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Review Requests: ON
74 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
My review style is usually very grammar oriented, although I of course will give my impression of the piece as a whole, detail successful areas, and suggest improvements for figurative devices/language, character development, etc.
I'm good at...
Usually I'll review short stories, fiction, fantasy, and other prose styles. Poetry is not my strong suit, however I am always willing to help in whatever way I can.
Favorite Genres
I'm partial to fantasy, fiction, and historical fiction.
Favorite Item Types
I love short stories and longer fiction pieces.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Lost  
Review by Wintersage
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hey there!
This review is a response to a review request.

What a creative story! The narrative follows a classic arc of a heroine (of a sort) embarking on a journey to find love. Figurative and rhetorical language is sprinkled throughout the passage as well. With that said, I do have some corrections for you. Please note that this is just my personal opinion - I do not intend to offend, only to help.

Corrections:

- Your style of writing is very interesting. You have wordy, formal phrases interspersed with more colloquial terms. If this was a third-person narrative (which it sort of is when the narrator begins to speak of the old man, but nevertheless, is still addressing the reader through active dialogue,) the style may fit better, but in this context, it can be wearisome to read. I suggest revising the passage by condensing each sentence, removing the repetitive phrases, and getting to the point quicker.

- There are a lot of places where you physically say something, but technically speaking, the sentence doesn't reveal anything about the character. Ex. "He was taller than some and shorter than others" - This phrase could apply to anyone and anything, therefore it is unnecessary because it fails to define the character. Below, I've edited a portion of the story to be a bit more concise, and to eliminate the phrases that do not add very much to the story.

         Ex. "So then, without wasting any more of your time, I'll commence with the telling of my summary by first stating that [.] I once knew a prosperous man who was shorter than some but taller than others. He was a quiet person who lived a peaceful life that instantly turned chaotic when this. [One night a] random question crept into his mind on a night that [as] he was resting in a chair that was placed on a[his] wooden porch.

The kind of query that can force your mind to focus and work hard to come up with an answer. [It was] A powerful question that shook him harder than any earthquake has done to a man. And this query that took over his every thought was this, and that is, [He thought to himself, "]what do you reckon, you foolish old geezer, would happen if you, an unassuming man, (you may want to move this to the end of the sentence -->){who loves his solitude like a beaver loves a log,} just packed up and left town without so much as a whisper. [A man who (add in phrase cited from before.)

“And the answer, a gloomy one at that, was nothing. Nothing would occur if he actually did what he hypothetically proposed because he knew no one and no one knew him [was alone in the world.] sotherefore[,] who would even care if he was gone[?] and this was a very sobering reality to finally come to terms with [for him.]"

As you can see, I removed large parts of each sentence, splitting many of the sentences into two, and in some cases, rearranging the sentence altogether so that the weight of the phrase falls at a different point. There is a lot of "tell" and very little "show" in the passage, which can decrease the significance of the message, and by eliminating some of the repetitive segments, the story can move along visually, not just conceptually.

Although wordy writing is not wrong, it has its cons. As a very wordy writer myself, I've learned the hard way that by adding in all of these little inconsequential phrases and details, you have built up the grandiosity of the story without actually giving the reader a reason to care. Why should they keep reading? What is there to gain from enduring the build-up? That is why working concise, short phrases in with longer ones not only makes reading easier on the reader's eyes but overall gets the reader engaged with the plot and caring about the characters. Wordy writing can very easily be a turn-off.

- I also noticed that all of the characters talk in the same rambling style. By giving each character a different - even slightly different - way of speaking, you will have added to each character's personality, demeanor, and background - essentially, differentiate the character's speaking pattern to increase the overall characterization within the passage.

- I recommend substituting "awesome" from the phrase, "She then smiled that awesome smile and said–" only because it doesn't really fit the tone of the passage. "Amazing," or "radiant" may be a good substitute.

- One final query: Why doesn't the old man tell her who he is immediately? What does he have to lose by telling her, and what does he have to gain? I suggest exploring that dynamic a little more at the end before he makes the decision not to say anything about his identity. They seem to have enough time together that the simple "I am Mr. David Grey Thompson" would have cleared up how he knows about the "Would you like a cool glass of water" note. Also, how does she fail to recognize him? If she has watched him for years, wouldn't she recognize her long lost love? Just a couple of inconsistencies I wanted to bring up. You probably have a reason for why the ending is the way it is, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

To summarize, a good editing session with ample phrase elimination will really help to elevate the story itself. Altering the speaking patterns of the different characters will add to characterization, and highlight what motivates the old man, the narrator, and the woman he meets later on in the story. Besides the couple of breaks in logic, I think you could have a really compelling story, it just needs a little work to uncover its potential.

Hopefully this review was helpful. If you have any questions about my suggestions, feel free to shoot me an email and we can discuss.

Thank you for sharing!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hey there!

I'm sorry I took so long to review this, but I tried to go as in-depth as time allowed. This chapter explores the concept of a family is formed from stories that are stitched together over time. The narrator turns sixteen after a simple childhood and discovers his family is not all that it seems. Not only does he learn he is adopted, but he also learns that he is heir to a large fortune and a noble title, and that his "Papi" and Uncles are fountains of family history, strife with their own beginnings and endings.

Please keep in mind that this review is purely personal opinion, with the occasional grammatical correction. I do not intend to offend, only to help! Critiques follow...

Critiques:

- I have two critiques for the following sentence; "My uncles consisted of Theodore, who was an artist; Dr. Francis, who still delivered babies up at St. Paul’s Hospital, and Dylan, who was a retired WWII pilot." First, I believe you need a second semi-colon after "hospital" so that "and Dylan" is separated from the other two brothers. Second, to cut down on wordiness, I suggest removing the first and second "who" for each description of the brother's occupation so that the sentence would read; "My uncles consisted of Theodore, an artist; Dr. Francis, who still delivered babies up at St. Paul’s Hospital, and Dylan, a retired WWII pilot."

- "Their children kept multiplying[ied] like rabbits." The tense here read strangely when mixed in with the other past-tense descriptions in this paragraph, so I suggest switching it to a firm past tense, and then maybe extending the sentence with a second half of deeper explanation since that one line is a bit vague.
         Ex. "Their children multiplied like rabbits: I was just another head in the crowd. (Or something like that.)

- In the following sentence, "This was how I was raised - a boring life...," you have repeated a phrase from earlier in the passage. Thus, this phrase is redundant, and the message may hold more weight if the phrase is altered or rephrased. (Also, the reader's definition of “boring” may vary, so try to specify more to your point, maybe the character’s life was “simple,” “anticlimactic,” or “uneventful.” Keep in mind “normal” is also relative, so careful with that one too. )

- “On stormy nights, we would sit in the parlor, and he would turn the crank on the vintage machine and we would listen to the records.” This sentence is very repetitive. I suggest either cutting it in two, removing part of it, and condensing.
- “On stormy nights, we would sit in the parlor[.] He would turn the crank on the vintage machine and together, we would listen to the records [, their ancient melodies creaking in rhythm with the house’s shifting in the wind.]” I added a filler phrase for the end because a nice dash of imagery may pull this paragraph together nicely.

- “I’ve had this Victrola since 1910! Bought it with earnings from my first job at Warden’s Department Store on the square, and I will listen to it until the day I die.” It seemed odd that these two words were not in contraction form. “Papi” has been speaking in a lower level of speech, and because he has already used a contraction, I suggest keeping with his sentence format and adding one here.

- Just a fact check as I’m not sure how historically accurate you intend to be, but were “Backstage Passes” available in the ’60s, more specifically 1966? I did a brief search but found nothing to aid me, seeing passes available only around the ’70s and ’80s. I just wanted to bring this up, since they may actually be accurate for the time, or just an artistic choice, I wasn’t sure of either possibility, but nevertheless, it's up to you whether to include or not, depending on which direction you are taking the narrative.

- Replace the bolded comma in this phrase with a semicolon to better pause between the two connected phrases; “ After that moment, I knew they were keeping a secret from me[,] I would learn it when I turned sixteen.”

- There is a continuity error in the line “I also knew Papi and his uncles had money….” Aren’t the “Uncles” Papi’s brothers? I thought they were the narrator's uncles?

- In the sentence, “Unfortunately, it was more heart-wrenching than a mysterious amount of money,” the logic isn’t quite following through. The first part, “it was more heart-wrenching” is fine, but when I read the second part, I didn’t quite see how a “mysterious amount of money” was meant to imply an opposition or juxtaposition to the original sentiment. Here’s what I was thinking;
- Ex. “Unfortunately, it was more heart-wrenching than a simple inheritance.” Here, we have something that is emotionally complex juxtaposed with something mundane or common, giving an appropriate emotional balance between both sides of the phrase.

- The beginning of the following paragraph; “My life changed a month ago, and I haven’t spoken to Papi since we returned from Sicily. Early that morning, while everyone attended church…” was very confusing timeline-wise. When is a month ago in relation to the narrator’s return from Sicily? Did the narrator return a month ago? Did his life change before, during, or after the visit to Sicily? Finally, when was this “morning” the narrator references? Is it the morning after his return, a morning a month ago, or the morning after he realized his life had changed? The reader just needs some more context and transition phrases.

- I believe it’s “Filling station” not “filing station.” (I’m referencing a phrase in paragraph 8.)

- Would “downside” be a better term to use for the following sentence, “The only bad thing was the neighbors who lived in the area.” “Bad thing” is very vague, and another term will help clarify the meaning of the sentence.

- The ending phrase in the line, “That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I heard heavy footsteps emerging from the grass, and onto the pier,” doesn’t really make sense. I recommend removing “and onto the pier” and giving it its own sentence ("The pier vibrated with the approaching footsteps"- or something like that) and then editing “emerging” down to “emerge” to fit with the tense of the line.

- I suggest removing the bolded section for clarity. “When he fully recovered from the surgery was when he began smoking.”

- The adverb in the highlighted sentence is unnecessary, as the gesture itself already connotes childlike defiance. I also suggest removing the “...that I had been found,” since that phrase is also redundant. “I responded by childishly crossing my arms over my chest and glaring out into the water in annoyance that I had been found.”

- Just a typo here; “["]No Trespassing["] signs littered the grounds w[h]ere at one time there were colorful advertisements announcing circuses, horseback riding, canoe rentals, dancing.” I also suggest adding quotation marks around “No Trespassing.”

- In the paragraph spoken by the narrator, it is not immediately apparent that the narrator is the one speaking; "“Does your story start when you were sixteen?” I asked as I turned to gather my shoes.

“For the first sixteen years of my life, I was boring old Adrian Tuscano...My real parents died in a California earthquake when I was a toddler!” Maybe go back and add an extra tag after he gathers his shoes.

         - I also suggest that this paragraph be condensed a little bit, as there are parts where the dialogue is unnatural - too flowery for the narrator and the moment. One part in particular - “Papi takes me back to the hotel with me in stunned silence, and informs me…” is especially awkward coming from the narrator. I suggest rewriting this paragraph as a little simpler, with more breaks in the format so that the emotions of the narrator can keep up with the rate of the storytelling. The narrator only has three breaks within his frustrated explanation for his emotions to come across, and on the third, he cries! All in all, his emotional development feels a little rushed here and I suggest slowing down a tad.

- The fact that the mother wrote her story down in “third-person” does not seem like a relevant detail to the plot, and I suggest removing it. “She was once a school teacher, and actually wrote down her version of the story in the third person, which we found upon her passing.” The same goes for the line; “Why she wrote it down in the third person is a mystery.”

- The suggestion about rushing emotions is also relevant a little farther down in the line, “I laughed, as I stood up and reached down to help Uncle Theodore..” That the narrator was just crying and now is laughing feels a little unnatural and forced. Maybe the narrator “chuckles weakly, as he swipes tears from his face” instead.

- There are some unnecessary commas here; “Catrina would sit me on her lap[,] and brush my hair, as I watched Saturday Morning Cartoons”

- The commas are strange here as well. “She smelled heavenly[,] like, lilac flowers, and rosewater soap.”

- This comma should be a period; “I couldn’t have been more than five-years-old,[.]

- Replace “as” with “and” for a more complete phrase. “Closing my eyes, I settled back, as Uncle Theodore began his story.”

Overall, this chapter had a lot of moving parts and characters which made it difficult to follow at times. Often, I was confused about who one character was, and their relation to another character, and why they were relevant to the plot of the story. Because of this, there were times when I was forced to go back a re-read a paragraph. Thus, I suggest going back through and eliminating some of the sections where brand new characters who are discussed for only a few sentences appear, and remove them. In addition, maybe simplify parts of the story and the timeline. I realize that this is the first chapter of a longer narrative, and so the plot and characters may seem incomplete, but so much is happening in this chapter that pulling some of the character introductions back a few chapters will really help space out the plot and help the reader digest. Fortunately, cutting down the chapter is the easy part - you have already done all the work for character and plot creation and just need a little trimming!

Though this review may sound like a downer, a lot of the corrections were just little typos and inconsistency errors. I found the chapter unique and interesting, and can really see this story flourishing with a bit of revision! I look forward to pursuing the rest of this story and finding out where it goes!

Hopefully, this review was helpful. If there were any parts that were unclear, or if I interpreted something incorrectly, please feel free to reach out and prompt a discussion! I would love to help in any way I can!

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hey there friend, it's me again,
This piece struck me as more of a character study than anything, exploring the relationship between two sisters, Eve and Elizabeth, and how their mother, Michelle, has mistreated both children by giving unequal amounts of love.

Because this is more of a character study, and not a full short story, I don't have any nit-picky or fine-tuning corrections for you, other than including more imagery and "showing" more than "telling" the reader about the relationship. Maybe, for one of the paragraphs, you can go back and give an example of how Eve has received all of their mother's affection (ex. maybe their birthdays are a week apart, and while Eve gets a full-blown party, three-layer cake, and a new puppy, Elizabeth is forgotten by all except Eve who shares whatever is left of the cake with her to make her feel better. - Just some of my thoughts, I like to run away with brainstorming sometimes.)

But all in all, I can see that this is probably a brainstorming endeavor. If you do go on with these characters, I can see a very well-developed short story coming out of the works, especially with such complex and layered characters.

That's all, Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of Star of the Night  
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi there!
I really like how you opened with such a dramatic scene, illustrating a painful theme that I'm sure many readers can relate to; how a family's traditions and beliefs can tear them apart. The final conclusion effectively placed a wider perspective on the situation as well, at first framing the plight of the moths as a tradition of a vastly different and unique species, but overcoming this assumption with the reminder of affection and love that draws individuals together despite differences. It was a stark contrast to the scene above, but on the whole, completed the passage rather nicely.

I've done some spot reviews below. Please keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion, and it is up to you whether or not you take these corrections.

Critiques:

- "It killed my sister and both my brothers! Now it’s taken my father!Must it have you, too?” There is an unnecessary quotation mark in this piece of dialogue.

- This line, "You can do whatever you want!” struck me as a bit vague to the actual message of the Son which is revealed later in the passage. I suggest rephrasing it to make the phrase a bit clearer, such as "But you can choose!" or "You have a choice!" This way, the Son is specifying the issue - the Mother does not have to commit to the religion, whereas the "You can do whatever ..." phrase doesn't really set a concrete idea for the reader.

- I suggest moving the following line up to the paragraph before, "But it was her words that hit and stung." Or maybe just remove the "but" and substitute it with "instead." As it stands now, the "but" feels as if the sentence before should lead directly into to rather than be separated with a paragraph break.

- Another unnecessary quotation mark here; "Mother, open your eyes!Open your mind!”

- Typo; "Last nigth[night], when your Father ... was taken ..."

- Unnecessary comma; "If your label, is traitor, then I will wear it with pride." There's also an unnecessary comma in this sentence as well, "Goodbye, Son”,.

That's it for this review, hopefully it has been helpful. If I have misinterpreted anything or if any part of my review is unclear, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to exploring the rest of your portfolio, and in the meantime, Happy Writing!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Holly!

Great ending for this chapter! "Nothing, except that you still love her.’" I could just feel the silence between them in the moments after.

Critiques:

- "It hurt her that she looked a mess with her gown hemmed with mud that had spattered onto it during her journey." This sentence is a little wordy, maybe separate it into two/three sentences? Also, "It hurt her" is more tell than show, so I replaced it with "She sighed" in the example.

Ex. "She sighed as she looked into the mirror. Her gown was hemmed with mud that had spattered onto it during her journey. A complete mess."

- I really like this simile; "...a squat jug like a lime kiln with a thick handle...," although there aren't any lime kilns near me so I had to do a bit of research to understand the imagery. Still, it's a pleasant image even if one doesn't know what a lime kiln is. (I was thinking a lime-colored ceramic kiln at first.)

- Should “least” be “lest” in the following sentence; “Aira did not know what to make of this…. she was half afraid to make this reassuring gesture [least] it rile him.”

- In this paragraph, “The redcaps pursued him.... ‘I don’t want to see harm come to you too. Life is as fleeting as a sunbeam, so easily lost. There’s been too much pain. We are all in grave peril here. I’ve often caught signs of the redcaps searching for us.’” The bolded sentences sort of slow down the pace of the paragraph. If they were moved farther down, or eliminated, the paragraph may flow better. Or maybe just write in a couple of transition phrases, where Boroden looks off into the distance, reflects, and then turns back to the group with renewed confidence to say “We are all in grave peril here.”

- "Harfan’s true love[,] that gorgeous sugar plum fairy Princess Myfanwy[,] is with the Light Elves.” Just some missing commas.

- I suggest reversing the order of the following sentence, so that it ends on the comparison rather than the description; “[It scarcely seemed related to its lowland cousins,][ it was so stunted and twisted].” vs the edited, "It was so stunted and twisted, it scarcely seemed related to its lowland cousins."

- Though it was referenced by Bororden earlier that Heki was assigned to repair the wall, it may be good to add in a quick description of precisely what Heki was doing when he was “toiling” over the wall; “He was still toiling [over the wall repairs, -insert quick description of what he was doing specifically-. Quentillian, however, had dozed off under the shade of the ash tree…”

- "‘Just polishing some shearing stuff,’ he mumbled lamely to Quentillian by way of an excuse.” New paragraph for this line?

- "Having thought more about my plan[,] I think I was wrong.”

- Tense inconsistency; “ I’d make sure they left [leave] well supplied.”

Just some small errors in this chapter. Otherwise, it was pretty solid - transitions and all. I'm glad to see that Boroden has calmed down a bit, and is bringing his internal conflict to light--> "In truth, I don't want any of you to go." I also appreciated the scene where Heki thinks he is staying behind to "take care of the ladies" and Boroden quickly refutes that and sets him to work on the wall!

I'm sorry about how late this review is, and promise the next one will not be so.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Happy New Year!

To begin, I was very surprised at Boroden's reaction to Aira's appearance. Not even one glad tiding! How selfish of him... Anyway, a Happy New Year to you! Let us hope that this one does not treat us as Boroden has Aira, and 2020 has treated the world. Corrections follow.

- Within the section where Barabas is described as being sent to alert the scattered members of the clan about the clan's attempts to retake Velmoran, there is a line that gives some exposition on Barabas' character. Reference section; "Quentillian nodded. ‘Boroden sent Barabas because he’s well liked being such an excellent cook. He always has a second helping and a cheery words to offer at feasts. Boroden hoped Barabas’s popularity would convince the other brownies to join him in his plans to retake Velmoran.’

‘Well then, we must pray for Barabas and prepare for the worst. He may be lost or dead.’ In Carnelian’s voice hung a weight of inevitability that surprised Aira."

The issue I had with this line was that the dialogue appeared to be giving unnecessary information to the brownies (such as exposition that would be unlikely in casual conversation with two knowledgeable parties.) I thought the line may be better situated if it was moved farther down, so that it will read with almost wistful remembrance.

Ex. "Quentillian nodded. ‘Boroden sent Barabas because he’s well liked[,] being such an excellent cook. Boroden hoped Barabas’s popularity would convince the other brownies to join him in his plans to retake Velmoran.’

‘Well then, we must pray for Barabas and prepare for the worst. He may be lost or dead.’ In Carnelian’s voice hung a weight of inevitability that surprised Aira. To herself, she mused mournfully "Poor Barabas, [he always gave] second helping[s] and a cheery words to offer at feasts. [twould be a shame for his merry soul to leave us in such a way...]" or something along those lines. Thus this exposition would seem more natural than an explanation for why he was likeable.

- "To work..." is a strange tag that could be eliminated from the following sentence since it is already implied, "He doesn’t do chores about the place himself, though he had to admit that it’s our duty to the humans, and the only chance of getting food, to work.’

- "Carnelian opened the gate, the posts of which curved inwards like the ears of a donkey trying to listen to things on either side of it." Maybe "cocked to listen for surrounding noise" instead of the bolded section.

- "Something about him reminded Aira of a caged beast; regal yet beaten and in its woe[,] fierce." This line is beautiful, and yet mournful at the same time. I love its depiction of Boroden. (Should there be a comma after "woe" though?

- This second part of this line is clumsy, as if it needs to hold more weight, "He turned from her and gazed into the fire, not seeing the flames
Possible replacements since this line was not easy to settle on:

         - [. He did not see the flames before him.]"
         - [, but did not see the flames before him]
         - [,yet saw not the flames before him, but his inescapable grief.]
         - [and yet, did not see the flames before him.]
         - [, unseeing of the flames.]
         - [the flames before him, he did not see.] <--- Oop, that one was Yoda, I got carried away :)

- Could these three paragraphs maybe be condensed? It is currently a lot of tell and no show, and slows down the pace of the passage. "He had forged a skin around himself like armour worn by one too beaten to fight...If he truly loved her the kindest thing to do was to help her forget him. " Maybe instead of telling how Boroden has put up walls and armored himself figuratively, he could literally disappear into a nearby room instead and bolt the door. Or maybe these thoughts are shown through a dream sequence, or a visual scene outside the cottage. There's also the section about Boroden focusing on the "permanent" things in life, and while it is beautiful, it feels misplaced, and would maybe serve the story better if it was moved to another part of the book. Overall, there's just too much going on in Boroden's mind in these three paragraphs and I think each new thought needs a little room to breathe and to be much clearer, almost for each thought to stand alone in different scene, or even simplified since I know I've just dumped a lot on you in this paragraph.

- I suggest adding a transition line between these two sentences; "‘Hëki,’ Harfan cautioned, gesturing his brother away.[insert transition here]{-Paragraph Break-}‘What ails Boroden?’ Aira asked Hëkitarka."

This was certainly an emotional chapter! I would very much like to know why Boroden is so much more effrontery (or affrontery since google can't tell me the difference) to Aira than before, he appears broken and it is truly heartbreaking since he is such a strong character usually.

Other than just some typical "what happens next questions" though, I have no more suggestions, so I'll take my leave now.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by Wintersage
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Alice!

Another great chapter! The events in this passage layer the first chapter in a manner that builds tension in all the right areas. I absolutely loved the interactions between all of the characters at the party, and the welcoming, jovial atmosphere that strikes Dryden as he enters his house was incredibly vibrant and strong.

Critiques follow...

- "Murar lacked the wit, the looks, and the personality, he lacked the human blood required for an acceptable courtship." Though this sentence is comparing the two potential suitors, both parts are running together. I suggest adding an "em dash" to separate the two failing sets of qualities so that the "he" will not be confused with the reference to Murar and the difference will be more abrupt.

Here's what I was thinking: "Murar lacked the wit, the looks, and the personality - while he lacked the human blood required for an acceptable courtship."

There are probably other better ways the draw attention to the juxtaposition of the two characters instead of an em dash, but essentially, I thought the comparison just needed to be clearer.

- The dialogue is very natural and relatable throughout this entire chapter. I especially loved the playful banter between Dryden and his sister.

- The scars are a fascinating addition. After reading about Dryden's memories of suffering with this strange malady, I had so many questions. Great job with drawing the reader further into the plot with another sublayer of tension.

- The line, “'You two picked interesting men to marry,'” is absolutely hilarious. It made me chuckle:)

- This line is a little clumsy to read, “Not many things annoyed him as much as dirtying a brand new pair he’d just put on.” Maybe because it's is deviating from the classic “nothing annoyed him as much as…” but for me at least, “Not many things…” may read better if replaced or reworded.

I really don't have many suggestions for this chapter. The only other thing I can think of would be to look out for places where the sentence structure gets a little stiff. One such area would be "Nobody else bothered him as he climbed...light from passing through the lone window." This is just my personal opinion, but the section was a bit formulaic. I suggest combining a couple of the sentences somewhere in the highlighted section to break up the "1 and 2" pattern.

That's all! I'll be turning to your website to continue reading, and I may just be more casual and parrot you by jotting thoughts down on a word doc for my next review.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review by Wintersage
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hi Holly!

Some small errors in this chapter; concision, spelling, etc. Otherwise, the scene is straightforward - Midhir is taking advantage of Glymfindor's hospitality, he then receives Krysila and Leanan who give him a "memory book" in exchange for his loyalty. Midhir is alarmed by this book's knowledge and tries to burn it, but is interrupted by Amulas and leaves with his hunting dogs. Glimfydor has been spying on Midhir the entire time and decides to contact Aira via "thought communication."

You keep the reader entertained with continual new uses for magic and the revelation of Glimfyndor and Amulas as allies to the brownie's plight. I do wonder though where the newfound "thought communication" takes the reader since we have not witnessed its use as of yet.

Critiques:
- Missing comma/sentence break here; "Even better[,] Glimfyndor had informed him as politely as he could that hunting was not the custom in the woods of Glorlinderin since the elves were vegetarians..."

- This line would benefit from some slight re-wording; "He assured Glimfyndor that he should be honoured that he had paid him a visit after that detestable business with the brownies ruining the last Seelie Court by objecting to being ousted from the woods of Novgorad where they had settled."

- 'My guards sensed that there was something not quite as it should be[right] about them and wished to detain them.’ It may be simpler to replace the highlighted phrase with "right" to consolidate the sentence more.

- It looks like you are missing a paragraph break between the two lines, "Yes, I know her. She has come on private business. Please go now.’ Midhir flicked his hand dismissively at Glimfyndor and Amulas, displeased by the disturbance. [Insert paragraph break?] ‘Well,’ he demanded crustily once the door had shut with a satisfying clunk."

- Awkward line here; "She had no qualms about complying, truculent though Leanan looked about meeting Midhir." Maybe this; " She had no qualms about complying, though Leanan certainly appeared truculent about meeting Midhir..." will be clearer.

- Are the commas necessary in this line; "When he emerged, he was quaking with fury, yet with fear too."? I suggest removing the commas and replacing the second with an em dash; "When he emerged he was quaking with fury - [and] yet with fear too."

- "He knew that he was in the wrong and that this could now so easily be discovered." This sentence is strangely vague and I suggest just re-writing it to clarify your meaning. What exactly could be easily discovered - the book? The information in the book? Maybe expand more on how "he was in the wrong" since Midhir doesn't sound like someone who would ever admit to being wrong - even to himself.

- Between these two lines, there is an incomplete transition. "He crushed the book tightly closed as if willing it to turn into dust. -- Aira knew yet she had not spoken." The POV suddenly shifts to focus on Aira's mindset, but it is unclear what exactly Aira knows, and if the passage has transitioned to Mihir thinking about Aira, or the narration shifting to focus solely on Aira's thoughts (if that makes any sense.) Add in a line of brief transition and the shift will be seamless.

- "She [had] left her work with gold thread at the embroidery frame set before a window to go to her guest." The phrase about the frame "set before a window" crams too much in one sentence. I advise removing that section, and then adding in "had."

- "Glimfynor emerged for [from] behind the tapestry..." Just a typo.

One more thing - towards the end of the chapter, you have written "Glymfinor" instead of"Glymfyndor." I'm not sure if this has happened more than once in the chapter or not, since name slips are literally invisible. Period. Maybe just skim through a couple more times.

That's all!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hello!

Warning - apparently I've decided to be mean today. Critiques follow...

Critiques:
- "Its walls were a tumble of carved stone; the remains of the underground harbour of Velmoran piled where they had fallen during the kraken’s attack upon the stronghold of the brownies." "They" is reading strangely because even though it references "remains" it feels as if it should be referencing the harbor as a whole. I suggest replacing "they" with "it."

- "A beautiful young sídhe swung from the cave roof.." Do you mean "ceiling?" "Roof" just sounded strange.

- This image, "The undertow dangled the skeletons of brownies trapped beneath wood or stone and dragged to a watery grave." I assume you mean that the ocean's currents reveal the skeleton's of these unfortunate souls- I just cannot see how they "dangle" if they are underwater. Do you mean "tangle," almost like seaweed? I also suggest choosing to remove either "trapped beneath wood or stone" or "dragged to a watery grave" since the sentence has a lot going on.

- "Leanan was no more than a pawn this." (?) I believe "this" is a mistake.

- There is a weird repeat of Leanan's actions in the scene where she is focusing on the stories of the dead and is interrupted by someone. The first time it makes sense; "My Lady, your mother wishes to see you.’ Vortimus’s voice shattered Leanan’s reverie..." The second time though, the reader doesn't receive a transition into Leanan's resumed thoughts and so the scene seems to repeat itself as another character begins interacting with Leanan and Vortimus disappears from the scene (I wasn't really sure where Vortimus went, maybe add that in as well); "Leanan’s attention was broken from the half-smashed skull of a brownie girl never to grow into adulthood."

- "‘His time in Midhir’s dungeons doesn’t make him less full of venom for me..." This sentence is awkward. Would "‘His time in Midhir’s dungeons hasn't made him any less venomous..." read better?

- "You’ll not need to ask how he is when I tell you that he is kept on the rack with [as] the other prisoners; goblins, werewolves, hobyahs[,] and hags all quarrelling for a scrap of his flesh." There is a missing comma here. I also added in "as" because the "with" gave mixed messages; at first it seemed he was kept on the rack along with the other prisoners, and then it shifted to the prisoners eating him. The "as" should clarify" the situation.

- I love this subtle parallel with the story of Prometheus; "You’ll not need to ask how he is when I tell you that he is kept on the rack with the other prisoners; goblins, werewolves, hobyahs[,] and hags all quarrelling for a scrap of his flesh...Death would be better than to be constantly renewed only to be ripped apart again.’"

- ‘He had no choice; Midhir was blackmailing Father to give me away for his bride. He’s my father, how can I but[not] forgive him?" This logic is...interesting, only because Krysila is Leanan's mother, and so with the same logic, shouldn't Leanan feel obligated to forgive her as well if she is basing her forgiveness on family connection? (I know of course she wouldn't, which is why I was wondering if you should list a different reason for why she forgave her father since the family connection logic doesn't really hold up.)

- I'm also not following here; "‘I would wish you to be as faithful to your mother, but I see that I must force your hand. I suppose you’d like to see your father set free from his agony?’

‘I’m never going to marry Midhir!’ Leanan snapped decisively." How did Leanan get from Krysila's semi-threat/bargain of setting her father free to marrying Midhr? I know that Krysila has Midhir in the palm of her hand, but how would that fare with the upholding of an old agreement with Leanan's father and Midhir?

- "Then she said calmly, ‘free me.'" Didn't Kyrisila already free her? ("‘Cut her down,’ Krysila ordered as their eyes locked.")And as a follow-up; Now that Leanan has her bonds off, what is preventing her from leaving? (Maybe mention what restricts her from leaving somewhere else in the chapter so that the "free me" means something different to the reader than just the physical "freeing" of Leanan from her bonds.

This chapter suffers from iffy transitions. There are a lot of places where the logic of the characters doesn't follow through or where the scenes are disjointed and awkward. Vortimus appears for a sentence, but what he does, or what happens to him after, is not clear. Other than that though, the imagery is pretty strong regarding the ocean and the cave, and the Prometheus allusion, even if unintentional, is great.

I can only hope some of this review makes sense, but anyhow, that's all I have for this chapter at the moment.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review by Wintersage
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello and welcome to WDC!

This is a great first chapter! Already, the reader can get a sense of the characterization within the plot; Byromar holds a stigma against thruins, Dryden (a thruin) was orphaned as a child and raised by another villager in town, Haley is well-liked by the villagers, and in general, the village is a close-knit community. Thus, the appearance of outsiders makes then uneasy. Both Dryden and Haley are likeable characters, hardworking and amiable, and Dryden's instant complexity has already drawn the readers into the story.

Below, I've given a few spot critiques. These are just my personal opinion (although many are grammar oriented,) so take from them what you will. I can be very picky sometimes as a reviewer, and if I am, that usually means I really liked your piece and do not have much else to say improvement-wise.

Critiques:

- In the line, " With his pointed ears covered...the exposed blood fade to its vibrant white colour," the word "vibrant" is sticking out to me, possibly because "vibrant" is normally associated with a visible color - not white since it is achromatic. Would "brilliant," "striking," or "blinding" be a better word to describe the whiteness of his blood?

- In the next line down, the sentence, "Even then, the chances of a confrontation was [were] rare in a place like Byromar" stands. I believe the word is "were" since "chances" is plural.

- "Haley stood halfway up a ladder with her back turned to Dryden, stretched on her toes while she filled a basket with ripe fruit." The bolded phrase is reading strangely. I suggest replacing it with a different description, maybe "rose to her toes?"

- Just a missing comma in the phrase, "Dryden crept unnoticed, picked a rotten apple from the ground[,] and tossed it in her direction."

- There were two times in this chapter where the word "fianc" was used as a substitute for "fiancé." I have not seen "fianc" used in this way before, and suggest utilizing the common form instead (unless "fianc" is a colloquial term in this world you have created, in which case, I would state this somewhere.) I did look "fianc" up, and it appears to be a form of texting speech. Though it's not technically wrong, it may be confusing to most readers who are unfamiliar with this form.

- In the middle of the piece you have a single question mark. I'm not sure if this is a placeholder for future added writing, or if it simply a transition notation (such as *** would be used.) Either way, I suggest either adding a note or footnote to readers just for clarification. If it is a section break, then "***" may be a better choice as it is more universally used than "?."

- I love the section where Dryden "lean[s] into Haley just enough for the man to notice..." Subtle characterization like this is so entertaining to read, especially when it has the desired effect; "...it sparked a flare of obvious envy."

To conclude, this chapter portrayed all the little nuances of a lively village extremely well. There is a clear social hierarchy, with the mayor holding the highest importance within the village. Zaltoras was another layer that added quite a bit of complexity to the chapter. The fact that there appears to just be one cloud, and that there are certain colloquial associations linked with Zaltoras - "Zaltoras brought the rain, the thunder, the lightning--all unpleasant things. The sun brought warmth, brightness, tranquility--pleasant things" - brings a semblance of cultural significance to the strange cloud (almost is if there was some religious, or mythological significance to it.) As a reader, I found this intriguing and unique.

That's all for now! This was a highly enjoyable read, and I look forward to exploring your portfolio more and reading any new chapters you may post. If you have any questions, or if any part of my review does not make sense (or even if I have interpreted something incorrectly,) feel free to contact me. I am happy to help with any WDC concerns you may have!

Happy Writing!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hello,

What a great introductory chapter! The transition between this chapter and the final chapter of Book 1 was seamless - though some time has passed, it is not too much time, and the reader was well set up for what to expect in Book 2. I can't speak for readers beginning with Book 2, but in my opinion, if readers do start from the second book, there is enough exposition woven within the events of this chapter that will help them "catch up" on the background of the characters (although to truly do justice to the story, they must begin from Book 1 :)

Critiques:
- "d[r]yad" Just a spelling error.

- "statu[r]e" Spelling error again.

- "Even though she knew that Boroden thought upmost [only] of her safety when he told her to [insisted she] remain with the dryads, she wished she had gone with him on his quest to reclaim their coastal kingdom of Velmoran stolen by an evil Kraken. " As this sentence is a little lengthy, I suggest splitting it into two sentences. I've bolded the part that could be taken into its own sentence, and also edited a couple of other places where the sentence could be clarified and condensed.

- I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the wolf is Boroden? If I'm wrong, I will find out in the coming chapters, but I love that you have that plot point added! It keeps the reader engaged and guessing.

- "Glancing up at the harvest moon as she and Gretchen left for the village that night, Aira felt sorry that she would miss the chance to await the arrival of the mysterious wolf tonight." You repeated yourself with "night" at the end of each phrase. I removed "tonight" so that you're not restating your phrases.

- This sentence begins with "yet" but there is no contradicting statement before, so it sounds a little odd; " Yet, the brownies did their work by night to avoid humans noticing them." Maybe just remove the "yet?"

- "The brownies tore back to their cottage with their hearts pounding so fast that they expected them every moment to burst..." This sentence is a little wordy, so I removed a couple of words for conciseness.

- The scene where the forest and dryads were destroyed was heartbreaking to read! The cruelty of men knows no bounds.

- Towards the bottom of the chapter, the line, "This identified her as a sídhe...." stands. Maybe, to make the line more mysterious, it could read; "The eyes of a sídhe."

This chapter is very effective at summing up the essential exposition from the first book, introducing the main characters, and displacing Aira and Gretchen, giving ample motivation for the readers to continue with the story as the plot is quickly set in motion.

That's all! I look forward to the next chapter and hope you are surviving your studies. (Personally, I think everyone loses a piece of their soul during finals week but no matter - winter break approaches and soon we shall all be free!

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hey there!
This is a grammatically sound story, highly intriguing, and certainly a cross-genre/inter-disciplinary piece! I found it to be both a political critique (or study) and a meditation on different interests/occupations (With a little romance mixed in on the side.) Below I have listed my suggestions. Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion, and I did enjoy reading your story - the cheesy romance lines especially!

Critiques:

- To begin, is it necessary to state that this nation is "fictitious?" (As seen in the line, "...the small, yet wealthy and fictitious nation...") For whatever reason, this took me out of the story, only because even though the piece is fiction, by writing it you have created a believable world - calling it "fictitious" sort of demeans the connection the reader may have to the events within this world.

- Before the line, "After what only felt like a few minutes...," I suggest indenting to create a new paragraph in order for the passage of time between the beginning and end of the ceremony is allowed to breathe/settle.

- Do you need both phrases in the line, "Can do. Sounds good..."? Removing one would have the same effect on the passage, and make the story more concise.

- I am a huge stickler for repetition, and in the following segment, "She approached the security checkpoint and presented her completed background check to the guard.... She passed through the topiary-filled grounds and arrived at the front entrance of the palace. She tentatively knocked on the door...," you have used "She" three times to open sentences. I recommend playing with the phrasing a little to vary the structure of the sentences, and thus engage the reader a tad more. (There are a couple more places within the passage that could do with the same correction - just break up the formatting a little more.)

- In the line, "She prerecorded the show, putting the music and dialogue on a CD.," I suggest adding in "had" before "prerecorded" in order to set the tense of the sentence.

- Naberg seems to accept the apparition's appearance just a little too easily. The line that I think would help bring the reader into the President's emotional conflict if altered reads, "I don't want to deal with this, but I sense that I have to, he thought..." Perhaps instead of the President following the apparition with a regretful "duty calls" attitude (which I associate more with a response to one of his children wetting the bed and calling for him to fix it,) a different sort of reaction may develop the President's character a little more. Would he not be terrified and worry for his family if he refuses the ghost's demand? Or perhaps he is intrigued and follows the ghost out of curiosity. Either way, involving an emotional reaction to the otherworldly experience will help add to his character.

- The sentence, "You know, don't you, that he banged his campaign secretary? I can't stand him," said Alicia...," is reading strangely. The "don't you" feels like it should come at the beginning of the sentence, or just be eliminated all together as it currently impedes the flow of the line.
"Don't you know that he banged his campaign secretary?" is also a bit more accusatory than what is written and may fit more with Alicia's forward-speaking character (at least from my perspective.)
**On second read, the "don't you" is not as problematic as I originally thought, so either way, the point comes across.**

- The scene where Victoria is thinking about Narberg doesn't feel natural, almost like she is creating an argument or justifying her attraction to the President. I suggest rephrasing the paragraph so that it feels like she is talking to herself, not justifying her beliefs to the reader.
Referenced section: "I wonder what he's doing right now, she thought. He's the foxiest forty-something I've ever seen. I don't know quite what it is, but there's something about him that entrances me. Not only is he hot, but he's a hell of a leader. His policies just make sense, and I can tell he cares about his people. I heard he has bipolar, but he doesn't let that stop him from leading the country well. I respect people who don't let their issues stop them from doing what they need to do."
I also suggest adding in "disorder" after "bipolar" to complete the phrase since "bipolar" is not typically used as a synecdoche itself. Or, simply alter the phrase to "I heard he is bipolar...".

- Great character development here! - "This career is the only way I can give the kids a better upbringing than [what] I had," said Gabriel." This one line certainly gives us an insight into the life of Narberg without diving too far into detail.

- I was going to bring up the extremely lax security presented in the story, but the line " DeLorea is not known for its security..." dissuaded me. I must add though, I still do not understand why Narberg would eat a random box of eggs sitting at the front steps of his palace without a trusted staff giving background information or a reasonable explanation for why it is safe to eat,(and also why he would open his own door if he lives in a palace? Even if he isn't royalty, he is the most important official in the country and I would assume someone else would be there to receive visitors.) I'm thinking a discrepancy with packages may make a little more sense, such as the President is expecting a package and the courier thinks the package on the step is the correct one and hands it to him as the President is leading Victoria down the hall to the living room to have her oversee where he will place the painting. (This way the package comes from a trusted employee, and Victoria is present for the mix-up and is forced to put two and two together as she is inside the palace instead of enjoying the egg on the front step.) - Just a thought.

- Why would Alicia tell Victoria about trying to assassinate the President? She knows her friend is in love with Narberg and readily defends him whenever they meet, and yet told her, the one person who might actually turn her in to prevent treason? This was just a little illogical, especially since Victoria then flat out tells the President about Alicia, without reacting to the horrible act Alicia has just committed, or considering the consequences of betraying her friend. I suggest adding in a couple sentences of emotional conflict here since Alicia, despite her actions, is still Victoria's friend.

- The reincarnation twist at the end was certainly surprising! Spending the afterlife as a cat would definitely be interesting!

To conclude, you have some very compelling characters; Victoria with her fascinating professions, and the President with his mysterious background and marital issues among other complexities. All I can add is that sometimes it feels as if you are writing two different stories; one where Victoria pines after the President and eventually makes her way into his life in the most unexpected way possible, and another where the President faces the issue of the pandemic and is forced to confront the political fallout while Victoria struggles in her own way with the pandemic. I suggest weaving her romantic attachment with the President throughout the pandemic portion of the story, since the romance is not really addressed for that entire section, and only picked up toward the end. This way the theme of "love in the time of the pandemic" is interspersed throughout and keeps the motion of Victoria's infatuation going.

With all that said, I did very much enjoy reading your story and look forward to exploring the rest of your portfolio! If you have any questions about my review, especially if I am unclear or have misinterpreted any parts of the passage, please feel free to contact me. I am happy to help in whatever way I can, and am willing to read anything else you may run by me.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hallo!

This is a very stuffed chapter - lots going on. With that said, it was cohesive, the character's roles clear, and progressed from one scene to another without confusion.

Critiques:

- You are just missing an "s" in "traveller-"; ‘No, there were many reports of the ogres attacking human villages near the forest and they’d been snatching traveller away for years,’ Aira pointed out."

-I suggest adding in a comma here; "That may be so[,] but it doesn't..." (Found in the section about ogres in the beginning of the chapter.)

- In the section that begins with, "No! How can you be so cruel?...I had no idea that you heed dealings with the Unseelie Court, yet it is their words you are listening to in this," I suggest condensing the last line a little.

Ex. "I had no idea that you heed dealings with the Unseelie Court, yet it is their words you are listening [listen] to in this..."

- The following phrase, taken from the section where Leanan arrives, is a little clunky. "Midhir smiled to himself thinking her exertion only made her look more beautiful." I suggest removing the "look," it is unnecessary, and then up the drama of the line a little bit since Midhir's actions/thoughts are very creepy.

Ex. "Midhir smiled to himself slowly, the malicious glimmer in his eye revealing his enjoyment of the sight of Leanan's beautiful figure struck with exertion..." - Or something like that. Basically, increase the creepiness factor.

- I suggest adding a comma here as indicated; "Pent with fury, Harfan charged at Leanan Sídhe with his war hammer raised[,] ready to defend his brother.

- Why is the line, " I will make your life blaze brightly my rainbow boy?’ a question? This is found during Leanan's monologue about absorbing the lifeblood of artists and writers, etc.

- "I’m not fickle, truly, it’s just I want to live life to the full[est] and that’s not understood.

- Are the comma's necessary here? "If you had any conscience at all you’d see that your attitude, and your actions, are wrong." It looks like they break up the flow of the sentence, and it might read better without them.

- "‘I know it because Lady Frenudin wanted it passing down the generations of her line.’ Would "wanted the truth to pass down the generations" sound better?

- In the section where Boroden is now awake and is against the tree, it is a little unclear as to who Klaufi is referring to when he says, "‘Don’t say that. He might rant at Aira for putting herself at such risk for he thinks he’s a worthless old turnip." I assume you mean Boroden, for in the next line Aira defends Boroden, but I'm not sure as to why Boroden would be referred to as a "useless old turnip" by Klaufi - I may have missed something.

To conclude, I was left with just one question as the chapter ended, which you'll probably answer in the next chapter. What happens to Leanan? Does she die (or get banished or trapped since she is immortal)? She sort of disappears after being stabbed with the knife.

That's all, I'll try and read the next chapter soon.

Happy Writing!
14
14
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi there!
This is a very interesting story, and the allusion to red riding hood was fairly compelling. With that said, I do have a couple of suggestions. Please keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion, and that I do not intend to offend or upset, I only seek to help.

Critiques:
- First of all, this story is lacking cohesion and adequate transitions. It is a tad confusing, and thus the line at the end - "I am now dead" - doesn't really have the shocking effect you are going for because the reader spends so much time trying to answer a number of essential questions about the passage's plot. I've listed some questions for you to consider below:

         - What exactly is the narrator? I could not tell if he was a leaf, a wolf (as taken from the "red riding hood" allusion,) or something else(?).

         - Why is the narrator hiding?

         - What significance does the "red riding hood" reference hold?

         - What can the narrator not touch Annette?

         - Why does the narrator see replicas of himself, and how is this essential to the story plot?

         - What are these "other forests" Annette keeps referring to? I understand that she is not alive, and that you may be referencing some other world beyond mortal existence, essentially an "afterlife" of sorts, however, any subtle messaging is unsuccessful and confusing. I suggest going back to the passage, and working in the idea of Annette's ghostly existence a bit more.

         - What relevance does the narrator's backstory hold? Specifically, what "evil" has the narrator committed? You reference a number of plot point related to his backstory in the third to last line, however these plot points had never been effectively introduced. Reference; "Together, I made myself see what evil I had done, why I loved sunsets, and I saw grief." What does this mean? What evil?

- The leaf metaphor that you have used is not coming across correctly. I assume you are referencing the change of seasons as a leaf fades in color when winter approaches, but because you have not referenced the "changing color" of the leaf or written in a seasonal change, the metaphor does not make sense in the context of the passage.

To conclude, I would recommend isolating the plot of the story, eliminating the inessential plot points, doing a bit more in terms of characterization, and adding in much more descriptive explanation.

Hopefully this review is beneficial. I in no way intend for this review to come off as harsh, and would love to read this again after you have revised. If you have any other questions please feel free to email me, and I would be willing to help in whatever way I can.

Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hey there!

I'll keep this brief since I know you are still in the process of formulating.

First of all, the concept is very creative and I am so excited to see how it plays out in the rest of the novel. Valerie is already an intriguing character with her cynicism and rebellious attitude. Her relationship/friendship with Callen is also very interesting, especially because she see the "person" behind the soldier's façade.

For corrections, all I will say now is that it might make more sense for the sentence that begins with "The metalworker gave a tight smile and a small wave to Callen..." to be rephrased with "A metal worker..." instead. It reads strangely for this metalworker to be referred to as "the" when he has not been introduced and is thus far unimportant to Valerie's storyline.

That's all! I'll keep checking for updates, and in the meantime, keep exploring WDC!

Happy Writing!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review by Wintersage
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Happy Halloween!

Critiques
- "He seemed to all who saw him inspiring and noble, although he felt awkward." The beginning of the sentence, "...all who saw him inspiring and noble..." is awkward and needs rephrasing.

- "Boroden tried to keep up with her pleasantries, wondering that one so stylish should show such an interest in him." Would "how" and "could" be a better substitute for the phrase?

- "Hëkitarka came next[,] carrying a basin for the diners to wash their hands." Here you have a missing comma, which I've added in the brackets.

- In the sentence after the sentence above, Boroden thinks "This was insufferable," and at first the reader is not clear as to what he means by his abrupt statement. Maybe describe the impact of his disgust and disquiet on his physical appearance first:
         Ex. "Boroden reddened in quiet anger at the sight of Hëkitarka carrying a basin for the diners to wash their hands. Such an chore was far below the ranking of his trusted friend, and Bordon seethed with disgust at King Kerfinror's treatment of his entourage."

- You have some lovely subtle discrimination and classism here; "I hear that brownies like nothing better than to be servants. It’s a good, active pursuit,’ Serena commented tritely...," a great layer that adds to the King's character development.

- In the sentence, "Fennec stood bored behind the chair of a vociferous lord waiting for him to take the drink that he held ready..." I don't think "bored" is reading well in the way that it is currently written. I suggest splitting the sentence with a comma here and stating, "boredom apparent upon his countenance..." or something along those lines.

- Do you mean "dessert" in the sentence that reads "Klaufi Spadefoot entered with the second most decorative aspect of the meal; the desert..." because I'm sure the guests are not eating sugared sand from the far off reaches of the Sahara.

- In the sentence: "He was bewildered by the shimmering, whirling acrobats that appeared as [if] from nowhere in front, behind and from every side [to dance around him]." Here, I've re-written the second part of this sentence to flow a little better, and added an "if" to help with a transition.

- In this paragraph; "Myfanwy watched it eagerly as Klaufi processed unsteadily towards the high table. Serena made a snide remark about Myfanwy’s propensity towards plumpness which Boroden barely heard. He was looking sternly at Klaufi, willing him not to be an embarrassment. Hëkitarka caught Serena’s words, as did Myfanwy who was crestfallen. Hëkitarka went between comforting her and remonstrating with Serena, forgetting that he was not meant to confront his hosts and that he was slopping a pool of water onto the chair behind Myfanwy’s dour nurse." The bolded section somewhat detracts from the tense atmosphere Boroden has just shared with the reader. I suggest removing it and possibly adding it elsewhere.

- Another great cliffhanger at the end! I very much would like to know how the dress is able to reveal the past and exert some level of mystical control on Aira. Also, what on Earth is happening to Boroden?!


Anyhow, this chapter was very enjoyable to read, and the second part especially pulled me along all the way to the end. I have no further corrections.

Enjoy Halloween, and I look forward to the next chapter!

Happy Writing!




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hello there,
I'd first like to start by saying that the enchantment scene was a nice addition, and the transition from the "gentian" flowers to the conversation about the death of Boroden's mother was very well done. It's very difficult to truly bring character's to life, but as I think I may have said before, you have a knack for relatable and realistic details (like Aira half-eating her hair - we've all been there before :)

Anyhow, here are the corrections for this chapter. This time they're all pretty much just grammatical lapses.

Critiques:
- This chapter seems to have a lot of missing commas;
         - "Noticing that she was awake[,] Boroden brightened and carried a flask over to her."
         - "They settled on a fallen tree trunk and shared a meal of crusty cob rolls, hedgerow salad[,] and a chunk of the fruit cake that Isla had put by for Christmas."
         - "In fact, he had been known as the most cheerful and friendly bairn in the palace[,] always ready for jokes and laughter."
         - "He slipped outside[,] leaving her his cloak and[-] she realised too late to protest[-] his sword." (I also added hyphens because commas were not quite differentiating enough to seperate Aira's thoughts and Boroden's actions.)

- I also found one unnecessary comma in the very beginning:
         - "She shook her drowsiness from her with a jolt upon realising that[,] instead of the roughly sawn beam over their nest in the crog loft, above her was the sky."

- There are a couple of places where you accidently used the incorrect tense:
         - "Things would be better once the wound was freshly dressed and she had grown accustom[ed] to walking again she told herself..." Here "accustom," while it could technically work in present tense if it stood alone in a sentence, is reading strangely because you have already used "dressed" in the past tense earlier in the line. You probably already know this, but when listing actions or just stating sequential actions, try to use the same tense to link each actions/noun/verb together.
         - "Boroden’s face lighted up with pleasure at her praise." Here, it's "lit" not "lighted."
         - "His face lighted up as her eyes flickered open, but he looked shaken." You have the same issue in this line as the correction above.

- Finally, there were a couple of lines that were a bit wordy and confusing:
         - "He feared that an infection might set in, though he did not speak of this to Aira for he did not want to alarm her." This line is just very wordy and stiff. I've rewritten it below, splitting it in two and removing unnecessary joining words.
Ex. "He feared infection might set in though he did not share this with Aira. Alarming her would only worsen matters/her health."
         - In the paragraph that starts with "A hole in the clouds..." you have the sentence "The clouds behind them looked dark; a colour never known when they hid the sun in a dull, muted grey blanket." I'm not entirely sure what you are trying to say here, the sentence is just a bit confusing to read.

Other than those corrections, all I have to say is that this chapter could probably be condensed a little. Traveling scenes of course cannot be avoided, and the dialogue between Boroden and Aira is great for their character development-Boroden especially, however, there are a couple of places that could be edited out so that the plot isn't slowing unnecessarily.

I think that's about all for now, so I'll finish up here.

Happy writing!


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18
18
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi there!
What a way to pick up a *ahem* woman (since I'm not entirely sure what her species is.) Your imagery is very detailed and compelling, thoroughly bringing this foreign planet to life. The main character, the Professor, is consistent and his interactions with the other humans very much brings out the weight of his decision, effectively highlighting the consequences humanity must now live with for his decision. All in all, a very enjoyable read.

My only suggestion would be to take a second look at the line of dialogue that reads, "But, isn’t it always the way?" Currently, the "the" in the sentence is bugging me, and "that" may fit better within the line. "The" is impeding the flow of the thought.

That's all! I look forward to exploring the rest of your portfolio. If you have and questions about WDC feel free to ask, and I'll try and help in anyway I can.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing!


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19
19
Review of Roman & Barbarian  
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi there!
I loved this twist on the classic tale of war-brothers. Very creative. I do have a couple of corrections for you, mostly just grammatical errors, so take from them what you will.

Critiques:
- The sentence, "They had both lost friends or seen them injured out of service losing limbs in the fight..." isn't flowing correctly. I believe "out of service" has been written in the wrong place, and suggest rephrasing the sentence.
Ex. "They had both lost friends and witnessed their injuries; limbs and lives, all taken in the fight. Injuries that forever placed them out of service."

- "Also they had never gotten on in camp especially after a few drinks..." In this phrase, you do not need the "also" at the beginning of the sentence, it's just an unnecessary buffer.

- Referencing the line: "The other[,] a natural born dark haired Italian with the built in sense of superiority that entailed[...]" The sentence ends just after "entailed," without actually describing what exactly the "superiority" entailed.. You need another few words to complete this sentence.

- Finally, you have a few areas where there are random spaces between a word and a comma.
         - "Babbling on , intermittently..."
         - "The Barbarian was about to reply , but..."
Both easy fixes.

Anyhow, that all for now. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, and I'll be happy to help any way that I can. I look forward to exploring the rest of your portfolio!

Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing1


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review by Wintersage
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi there!
Very creative work you have here! I do suggest that you space out your paragraphs a bit more. Currently, most readers will find them difficult to follow due to the large groupings of text and lack of spaces between paragraphs. (I would even break apart the paragraphs you do have to much smaller chunks.) Fortunately, this is an easy fix and will probably improve your readership once resolved.

There are also numerous typos within the text, which makes the story choppy and sometimes frustrating to read. Take the following example below of one such typo to search for: unnecessary spaces within words.
- "I t was the fourth demorannual..."

Hopefully this review has been helpful, and I really did like your story so please do not think me harsh in my deliverance of my critiques. If you have any questions, I am always happy to help answer them in whatever way I can.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review by Wintersage
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi there!
I'll jump right in here:
- Missing comma: "Vaguely she was aware of distant sounds; shrieks, growls[,] and clattering."

- You seem to have a sentence out of place in the paragraph "Terrified, Aira sprang into action. The ogres grew closer. A family fled for the hills. The young son fell, an ogre javelin in his back. Aira felt so powerless. Their only option was to flee." This line "Terrified, Aira sprang into action" would fit the progression of the plot better if it came after "Their only option was to flee." This way when you state that Aira springs into action, the motion continues into the next line and isn't stalled by a scene in which she is only a bystander.

- "There was such a gloating in his eyes that it was no longer Isla that Aira was most worried about; it was herself." Did you mean "loathing" here? I feel like "gloating" just isn't working for this sentence seeing as the ogre hasn't actually killed her yet and hates brownies.

- In the paragraph that begins with, "Only when she had some respite..." there are a number of sentences towards the end that do not seemed completely linked; "She reasoned that at least hidden here she had a chance. The door was not far. The ogres searched intently for her inside the cottage, although there would be more outdoors. Aira decided to risk it." Specifically, the issue transition is "The door was not far. The ogres searched intently for her inside the cottage, although there would be more outdoors." I get what you are trying to say - her chances of survival were far slimmer hiding in the cabin, even though there were still a large number of ogres outside- but the thought needs to be more filled in.

- Referencing the paragraph that begins with "Even as the creature fell another ogre lunged forward..." there is one sentence which is using the wrong tense: "The ogre keeled. Righted himself, shaking his head to regain his senses." Either combining the two sentences or rephrasing the second will give you a more grammatically correct sentence.

Ex. "The ogre keeled. Righting himself, he shook his head to regain his senses." or
"The ogre keeled, righted himself, and shook his head to regain his senses."

- "When she opened her eyes, the cottage was illuminated as if by cloudless midday sun, except that really evening was drawing in." Here, "really" sounds a bit messy. "In reality" or "in actuality" may be a better choice.

- For these two lines of dialogue (spoken by Boroden) "I never imagined I would see you again. When I saw you facing off those ogres I thought I must be dreaming...’ and ‘I’m here now and I shan’t let you come to harm. Your stepmother told me that you were here...’ I suggest that you don't add another opening quotation mark for the second line because it does come right after the first line. The separate quotation sets make it look like each line is said by a different person, which was a little confusing when I read through it the first time.

The action scenes were very well-written in this chapter. They were specific and straightforward, moving along with the action at a quick and easy pace. The handstand detail was also a very nice addition - that's one of the traits about your style that I enjoy, all of the little details that you take so much care in implementing throughout each chapter.

That's all for now!
Happy Writing!




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22
22
Review by Wintersage
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hallo!
All right, prepare yourself, this is a long one.

Critiques:
- To begin, the first five paragraphs, concerning the appearance and character of the Cailleach Bheur, were a bit confusing. Even though later in the chapter it is cleared up that she is indeed present in the brownie's reality, it's difficult to tell at first if she is a legend come to life or purely metaphorical. I suggest adding an explanation (transition) before the sentence, "Cailleach Bheur [had] retreated to the high ground and turned to stone once the appearance of the first flower drove her back up the mountains." (If you had explained this in a previous chapter though, pay no heed to my suggestion.)

- "When they began to see cottages again Gretchen told Aira that they must seek service in one of the cottages." This sentence, specifically the use of "cottages" both at the beginning and the end, is a bit repetitive. I suggest removing one of the "cottages," and using another descriptive phrase instead; "humble abodes..." etc.

- There are a couple of sentences that are missing commas:
         - "Move on they did, helping at many farms, inns[,] and crofts over the summers of the next fifty years."
         - "Having found little to eat...the brownies...ate the foyson from the just baked oat cakes, whey[,] and cranachan that Isla left out for them.." (This is under the paragraph the starts with "Isla was a strange child..."
         - "Aira lingered in the moonlight[,] looking [gazing] across the glen to where distant peaks reared their loaf shaped heads to the cloud wracks." Here, this comma is not entirely necessary, but I though it would be a nice sentence break. I also wondered which connotation of "wrack" you are using here (I was thinking either cloud-break/burst, or cloud gathering.) Anyhow, I just love the imagery in this sentence!

- "Yet mostly humans rose in delight to find their chores completed and their homes spotless." "Mostly" seems awkward in this sentence.

- "'Now we must fend for ourselves and we’re weak.'" Here, I advise rephrasing the sentence, or just switching the front half and second half to better the sentence flow.
         Ex. "Now we're weak and must fend for ourselves’

- "They came down from the mountains and crossed fields where the grass was bleached and struck like whips at Aira’s legs." My love of hyphens has pushed me to suggest switching "struck like whips" with "struck whip-like...".

- In Isla's first line of dialogue, "...anyway, the clattering spinning wheel stops my ears going to sleep..." changing "spinning wheel" to "spindle," a more colloquial term, may help the dialogue to be more natural (it's a synecdoche; part for a whole.) Also, the end of the sentence "...stops my ears going to sleep" is a bit awkward, even for a little girl. I have rewritten it below.
         Ex. "...anyway, the clattering spindle stops up my ears, and I can't sleep."

- The sentence, "Since her husband died things were tough..." is very vague and sort of insincere. "Things were tough" is how I would describe my chemistry homework, not the isolation and struggle that would ensue after the death of my lifelong partner. (Hopefully that does not come off harsh, I mean it in a humorous sense :) Basically, just switch out "things" with "life" or another equally compatible word, and you should be good to go.

- "In the sentence, "Nevertheless, upon starting it gave a treacherous squeak that they feared might have woken Mrs McCrone or her daughters..." I feel the need to insert a "such" at some point.
Ex. "Nevertheless, upon starting it gave [such] a treacherous squeak that they feared [it] may have woken Mrs[.] McCrone or her daughters."

- "She peered into every corner and crevice hoping to discern where the brownies hid but she could find[found] nothing." - Less wordy this way.

- "Even if Isla looked there then there was little to distinguish the nest that the brownies built from that of a bird." This sentence is reading awkwardly. Maybe get rid of or rephrase the "there"s, and then fiddle with the "distinguish the nest..." section.
Ex. "Even if Isla had investigated the crevice it would have been difficult to distinguish the brownie's nest from that of a bird's feathery hovel."

- "She reminded herself how she loved Gretchen and that it was better to live [as] a recluse and [be] content than to have all the society in the world and to be despised or saddened."

- Finally, when Aira reveals herself to Isla, she uses "I'm me myself" to hide her identity. Yet, she then goes on to say "Aye. I have my stepmother, Gretchen, with me." Has she suddenly just forgotten the rule she previously upheld?

This chapter conveyed the passage of time in the human world versus the passage of time in a brownie's life very well. Aira's nostalgia came across sincere and mournful, and I was especially saddened by Isla's quick decline.

As always, let me know about any questions, and I look forward to the next chapter!

Happy Writing!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
Review by Wintersage
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello!
I very much enjoyed your story, especially how the parallels of human greed and sentiment are displayed by these other races. I know that this story is only intended to exist as it is, with minimal information about the other planetary inhabitants, but if you ever do add on, I would love to read an extended exploration of these "visitors" from afar.

My only suggestions would be to reread a couple of areas to eliminate unnecessary commas- "So quickly have the native inhabitants gained in numbers, along with their use of fossil fuels, without any thought to the future, is becoming something of a problem..." - is one example of a sentence that may need a couple spot-edits, however, the passage was an enjoyable read nevertheless.

That's all for now! I look forward to exploring the rest of your portfolio.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review by Wintersage
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello there!
I love that Boroden and Aira were able to meet, even if just for a little bit, but I hope he returns, because I would like to see more the the friendship dynamic between them.

In the first paragraph, regarding "Aira imagined that she would see him soon arriving late but with full bags of coins to pay the tithe of the brownie village..." I think you need a comma between "soon" and arriving, to space out the sentence a little more.

Farther down, when you describe Boroden coming in to land in the field, you state "On its back clung a rider, too far off yet to see clearly. He kept looking over his shoulder as if something followed him." If Boroden was so far off that she was not able to distinguish if the rider was brownie or foe, how is she able to see him looking back? To remedy this, maybe just write in that the rider was "too far off to make out facial features, but she was able to discern the small silhouette looking back frantically, checking its surroundings." I'm not sure if my sentence is even the best way to clarify things, but it does seem a bit stretched to be able to see a tiny head moving far off in the distance. Unless brownies have naturally acute eyes, in which case disregard the above.

Moving down to the scene where Boroden hugs her. Even though they are family, and we don't exactly know how close they were to one another in the past, its been quite some time since they last met and hugging seems a bit of abrupt emotional reunion. Maybe Aira, when remembering her mother's death, starts crying, and Boroden, sorrow etched upon his face, opens his arms to her, and says softly "Come here Aira" and then holds her as she cries. (Ok, that may be a tad dramatic, but basically, the hugging felt a bit abrupt, and you might want to add a short transition phrase about how Aira missed him, or about the strong friendship they had when she was younger, etc. to smooth out the abrupt action.)

I would also take another look at Boroden's reaction to speaking about his brothers' death. "'I'll gladly take them. I haven't eaten all day. My brothers died yesterday. I seem to have forgotten about the day to day things; eating, sleeping and all that.' This also seems very abrupt, and sort of random.
What Boroden is talking about makes sense, how the grief has pushed him out of a routine normalcy, however, I would think that he would have in no way recovered from such a death, since it's only been a day. Thus, speaking about the death woule be very difficult for him. A phrase like "'I'll gladly take them. I haven't eaten all day, and after yesterday..." A great sadness suddenly took his face, and though he attempted to hide it, the keen eyes of his old friend failed to miss the moment of pain and sorrow. Boroden continued, however, his words remained heavy with pent up emotion. "...I seem to have forgotten about the day to day things; eating, sleeping and all that."
This way, the reader is more completely able to feel again the emotional toll his brother, and the battle, have taken on him. Especially since Boroden has been keeping his feelings under a thick façade for a majority of the last few hours, it makes sense that he would be able to slightly relax around his friend.

The cliffhanger at the end! What a way to end a chapter! Anyway, those are about all the corrections I have for you this time, but as always, keep up the awesome work you're doing and I look forward to the next chapter of your book. In the meantime, Happy Writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review of The strange man  
Review by Wintersage
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hello!
Welcome to WDC! Your story was very compelling, and could easily be added on to, especially because the ending doesn't really conclude definitively. Instead, the reader is left wondering if the man in the apartment is truly who we are led to believe...

I have a couple of critiques for you, many of which are personal opinion, so take from them what you will.

Critiques:
- First of all, who is the "he" at the farm? You never actually reference a farmer or farmhand who fulfills the pronoun you have used. I suggest being a bit more specific in that sentence so that the reader isn't searching for a nonexistent character.

- The two sentences " Even though the sales were going alright every now and then. There was some times to where I had bad encounters with people..." in order to be grammatically correct, the two sentences should be combined. The first sentence at least, is currently not able to stand alone. You also have an issue with the tense used in the second sentence, where you have written "was some times to..." instead of "were some times...". (You also do not need the "to" after "times.")

- A little farther down, you begin to describe the strange man as "... a guy in shorts and was more ripped more than me." You have written "and" to join the two phrases, however it would read more correctly if you replaced "and" with "who." I also suggest combining your descriptions to add more specificity. The reader doesn't know how "ripped" the main character is, so when you compare the strange man's physique to the narrator's own, it is rather difficult to paint a vivid picture in our minds when the readers don't know if the main character himself is "ripped." Is this man as heavily built as a body builder, or is the narrator lacking in strength, and compared to him, any man looks "ripped." These are just a couple of suggestions that can help really bring the strange man to life, (and reflect on the main character as well.)

- The "which was" before the dialogue is an unnecessary buffer. In order for the passage to flow into the dialogue a little smoother, I suggest removing the "which was," ending the sentence there, and simply starting a new sentence and starting a new paragraph so that you text is broken up a little more. (You may actually want to form a new paragraph in other places too, just to make it easier on a reader's eyes.)

- Finally, throughout the passage there are a few other small grammatical errors, so I recommend reading through the passage again, even reading out loud, to catch some of the smaller errors that can easily escape an author's notice.

That's all! I really did enjoy reading through your story, and will be sure to check out the rest of your portfolio. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, especially if any part of my review did not make sense and you need clarification, or if I misinterpreted the text in some way.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing!


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