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Review of Complex Numbers  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I found this blog as part of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge ON HIATUS


I didn't find any spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the introduction and only one in your most recent post, on meeting fictional characters.
you have a point, there
no comma needed

How You Take On The Prompts

Okay so I'm not gonna lie: the initial Laura Croft thing made me roll my eyes. But I liked how you took that and rolled it into Wiley Coyote. It's also sort of interesting how you take the "never follow your dreams" lesson from Wilie to avoiding a theoretical meeting with Laura. Not sure if that was intentional, but well played.

I think your dialogue is interesting. You're definitely right about what the coyote's endless pursuit teaches kids. It's not even, don't follow your dreams; it's, following your dreams is painful. And he doesn't just get up after failing once, or twice. He does it a bajillion times, by my childhood count, and we never see him ultimately achieve success. In fact - and now my creative juices are flowing - I wonder what would happen if he did succeed. What a great story about how he realized he didn't like roadrunner to snack on, or missed his relationship with his nemesis. Or was defined by his nemesis. So, you've definitely made me think about a fairly shallow subject!

Things Which I Enjoyed

lol Nice update

The conversation was funny, if a bit too on point. It did leave me interested a bit in you, and how the cartoon actually impacted your goal setting later in life. I enjoyed your sense of humor.

Overall Comments
Well written and humorous. I like the interesting perspective. I'll admit I wasn't expecting a dialogue-only read in a blog post, so it was a nice changeup.

Write on!

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Review of The Escape  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.0)
Greetings! I found this piece when I clicked "Read & Review" on the sidebar.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

I would consider revising your entry and your genres to pull in more readers. If you want to put 'flash fiction' so folks know what they are expecting, I'd add story-related details prior to that. "Alien revenge is distracted by frivolity. Flash fiction" Or something along those lines.

“Let’s get out of here.” I nodded
to tell the Elders.” I grinned.
With both of these, I'm not sure if you intend these as dialogue tags or not. If so, you need to edit for punctuation. That's not a hard-and-fast error, but they both feel like they are part of the dialogue rather than separate actions.

Otherwise, this is pretty clean, with no significant spelling or punctuation errors.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

*BulletP* I really love your introduction sentence. I think maybe turning "was not" into "wasn't" would pick up the flow a bit, but overall, it's a great start that immediately pulls us in. Similarly, you could drop the "we had known" and just let it read "Our cover was blown the moment the humans realized [our, his] blood wasn't red." That's a little faster pace and feels tighter.
The problem, I think, is that you move from that action sentence to a bit of backstory, which immediately slows the pace. Flash fiction alone doesn't tend to expect a lot of backstory, and I think you could probably merge the general idea in with your writing.

One of the weird-looking machines exploded over our home.
I'd consider adding 'humans' as in, "One of the humans' weird-looking...." Although that could be repetitive with the next sentence. That said, you've already mentioned the humans and revenge, so I think you revise to
to wreak havoc on the humans.

her hare-brained idea
So, these are aliens using a human - American, even - idiom. Wouldn't it be more realistic to use one of theirs? Like, substitute an alien creature for 'hare' (I think that's where it comes from, a brain like a bunny). "Snarflat-brained." :D

I like this idea, but I'm left with a few lingering questions. Is the fight club alien-only? I'm assuming so but it's not clear. Or are they taking on Brad Pitt's role, human v alien? (Actually that could be an interesting method of revenge.)

I think there is a little too much explanation for flash fiction and not quite enough action. That said, I think it's an enjoyable piece and like the idea.


This is a pretty well polished piece. I'd like to see it be a bit more action-driven and less backstory for flash fiction, but that's just my opinion. I'm by no means a flash fiction expert.

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello! I've been sending people to this piece for the last few days when they have trouble with commas, especially dialogue tags, so I thought I should take the time to R&R it.

This is a very clean piece with only a few technical concerns. Your examples are amazing!

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:
I love your title. Your introduction has a misspelling - 'summar' instead of 'summary'. That might be especially helpful to correct in a writing course. ;) Otherwise, both perfectly represents the article. I might add 'writing' to the genre list instead of 'other'

you learned in kindergarten, well... maybe second grade.
Not to instruct the comma instructor, but shouldn't this comma be a semicolon?

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

I like this quote but I'm not certain it fits in this piece as a whole. That said, it looks as though this is part of an ongoing series of lessons, and it's not out of place to lead with something inspiring.

You are now armed with the knowledge to punch that key on your keyboard between the (m) and the (.) with confidence, professionalism, and discernment.

Are you completely confused now?
I'd consider making this the start of a separate paragraph. I'd also consider putting it at the end of the section, immediately before the examples.

Cinderella sat on the ballroom floor and cried, "These glass slippers hurt."
Okay so the problem with this dialogue tag is that it can be taken two ways. It can mean she is crying, which would of course end with a period not a comma. Or it could mean that she cried out, as I'm sure you meant. Since this is for a lesson and people who are struggling to figure out when to use and when not to, I'd consider using a more obvious 'said', even though 'cried' is clearly better writing.

the ending Participial Phrase polishing her glass slipper [10x].
I'm not sure what the '[10x]' means. Is it a link to another article? I see you have a few of these scattered through teh text, but if you come in

It is with deep regret that I must take the raven and leave.
The incessant rapping at my chamber door is no longer enchanting.


the reason is Rule #23
Can you link directly to that rule?

Ole Rowan must be a busy man!

I like the bottom links to other rules and lessons but it seems as though you should link directly to each article. That would make it easier for someone to browse them. I'm not sure if you were charging for your class - I clicked and saw it required a passkey- but if not, you might consider opening it up for folks to browse as well.


This is a fantastic and very helpful piece. As I've been reviewing, I sent a number of folks who struggle with commas to this article. Whether or not they clicked it is something I don't know. :D But they should have! As I said, I love your examples. They are very well written.

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Just sort of strolling through your port! :)

I love this retake on Little Red Riding Hood (at least, that's how I read it)! A lovely children's story. It does have a few more punctuation errors than your previous pieces.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

he grabbed the basket causing its contents to fall on the ground.
You need a comma here after basket.
However, I'd consider making the spilling a separate sentence. 'Causing' is a bit awkward and passive. What about "The contents spilled across the ground" or something more active?

all this food," he picked up
Period after 'food'. Capitalize 'He'.

nobody lives on this trail, but some old witch
No comma needed

I stopped you," he tossed
Period after 'you'.
The difference is that the phrase that follows is a full sentence versus a dialogue tag. So you might use 'I stopped you," he tossed off' to indicate how he spoke. 'He tossed off' doesn't work as a sentence, so it doesn't stand on its own. However, "he tossed the half-eaten sandwich" a standalone sentence and so it's not a dialogue tag. It should stand separately from the dialogue.
There are a couple of other similar spots; I'm not going to mark them all.

Standing, a horn's length, away from him was
No commas needed at all in this part of the sentence

"Are you alright, Rita," neighed the unicorn.
I will touch on this one. It's still a dialogue tag so if the unicorn was making a statement - you're alright - then it would be correct. However, because it's asking a question, you need a ? after 'Rita'

The unicorn touched her horn to the basket, and filled it
No comma

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

She pushed herself up
This is a bit minor but I think it might be time to use Rita's name again, rather than the constant 'she'.

as he touched the horn
I'm curious if he just reached out and touched said horn. Seems odd that the unicorn would let him. Although the results make it more likely, I suppose.

a black wolf cub with long fluffy pink rabbit ears


As I mentioned in the previous review, you have some issues with comma splicing that need to be addressed. You also need to work on dialogue tags. I'd consider taking a look at "Comma Sense Lesson 6"   by amy-Has a great future ahead - not my piece - especially lesson #25. There are some other good lessons linked as well that I think it wouldn't hurt to walk through.

That said, I love this story, it's adorable!! Very creative and inventive.

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.5)
Greetings friend! I found this piece by clicking on the 'read & review' tab on the left side of the website.

This is an interesting way to post (and share!) your to-do list. As a productivity geek, I'm curious how much it helps keep you on task?

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:
Your title and intro are pretty self-explanatory. I'm not completely sure you are interested in readers & reviewers, but I will press on!

This is pretty clean, the only punctuation error I found is here
(Publication Date and Newsletter Name
where you forgot to close a parenthesis
Since you're using this repeatedly, it's worth more mentioning than a more transient deadline list item

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

I think this is definitely an interesting concept. I did notice that your B-list had two deadlines past - the Apr 8 & 15 newsletters.

There's a good mix of online and offline stuff. I can't help but wonder if this is your complete to-do list or primarily for writing. There are a few things - like Equifax (you should be able to do that online I would think?), the DMV, and your surveys that are obviously not writing related but they are few and far between. I'm curious how effective you've found Survey Junkie/Vindale Research; I've never heard of either but I'm always game for something that works! (Feel free to send me a referral link for either or both if that's an option.)

I also like how you've organized by A, B, C priority. I'm lean more towards the Getting Things Done (GTD) organizational system but whatever works for you! It definitely helps to sort through what is most important and what is least important - and what's in between.

I like the way you include links to the various things you've been working on, as well, so anyone who stumbles in can easily see what you've been up to.


This looks like an intriguing organizational system. I would never have thought to add my organization to WDC, but I can see where it could be helpful.

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this story on the Please Review forum. The title and description were great and really encouraged me to open it up and read.

This is a great, albeit sinister, story. Overall, very well written, with few errors. You do a good job of moving through the action, as it were, but there were also a few confusing points.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

Please, don’t move
No comma

Missed the indent on one line

but he didn’t turn back, instead he persisted through the unknown,
Run-on sentence

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

He examined the details of the message, trying to search for the identity of the sender,
So why wouldn't he read the message before looking for details? It sounds as though it is an IM-type message, which usually pops up the text immediately, as opposed to an email-like message that doesn't immediately show the message.

like a well-oiled machine flawlessly resuming its assembly line. Like clockwork
Repetition of like means you have two obvious metaphors back to back. I'd consider ditching one, or at least the 'like'. Perhaps he could tap on, a well-oiled machine.

His awareness switched back to the desktop.
Wait so this is confusing, because he's on the computer, right? But I assume he doesn't refocus on the physical desktop itself but on the monitor, which is where he was already focused on and where the message popped up, right? Do you instead mean that it sort of popped him out of his reverie? It seems as though he's playing some sort of video game, so it would make sense that he was brought out of it. Or does he have multiple monitors on his desk?

he insisted on pushing forward, opening the door
Okay this was a bit hard to follow. Is the door still on the monitor, or is it a door to his room? I went back to the first door and still am not sure.

I really enjoyed this story. You created an actual dark setting for a symbolically dark story. Well done.

The one thing I would work on is an overuse of metaphors. You use the word 'like' a bit too often for such a short piece, I think. You don't necessarily need to remove the metaphors/analogies, but I would try to smooth them rather than overusing 'like' for them. Either blend them into the sentence or try an occasional 'as'.

Overall, great piece.

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I found this article on the main WDC page, under 'newest static items'. The title and intro both seemed intriguing so I decided to give it a shot.

And it really delivered! Although there are a LOT of problems with spelling, punctuation, and wrong word (sow for sew, etc), this is a great story. I would like to hear more about it, so definitely let me know when you update or write more!

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

The first thing I noticed is that the text seems a bit cramped. I'd suggest double spacing between paragraphs for online pieces at least. I'd also consider indenting (use { indent } without the spaces before & after 'indent') to break it up and keep it from being a giant wall of text. The text also seems small; I'm not sure if you changed the font type or size but I have my monitor zoomed in and it's still a bit uncomfortable to read compared to other items (I opened one of mine, unmodified, to compare). However, it's always possible I'm just getting old....
However, the font used for Chapter 3 is great. You definitely want to use the same font throughout, but I would strongly consider using that one rather than the original.

was any consideration
I think you mean 'any indication'

It's crumb covered dark brown carpets sucking all the light and life out of the students that passed over it.
Sentence fragment; its not it-is (it's). Crumb-covered

The heavy red curtains had been mostly drawn,
You go from floor to windows. I'm curious if there are a lot of windows, a few, etc

and she felt a smile began to crack the wax work
I'd break this into a second sentence; waxwork

Cas sighed, "Not that
Should be a period after 'sighed'. She isn't sighing out the whole sentence.

to be graded." Lucy said
comma after 'graded'. See lesson 25 in this piece for some great tips of punctuating dialogue: "Comma Sense Lesson 6"   by amy-Has a great future ahead I won't go through and list the rest, but your errors are pretty pervasive.

pannies sweating

so devoutly protestant

sown in to the material
'sewn'; 'sown' is as in 'to sow' as in farming, versus 'sew', which is needle-and-thread

every saints charm
saints', as in, charms belonging to the saints

Mum made me prey

Her fathers side

to wait sometimes and hour at a time.
'an hour'. Also the repetition of 'time is awkward; perhaps 'often' instead of 'sometimes' or 'each' instead of 'at a time'

For most the Godhood test
comma after 'most'

Before long Andrew Jacobs
Break this into two sentences


her articulate prayers
Her should be capitalized

the door to the Priests nook
Capitalize 'the'; priest's or priests' depending on whether priest is singular or plural
You have several sentences that start with lowercase words; I'm not going to list them all. You need to proofread to find them.

hail stones ipped in every colour of the rainbow
dipped? Love this description, by the way

the remaining catholic students

where you are going now, I cant follow

grow smaller, before disappearing
no comma

in a life time

You have quite a few mistakes in this piece; it needs a good proofreading.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

he knew they weren't the reason for the dark shadows under her eyes. They'd settled behind the arts block,
Since they are both female, the 'she' here seems to apply to Cas rather than Lucy. Consider 'under her friend's eyes'
Similarly, 'they'd seems to suggest the shadows rather than the girls.

Lucy didn't need the reminder that she would be completely lost in India, a country she had never visited, with Gods her mum refused to even teach her the names of in fear that it would garner their attention.
This sentence is awkward. Consider breaking it up. "She would be completely lost in India. Her mother had refused..."

such an artefact would never be allowed near England where the wet weather would rot it away.
I actually snorted a laugh at this. Very logical

"It's an Ancient Egyptian piece." The priest said softly, "Favoured by a goddess Isis."
Her father rocked back on his feet,
"The Islamic State Isis?"

ROFL again, whoops!

It appeared to try and slow along with them
I get what you are saying but it's awkward. I'd consider rephrasing. I assume that it is actually slowing down before the resulting horn, so perhaps 'appear' doesn't work.

being that it sped
Just use 'speeding'


This is a really cool concept. I love the idea of the gods selecting their followers rather than the other way around. You've captured the tension in the story very well. I love the slight misdirection but you hold true to the meat of the story. As I said, definitely let me know when you add more to the piece, as I would love to read more. Just make sure you work on your proofreading. Writing the story in a word processing document or using a program that highlights the obvious errors will help; things like capitalization and punctuation. To be honest, I would usually set a story with this many errors closer to a 3.5 but you have done a wonderful job in the writing, the characterization, and the tension so I bumped it up to a 4.

Write on!


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Review of Snowbird  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.0)
Greetings! I found this piece by clicking the Read & Review option on the sidebar. I should warn you that I'm not overly comfortable R&Ring poetry - there's a lot of intangibles that are more subject to interpretation and thus harder to review - so please take my feedback with a grain of salt.

I really like this poem, especially its melodic flow of words.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

The Snowbird
I like your title, but I'm not sure it immediately conjures images you are looking for. 'Snowbird' has taken on its own cultural definition of old fogies on the move ;) and I think that throws off expectations somewhat, apt as it is. It's possible you are drawing a connection between retirees and the fowl, but if so I missed it.
I would consider updating your intro to something that touches a bit more on the poetry. 'Hope for recovery' fits but also comes off a bit abrupt, unlike the poem itself. I think a line from your beautiful poetry might make a better intro in setting up the reader for what to expect. Remember that, in a random list of online content, the title and intro draw the reader to the piece. Similarly, although you may have written the piece for a contest, I would also add other more relevant genres

I saw it's wings
its, no apostrophe; right now it says 'I saw it is wings'

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

But, instead
This seems repetitive. I'd consider dropping 'but'

You use this word twice. It was a bit awkward the first time, not really fitting what I felt was the flow of your poem, and definitely so when repeated. I'd consider another word or phrase - 'apparent agony' makes for nice alliteration, for instance.

You also use 'stare' more than once. You have such beautiful flow that this seems more abrupt and out of place (although I like the rhymes)

Your rhyme is very subtle at the start of the poem, but then becomes more apparent near the end. At the same time, it feels more forced and you lose a lot of the flow that I loved. I do see that the change echos the change in state, as you shift from the apparent to the reality. However, I wind up mourning the loss of the flow than the result of the subject, ie the bird flight. I'm not sure if it is possible to have the two change subtly without the rhyme or loss of flow, but I'd encourage you to find a way to make it happen.


This is a fantastic poem with beautiful imagery and very melodic flow. I enjoyed it.

Write on!

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Review of Patterns  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.5)
I came across this piece on the public review page.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

This is a very well-polished piece. I didn't see any punctuation or spelling/grammar errors. Well done.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

One of the first things I would suggest, even before I start reading, is that you edit your introduction to be more descriptive. Think of the intro as the cover of a book - it gives readers a reason to open the item. If you leave the phrase 'flash fiction' in, I would put it at the very end of the intro. Alternately, you could put it at the top of the document/story itself.

I liked this story. The only potential quibble I have is in your introductory sentence. The word 'spot' seems very bland, and I can't help but wonder if there is a better way to describe what Katherine saw. Like the intro, the first sentence gives the reader the chance to become invested. Admittedly, there's less to invest in for flash fiction, but it's a good opportunity to perfect the technique.

I’d seen kids playing in the sand there, but this was not the kind of thing kids usually build when they play in the sand.
This sentence feels a bit repetitive. I wonder if there isn't a better way to express the second half.


This was a great microcosm of a story. It let us know a great deal about the character, and also left us wanting more. As the previous reviewer mentioned, I felt as though there was more to Katherine's story. That said, this piece was complete, nothing left unsaid. I just wanted to get to know her better.

Great job!

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.0)
As I mentioned in a previous review, I found this piece by poking through your port after receiving gps on the public reviewing page. Given the fact that I, too, am a family history buff, of course I had to read this!!

Most of my critique is high-level writing points, with a few random genealogy facts/perspectives thrown in for good measure. Overall, this is a very clean and enjoyable piece to read.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

This is a very clean peace of writing, with little in the ways of technical flaws like spelling and pronunciation. <thumbs up>

There are web sites developed particularly for this, like roots.com and ancestry.com, and many others
'this' feels a little vague. Also, you start listing and then trail off with 'and many others'. Because you start the list with 'like' I don't think you need the many others.

If you want to build your own and not just do inquiries, you can find plenty of those for a membership fee.
I'm a little vague as to what is to be built, websites or family trees. I think you need to specify your own ???.

If you need info you find listed on the web, call the family center, they will order it from Utah for you, call you when it’s in, and you can go by their office and use their equipment to read it.
This is a runon sentence and needs to be broken up.

They also offer “how to” conferences
Should be part of the previous paragraph

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

I liked most of your content, and think it will be helpful for any genealogy newbies. However, there are some organizational issues in terms of how your paragraphs and even your sections run. You tend to start one topic, then jump to another mid-paragraph with little in the way of transition. Sometimes you return to the original topic at hand. This gives the piece a jerky, unpolished feel that I think you might want to smooth out.

The most accurate way is your own first hand examination of court records, church records, and tombstones.
I would argue that some of that can be done online. Is there a huge difference, most of the time, between a scanned record and its paper copy? Or a photograph of a tombstone and the tombstone itself? Mind you, I've been doing this for just over 20 years - wow I'm getting old lol - and I totally get that there are some things you can pick up from the location of a tombstone in relation to other graves, but theoretically you could glean that from some online records. I think the internet and online records have come a long way in the last few years towards bridging some of the biggest gaps.

With that said, your first, introductory paragraph feels as though it jumps around a little bit. You talk about how the internet helps, but then you jump to in-person. Then, suddenly in the next paragraph, you're back on the internet. I think maybe you should move the in-person segway further down.

The average fee is $60 a year
I'm curious where that average came from. I also wonder if it has gone up since you first wrote this in 2009.

There are web sites developed particularly for this
Like the first, your second paragraph also jumps around a bit. I think you could maybe organize this so that it's a bit smoother in transitioning from one sentence to the next. For instance, you talk about membership time, perks, and features, but it feels very jumpy.

There's another thing I don't see you mention that seems like it would fit in this paragraph, or at least this section, and that's the records posting online. While I like putting my tree in sites like Ancestry.com, I actually prefer to keep my gedcom software, which lets me use all the nifty features. My membership to Ancestry is 100% about accessing the records. While some records are available online at other places - familysearch.org is the obvious freebie, on top of state, county, and city sites - the benefit (to me) of Ancestry is that you have a ton of records all in one place.

The other problem with fishing through someone else's tree for birthdays or employment is the lack of direct sources. Most people don't footnote their trees - cringe - so I have no idea where they got their information. When I was a newbie, I downloaded a huge tree from Ancestry and mixed it with mine, and I have regretted it ever since. I also have one line on Ancestry that I'm fairly confident is incorrectly linked; I've found no data supporting it and seen an argument against it. But there are easily 30 trees repeating that same information, all without sources. It's just a ongoing circle of incorrect information. I think newbies would be best taught the old reporter adage: trust, but verify.

You can pass the favor on to others by recording the burial location with your own data.
Side note, but this is one of the reasons I love apps like BillionGraves and FindaGrave, which can let you put even the gps coordinates in.

Unfortunately in Virginia
My family has a good 200 years on both sides (mom and dad) in the Roanoke/Christiansburg area. Incidentally, there are NO FREAKING ONLINE RECORDS from Christiansburg. >.< I have been waiting for 20 years. However, if you go to the courthouse, they have the records scanned on a computer. I don't know what their deal is, but I'd like to kick them in the shins.

Other great sources of info are marriage certificates.
This paragraph is less about marriage records and more about vital statistics, and I think you should change the introduction to reflect that. Otherwise, it again jumps around.

The probates are really interesting.
I think it would be worth elaborating on what makes them interesting.

As for birth certificates, not every one had one before the early 1900’s.
It might be worth mentioning that, if you can't find a birth certificate, you can check church records for baptisms.

The census records, done every ten years, are available up to 1930. In 2010 you can get 1940.
This needs to be updated. They are now available until 1940 and, because of the 72 year hold, the 1950s will be available in 2022. Which I'm looking forward to.

There’s different data each time, because the rules changed.
This is a good time to point out the imprecision of census records. I have people recorded with the wrong first and last names, the wrong age, and sometimes even the wrong sex! That's because the census takers relied on whoever would answer, and that could be a neighbor if the family wasn't present.

While the internet makes a lot of data available without traveling,
At this point, you go back to the internet, making this jumpy.

when reading trees or stories, like the father was five when the child was born.
This is awkward. I'd consider breaking it into two parts and letting your unreasonable example stand alone. "Was your ancestor five when he became a father? That's unlikely." Something to that effect.

you have to discern whether you really have a solid connection between the names you do have.
If I were a newbie, I'd want you to expand on this. What makes a connection 'solid'? That's when the issue of primary vs secondary sources comes in, I think.

Several people can submit differing data for the same person, and they will just record it as two entries; they don’t verify anything.
This is the same for all online genealogy sites. That said, I get you are referring to the church's family history library, but now that everything has moved online to familysearch.org, the LDS church's online system is more about scanning state/local records and family histories and putting them online.

Indian data is difficult and you will be met with an attitude,
You might want to preface this with 'in my experience'. Hopefully that's not a universal thing, and I don't think anyone would like having a single paintbrush coloring the entire field.

One other thing I think you are leaving out is the benefit of local newspapers (or sites like Ancestry's sister site hosting newspapers). Obituaries are the obvious things to look for, but especially in pre-1920 papers there are stories about people visiting one another. My grandmother's grandfather was mayor of Roanoke, a fact I learned through his obituary. Using the paper's index (at the Roanoke library because of course the Roanoke Times and its precursors aren't online), I was able to find stories about when he was running for mayor and when he was appointed after a scandal, and other stories about him and his family. He moved down from Pennsylvania when he was a child, and so I also found stories in the Pennsylvania paper about when he would go back up there to visit his family.


This is a great piece, and one that I think would be very helpful for anyone who wants to start tracing their family tree.

Write on!

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Review of Family Research  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (3.5)
Well now! This was a surprising find!

I opened your portfolio with plans to do a review as thanks for the gps you sent over for my public review. I'm intrigued by your posting your genealogy in this format. I, too, am a genealogy buff - I have one short piece about my family history posted online here:

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#880479 by Not Available.

Overall, I'm not sure this format is the most conducive to genealogy, so I'm curious why you decided to post here. Did you post all of your research on WDC - I see you have several items? Is it posted here for sharing? This doesn't seem like the best sort of site for that, as much as I love it. Are you using other genealogy sites like Ancestry to post your tree, or is this your sole online repository?

This is a folder, so I can't really give a big review, but I'm curious about what drove you to post your stuff here.

Write on!

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Review of Homecoming  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi! I found this piece after clicking the 'read & review' link on the sidebar. It's a great piece of flash fiction; I assume the bolded lines were the writing prompt.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:
This piece was very clean. I didn't notice any misspellings or punctuation errors.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:
One of the first things I would encourage you to do is change your intro to be more about the piece than about its role as a contest entry. I'd add a line in the body about it being a flash fiction entry. You can mention that it's flash fiction in the intro, but provide a summary - "Building new memories for Sept 11 - Flash Fiction", for instance. Ultimately, that will draw more people to read and review it.

There were a few parts that felt awkward and stuck out. I know you're limited in word count with flash fiction, but it still seems like you want to smooth over the edges. The two parts were the lines:
was coming back to convalesce
It’s a better memory I forever want to keep for that day

I love the fact that you use 'convalesce', especially as a verb, but it's not the most well-used word and causes a mental stumble. Home to heal or something along those lines would make it flow a little better, I think.

The second and final line was just a bit awkward. I had to re-read it a few times to understand that you meant that you had mentally turned September 11 from a day of tragedy to a day of celebration. I think there has to be a better, smoother way to express that.

This was a great piece. I really enjoyed reading it. Please thank your son for serving for me, and thank you for supporting him.

Write on!

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Review of Dolphin Pool  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi! I found this item on the review request page as I was looking for a short story. Please note that I tend towards thorough reviews and like to mention all typos that I see; it's my inner editor, trying to get out. (I've also found it helps me become a better writer!) Those small, nitpicky things wind up in the 'technical' part of my review, while I try to address content separately, so don't be dismayed or overwhelmed. That said, despite all the notes, this piece was pretty clean. I really like how you captured the enthusiasm of childhood.

And away we go!

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

It was the kind of day that when you were a kid, you thought it would never end.
This is a little off. I think it's the 'when you were a kid' clause. Either you need a comma before or to take out the comma after. Alternatively, you can take out the second person and just make it "that kids think will never end"

Up to this point, my day consisted of playing in the neighborhood with friends.
'Up to this point' feels clunky and awkward. I'd consider dropping it altogether.

We played baseball in the field, threw a football around, we rode our bikes, and played down by the creek
You alternate between 'we verbed' and 'verbed'. I think you should pick one and be consistent. In other words, cut out the 'we' before 'rode' and let it be an unbroken list. If you are going for a bit more lyrical, however, you could try something more like:

We played baseball in the field and threw a football around; we rode our bikes and played down by the creek

When lunchtime came around Mom asked, as she was rinsing the grape jelly off a knife,
So the knife-rinsing in the middle makes this abrupt. I'd move 'asked' so that you aren't splitting up the action.
At lunchtime, as she rinsed the grape jelly off the knife, Mom asked...
Rinsing the grape jelly off the knife at lunchtime, Mom asked...

want to go too." Mom replied.
So your punctuation around dialogue needs some work. I'd recommend reviewing lesson 25 in "Comma Sense Lesson 6"   by amy-Has a great future ahead .
I'm not going to highlight every instance of error, you need to essentially double check all of your dialogue tags.

"Okay!" I said
Missed an indent here. A few paragraphs in, you stop indenting completely. You want to take a look at that and make your indention consistent throughout.
Your dialogue also has a lot of exclamation points. Real people mostly talk in statements with the occasional !!!, so I'd read back through that as well.

she said as she was rounding the counter and extending the PB&J
This is a case where you have too many things happening at the exact same time. Is she extending the PB&J as she rounds the corner? (um what corner?) Or, more likely, does she walk around the table/into the room and THEN extend the sandwich. Related, 'extend the sandwich' is an awkward way to phrase that action, I might consider a different turn of phrase.

"Okay!" I said as I started
"Okay!" I said, as I grabbed

These two are almost back to back, and their formatting is very repetitive. Similar with the two things at once - wouldn't you be more likely to say okay and THEN grab the sandwich, versus doing both at the exact some moment?

wanted to go swimming too. It was almost pointless to ask them, of course, they were going to go too.
Along with Mom's "see if they want to go too", this is a lot of repetition of "want to go too".

I heard my Mom
Mom-capitalized- is a name. 'mom' lowercase is a relationship (like brother). So she's either "Mom" or "my mom".

Kevin and Kelly replied as I followed suit, struggling to keep my eyes open from the searing heat.
You followed suit in replying? Also I'm not sure why the heat makes you close your eyes.

The swimming area consisted of a cement patio
'consisted of' is very formal. Why not just, "lounge chairs lined the cement patio around the L-shaped pool" or something more direct?

The Dolphin pool was unique for me because that was the first outdoor pool
Again, very formal. Just jump into "This was the first time I had been to an outdoor pool" or "I could remember going to an outdoor pool". No need for formality!

The black-top now faded grey with weeds growing through the abundant cracks.
Sentence fragment

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

I really like your introduction. It's very descriptive without being overly gushy, and sets a perfect scene.

Everybody and everything in that little area were filled with happiness during those moments.
This is told from a child's perspective. For children, when you are happy, everyone is happy. But in reality, not everyone is all the time. And I'm sure some of those birds were being chased by larger birds and that's why they made noise! I think it's important to distinguish the reality from the impression by adding a "seemed to be", or "it was hard to imagine anyone could be unhappy". That focuses on the impression made by young you but recognizes reality as an adult narrator.

she always tanned easily.
Okay another reality dose: who really pays attention to how their mom tans? As a child, you're oblivious to anyone else and as a young adult/teen (especially a boy, though I don't know why I get the feeling this is told by a boy; I suppose a teenage girl might), the LAST thing you're going to do is check out your mom's tan. Maybe you notice that she liked to tan, or enjoyed tanning, or tanned at every opportunity, but unless she burns to a crisp, you're probably not going to really be checking out her tan line.

we always looked forward to getting home
This statement comes immediately after begging to stay, so it seems contrary to what just happened. I get that, once you leave you're looking forward to cooking, but in the moment you describe that's not the case. This might be better added after you leave the pool and are walking home, and are thinking of the "next" thing you'll do.

Years later I visited the pool again with my Mom, but it has long since been closed.
These seem to reference two different times. "It had long been closed" would mean that it was closed when you visited it, which is what you seem to mean. Still, that's very formal.
"I visited the pool with Mom years later, after it had closed" might be a bit smoother.


This is a great piece. You did a fantastic job of capturing the enthusiasm of childhood. I really liked how everything was described so concretely. However, what I would have liked to see is your first impressions, how going to an outdoor pool was so different. For me, living in the South and then out west, outdoor pools were common. It was my first visit to an indoor pool that was more memorable. So I'd like to see what differences young you might have noticed, and what you thought of them compared to what you knew.

Great piece!

Write on!

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Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is an interesting read. I found it by searching for nonfiction astronomy material, which the site is sorely lacking in!

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:
I'm not sure that you need to capitalize 'cosmos' every time you write it. Otherwise, this is a pretty clean article, technically speaking.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:
This is an interesting piece, but your first line threw me. First, I'm not sure exactly how much of it comes from Berry's work, but whichever part is should be in quotes. That said, I'm not sure why you need to start off directly quoting someone else. It takes away from your authority as the author if you have to borrow someone else's introduction. Furthermore, I would argue that the cosmos is everywhere - all around us. Aren't we part of it, not separate from it? I think there's a lot that can be drawn from including us versus seeing all of space as a separate location.

You start off with a very impressive claim:
I will answer all these questions and more.
That's huge, and even before reading your essay in full, I would argue that is impossible to accomplish in a piece that is only a few hundred words long. Many of those questions cannot be answered, scientists are still trying to figure them out. I'd encourage you to modify that claim, because either the knowing reader will doubt you or you will have a reader who thinks you can deliver and then will be disappointed that you didn't answer their specific question. (You also don't need to start that sentence with 'well' but that's more technical.)

et us question the possibility of ET- aliens
Wow, you plunge right into the big unknowns! While alien life is definitely an important part of understanding our place in the universe, it doesn't seem to - well, I guess this is personal. Everyone is all "little green men" is why we explore space, and I personally believe there is a lot of reasons to explore space that have nothing to do with UFOs. That said, your introduction does touch on alien life so this is not out of the blue; I suppose I think of cosmos as more of the 'spacey' stuff. Anyway, this is just opinion.

half of which might have planets
I recognize that this is old - pre-Kepler, even - but the current estimates are significantly higher. I believe scientists think almost every star has a planet; a quick google shows that's the case now.

Stephen Hawking stated
You throw out Hawking and Sagan's name as though the reader knows who they are. Although I agree that they should recognize the name, you still need to introduce them. ("Renowned astrophysicist", "Popular astronomer", etc).

the 10 billion year life the Sun
The sun has been around 4.6 billion years

And that's really just common sense.
While I definitely agree that Hawking's claim that because life arose early on Earth it should be common, I think you need to unpack this a little more for your reader. How do the two connect? Similarly the claim that
extraterrestrials couldn't have visited Earth without leaving profound proof.
I think a lot of people would argue with that. And who is to say that we would recognize that proof as proof of an extraterrestrial civilization? Then there are others who argue that there is proof in the pyramids or other structures on Earth. I don't think one line is sufficient here.

Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence." It is very unlikely that we humans will ever directly come in contact with non-earthly life.
You follow this quote with a rather extraordinary claim. Again, I think you need to unpack it more. Why is unlikely? There is a case to made that the vastness of space, which argues that intelligent life has probably arisen multiple times, also argues against us ever encountering them. There have been a number of studies - legit studies - on how widespread such civilizations should be on average (a la the Drake equation).

We may only be able to use radios. What would they look like?
From a technical perspective - we know what radios look like! I know that's not what you meant, but that's how it reads.
From a content perspective, what makes radios key? What about light waves? You've read it before, but I think you need to unpack this....

Although, we may be alone in the Cosmos after all.
Another extraordinary claim.

I'm not going to continue through each of the detail, as I think the same themes continues through your piece. (And also, I just saw that you haven't been on since 2016 so I'm hesitant to continue such a detailed review that won't be read. However, if you would like me to, please message me back and I can continue to unpack it.


I liked the wonder and enthusiasm this article carries. However, I think you start with an extraordinary promise that you are incapable of fulfilling. At the same time, you really need to dive into some of your answers and unpack them for the casual space fan.

Keep up the enthusiasm and good work.

Write on!

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Review of World's Fate  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
As I mentioned in a previous review, I'm poking around your portfolio in search of interesting things to read. Plus you responded positively to my review, which makes me more inclined to review more. ;)

I'm a fan of sf and fantasy, so there are a few things that caught my eye, including this piece. Again, don't take my detailed review as a negative. I really enjoyed this piece, and I thought it was a great read.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

As men of science, we always adhered to facts, considered details in the decisions we make and studied to solve problems here on the UMD77. Distance, gravitational pull, the atmospheric pressure- they calculated every single cause down to the decimal point.

I love this introduction, but you jump from we/I to they and back again. Consider changing the 'they' to fit with the rest.

soldiers jogged ...carrying assault rifles. They wore burgundy long sleeve coveralls

The 'they' here seems to suggest that the rifles are wearing coveralls. Perhaps soldiers in coveralls jogged...Then you can break the next sentence into their steel toed boots clanged...and their insginias flashed/something active as they moved...

they’re this way!” The squad leader said.
I won't pick through the dialogue this go-round, as I covered it in the last review. Just know that it needs to be adjusted here, as well.

the men shouted as bullets shredded several more men and collapsed them to the ground.
A lot happening at the same time - it's one of your weaknesses, I think. The men are shouting while bullets are shredding and people are collapsing. With action sequences, it's better to have short, fast sentences that convey a lot of motion in bursts. They shouted. Bullets shredded. Men collapsed.
Also, bullets themselves don't 'collapse' people. The people collapse. I'd change the subject on that part as well.
Small note - it's science fiction, do they all have to be men? ;)

The man emerged,
At this point, I would argue that he is a man, not the man. Unless he was the man they were hunting (and it turns out he is), but then it would be 'the man that they sought emerged' or something of that nature.
I'll also note that your cocoa-complected statement is awkward. Why not a caramel or cocoa hand lifting the tile? Again, more subtle and less awkward. I'd similarly steer away from a direct description and instead describe as you go - he can run his hand over a clean-shaven chin, readjust his wire glasses, and so on. And also, you've established that he's a man so no need to let us know that he is 'a male'.

Wearing a white coverall, he meandered through the halls
Two points - first, both of these don't fit together. He isn't only wearing the coverall as he meanders. Second, if he knows there are folks hunting him, why is he meandering? Unless he's checking the fallen soldiers for signs of life or signs that he recognized them - or would he turn his eyes away so he wouldn't have to see those who died fighting for him while he hid? guilt? - he should be at least walking briskly, if not jogging or running. People are going to be shooting him, and he knows it; let's get out of the open hallways quickly.

He approached a metal door with a porthole and used the key card around his neck and slid it through a small terminal on the side .
Too many 'ands'. Either split it or make it smoother with a comma.
He approached a metal door with a porthole. Taking the key card from around his neck, he slid it through a small terminal on the side.
Also you have an extra space before the period

a box that read “Communications” (in white letters).
I'm not sure the parenthesis are needed.

'Big Whigs'
bigwigs, no quotes. Unless that's the name of the actual group

he pulled the entire counsel off its hinges.
I think you mean console; counsel is a group of people or advice you give or a lawyer lol

With caution, he sprinted
It's very hard to sprint cautiously

two guards with assault rifles guarding the elevator.

a hissing hole inside. Hissing steam

they dropped their weapons on the floor for an opening.
I don't know what you mean by 'for an opening'. Do you mean, giving William an opening?

The Terrans started attacking us and that’s how everything started.”

He didn’t know why Commander Joseph would order such a move on board a civilian ship, but he determined to find out why
Repetition. Drop the second 'why'

he pressed a floor button.
Which one?

However, he noticed a blinking red button
'however' is unnecessary
Why did the elevator descend after he had already pushed the first button? Usually pushing a second button doesn't cause it to ignore the first and change directions. Also, is this the first time he's ever seen that button? He's been on the ship for 30 years? That's definitely something he would notice. Anyway, that should stand out to him even without a flashing light. And why would it be flashing anyway?

What’s going on?
This monologue repeats 'peace' multiple times.

William guarded his eyes with his arms. Peering through his fingers he tries
Few things. First, you switched to present tense ('tries'); stay in past tense. Second, when you put your arms in front of your face, you can't peer through your fingers. Do you mean hands?
Also, did all of this purple light appear when the door opened? Because there's nothing about the door opening so the room could be inside the elevator - like a weird panel or something. You have to get us off the elevator.

There’s enough here to destroy a planet.
This is either a thought or an observation. If the first, it needs italics. If the second, "the globe in the center held enough to destroy a planet"

rushed back to the elevator
And on it? Did the door sit open the whole time? Did he block it open?

He points his finger and curses ,
Pointed, and no space before the comma

with the clever and composed Terrans and rough and tough Mannans.
Sentence fragment. Merge it more smoothly to the people

Past wars devastated his family
HAD devastated

Growing up without a family made her hard, but, she managed
No comma after 'but'

Blood soaked the mahogany table dripping to the floor.
If it's soaking into the table, it won't run off and drip to the floor. I'd try 'ran off' or 'ran across the surface'

Commander Josephs life
apostrophe - Joseph's

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

The first thing I would recommend is updating the intro for this and several other pieces, particularly if you want readers and reviewers. Like the cover of a book, what's in the introduction draws people inside. Something generic like 'contest entry' doesn't really do that; in my case, it was the title and genre that drew me, combined with a knowledge that I liked your other story. I am curious, however, what contest this was for.

A ship of an unusual size
Completely at random, but this immediately drew to my mind the idea of ROUSs- Rodents of Unusual Size - from the Princess Bride

wings that pointed to its respective planet.
Okay you've set us up here with the ship between two planets, but I'm not quite sure how this is oriented. Do you mean perhaps one wing pointed toward each planet?
Also this paragraph repeats the word 'planet' multiple times. Try other words to avoid repetition. (I see you used 'worlds'; 'bodies' is another option [ie 'earth-like bodies'], so is satellite or natural satellite.)

The ship rotated with the Earth-like planets
Another technical crunch. A planet rotates over the course of its day, and it's very unlikely for two planets (or two moons) to rotate at the same rate. Perhaps you mean orbit, as in, it goes around its star? That would also be tricky because the outermost planet should travel faster than the innermost, blah blah Kepler's law. Unless they are in special configurations - which are relatively rare among the exoplanets - of mean motion resonance. But they would literally have to be in a 1:1 resonance and I'm not sure any worlds do that - naturally. So. Are these fake worlds or worlds whose orbits have been altered? Or are the worlds drawing apart over time?

The ship's supposed to keep the planets from colliding with each other
Ah okay, well nevermind then, that makes sense.

Slightly less technical - the 'while' for the lights. The rotation/orbit is a long-term thing while the flickering is short-term

I'm also not sure how both worlds cast their shadow. Think about two people standing next to a light bulb with a teddy bear between them. The shadows will be going in the same direction. Alternately, it could be a line of bulb->person->teddybear->person in which case the shadows would cast their light at the object behind them. The only way for both planets - or people - to cast shadows on the teddy bear ships is for there to be more than one star - and that sets up a whole 'nother ball of wax.

It's also not clear if the various exhausts venting steam come from the ship or the planets.

they charged towards the incoming fire.
Okay, call me a victim of too much Tom Clancy and/or military brat background, but it's not logical for soldiers to charge into fire without at least first looking for cover in the doorways or behind the bodies of their fallen comrades. Very few people have the nerve/discipline to run towards someone shooting without someone behind them cracking the whip. On the one hand, this could tell us the soldiers have a cause they believe in, but it still feels very abrupt.

After the skirmish, three men, wearing black coveralls, emerged from the far side of the corridor.
This is very sudden jump. We've got men charging into battle and then, bam, we're done. A little more detail on the action would be great, but at a minimum you need a less abrupt transition.

This I think is another weakness I spotted in different stories. You like to use onamonapia a lot. Instead of making the noise, a description might be more evocative.

he held his pistol in agony
Show don't tell. Why is he in agony? You start explaining that a bit more in the next sentence - bullets in the torso - but give us a bit more. Also, the next sentence has him pointing his pistol at his enemy, but the enemy is dead. Why doesn't he fire again? Is his hand too weak? Is the bullet chamber empty and clicking hollowly? Why would he give himself away?

Side note: there is a lot of shouting and exclamation points in your story. It's also a bit odd that they walk out in a group until one is shot, and then they're all, let's go! and run down the hallway.

a hand lifted the tile and peeked out
Hands don't have eyes and don't peek

a female voice answered
He didn't answer a question; it would spoke or maybe respond
Also 'please' doesn't go with 'ordered'

"There he is! Get him!”
Okay sorry but this is really trite. Can't he say something more original, like shoot the scurvy dog or something? "Get him!" just sounds very...idk. Trite.

William pressed a few buttons and squeezed against the corner
It's unclear what he's doing here. The door is already open so he should be through the doorway and thus, by standing on the same side as the approaching men, be out of the line of fire. Also, a door that requires voice security to open should assumibly close on its own? I could maybe see him entering the code to seal it against other authorized people, but that would likely be after it closed and it would be nice to know what he's doing.

he took a few moments to calm down when he saw the men banging on the door.
No way these happened at once. No one calms down when someone is banging on a door. He might try to calm down but at most he's got a few seconds and that's not enough time.

He shook his head in disappointment
This seems like underselling. His crew is trying to kill him and he's disappointed? Shocked, horrified, anger, regret, I could see any of those but unless he's part of an alien race testing humans, disappointment seems like the wrong emotion.

When the com beeped off
This paragraph is another place where your sentences are too long and languid. You want short bursts of action. Instead you have a lot of 'and' sentences.

With his feet pounding the metal, he trained his weapon
It is very hard to run while aiming a gun, especially if you are aiming at a small target like the legs. It makes more sense that he would step out, site the gun on one man, then the other.
Also, don't be like the idiots in the movies. Kick the guns away from the guards! Or else why didn't they shoot him with said guns? Being shot at is worse than steam.

he didn’t want to return to his wife with news of him killing her people.
Awkwardly phrased. He didn't want to return with their blood on his hands, he didn't want to tell his wife he had killed them, etc

the ship you’re looking down at us from.”
Wait, I thought he was in the room with the woman?

Arguments were normal,
Except we've got a war going on between the ship's soldiers. So this seems a bit blase

robbed him of everything.
I mean, don't tell his wife and children that.

William relented and lowered his weapon.
It's not like he didn't know she was his sister when he pointed the gun at her. At least give him a moment of indecision. And her 'haughty' response seems a bit overconfident. If she were my sister, I might shoot her just for thinking I wouldn't...okay no but still
There is too much explanation between this and Joseph's response. We're smack in the middle of action and you're giving us history. You should explain about the sister sooner, or later, but not in the middle of the action. (I vote sooner; you lose the surprise but set the tone)

“The Mannans already have fleets out in space. It’s not like they’re going extinct.”
I mean, does she not KNOW that her brother married a Mannan? And that his kids are theoretically on the planet? Sure he made arrangements but I doubt this cold hearted sister knew that. So for her to just proceed without worrying about his reaction is beyond foolish, it's stupid IMO. And she doesn't seem like a stupid woman. On the other hand, maybe she made arrangements to get the kids out; that would be a surprise and show that she was dealing with things or something. Or at least had foresight. Or lied about it.

In a grand display of blood and shock,
I have no idea what this looks like. Show, don't tell.

They spiraled around and sped up as they got closer.
This process would take hours, if not days. Unless they are literally a ships-width apart. But then 30 years would make it obvious that the planets had only slowed and not stopped. In truth, even at a farther distance, it should be noticible. Atmospheres should be changing (oh wow how cool would that be, two planets with one atmosphere?)
I assume he turned off the antigravity field? That should be mentioned.
I can't honestly see how letting both planets die is any better of a solution, to be honest.

I'm guessing that the Admiral is Terran, given his marriage to a Mannan woman was worth noting. But it might be worth stating. The Mannan soldiers might react more to him or sneer at him for being Terran. Or, instead of the aforementioned 'male' you could use 'Terran', if you keep the straight description. Or you could describe his height or another feature as being distinctive of the Terran race. (straight backs?)


I really loved the ideas behind this story. Two planets, spiraling together, an antigravity field on a ship that keeps them from destruction. I think you have an incredible setting for more science fiction here. I'd love to hear more about these worlds in other stories.

For this piece, you have a few consistent weaknesses. Chief among these is the nature of 'show, don't tell'. Don't be afraid to add description. It's amazing what even an expression or a tight grip can reveal. You also want to try to keep action scenes punchy, with short sentences that convey movement. It's surprising how far much that adds.

You have some great characters and a fantastic plot. There's a great drive, and a mystery. I really liked this story, liked the characters, liked the Admiral out for peace. He's literally poised between the two worlds himself, which is great. Two thumbs up!

I look forward to reading more of your stories, especially sf!

(Side note: I've been having trouble loading the site the last few days. I tried to read the first chapter of the book I reviewed earlier but the page kept trying to load for >15 minutes and I gave up and closed the tab. But that's why I reviewed the intro and not the chapter.)

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
After reading and reviewing your previous piece, I started poking around your portfolio in search of other stories. This premise of this book looks intriguing. One note - you use 'however' at the start of two back-to-back sentences, which is repetitive. Otherwise, definitely an interesting-sounding tale. Do you plan to write more?

*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.5)
I found this item on the review request forum.

I tend to be a very thorough reviewer and like to put most if not all of the specific errors I see. That said, this is a very cleanly written piece, which has allowed me to focus on smaller, very nitpicky parts rather than large obvious things. In other words, my intent is to take it from "very good" to "great". This is a terrific piece.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

Have to be at work for nine
I'm not sure if this is a type - 'for' should be 'by' - or if you mean 'before' so 'fore
From a content perspective, I'm not sure this quite fits. It explains to the reader why he's out there and what he's facing, but it doesn't quite seem like what he'd be thinking if he was already in the forest. More like what you might think before deciding to go for the walk. It might fit better if something about work intruded and he pushed it away - nope, don't have to think about that til 9 - or just to omit it entirely.

Come to daddy”
Need a period at the end of the sentence.

SNAP! Then, a rope sprung from beneath the leaves and snagged his feet together.
The 'then' is unnecessary. I assume the 'snap' was the sound of the rope springing, but maybe it's the mechanism of the trap. Regardless, the two would happen almost instantaneously.

"WHOAH!” He shouted as his head smacked the dirt.
If he's shouting 'whoah', then 'he' should be lowercase, since if it was a statement there would be a comma "Whoah," he shouted. He may be shouting something else but I doubt it from the context.
You actually do this a couple times when the spoken word is an interjection (!!)

“What the hell!? He shouted
Same as above, but you also need to close quotes

“Thank God.” David said
God," David - need a comma

“Idiots?” she said
David said 'idiot' (singular); not sure if she pluralized it on purpose or not
Also, the rest of her statement should be part of the same paragraph

“OH no, I’m going to be late!” He says,
Same as before but you missed the indent for hte paragraph

“I understand” David said
Need a comma after 'understand'

“Fine” He says.
You've been using past tense ('said') up til now, no reason to change to 'says'

But, he cracked a smile
No comma

There were a couple of punctuation blunders. I dug around and found this item, "Comma Sense Lesson 6"   by amy-Has a great future ahead . Scroll down to Rule #25 on dialogue tags, and it may be clearer than I have been.

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

David admired the lush, green beauty of the woods as he trailed down a well-worn path. The cocoa-complected fellow raised his arm and checked the time as he held his suitcase.

Your first two sentence pulled me in, though there was a bit of a double stumble. The first was the repetition of 'as he'; you have him often doing more than one thing at a time, and you do it back-to-back in the first two sentences. That messes with the flow very slightly.
The other thing that stood out was the 'cocoa-complected'. The phrase felt awkward, and it took me a moment to catch the meaning. I think there has to be a smoother way to include that detail, though I'm not certain of what at the moment.
Also, I'm not sure 'trailed' is the right word here. You use it at least twice. It usually means that someone is following another person or thing and is used with 'behind', ie 'trailed behind'. Seeing it used separately may be appropriate but still causes a sharp jolt because it's expected to be used differently. It's also repetitive later when you use the word 'trail' immediately afterwards.

taking in the spring vibe the forests generously provided.
Your words are very lyrical up to this point; 'vibe' is a bit too sharp, edgy to mesh with that tone. Also, it's a forest, right? Apparently in the spring. So it's not providing a 'spring vibe', it's actually spring, versus, say, my house where lots of plants and flowers might create a 'vibe'. I think even something as simple as 'taking in the beautiful spring morning in the forest' would work, though you have a way with lyrical descriptions and can easily come up with something better than my pale offering.

Seeing the zebras and giraffes prance across the savanna is what inspired me to want to be a traveler.
Again, this is more explanatory than what you would think. It's very rare that someone says 'this is what inspired me' when talking to themselves. You could step out of the thoughts to have the narrator note that was his inspiration, or what raised his desire to travel. I'm not sure someone is really 'inspired' to be a traveler as much as they desire it.

As he diverted from the trail, his black tennis shoes crunched loose twigs as he passed through.
You don't need to use 'as' twice. I'd pick one or the other. Maybe his black tennis shoes crunched loose twigs as he diverted from the trail

When he arrived at a sycamore tree, his eyes widened in elation when he noticed a hundred-dollar bill resting on some shrubs.
Another case of too much happening at once - this time, you have two 'whens'. Did his eyes widen when he arrived or when he noticed? Also, I thought he diverted because he saw something, which I assumed would be the $100 bill. If that's the case, I'm not quite sure he'd be surprised. Perhaps if he thought it was a piece of paper trash or something. He seems very outdoorsy and, from what's been written so far, I could totally see him stopping to pick it up to throw away, then eyes widening when he realizes it's not trash.

He dropped his suitcase
Hey! I forgot he was carrying a suitcase in the woods. You brought it back up, which leaves me wondering why he's taking a suitcase to work. I suppose if he travels for work...I'm sure this will reveal itself in the story. I might maybe mention something about the weight or awkwardness in between, but not necessarily. Interested to see where this is going.
Having finished the story, I don't see a correlation. Perhaps you mean 'briefcase' which is something that would be taken to work? I'd imagine his wallet and phone would both be inside it however (though I'm not a guy, so not necessarily).

years of neglect and laziness towards his body
I get what you're saying here - he hasn't been exercising and isn't in shape - but the phrasing feels awkward

Weak, dizzy and helpless, David did the one thing he knew would help him in this situation.
No italics.
Also, he doesn't 'know' it will help him, he hopes it. Unless he can see the future or knows for a fact there is someone nearby.

An innocent voice
Very basic but, how is a voice innocent? Maybe you mean innocent-sounding, or maybe the tone feigns innocence, or maybe it's childlike. By itself, though, 'innocent' doesn't work well.

She kicked her feet as she sat on top a thick branch
I'm not sure I'm following this. Is she in the process of sitting down and swinging her feet or is she kicking her feet then sitting down? If she's on a branch in a tree, wouldn't she be above him or at least up in the air, making it awkward for him to face her? If she's on a branch on the ground, even worse.

There is one other point that I would make, albeit somewhat hesitantly. I do not know if you are a person of color; I am definitely not (one of my Hispanic friends once called me the 'whitest white girl' he ever met). However, I do live in the South, and there are a lot of connotations that come with hanging people of color from trees. Deliberate or not, that provides a more malicious background to your story than I think you intend. It might be better to have a different kind of trap that would still be effective. An ironically interesting one would be similar to the racoon traps described in books like Where the Red Fern Grows, where the caught person/creature can free itself by letting go of the bait but often doesn't. That, too, might change the dynamics of the story, but would also make an intriguing lesson - without the historical connotations.


I really liked this story and the message behind it. I think it has a great lesson about keeping your eyes on the prize and setting goals. I think maybe you need to include something to give us the girl's age - is she 12 or 21? Both could be called 'girl' depending on the age of the person doing the calling. Or perhaps he can't tell, and that's part of the mystery; she has an ageless quality about her, yada yada. You have a very lyrical style that I enjoyed reading.

Thanks for sharing!

Write on,

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (4.0)
On point (though not so much right now with traffic down from COVID-19)
I like a lot of the images you painted. However, the final stanza, while an appropriate solution, doesn't quite seem to fit with the rest, not sure exactly why.
Overall, great poem captures rush hour all too well.
This item came up when I clicked 'read and review.'
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: E | (3.5)
I found this review as a random review through the site. I appreciate the explanation at the bottom regarding the oddquain, a form of poetry I've never heard of before. Very interesting!

As for content, this feels much like most Sunday hymns or prayers, or even my own personal prayers. True to heart but not particularly visual. I'm not sure how visual such poems can be, however, given their short form, but I know that the obviously short haiku can provide great images so I think it must be possible?

Thanks for the good read!
Review of A Debt to be Paid  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
An excellent read. I found this on with the dreadful 'random read' button at the top of the page.

Things I liked:

You tell a clean story, and the flow is pretty smooth. You weave your way through the action very well, and that can be tough to do; fight scenes are generally a challenge for many authors. No spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors that I saw.

I liked the way the ending with. It startled me; I didn't expect it.


Your intro piece does little more than, well, intro us to the characters. Seems like it would make more sense to have them break right before they go into the fight scene and get this intro. The long temporal break is a little bit jarring, and unnecessary.

Probably the biggest problem I had was that this piece felt a little rushed. We didn't have a lot of time to bond with the characters, and so we didn't care overly much if they lived or died. Similarly, after a decade of companionship, I'd like to see a little more of Cor's reaction. What you have felt very superficial. Granted, a long, drawn out emo scene would definitely not fit this story, but there should be at least a reaction - shock, horror, anger, pain, loss. These don't have to be emoed out, but you need to at least touch on them. He would swing with more anger and a sense of vengence. He would be walking back and look to his friend before realizing his friend was gone. A single line or two on the emotions make Cor seem more realistic to us, rather than a cardboard sketch. Let us know early on about the devotion between the two so we feel more of a sense of loss.

Similarly, although the tradeoff of life is apparent, it's not apparent that it's intentional. Knowing that a blood sacrifice was required, for instance, or divining in yet again to save his friend and turn the monster's wrath from Cor to himself - these would be more intentional instances of self-sacrifice than that of simply not moving out of the way in time, and would again provoke more emotion.

An excellent story, however, and one I really enjoyed.

Write on!
Review of Blossoms Maligned  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I found this story off the auto-reward page by searching for short stories.

This was a very interesting story, and I'll admit, not what I expected by the time I reached the end. You did a good job with the writing. The story is well put together.

Here are my thoughts as I read through the first time:

Your first paragraph is very disorienting. You skip around a lot in time. The line abt how Sarah could just make it out doesn't fit into the flow of what you have. Honestly, if you got rid of the 'ten years ago' part, the rest of the paragraph would flow pretty well. I would consider moving the reference down to the next paragraph, and making it fit in a little smoother. Like, changing 'back then' to 'ten years ago' or better, 'when he moved in ten years ago'.

Also, no need to give us a formal introduction - skip out the last names in the first sentence

He didn't seem to care that she had ... long, brown hair, which was tousled more often than not. He shouldn't care that she had long brown hair; this isn't that strange. But, if you change the last segment into what it "should" (and I put should in quotes) be, it makes it flow a little smoother. "long brown hair that was tousled more often than it was done up neatly/perfectly coiffed/in braids with ribbons"

Even all those years ago, shortly after they met, Ouch on the time jump. I'd get rid of it and just make it a "kid" reference. "Despite the fact that she never before thought abt getting married...." or even "Even though she thought boys were more fun to beat up than to kiss". Something like that. So we're kept in the time frame without being specifically told. Something that gives us a better idea of her thoughts/perspective/attitude

He wasn't mad or anything. He'd just been to Sarah's house Although the memory is told from Sarah's point of view, you've slipped into Tom's mind here. Put a 'she knew' in or something.

LOL The whole Tom & Jerry reference while she's hanging out with Tom...a little jarring. Go with a serious boy flick, like Thundercats. Or He-Man. XD

a Christmas they would never see Too heavy on the ominous foreshadowing, I'd cut it.

Little did he know, or maybe he did know again, a little too heavy on the narrator. Perhaps something more like "her heart sped up as he finally voiced what had been on her mind for two years"

Having finished now, I have to say...I'm not certain about the conclusion. You were very heavy handed with the foreshadowing, but given the way you ended it, it does kind of work. I did hate the way you closed it, I wanted more details, but I also like the way you ended it. If there were some way you could more subtly foreshadow the conclusion.

I'm trying to decide if, honestly, you could take out the foreshadowing and leave the ending as is. I'm not certain that would work.

I'm wondering if you could put the flashback a little further down into the story. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of flashbacks, and I actually think you could retell the memory, without all the depth, and have the flow better. Then, too, I think you could reference it a little more subtly.

The writing and the pace were fairly well done. There are a few issues with flow, which is a very subtle, hard-to-describe thing; moments when the reverie of the story was broken. I mentioned the ones that most stood out. You want to be careful not to JERK the reader from one point to the next - unless, of course, it's intentional, like the random sound they heard (since I'm posting this for public review, I hate to give away the ending).

Overall, a very well-executed piece that I enjoyed reading. A little work on the flow would jump this from "very good" to "excellent".

Write on!
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for "Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest Thanks for entering!

Wow, okay, that is interesting. And not quite what I was expecting. Hmmm.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective:

babbling and strewing flowers... period here.

thank you for.." need one more ellipse (dot)

You use a lot of colons before dialouge, instead of commas. It looks like a stylistic choice, but I'm not sure about its effectiveness; for me, as a reader, it breaks up the pace of the story because it is both a stopping point itself AND unusual. I'd reconsider the commas.

You also overuse ellipses at the end of your sentences (...) I'd consider sticking with the more conventional period. This especially is awkward with your colons. Colons say stop, ellipses say go.

my palm fronds.." single period here

*Leaf5*In terms of content:

holding back a tear. very rarely does a person try to hold back one single tear. Usually there are several involved in the holding back process.

(Although her health was failing, it still hurts to remember how she agreed to go first when June's grandson was born.) I did not follow this at all. Go first where, what, huh?

Okay, never mind, further reading put that in place. (The list isn't very effective in a story, FYI. It's too abrupt, treats the readers like they are idiots, and is definitely too much 'telling' over 'showing'.) What an interesting premise. I think you could really make this piece work by expanding on it some. More details would really help. The characters here are rather flat (and the naming makes it all confusing, not to mention the fact that you have a lot of minor characters who are hard to follow). I'd like to see you take some more time on this story and round it out.

*Leaf3*Overall: That is definitely a perspective that would change the way some people bring babies into this world. A very thought-provoking story.

Write on!

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Review of The Flower Girl  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for "Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest Thanks for entering!

You really killed me here! This was hysterical! I thought, from the beginning, it would be more nostalgic and romance, but I about died from the stabwounds from your sharp and pointed wit! *Laugh* A delightful piece!

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective: This is a very cleaned up and well polished piece. I found no spelling, punctuation, or spacing errors!

*Leaf5*In terms of content: This is a fantastic story. I really enjoyed it! Some things that stood out as I read:

Or in her case, always a florist, never a bride *Laugh* Nice twist!

especially during wedding season. She moved around her little shop on Broadway the time shift here is awkward. 'during wedding season' sets the time over several months (? I dunno how long 'wedding season' lasts, LOL), but then the next sentence is a very specific instance (as it starts, it sounded very vauge, like she always moved around, but then became specific). These either need a bridge or, at a minimum, a paragraph split - but if you break it into another paragraph, you need to add more to the previous one.

enduring bubbling brides I really need to slow down, I read this is enduring the bubble brides, LOL!

After opening the shop, April checked her date book I lied; a paragraph split didn't work for this temporal (time) transition. You need something in both spots to smooth this over.

She didn't know whether to smile or sigh. Include this in the previous paragraph, and consider adding the next two one-sentence paragraphs, as well.

her greatest professional successes were realized during times of the year that also served as a reminder of her greatest personal failures. I like that sentence! Well stated, well expressed. Oooh, the next one, too: Like her flowers, April's romantic prospects were all quick to bloom, and just as quick to wither and die. I like the tone you set here.

who steals both your boyfriend and your clothes while you're showering after gym class *Laugh* Oh you are killing me! Hysterical! And so high school! ( = hysterical in a painful way)

Flowers by April Okay, this is just because I have a small business brain...that is just such a bland business name! Why not April Flowers (you know, like the showers...) More memorable, less bland. Just a random thought that in no way affects your rating.

Like "accidentally" backing over Kim with her car. ROTFL!

Just trying out the new last time do you mean 'the new last name'? If not, I'm, um, not sure what you meant with this sentence.

Not only was she meeting with both her ex-best friend and her ex-boyfriend Okay, here's the thing. To build a successful, well-known, highly reputable small business of any sort, you have to be in business for awhile. So why then are we holding on to some high school dude? I mean, he must have been really great, but I'd like to learn a bit more on what made him the be-all, end-all. Had they been together for four years, and she stole him right before prom/graduation? I could see obsessing over that. Had they already talked about marriage after graduation/college? Could see that. I think we need a little more fleshing out on the past relationship to explain why she is still hung up a few years down the road - and it isn't plausible that this is a year after they got out of HS (not just from a small business standpoint but from several of her statements, such as 'the season', 'she always', her sense about carrying over to V-day, etc). Only guy she ever loved? Something like that.

any indication of karmic vengeance ROTFL!

April arrived at the church and, as she strewed flower petals along the aisle, babbled like an idiot, complaining about the lack of reasons to complain about Kim and Kenny. This sentence doesn't work. Break it down --> April arrived at the church and...complaining about the lack of reasons to complain about Kim and Kenny.

"You're the florist, right?" Put in the same paragraph as his last line of dialogue, the previous one.

and the other was fleeing the scene at her earliest opportunity, a double slice of wedding cake in hand as she snuck out to her car. *Bigsmile*

As she loaded Kim's overstuffed suitcase into her trunk, OH THIS IS HORRIBLE!

If I had any other criticism, it might just be that it felt somewhat lacking in plot. Great storytelling, but not much on the purpose, KWIM? You start with a 'lack of love' feel, so we think this will be a love story, and you give a nod to that but it doesn't develop. Then you move to the 'worst enemy' but April 'gets over it', so there isn't a vengence thing going. But then you end with revenge. So when the story is finished, we just don't feel like, you know, it's finished.

I don't think you need a lot to change to fix this. Maybe a bit more on the back-and-forth, so we see she hasn't given in - and show us that dilemna, don't tell us. (Granted, I know you had a word restraint for the contest, but you could still expand this and make it really *shine*.) Right up to the wedding, she can be malicious but..maybe the ceremony changes her? The toast? Let her come to an 'it's okay' point at the wedding, *then* meet her possible love interest, and *then* she can still do the thing with the suitcase, which is hysterical and highly deserved. (Albeit not very professional...)

*Leaf3*Overall: I think you could with just the slightest touch of expansion, as I said, on 'why' the previous relationship was so weighty. And, of course, the plot thing. Otherwise, you have done a marvelous and wonderful job. I love your style of telling. I love the subtle humor here, the wordplay.

Write on!

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Review of Andrew's Legacy  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for "Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest Thanks for entering!

Wow, what an amazing and tragic story. But at the same time, so full of hope.

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective: This piece has several small errors. Here are the ones I caught, but there may well be others.

how dare spring come today, how can things go on like they always do. Doesn't God know I'm grieving. These are questions and need questionmarks.

rediculous ridiculous

to april capitalize April

On her way back to the house, She forced herself lowercase 'she'

Andrews death Andrew's

*Leaf5*In terms of content: This was an interesting look at the prompt. I like the idea of spring as a time of renewal; you did a good job of adding the change of seasons into the story. A few things that stood out as I read:

But Andrew's death just four months after her grandfather's unexpected death was just too much all at once. Repetition of 'death'. Consider changing it to either a) one of them being more specific (her grandfather's fatal heart attack) or b) a different description (unexpectedly losing her grandfather). Also, since you've already told us his name; why not give us a relationship? (I'm suspecting cousin at this stage, so I might say 'But her cousin's death'; later reading will, I'm sure, clarify the relationship but right now it is unclear.)

Spring was trying to catch summer and she wasn't even ready for spring. I like the personality and life you give to spring here, but the problem is, in April, spring is just starting; this would be more apt for late May, in my opinion.

These thoughts were bouncing around in her mind as she sat on the metal gliding chair beside her aunt, just slowly rocking back and forth as Emma's aunt spoke. This sentence is awkward, and I think there are several reasons. 1st, you have lots of things all happening at the same time (ie lots of 'as' here). 2nd, you use her name near the end of the sentence instead of the beginning. 3rd, it is just a really long and convoluted sentence. I'd adjust some if not all of these points to make things a little smoother.

for four long weeks or more. The 'or more' is unnecessary and confusing. If he died four weeks ago, then it wouldn't have been burning up for longer. If he died more than four weeks ago, didn't it start about that time? Even if it didn't start right after his death, four weeks is vaugue enough to give an idea. Another suggestion is that, instead of having it all just appear at once at a specific time, why not that had been building up inside for the last four weeks.

It was time for winter to go to sleep and for her to welcome spring. I really love the sentiment and emotion expressed here.

She folded the paper and took it upstairs to her old bedroom and placed it gently in the fold of the book she was reading. Too long, too many 'and's. Consider something like She folded the paper and took it upstairs to her old bedroom, placing and placed it gently in the fold of the book she was reading.

{c:blue?After dinner, we all joined You've gone from third person - she, they - to first person - we.

An hour ago, this babbling would have infuriated her. The 'she' seems to refer to the grandma, not Emma.

of her own house she shared with her husband and children. the 'own' is very awkward; why not just 'the house she shared'?

since that day in April after Andrew died Awkward. Are you referring to the day Andrew died, or the day she wrote the poem? Either way is self-fulfilling. that day in April or since Andrew died.

Mind you, I am no good at critiquing poetry, so I'll leave that alone. I like the inclusion of the poem, but I'm not sure I would add it at the end. In fact, the entire ending felt very abrupt. I think the poem might fit better as she rereads it, before putting it into the book. I'm not even sure that the 'twelve years later' is necessary to the flow of the story (although it does give hope to survivors reading, I am sure; a feeling that 'this too shall pass'). I just think that you can spend a little more time exploring Emma's piece of mind after the writing of the poem and give us a feel for the peace she experiences, instead of jumping ahead and telling us.

*Leaf3*Overall: This is a great story, filled with hope. I liked the inclusion to the static (which I assume is related). Mind you, if someone is depressed, getting them to click the first link may be hard enough; hitting others may be too much. I would consider choosing a single, 'most helpful' link, perhaps to a crisis center or something similar, and including it here. That will encourage folks to take action.

Write on!

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Review of Death of a hero  
Review by Scottiegazelle
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I am reviewing your story as a judge for "Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest Thanks for entering!

All I can say is...wow. This is an amazing story. There are few things that need to be cleaned up, but overall, *Thumbsup**Thumbsup*

*Leaf1*From a technical perspective: Most of our technical errors are around dialogue tags. This "Dialogue is a good help on that. Otherwise, you've done a great job with the editing; no spelling errors that I saw.

And where did all of these flowers come from. Question; needs ?

"Stop it man. You're killing me." He says. should be you're killing me," he

a "Hand over the money." He put four no period, lowercase 'he'.

So we head off to the store You need another line break before this sentence.

no retard before" and with that comma after 'before'

Like I said; the whole thing comma after 'said'

*Leaf5*In terms of content: You have done such a great job of capturing everything in this story. You flip from the relevant to the irrelevant in a realistic and credible manner; we really feel like we are in the mind of a guy who is dying.

Not on the floor of a seven-eleven with my life's blood flowing towards the Cheetos display. With a thirty year shelf life, they are marked down to move quickly. These two sentences are a little off-putting, but that is to be expected given the situation. It is the actual structure of the sentence that bothers me. It's the start of 'with a thirty year' - it seems to be connected to the previous sentence. I would consider changing the way the second sentence starts to make it more discordant (believe me, I rarely say that! *Laugh*).

She seems to be crying hysterically. I know how she feels. You should never buy auto supplies in a convenience store. I totally have a feeling this is not appropriate to this piece but...this is just a hysterical comment that cracked me up.

You are the April Fool. Not to sound sterotypical, but this sounds to formalized to come out of a gangbanger's mouth. At the least it would be you're, maybe yer, maybe some other form of slang. This one also sounds to formal, We just wanted to rob the place and now you have gone and put us in jail for life.

About the only 'problem' I have with this is that I didn't like knowing that he was dying from the get-go. But that's just a personal thing, I think.

*Leaf3*Overall: You have done a wonderful job of capturing the characters here. I love the way you move us through this piece, even if I didn't like the 'give away' at the end. You gave us a credible reason for Bobby's actions. I love the emotional change he make as he moves through this piece. So much of his character is revealed through his interactions with Leon. Your telling of this story is masterful.

Write on! Please!

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