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*One of the most sought after reviewers at Writing.Com.* Seriously? *Laugh* There was a time my honesty could be brutal. Residing here 14 years, as a sensitive writer myself, I'm able to temper observations that neither flatter or off-put. I like to see the good, observe how each writing projects. If I review, it's mainly because I see the value. I want to strike up friendships and partnerships, though it can be quite isolating here for a non-conformist, who has bent part of the way, but not fully met with reciprocating compromise. This can temporarily cause me to bend back. *Smirk*
 
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I'm good at...
Sleeping. Retired now. I encourage writers with my reviews. I look for strengths and give direction on how to make something better. I am willing to continue to correspond with the writer if there is more I can offer. I look at what drives a reader. I think with my experience, I can see where your art derives from and is taking you. Sometimes, before the writer knows.
Favorite Genres
nature, love, psychological, drama, human interest, history, science, conspiracy, dystopian, fatalistic, tasteful
Least Favorite Genres
Horror, fan fiction, some fantasy and sci-fi, or anything Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-ish.
Favorite Item Types
poetry, short story, essay
Public Reviews
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101
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Review of Query  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Dear Eliot ,

Here I've discovered your poem "Query and it got me to thinking. We want to put ourselves out there knowing what the response might be. This was a unique construct with it's layout -- a potential poem constructed like a love letter from one expressing so eloquently to another, who might not receive and reciprocate the message the same way. That was a bit of a run on sentence, sorry.

You set up this ode of sorts with the narrator's expected response by the other, projected, about not getting too serious too soon with the relationship. But the poet launches into it anyway, from this observance of mine as a reader, that distance can make a heart grow fonder. It reminds that we passionate writers might tend to over-romanticize a relationship/courtship before it's ripe, because we hold an ideal in our mind, something we want to sentimentally hold onto.

That's what I saw with this poem that was so smooth and lyrical with it's crisp, tight statements forming the central stanzas. The voice in this poem is on point with that delivery, one that would ordinarily woo another. Perhaps, not enough is known about the budding romance and it's prospects. I don't even think it's necessary to know. As readers, we plug these words and thoughts into our own experience and formulas to observe our own way.

How can one deny that when apart, memories of a special night give one longing that continues and intensifies even from a distance, while apart. It's particularly moving and saddening, as well as bittersweet. I forgot to add, I liked the title. Half thinking of it like a cover letter for an application. Maybe, intended?

Well done,

Brian

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102
Review of Hopeless  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Dear Amber ,

"Hopeless is an interesting poem to consider. It has the physicality of lyrics that fit the common theme of personal struggles with life, love, self and more. What perplexes me most is who it speaks to. The narration at the outset feels like it just opens up to the reader. But by end, it is addressing 'you' and that takes me down two avenues...something spiritual that controls fate and destiny, or some lover who has troubled this dear voice to speak in such a way.

I see a progression in this poem that is like a big dramatic snowball growing as its rolling downhill with steam. This poem's narration is the key. You have this person at the outset that has the head and heart confused at which is right about this emotional condition. It feels fairly calm. But the more the poet opines as the narrator, the more tragic it feels because they seem to be talking themselves into this sadness, this low self-worth.

What gave me pause was each moment this person seems to be losing their mind, getting a little crazier about this loneliness and this pessimistic view of things to come. It is so overdramatized, if it went further it would border comical, but doesn't go there. It hits somber and ominous tones by end.

The construct:
That was the thing I could see improving to give greater weight to these words that intone a message. I talk about how this starts to feel like a voice getting away from itself. But, if that's not the direction to be perceived, what if the read could be slowed down and we could tame those lines that could be awkward or could use better expression. Let's me suggest a different view conceptually (also, either go all lowercase or just lower case i, but it was mixed on the i's):

Didn't know how alone a person could feel
Until that person was me

My heart says I'm loved
My head says the heart lies

Where should I turn, too many options?
I now know where I am headed

Why should I wait?
I may not like this path, but
once I'm here there is no going back

It's already decided it seems
There is no hope left for me

Didn't know how small a person could feel
Until that person was me

Turned to the darkness, that lay ahead of me
There is no tuning back
I don't need anyone, messed up quite a lot

So let me go. There is no future for me
I'm drowning in pain and misery

Take me out of this prison, free me
Free my soul, for it lives no more

Every road is filled with thorns
I keep walking, till my feet refuse to bleed
Dragging myself across the thorns. no light seeks me

I lie bleeding on the thorny roads
begging you to free me.

That's just for structure and giving the associated lines their own couplets and verses to keep those ideas separate as thoughts are forming. I can't really speak to the rest, language use, punctuation, line length or potential for enjambment. It's the poet's vision and I just wanted to give you a slightly different framework to consider.

I would say that picking a theme through metaphor and imagery, as with thorns, could be used consistently throughout poem to convey this message. You could introduce a gentle flower at the start and build from there to the pain felt at the end with the thorns.

Lots to consider. It was a pleasure to read and lend feedback,

Brian

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103
Review of For You  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Emily ,

There is a lot to draw from this smoothly written, rhyming poem. I was captured by the narrator's appreciation and relationship with a 'buddy' that 'drew me to you...the reasons that I stay.' What buddies talk like that, I wondered. Perhaps, this is a budding romance.

This is what we readers want to take away from "For You. We've seen all the bittersweet stories of boy and girl who were just friends until one day...when they realized it was something more. It's tragic and yet it's hopeful that this poem gets the reciprocation it deserves. We want more, as readers. Though, it might not be about that. But, let us have this one.

We're given a deeper insight into the nature of your relationship with this person, when s/he reads the couplet, "For the one I'll always laugh with/ (Though I know you've seen me cry)" for instance. It hasn't always just been about happy things and good times with this friend of yours, s/he has been there to see you through the hard ones as well.

The other couplet, "For my friend so full of intellect/ 'Let me copy when you're through!'" is also engaging because we are allowed to feel like we just overheard even the tiniest portion of a conversation, or a joke even.

I found this just a bit awkward, but honest, giving it some sweetness. I think it delivers something to me as a reader who can easily relate. It's straightforward and doesn't go for the usual metaphor and hidden context that most poems deliver to get us to think.

I had one problem with the line using the word 'copy' and I can only assume duplicate or mail in something without trying. Just thought a better expression could have been used there to elucidate.

Overall, a pleasing poem to read and happy to lend feedback,

Brian

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104
Review of New York  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear magli ,

This poem "New York reads like something straight out of a tour guide of New York city. There are the monuments from skyscrapers to lady liberty. There's something for everyone, including shopping and places to transact. Then, it's broken down by dreams and aspirations of its inhabitants that could be transients dreamers, or people in business.

The rhyme scheme was not consistent, with a break here or there with a few lines to long or short. Not a lot of poetic devices like imagery or metaphor unless just the basic cliché. It could do more. It would seem New York is something experienced by the poet. I suggest explore deeper.

First and foremost, they say employ the senses. There's the things you can see, but more specifically, how can readers interact with the visions. You mention seasons but don't lend those visions of nature and how it adorns the city and with what? Certainly smells and the sounds that abound.

I think of Ice Skating and blades cutting the rink, or taxis and honking or the sounds of people. There might be a special view of the statue in the harbor that serves best. How are some of these people dressed? How are they ascribed? I think huddled masses with liberty, but it could show people who have become secure in their environs in New York. Perhaps, even forgetting the lineage that made their lives possible there.

The end line was lackluster. It uses a gloss word to describe the city, that could have leaned into personification or something to give it more life. Lots to consider with this poem that was raw and could use more detail and further work with the construct for a smoother more appreciative ride.

Brian

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105
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Jenny ,

I can address this poem "Why did you leave? in several ways with its theme that is common to most who arrive at this writing community to share their odes of love and loss. This is definitely one of those sad, tearjerkers. One that I am sure is close to the author and must be treated delicately.

It takes bravery to write from the heart and share these innermost feelings. It's a poem that is like a letter to the world and to the love that was lost. But you could cork it and put it in a bottle and throw it in the ocean and it would probably serve the same outcome. Message lost at sea.

To me, a poem like this is an opportunity to get down those feelings, therapeutically. It rids oneself of the baggage of a relationship by creatively releasing the critical thinking processes to produce a poetic, satisfying piece that can be read and appreciated by others. hopefully, return on this investment are like the tiny deposits we put in a bank to give back to us.

This is a worthy effort. Foremost is the rhythm and flow of the read with it's rhyme scheme that function well. The message is bittersweet and seems like a break up, but it could be about someone who must travel, leave for a long period when this narrative voices wishes they would say. Obvious they still love each other and it's a painful departure. It could have been an extramarital affair, or someone going off to war.

That's what makes this a universal poem that would relate to average readers who can understand this kind of fare. It's simple and to the point and easy to understand and relate to, with it's nicely worded language that for those who've suffered the same, might get a lump in the throat.

I wouldn't recommend changes. We are not going for Shakespeare but mainstream Americana. It's your basic boy meets girl, they break up but still confess their leave, with one left behind to suffer and dream of a reunion. All good and relatable stuff.

Brian

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106
106
Review of 14 Seconds Flat  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is an absolutely clever story that set up well and gave great detail. I half expected the mysterious bull did not exist, but kept reading and wondering if that would change.

I liked the detail about the boy with his red shirt and the rancher who paint a warning sign about how fast his bull could run. It was ominous and riveting while wondering how this story would play out initially. It became obvious when the speed of the bull was increased with those sign changes.

What wasn't obvious was motivation. The rancher had just taken over the property and put up this sign, I would assume before he would have trespassers. What was the motivation to help this boy become a track star? I didn't get a hint or a clue of an assocation or motivation for doing that.

I liked the ending, however. It tied up nicely and had a witty ending. It made me wish that there was more built into the dialogue and the relationship between this boy and rancher. At least, have a confrontation and a discussion about a bull before a sign went up. I think something between the two needed to click before he got the idea to see that boy run and to see how fast he could run.

The ending also gave me thought that he might be a track coach or something. That he knew he could make a track start out of the kid. I think just a little more foreboding and a build up of a relationship between the two would help. There was good dialogue, but just not enough to add to needed motivation.

I liked the title, too. Made me think of bull riding and the movie 8 seconds flat. I wonder if 11 seconds as a title would have given away too much?

It was a pleasure,

Brian

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107
Review of Once Upon a Pen  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear WhisperWind ,

I really enjoy a good poem about how a writer copes with struggles, especially when you personify the writing aid. "Once Upon a Pen is a good title theme to drive this narrative look into what inspires without employing muses and faeries, but a little imagination about an instrument that words flow through.

Obviously this is a story of writer's block. The storytelling aspect in those first lines were sort of parental and distancing from the actual subject/writer in this poem. The pen doesn't seem a major figure in this story at the outset and in fact feels like the poet disconnecting from self in third person narration. It's an intriguing, psychological look at what we writers do to inspire us.

I can imagine part way in to this poem that the true inspiration from this story IS THIS POEM. It's as if the poem recounts the struggles up to this poem's creation and then in the moment has a vision to write out of the funk. The pen becomes magic, rainbow expressions appear and this poem starts sailing.

I think this offering shows truly the ways writers can get imaginative and instruct about their struggles to relay to others who might feel this way. And all poems like these have happy endings? The fairytale ending is fiction. In reality, we have this. We have a poem that must go through another chapter, perhaps a trilogy or an episodic series to complete it's journey For me, that next step is editing.

If it wasn't written with pen, we'd be introducing the eraser. Perhaps, the editor's pencil, with it's blue markings to highlight sections, words and places where improvement is possible, but not necessary. This is just a review with some thoughts about what I saw that might help you advance this vision a little more.

For instance, I'm all about direct action. Verbs lag behind nouns as poets tend to use commas too much. I suggest a new placement for crumbled to make it an adjective so we can get rid of that pesky comma as I illustrate below:

And threw down the pen while paper crumbled,
Was tossed in the bin.


And threw down the pen while crumbled paper
was tossed in the bin.

It's not a big change and more direct. It's a minor issue for me, maybe not at all for others. Something I suggest to just consider how words are arranged and how a new sentence construct can make a read flow better. (Though, careful not to lose that poetic flavor or voice that defines you.) Commas and indirect verbs tend to slow or trip up reads, and can be employed when you really want that feel. I like a smooth read there.

Just a small oops here:

Everyday it her watched her pain.

And one other point about that sentence that a poet could really consider...employing the right words to fit with metaphor, theme, or in this case, personification. Among the sensory tools, would you say a pen has sight or touch? I do not imagine a pen with eyes but plastic or metal skin. It should convey feel when the pen associates with the writer's pain. And 'watched' is not a strong word here.

What do you want the pen to experience in that pivotal moment? How is the pen like a muse? To me, a reader has to consider why this pen is so important to story. It seems the hero, the angel, the empathizer, the instrument that has magic and the power to change the story.

Perhaps, when personifying, you want to give this pen some relatable properties that can be employed to hone theme and metaphors. This line and all words that personify should align and give the reader an ability to surmise what's special, help visualize and connect with that instrument.

(at this stage of the review, I realize how much I'm putting into this. long-winded it might seem, I'll try to wrap up as best I can.)

I realize the pen does not contribute in the conflict-resolution aspect, because there is none. There could be. And, I realized this when I read:

A poetic rainbow soared across pages.

I know considering a rewrite might alter the free associating episode that produced this raw piece. Editing a dream is very hard. We are informed by the vision and the outcome. Sometimes, we take that vision further, once experience informs. I'm informed by that rainbow.

If it were worked into the poem earlier, as that moment of inspiration described, it can go beyond this something suddenly changed, where nothing was visualized, felt or realized.

I really like the employed feathers in connection with that rainbow. The poet is soaring toward something. It could suggest power of that pen to be described. Personify the gift of it's elements...through that touch that connects to the writer's imagination. I say this because a pencil was my tool of choice once upon a time, when properly sharpened, it artfully scrawled upon my notebooks until visions appeared.

There's something about the employment of some instrument, just the right one, that makes these visions come forth. In the way you personify your writing instrument, you could give it characteristics and abilities to give weight to this piece, really flesh out this fantasy of how writers connect with their muses in unique ways.

I think you are onto something with this and have great imagination to bring it to life. If you play with it more, who knows what more it could yield. I find most often here writers never edit, just move on to the next. Hopefully, I didn't go on too long and bore you. Just saw something with potential and wanted to share how I responded and where I see this poem going.

Brian

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Further apologies if there are grammar or spelling issues that might make this review difficult to understand, as I am legally blind.


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108
108
Review of Her  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Dear Ckrose77 ,

I found something to this poem "Her that was working and that could also use some help with connection to expressions with imagery, metaphor and possibly emotion to convey these anticipatory and/or related feelings of joy of 'that kiss.'

I would suggest the title not be about 'Her' but about the joy of that kiss, because it is more central and driving the action in this poem. Both she and he are described in the poem by a omniscient narrator. If it was he describing her, then the title would seem best suited. But, I'm focused on the joy of that kiss.

I like how the poem drives on that ending line. It almost feels like it deserves to be on a line below of it's own for added emphasis. What I troubled with is the action of the kiss not matching so well with the described scene when you say:

Her soft plushness against his beautiful thickness - oh that kiss

Are you describing bodies or lips, because I could not decide at the outset? I imagined their bodies compressed before I realized the attribution might be about their mouths. and with the next line:

Her shining gloss against the bronze of his skin - oh that kiss

I expect her lips to be glossed, is she kissing other parts of his body here? I think further detail would help a reader visualize. But, I get it otherwise, so not too much argument with that. The next line finally helps describe:

Her tiny perfect lips together with his, giving and caring - oh that kiss

However, he is missing from the action above. The next line could almost be the open for this poem. I don't know why it has to be one long block of text when you say:

Over and over, day in and day out, it's there loving and true, it never fades, never waivers, her lips on his -

OH THAT KISS

Lines should be short and to the point here, to add movement to the discovery mounting. I did like the emphasis on the final words. I'm a fan of italics over caps, thought, and for extra emphasis, as with joy or shouting, exclamation point to finish.

A poem restructuring wouldn't hurt if you want to let the reader in on the scene building, like so:


Over and over,
day in and day out,
it's there
loving and true

it never fades, never waivers,
her lips on his -
soft, plush
against his beautiful thickness

- oh that kiss

Her shining gloss
against the bronze of his skin

- oh that kiss

Her tiny, perfect lips
together with his,
giving and caring

- oh that kiss

Oh, that kiss!

Sorry, just another way to look at it. I found the double emphasis at the end could really intone this message delivered that would make a great title line in this way.

I'm not in the habit of rewriting or reworking poems. But, it was brief and as easy as fixing a verse because of its brevity. It's nice to discover what's underneath it all. It might not be the way you imagine this unfolding. Just something from my observation upon it.

However you proceed, have fun with it. It was a pleasure to read and comment,

Brian

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109
109
Review of Pain  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Elexis LaFay ,

This is a poem that has the brave heart to tell it like it is about one who toys with affection. It's a poem about setting boundaries and finding strength, which makes statements to affirm newfound conviction.

The beauty of "Pain is its awkward nature. Revealing oneself and getting stronger as the lines at first reveal the pain and then divulge what will follow show a narrative from a point of view of one who plans on becoming a survivor.

This poem did like detail or visual images to give us a scene or characters, but it is still relatable and subject well read in these parts and among the fare that many might relate with.

This was straightforward and perhaps could use poetic devises and structure to lend to the overall theme. Or, it may be a poem that is just one part of a poetic journey to fulfillment. Time will tell.

Thank you for sharing this,

Brian

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110
110
Review of Hope  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Angel ,

I saw a lot of good in this poem "Hope devised to send a message or messages about hope and its relatable themes. I felt the poet was nurturing this offering of hope in an encouraging way. It was a poetic construct that seemed to not know what it intended or needed to be. I think the writer was consuming a lot of information and using multiple approaches of framing those words that would be lacking in the luster it deserves.

Foremost, I enjoyed the message of hope and the points it gets across. These words deserve a keen observist to put all these thoughts into context that readers will nod in agreement with. I think it is basic logic and is considerate of how we react to situations that try our will to put forward our best selves in these situations the poet describes.

Second, is the form or forms used in this poem. It fooled me into thinking this was a rhyming poem in the beginning. It might be more freeverse than traditional with its undisciplined blend. Focusing on traditional rhyme really forces a poet to consider what's chosen to give rhythm that pounces on those paired words, as it needs.

I felt at the outset, this poem did well in that regard. But, it may have been difficult to achieve throughout and was abandoned, especially by the last verse, for freeverse with an end rhyme. That was good, too. These are things that distract a reader from message and what is needed sometimes, if you really desire, to capture an audience.

Another concern is to borrow clichés as question into the opening of the poem. I do not have a problem with this, if they are not overused and are what is needed to begin building this idea. Perhaps, taking one anecdotal question and building off that, one verse at a time, with any point being made here, might be enough to chew on before going on to the next. The focus on hope was supplemented by more broadening messages and may have strayed a bit from the title theme.

This is what I like about being singular in approach to something being discovered in words this way. You can build theme and subject through comparative words and use of imagery and metaphor to focus more keenly on what you express. If more subjects try to rear their heads, associations can be made, but should be brief. Better to save these other notions for other poems to get that same special focus. Clear and concise with use of poetic devices could really help send this message of hope.

I could and probably have written a hundred or more poems on the subject of hope from all different angles. It is a very good theme and message for a poetic construction like this. Your title alone was enough to draw my eye and interest. Hopefully, you're not done with this message and continue to strive with your art to relate these feelings to audiences who will pry to see what you've written.

It was a pleasure to read and consider your poetry for feedback. I apologize for any grammar problems and confusion with my attempt to review. If there are any concerns that need clarification, please respond and I will attempt to revise my feedback.

Brian

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Review of The White Horse  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Wow, that was a powerful story. The story about a divorce attorney who pretty much spent his whole life dealing with the mess of ending relationships. Almost every metaphor that comes out of his mouth regards these things.

There is so much irony in the ending of the story. It made me wonder about the compulsion to spend time with those two. I think this is a very lonely and dark man and it made sense that he dumped all his alcohol. But I don’t know what that means for him in the end. He just needed to get out of that canyon.

ImThe Story had a good setting and Interesting characters that could interact and bring the story along. I also felt that the narration, by the main character, really lent to the overall feel of what was happening.

I guess the character of Billy is the more intriguing To me. Trying to decide how to treat him, with the guilt that was felt lifelong. That they seem to just put up with his unusual behavior Because of the head trauma when he was a baby.

I had a little trouble getting into the story. It would go back-and-forth and I wasn’t sure if we were in the past or the present from time to time, until I got into the meat of the read. Nice going on this.

Brian

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112
112
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: XGC | (4.0)
This series of chapters gave me a thought about how writers of erotica like this use 0f fantasy 'for purpose of story'. In fact, it is the desire to do what we want, with words in scenes with outcomes playing out, that compels writers rather than face the moral dilemmas known to be a part of everyday life.

Here, the author has a Dreamstone that can justify or make anything right by applying it to whatever situation like atonement. It may be totally oblivious to the rights of the people it fictionalizes to draw into these encounters they become enslaved to, rather than freed from by the right to make their own choices, rather than be compelled to a obey to something of a stronger will than their own.

The challenge of writing usually is conflict-resolution. Herein, conflict easily resolves, as with shall we say, like getting wishes granted by a Genie after rubbing a magic lamp. It reminds me that many fantasy tales are built around this concept of something like a Dreamstone, about having absolute power.

It is compelling to think about what you have done here. But ethically, and from a moral standpoint, where do we draw the line in storytelling? Where can we point to reality and what is actually accessible? can we stop using innocent characters as playthings and with a bit magic, clean it all up?

I can't say that there is any problem with this story building or the direction it is going. I just feel true conflict-resolution is more rewarding that using a magic card, or get out of moral jail free card, to excuse the behavior of our fiction. That's about all I had to share on that subject.

Brian

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113
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Dear MuseinMeltdown ,

This has opened my eyes. Not only to the importance of getting a good, and the right, book cover produced for one's novel, but the need for this illustrators to coincide with a writing community like Writing.Com.

It never really dawned on me how writers and illustrators resided here, seeing so many people who link or talk about their work. Some produced images through Deviant Art's website. And now, I see the companionship here that I have overlooked all the years.

"Book Covers aren't just to stop dust was well written and spoke to me on different levels. It was actually not what I expected when I saw the title. The first thing that I noticed was (and relate to), we all do judge that book by its cover. It's just our nature. We might imagine good words inside but that cover may be hideously overdone and off-putting. And we, as writers, do not want our words represented that way. Sometimes, the font on the nicely colored cover alone is enough for me. Do we need images depicting our words? A color and font alone can connect a reader best to how we might determine the content should be presumed.

This also reminds me that publishers have all kinds of gimmicks to reap money from authors who want to see their words in print. Eager to get our words out there, the more hasty may make poor choices either artistically or financially in these choices. And, we can be uninformed or ignorant if we have not gone through the process. This piece points out the thought process and clues us in to not only what the author dreams of seeing but how that is interpreted by other who are employed.

I can only imagine who Lisa is, as the cover artist. I used to know Damiana was an illustrator, but no longer active. No link to be sure. I'm not even sure if this article conclusively states what the outcome was. But, it does cover this decision of working with publishers and self-publishing without going into too much detail. It's something that was in the future at this writing.

What inspires me about this is hearing an author talk about the process, the anticipation, the hurdles. All of this does not deter a reader like me, but inspire to finally put the final touches on the epic manuscript, to see it off into the world, even if ignored by traditional publishers. It reminds me of all the people who come into the message boards like newsfeed or chatrooms to talk about how they are forced to edit because their publisher wants this or that before they are finally done. They never talk about who that publisher is. It's all very vague and wonder if they are giving a thumbnail sketch for a reason, if real or fake or magnified.

I do know that online publishing has taken off. This reminds me that we can be discovered through using resources like Amazon publishing. Though, the financial rewards can be low unless we can rightly gauge the product we have to dispense, with the hopes of a traditional publisher picking up our works to put in print.

Well, maybe I've gotten off topic. But this article reminds me of the rewards. We have an insider's opinion that can give weight to our own decisions going forward.

Brian

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The opinions in this piece are my own, though I am reviewing on behalf of the PowerReviewers group. If there any grammar or spelling concerns or anything else that needs further explanation, please feel free to contact me. I can clear up or revise any comment that seems unworthy.


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Review of Tomorrow  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Mindertwenty

There are some very thoughtful moments in the this poem "Tomorrow that seemed like a wistful one thinking about opportunities that never came, that dreams are in the past. I found there is some potential in this piece, with a focused effort on punctuation and word choices.

Tomorrow is so far away,
But that seems like yesterday.

This was a great way to open the poem. It doesn't take me long, but I do have to squint to see the visionary at work. How does the future get behind oneself? Easy, it's about the tomorrows of yesterday. We are recollecting here how we had so much time, but then in a snap it's gone and realize too much time lost. This sets up the revelation to come.

The hours blur in what seems a minute,
I need to slow time down.

I thought the comma should have been a period. This very plainly sets the table as we are plodding through the narrative to get to the good parts.

Until today I felt I could reach for the stars,
But I’d surely have one by now.

Wow! I had to stand back from this one because it started out cliché and then took a 90 degree turn. We can take old expressions and update them, put a new spin or thought on them. That is what I have seen here.

This also ties the theme together further about that dreaming one who wanted to capture that brilliance that seemed unattainable. Perhaps, this is part of he problem of fantasizing. We don't really think it will come true by hard work. It has to land in our lap. And, if it doesn't, oh well. Should have bought more lottery tickets. Or gone to or finished college.

This is the flaw in our nature (stars) that we can't get there from here. And with time dwindling, it's coming to the end of the poem.

Then a revelation touched my mind,
Brief as it may have been.
It’s time to take the initiative,
To take the reins myself,
The future is mine for the taking.
© Cop

I liked where this went. But, this is also where I had a problem with the execution. You are definitely on the right path. The theme is time and stars with dreams or horizons mixed in. How can that all intertwine with this revelation at the end?

The revelation was quick, that's good. How did it strike? What thought revealed it? Does it tie to stars that die and burn out? Dreams that fade? Is it about never chasing them?

I needed to see what was happening that gets the shining light inside the mind to illumine in a brief moment, a thought that seems to be about completely changing and redirecting one's life.

Visually here, we have nothing but metaphors for things that are images. How does it connect to the narrative, the spirit and ultimately the realization? I needed that to get to that conclusion. It's that dismount. It's that perfect 10 you could get from the judges.

You're almost there. How, the last two lines presented a problem through redundancy with reins. Also, reins. To what? I think that might not be the best direction for this. It is cliché and no 90 degree reflection about it. We don't have the horse or wagon.

To me this is about time travel. You arrived at a destination in a snap. Warp speed. Probably don't want science-y stuff. That's where you tippy toe through a Thesaurus and dig for words that will help this arrive at the station for narrator and reader. Ultimately, poet.

I think you have a great piece of poetry on your hands than can be worked with more. I hope you have more time to devote or refocus on this poem, as it deserves your attention. And, maybe this revelation took you away from your words. Maybe, the journey will bring you back. Whatever it is, I look forward to more.

Brian
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Every once in awhile I can find a poem that I really want to sink my teeth into. I could have gone way overboard on this one. Probably did. This is me pulling back. *Laugh* Be proud.


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Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with Circumpolar Reviewer *ALL CASE...  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I found this at the top of the scroll/chatroom window as an advertisement and was struck by the title "Ramblings Of A Drunken Lover (Clean). What's odd is that the member attached to this item being advertised sitewide has not logged on in eight years. Further intriguing me to read and comment and point this out, as I am a writer who is very active and is still struggling to figure out how to garner the necessary attention to make the existence in this community sustainable with purpose going forward. It's an eye opener.

This poem hung on to that "I need that ish" phrase for too long without giving a reason for it's relevance. I don't think it is or was commonly known unless some song made it quickly popular 10 years ago. The poem does just what it says and rambles. It had a nice romantic quality to it and does speak like drunk on love to the point of co-dependence. I didn't mind that. We like to see flaws in the narrative as opposed to trying to sound perfect, impossible as it is.

Brian


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116
116
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (4.0)

I think Stories From Love Your Neighbors has potential from what I've read of what's still available to peruse. What I did not get in the "Love Your Neighbors piece is what direction these stories would take. I got perhaps a character that was getting settled and learning to deal with odd and unusual new neighbors. I did not see much conflict to overcome, just sweet, quirky people and their odd stories like the man who had the excuse for having one eyebrow and how the main charcter uncomfortably dealt with that. Oh, and a sleepwalker.

Whatever direction you go, I think keeping an eye to what makes getting to know neighbors difficult and hard to overcome is key. I know its not the same to look over those hedges nowadays. Feels so sequestered in our world. Perhaps, the conflict is actually opening up to people without seeming nosey? Guess that's for the author to decide.

Character development seems key in these stories as is setting. It has to be some kind of unique place that brings out unusual people. My first go to is Gilmore Girls or Pleasantville. Just off the top of my head. I know this is a single woman, so there is the potential to met men in this neighborhood and she's not off to a very good start.

Brian

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117
117
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Dear JDdurhamrn,

Funny story about Walt and the excuse for that one eyebrow. That was a big takeaway for me from your short story. I thought it was unfortunate that we did not get to this encounter sooner. I would love a story full of stuff like that.

The open to the "Love Your Neighbors needed a better hook as the narrative meandered. We didn't really get a good introduction to the main character. It went to the omniscient voice that seemed more interested in plodding forward to setting up that scene that would come until the end. And then it was over. No true conflictino and resolution, unless you count the uncertainty that made the main character uncomfortable.

The action that was to come never really was building. It seemed more like a chance encounter and then finish. People sitting around greeting a neighbor is fine, but wanted to see more eccentricities or odd happenings. Like Walt and his lone caterpillar.

There is some promise with this story. I think it could be quirky and/or cute. Needs a good edit to even out the eyebrowness of it all.

Brian
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118
118
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Strange Brain ,

I liked the use of the prompt words to give this vision of a farmer distracted from his toils by a drifting balloon in "Forgotten Troubles. It is a sweet and simple poem with a brief message about a toiling farmer who delights in a scene when spotting that balloon. A memory of childhood, or something that touches this person in such a manner to forget struggles with soil?

The poem shifts quickly after two lines about the farmer's agony to get to delight. i wondered if the delight was that immediate, if it was needed to describe the farmers feelings that could be used as action to describe the flight of the balloon, as in 'delightfully drifted'? That would cause his eye to wander where is rose to view a rainbow. Perhaps, it was a realization, the balloon got his attention to look at something he could have missed.

So the delight is shared by the collective of balloon and rainbow in scene, and then the farmer feels troubles are forgotten. I think he's going to remember them pretty quick again, once he turns back to his work, but maybe with a less toilsome attitude? He's still sunburned badly. I guess I wonder if he's not a good farmer, if it hurts that bad? Or, he's really poor and has had a bad year with crop and doesn't have the resources to work the land?

Yeah, hard to decide from all that, as you see I'm guessing why he's suddenly so happy. I think the poet and the reader would like to believe the farmer can take solace in a child's distraction. He might be a little soft in the head. I know that this is a poem that is trying to show a contrast and something to remind us that we can take a moment to appreciate life.

I think for a moment, he forgets his troubles. It's like getting a drink of water, something to salve that sunburn, that you don't feel it for awhile. All things I think about from your short poem. Very thought provoking.

Brian

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Review of The Book  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This was an interesting turn in the second chapter of this novel "Invalid Item. It transitioned out of the main character's body metamorphosis/change from old to young in Deal McShane. Now, weak, he falls asleep before finishing reading the book. I wondered if that would mean something bad would come of it. But, it was not foreboding, it would turn out.

I think the direction this story is taking is interesting. He may be learning too quickly, be a bit too wise. He is an older man living in a young body. He didn't seem to on board with Jenson while his body was changing in Chapter 1 and now he gets attacked by grows and figures out two things: How to fix that pipe that was broken...no big ceremony about how he McGuyvered that, and that he figured out how to use the pipe to speak to crows to leave him alone and/or give him info.

Deal's attitude has shifted and I don't know if he or I have contemplated why he is suddenly so resourceful. I get that he is wise, but I imagine his stubborness to be a shortcoming as an anti-hero in this story. He really hasn't faced any true conflict yet, but he has been set up with a few challenges that should keep him off balance until he gets used to being young and owner of this book that he could just toss aside and be done with. He doesn't owe anything to Jenson. He seems like the type that could walk away Han-style, unless there is something in it for him. Yes, motivation. Where is it? Just survival, playing with god powers?

This is akin to someone getting an unlimited number of wishes and they keenly devise a use for the pipe immediately. It's not too troubling, but I think that it would help to broaden the story and give the character some conflict to overcome. It seems to resolve too quickly in the moments portrayed. Maybe, the story needs to slow for better perspective, settings and depictions.

I do like the dialogue between man and crow, which gave me a distinct feeling of what the bird sounded like. I was also able to visualize that attack playing out. Though, it reminded me of Hitchcock.

Over all, I think you have something in the works here. McShane is just figuring things out. We've read a bit from the book about its powers and know that it will require complete knowledge of its contents by the user. It also made me wonder why the pipe worked if he still hadn't learned to apply magic. Though, that might still be coming. There might be repercussions for taking shortcuts?

Anyway, I'll stay tuned for me.

Brian

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Review of Realization No. 6  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear David Noet ,

This poem "Realization No. 6 acts as a slow motion time realization of death (time decay), in particular of those who lose a spouse before them. This poem will simple and straight forward using some visual depictions of aging people with rosy cheeks (to me implies merry) that there are rotten bones. Now, that could mean a lot of things. To me it just means no good. Won't last. Even the happiness seen in couples will end when one of them dies.

It was a sad realization in this poem that implies it is cruel, like Hiroshima, but only slow and sad. Maybe, more like a gas chamber at Auschwitz? I don't know WW2 references too well, but that might help as an expressive metaphor for life described like this.

The fallout from the bomb is skin melts. That again implies aging or what happens to bodies post death and then the ending: ashes ashes we all fall down, the children's rhyme that came out of he plague. It was cruel times even then, but the world keeps spinning, people keep making babies, they grow up, fall in love, lose someone and then die. Downward spiral?

It's a really dark way to look at life. It leaves a reader with the wonder of the inspiration for this. Wondering, if it could be tied in with the theme, give context? I thought the poem was succinct, didn't pull any punches, was informed and did not fall into weak word play or the cliche to deliver images and their connections to reality.

Pretty well done, all in all, as I saw it

Brian

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121
Review of Meadow  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Sam Gamgee ,

Sad the way this poem "Meadow opens and speaks to a reader. There was something to its construct and the way the lines built in that open that made it seem like a poem that had a theme lending to its structure. It feels like someone pining, recalling and trying to ascertain what has happened:

Meadow
When was it
that my need became
nothing more than imagining
holding hands with you in silence
walking in a high mountain meadow?

I don*t remember.

The words carry a distinct feel with imagery building with a scene setting that parallels these emotions connecting with nature. It has a deep spiritual feel:

Or discover
again in silence and alone with you
a clear, cold, spring deep
within a forest that exists
only in my mind?

I can't recall.

Again, can't remember or recall. This is like a monologue setting up for narrator as I imagine mountain mists forming and a very picturesque setting. This felt a bit Shakespearean wherein he questions his own mind, like King Lear. Is this setting up for one playing a fool?

Remember?
This is not less for knowing
that my need for you
was finally so complete
that I was driven to invent
a you - and us - that never really was.
Its just as well.

I'm reminded of myself when I read this poem about longing and the wondering of what went wrong. It reminds me of those I wrote these types of odes to who said I romanticize too much. It could also be that memory doesn't serve well and we hold on to these things. Fiction fills in the gaps when we over dramatize and try to realize something that leaves us empty and we want to embellish and spackle those holes leading to the empty spaces around our hearts.

How it ends:

Remember?
This is not less for knowing
that my need for you
was finally so complete
that I was driven to invent
a you - and us - that never really was.
Its just as well.

The prince leaves the stage. There is no story truly to be told. This is very well depicted with sincerity and true realization of what is lost, quite possibly feeling old and frail and willing to acknowledge what hadn't been, what you were holding on to, will never be. You use all the right emotions and connect is to the words that common readers would relate to. The narrative speaks to the one that likely will not read. This is one of those odes that could be spoken to the ghosts of our past. It has that feel.

Well done.

B

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122
122
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Dear Shaara ,

This was an interesting stand alone sci-fi story that uniquely described two classes of alien creatures and a caste system that forces one to hide among the elite in hopes of getting into their university.

I felt there was much to learn from the first person narrator character in "Interview at Shetzun who was trying to avoid a life like ancestors working in mines. From trying to grasp a description from the way this person was trying to camflauge not only Cremorian appearance but fears of getting caught by the Shetzun inteviewers did a lot.

I almost wondered if too much time was spent observing the Shetzun leaving the interview room. I thought maybe this character lingered too long, but maybe that was to show that there was a chance they would crack in the interview and reveal their true alien nature. Much of the story hinged on situations either in the mind or in the interview room where this person might give themselves away.

Unfortunate that we only meet the main character. I think the rest of the characters were placed in scenes for purpose of story. I think more conflict could be felt if this person felt threatened by one of more Shetzun in this scene. It would be another opportunity to describe simiiarities between the two races that would give a reader a better depiction of what these people look like. I want to know the purpose of the extra finges, lungs, etc. Maybe, they were perfect for mining because of their, can we call it, genetics?

Just some thoughts I had upon reading the story over all. As far as grammar and structure of story, I would say it was pretty sound. I don't know if you planned to novelize this alien race in story, or if you already have. I think it could be developed into a chapter of something longer. It would need character sympathetic to the Cremorian cause and a better understanding of their customs and rules to fully realize life and death situations or more.

Technology was lacking in scene(s), wasn't it? I'm not sure I got a feel for galaxy, universe, dimension or time either. The ending seem like foreboding of further tales from this character. Or, other characters and storylines you could develop from first person, and then their paths cross? You never know. I'm not a big sci-fi guy, but I know a few things. Best of luck.

Brian

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123
123
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Dear Nalin Plad ,

When I discovered this "[WRITERS NEEDED] for WR fiction attempt, I was intrigued. Not so much to be a person who is part of a team of writers creating the longest document to be the world's record for longest book. I thought War & Peace was the bar for how long someone should go for book length.

Either way, the structure of this message and the call to writers shows you have an idea and a small game plan that can get larger once you have people committed to the project. Is the idea just to knock out whatever, if it's not good, just to be the longest? If you have writers worthy of novel length fiction, wouldn't it make more sense to create something that can sell?

I guess my other wonderment, is there any money in this? You don't cover the incentives of being involved unless you're just willing to give your time and effort away to a project that you will get a small amount of credit for and barely recognized, over the person who organized it and will likely be most noted for this effort.

If you pull it off, it will could be against incredible odds and circumstances. Writer's Block is number one, writers quitting, creative differences, lack of motivation and finally the ability to crank out that long of a book...that's if you can get really capable people on board with this.

I don't know anything of the current record holder, but it must be something they created that they are quite proud of. To hear that someone wants to supercede it by so much more will likely feel defeating. Perhaps, if you crush the record, no one else will never want to near it? Perhaps, if it is accomplished, you could send out false backstories about the torture and turmoil it caused. Maybe, writer's took their lives or something and make no one else insane enough to try to topple your record. Because, face it, if someone does. It might seem all for not. Do what you can to protect the legacy if accomplished. Though, if there is money making opportunities from this, make sure the reviews of your effort and any urban legend you can build into it, make it worthy of being talked about.

I'll have to admit, I never heard of the world record. I never would go out of my way to google what the longest book is. I'm sure if it makes news, you'll have to do a lot of PR for years to keep it's legend circulating. Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

It's not out there yet. People need to be recruited and that's what brought you here. Good luck! BTW, what's the longest book for a legally blind person. I might go after that, since I can't seem to complete anything and need motivation.

Brian

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124
124
Review of fantasy  
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with The WDC Angel Army  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
That's a good start...Once upon a time... What happens next? Let me guess by giving you some idea...

First off, it's fantasy, drama and young adult. This could be tough.


...with sallow eyes and tattered, smelly clothes, an old man staggered onto the cobbelstone street where other beggars were fshining armor for a few crumbs. This man was missing a limb and did not approach anyone among those attending the daily market for alms. Stooped, with a hitch in his gait, he seemed to be looking for one particular purveyor. A small cart beyond the courtyard with an old woman at the helm seemed to straighten him up for a moment. When he finally managed to walk over, the woman acknowledged the visitor.
"Oh, you're back."
"Didn't think you'd get rid of me that easily, did ya?"
"Fine. You win," as she held out the amulet. He clutched it with his grubby hands and shaking, placed it around his well worn neck.

I could go on, but I'm not sure this is what you want. But, if you are looking for something to stimulate your goal of writing fantasy fiction, I offer this as as start and suggest the amulet turns him back into a young man. He's on a quest to finish a journey and each time he returns in whatever condition to get back the gem so he can undo a spell to get his life back or something he wants like power or whatever and it just goes on like that or whatever YOU were intending to do. *Laugh*

A bid a fond farewell and good writing to you,

Brian

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125
125
Review by Brian K Compton
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear Averren ,

This was a good essay that turned on a key phrase of advice that applied as a topic sentence or thesis, as I saw it. The essay didn't go into much detail but was folksy enough to keep a reader interested.

Perhaps, there were limits due to length required for the WDC essay contest. I know I see prompts like this that make me cringe over what to edit and what to keep in. Then I think after whatever activity or contest is over, I could use it to add detail and lengthen for the right amount of additional information.

I found myself waiting to find how the advice applied, “A moving target is hard to hit." It didn't have an a-ha moment attached to it. More of an 'I guess I sorta did that' kind of feel to it. When a reader is fed a baited hook like this, we can feel cheated after being reeled in. I don't know if there are better details you can add to make this advice apply. Usually, I see advice like this as a call to action. What it wound up being is just happenstance.

Otherwise, you kept the essay simple and didn't go overboard on it. You supported this with conclusive enough detail. You're kind of an 'aw shucks' kind of guy, relatable. Makes blowhards like me look bad because we want to puff our chests out and you're walking around with, what? Three degrees? Doctor?

Anyway, what you provide to this essay "A moving target is hard to hit... in it's straight forward approach made this easy to read.

Brian

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