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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/psinderson
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12 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Karmic Countdown  
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Nicely written story! You started right in the middle of the action with a just completed murder. The gives the reader an immediate jolt to attention. You did a nice job of describing Willie’s internal fear of the old man and I loved the “Lost In Space” reference.

Everything flowed quite nicely meaning I had absolutely no problem reading this – it rolled smoothly through the action.

Probably the only critique I can give is regarding the old man and his capabilities. At the end, he says that he was also given the watch. What I don’t get is his supernatural ability to make the watch appear on Willie’s wrist. If he was once like Willie, could he really do that? Maybe it’s just that one gets transformed when the watch is put on. It’s really a minor point because it doesn’t affect the story for me at all. It was honestly hard to find ANY negative thing about this story.

I really enjoyed this and I look forward to exploring your portfolio some more.

Paul
2
2
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (4.5)
I liked the gradual twist in this story as I read it. It started out so “sweet” and ended not so much so! It wasn’t until the middle of the story that I had an inkling of what was happening.

You have some nice imagery here:

Tall Cypress trees created an imploding cathedral ceiling that provided just sufficient shade from the high sun.(/center}

I also really liked the very subtle humor you were able to inject – ”…staleness of cow and sheep pee…” At least I found it funny.

Overall, this seemed very Poe-like with it dark, macabre feel. Nice work!

Paul

P.S. Check the content rating you provided for this.
3
3
Review of Through the Storm  
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
You’ve done well with the rather sad content of a verbally abusive and alcoholic father. I really like the story being focused from Johnny’s POV, but I wonder if it might be more powerful if it were true first person rather than narrated.

I also enjoyed the way the story ended, with Johnny distracted by the license plates – another coping mechanism for him.

You asked specifically for ways to shorten the story. I think the best way to do this would be by adding descriptive dialogue. There is a lot of exposition here that could be “shown” (I hate bringing up that cliché!) through dialogue and character interaction.

As an example, I think the first few paragraphs, which describe the icy and dangerous conditions, could be effectively shortened through a few quick exchanges – possibly the verbal abuse that is so prevalent with his father. The scene of the accident could also work well with some crisper internal dialogue with Johnny.

One thing I thought was missing was further explanation of the tournament that they were attending. The way it is mentioned in the story, I got the feeling that it was something important but then we don’t get any more information about it. Was that just a way to show the parents focus on Johnny?

There’s a good basis here. If you can shorten this to the contest length, I think it would provide more forward momentum. Good luck!

Paul
4
4
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This certainly has me wondering what is happening. I feel like there is something missing, perhaps some sort of resolution, unless I’m just not getting it (which is HIGHLY possible!). I’m going to say that it seems the main character has walked into a kind of hell?

I liked the paradox of the gloomy and scary first paragraph followed by the party, I wasn’t expecting that. And then, it goes back to doom (in my mind) with the last sentence.

Was this written for a contest? I was just wondering about the length. I think there is the possibility of something much more expansive here as I would really like to know what the main character has walked into.

Paul
5
5
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (4.0)
There’s quite a few things taking place in this chapter. We get a glimpse of the Moon Crystal history, Max’s hazy past is hinted and he suddenly gets word that he’s leaving Gangren. While these are all great plot elements, they come a tad too fast for me. More details around these events will help to string it out a bit.

My reader observations:

I am wondering how Max keeps getting out of Gangren or missing roll call. It seems like a delinquent youth facility might be a bit more secure. Then again, maybe this one isn’t and it’s the way you intended.

This first part of the Orb story seemed relatively modern to me, except for the reference to grinding corn, which nobody does anymore. It wasn’t until she wonders what the priests will do that I realized this was a more ancient story.

I liked the brief interlude with the janitor. It helped to break things up a bit and add some humor.

My first thought is that the crystal caused Max’s transfer orders.


Overall, another nice work. I simply felt that this chapter, more than the others, could be expanded since it only briefly touches on a few seemingly significant events.

Paul
6
6
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (4.0)
Another nice read. Again, believable dialogue and action with Max’s confrontation with Spaz. My favorite line:

puking was the best defense at Gangren sometimes. Who wanted to continue a fight covered in puke?


As promised in my Chapter 2 review, here are my thoughts and questions as a reader:

Max’s confrontation with Spaz had me wondering if he would eventually be the human equivalent to Garook and perhaps acting on his behalf. Did you plan this idea? I could be totally off base.

Max begins to think about some of the questions I had in Chapter 2, mainly the link between his dream world and reality.

The crystal seems like some sort of protector of whoever holds it. Is it good or evil? I’m not sure.


That’s all for this chapter…onto the next one! Nice work!

Paul
7
7
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (4.5)
I really enjoyed this chapter. You’ve done a great job of solving some mysteries and creating others – making us want to read more! I especially enjoyed the dialogue between Sarina and Max – very true and somewhat humorous.

Understanding that you are more interested in how the story works as opposed to raw edits, perhaps I’ll provide some questions that are going through my head as a reader. This way, you can see if what you have planned for the story is working for your audience.

I’m wondering what the link is between Max’s dreams and his reality? Is he really dreaming? There is an obvious link as Sarina seemed to recognize Max.

How is Sarina’s form linked to the real world? In Chapter 1, Max throws a pickle jar at the beast she is fighting and it goes right through. Here, Sarina is able to kiss Max and also transfer the solid “gumball” to Max.

Is Max the only one who can see Sarina? She acts as if she has interacted with Humans before, but wouldn’t the Moon Spirits be more well known if that was the case?

And now the obvious question: What will happen to the “gumball” now that Spaz has seen it (I know, I know…read the next chapter!)?


Great chapter and I look forward to reading the others.

Paul
8
8
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is spectacular writing! Well thought out, meaningful and cohesive. One of the best ways to judge writing, maybe the only true way, is how it moves the reader, tugs at their emotions. Let me tell you, you tugged me all the way.

How did this move me? My father is an avid bird watcher and I have similar memories of him pointing out various birds on our many long trips in the car. The way you weave the hawk throughout the essay is wonderful - you've linked everything together. I was reading about you and your father, but I saw my father in my mind, turning his head to look through the window, nearly veering off course. Then, how it morphs into your own inspirational journey towards positive thinking and hope. A real story for the times.

I always like to provide reviews that point out the good and the bad, but I simply can't find the bad. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Paul
9
9
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
This is a really interesting and well-crafted story. I’m assuming this is part of a larger story?

Structure
I really enjoyed the beginning, especially the second paragraph. The last sentence really hits you with a surprise! Strangely, I wasn’t sure at this point if this was about vampires. I had the idea of JUST cannibals. You introduce their vampire nature slowly, which builds the excitement of the story:

Also the corpse of the fella we ate last night…

Then

Of all the people to suddenly jump on you from a rafter and start chomping jugulars…

Then

”…That stuff won’t happen for another fifty years at least.” The smaller vampire grins.


Nice tension building! I also liked the early reference that gives the reader an idea of how old they really are: I don’t think either of us has seen any television since the moon landing..

The overall flow is nice and logical with a good mix of dialogue and description. The last sentence is classic as it sets up the next chapter (assuming) perfectly.

Voice
This may be a new style for me: folksy vampire. In general, the language of Ira and Trochee flows effortlessly. It’s very matter-of-fact…we’re vampires and we eat people, simple as that.

Misc
There’s a few things that I want to know more about, which will hopefully come out in later chapters. What are the histories of Ira and Trochee? What is “Undeath”? And of course, what happens to them?

Obviously, I enjoyed this story and hope you continue with it. Your style is easy to read and well structure.

Great work!

Paul
10
10
Review by Paul Sinderson
Rated: E | (4.0)
Let me get the answer to you specific question out of the way first: Does this first chapter create interest and make me want to read more? Absolutely!

There…I said it. You can stop reading – unless you want to know why I like this so much. *Smile*

I really enjoyed the imagery you created in this chapter. The sickly green colors, the fortress-like detention center and even the name of the center: Gangren. My natural thought is “gangrene” – living tissue that is slowly dying, like the unfortunate children there. You’ve also keenly developed the harsh environment on Gangren through Spaz and Max’s reaction to what turned out to be the cat.

The first paragraph was well written. You set up the girl and then surprise us with the fact that she is not real.

The only thing I wanted a little more of was the battle with the “lizard thing”. That section seemed a little rushed, like there needs to be more there – it seems significant.

I really enjoyed this and I definitely look forward to future chapters and finding out why the heck Max is at Gangren to begin with. It seems like he will be an interesting character.

Paul
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