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Review Requests: ON
601 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I am a published author. That doesn't make me an expert reviewer but it does means I've learned a few things about good writing. You can expect me to critique storytelling, character development, plot, transitions and other building blocks of writing. I will point out grammar and punctuation issues when I notice them but if you are looking for someone to give that kind review, there are others who will do far better than I. I try to be honest and encouraging but if you're requesting a review, I'm sure you expect it to be thorough. Good reviews sometimes hurt. I can't spare you that and give you an honest review.
I'm good at...
Critiquing your storytelling skills, especially first chapter reviews. I'm also good at building believable characters and recognizing good dialogue. I can review whole novels but my time is limited and it has to be worth my while.
Favorite Genres
Action adventure, comedy, historical, sci-fi and well-conceived fantasy.
Least Favorite Genres
Horror, Erotica, LGBTQ, Poetry. Some of this I don't like at all while the rest I am wholly inadequate to give a review on.
Favorite Item Types
Short stories, first chapters, and complete novels if they are not astronomically long.
Least Favorite Item Types
Extremely long novels, poetry, random chapters from the middle of a longer story.
I will not review...
Horror or Erotica. I will also not give reviews on random middle chapters. I don't believe they can be adequately reviewed out of context. Please don't ask me to review Vampire or Zombie stories. The sub-genre has been beaten to death and I don't want to read another one.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of A Single Key  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I spent a lot of time thinking about this one because there are some issues I was reacting to that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I think I've got a handle on it. For the most part this is very well written but it needs some work.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Father and son butting heads. It's a little cliche but it works for a lot of writers so why not you. I think it's relatable.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

I can picture your first paragraph as a movie shot. As a movie, it would be an effective start. As a written piece it doesn't work. You have to hook your reader in the first few sentences. There is no hook in your first paragraph. An editor would put it down. Your hook in the story is the conflict. You have to get into that before the main character starts playing with his keys. An editor will have the following thoughts: The main character is twirling his keys nervously. Should I care? Now he's dragging his feet. I haven't got a reason to care yet. He just pocketed his keys. Why should I keep reading? Not trying to be harsh but this is the thought process you're up against.

There are a number of times through the piece where I find that there is description that, while excellent description, is not enhancing the conflict. In fact, I find it distracting from the focus of the story. I find that the story is coming in and out of focus for me. When you revise this I would suggest taking out some of the description or shortening it to see if it reads better.

*Clapper* Overall:

Overall this is good so don't be discouraged. I just think addressing the issues I've noted would make this so much better.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guestbook. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I read this right after receiving the review request and thought to mull it over for a day. When I came back, I almost thought I clicked the wrong link and stumbled into a different story. Really threw me for a minute.

The main issue I noted in that first reading has been addressed. This leaves me with mostly nitpicks.

The story does resonate with me more with the new additions. I grew up in the Niagara Falls area on the Canadian side but my dad had a thing for camping in the Finger Lakes every summer. I remember as a kid going fishing above the dam at Buttermilk Falls. My mind's eye finds it easy to envision upstate New York.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Even after the first reading, I could see storytelling ability. That's probably the one thing almost impossible to teach. Anything else can be fixed. The story sounds plausible enough.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

One thing not mentioned is that Martin Heller must have had connections to the mob himself and must have paid well to play that rough. Why would they waste another of their escorts to kill him and have the girl take the fall for it? Makes no sense to me. Maybe a plot hole, I don't know. I haven't read more than this item.

When Katharine is introduced, I think the writing is too detached. I know she can't remember anything but your readers know that. I would start the paragraph with her first and last name instead of just she. I don't like to give even a hint of an excuse for a reader to put the book down at this point in the story.

Last, nitpick. Why would her lawyer shorten her friend's name down to Lizabeth? I think it would work better to use Elizabeth in this instance.

*Clapper* Overall:

I think this is an excellent read. I revised my rating upward while I was writing this. I think there is a lot of potential here.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review of Mother Knows ...  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I picked this up off random reviews and had a little chuckle, just picturing someone wearing just a scarf to avoid being indecent.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Easily that last line in the story.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

I gave myself a minor cut doing some carving work last evening and the word welt would in no way describe the result. I would consider rephrasing that.

*Clapper* Overall:

This was an enjoyable little read. Glad a stumbled across it this morning. Great job.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
for entry "Vit
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is a review from the "Novel Review Group and "Simply Positive Review Forum

*Sun* Title: Threads in the Tapestry

*Sun* Chapter Reviewed: Vit

*Sun* User Name: jonjames

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*Sun* Plot:

Vitaly Petrovich is working for the Russian government on a toxic dump site. He first deals with an on the job complication before we move into the reason for the chapter. He is once again needed by his American special forces team and is about to be retrieved by them after a surprise visit by General Vukov. He exits the stage on a specially equipped Osprey sent to him for that purpose.

*Sun* Characters:

Captain Vitaly Petrovich - Big man and a member of this special team being assembled for what exactly we haven't been informed of yet. Definitely a man of action. I do wonder how he became a part of an American special forces team seeing that he is obviously well connected with the Russian military.

Pavel Tickinoff - Bit character, a well-constructed foil to our man Vit.

General Vukov - He's well described and fits his role here well but he does just kind of walk onto the scene and then leaves.

*Sun* Grammar:

Nothing noted.

*Sun* style/voice:

From Vit's point of view. I thought the chapter was very well written.

*Sun* Setting:

Sayda Bay, Russia - An inhospitable military toxic waste site.

*Sun* Overall:

I loved the way you started this chapter. The symbolism of the tree, the accident requiring Vit's attention. The surprise arrival of his Russian superior just before the arrival of his ride to who knows what. I honestly wouldn't change anything in this chapter. For that reason, I'm not expecting gp rewards for this one because I'm really not offering much besides a pat on the back.

*Sun* Line by line

Didn't see anything.

Keep on writing!

Pico

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

Not really my genre but the writing, character development, and story telling are superior. You hook the reader right at the beginning. I'm not left with much to critique.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The story is really well told.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

On my initial reading, I honestly didn't notice anything and was considering giving you one of my rare 5-star ratings and gifting you back the gps offered. I did run some search scans and found a couple of nitpicks though.

There is a school of thought when it comes to writing that requires the word 'was' to be eliminated. You have a lot of them, especially in one particular paragraph. If I were you I would try to write them out as much as possible.

Same thing goes for adverbs. You don't have as many of those but most of them can be gotten rid of without hurting the story or the mood. I have no objection to keeping the ones that occur within dialogue. Real people use adverbs when they speak.

*Clapper* Overall:

This is really well written. The storytelling is so good that it almost masks the minor issues that I pointed out. Excellent work though. I've read published work that wasn't this good.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review of The Autumn Orange  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I think this first chapter has potential but I don't like how it opens. The whole scenario is good but you can't tell the rest of the story from this perspective.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The setting here has great imagery and can make this a superior first chapter. So much symbolism and foreshadowing can be started here and run right through your novel.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

"The two drifters sat on their crates, one to each side of him, completely dumbfounded. They could not wrap their heads around the story just spun between them." A real editor would put this down and not pick it back up. You have those first couple sentences and maybe your first small paragraph to grab a reader's attention. There is no hook here or anywhere in your first paragraph (blurb doesn't count). You go from these two sentences to describe three guys that I'm not sure I should give a care about. I'm not trying to be harsh but if you have any dreams of having this published by a real publisher you need to fix this. Davis is potentially interesting out of the gate but it's up to you to grab your reader.

You'll hear this a million times from peer reviewers, "show don't tell". You've kind of set yourself up to tell in this first paragraph for the whole of the novel. You don't really end up doing that but at least avoid setting that type of an expectation.

I don't know how you've written the rest of the story but I will say that you can't stay around the campfire with the bums after this chapter. You have to go back in time and tell the story in real time. You can return to this setting for the end of the story. It would bookend your novel beautifully.

*Clapper* Overall:

Great potential but this needs work. I've tried to lay out what I see as most important and hope that you find it helpful if not encouraging.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
for entry "The Twins
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is a review from the "Novel Review Group and "Simply Positive Review Forum

*Sun* Title: Threads in the Tapestry

*Sun* Chapter Reviewed: The Twins

*Sun* User Name: jonjames

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*Sun* Plot:

Merci is on a mission to pack up for her boyfriend Rho. She goes to his place and is immediately sidetracked by a phone call from Roger. He sends her to visit a couple of psychic twins who give her some additional information about her paranormal experiences. The chapter is quite short it leaves us with Merci back at Rho's place where she left off.


*Sun* Characters:

Merci - Pretty much stays in character and does her thing.

Roger - Who the heck is Roger? Where did he come from and what is his connection to Merci. It really isn't laid out. For the reader, it is obvious he is a friend of Merci's but for us he is this disembodied voice injected into the story.

The Twins - Two people but for all intents and purposes one character. Kind of a circus freak air to the two of them.


*Sun* Grammar:

Again wasn't paying attention.

*Sun* style/voice:

This chapter was pretty much entirely from Merci's pov. I didn't have any problems with how the chapter was written.

*Sun* Setting:

Changes as the scene changes. I thought the description was more than adequate.

*Sun* Overall:

This chapter feels like a side trip or interruption and not a necessary part of the story. As a reader, I don't feel like I learned anything that I hadn't already figured out. If this is really necessary for Merci more has to be made of that need before we get to this point. That might be able to be coupled with an introduction to Roger who we have not previously met. I'm assuming he's important to the story as well.

The twins themselves have a circus sideshow air to them. Don't get me wrong I did find the whole thing entertaining. I don't believe you should just chop the chapter. Going back to Merci at this point was needed anyway. It fits the rhythm as we go through the chapters. This is the first chapter though that I believe needs quite a bit of work.

I imagine other reviewers have said similar things. Hope this all makes sense because I'm far from myself right now.

*Sun* Line by line

"I'm just sent a Google map to your phone..." I think Roger meant to say I've.


Keep on writing!

Pico

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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8
8
for entry "The Great Oz
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from the "Novel Review Group and "Simply Positive Review Forum

*Sun* Title: Threads in the Tapestry

*Sun* Chapter Reviewed: The Great Oz

*Sun* User Name: jonjames

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*Sun* Plot:

The first half of this chapter is a meeting between Sam Remy and his superior officer Kohl. Sam's special ops team is being reassembled and he is given only the need to know information. There is a lot of important foreshadowing and I thought it was all handled superbly. Immediately after the meeting, we meet Angel who is the team's transportation specialist. He has already begun the process of retrieving all the team members. From there we get served some backstory on Sam and then meet Jesse who's really just there to provide some more ominous foreshadowing. The chapter ends with Sam looking forward to reuniting with his team.

*Sun* Characters:

Sam Remy - This meeting gets his alcohol problem under control. We've already met him and he stays in character. He's the guy who gets things done. My only concern with his character is where he is suppressing his anger in one paragraph. I think that might hint at him being too unstable for the job. Judging from the chapters I've read I don't think that was your intent. If it wasn't, consider revising that paragraph. The backstory was excellent and very clearly revealed that he has a conscience and that is going to be important down the road.

General Mathias Kohl - AKA The Great Oz. How did he get the nickname? Don't think I remember the answer to that if it was mentioned. This is the man that gives Sam's team their orders. He's going to remain mostly in the background from what I can tell. The face to face meeting helps show the gravity of the situation. He's also afraid, even though he doesn't say so. His body language is telling Sam and the reader that this is going to be the worst nightmare Sam's team has ever had to deal with. He seems a little uncertain about the commands that he is giving, which suggests he might not completely trust his superiors but he is confident that the team has what it takes to make it all work out. Not sure if I'm guessing right. He leaves with most of his mystery still intact, which is a good thing.

Angel - The bus driver. We meet him through a sat phone conversation. Sam's call to him sets things in motion. His job is to bring the team together. He's the one who will be transporting the team throughout their mission and he's the one that is supposed to bring them all home again.

Major Jesse Riker - Sam's best friend where he is currently working. For the purposes of this chapter, he's mostly a prophet of doom.


*Sun* Grammar:

Didn't note anything here.

*Sun* style/voice:

Same criticism as with Merci in the previous chapter. The piece "written" by Sam has your voice, your turn of phrase and is stylistically identical to yours. I don't think it is worth half a point off your score but that's my best option. The bigger question is how to fix it? I base my character personalities on people I know or have known and try to think of how they might have phrased things. Have you ever tried to write a piece in someone else's voice? I have done this for fun before. I wrote my story as told by Canadian comedian Red Green (AKA Steve Smith). When it was done it really sounded like it was written by him rather than me. Ideally, though you want to just tweak what you've got rather than do a complete rewrite of those sections. The issue isn't so bad that I think it would lead to a rejection of your manuscript by itself.

*Sun* Setting:

Sam's digs in a bunker in Area 51. I wouldn't change a thing in the description.

*Sun* Overall:

I don't think anything in the chapter was over described, in fact, a lot of your description adds foreshadowing and is an important part of the story. It isn't just window dressing. I especially like the "H.G. Wells' time traveler" reference. It fits.

Area 51 is intriguing. Gets a writer's juices flowing. What if...? Closest I've been is cycling across Nevada on a bicycle in 1986. I-80 is a long way from there though.

Not sure I have too much to offer on this chapter. I'm rubbing my hands in evil glee for the next one though.

*Sun* Line by line

Didn't actually see anything of note here either.

Keep on writing!

Pico

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review of MR. KWAKU  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I know this is flash fiction and I'm trying not to be too harsh. My initial reaction was that the prose was clunky and didn't draw me in. On the other hand, this with work could be a good piece because a lot of good things are there.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

You mention the loss of Joshua's best friend right at the start. This is an opportunity to draw the reader in and get them to invest in your hero. Your story shows no reaction at all. I would assume it is important to the story but you leave it all to the reader to figure out.

The sequence and listing of events would be compelling if they were clearly connected together.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Transitions in this piece are very abrupt. There is no real lead into any element of the story. Basically we the readers are given points and it is entirely up to us to relate them together. Even the transformation from green-eyed monster to Mr. Kwaku is left up to the reader. We don't "see" it.

Joshua was killed by a fall in his bedroom. How did that work? Might make more sense if he jumped out the window to fly - but that would have been ruled a suicide - like the little girl - and maybe Glenn.

*Clapper* Overall:

I think all the pieces of the story relate and can make for a compelling story but as it is it doesn't work without some work. I hope this is helpful.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
for entry "Simene
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from the "Novel Review Group and "Simply Positive Review Forum

My apologies for not getting on this sooner. My summers are full as well. We live in a hunting camp in the bush and there are a lot of chores to get done besides working full time. One thing I will mention here at the beginning of this review. The previous three chapter review was requested. I, unfortunately, did it as a review of chapter three. The gift points did come through to me. I'm assuming they were returned to you. I'm sure you can confirm that easily enough.

*Sun* Title: Threads in the Tapestry

*Sun* Chapter Reviewed: Chapter Four Simene

*Sun* User Name: jonjames

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*Sun* Plot:

The scene opens with Merci in the aftermath of her latest event. We are introduced to Simene. Already part of her inner circle of friends he is pulled in even closer. The chapter goes through detailed backstory about Merci's original encounter with Inman Island. Merci is preparing for a trip to Ketchican, Alaska for an archeological dig with her boyfriend. Simene will be cat sitting Manny. We are introduced to the Franken phone an invention of Simene which will become more important later on. I have read all the available chapters at this point to get the context. That's part of the reason it has taken me this long to get going on further chapter reviews.

Only one criticism here. As the story develops there seems to be an air of doubt in Merci's mind at least that this is pointing to Inman Island. I haven't noted any reason for her to question the connection from the very beginning of the chapter. I don't think any hint of lingering doubt is helping you here.


*Sun* Characters:

Simene - He's a stock techno-geek character. Not saying that as an insult. That's just what he is. You dressed him up and fleshed him out very well. He is necessary to the story and fills his role well.

Manny - The cat has been advanced to an actual character. I like it.

Merci - This is your heroine. I mostly like the character but there are a couple things that nag at me. First, a question is she a wholly made up character or is she based on a real person or a composite of people? One thing I noticed is that I can find no real distinction between your writing as the author and hers as the main character. At times, this leads to the impression that she thinks like a man rather than a woman.

I also find it a little odd that, while on the one hand, she is very self-conscious about her white skin and makes every effort to conceal it, but is very quick to show a whole lot to Simene in the name of full disclosure. In my mind, it clashes. I think she could have shown her secret a lot less dramatically.

*Sun* Grammar:

I didn't see anything but I really wasn't paying attention.

*Sun* style/voice:

Echoing the point on Merci's writing. When you get inside your characters head they all seem to have the same voice as the author. This is an impression I'm not sure other readers will share. Have any of your other reviewers mentioned this at all?

*Sun* Setting:

Merci's home. Very well described. I don't see anything here to fault.

*Sun* Overall:

The writing and storyline to this point are excellent.

*Sun* Line by line

" At times, he squirmed at bit, but never an indication of disbelief..."

There was another error I saw but can't find for the life of me now and I don't remember exactly what it was.

Keep on writing!

Pico

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
for entry "Dead Soldiers
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I read through the first three chapters, meandered over to "Voyager" for a quick peek and then took a look at the beginning of chapter four. I very much enjoyed what I read. I did see some nitpicks. Most of what I have though are questions, which is likely your intention as a writer. From my perspective, this could be a very good book. Your style and skill lead me to believe it will be. The plot does, however, have the potential to go right off the rails. Sounds like fun to me.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Your descriptions are excellent. The storyline as presented is interesting. At the end of each chapter in a work, I am reviewing, I always ask myself whether I want to keep reading. Each time the answer is yes.

This starts out with a strong air of mystery and it is sustained through the first three chapters. I want to know what happens next. I want to know how the pieces fit together. That is your story's biggest selling point.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Your work at this point in my reading seems just a tad description heavy. I don't see it as a problem in these chapters but I can see things bogging down a little as I go. If I review the rest of the book, that is one thing I will be looking for.

Merci Pleasant and Sam Remy appear to be the two main players. They're both haunted. They are well described but outside of that I really don't know that much about them. I see personality but not complex motives. Motives drive characters and characters drive novels. That has plenty of time to develop so at this point it is just an observation.

I loved the prologue and am curious as to how it connects with the story. Personally, I prefer my prologues without a chapter number attached. My only other criticism of it is the use of the word presents near the end which should obviously read presence.

Throughout there are a few places where I run into adverbs that could be weeded out but I didn't see it as much of an issue. I try to restrict my adverb usage to dialogue knowing that some publishers are real sticklers about getting rid of them.

*Clapper* Overall:

Your writing is superior. In these three chapters finding things to critique was a bit of a challenge. I'm interested in reviewing the rest of the book. We'll see what you think of this review. From here I would take it a chapter at a time. I have chapter review template and would work with that. Hope this review lived up to expectations.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

There is a lot to like in this short story. My review, however, will be focusing on this being part of a novel. The quality of the writing is technically excellent. I would weed out a few adverbs but would otherwise leave that aspect alone. You start off with a good hook and work through the story from there. While this is science fiction genre wise, it does stick to the plausible and possible.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The idea of colonizing other planets in our solar system fascinates me and probably a lot of other readers.

You give us what we need as readers as far as building this future world without overdoing the description. In this regard, you've laid an important cornerstone for a possible novel. I think this is where most of your fans see the potential for turning this into a novel.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Your protagonist is Nathan Marcus. He is the only character in your short story that is fully fleshed out. As he is portrayed he is good enough to carry five chapter but not a novel length story. Good protagonists spend at least some time in hell. It's rare to find a good novel lead that hasn't got some painful backstory. We usually give them more pain as the story progresses. Nathan is almost there but we need that little bit more to go for a longer ride with him.

In real life, the guy who does the planning isn't usually the one who implements this kind of plan but this is a book and he can and you'll get away with it.

From there you need a larger more developed cast. One guy is not likely to cut it especially with a story premise this big.

There is no real conflict in this story as it is written. This is a minor problem in five chapters. It will loom huge in a novel. I'm not saying you have to create an uber evil villain. Colonizing Mars would be an epic struggle with nature the way it is. If you are going to turn this into a book though you have to be aware of the conflict and use it to keep you readers with you. You will at the very minimum need to inject some of it into what you've already written with well-placed foreshadowing.

*Clapper* Overall:

I think the potential for a novel is here but it isn't as simple as just writing more. Hope this has been helpful.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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13
13
Review of Mushrooms to AI  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

"Informal musings" and you end up with what amounts to a short informal article. As far as that goes, I thought it was a little odd but on the other hand good enough.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The thread of logic running from beginning to end. I didn't have any difficulty following your train of thought.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Your title doesn't do anything for me or anyone else I foisted it on. I think you need something that might lead people to read it. I think a "why" or a "how" title might fit that. A good title needs to draw people in while the article itself delivers the goods.

For polishing, you might do a little adverb weeding too. Adverbs are words ending in "ly" and can usually just be deleted without changing the meaning. A lot of writers and editors will encourage their almost total elimination.

*Clapper* Overall:

I thought this wasn't a bad rough draft for an article. For your rating, I only docked you for the title and the nitpicks. Hope this is helpful.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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14
14
Review of The Dentist  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

Struck a cord with me as I read through this. Our youngest went to the dentist the first time and this particular man wasn't good with children. The experience was harrowing for him. We found a different dentist and it has since gone well.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Very obviously from a child's perspective and in that regard it is excellent. I know how Jem feels.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

The first two paragraphs are disconcertingly static. I'm having a little trouble nailing this down for you. Most of the verbs used are actionless. It isn't just "was" and "had" but also "wanted", "realized", "hoped" to name just a few. It isn't that they're bad of and by themselves but all together they make the start of this less engaging than it could be.

In the same vein, your first two sentences have the same structure. Normally that wouldn't even catch my eye but combined with the other issue mentioned it really hurts this piece.

*Clapper* Overall:

I know this is flash fiction and it is a contest entry and I'm trying to be helpful. I liked this bit of writing. The subject matter is excellent, the point of view is appropriate. Outside of what I've mentioned, this is good work and I liked it. Keep up the great work.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I read the first paragraph and asked myself if I wanted to keep reading. I decided to go ahead and enjoyed your work. I like well written fantasy but I'm not a big fan of the genre. Maybe because I've read a lot of badly written fantasy. This was well done.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The bit of humour this was written with. The story line flowed logically. There was conflict and drama.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Where I struggled a bit was at the beginning. Fantasy invariably throws up a lot of questions, especially in a short piece, or it spends way too much time explaining things. Some of the questions my mind was asking at the beginning, I wasn't sure I wanted to have answered. Gurlocks sounds "Ewww!" and I wasn't sure I wanted to know more about them. Not quite sure how to fix that or even if it needs to be.

*Clapper* Overall:

Great work. I enjoyed reading it.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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16
16
Review of Contagious  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

This is a nice concise piece of advice writing for starting off the new year. As it is written it is technically quite good. Good advice for anyone.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

It was well organized. The points were complete and nothing was beaten to death.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

This is not flash fiction. There is no story, no characters, no conflict, no resolution. I know you enter this contest regularly and do very well at it. It would be good to review the actual contest rules now and then.

*Clapper* Overall:

Don't get me wrong. The writing is good. I just don't think it was submitted in the right place.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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17
17
Review of A Special Camera  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I liked this overall but think it needs a bit of work. All the basic elements are here and you obviously know how to write.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Setting the scene. You have painted a good word picture for such a short piece of work.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Opening I think would benefit from being reworked a little. In professional writing you generally have your first sentence or two to grab your reader. Your "hook" really doesn't come until the last sentence of your paragraph. That's a point of interest that should come right at the beginning.

Second to last paragraph "and the bandage visible her knee". Sounds like a word got skipped while you were writing this. Problem though is that you have exactly the max word count for this contest. Quick fix would be to lose a couple of your unnecessary adverbs (slightly, absolutely) and then add the missing word.

I'm in a bit of a mood so don't mind me. Your ending is rather abrupt. There is no foreshadowing leading up to that. I would try to work that in somewhere. Big challenge with this word count. Hope that's helpful.

*Clapper* Overall:

I liked this and think it has potential. Hope that I'm being more helpful than critical. Good luck in the contest.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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18
18
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

This was a delightful short piece of writing. Brilliantly executed. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

I like the way the story progressed right down to the final sentence.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

I'm sure if I tried real hard I might find something to nitpick. I don't see any point in doing so.

*Clapper* Overall:

Great job. Look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
19
19
Review of A Day to Remember  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (2.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I only score harshly when I see potential. I would love to learn to sail a boat (I'd like to build it first) and that kind of attracted me to your story. From a writing point of view there are several problem with this piece but most of it isn't that hard to fix.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The story has an identifiable beginning middle and end even though it is rather short. You have an excellent hook with the approaching storm and the obvious inexperience of the crew.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

1) It would be more effective start with your hook to get your reader into the story. The description of the boat is better placed after that.

2) The way the ending is written it comes off as an anticlimax. To fix this I would have the couple spend a lot more time battling the storm or at least spend a lot more time talking about it. The struggle is what will make this interesting.

3) Not all the dialogue is believable. “I don’t like this,” hollered Bruce above the wind. “I have never seen seas like this!” This to me sounds cliche and not even real. It might have worked if there had been more of a build up to that point.

*Clapper* Overall:

The bones for a good piece of writing is here. My intention is not to discourage you. With some work it could be quite good.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

This is a well written scene. There is no real hook at the beginning. If this is meant to be a stand alone story that's a problem. Not going to fault you on that. This is a bunch of friends ringing in the new year together and at the end a couple of relationships get their "official" kick off. If this is intended to be part of something bigger I think it's fine. Otherwise for me it's meh.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The dialogue with one small exception. Your dialogue flows naturally and makes sense to me. It is like real conversation. A lot of people can't do it so bravo.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Does anyone actually use the word inimitable in conversation? I have a pretty rich vocabulary and I wouldn't and if I did anyone I'm talking with would look at me funny. There has got to be a better way to state that.

*Clapper* Overall:

Nicely written scene. Based on this I'm not sure I would read further if the story continues. On the other hand if it was a scene in the middle of a larger work it wouldn't do anything to slow down either. Good work!

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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21
21
Review of Think of Home  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

Overall I think this is very readable and well written. A couple question marks do pop up along the way. The action sequence and the confusion is well portrayed. The dialogue is mostly believable.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The action sequence at the beginning and then the progression of the story. A lot of writers struggle to get anywhere near the level this is at.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

First sentence his gun slips from his hands and there is no further mention of this event. In the middle of battle this is a big deal. No mention is made of him picking it back up so I suspect that he didn't actually drop it although that is what the wording implies. Hope he didn't get any dirt in the barrel. That really is a big deal and you should fix it. It doesn't make sense to me that a trained soldier could drop his weapon accidentally in this fashion.

Second issue for me is when you listed his injuries. How did he lose a lot of blood? The injuries are serious and painful but none of the ones you listed usually involve a great deal of blood loss. I think you have to get a severe laceration in there somewhere.

*Clapper* Overall:

I think this is excellent and only needs a bit of work to be spot on.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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22
22
Review of Good morning!  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I don't usually review this type of writing but the lure of gift points is strong. While I haven't read a great deal, I have written a few stories for my wife and myself. This was in my opinion genuinely erotic and quite well written. I do see a couple of opportunities for improvement which I will list below.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

Erotic but not smutty. Kept it classy. I appreciated that.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Adverbs are generally not considered a mark of good writing. In this sort of a scene I would expect a few. You went overkill on them in a few places. I would make an effort to weed most of them out. I think that could be done without harming the mood you created. It might even make it better.

Appealing to the five senses is rather important. Touch and sight make up the bulk of your description. There is some reference to hearing and I'd give you a pass on that sense as well. Taste is mentioned but not described at all. Smell is absent. I think there are plenty of opportunities in this to add those. It would make the scene come that much more alive.

*Clapper* Overall:

You're a talented writer and I think this vignette is everything it is supposed to be.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

This brings to mind a lot of not so warm memories. Been through a number of severe blizzards in my time. If it's that cold that a man with gloves has ten or fifteen minutes of time before frostbite sets in, the snow is just blowing around. I'm actually writing this review while taking a break from cutting, hauling and chopping firewood out in the snow. It's cold but actually a very nice day. I liked this because I could easily identify with it.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

The description. I think it is very well done.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

North of Fargo. I understand the technique being used and it was effective but by time I'd gotten into this piece I'd read it three times. I would delete the subheading at the beginning.

*Clapper* Overall:

Excellent work. Hope you do well in the contest.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.
24
24
Review of Queen of Hearts  
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

This was a very well written crime story. It has all the elements a story like this should have. Excellent dialogue and description throughout. You appealed to most of the senses. A reference to smell could have been effective but won't fault you for that. I liked the story and the telling.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

I liked the plot.

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

I'm kind of blah on the name of your protagonist and I'm not sure why. Didn't mark you down for that. Might be just my own personal thing.

I normally don't notice things like this but you did it in your first sentence. Passed should read past. Also just lose the adverb (purposefully). It adds nothing. You'll get away with stuff like that in the middle of the narrative but not in your opening.

I didn't notice anything else.

*Clapper* Overall:

Excellent work. Loved it. Definitely deserving of any praise you've been given.


Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

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Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
In affiliation with SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a review from "Simply Positive Review Forum

Remember I am not a professional reviewer. These are just my personal impressions and thoughts. My goal is to be encouraging and give you something that will actually help your writing.

*ExclaimY* First Impressions:

I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. I did read in your bio about your love for Pittsburgh. It shines through in this story.

*SuitHeart* My Favorite Elements:

I find a lot of writers overdo description or do it badly. You added a lot of it but it is the part of the writing that I like the best. You painted pictures I could see in my minds eye. Bravo!

*FacePalm* Suggestions:

Many people frown on the use of adverbs. I noticed them but thought they worked.

Your father asks Sal if he sees that girl after his friend has already acknowledged her. Seems illogical but I can see a love struck man saying exactly that in this situation.

I honestly don't see anything wrong with this piece.

*Clapper* Overall:

Great job! May visit your port again when I have more time.

Keep on writing!

Pico *CountryCA*

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Please take the time to visit my portfolio and don't be too shy to sign my guest book. Reviews are always welcome.


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