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Review of Thorn Tower  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Ew. Beautifully crafted and lingeringly creepy. You've made me glad she chooses not to leave the tower. Imagine that thing turned loose! You also made me wonder how long it will take for her to grow a new rope. Most of all, with minimal description, you've made me worry about the suitor at the base of the tower. I noticed no technical or stylistic errors. Nor did I see a single word that I thought out of place, or any phrase that didn't fit. This is masterfully crafted, cunningly twisted, and gloriously gruesome. Plus the poetry is well crafted and fitting. Bravo!
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Review of Story Maker  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
I can see the shop owner. I can hear his voice (it’s velvet deep, and clawed just enough to make you wonder if you imagined the claws.) I can see the environment, even as it changes. I don’t see Gemma, its more like I am seeing through her eyes and the story is happening to me. It reads fast, but with that chilling dread that makes time slow down.

I know the anticlimax is supposed to help the reader come down to earth again, but I don’t think it’s necessary here. We get the sense of relief from the monster’s wondering tone. The anticlimax cuts off my desire to know he told her because it is so final. There’s nothing there to make me wish I could read her stories.

The way it is written, it deprives Gemma of a lot of her power. The final five sentences put too much damper on the story, too fast. If her first story was the ‘scariest story ever’, why does she need King? She’s outdone King; she shouldn’t be considered anyone’s protégé. I think something like “Even Steven King wondered where she got such frightful stories.” would be less forced. Something that implied the story she heard that night was eons of stories layered on top of each other and she’s barely begun to tap the deep well of horror the monster shared.

I noticed no technical or stylistic errors.
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Review of The Burden  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I loved the drama of not knowing who was telling the truth, and the fact that both were - according to their own biases. I got a creepy feeling when Albert declared that her child could change things. It made me wonder just how they intended to insure she had a child.

Mariel is well developed. I get a sense of her character from her actions and the slight history given. Bran is less developed, but for good reason. Given a little more time to get to know the characters,I suspect Bran could be interesting. Albert is flat, I think. I get neither a sense that he is evil nor that he is good. He never seems menacing or trustworthy. Even if he is one, I think he should exhibit characteristics of the other to help confuse Mariel as to who to believe.

The story flowed well. I didn't have time to really develop curiosity about the pendant, or to choose who to believe. I think both would make the story stronger, more riveting. Because I didn't get to that point, I also didn't get involved enough to wonder what happened next. Even if the story is over, I think the reader should always wonder about the characters. Did Mariel truly escape? Did she ever have that daughter? How did the world deal with the sudden return of those winged beasts - or did they slide unnoticed into the night? I want to wonder these things, but I don't. (I know it looks like I do but I had to think to come up with those questions. They should have risen unbidden.)

One technical error and one suggestion:

“It’s not valuable! It’s dangerous,” Albert hissed. Inside that pendant [missing “ ]


“How’d you get into my apartment?” she demanded, circling the room.

“The door was unlocked. Hey!” he shouted, as she swung at his head.

“Get out of here!” [I think this should be preceded by “So, you just walked in?”]
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Review of I'm Me  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (3.0)
The beginning of your poem:

Honestly
Tell me why
I should care
That I can't
Comprehend
Your desire
To offend
Me though I
Always try
Not to cry
As you point
And you laugh
At the fact
That I'm black
Cause I'm not
Good enough
To withstand
What you can
Or transcend
All of the
Prejudice
That the world
Casts on us...

is excellent and powerful. Below this point, it feels as though you were forcing the words. The few bits of rhyme in the quoted section flow, as though the rhyme is only a result of what you needed to say. The incessant rhyming that follows is awkward, almost like you fell into rut and forgot the motivation behind the poem.

This part:

...So I can
Rise again
To the man
Who could not
Give a thought
To the words
Meant to turn
My body
Completely
Against my
Mind but theres
Somebody
Who wants me
Simply
Cause I'm me

reclaims that natural feel and the power of the beginning. If I were your editor (which I'm not) I would want you to remove the middle and find a connector for the beginning and end such as changing "So I can" to "But I can" or reworking these lines a little bit to make the bridge:
...but I can't
e'r submit
to your hate
but I can...


Every good poet has poems like this, where there is pure gold mixed with lead. The bad poets only have lead. No one only has gold. For gold, we have to smelt the poem as we would the metal, and let the heavy lines fall away.
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Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
He glared at woman driver (missing word)
of his rested-out Honda (rusted?)

Cissy doesn't sound hispanic, she sounds white trash. Both of these women are brainless and obnoxious. I know they are brainless because neither caught any of Stan's jokes. If one were humorless, but of reasonable wit, the jokes would have earned a scowl at least. (The jokes were funny, thank you.)

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Review of In Dreams  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Bravo! I did not see that coming. I did begin to get the idea that years had passed, but I expected old age and illness. This is beautifully crafted. No wonder you give such good advice! As I re-read, various phrases took on new meaning in conjunction with the ending. Even knowing the end, I loved the second and third readings. The only thing that strikes me as odd is "hunkered". I would think she could reach his forehead without bending or squatting. I envisioned her standing tall and graceful beside the bed.
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Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
announcing her arrival, she [seen] the [saw]

the 28 pound, 27" tall little 10-month old boy with sandy brown hair, and bright blue eyes standing [Show us these details in the course of your writing. This is a laundry list, as such, uninteresting. - you can mention 28 pounds when she lifts him, she can ruffle his sandy brown hair, his height can be mentioned when he grabs the coffee table - at 27" he would barely be peeking over the top(measure a coffee table), etc.]

Her ponderous thoughts of why flip-flops are [ponderous means heavy. Is that what you want to say?]

There is no hook to keep me reading. Bring your hook in early - show me part of what kept her up, give me some reason to care what happens to her. That can be thought process or action - a snippet from a dream, a flashback memory of something that led her to where she is now, something to indicate why we should care about Tracy. Definitely write more. It is possible that the prologue will be edited out or revised once you get into the meat of the story. Sometimes, as writers, we have to write the mundane details in order to find the flow of events, so don't stop here, keep going.
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Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (2.0)
You have covered a lot of material here!
When writing, remember to break your work into logical paragraphs. Where ever you change scenes or subjects, you can usually justify a paragraph change. This makes it much easier to read.
I've [bracketed] some corrections and suggestions below. My goal is to help polish the ideas you have presented, but the decision is yours as to what to change. If you post a revision, please be sure and email me. I'd like to read more of your story, it sounds interesting so far.

our [families'][family] home

Rockbridge Road where [presently][delete] Pine Lake Baptist Church now stands.

My brother and I learned to call my grandmother "Lollie"[.]

[due to the teasing of m][delete]

My aunts [who][delete]

coaxed [our][delete 'our' replace with - us into]
calling her by the name she had been called in childhood[.] [ Lollie] [since-delete] was named Laura after her own mother.
[move to here]
Lollie was a second mother to us.

My mother was only 20 and had returned home after a failed marriage while [still-delete] pregnant with me.

My mother had [actually-delete] returned home two months [before I was born--move to end of sentence] [along--delete] with my brother who [was --is]less than a year older[than me].

She was the youngest of her own [childhood clan -- awkward, consider 'siblings'],[ a family of seven--seven total, or seven children?] with only one boy.

[ and s]She [had] married [quite] late in life for the time[,] after turning 30[, ]which was probably considered old maid for that generation.

She [consider using 'Lollie' her to remind the reader which "she" you are talking about.] was happy for the income my mother could bring in [too-delete] because [her own family circumstance was that-delete] she had recently lost her husband.

[ to a --Consider replacing this with "He died of a "]sudden stroke [when he was--replace with "while"] on the road selling insurance[.] [replace 'and' with 'Lollie'] was left as the head of [household in][delete] a household that included my mother's two younger sisters, [both--delete] who hadn't yet finished high school.

In a nest of women, my brother and I were showered with affection[,] as you might well imagine.

One of my earliest memories is a vague one of seeing her silky basketball uniform wadded up at the top of a heap of clothes in the hall in a nook that held a chest of drawers for storage a make-shift closet that was covered by a curtain. [Break this into two or three sentences to reduce confusion and increase readability. . Try putting the closet description first-There was a curtained nook in the hall that held a storage chest and laundry. One of my earliest...]

I remember how shiny the [unique] fabric looked and how cool it felt [and how unique it was-delete].
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Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Excellent title for an excellent piece of writing. I hope you will share more of Pappou's stories here.


Two errors:

the next day [a] several men would

Every evening was another day they had scrapped by [scraped]
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Review of outback  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (4.0)
Delightful! I think you have beautifully conveyed the freedom of being who you are. The funny thing is that few people notice when you stop wearing those 'western corners' because they are too busy worrying that others will see what is behind their own facades. I, personally, find your droopy marquee quite lovely.

there is leprous paint, pealing;[peeling]
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Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (2.5)
News doesn't rhyme with news.Views would fit. This weakens your poem by interrupting the flow. The remaining verses work well and the poem is amusing.
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Review of Dew of hope  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (3.0)
I could feel it [i ]my bones, [in]
You are missing a lot of apostrophes.

For me, i would be out of Russia [in a heartbeat] if I could afford it, but unfortunately, I had no money. [This is a modern phrase that doesn't suit the time period or the country.Try simplifying the statement : I would leave if I could...]

It is confusing to discover that Lena is married. She says I would leave, not we. She says I have no money. She never indicates that she has a husband or what he thinks of staying or leaving.

Other than these two things, the story is consistent so far. That the characters are Russian is believable. The phrasing is just different enough to keep the accent in my head, without having to resort to dialect. Names and places also help remind the reader of the locale. It is clear that the family is Jewish, again without having to directly say so.

What you have so far is well written, there just isn't enough of it for me to gauge potential. I'm only moderately curious about the big announcement.
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Review of Take it all  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Zoey's dread and panic are palpable. You did an excellent job of conveying this in the very first scene. What she was doing was clear without having to be spelled out. Confirmation came soon after, to validate the assumption that she was taking a pregnancy test.

There are a couple of places where you forgot to capitalize:
'this isnt happening,' I thought.
"thank you both, I breathed, and shuffled my feet down the hall to my new-- an old--- room. <Here you also forgot the closing parenthetical " and have misspelled old.

The cupboard had been emptied the previous day, [aside of some noodles], so I guess I had no other option. [Awkward phrasing, try other than some noodles or except for some noodles.]

Add extra spacing or a line to help make the scene change here:
My [stomache] twisted with the sudden realization. My mother. I had to tell her. [stomach is misspelled]

[extra spacing]

"Mom?" I slowly made my way into the apartment as every bone in my body yearned to turn back, as every molecule screamed warnings...

"I know. I know it's so, so wrong.[ But I'm probably about a month pregnant,] and I told my mom and she kicked me out---" [This doesn't feel true. I think she would be more likely to say [but it's true] and leave details like time out. Length and circumstances would come as a result of the Aunts asking questions.

Moving into your story, you have set up several avenues of interest. How do the Aunts help her deal with the situation? What does she finally decide to do? Does Ben stick to his guns (abort or else) or does he deal with this differently once he has had time to process the shock? What if he changes his mind but Zoey tells him he's history because he had given her an ultimatum? There are dozens of ways to go from here, and you've made the beginning compelling enough that I want to follow along and see what happens.

You have also used dialect well. There is a soft southern hint in the voices of the Aunts. Mom sounds drunk without being incomprehensible. Ben sounds like he comes from a wealthier family than Zoey - not rich, per se, just more balanced and successful than Zoey's home. He speaks clearly. Each of these have distinct voices. I can tell from the phrasing which is speaking. Very well managed dialog so far.
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Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
“Ma’am, this is police detective Synder.” [Police Detective - should be capitalized because it is his title. ]

This is well written. Snyder's voice is consistent through out. He is honest about his fear, which is consistent with his voice in a way that indicates he has come to terms with the events and is not ashamed. WHY he has come to terms with it is revealed at the end but at no time does it seem odd that Mr. Tough-guy Cop can admit fear so calmly.

There is a lack of emotion in the telling, in spite of the spookiness of what he tells. Again, this does not seem wrong, it is consistent with the voice of the character. The telling is interesting, and the lack of emotion is appropriate. That flatness takes a wicked turn at the end.

That Ashante used no words and Snyder does seems inconsistent. It is possible that I am the only one who would be bothered by this particular inconsistency. Adding 'deaf mute' or something like it to her description might soften the discrepancy.

My thoughts on the promise that "you'll end up doing what I want" were "No, I won't." Why would I, when the consequences of doing so are obvious? But this made me think - how long could I face the monthly terror? How long would it take before I found the consequences less horrid than those regular visits? Would I go slowly crazy, or could I become immune to the terror? That you made me keep thinking after the story was over, that you made me consider how I might react, and made me aware of the different possibilities and outcomes - that is excellent writing.
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Review of How can this be?  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
There is a wonderful rhythm to this piece that matches the sentiment precisely. It is...zen-like, a meditative rhythm, a soft drum in the background of the mind. It falters just a bit on 'built up or felled'. I think it needs another syllable to maintain the rhythm. The words are beautifully arranged.

This piece, I think, would speak to any reader or listener. We all have the need for closure, to say our piece, tell our side, whether we are writers or not. Writers certainly understand the solace of the pen, but I think there is no one who has not written at least one letter they never sent. You capture that. Well done.
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Review of Art  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (5.0)
Five stars for humor! I love the subtle play on words and the bouncing rhythm of this piece. Visually, the font suits the poem, which is a nice touch. Well done!
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Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (2.0)
abcdemily,
First, cute name. I sometimes do that accidentally when I am spelling something aloud. Onward!

This is a good draft, with a lot of base material that can develop into a compelling story. You have some elements, like the assault of the innocent lamb, that increase the tension of these woods. How do the woods remind her of where she came from, and if they are 'dark and damp' and scary, why does she enter them? What is the significance of the line "Knowing that no one could see her..."? These are questions you can answer within the story, as part of the telling. ( She entered the woods, soothed by the familiar damp moss and distant shrilling of wild birds. These reminded her of home more than the deep shadows and odd howling frightened her. A taste of home was more potent than some vague uneasiness.) Listen as you read aloud and you'll notice the places where questions are implied and answers can be worked into the story line.

Readability is the very first thing that will prevent you from developing an audience for your writing. It is difficult for the eye to track a large block of text, so break it up::

She looked like she was deep in thought, lost in the depths of her own mind. Day dreaming about somewhere much better than this. She sees herself without a care in the world, skipping through a flowery field. She stops and lays down in the warm summer air. Her curly golden hair surrounding her head like a halo. She reaches toward the sky with her finger and writes on the blue vast canvas, {/i}Hello world. This is me.

Knowing that no one else could see it she got up and wandered into a long deep forest. It was dark and damp and reminded her of were she came from. Suddenly she comes to a split in the path. She knows one will take her out of this scary...

Notice how much easier it is to read? Proper use of paragraphs also helps your reader know when a scene or action changes, when a new character is intorduces, and when a new person is speaking.

Next, watch your sentence structure. In the following section there are several sentence fragments, denoted by parenthesis ( ). A fragment does not stand on its own. ::

She looked like she was deep in thought, lost in the depths of her own mind. ( Day dreaming about somewhere much better than this. ) She sees herself without a care in the world, skipping through a flowery field. She stops and lays down in the warm summer air. ( Her curly golden hair surrounding her head like a halo. ) She reaches toward the sky with her finger and writes on the blue vast canvas, {/i}Hello world. This is me.

Also, watch your word order- [...writes on the blue vast canvas,] should be [vast, blue canvas] - and punctuation [comma between vast and blue].
Try to avois cliched expressions like "the light at the end of the tunnel". You can use the idea, just reword it.

Once you have written your piece, go back and read it out loud.This will help you catch odd phrasing and will help you find better ways of telling your stories. This is a good draft, it offers you a lot of base information from which to build a compelling tale. Try to either get completely into your character's head and tell the tale as if they were telling it (point of view, first person) or completely out of your character (point of view, third person) . In third person, she would have to speak her thoughts for us to know her thoughts.

(Example third person: "Oh, good! The lighted path is the right one. Or is it? Maybe it's a trap. Maybe the light is to lure me like bugs to the porch light? But the other path is so dark, and scary. This must be the right way!" Her decision made, she began to walk down the lighted path.) Did you note the rewording of " light at the end of the tunnel"?

(Example first person: She was deep in thought, lost in the depths of her own mind dreaming about a better place. She imagined herself skipping across a flowery field with not a care in the world. ) Try to keep the tense the same - 'looked like' is past tense, 'sees herself' is present tense.

There is plenty of potential in your story. In beginning to write, there is a bit of a struggle figuring out how to get the full blown movie out of your head into words on a page. It isn't as complicated as it seems. Pick one of the areas I mention above, go through the story and work on that concept only. Then read aloud again, and work on another area. After you rewrite a couple of stories, you'll notice that they start coming out more complete in the first draft, requiring less reworking later.

Two other things you can do to improve your writing skills are to read a lot and review other peoples work. You don't have to give them the reviews if you are uncomfortable - you can move up to that later - but do write them! This gives you practice writing, and practice noticing waht works and what needs work.

If you choose to rework this piece, I'd love to see it. If you choose not to rework this one, try to incorporate the concepts of writing into the next one. ~Rikki

Newbie Help And Support Review Contest Entry "Invalid Item
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Review of My Happy Dance  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (4.5)

It sticks in my head, fa la ha la diddle dee doh.
It's gracefully read, fa la ha la dee die dee doh.
It's butter on bread, fa la ha la diddle dee doh.
A fine golden thread, fa la ha la dee die dee doh.

The rhythym is great, fa la ha la diddle dee doh
The rhyme is not late, fa la ha la dee die dee doh.
High I must rate, fa la ha la diddle dee doh.
It's great, I restate! fa la ha la dee die dee doh.

I'm all for a fairy ring/an ode to spring, but I don't care for the king.
He seems an arbitrary thing, this random king of which you sing.

Seriously, this is a joyful, frolicking piece. It reads aloud beautifully, and as you can see by my diddle dee dohing, I wish this poem had simply kept going!


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Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Okay, that was twisted. And very well written. I think being inside Cindy's head for the majority of the story then switching to an external view worked well. As I read, I saw everything through her eyes, as though a camera recorded it. The (hints) were subtle but effective, so I knew I wasn't seeing what was really going on. It was clearly a skewed interpretation.

The switch to an external point of view was smooth. Now seeing the room through other eyes, I was surprised there were only two victims. Were the step sisters imaginary? Why is there no mention of them when the police come in? Someone told them she was in the house.

In the ending segment, I think it would be more effective if [“But I …. I killed ….. I can be with him …. I know …..” Cindy looked straight at O’Connor, and there was a brief sparkle in her eyes.] Read:

(Cindy looked straight at O’Connor, and there was a brief sparkle in her eyes.

She leapt from the bed, the knife held high. “I must go to my prince!"

Two gun shots rang out through the night.)

Even as it is, this is compelling. It is well told, I saw no spelling or punctuation errors, nor any phrasing that seemed awkward. Nice work.
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Review of Trusting Eyes  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
This is a good scene. I can clearly imagine the layout and your stage directions make sense. The dialog is believable. Remember to put your characters line designations in all caps. Many are, you missed them all in the middle section, making it hard to track between dialog and designation.
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Review of Pleading carrot  
Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (2.0)
Interesting story, until you get to the ending. The ending feels a lot like you just got tired of writing. How are you telling us the story if you are dead? I think it would work better if your character fell into the hole and never landed, just fell forever, always seeming to get closer to the scary meow. At times he might be afraid he will meet the cat, other times he might wish he would, but he just falls endlessly. Otherwise, I think you should go back and actually finish the story.There are so many possibilities from where the ground gave way. He could wake up in the mental hospital being tended to by carrots. He could sink until the carrot roots entwined him and slowly - ever so slowly - sucked the life from him as sustenance for themselves: In that he could tell us he knows he is dying but its taking so long! Whatever you choose to do, write a real ending.

Below are some punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors:

However I swear that these carrots did and they were flashing a [manacle] grin. (maniacal) I think this should be: flashing maniacal grins. Otherwise it took 13 carrots to flash one grin.

the ground from spinning, so I [feel].(felt)

Like a defeated [men] (man)

I don't think half walked and half crawled should be hyphenated.

s ruined my [Lillie's] were brutalized (lilies)

I am going to relish [there] demise (their)

With that I [feel] back into a deep sleep. (fell)

mouse’s head broke through the [sheds] door. (shed)

escape [it's] gaze and (its)

thought as the roots [shoot] (shot)

my [Lilly] farm (lily)

All I could [here] was (hear)





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Review by Rikki
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Well written, I see no spelling or punctuation that distracts from reading this. I'm not believing in the cockiness of your mercenaries. It feels more like an act than natural behavior. I'm not sure how you'd fix that, but the attitude needs to feel ingrained. It doesn't feel that way to me.

[It was a dimly lit room, with a single table surrounded by three chairs placed in the center of it.]This is awkward. It sounds like the table has three chairs placed on it and around it at the same time. [In the center of the dimly lit room stood a small table and three chairs.]

"Yea, that's right" doesn't feel right for the rep. It's too casual for so serious a situation.

"I know who both of you are, otherwise we wouldn't [have] called you in for this." Wouldn't've - is the aural contraction of would not have. 'Wouldn't of' is a common mistake based on what we actually hear. Most people won't even notice the 'of'. Those who do will be annoyed by the grammar.

My only other comment is that I think the mercs would have asked a few more questions about why lesser mercs rejected the job. They obviously find that odd. One assumes they didn't get to the top by making mistakes, which implies detail oriented minds. I think they would ask questions. I also think the rep would be prepared for that, knowing their reputations, and have plausible lies ready to tell. Or when asked why not use lesser mercs, the rep could reply that the disk is too important to trust to anyone but the best, thus appealing to ego and eliminating the awkwardness of blind acceptance.
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Review by Rikki
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Hi, J.L.R.,
Below is a review of Chapter Five of your story "A Wager in Time". I have included spelling and punctuation corrections that should be made to increase the readability of your story. I haven't looked at the previous chapters. This piece does pique my curiosity, so I am interested in what comes before and after. That is the goal, isn't it? To make your reader want to continue?

I recommend applying spell check before submitting anything. When I write, I take note of the alerts that come up as I write and correct those errors as I go. Then, once I have finished the piece, I read it out loud. That pinpoints areas where the dialog doesn't flow well, and helps me catch the errors spell check misses (cold instead of could, then/than, witch/which, etc.). Reading aloud also helps pinpoint where punctuation should be.

Initially, correcting spelling and punctuation is a pain. With practice, it becomes second nature. It is critical that it be done, as poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation will drive readers away faster than a slow story line will.

Waiger [Wager]

Cielya a whitch [witch] and a gypsy?

Could she be telling the truth[?] [A]nd just what did happen in the store earlier?

She had always longed for a real life fairy tale[,] perhaps this was as close to the real thing as she would ever get[.]

[I]t was that very idea that made her smile and her heart beat increase.

...prove that you're a whitch[witch] and how do we know that you didn't do something terrible to us earlier?" She asked the woman.

Cielya smiled[.]

[S]he knew by Jennifer's silent stare that she was observing and taking in everything now[.]

[B]y the sparkle in Megan's eyes[,] there was no doubt that they already believed her.

There was still much to explain though[,] and of course she still needed to convince them to go back and help her people.

"The story[,] of course[,]" Cielya replied, "You do remember what some of the gypsy's[gypsies] can do[,] don't you?"

"You're a soul seer? That[']s i[,]t isn't it!" Megan actually beemed [beamed].

Jennifer[,] though secretly excited by the idea of meeting a whitch[witch] and an author[,] was not prepared for what Megan was preposing[proposing].

"You invaided[invaded] our privacy... ...amazing surprise that we should be happy about![?]"
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Review of Time Stent  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (4.5)
Excellent. I hope you will be posting more of this story. I like the way you described the scene in the trauma room. It is concise, portraying the sense of urgency without going into detail that only a professional would understand. Most people standing outside that window would not know most of what was being done, and would only see the chaotic energy. I am glad you focused on that, rather than on a detailed description.

Your portrayal of the doctor is sympathetic. It is common to be shown a doctor who is oblivious to people, aware only of the medical aspects, and unaware of bystanders. I don't think that is particularly fair to doctors in general, so the sympathetic and human view of this doctor makes the situation more poignant.

A few places where the dialog felt unlikely to me:
On the phone, with the shock of message, I think Grant is more likely to say "How bad is it." or "Is she alive?" than "How badly is she injured?"
I also think the secretary is more likely to simply say "They didn't say" or "I don't know" than "The Capitol Police".

Last, it seems a little odd that the police knew to call the White House and got through the tangle of the switchboard to someone who could reach Grant. If Emily had ID on her, she probably also had her cell phone - incomprehensible that the wife of a cabinet member doesn't have a cell phone - and the police would have found him through her contacts list. I admit that this particular item seems a bit anal on my part, but it struck me on the first read and so I mention it.

I think the doctor would have fewer details about the accident. I don't think he'd mention the crosswalk D.C. is famous for it's jaywalkers, but I don't think the doctor would make that distinction.
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25
Review of Beautiful  
Review by Rikki
Rated: E | (3.5)
Nice study in contrasts.

These lines:
Love, compassion, beauty
Lust, malevolence, cruelty
Smiles, greetings, laughs
Touches, argues, slaps

don't fit the meter or the general structure of the other lines. I think they are unnecessary, because the other contrasts are strong enough to imply them.

I like the layout. If the last three lines were centered, then the poem would read across as written, and down in two contrasting columns. (Read the beautiful, then the ugly, then the tag lines.) The layout suits the poem well as it is. I especially like that the second line (ugly) is offset. This increases the impact of the "underlying" trait, and emphasizes the contrasts. Good work.

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