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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/ngguow
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Review of Clemency  
Review by Will-G
Rated: E | (4.0)
The descriptive passages are a pleasure to read. They carry the energy of the tourist group and the hypnotic array of sights and city bustle. It is also refreshing to be left to work out some of the peculiarities of London, almost as if being on the trip with the tourists. Patronizing simplicity is spared while avoiding too much novelty to cause confusion.

The dialogue is reasonable without creating much fuss. Perhaps in parts it could be more dramatic.

The plot is fairly straight forward and it interesting that the focus is on the tourist group, while the theme revolves around the young man. It may add depth if the the tourist group and young man's plight are related or contrasted in some way as the story unfolds. Alternatively the focus could be more balanced by finding ways to include the young man's responses in more detail. It is natural to describe his actions and demeanour as submissive, but this takes the story away from him. Even if his actions are withdrawn, the influence of his presence could be more dramatically explored.

A twist at the end may be nice. Does he take the flight or return to his whims and bad luck? A bit of mystery here could add some tension. Perhaps his father misses him at the airport because he is tied up at work. After agonising over his poor priorities he may find his son has arrived home to meet him there.

Plot is tough in short story (let me know if you have ever mastered it) so if you can improve this part it could help.

There is clearly thought and effort in this so thanks for a good read.
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Review of Bowls of Memories  
Review by Will-G
Rated: E | (3.5)
This story flows logically and carries the family theme throughout. The life stages that tug at both parent and child provide the context for possible success and failure.

There is a lot to try and get in. To follow the many years from teenager to adult, and on to struggling mother is ambitious. Nevertheless the transitions are good. What is always difficult is deciding how to present these transitions. The authors view is easiest if the actions and thoughts of the characters need to be logically explained and related to each other and the timing of the story. What this view loses is the means to absorb the reader deeply into these thoughts and actions.

If I have any suggestions it would be to look at those transitions and to try a few alternatives. For example, instead of explaining the outcome of not having money perhaps narrate the experience of coming home without groceries. Then the child-mother exchange will have context and perhaps not require explanation.

What you do have in these explanatory passages is the outline of the story. Some of these passages may add good contrast and you could keep them in, especially where there is a significant jump in time and not too much critical information you need to share. Other passages may be more gripping if they are narrated or there is dialogue which brings home the state of mind of the characters.

Even a description of the surroundings or characters appearance could replace the explanatory work.

Of course none of this is particularly easy, especially in a short story. To get every observation, action and event to form part of the story, to fit them into what would happen naturally, and to tie these events up into your plot would be the ultimate.

I hope this helps, and adds to what is a well thought out and well written story.
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