*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Get it for
Apple iOS.
Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/revdbob
Review Requests: OFF
233 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
Previous ... -1- 2 3 4 5 ... Next
1
1
Review of The Snowman  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.0)
I enjoyed your story and I am not writing a formal review. As I began to read, however, I almost stopped. There were so MANY adjectives, it got to feeling like what my teachers called "purple prose," so I scanned further to see if there was anything to the story. It was a nice, Hallmark Movies kind of story, and the idea might actually be salable to a Hallmark screenwriter, though I wouldn't know how to do that. I don't know about Harold the Angel. It's not that puns don't work; but that it is such an OLD pun! You might be able to work it in if he makes fun of it himself. "What's your name?" "You can call me Harold. Harold the Herald Angel!" Of course, a herald brings news, which he does.
Enjoy your writing!
2
2
Review of First Born  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (2.0)
Hi Melimel,

Since you are a beginner, please do not be discouraged by suggestions. Sometimes "criticism" in the sense of literary critique gets confused in our hearts with criticism, meaning "you (personally) are not good enough." One of the problems in English, and beauties of good poetry is that words can mean more than one thing! So let's begin there.

Your first line suggests to me that you want to make a toast! But to what?! Your struggles? That doesn't fit with the rest of the poem, does it?

Your next line tells me you struggled a little to get a rhyme. Many people will tell you not to worry about rhyme as a beginner and personally I think that is usually poor advice; but maybe not. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Either rhyme or meter. Once you get one down, bring the other into perspective Then remember that it isn't the rhyme OR the meter that makes a piece poetry, but the words and meanings behind the words and the ideas that are suggested by them which are enhanced BY things like rhyme, meter, assonance, dissonance, alliteration, etc., etc. Good poetry shouldn't be hard to read and tongues shouldn't stumble over the words UNLESS there is a specific purpose for deliberately making that happen. Remember, almost all great poetry was meant to be read aloud!

Back to the point. What suggests the struggle to rhyme is the phrase "fails to last." Except "fail" means does not succeed and suggests that lasting would be a success. "Does not" or 'never" would be closer to what I take your meaning to be, although then you have meter issues to clean up. This is hard, but that's why not everyone is a poet! Easier to pick apart than to write!

What all does the word "pardon" imply? Judicial pardon for crimes? Or just "Ahem, pardon me." Those leap to my mind first, but what you mean is forgiveness of childish wrongs and parental excesses in discipline, perhaps. You are neither a judge nor someone interrupting another nor have you accidentally bumped into someone where you might normally use the word "pardon." You see, the dictionary is a necessary but not adequate tool for finding synonyms. We have to ask ourselves what connotations each word has or we wind up making huge mistakes. Remember when Jimmy Carter went to Poland and used the dictionary to say in Polish "America lusts after you" Instead of "loves you?" Or when JFK went to Berlin and said "I am a jelly donut" instead of "I, too, am from Berlin?"

"Even still..." You mean, I think, to say "nevertheless" or basically, none of that changes my love for you. But remember every word in a good poem counts for something, so why say "even still" rather than something else? What are the alternative meanings and connotations of "even" and "still?" What does it remind you of? Does nothing else fit better?

(An aside: "MomMa" has three m's.)

Likewise "adorn." Once upon a time people might say they adorned themselves with everyday clothing. Now they tend only to say that when they are trying to be very elegant. We might say "they adorned him with an ornate and royal hat," but not he was adorned with a hat. Or else we talk about adorning something else, as in decorating -- a Christmas tree is adorned with ornaments or even a doll with the latest wardrobe, but only theater moms would adorn their sons.

Okay, I haven't gone through the whole poem with you, though I could; but I don't want to overwhelm you. And there are some good things to say about it too.

Above everything else, it is a loving present for your son. He is not likely to be caring about the words, but about his mother, and you have told him what he craves hearing: that you love him in spite of any past conflicts and are proud of what he has made of himself and his family. You have shared your memories of his childhood and your feelings about what it has meant. You have opened yourself to him, and I am sure he will appreciate that very much. As such your poem will accomplish a great deal and mean more than sending him Shakespearean sonnets.

It doesn't take perfection in something to make it wonderful and meaningful. In fact long ago I discovered that to get something fro 90% to 95% of perfect takes the same amount of time and effort it would take me to get six other things from 60% to 90%. Writing great poetry means struggling to get past the 95% and takes not just genius but almost always some really hard work, although serendipity helps, too. If you want to practice poetry, go ahead. Remember those who stop trying to walk -- or ride a bike -- after they fall down a few times never learn to walk or ride. But just as learning to play the piano, it takes practice. For that matter, so does being a better person. Even Toscanini was not a perfect musician, but imagine if he didn't constantly practice! Mother Teresa mentioned that it takes practice to love selflessly, too. *Smile*

A happy and blessed new year to you!

Bob



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by revdbob
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
This is nicely written. Minor spelling or typos may be here or there ("sleeve" has no "a" in it). The ending is not quite what I expected - not bad, but perhaps not quite entirely satisfying to me.

You had planted several hints that there would be a special place for Bobby's blanket, but none such was ever revealed. One would have expected that Pastor Dan would have chosen SOME place for it, from whence it might have been removed. He MIGHT even have had the wisdom to place it in the manger, perhaps UNDER the baby, and the ending might have been the same. And at the least, it would have been gratifying, if somewhat sentimental, if Bobby also saw Mary's gesture.

On the whole, though, nicely done. Merry Christmas!
Bob
4
4
Review of The Bat  
Review by revdbob
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
I'm reviewing this because it had few reviews.

The dialogue is good and consistent. My reservations come about in two areas.

1. Linford. I just don't believe in the name. It is not that real people don't have that name, they do; it is just that it doesn't RING true in the context. One reason is it's unusual, but more than that it is the sort of name that would be shortened between a husband and wife, to Lin, or Ford. Or might even go "LIN! LINFORD!"

2. I realize it is just a short dialogue done for exercise. It would be fine as part of a longer story, novel, or memoir; but as an independent piece it falls kind of flat. The small "point" of mother believing her child itself seems to have no real point since we have no idea if this is a special learning for either mother or child. My preference, even for a short dialogue (and I realize this may be strictly a personal preference) would be to set the stage for the dialogue even with an aside to the reader, so that the significance of the dialogue can be understood.)

Anyway, so take the rating with a grain of salt. I have to give one to use this system. In its original context it might really deserve a little better.
5
5
Review of Meditation  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.0)
Many people think free verse means there are no rules. Rather, it means the the writer creates the rules, but they are more meaningful in context than traditional rules, and the poet sticks to them as much as traditional poets stick to theirs.

In this case you have established at least two rules which you have then broken, to my mind without compensating advantage.

Each verse (line)is composed of two or at most three syllables except the third in stanza 3. To maintain soncistency, just dropping "the" would help (is there really just one answer possible? How could "the" ever be appropriate!) But how about "Vision" instead of "the answer?"

Each stanza has 4 lines, except the second. Does adding a fifth line add anything poetically? If so I don't see it. I think the same message comes through if you drop "relax them," or how about

Thoughts drift
Muscles cramp
Pull them back
Effort

The repetition of the first stanza in the fourth is very appropriate and effective. Overall well done.

Best,
Bob
6
6
Review of Broken Hearted  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.5)
I like this story very much. It is almost a poem in its short space. There is one word, however, that needs changing - "save." It is not used correctly here. You might use "though" or "although" or "except that" though you'd have to eliminate a word somewhere for the contest. But to squeeze this into 99 words is very well done.

Bob
7
7
Review of Let Go  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (5.0)
Technically, this is a great ghazal. Very well done. Content-wise, it conveys its meaning clearly and effectively, so that also is well done.

Nevertheless, if I followed my gut instinct, I would not give a 5.0, because it may be hard to publish because it is didactic poetry. It has just enough imagery to prevent it from being unreadable, and its point is certainly one to be approved. Perhaps if "take my advice" were changed to something else, the impression of being lectured to would diffuse.

But maybe I am just being idiosycratic. I do like your poem. Good job.
8
8
Review of First Date?  
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is my first review for Rising Stars - thank you for your nomination - so if I am not doing this the way the group expects, please explain what to do differently!

I am finding this poem a little difficult to review. There is not much one can really say is wrong with it; yet it doesn't sit quite right, either. Part of that may be because it was written for a contest with restrictions, the most prominent of which is that you had to use the word "bizarre."

What you have done is create a bisazrre situation, which doesn't at all need to use the word "bizarre" because everyone knows it's bizarre by the last line. The word is redundant. Poetry needs to be concise, and to rely on implications and multiple meanings, or it's just prose in funny lines. Rahter than "bizarre" as the last line, then, you might, once the competition is over, consider changing the word to something you may have been implying, but which is not so obvious, like "Forever alone!" or "always a first date."

I think there are other places you could add some depth. For example, instead of "throwing glances," why not "casting glances," since she is really fishing for companionship?

In "for yes or for no," I would consider dropping the second "for" for the sake of the reading rhythm. Since you have no consistent rhythm (which, especially in a piece where dancing is central, would seem to be a very natural and almost necessary poetic complement) you may not find so important. My advice would be to try to make rhythm more central, perhaps even with very obvious and deliberate starts and stops as she exchanges new partners. Then the structure of the poem would aid in the sense of the poem. Laurence Perrine Sound and Sense is quite a good book for teaching some of these ideas.

This is not a bad poem as it is; I am trying to help you to recognize a next level up. That in itself is a compliment!

Best,
Bob
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
9
9
Review of The Rating Game  
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I love it!

Your piece is full of good humor, and mentions many of the typical review "disasters." You even reference other articles (how convenient that you have written them all yourself!) further to illustrate your points. *Smile*

And finally, you do give at least hints not only to how member should receive their reviews (especially downers) but how to give them. This was not the place for detailed instructions, and those are given aplenty by such luminaries as the Story Master. But your hints are effective, and I'd encourage anyone who is fuming over a review to have a look at your piece.

Well done.
Bob
10
10
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

Your memoir is technically well written, and I am sure echoes experiences many of us have had. What interest me in it, is that the lesson not only of not overreating, or of holding one's temper is admittedly not learned, but apparently the writer still thinks of herself as the victim. One wonders if the cold cruel world is not as much terrorized by this hard-headed Thinking Chair veteran who still thinks herself right?

Perhaps that has nothng to do with the writing per se; but I do think it has something to do with one's satisfaction in reading it. I have only praise for the writing itself. You have done a good job.

Write on.
11
11
Review by revdbob
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

Your well written memoir proves that even in one's 60s one can learn something. I had associated Marfan's with Abe Lincoln, but it had never occurred to me that thinness in women might be related to it.

Since I found your piece through the comedy newsletter, I expected something rather different. Your memoir is good humored, to be sure; but it also seems to be a humor that covers a great deal of pain, which has not yet entirely passed. Blessedly, you have found a partner who sees beyond appearance to the great soul within! *Smile*

Your writing is technically very good. If I have a criticism, it would be that I wish there were more "read on" hooks. I cannot think of much to improve it, but it occurred to me that this paragraph:

Now I’m no dummy - I can almost hear your collective sigh of disgust as you read this. You were all ready to be happy for me had I lost weight to fit into the pants, but instead you probably just want to punch me.

might carry me better, with some more self-deprecating humor, such as:

"Your sighs of disgust nearly blow me away!" etc.

Good work. Keep writing.
12
12
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

This is a nice little children's story with a good moral, though I think the moral could have been stronger by showing more of how the princess was being selfish.

A bright child, however, is going to ask a question like, how come the mermaid didn't make the wish in the first place, before the princess let it be known she wanted the unicorn? In fact, as soon as it became obvious that the princess was not a nice person, why did she not wish her nice? And is it just lucky that the princess never thought, when she had the unicorn, to wish that her reign be permanent?

You say right at first that the unicorn is special because of his blackness; but that color seems to have nothing whatever to do with the story or the moral. When you tell us something is special, I think you need to make it special and important to the story. You might say that ordinary white unicorns had only a few special powers, like...But only a black unicorn could...." Then the color would have significance.

Still, the story will work for most children. It is a good story. Tt just has potential to be even better.

Kepe up the good work,
Bob
13
13
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

You made me laugh out loud and disturb the class I was testing at the time! Shame on you!

This is a good example of effective flash fiction, consistent in tone until the end, with a surprise tou didn't telegraph ahead of time, while planting the clues that could have done it if I'd caught them.

Great job!
14
14
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.5)
I understand why in an active forum such as this, posting the prompts in a message makes some sense. But it IS hard, especially for someone who isn't used to it, and when there is no instruction on the page to look for the prompts there, to figure it out. I think it's better for the people who come to your site to find the prompts clearly displayed on the intro page, rather than have to hunt for them in the messages below. It took me quite a while to learn to look there in oither fora.

Otherwise this would be a 5.0, as anything the supports us and encourages us to write is intrinsically perfect!

Thanks!
Bob
15
15
Review of RAPTURE  
Review by revdbob
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
There is a moment between time and space
as I look out across the cold night sky


"as"? Or "when?" "As does not make a proper sentence.

There is a moment between time and space
when I see a falling star, and then another
leaving the heavens far behind; it becomes
a brief and shining light, like no other.

Nice stanza

There is a moment between time and space
when I can feel the love of those here below
and feel the sweet salt spray from the ocean,
once again comes the rapture of the afterglow.

This is the only stanza in which the second half seems unconnected to the first. What has salt spray got to do with love? Maybe it does, but you don't show so.

There is a moment between time and space
when I will leave the earthly bonds behind
to fly unencumbered and without a care
and to hold these memories in my mind.


This stanza, seeming to focus on looking forward to afterlife, seems to contradict the next!

There is a moment between time and space
with new worlds to see, that I need to explore.
Our time on earth is much too short a stay
as the rapture comes on me, I ask no more.


It seems some kind of punctuation is needed in the last two lines, which also seem contradictory to each other. Should there be a period after stay? Is the last line to express a suddent change of mind? Or is the time on earth only to short a stay as the rapture comes? In which case, why would you ask no more than it be too short a stay?

On the whole there is a lot of potnetial in your poem, and some good lines; but it needs work to be fully realized.

Write on!
Bob
16
16
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

I like your story. It is macabre and presents a different kind of monster. I am rating it higher than I might just because of that.

But there are a few problems in my view.

First, the title is a bit cliched by now. "The Friendly Snowman" as an ironical title would really be more effective, I think.

Second, I think you would be well served to begin by presenting the snowman as what he seemed to be, describing hte pleasure the children took in him BEFORE revealing his thoughts. This would suck the reader further into the story, give him/her a bit of a twist to enjoy, and make the horror of the monster much more emphatic.

I think you would puncture an eye, rather than sever it. Severence would require getting behind it to sever it from the body.

A butterfly would long since have died in the cold you describe, especially in the length of time since the winter had started. Only a very few butterflies actually migrate at all, most live just a short time and die near where they hatched.

I would decribe a little more the scene of the snowman hovering, then slowly settling on the body of the dead dog, its mouth opening in the unexpected place, maybe some other grisly things happening, dissolving the body beneath him. Build the horror some more.

Happy writing!
17
17
Review of Soul Survivor  
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

This is a good story, well written overall.

Its downside is that the surprise falls in the middle, and the rest seems not story, but social commentary. This makes the whole second half wind up feeling very anti-climactic. Your final sentence, however, is superb.
18
18
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
A good idea for a contest, and a good skill to encourage. Predictable stories are rarely good stories -- they have to make their expected point very well indeed to be interesting. Twists, though, delight as long as they are consistent and appropriate with the context. Lesser writing ability is more easily overlooked, when the idea delights.
Bob
19
19
Review of The Eye  
Review by revdbob
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

This is a very strange, sometimes confusing story, but has a nice and very appropriate twist at the ending.

I'm not entirely sure about the "eye." It suggests the all-seeing judge, but seems rather to represent the forces of Hell. And the judging eye would remain focused on the protagonist, not disappear and reappear, would it?. Since I was strongly tempted to skim, it may also be wordier than necessary. Tightening is one of the hardest things for me to do, personally, so I am not one to talk!

Best again,
Bob
20
20
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (4.5)
While you are not saying anything that is really new or different, especially at writing.com, where what you say has been repeated many times and is part of the culture here, you say it well, and with energy and enthusiasm, which is contagious. I hope others will read it, because it does convey a great personal enthusiasm for writing, and for what we do here.

"truly" however, has no "e" in it, a minor quick fix.

Write on!
Bob
21
21
Review by revdbob
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

What a neat poem, and expertly done, especially given the restrictions of the contest in which it was entered. It is not always true that those restrictions help, but I think by avoiding the common words in the prompt you probably produced a much better poem than might have been without them! You also soound like

My favorite lines are the first 3 - a great start.

Bob
22
22
Review of Fyndorian's Desk  
Review by revdbob
Rated: E | (5.0)
This review is not for the contents of the folder, but for the folder itself, which has a lovely design. YHour introductory poem is very well written, and while I often think centering of thelines as you have done is merely affected, in this case it makes the shape of an elegant vase, symbolic of a holder of precious contents, an idea which I find very appealing. Good job

Bob
23
23
Review by revdbob
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
This is a MOD REVIEW BLITZ review!

This is certainly one of the best executed poem I have read at writing.com in 2-1/2 years. Faithful and exact in both rhythm and rhyme, without straining the grammar or using obsolete or peculiar words to achieve the effect, your poem describes the life cycle of the phoenix - of sunrise and sunset, life and death and rebirth. One of the school papers -- My Weekly Reader, perhaps? -- ought to be interested in this, as it would make a greeat teaching tool for this legendary icon.

Excellent even meaningful work, this is well on the way to what writers aspire to accomplish. These two stanzas are especially good:

Phoenix gazes towards the skies,
Singing its melodic cries.
Wings of feathers crimson, gold
Shroud the moon as they unfold.

Now aurora phoenix brings,
Beating incandescent wings,
Soaring to majestic heights,
Radiating Heaven's lights.


Even your phoenix picture is great!

My only negative comment is that the choice of colors leaves the first and last stanzas relatively hard to read against the yellow background.

Best,
Bob
24
24
Review of The Top Ten List  
Review by revdbob
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
A good idea, although I'm not sure you're getting such great responses. I also find the extraneous OT posts distracting and annoying, and would probably forbid them, were it my contest.

Still, good contest. Thank you for offering it to us to fool around with!
25
25
Review by revdbob
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
What fun -- as you know because I enetered 5 times in as many minutes! I love the idea, enjoyed reading the other postings, hope you get lots of them. I suggested this to another contest host -- why not make a collection of the best of these, put them into a little booklet like they sell in grocery stores, and make a few bucks!?

Good luck, and Happy writing.
Bob
103 Reviews · *Magnify*
Page of 5 · 25 per page   < >
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/revdbob