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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/rainangel
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11 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
1
1
Review of Race for Romance  
Review by Professor Q
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Heya! This is a review for 'I Write'!

I actually almost entered this particular version of the Flash Fiction Challenge, but my story would have been a lot different, lol. Tower totally meant mini-battle! I've read too much fantasy, I think.

Anyway, this is cute little piece of fiction. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, which is hard to do in 300 words. Beth is a discernible character and not just a cypher meant to fill a role; she has clear motivations, even if they do change. I will say the "who she sat next to in biology" should be a "whom".

The only thing that was a bit off was that "Biology" read to me like a high school class, whereas getting drinks obviously implies being over 21, so there was a bit of a weird clash there. Maybe changing the class to something obviously college-y (like O-Chem or Polynomials, or something) or the drinks to food would help clear up that weirdness.

Other than that, I really enjoyed your story! Best of luck in Flash Fiction and in I Write!
-Quaddy
2
2
Review by Professor Q
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hey there! Reviewing this for I Write!

Hello, fellow Prepper! Isn't it wonderful that we get to use Prep as part of I Write? I dunno if I could handle both. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when this contest and NaNo actually overlap! Eek.

Anyway...

First off, thank you for your grammar. I know Prep is all about collecting our thoughts and our ideas for next month, but it's a huge pet peeve of mine when people don't take the opportunity to polish anything that's being entered as a contest piece. You have absolutely taken the time to present your story in a grammatically correct format. Heck, just getting the whole 'loath' versus 'loathe' thing correct is...thank you.

Moving on. I'd have to say the biggest area for improvement is in your repetitious use of 'he' as the lead-off word in your sentences. It's not necessarily incorrect, but it can ruin the flow of a piece if so many sentences begin in the same way. In a smaller piece like this, it's not horribly bothersome because it contributes to a not-terribly-intellectual feel for your character, but in the longer form of a novel it can become a weakness. Just something to be mindful of as you prepare to write your piece.

But really, the mild repetition issues are nothing compared to the fact that you've managed to fulfill the requirements of the Contest Round for Antagonists: I understand and empathize with your antagonist. It's clear that he has become as controlling as his father and is quite probably the real source of his problems with women. We often do reflect our parents no matter how we might try to move on from that. So, in that sense, you definitely nailed this round. Great job!

Best of luck in Prep, NaNo itself, and I Write!
-Quaddy
3
3
Review of Lunar Elcipse  
Review by Professor Q
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Greetings! I'm reviewing this because it appears I'm next in line for "I Write", so let's go...

I do wish I had gotten to see the moon last night. It was a rainy evening here, so the lady was unfortunately obscured by cloud as well as by the Earth itself. So I shall have to console myself with the pictures my friends in clearer places took, and by reading poems such as yours!

First off, well done in following the rules of the contest. No use of the forbidden words, you used all the words necessary, had the right amount of lines. I know I'm not a judge in the contest, but I figure a good review points out when someone has missed something. You missed nothing, so woo!

Secondly, the poem is well-written. You have good word choice, evocative imagery, and a clear narrative purpose evident throughout your poem. I wish I could say our reaction to the blood moon has completely come away from thoughts of apocalypse, but there were plenty of people convinced that some sort of prophesy regarding the people of Israel was going to come true, so...perhaps not, lol. But I know I definitely wish I could have seen it.

OK, this is where it gets real. Your lack of punctuation is taking away from everything I said above. All poetry, but especially free verse (because it doesn't have scansion or rhyme scheme to direct the reader), is still subject to grammar. Unless you're deliberately evoking e.e. cummings, but it doesn't look as though that is the case here. There are occasional commas scattered about, and each stanza ends with a period, but, for the most part, your poem reads like four run-on sentences. If you were to stretch them out in sentence format, you would see where punctuation is necessary; it is necessary here, too. Dashes, semi-colons, and periods can appear throughout your stanzas and very much should in order to direct the flow and rhythm of your poem. Doing that will organize your ideas more effectively and make your poem much stronger.

All right, that's all I got for you today! Best of luck in this contest and in "I Write"!
-Quaddy
4
4
Review by Professor Q
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hey, darling! I entered the Cramp for this prompt and the title of your piece intrigued me, so I decided to come on over and give it a review!

I know the Cramp is limited to 1000 words, so it's obviously difficult to get into things, but there isn't a lot of emotional depth here. There are also a few things that I'm not sure aren't intentional, but I wanted to make known to you just in case you wanted to change them at a later date.

First things first, those things I wasn't sure you knew:

1) Short hair on a woman in this time was...rare. Not until the early 20th century (particularly the 1920s) did women cut their hair short, and when that happened...well, it was done exactly because it was a rebellion against the staid styles of the late 19th and very earliest years of the 20th century. At the time of your story, the ideal beauty was that of the Gibson Girl, who absolutely had long hair. Obviously, you could have done this on purpose, but if you wanted authenticity (which is paramount for Steampunk stories, as the technology can get so outlandish), I'd recommend the slight change.

2) Your story isn't quite Steampunk. It's actually closer to...well, history. By this point in history, Edison had already invented the light bulb and electricity was weaving its way around the country. Not steam-based electricity, but our modern conception. Steampunk is retro-futurism; it's the idea that Victorian England (or sometimes the Wild West) had advanced to the point that they were an par with what we have today, but in a steam-propelled/clockwork sort of way. In some cases, it's based on already available technology, but advanced to a point that the people of that era would never have dreamed of. You mentioned that this was your first crack at Steampunk, so I thought you might want to know. Let that imagination go WILD. That's the fun part of Steampunk. It's Historical Science Fiction.

Now...on to the story. Obviously it's the Cramp, so...who cares about grammar and stuff? That's not the point. On that note, you did well. There were few grammatical issues and those were borderline, so let's move on.

The difficult thing of writing a story with 1000 words is getting depth. And that is really hard to do. As it stands, though, you have a character that leaves more questions than answers them. Why, for example, is your character so angry at her husband? Is it really because she thinks electricity is out of a science fiction novel? Given that she lives in 1898, she really shouldn't, as I mentioned above. But ignoring that...what is the genesis of her current loathing? Is it that he's always at work? That he's boring and stodgy? Does she feel trapped? Is he not providing the life for her that she was promised? What?

Obviously this is just the Cramp, so I didn't drop your rating too far because that wouldn't be fair. The thing with such short stories is, though, the story either has to be really simple or the language has to be really loaded. And a wife hiring a prostitute to seduce her husband so she could divorce him...that's not simple, so you're left with language. Try, when you can, to use three words when you want to use six...that way, you get all the impact of 2000 words for a waist-slimming 1000 words! OR, edit with a critical eye. Get rid of absolutely anything that doesn't drive the story forward. Extraneous details that are cool in longer stories but don't add to anything to the plot are a no-go for such word limitations. I'm not really editing for style here...more giving the sort of advice I loved getting when I struggled with writing stories with a limited word count. Learning to write with purpose as well as edit with a keen eye for necessity are two of the greatest skills a writer can have, and a contest with such a limited word count is absolutely the best way to exercise those skills.

Anyway...great job! Congrats on your first foray into Steampunk! It's a wonderful genre totally worthy of further exploration and I hope you continue doing it!

Write On!
-Quaddy
5
5
Review of Mentalist  
Review by Professor Q
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Forget the number I gave you. I only rated it to review it. And I'm one of those writers who will go back and change the rating as you edit this story. So it's just a starting off point.

This is a good beginning, but it is a skeleton. There is a real lack of depth to the emotion. You describe the world very quickly without allowing it to sink into the reader's psyche. It's very topical, basically. Remember in school when all the teachers used to say "show, don't tell"? Well, you've got to do both to make things any good. Develop what you want to say, don't just say it and be done with it. Make it longer, using literary devices (similes, metaphors, etc) and descriptive word choice. Paint a picture with everything. Make the readers sense everything you want them to sense and understand what it is like to be in this world.

As far as the scene with the Empath, I figure that it'll have a big impact in the story, right? If so, make sure it's something that the reader will remember. Make it have impact in the moment and for the rest of the story. You can do that by expanding the feelings instead of just actually saying what happened. It's the same for the rest of the story. You put so much emphasis on the action of the story that you lose the description and the human element. Make the demons ferocious, make the humans heroic. Don't just throw a detail out there like Tiberius got immortality. What does a demon have to do to be immortal? Is it horrendous? Does he have to eat the still-beating hearts of children as they watch him?

I must say that I really like the plot you have set up here. It's really imaginative and I think it'll make a great novel, which I am presuming is what you want to do with it. And is actually what is best suited to the storyline that you've got going. Something this big is not meant to be a short story or a novella. So, basically, what I say this, before you write any more plot...go in and develop the feelings, the setting, and history of your world. Actually, what I *really* recommend is developing your world and your characters in separate entities, something that you can turn to at a later date. Because what I've found to be the most true (for me, anyway) is that knowing your characters and your setting is pretty much 80% of writing a novel. Just let the characters free in their world and they'll know what they want to do. Don't plan any plot until you *know* the characters like you grew up with them and the world like you were born there.

Let me know when you have worked in this again and I'll come back and review it again! I think you've got a great idea working here!
-Quaddy
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