Creative fun in
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Review Requests: ON
175 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I will tell you what I liked and didn't like. My reviews may be blunt but never harsh, I can always see the passion and work you put in. My job is to help polish anything I see :)
I'm good at...
Descriptions, world building, poetry, perhaps plot structure? I'll point out anything that bothers me or sounds a little off. My style is about making writing and poetry flow and sound as natural as possible.
Favorite Genres
Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Poetry and anything Gothic.
Least Favorite Genres
I don't have any least favorites because if it's well written you can make a believer out of me. Except Romance. *blech*
Favorite Item Types
Anything and everythaaaang
Least Favorite Item Types
Hm. I'll get back to you on this.
I will not review...
There is nothing I won't review, but I'm sure time will change that haha.
Public Reviews
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Review of The Bone Doctor  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello again, Rustika!

After being swept up in the chaos of life, I managed to find a quiet moment to sit down and read a good story. The Bone Doctor certainly delivered on all accounts! But enough pleasantries, let's get down to the nitty-gritty shall we?


A small town is forever changed after the arrival of a mysterious woman and her skeletal pet. Nobody wants to associate with Madison but some reluctant souls seek her out, desperately in need of her necromantic powers... Raising the dead is a simple task, except for the stigma involved.

Despite the objections of the village priest, Madison fulfills a request to speak with a long dead relative. The plot thickens when the grieving client is revealed to be a grave robber seeking forgotten treasure. The story closes with the priest and Madison striking an uneasy friendship.


This was really great! Miss May is equal parts enigmatic and cheery, which makes for an interesting contrast to her grim line of work. I loved her bird Bran (game of thrones reference?) and how it unsettled everyone who came across it! Excellent descriptions and snappy dialogue really drive this story along. Nothing like grave digging under a pale moon... I felt like Oliver Twist! Please miss, can I have some more?

As for the protagonist:

Madison May is... well it isn't quite clear what she IS exactly. A witch perhaps? Someone trained or born with necromantic powers, certainly. Whether that is the extent of her abilities is unclear. The corpses that arise are capable of speech and rational thought, proving she can restore the soul to the body even if for a limited time. This is quite a useful power, since the dead can be interrogated. Lots of potential here, I foresee something extraordinary in the makings!

The priest is a foil to her reckless antics, someone grounded in religion and rules. I was a bit surprised that he goes along with her shenanigans. It's not clear what conflict lies in store for Madison but it won't be coming from Father Nicholas.

The twist was a nice one, I didn't expect the client to have ulterior motives. The dead man enjoying the night sky one last time was a poignant moment that stuck with me as well.

Suggestions for Improvement:

A few things puzzled me, plot wise.

I was a bit disappointed the thief didn't try harder to deceive the skeleton. (Oh you remember me, I'm Sheila's son! I was very small when you died...) But he was nervous so I can write it off.

What was in the pouch that the grave robber dropped? If it had treasure, why would he discard it after going through so much trouble? Was it locked and he needed a key?

Also, the man Joel Moore requested to come back from his death. This was confusing as the would-be robber also asked Madison to revive Joel, something entirely unrelated. Why would she wait so long to bring Joel back?

This is your story, so feel free to tell me to take my opinion and shove it!

I would have Joel come back confused, asking why she revived him again when his last wish was already carried out. Perhaps they had some history? Regardless, his confusion would carry into not knowing the boy. After the truth is revealed, Joel is free to enjoy un-life and comments on it before returning. Easy fix :)

Other than that, I couldn't find anything to nit-pick!

Closing Thoughts:

I see countless possibilities for Madison May, this story can take many different turns and I am very interested to see what lies in store. You have an extremely promising story with colorful characters! Thank you for sharing this, I hope to read more installments soon :D

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Nothing Special  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
The tale of Boston Friday: a man who never visited the city and stayed home on the weekends. I felt personally attacked reading this! Now I feel obligated to go do something bold like getting a tattoo for the first time.

But seriously, I really enjoyed the message in this story. Too often do we get lost in our routines, working week to week with blinders on, so focused on our two days off that you forget about the other five.

Since I talked to you last I actually did some research on Nietzche and familiarized myself with his philosophies. The concept of the 'slave' identity can be found in the way that Boston lives and perceives things, simply existing within his little sphere of influence. That's all he does, exist. Never aspiring for anything more than a plain lifestyle.

Content with his small pleasures, he is surprised to see someone who dared to dye himself a neon green.

This makes the man appear bold to him, exhuding confidence. The 'master' identity, something that Boston is drawn to since he lacks the will or desire to be different.

The color green symbolizes envy, Boston jealous of the stranger's identity or social life.

I don't know if Boston really even wanted friends. To me it seems like he lacked ambition, the desire to break out of his shell and discover new things. When he sees all the colors this world is capable of, it has a marked change on him.

He decides to go visit Boston and explore new possibilities. The 'master' of his destiny.

I liked how introspective this story was, it felt very intimate in a personal way. Like experiencing a moment of clarity, noticing something different about yourself or the world.

You did a wonderful job filling in the details of Boston's mediocre life. I felt as if I was sitting right there with him on those lonely Fridays.

I love the musty smell of paper that spreads in the air when I turn another page of a book.

One of my favorite lines! That is the best way to describe that scent, almost perfume like. With older books it's the musk of a good story haha. Your writing style is very smooth and I really enjoyed the organic way it sounds here, the narrator running off on tangents was exactly like the way thoughts ramble in our heads.

The only thing I didn't like was how we never got a chance to see Boston go to Boston! That was stated in the beginning of the story, along with sitting home. I was expecting him to go to Boston on a Friday as someway to fully own his identity.

Seeing him doing something bold would illustrate a much more dramatic change of character than him planning to do it. What I'm trying to say is that the ending wasn't as satisfying as it could have been, but I understand you meant this to be more a personal moment of reflection.

Thank you for this thoughtful piece warning not to be content merely existing. It's always good to be reminded of our ambitions. As always, I look forward to reading more of your work!

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Rain Man  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Great opening, I was hooked from the get-go.

What writer doesn't love a story about a writer with creative troubles? It's instantly relatable! In fact, I'd almost say cheating *Laugh*

But there's more than just a good hook here, this story is positively soaked with rich details. Your tactile descriptions really pull the reader into the scene, I found myself immersed in the grey melancholy of a cloudy day, drinking horse urine and watching ducks fight over scraps.

There was a hushed tone throughout this piece, a persisting feeling of abjection. I liked how the story ends abruptly, sort of like the storm itself.

The oppressive nature of the rain feels like it represents depression. Seeing how it clings to the 'Rain Man' and follows him around is a solid give-away. It can be a crippling affliction, often the worst sort of writers' block since it paralyzes your thoughts.

But when he stands with others, the clouds stop pouring. This could mean that other people are what help the rain from falling.

Why was he so disturbed, I wonder? Was it because he was the first one to step out into the sun? Or because he realized this was something he couldn't struggle with alone?

Perhaps it was seeing the duck who found a piece of bun. Bad times will always pass, the sun will always come out, you will always find a treat. Was this the conclusion he came to? If so, the dejected writer seems to have no intention of accepting it.

He stomps off to get new clothes, instead of a new outlook.

I see what you mean about vague endings! I'm left wondering what kind of morals a fat bird can teach. What a strange Sunday this is turning out to be! While I typically am not fond of confusing endings, after a second reading I picked up on the subtext. (Or so I think)

No suggestions to be found after two readings, great job on a well-crafted story!

I really like your writing style and how you make readers think for themselves. It's refreshing to work the ol' melon after being led around by the nose so much. You should definitely post more stories! Whenever the rain stops, of course. *Wink*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I was a little disappointed when I saw the length of this piece, I wished for something a little meatier! To me, it reads like an idea for a larger story. It would also fit nicely in a video game, perhaps an RPG with a dark fantasy setting.

First Impressions:

While brief, this journal entry alludes to the origins of a sinister empire. The 'dead king' brought to mind Sauron, creating twisted beasts to serve his dark bidding. Who crowned this tyrant? Was it the will of the people? Or were they coerced into it, helplessly sealing their fate?

And what a cruel fate it is, forced to cower in their hovels as murderous creatures prowl in search of flesh. The shrieks of the dying and snarling of beasts create a symphony of suffering, a grim atmosphere of despair hanging over the smoking ruins of this village.

What I found delightfully disturbing was how some of the victims took pleasure in their torment. Is this because they chose their ruler? Or is it the byproduct of insanity?

The dark desires brought on by nightmares only raise further questions...


If I was to guess, I would say that some malevolent force invaded their subconscious and slowly corrupted them. Whether it sought to paralyze the people or erode their psyche, the outcome seems to be their total subservience. Perhaps even in death they will be loyal subjects to the dead king. Is he a necromancer, I wonder? It would certainly be in line with his actions so far!


Some additional entries would really help to show the slow descent of madness. I know this is intended to be the last entry but it's hard to tell just how far things have come. Surely the attacks and mental erosion didn't just happen overnight!

Also, the title is a bit confusing. It sounds like the dead king's rule is coming to an end or some other unfortunate circumstance befalling him. I was puzzled to discover the exact opposite, he gets crowned!

Closing Thoughts:

As I said before, this was far too short! I am guilty of scribbling short ideas in my notepad for further use, often times they have a bad habit of become prologues *Laugh* This seems like one of those, I do hope you return to this at a later date and flesh it out.

The necromantic king seems to be a formidable villain, complete with a host of malicious fiends. This piece has the makings of an epic fantasy, I'm curious to see where you will go with it.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello there, Jeannie!

Very sorry to make you wait for this review, I've been going in order of submission so I imagine you've been tapping your foot impatiently... But now I'm here! I might not be on time but you know what time it is?

*Music1* Review Timeee! *Music2*


Asking why our seas are clogged with garbage, the poem proceeds to tell readers how it occurred. From gusts of wind tugging plastic bags to entire countries using the ocean as a dumpster, the collective refuse becomes food for animals that can't differentiate between dessert or death.
Using the whale as a call to arms, the narrator urges readers to cease the senseless slaughter. Though this picture illustrates one casualty, there are countless more that we cant see.

A task force to clean the oceans is doing their best but how can they combat a global phenomenon? Everyone needs to pitch in, we are racing against time here.

The poet comments that it is no surprise that the climate is out of control since the ocean regulates our weather and purifies the air we breath.

Closing with a cry of exasperation, the poem begs for us to stop the pollution.


I could feel your outrage pouring out, the anger and contempt for this horrible situation. Clearly, this is something you care about and you did a great job conveying those emotions though your words.

Water bottles, plastic bags may come from different countries
Ends up in that blob of swirling plastic waste growing daily

This was a great image, albeit a depressing one. It made me recall the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, something that needs more news coverage!

A global-scale effort is needed for cleaning up this mess

Some might think this is hyperbole but we really do need everyone to pitch in on a planetary scale...

When I see pictures of this glob of garbage floating in the ocean
I want to cry out how can we be so stupid, no more!

YES! Thank you, my sentiments exactly. *Laugh*

Suggestions for Improvement:

While there was a lot that I enjoyed in this entry, I found that the lack of punctuation made it feel like a giant run-on sentence. I would add some commas and periods here and there to break up the flow and put emphasis on certain lines. Other than that, great job :)

Closing Thoughts:

"Marine Life's Fate" is a wake-up call to an apathetic populace, urging readers to take action while there still is an ocean to save. You did a wonderful job with this prompt!

Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of us, I enjoyed reading your work and look forward to more in the future.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Beached Whale  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there T-writer!

Thank you for responding to me, now I can write up your long-awaited review. Sorry for the belated response, it's been quite the struggle to send these out. Anyway, enough chit-chat, let's get started!


This poem reads as though the narrator is interrogating litterbugs for their shameful behavior. Questioning why anyone would discard their rubbish in the ocean, the speaker uses sarcasm to illustrate their point.

The poem then moves on to ask if the offenders also dump garbage in their backyard, expecting someone or something to clean it up for them.

Closing with an observation that not even the trees are safe, "Beached Whale" comments that people would prefer to trade concrete buildings for plants that produce oxygen.


I really liked how you break the fourth wall here and attack the reader with hard-hitting questions. The sardonic tone fits this entry well.

Or maybe the whale would enjoy an afternoon snack

Fantastic line!

Something I also enjoyed was when you called out the apathetic indifference towards our environment. Nobody cares about something until it affects them. Dumping junk on private property will make people angry, only when it's something they own. Doesn't the earth belong to everyone, though?

When will the entitlement end?

I hope you are wrong and that we can come to our senses before it's too late. It's depressing to think about what will come after us, hopefully we can clean up this mess before things get too extreme.

The replacements for the forest of paradise.

Another excellent line! It made me wonder, do you think we would charge people for admission to the Garden of Eden? Or would we simply cut down those trees and drill for oil? Seems like the only thing humanity is interested in is how to turn everything into a quick buck.

Suggestions for Improvement:

The only things I could spot were a few spelling/syntax errors.

When will the accountability for human's begin?

No apostrophe for human's, unless you mean a singular human.

Though lazy thoughtless superior mistakes.

Through, something I mess up quite a bit too! Darn r's.

Closing Thoughts:

This was a vehement response to the prompt picture, an emotional entry full of indignation and disgust. Many of the points you raise are great ones! I hope you will get some satisfying answers to the questions you've asked.

Thank you for sharing your talent with us, I'll be looking forward to reading your work in the future.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Once Long Ago  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello there Dominique!

Sorry for the belated review, I was hoping to have this out sooner but life has a way of making sure the best-laid plans go astray. So without further ado let's dig in to your entry, "Once Long Ago"!


The poem opens as sunrays filter through the window and awaken the main character. He is a conceited businessman, content with his trophy wife but has no time to waste on his poor neglected children. The baby he prefers is a blue Porsche, something he lavishes attention on.

Passing an elderly homeless man, the egotistical driver throws litter at him with a sneer. Adding insult to injury, he flips off the vagrant while speeding away.

These spiteful actions do nothing to faze the old man. He simply brushes it off, understanding that others need to feel powerful to hide their insecurities. Money isn't everything to him, he has no desire to surround himself.

Fulfillment can come from other things, after all.

It is revealed that the wealthy man was once a beggar too, living on the streets alongside the other hobos. But when one of his destitute brethren wins the lottery, he sees a chance to escape poverty and steals the winning ticket.

The poem closes with a question, asking what would have occurred if the greedy man hadn't taken someone else's future.


Wonderful visuals! I could clearly see the events transpiring as I read through this poem. You've painted a picture of an arrogant man that got his livelihood by cheating his way to the top. The description of this poem does a good job of summing up the overall theme: unappreciation for things easily acquired.

This man is someone who got everything by being selfish, of course he doesn't care about any of it! Although you didn't go into his emotional wellbeing, I wonder if he is truly happy? Why does he need to feel superior? It seems like he acts impulsively and does things that make him feel good, even if only for a moment. Doesn't sound like someone in control of himself to me.

The bum doesn't seem to mind his lot in life, he might even have shrugged when the winning ticket vanished from his possession. He rolls with the punches and carries on - you win some, you lose some.

This was an interesting reaction but I wonder if he was truly at peace with the outcome, wouldn't he at least be a little upset about having lost the chance at a better life? Perhaps he was happy to begin with, so it wasn't too hard of a blow.

Suggestions for Improvement:

Even though this is a free style poem, a little more structure would help your readers. You break lines in strange places, was this a formatting problem?

Let's take a look at the first few lines.

The morning sun rises glistening into your window
awakening your prideful soul. Your wife lay asleep
resembling a beautiful white angel; pure as the
color itself. You take hold of your briefcase and
head out the door, ignoring your children as you
shut the door in their faces. Their smiles fall and
they beg for their daddy, but you're already down
the block.

Ending on the beginning of a sentence is something jarring and feels unnatural. You want to stop on certain words to create emphasis, or to finish a thought. I have edited the sample below as an example.

The morning sun rises
glistening into your window
awakening your prideful soul.
Your wife lay asleep resembling
a beautiful white angel;
pure as the color itself.
You take hold of your briefcase
and head out the door,
ignoring your children
as you shut the door in their faces.
Their smiles fall
they beg for their daddy,
but you're already down the block.

Closing Thoughts:

I did not expect the twists and turns of this story, learning to despise the rich man and becoming even more disgusted upon learning that he robbed someone in order to sit at the top. This was an entertaining and interesting tale, one I enjoyed spending time with. You have a good eye for detail and express emotion well. Poetry might easy to write and hard to master, but you certainly have a running start! I hope to read more from you in the near future *BigSmile*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Tragedy  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there Nani!

I don't remember seeing your face around here, welcome to Word-Pictures! I hope you have fun here, I try to keep things laid-back and informal as possible. But I'm still all about business so let's get down to it and start your review, shall we?


This poem criticizes the horrendous state the ocean is currently in, asking why nobody is crafting a pollution solution. Each year, 14 (not just 4!) billion pounds of garbage swirl around sea-life, choking and ensnaring the poor creatures.

As the mountain of plastic rises, so does the wealth of careless businessmen who find it is cheaper to dump into the ocean rather than dispose of it safely. Sewage also finds its way into the currents, tainting the water even further. If this problem isn't rectified, diseases and other nasty health issues will arise.

The narrator urges readers to spread awareness and talk about this so more people can comprehend the situation. Recycling and limiting our garbage is a small step but an important one. Change starts with us, if you don't do anything then who will?


Not only did I enjoy the rhymes, but I found your message was a great one as well. I picked out some of my favorite lines below:

We all need to take drastic measures
To clean up and save this valued treasure.

A call to arms is exactly what we need! Sadly, some of the problem isn't just us.

The pockets of some bureaucrats
Who could care less where trash is at!

Do you know that most of our recycling ends up in landfills? It's disgusting how little corporations care.

Where once abundant sea life thrived,
Now some are barely left alive.

I loved this line as well, despite the sad connotation. It's difficult to understand the severity of the problem when we are landlocked.

Suggestions for Improvement:

You did a great job with rhymes and a bouncy meter, but a few your lines felt a bit too verbose.

To waters that were once so pristine 9
But now will never more be clean. 8

Sometimes it helps to count syllables and remove any extra words.

To waters that were once pristine 8
But now will never more be clean. 8

I find that it can help to read your work out loud, your ear is the best tool for spotting rough sounding places.

Closing Thoughts:

You did a marvelous job creating a cautionary poem about the state of our oceans. I'm glad that you are well-versed in this problem, I just wish more people understood. I really enjoyed reading "Tragedy" and hope to see more entries from you in the future!

Thank you for sharing your talent and creativity with us here at Word-Pictures :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Endangered  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello again Dark Huntress,

I see you've set your fearless eyes on this contest, I hope this review won't cause you to notch an arrow and send it flying my way!

Well enough pleasantries, I see you are impatient to get down to business. That is a sharp looking knife you have there... It's for skinning? Ah... only animals I hope. (Nervous laugh)

Let's, uh... get to it, shall we?


Deep within the crystal blue, this whale crooned her music to any that would listen. But now... her voice is silenced - clogged by human refuse. Like discarded trash, the poor whale fades from our short memories.

Something everyone once accepted will now be questioned by children, wondering if these massive creatures really existed. This truly is a horrible tragedy. Either we fight against the contamination or be silent accomplices to a dying age.


I love love loved how you chose to rhyme this entry. Although I run a free-verse contest, I confess it is not something I prefer to write. How funny is that? So when I receive some old fashioned verses I get excited!

The rhymes are strong and consistent, none sounded forced or awkward. You did a great job picking evocative vocabulary! I enjoyed a great number of your lines :)

A heartbreaking ballad about an unfortunate victim to humanity's corruption. Like whale-songs in the ocean, this one resonated deeply within me. Instead of focusing on the single mammal's death, you chose to point out that the greatest injustice was that entire species would be forgotten.

What an awful fate... Not only to die in such an ignominious way - but to end up as little more than a footnote in the grand scheme of things. Is that how we will be remembered? As the ones who willingly let the world crumble for the sake of comfort?

You close this morose quatrain with a message that we need to act now before it is too late. I only hope there is still time for us...

Suggestions for Improvement:

My only complaint with this piece is that it doesn't quite flow naturally. When you read it out loud, notice how some parts sound stilted and stiff. This isn't too hard to fix, simply a matter of switching a few words around to match syllables.

In deepest blue she dwelled and sang, 9 syllables
at home in the heart of the sea. 8
The lifeblood of our planet Earth 8
once, long ago, flowed pure and free. 9

In deepest blue she dwelt and sang, 8
her home was the heart of the sea. 8
The lifeblood of our planet Earth 8
in ages past flowed pure and free. 8

Now this isn't perfect but it sounds a bit smoother. Not every poem needs to have the same amount per line, but consistency is key! Much like a rhyme scheme, meter needs structure too!

Try reading out loud, I find it can help :)

Closing Thoughts:

I loved this quite a bit, even if it made me angry and sad. The best poetry elicits emotion from the reader and you have certainly achieved that!

"...no songs to echo in the fathoms,
nor dances in the ocean spray."

"Such tragedy is Nature’s greatest sorrow
for this embodiment of Her majesty..."

Powerful stuff! I found these especially pleasing :)

You honored this whale by bringing attention to her sad plight and you've honored me by entering into this contest yet again! Thank you for sharing your talent and unique perspective with us all.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Battlefield  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there, L.A. Grawitch

Very sorry for this belated review. No time like the present however, let's get started without further ado! *BigSmile*


Two armies stand across a battlefield, waiting for the inevitable command. Each man is convinced what he fights for is a just cause and fully prepared to die for those convictions.

Those very beliefs also result in the firm conclusion that the enemy is a horrible brute that deserves his impending death. Everyone hates what they don't understand, after all.

When the horns of war are sounded, all honor is lost upon death - the great equalizer.

The final verse is a call to emotion, encouraging each other to put away the weapons of war and embrace our differences. Surely we can all co-exist on this blue rock, can't we?

Impressions Upon Reading

I really liked the creative way you formatted this! The beginning was really interesting with how you separated the lines, providing a visualization of two forces on opposing sides.

But this entry was more than just a parlor trick. A great number of your lines were excellent examples of prose, giving me pause upon reading them. I would like to point out several that I enjoyed:

Justified by pride's allegiance

Dubbed enemy by defiance

Nobility erased by the sea
Of salty scarlet river shed

There were plenty more but I could spend the majority of this review highlighting your words. Let's move on to other topics, shall we?

This entry stood out from the others because you aimed for the "epic" feel of a massive conflict and succeeded. I felt like a bystander to a bloody crusade, unsure which side had the more 'just' cause. That was something I applaud you for as well!

Nobody goes to war thinking they are in the wrong. Either they are the preemptive attacking force or the ones defending their sacred homeland. You did a great job pointing this out.

Suggestions for Improvement

Here comes the dreaded part of this review. The only thing I could fault this piece for is how impersonal it felt. Even though you had two armies duking it out, I had trouble picturing either one. Perhaps some backstory or a bit more detail on each side would provide some more clarity?

But I understand you weren't going for specifics with this entry. You were making a commentary on war as a concept, especially apparent with your call for peace at the end. So this argument is a toothless one at best! I have no other qualms with this poem.

Closing Thoughts

When I asked for an epic poem, I was hoping someone would deliver the tall order I requested. You did that and more! I can't thank you enough for taking a risk and try something new. This was a wonderful entry and I relished it more than you know. I hope you had as much fun creating this as much as I had reading it!

Have a great holiday, I hope to read more from you soon :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Battlefield  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there, L.A. Grawitch

Very sorry for this belated review. No time like the present however, let's get started without further ado! *BigSmile*


Two armies stand across a battlefield, waiting for the inevitable command. Each man is convinced what he fights for is a just cause and fully prepared to die for those convictions.

Those very beliefs also result in the firm conclusion that the enemy is a horrible brute that deserves his impending death. Everyone hates what they don't understand, after all.

When the horns of war are sounded, all honor is lost upon death - the great equalizer.

The final verse is a call to emotion, encouraging each other to put away the weapons of war and embrace our differences. Surely we can all co-exist on this blue rock, can't we?

Impressions Upon Reading

Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Vampires? A corporation that creates synthetic blood? A skilled mercenary/salesman?

This is a fascinating premise! Vampires are a guilty pleasure of mine, provided they don't sparkle of course *Wink*

I loved the conversation between Madam Careen and Richard. When she remarked how she hated humans for their eagerness to make a quick buck off anything, I couldn't help but chuckle. Great dialogue! Verbal sparring is always appreciated, especially when both parties are hiding their figurative fangs, waiting for the best moment to strike.

You did a wonderful job painting a Gothic scene: the mysterious visitor arriving during a rainstorm, stepping into an elegant mansion filled with fanged nobles.

What felt a bit strange was the anachronistic technology, generators and desert eagles. The time period is difficult to pin down, but it seems like you have this set in present day. If this is the case, why would the vampires act and dress like they are still in Victorian times? Wouldn't they want to blend in?

I would also expect a daughter of Dracula to put up a fight instead of being killed so easily.

That aside, I'm curious to see where Richard goes with his bag of vampire-slaying gadgets!

I'll read the next chapter when I can :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 7
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello again Octavius!

It's been quite a while since I returned to this world of yours. I can see that I've been missing out, this chapter is packed with new and exciting set pieces that you spent a great deal of time crafting.

The battle with Ryzor and his daughters against Debra and the Alternian army was fantastic. Very creative use of powers! It's clear that Ryzor has a great deal of combat experience with how quickly he adapts to the ebb and flow of the battlefield.

Dissandra and Ordenia have a secret weapon, I see! Merging to form one being, they use their combined skill to wreak havoc on the attacking lizard-men. This wasn't something I expected at all, it was a pleasant surprise and part of the reason why Debra's attack ended in failure.

What I also liked was how separate verses can be chained, forming unique spells. But this is also a gamble, as each spell can only be used once. Do you go all out in one attack or carefully use each verse as the situation requires? I feel like this is going to make for some very interesting fights in the future!

When the story returns to Drake and Kevin, it seems that the mysterious Darkall is the reason for the gates being closed. He is the mastermind behind the golems, but why he wants so much destruction is still unclear. Is this part of his strategy? Are they in a different land from the Dalmecians?

A map would be helpful to give readers some perspective and understand where everyone is. It's difficult to picture the landscape without something to use as reference.

The sandstorm in the beginning could use a few more lines describing how it was hiding the enemy forces, I was puzzled as to why Ryzor's mages were dissipating it with wind.

Another thing that confused me was how Debra and Ryzor used multiple spells that behaved contrary to the verses. Nitro and Blastvolley are fire magic, so how did Debra summon lightning? Likewise, how was Ryzor able to levitate with Tremor, Shatter and Quicken?

Aside from those inconsistencies, this was a solid chapter! Thank you for letting me read another great installment to your action-packed fantasy novel.

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Ghosts
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hey there Ken!

Let's take a look at the sonnet you created *Wink*

I am a little jealous of your ability to whip up a poem in any form, I spend a painstaking amount of time fretting over each line I create. More often than not I end up scrapping what I have and starting over! When I read your entry, I was reminded of those half-finished works, ghosts of ideas that I discarded in lieu of something else.

Your sonnet is a melancholy reflection on days long past. We are always moving forward towards an unknown future, ever haunted by spectral memories left behind.

"The lonely echoes help me to recall
those happy moments that went by too fast."

I loved this! We tend to take the good times for granted, those fleeting seconds of bliss passing before we know it.

The next verse talks about a treasured remembrance, time spent with family and friends. In hindsight those flashbacks grow harder and harder to define, fading like "footprints in the sand."

After soaking in this nostalgia, the narrator stares into the distance as these thoughts play in his mind. The final lines summarize these reflections, saying they are nothing more than empty shells, meaningful to him alone.

I find that your poetry has an introspective style, pondering questions we all ask ourselves. Why are we so keen on reliving the past? Perhaps since our futures are unknown this is a form of comfort, a way we can travel back to simpler times.

This sonnet was a delightful reflection, but I felt that it was a bit too similar to your previous entry. I want to see you out of your comfort zone! As my English teacher once told me, writing about NOW and not about THEN is always more powerful.

Thank you for gifting this contest with your lyrical talent! It's always great to see heavy hitters like you interested in my humble competition. I look forward to seeing what you dream up next. May your quill stay ever sharp!

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of The warm tree  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there, K.HBey

It's time for your review, are you ready?

Trick question, of course you are! Let's get started now *Type*


A young boy travels to the tomb where his mother lies. After shedding tears before her grave, he is surprised when a tree greets him. Embracing the grieving boy, the beech tree reveals that it is a friend of his mother and becomes the orphan's new guardian.

Overall Opinion: This was a heart-wrenching tale of a young orphan coming to terms with his mother's death. I loved the gloomy tone you used throughout the entire poem. Also, you did an excellent job conveying emotion with the vocabulary you chose!

"Within the cemetery penumbra,
His hot tears burn such ground..."

I love that you used the word 'penumbra', it's a lovely description for a shadowy place and very fitting for a graveyard.

Also, great use of 'lugubrious'! I was quite impressed with your descriptions in this piece.

While I was reading through there were several errors that I spotted:

"He is lost like being out of such womb"

"His hot tears burn such ground"

I understand that you use the word 'such' to draw attention to something specific. You could use "that" or "this" instead.

"Where his mother corps remains for the eternity,"

Corps is a different word from corpse but they sound very similar! English is quite tricky, isn't it? *Laugh* It rarely makes sense to me at times.

Don't despair, you are doing extremely well for a non-native speaker! I can see great improvement with each piece you write.

Closing thoughts:

I found "The Warm Tree" to be a bittersweet story of loss. The ending was lovely with the melancholy boy finding a new friend to share hot summer days with. This is something that you should be very proud of! Well done on another exceptional entry.

Thank you for your continued interest in this contest, it's always a pleasure reading your work *Bigsmile*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of In my dream  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there, K.HBey !

I would like to preface this review with a little anecdote.

Being a judge is a difficult job at times. I try my best to provide clear, concise advice to participants, often wondering if my words are helpful or a waste of energy. It seems that my efforts have not been in vain! You have listened to my feedback and responded to it by taking the criticism to heart.

This poem was a joy to read, equal parts mysterious and atmospheric. Well done on the win! I can see your hard work paid off *BigSmile*

Using the endless stair prompt, you wrote about someone experiencing a bizarre, vivid dream. In it, they are climbing stairs in a thick fog.

Once they reach a spot, the narrator discovers a large crowd ascending the endless stairs. Though there are so many people around, everyone seems reclusive and withdrawn. People that are too weak to climb vanish into the darkness, only the strong manage to keep going.

But though they are driven to keep going, nobody ever reaches the top.

I found this poem raised an interesting issue about how ambition creates a need to climb over our neighbors, too focused on our own lives to care for others. But this self-absorbed mentality ultimately gets them nowhere.

Why is this the case, I wonder? Is your message that we should work together to reach the top of that endless stairway?

You've certainly given me something to ponder *Laugh*

If I had some suggestions for improvement, it would be to focus on the grammatical errors that cropped up here and there. Using a word processor or some other writing program will help point out some mistakes. I love using them because I'm terrible at spotting my own!

Aside from that, you did a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing this wonderful entry! I hope to read more from you soon *Type*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Treadmill
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello again Dave!

Once again, you've presented me with an intriguing piece. This one was read over a steaming cup of coffee as your words percolated in my mind.

Choosing the surreal stairway prompt, you describe the struggles of a man doomed to climb endlessly. Why is he trapped on this aptly named treadmill? He is a man, wandering without a plan. Since there is no destination in mind, there is nothing for the lonely climber but "rewards of trudge".

We've all experienced the cycle of hard work and short sleep, feeling a bit like this unfortunate soul. It is true that we need a plan to avoid the pitfalls that he fell into.

I really enjoyed this poem, I saw that you went a little further with your creative whimsy and shaped the verses to match the stairs! Nicely done *Wink*

What I would suggest for improvement is to avoid using the same word for the ending lines. In such a short piece, repetition is felt more strongly since every word matters.

Aside from that, you have another great entry for your stellar portfolio. Thanks for participating in this round, I love reading your work *Bigsmile*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Fragments
Review by Ray Scrivener
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello there, Ken!

I see you have another interesting poem for me to read, let's get started *Type*

Choosing the surreal liquefying prompt, you envisioned the pipe-smoking man melting from emotion. I thought this was great idea and you executed it quite well!

"A lingering smell of tobacco,
a gossamer haze in the air..."

A very strong opening! I loved reading the story about a lonely man enjoying a smoke in the darkness. You excel at painting scenes with well-chosen words.

The flashbacks he remembers are poignant ones, sure to make anyone a blubbering mess. It's no wonder he starts to melt!

If I had to make any recommendations for improvement on this piece, I would say that the ending felt a bit unsatisfying. I would have liked to seen a few lines about how the man copes with these melancholy memories. Have they made him stronger or does he resort to wallowing in self-pity? A little closure would have been the cherry on top!

This is just a minor complaint really. Perhaps I just wanted a bit more to read, a selfish desire that I try to justify *Laugh*

Thanks for another wonderful entry, Ken. It's always a delight to read your work. Have a great rest of your Sunday! *Sun*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 6
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
We meet again Octavius, sorry for the delay...

I can see you've been quite busy in my absence! As I read through your latest installment a few things jumped out at me. I'd like to take a few moments to talk shop with you.

When I first joined Drake on his journey, I was impressed by the world that you envisioned. Perhaps a little rough around the edges, but there was a great amount of promise in this fantasy adventure. This recent chapter really shows how far you've come. Not only is the chapter well-paced, but you also show great strides in descriptive style and character development.

Drake has seen a fair amount of suffering after being enslaved in the Dalmecian quarries. But he has little to no knowledge of the world as a result, slowly growing to understand the widespread misery that war spreads to even the smallest of villages.

Kevin has a very tragic past, witnessing the brutal murder of his parents. The Cugarian were-people are another great addition to the varied amount of races, I wonder where they fit into the story? Are they a nomadic tribe? Are they serving someone or bound to no one?

His flashback was a great way to enrich the story but I felt that it lost some of the impact by telling it in third-person. If Kevin is reliving that bloody past, let the readers see it from his eyes.

I remember the screams, the burning night, and the coldness of those hiding behind the safety of the wall.

This was such a powerful opening, you should really consider keeping this point of view for the entire memory. It's harder to feel the emotional turmoil if we are just passive viewers. Make us FEEL it *Wink*

Another thing I would like to mention is the golem fight.

Last chapter, I asked you to provide clearer action and you really delivered on that! I had no trouble following along as Drake single-handedly took down another rock monster. (Without any magic either!) It's clear that our hero is becoming more skilled with each encounter. My only complaint is that Kevin really didn't do much for this scene. Was he worried when his new friend dove into the fray head first? Maybe he could try and distract the creature, even if for a few seconds.

Again, this was just a small thing I wanted to nit-pick. You did a fantastic job with the fight scene. Like Drake, you are also honing your skill with each chapter!

Some great bits I want to mention: Using the moldy bread to show how Drake was used to a hard life, something he and Kevin bonded over.

The excerpt at the beginning of the chapter was a great idea! I hope you continue to add these tidbits to previous and upcoming chapters, they really add some flavor and hint at the mythology of this world.

Drake and Kevin trying to help the wounded after the fight, I wonder how they will manage to save the victims when help refuses to come. This is a great conflict that I look forward to see them overcome. Perhaps they won't be able to? I wonder how things will play out...

Once again, your story takes another interesting turn! Thank you for bringing me along for the journey. Don't let that keyboard get dusty, I'll be waiting for chapter 7 *BigSmile*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Amazing birds  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello K.HBey ,

My apologies, I intended on writing up this review sooner but I have failed you and for that I am sorry. I hope you can forgive my tardiness!

Let's start now, shall we?

Opening the poem with a soaring nightingale, you describe the bird singing sweetly as a group of anti-social people gather. None of them interact with each other, lost in separate worlds.

It wasn't clear what the birds referred to. Were they a metaphor for people's hearts, longing to be free from gilded cages of their own creation? Perhaps that is why cold-blooded people try to capture the birds, seeking to ensnare them for selfish gain.

A pretty young girl arrives, but nobody bothers to greet her smile. She hopes to free the caged birds with flowers of love and kindness. Sadly, the devices hold everyone's attention and her blossoms are discarded.

She wants to sell flowers, red rose and jasmine
For free and to get birds freedom instead...

I loved these lines here :)

Your ending was great as well, I loved how you said that liberty was a cacophony so the people chose to stay in the safety of their technological worlds.

This is sadly true! I see lots of people sucked into those phones and not giving anybody a second glance. Reality has become too painful to deal with, it's much easier to stay comfortable and sedated. You have a keen sense of observation. The world is becoming emotionally colder and more impersonal because of technology.

I really enjoyed reading this entry! You have a very thought-provoking and introspective piece here. If I had to make any recommendations for improvement, it would be to fix some minor grammatical errors I noticed while reading.

English might not be your first language but you are doing extremely well. I only know one language and even then I still struggle, keep up the great work :)

Thank you for entering my contest, I hope to read more from you soon. Have a great weekend!

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Shape-Shifter  
Review by Ray Scrivener
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello LazyWriter ,

I always enjoy being the first to review a new story, today is my lucky day! *Laugh* Let's get started now, shall we?

To me, this story feels like a dark fantasy. I wouldn't quite label it as horror but there are certainly some creepy elements to it! The way Rick drags Shelly along makes her feel like a prisoner, even if her hands are free.

Synopsis: Shelly is a maid in the service of Master Rick, a high-born who has been 'Rift-Touched'. After burning down the family manor, he flees the property and takes Shelly with him despite her misgivings.

After being on the road for several weeks, they reach an inn where Master Rick defends his companion by using the shape-shifting Rift power. By the end of the story, Shelly seems to accept him even though he is 'a monster'.

Overall Opinion:

I thought this story was interesting and has great potential. Shelly and Rick being on the run together has a lot of possibilities, I liked how she fears his power but still has some trust in him. Rick is a mysterious individual, I wondered why he picked his loyal maid over his family/servants. Perhaps Shelly is the only one he can trust?

Suggestions for Improvement:

First off, I would focus on breaking up the long block of text you have here. It's hard to read a story with no pauses for breath!

Secondly, there needs to be more information on certain plot points. What exactly is the Rift? How does one become Rift-Touched and why are they feared? Why does Rick insist on protecting Shelly? What made him burn down the family home?

These are things that confused me and will puzzle future readers. Some more details would really help this story and expand on the intriguing world you've created :)

Closing Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading this tale and hope that you will consider adding more to it at a future date. Keep writing! Every story is a chance to learn something new, I look forward to reading more of your work. *BigSmile*

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
for entry "Chapter 5
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello again Octavius!

Sorry to make you wait this long, I've been a bit too preoccupied for my liking lately. To atone for my tardiness this one is on the house *Bigsmile*

Quite the action-packed chapter you have here! Not only is the Alternean army attacking in dramatic fashion but Drake has managed to harness some of Fane's flaming power.

What I found interesting is King Ryzor, who seems to possess an icy magic. No wonder he is pitted against the fiery Alterneans!

Drake also manages to run into Princess Celta yet again. She spares him for an unknown reason, it seems we will discover her motivations later.

We are also introduced to a new face and possible sidekick Kevin! He proves useful in educating Drake about the world and guiding him along the path to Estoria.

Things I loved about this chapter:

Seeing Debra in action, transforming into her true form was an awesome moment!

Drake using the sword to split the golem's beam and smash the ruby. Pretty badass *Cool*

Ryzor spurring his troops to action. His frosty breath made a great image!

The addition of Kevin, adding some much needed context to the world.

Things I didn't like:

The opening, when the nameless guards were speaking. Maybe add some titles/rank or other distinguishing traits to help the reader? For example, one could be a scout or bowman and the other a spear-wielder, swordsman or etc. This will help add details to the scene too :)

Drake didn't seem too fazed after fighting the golem, I thought he was supposed to feel drained after using a new spell?

We still don't know why the two nations are warring. Maybe add some more dialogue between King Ryzor and Darkall?

Other than that, I felt this was another welcome addition to the Verse of Estoria :) I'll be looking forward the next installment!

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Ray Scrivener
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello there, Dave !

Once again you are daring to try a new style, something I was very pleased to see. This sound poem was very entertaining and rather catchy. I found myself reading it multiple times, marveling at the jaunty rhythm as it bounced along. I can tell you had quite a bit of fun creating this!

Using the prompt of stylish women making fun of their drab neighbors, you created a rollicking entry about the narcissistic upper-class. I really liked these lines about the snobby passengers:

"...with elegant arrogance
in spiritual ritual of catty chatter..."

Great use of alliteration and assonance!

A few things gave me pause in this work, however. The one line
'...going gaga over dada' sounded a bit odd compared to the strength of the ones preceding it. I felt it could have been worded better.

I wasn't sure if this was intentional, so I looked up the definition of dada and found to my surprise that it referred to: an early-20th-century international movement in art, literature, music, and film, repudiating and mocking artistic and social conventions and emphasizing the illogical and absurd.

If this was what you meant then bravo! You are certainly more knowledgeable about the arts than I expected *Laugh* Dada is a proper noun so capitalize on that *Wink*

My other concern was the ending could have been a little stronger and used some of the great onomatopoeia you showed at the start.

Thank you for another wonderful entry, Dave. If there were more entries, I would have awarded this the best entry for prompt no. 1!

I'll be awaiting your next work with great interest. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Statue  
Review by Ray Scrivener
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hello there Melly Lane !

It's time to take a look at your winning entry, let's get started :)

Despite there only being a few entries for this prompt, they were all well done in their own right. This submission came out on top with all the wonderful images you carefully painted.

Using the weeping prompt, you imagined a melancholy soul standing in their garden as the elements rage around them. When the narrator cries, her tears water the flowers until they grow up towards the moon.

I liked the bittersweet ending you chose! Endings are very important, no matter the medium. You've knocked it outta the park here :) Well done.

Many of your lines were exquisite: "The growing rain,
That fell in my smile..."

You allow the reader to feel the emotion without actually going out and saying it! This is something many struggle with (myself included!) but you uphold the age-old tenant of 'show, don't tell'. Nicely done, might I add *Wink*

To me, the garden represents the mind. Each flower is a memory, which is why the narrator stands out in the cold for so long. She can't bear to look away from the beauty of those petals, wanting to hold on as long as possible.

When she finally allows herself to cry, the flowers grow to the moon. It is time for them to pass on, causing the gardener to smile sadly.

I really enjoyed the brief yet poignant story you told here. Thank you for sharing your vision and entering my humble contest. I'll be on the look out for more of your work in the future :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review of Black Feathers  
Review by Ray Scrivener
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hello there Wolfie von Wolfenstein III !

Time to take a look at your winning submission, let's get started shall we?

Out of the varied entries I received about the screaming prompt, this one was by far my favorite. Envisioning the painting as someone trapped in a shadow world, you describe their horrible fate with expressive imagery.

I loved the part about dressing in black feathers and ashen clothes. Such fantastic visuals and a great way to reference the monochromatic prompt!

I also enjoyed these lines quite a bit:

"...we are crushed beneath it,
slaves to a merciless rhythm we never chose."

Poignant and thought-provoking! There are many who are victims of society, marching to the beat of someone else's drum.

The bleak ending really makes you feel the hopelessness of this piece. I was wondering how the narrator came to be in her situation. Is she dead and wandering in limbo? Perhaps being a shadow is a metaphor for how she feels: invisible to an unforgiving world.

Maybe this is a version of hell, being forced to drift with the other shadows but never given a voice. Regardless of what you intended with those haunting words, I found this entry to be entertaining and very enjoyable. This was certainly deserving of the win!

Thank you for entering my contest, I hope to read more from you in the future :)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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