
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69 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
Review of Blossoms Maligned  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Wow, that is some powerful, powerful stuff. You do a great job with the dialogue and you have created some real, believeable characters in Tom and Sarah. And the ending- wow, you just blow the reader away with it. Great climax, and way to pull the reader in with the intense scene and crisp writing.

But you're offering me a truckload of GPs for this review, so I'm not going to just pat you on the back and say that it's great. Don't get me wrong, it's a good story, but there are a few things I want to bring to your attention. The first is the sentence "It was the day before Christmas break; a Christmas they would never see." I really don't think that what follows the semi-colon is necessary. It foreshadows too much, and takes a lot of intensity out of the climax, because the reader already knows what is going to happen. You get rid of those six words, and the story takes on new life, because the reader does not know what will happen next.

Second, the conversation that the two of them have about Tom phoning Sarah at his dad's seemed out-of-place; they're going to be seeing each other in the evening for the movie, but they're talking as if they will depart from each other at any second.

Third, the whole memory-scene feels awkward. It's clear that you're trying to have a flashback, like in TV shows, but to just put it in the middle of things is confusing and does not flow well at all. Maybe adding in some asterics as scene-dividers will help.

Finally, while the dialogue is good, you can easily get rid of many of the "he said"s and "she said"s. They're the only two characters, so we don't need to be reminded of who is saying what each time. On that topic, turn "the boy said panic-stricken." to "said the panic-striken boy."

That's about it. You're a great writer, and I think some touch-ups can really make this story publication-worthy.
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2
Review of Remember Me  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I'm no softy, nor am I really one for romanic literature (thus my refusal to read Twilight), but you really have me captivated with this story. Your use of description really put me into the scene, and I was dragged along as the narrator went through all of her emotions, in raw detail. It's not mushy, it's not lovey-dovey, it's real. It's memories of something that once was, and you do a great job of reliving them in your character.

But I do not get the ending at all, even after rereading it three times. You mention that Julienne is 18 years old, and Tom is 69... so who on earth was he? A father/grand-father? An older male lover? The lack of explanation borders on creepiness. Honestly, since you do such a good job with the description, I think the story would be better suited with a traditional dream sequence, but Tom is her age, not... an old guy.

Good work overall though. I enjoyed it.

P.S. I'm back.
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3
Rated: E | (3.5)
All right, I like what I am seeing here. There is a lot of good material, and not a lot of bad material.

I like how you do not dwell on the big picture. Too often, people will make a general statement by saying "Millions of people are dying everyday" or something along those lines. The problem is that a statement like that has no impact on anyone, as it's just a number. But you have given specific examples from your own experiences and through using the reader's imagination to make the issue extremely realistic. It works very well.

A few suggestions as well: first, I hate this line: And I'm not talking about the poor that you see on the streets that lost all their money by gambling and doing drugs and are trying to cheat the welfare system for their own personal gain, or asking spare change so they don't have to pay taxes and profit on your helpfulness.
People don't beg for money to cheat the tax system. No one WANTS to be homeless, though it's almost like you're saying they do. This line sounds just cruel, and really unnecessary.
Also, though the bold text is a nice feature, it gets annoying when it is used too much. I counted 17 bolded words in 13 paragraphs. I'd say cut it down to 10 or 13 bolded words.
Finally, the second last paragraph, where you mention donating clothes and money, needs to be expanded. Putting it in as an afterthought doesn't work well.

Overall, good job. You're right, we really are lucky. Even if we live in a city that spent ninety grand to count how many homeless people there were. Sheesh.
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Review of The Life  
Rated: 18+ | (1.5)
This is one terrifying story, and you make an argument that is horrifyingly real. The general plot idea seems to be thought out quite well.

That said, however, I found myself shaking my head while reading this, because I thought your argument was quite flawed. To have Jon brutally tortured does not equate to the pain of an abortion. Having his body parts cut off in a slow manner is not the same as a swift operation performed on a body that has yet to be fully developed. Obviously a point was trying to be proven, but to do it in a manner such as this is way too extreme (and, in my opinion, gross).

Also, I kept asking myself what message you were trying to send. The main character seems to have learned that abortion is wrong, but I think the reader may feel otherwise. You have a character who thinks he is Jesus or some other messiah torturing two teens because one of them had an abortion. I thought that you were making a statement AGAINST anti-abortion groups, until the ending.

On note of the ending, it does not make much sense either. I didn't see what the nursery meant, or why the main character felt like her questions were answered when she saw it. Then for her to just drive away, tell her parents, phone the police and then say that "everything is fine now" seems a bit simplified.

Finally, each paragraph should have one person talking, not a dozen lines of dialogue from various people in the same paragraph.

Those are my thoughts on your story. I hope I have not offended you in any way, and I won't blame you if you disagree with what I have said. Have a nice day.
5
5
Review of Freddy's Friends  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Oh, I get it now! That's what was causing everyone to disappear! This should really be classified under "Horror/scary", as it seems to be the kind of tale that would be told around a campfire under a full moon.

You do a really good job of keeping the audience in the dark. Throughtout the story I felt that I was being led through a maze, and it was only at the very end that I realized what exactly had happened. The twist is excellent.

Several suggestions: Seperate the paragraphs that are totally different. For example:
Freddy wondered if Brent's mother was as good at cooking as his mother. "Doubt it," he mumbled as they adjourned for the final half day of classes before the Holidays.

Holidays were over. Four days off was a little hard to take for Freddy, seemed like nothing exciting ever happens around his house or even his neighborhood. He could hardly wait until his lunchtime gathering to talk with Red and Brent.

I'd recommend putting ***'s between those two paragraphs, and any other paragraphs that suddenly have a huge difference in time or space.

Also, at the end the characters keep mentioning "witch signs", but I had no idea what those were (I pictured a sign that said "Keep Out! Secret Witch Area", but that apparently was not there).

Finally, I've never seen a newspaper heading that says "NO CLUES". Something like "POLICE BAFFLED" seems to be more suited.

Overall, a good job. Again, the twist was just great.
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Review of Little Xavier  
Rated: E | (3.5)
I have yet to read a story like this, so you've definitely got the originality going for you. This is great, but I really think that it shouldn't end here. You should keep going, elaborating on the story. I know it's meant to be a common scary story, one that ends on a cliffhanger, but this one is so good that it needs more. I'd love to see what happens to Max when he is taken home with the lady. Does she really think he is her baby? Will she lock him up? Will he try to escape?

If you do continue it, please let me know, as I'd love to read further into this. Even if you don't, this was well-written. Good work.
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Review of On the Island  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Oh wow. Oh wow. I am hooked.

This is a fantastic opening chapter. The reader is thrown into the suspense immediately, and is left wondering how and why the kids got there. The fact that they're all so young and innocent makes this only more suspenseful and delightful.

Only suggestion: Remember how old the kids are. They're very young, and as tempting as it is to make them act mature (taking charge, holding hands), they would react as little kids, especially those under 6 years old. How does a child act when they're lost in a mall? They get scared. I think this situation would be 100 times worse.

That said, I can't wait to see more from this. I'm really enjoying it.
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Review of The Last Guardian  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
As always, very well written. You use very complex and descriptive language, which I enjoyed. The twist at the end of the story is quite brilliant (throughout reading it, I kept trying to figure out what the twist was, though I wasn't able to).

A few things to point out: No mist approached, then. It had been the third day of such peace. But it did not last, as this morning's attack attested. In its aftermath, I returned to bitterness I think you're moving too quickly with these three sentences. You're going from peace to fighting to peace, and it all seems to be flying by too quickly.

Also: "You believe too much in the Seer," I responded. "Can you not see? We die and we die at hands of an enemy not unlike those who fed us the virus. In fact, these so called Stermines seem a similar species. They may be kin in much the same way it works within our tribe."

"Besides," I continued with a dismissive tone, "I think the tales of the Seer were designed by a generation long past, one that espoused hope as a means to continue, maybe even as a necessary dogma."

You don't need to quotation mark at the end of the first paragraph.

Overall, good work. I enjoyed reading it.
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9
Rated: E | (4.5)
The thing I like the most about this poem is the switching between concrete and abstract words. You go from "sunbeam" (concrete) to "soft and elusive" (abstract) to describing a placement (concrete) to "dreams" (abstract). This is really impressive! You also have great contrasts, saying that it's never moving, yet it's never in the same spot, yet it's everywhere. Wow!

My one suggestion would to keep yourself from being too figurative. You say a sunbeam is the keeper of all dreams. I have to ask: How?

Aside from that, wonderful work. Especially if you wrote it in grade 10.
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Review of Babyface's Secret  
Rated: E | (5.0)
As a children's story, this does very well. Simple language, an easy to understand theme and a familiar plot make this a story that children would enjoy. It is short and to-the-point, so it could be the kind of story read at bedtime.
I found only one error: "little Garret". I think the "little" is unnecessary.
But overall this is a great story. Good work!
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Review of Asha's Nightmare  
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Ooh boy, this sure is a suspenseful one! The story is paced very well, and the ending certainly catches the reader off guard! I also like how Asha is dreaming, and then wakes up to reality.

However, the story gets confusing when you are trying to distinguish thought from dream from reality. The thoughts are in italics, but the dream is in normal text, so I got a bit lost. As well, her thoughts seem to switch between 1st and 3rd person narratives. I couldn't follow without having to reread a few times.

Nevertheless, the plot is well written. If you make any changes, let me know, I'd be happy to review it again.
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Review of Starship Sentry  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is very clever writing. At first, I was completely confused with all the seemingly-sci-fi-like jargon. But when the final part was revealed, I found myself laughing. It's a really great twist for a really good story.

One suggestion: Even though this is meant to look like science fiction, I felt that there was too much written about distant galaxies, the Arm of Sumer (?) and the "Source". It got confusing, even after realizing what the real story was about.

Aside from that, beautiful job!
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Review of Doing Time  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is just absolutely incredible imagry. Your description of the prison is vidily depressing, and then the contrasting of it to sin is just amazing. You are right about sin being a prison; how it separates us from our family and friends, and how there seems to be no escape from it. Just... wow.

And I love how Jesus is shown as the Ultimate Pardon... the way out of our own prison. How it was totally unnecessary, yet He still did it. The way you write this is superb.

As a Christian, I found this piece to be exceptionally meaningful, and I really hope you continue to write like this. It's great.
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Rated: E | (3.0)
Well, it's definitely a different sort of love story (a transportation version of Romeo and Juliet?). I like the plot, and I think you've developed the main character very well.
One thing I don't understand- what exactly happened to the bike? All I was able to determine was that everyone thought the protagonist did it... but I have no idea how it really happened.
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Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
I like the general idea. This skit could bring up good discussions about what it means to live a Christian life... but to have a trial as to whether someone is a Christian or not seems to almost be sacreligious. How can we be judging a person's faith, regardless of their actions?
What surprised my the most about this was the fact that there was no mention about Christ. Isn't He the Ultimate deciding factor between whether a person is Christian or not? If someone testifies to Christ, but acts "questionably", are they being a "fake" Christian?
Please don't take offense to this, as I'm not trying to offend you, and don't feel like you need the answers. I certainly have been struggling with the above questions for a while.
In the end, I just don't think it's possible for us to judge whether a person is a real or fake Christian. I'll leave that up to God. I have a plank to take out of my eye before a take a speck out of someone else's.
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Review of Soul Survivor  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is an absolutely amazing story. From the beginning to the end (and epilogue) I was drawn in by the completely believable characters, the discriptive storytelling and the attachment I immediately had towards the characters, especially Travis.
Not only that, but I think the points you make in this story are impressive and true. There are people who think Halloween is "the work of SATAN!" and I found that Cynthia's explanation as to why she killed Amy was nearly laughable, as it seems to be one that flows from one of many ultra-conservative Christian groups.
Just two tremendously small things to point out: How do Travis and Amy remember what Cynthia gave them, if she threw it right into Amy's bag?
And why does Cynthia just admit this to Travis? It would be good to know why she just came over and told him (though it is easy to speculate).
Overall though, those minor problems are shadowed by the excellent plot, brilliant characters and wonderful commentary on certain religious groups.
Perfect.
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Rated: E | (4.0)
Well, it's certainly a very sweet story about misuderstanding and feeling accepted. You do a great job of describing what the child is feeling, and I really felt sympathy towards him. He felt like he hadn't been a good child. He hated his parents, and just wanted to be loved by them. I also found it laughable at times, especially this line:
They would be all fussy over this new kid and leave me to fend for myself. I’ll have to wear ratty old clothes and a beat up scarf, digging through dumpsters for my next meal. My parents won’t notice, however. They’ll just keep fussing with their new bundle of joy while their old bundle wanders the street, looking to survive for another day.

A very funny exageration indeed.
One thing I didn't like about the story was the protagonist's sudden change of heart. He sees the baby and he's suddenly sorry. Did he not realize what a baby looked like? Failing that, why does his anger vanish so quickly? It seems to me that a sever-year-old would try to find reasons to stay mad.
Overall though, a heartwarming story. Thanks!
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Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A very interesting topic! You've been very creative in writing this story, and I enjoyed reading it. It was very funny, but smart at the same time. I take it you had personal experience with this at highschool?
A few suggestions: There are quite a few sentences that require commas. These sentences have more than one thought in them, but there's nothing that separates the thoughts. Also, the second-final paragraph (about the diaper and magnet) was a bit confusing. I didn't undertsand what the magnets did.
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Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a nice, friendly story. You do a good job of setting the story up for a quick climax. The ending is very sweet. Though there are some points that could use fixing.
First, (As we got to the ticket booth he ran out of line!) I don't see the exclamation mark as necessary. It doesn't fit in at all.
(He smiles and says “Okay!”) This uses the present tense, whereas the rest of the piece is in the past tense.
(About an hour later, my age group was looking at the sanitation workers’ strike display) Why?
(I jumped out of line in a panic to find him) What line?
( When he saw me, he ran to me and hugged me which was something he never did before.) Needs a comma.
(I took his tiny hand and said, “Come on, let’s go finish the tour.”) Though it's a good finishing line, hasn't the tour already ended?
Overall, not a bad job. If you fix up the errors, let me know, and I'd love to rerate it.
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Rated: E | (2.5)
I'm looking at this, and I'm noticing that actions truly do speak louder than words, in the sense that not much is said. To someone who knows the story of the Good Samaritan, this play could be understood. But I think that, to young children, this play would be difficult to grasp, as not much is explained. I think that the characters need to say more about who they are. For example, the priest could say something like "Eww, this guy is all beat up and smelly. I don't want to get near him" The same goes for the judge.
It should also me mentioned that the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. So the Fat Guy was helping a mortal enemy- that part is VERY important!
You've done well with your other skits so far, so with a bit more dialogue I can see this as a much better play.
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Rated: E | (3.5)
Again, it's great to see that you're getting VERY interactive with the children. It's a good Bible story to go with as well (Paul is pretty much my favourite character in the Bible).
There are a few suggestions I'd like to make. First, the set-up looks pretty elaborate, especially the jail. I'm not exactly sure how it is set up.
Second, and this is always the most important thing in a Bible (or any) skit. Make sure that the dialogue flows (the people who write them for VBS books do a terrible job of this). For example, you have Silas saying: "Jesus has freed you." And nothing else. I personally would've said something like "Jesus has freed you. In His name we have cast the demon from you."
Also, don't let a character summarize what has happened. When the jailer says: "Oh, no! The prison is open! I’m in trouble now!" It's pretty obvious that the jail has already opened. I'd go with something like "What on earth? How did you guys get out of the prison?" Which sets up a great line to explain God's power.
Finally, the jailer should fall to his knees when he says "I believe" It makes more sense, to me at least.
One more thing to mention: I love the song. It's a great idea. I hope it went well with the children.
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Review of Jesus Rises Again  
Rated: E | (4.5)
You have a great idea going here. I love how it's totally interactive; instead of having the children sit down and watch a play, they are standing up and walking around, getting to look inside the tomb.
Script-wise, this is pretty solid. Again, it's great to have everything interactive- the guards bursting out of the tomb, a child going into the tomb, and Jesus appearing.
Two things to mention though- there's no way this will be 20 minutes long, and, though it's an entertaining play, there isn't a lot of information about Easter. No stone being rolled away, no anegls, etc.
Overall, I bet this went over very well. *thumbs up*
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Review of Where Were You  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Whoa. This poem has a lot of anger in it, and you do a great job of conveying it. I can really feel the rage that must be going through the writer. And you have written an excellent ending; a single statement that really deals a powerful blow. One thing I dont understand is: Why is the writer so angry? What happened between the writer and the subject?
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Review of A Joke Gone Wrong  
Rated: E | (3.5)
A funny story. I especially like the "rubbish" comment. Very witty. You also have a very good ending, and it has left me wanting more. A few suggestions though: First, Mr. Simmons' justification of taking the boys into the room (because they were laughing) doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Second, what does "Grab a brain" mean? And finally, though the ending is good, perhaps a bit more insight into what just happened could cause an even better cliffhanger? Like, giving a vague idea as to what just happened?
Overall, nicely done. I look forward to the next part.
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Rated: E | (4.5)
This is tremendously inspirational, and very relateable. You use excellent imagery and metaphors to tell the story of leaving the past and moving into the future. The part I like the most about the piece is when you mention the moment of stillness, and then a second later the moment is gone. It puts time and life into perspective. Everything that happens will eventually be in the past, and we have to move on. And it's inspirational. Being able to control where the ship goes, and how we need to look ahead at the future and not back at the past- very inspiring.
One suggestion I would make is to take a look at the first four paragraphs, before you begin the metaphor of the ship. I personally found that these four paragraphs weren't totally necessary, and perhaps could be reduced a bit.
Overall though, fantastic job! Thanks!
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