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Review of Gypsy's spell  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hi there! Thank you for your entry in my contest "Evil is Elegance! I hope you had fun during the competition and please remember not to edit until judging is complete!

First Impressions:
This felt like a very surreal piece, like a blending of the present with flashes of the past.

My Favorite Part(s):
Before, I could distinguish you from a thousand women and just for that, alone I hated you.
The misplaced comma aside, this sentence and the following paragraph were very well done, and conveyed a complicated mixture of longing and loathing.

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
An edit for punctuation would be good. Here're some stuff I found:

I can finally look beyond yourthe Nôh facemask you wearwore

just for that, alone I hated you

I see clearly saw beyond the horizon now, beyond the reddish autumn sunset. I couldcan see now
Verb tense in general tended to be rather confusing in this piece. That may be a reflection of the character's own disorganized thinking process, but it got a little distracting after a while.

your Sscarlet red lips

In one of the tents was onea woman

Orla’s tears had never dried since

Is it my little girl I hear crying?

in front of a house:; this is my child

opened the door to a room, and stoppeding in front of the cradle where you were crying fiercely and inconsolably crying.

Orla, the gypsy was in the house

Orla, the gypsy woman

When I first saw you in the bar
In the sentence that begins with this, you have a list in which most items have their own modifying phrases. In such cases, use a semi-colon (;) to join the items rather than just a comma. For example: The boy held a baseball bat, scuffed with age; a ball, with the threading coming loose; and a tattered backpack.

your thin body, trembling body

spin on around you like I died
I'd break this up and have Like the way I died. be its own separate sentence.

After me pullingI pulled the trigger

Plot and Background:
As I understand it, the main character, unable to deal with the defection of his... girlfriend? (temporary hook-up?) has just taken matters into his own hands and is now reflecting on the course of their troubled relationship. I liked the idea of the gypsy woman's spell -- how it did no direct harm to its target but instead hurt those who tried to get close to her. A nice touch. *Smile*

I think this story could do with a bit of expansion, since I wasn't always too clear on what was happening and ended up feeling like the story wasn't quite complete. How did the main character know about this girl's past? From the narration, it sounded like they only got together for one night, so I doubt she'd have time to acquaint him with her life history. The timeline was also a bit odd. I'm not sure why the last two paragraphs are at the end, rather than coming in at the beginning as a sort of introduction. I think if you elaborated a bit on certain parts, it'll give the story a more cohesive feel.

Pacing and Voice:
There seems to be two different styles to the narration. One is surreal and somewhat dreamy, corresponding with the main character thinking about the multiple facets of the failed relationship. The other is more solid and grounded, and came up when he talks about the gypsies and the spell. Using both styles adds strength to the piece, but may I suggest not using them with the same character? It just felt a little off that this dude whose mind is reeling can suddenly produce a logical sequence of thoughts before going off on his tangent again. I was thinking of having his thoughts in the present day intermingled with flashes of her past in the third person, perhaps in italics so it's more obvious that the two are separate. This will also allow you to give a few more details of each scene, which is awkward to manage when using a first-person flashback sequence.

Characterization:
The story itself isn't very long, so I didn't have much time to get acquainted with your characters. I did get a sense of the conflict in the main character, the way he both longed for and hated the object of his... I want to call it obsession. *Wink* Other than that, I had a hard time picturing either the girl or the gypsy woman and I certainly couldn't say the first thing about either's personalities or motivations. I think all three could do with a bit of elaboration, which you might accomplish through either expanding on the scenes you already have or (better yet) giving them a bit of dialogue and more interactions.

Dialogue:
Pretty much nonexistent. There was that one bit with Orla... but honestly, if some strange gypsy had burst in my door I'm not sure I wouldn't be screaming and calling 911 rather than letting her anywhere near my crying baby. *Wink* Anywho! The reflective nature of this story might not lend itself to as much dialogue as with more traditional type stories, but there're ways of slipping some in, I think, and it would certainly help with fleshing out your characters a bit. Now, the two of them probably didn't chat a whole lot or anything, but perhaps the main character can remember the way she sighed his name? Or the way she laughed at him afterwards, when they finally met again? Switching gears a little, you can also have Orla speaking to the baby in her arms, telling her about the gypsy's original dreams and hopes for her own baby, and maybe that makes up the basis for the woven spell? Just some random ideas to get the ball rolling. *Smile*

Description and Setting:
I enjoyed the description of the girl the first time they met, and I'm glad you also included senses other than just sight. *Smile* That whole scene in the bar reminded me of the song "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven, actually. *Laugh* I don't think you need a whole lot of description in this piece. The one thing I would suggest is to slip in a couple of unobstrusive details about Orla. Nothing too elaborate, but perhaps something along the lines of She followed the sound through the village, her bare feet gliding over the rough cement and her multitude of bracelets jingling...

Closing Remarks:
As I said above, I enjoyed the surreal quality of this story, and I think you could definitely expand it into something bigger. *Smile*

Thanks again for entering! Write on!
Silverfeathers

 Evil is Elegance  (18+)
Can you write a villain that chills -and- thrills?
#1549485 by silverfeathers

My first try at a sig
2
2
Review of DarkMoon  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi there! Thank you for your entry in my contest "Evil is Elegance! I hope you had fun during the competition and please remember not to edit until judging is complete!

First Impressions:
Good potential for a story here, but needs some work.

My Favorite Part(s):
Wings that could spread over the distance of two skyscrapers.
Hmm... it's just a nice visual. *Smile* I got pictures of a bat-like critter perched atop the Empire State Building, his tattered wings huge and casting shadows down on the screaming populace below. *Wink*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
As a general note, I'd consider putting in a blank line between your paragraphs. It makes the story easier to read. Also, you refer to the man being lured as "coach" throughout the story... I think you meant "coachman" and not the trainer of a sports team? Or you could even use "driver" or just "man" as he's the only one.

Nothing could seperateseparate him from it

Terrible things happens when he's around. The sick dies, and the crime rates go up

Lonely, he didn't feel a thing of which would make him famous on doing good
Eh? I think I understood what you were trying to say, but you might want to reword this. Something like He felt nothing that might compel him to do good maybe?

All he was known for was badluck
Space between bad and luck.

Horse and theirits owner

These buildings washad been abandoned years ago

knowing he'she had lost his catch

Horns on his heads. Pointed ears. Giant predatorialpredatory teeth

Now he hashad the coach stopped in his tracks, he just needsneeded to get the horse

Yes there is,. I know you can be defeated

much more uglier this time

hoof beatingbeats coming down on the pavement like a gallop

end of his life,; his soul would belong forever

Aren't you supposed to be dead

The coache's mind, however

that appeared to him so mysteriously and beautiful

Plot and Background:
A dark angel finds his careful plans for a snack foiled at the last minute by his do-gooder counterpart. Right. Well it's not a bad idea, but the execution leaves something to be desired. The buildup is all right, but the problem comes in at the climax and resolution. Now, an epic battle between good and evil upon which hangs the fate of a man's soul should really take more than one sentence to get down. And after being assured by DarkMoon that he's supremely powerful and that nothing can defeat him, I'm rather disappointed that he shrivelled up without a whimper when his opponent appeared. For that matter, where did this white angel pop up from anyway? There was certainly no previous hint that such a being existed. Deux ex machina much? *Pthb*

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that, after spending a few hundred words building up my expectations, I was hoping for a few hundred more to resolve them. The ending felt very anticlimatic. Think about going back and giving DarkMoon a fighting chance against this interfering goody-two-shoes.

Pacing and Voice:
Except for the ending which, again, felt rushed and incomplete, pacing for the most part was all right. Although the first paragraph provided only exposition, it was good enough to keep me going and give a little bit of background, especially as it wasn't too long and the action begins right after. It did get a little clunky when you got to the bit about the horse breaking away from the spell. Rather than giving all the details in a "this happened, then this, then this" kind of way, think about interspersing it with the characters' reactions. It keeps the momentum going and also lets the reader get a glimpse of personality. *Smile*

Characterization:
I had a hard time getting a handle on your characters. Mostly I think this is because I was really expecting a little more out of DarkMoon -- he who has lived for 10,000 years and never been defeated -- to put up more of a fight when matters came to a head. I must say I felt rather cheated when he didn't. *Pthb* As for as personality goes, there isn't much in the story, and what's there seems pretty cliche. The innocent, helpless mortal victims; the righteous, light-filled angel of mercy; the evil, hungry angel(?) lusting after blood. Nothing really new or out of the ordinary.

My biggest suggestion here, outside of what I've already said about giving DarkMoon a little more firepower, is to show something of his evilness. At the moment, I know he's evil mainly because you told me so in the first paragraph. Oh, and he eats mortals. But that's just the whole, very large picture; details are what makes a character come alive. You could, for example, in your opening paragraph give some instances of what he's done in the past. Instigated gang violence, maybe, or introduced drugs into what was once a safe and idyllic neighborhood. Has he ever driven anyone to murder, laughed at the cries of the sick and dying? Stuff like that. *Smile*

Dialogue:
Not a whole lot of dialogue, though the story doesn't lend itself to a lot of chatter to begin with. What's there is fairly commonplace and expected given the situation. The white angel's comment "Aren't you supposed to be dead?" sounded slightly flippant, but maybe that's just me. *Smile*

Description and Setting:
I did enjoy the description of DarkMoon's true form, particularly the bit about his wingspan. A good visual, I thought. *Smile* Other than that there wasn't much else in terms of description. I think something that would really help you set the tone and mood would be to elaborate a little on the setting. I realize that they're in the midst of tall, abandoned buildings, but you could definitely go into more detail than that. Are there leftover signs of construction? Broken glass and steel? Trash blowing in the wind? Are there stray rats bickering over garbage or bats nesting in the rafters? I also think the white angel could use a bit more detail, though you don't have to go into as much over a character, I think.

One note about your setting is the proposed timeline. First, you have really tall buildings. You also make a reference to skyscrapers. On the other hand, DarkMoon's victim is apparently the driver of a horse-drawn coach? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, unless you're trying for something post-apocalyptic, but that's not hinted at anywhere else in the story. I'd go back and take another look at that. *Smile*

Closing Remarks:
Overall I think this story could use some work. Working on your climax would definitely be one good way to improve. I'd be happy to take another look if you edit. *Smile*

Thanks again for entering! Write on!
Silverfeathers

 Evil is Elegance  (18+)
Can you write a villain that chills -and- thrills?
#1549485 by silverfeathers

About time I got a new sig. *Smile*
3
3
Review of Sonny Morningstar  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi there! Thank you for your entry in my contest "Evil is Elegance! I hope you had fun during the competition and please remember not to edit until judging is complete!

First Impressions:
Ooh, I like Sonny. *Smile*

My Favorite Part(s):
“I expected you to be taller,” said Irving.
Hah! He forgot to mention horned, winged, and breathing fire and brimstome! *Laugh*

I’ve got six continents to concern myself with. Antarctica doesn’t count.
But... but... think of the penguins...! *Bigsmile*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
Excellent job on editting. *Smile* I spotted no spelling errors. I would, however, consider editting the paragraph where you introduced Sonny so that each phrase is parallel in structure to the rest. For example, you have qualifiers for how his tan and his smile looks, so I'd describe those separately in their own sentences rather than in list form with the rest.

Plot and Background:
A conversation between two businessman about why a proposed deal can't go forward. While the plot itself is not particularly new, I do like how you revealed it rather than coming right out and telling me. My one problem is that there doesn't seem to be much conflict going on here. The story is essentially one converstaion which, while interesting, doesn't change anything for the characters or the world around them. My suggestion here would be to throw in a choice for Irving. Perhaps he isn't quite sure of what he suspects at the beginning? Perhaps at first he isn't completely sure he'll reject the deal? Something like that would add interest and depth, I think. *Smile*

Also, I wonder why exactly Irving rejected the deal? Surely, after figuring out what Sonny is up to with his studio and message, it would be possible for a new owner to slowly undo the hidden idea? Seems that would be safer than to let Sonny go ahead and find another buyer who isn't as knowledgeable and therefore continue his work. Ah well, maybe Irving just doesn't want to get involved and draw Sonny's personal attention to himself, which is quite understandable. *Wink*

Pacing and Voice:
Well done on making your story smooth and easy to read. I especially enjoyed the dialogue (more on that later *Wink*). I would consider editting the beginning, however. There's a lot of good description, but it tends to slow down getting into the meat of the story; I'm not sure that it's necessary to describe every room Irving entered before he finally got to Sonny. Other than that, good job. *Smile*

Characterization:
As I said above, I like Sonny! *Smile* He's polite, urbane, and doesn't make over-the-top threats or get worked up over the little things. Very good. One thing about him -- as he's so charming and talented, I don't think it'd be a stretch to give him some minions. Now not the hulking, fanged, demonic variety, but I think a hint from him that he's secretly manipulating a vast network of unsuspecting and well-meaning folks to his own nefarious purposes would be cool. Your choice though; I don't think it's strictly necessary. *Smile*

Irving doesn't seem quite as developed. I gather that he's pretty smart to be able to piece together all the evidence, but... he doesn't seem very decisive? I can't get a good handle on his personality, and I'm not sure what his motivations are for directly confronting Sonny. He's scared, so why go to the trouble of a personal meeting to deliver the news? Again, I think giving him a choice to make would add depth to the story, and to his character.

Dialogue:
Nicely done on the dialogue! It fit both characters, revealed some background, and moved the story forward, which is exactly what good dialogue should do. I did, however, get slightly annoyed with the way they kept agreeing with each other by repeating back what the other had said. Once or maybe twice is all right, but I'd suggest taking out a couple of those repetitions and replacing them either with a completely different line or by adding an action instead, i.e. Sonny flashed a grin and nodded as though encouraging him to continue... or something to that effect.

Description and Setting:
A good amount of descritpions, especially in the beginning. It was well-written, but again, delayed me getting to the heart of the story. I think you can safely skip over describing every step of Irving transit from the gate to Sonny's office. As setting does play a part in establishing the mood, a more condensed way of portraying the scene might be to highlight a few things that Irving notices. For example, we all know pretty much what a reception area looks like... but maybe there could be a table fountain gurgling on a side table? Or a fragrant floral arrangement on the desk? That will also help to incorporate senses other than sight.

Also, for the description of Sonny... It's very thorough, but was a bit dense. I'd consider interspersing it with Irving's own impressions. For example:
His teeth gleamed white in a smile that reminded Irving of the man's picture on last month's issue of "Entertainment"...

Closing Remarks:
Overall, I enjoyed this story! Mmm, subliminal messages incorporated into every day media. Good times. *Wink*

Thanks again for entering! Write on!
Silverfeathers

 Evil is Elegance  (18+)
Can you write a villain that chills -and- thrills?
#1549485 by silverfeathers

About time I got a new sig. *Smile*
4
4
Review of Rosie's Game  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi there! Thank you for your entry in my contest "Evil is Elegance! I hope you had fun during the competition and please remember not to edit until judging is complete!

First Impressions:
That is one scary little girl. I always knew you couldn't trust those oh-so-innocent facades! *Wink*

My Favorite Part(s):
I knew you should never trust stuffed animals with last names! *Laugh* I liked how you turned something usually so innocent into an unexpected instrument of death and destruction. *Wink*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
First, a formatting note. I'd consider putting an extra line between each paragraph. It makes things easier to read. Also, think about putting Rosie's incantation in italics, to make it stand out more. A good edit for punctuation would help too. *Wink*

Her hands wobbled a lot

almost falling off the seat on which Rosie had placed him on.

She hashad given Rosie

they arewere funny looks

she squeaked and then cleared her throat

LetsLet's do something else

whispered something illegibleunintelligible under her breath
Illegible refers to text not clear enough to be read; unintelligible refers to speech that can't be made out. *Smile*

but it’sit was all too late

her Mamma’sMammas did that

small laughs turned to shrill squeals

doorknob and the doorframe had prevented

real Mamma -- how she never let her or her sister

Mamma never taketook them to play anywhere

Mr. Snuffles growedgrowled and changed

Plot and Background:
And they say kids these days never wanna go outside anymore. *Wink* The story focuses on sweet, innocent, angelic *cough* little Rosie, who just wants to take her and her beloved Mr. Snuffles out into the sunshine... there to probably wreck destruction and havoc and the usual childhood games upon an unsuspecting world. Aww, isn't that cute? *Bigsmile*

One note about Rosie's age -- the line she remembered the many years of sadness and then anger. Well, she's five. That doesn't really number as "many" in my book. I'd consider changing it to something like "remembered the months upon months of sadness..." Just a thought. *Smile*

I also can't figure out why Mamma, who's obviously terrified of her charge, would grab Rosie's hand. I mean, seems like a pretty suicidal idea. A little bit of clarification would be good here. *Smile*

Pacing and Voice:
Pretty consistent throughout. I liked how you wove together Rosie's memories and the incantation. One part that stood out as a little rough was Mamma then began running around the large, white room, screaming and howling in pain. I just don't like it when action is describe as "First this, then this, then this other, etc." I think this sentence could easily be combined with the one right before it -- something like Rosie started laughing at the as Mamma ran around...

Characterization:
From what I can gather, Rosie needs to be committed er, is a... guest? of some kind of... institution? for... unstable? children with unexplainable powers and a propensity toward demonic interactions. Or so I assumed from the almost-immediate presence of men in white coats. Personally I'm not sure that all the money in the world would convince me to spend so much as five minutes with the destructive little brat... I mean, the adorable little cherub... so I'm somewhat confused as to where her "Mammas" come from and why they haven't put the kid in a strait jacket. It's a pretty minor point, though, and one that doesn't really take away from the story itself. I just wondered.

Mamma was a pretty flat character, I thought. I couldn't figure out why she'd want to play with Rosie or grab her hand or anything (though the screaming in pain I can understand). Seemed like the only reason she was in the story was to provide a target for Rosie to torture. I think that goal could've been accomplished a lot better with a different sort of character, like maybe a lady psychologist trying to pry into that curly little head. That would've also provided a good way for your to clarify exactly what's going on and where they are and all that.

Dialogue:
Dialogue was consistent with what I knew about the characters and the situation. I can't really say that it was dynamic or moved the story forward on its own, but it served its purpose. On the other hand, demonic summonings are always fun. *Wink* I do wonder though, whether the incantation is based on anything or whether you just chose a random assortment of syllables? Just curious. *Smile*

Description and Setting:
Not a whole lot, but what's there is appropriate. Again, I wonder exactly where they are, as this could have a bearing on the plot, etc. Also, I would've appreciately a description of Mr. Snuffles before his transformation, i.e. is he a stuffed bear, rabbit, chipmunk, or what? It might have served as a bit of foreshadowing too, if you can hint that he's a stuff demon-looking thingy. *Wink*

Closing Remarks:
An interesting story, with an ending I hadn't anticipated. With a bit of editting I think this story's got great potential. *Smile*

Thanks again for entering! Write on!
Silverfeathers

 Evil is Elegance  (18+)
Can you write a villain that chills -and- thrills?
#1549485 by silverfeathers

About time I got a new sig. *Smile*
5
5
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi there! Thank you for your entry in my contest "Evil is Elegance! I hope you had fun during the competition and please remember not to edit until judging is complete!

First Impressions:
What a chilling look into the fragmented, chaotic mind of someone who's gone off the deep end and decided to "change the world" on his way out. Gave me the creeps, especially considering the sad relevance to certain events in the real world.

My Favorite Part(s):
I think it was interesting the way you dispersed overheard snatches of conversation throughout the character's walk to his destination, mingling them into his own thoughts. In fact, the way other people's words fit into the ongoing narration gave me the impression that maybe the character was only hearing the bits that correlated with his own thinking, like the way we filter background chatter but pick out occasional words that correspond with what we're thinking at the time. It's an interesting thought. *Smile*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
The stream-of-consciousness style may give you a bit of leeway, but even so I noticed a fair number of run-ons, which tended to draw my concentration away from the story. I'd advise an edit for punctuation. *Smile* And you might want to think about breaking up some of the paragraphs to allow for easier reading, for example the one where he thinks about what everyone will say about him during the interviews.

I have my duffel bag packed, and have my favourite outfit laid out, which consistsconsisting of a black long sleeved shirt, my oldest and most comfortable pair of black Levi’s, and my well-worn Doc Martin work boots

Walking towards the university
The... sentence? paragraph? that begins with this could do with a good edit. There's a limit to my tolerance of really long, rambling thoughts, and I had to take a couple of breaks in the middle of this one to re-organize and regroup. *Pthb*

Generosity was a joke that had it'sits punch line ruined long ago

and I am its’its representation

My conscious, my pity, my hopes are gone
Consciousness, maybe? That way it's in parallel structure with the other nouns.

Plot and Background:
This story has a pretty simple premise -- the thoughts of a potential killer as he walks to the destination of his spree. The focus here is really on the character's internal monologue, rather than on the action. Not that there's a whole lot of action anyway, come to think of it, and most of it consists of fairly routine stuff that everyone does every day. There's not much more I can say about the plot... except that I generally like my stories to have a bit more going on. Y'know, besides the crazies in the character's own head. *Wink* Maybe a little more background during his thinking process? Did he have any difficulties acquiring what he needed? Does he have specific targets or did he choose that building because it was closest to his house and he got tired of lugging metal around on campus? Something along those lines. *Smile*

Pacing and Voice:
Things started off well enough, in the first few paragraphs, when the character was dealing with physical description and facts. As stated above, I enjoyed how you wove bits of the real world into the story. They tended to break the tedium of the character's thoughts and helped to ground me in something besides the inside of his head.

That being said, you started losing my attention towards the end as he got more and more wound up into his own thoughts. I'm not sure if that was the intended effect (the slow unraveling of his mind, that is), but the going got a bit tough in the last few paragraphs. They read like laundry lists of nonspecific whining and complaints. I'm not sure if your character will appreciate the comment, but it sounded rather melodramatic (Woe is me, and all that *Pthb*). My advice here would be to see if you can take those big, overreaching statements of his (about generosity, philosophy, etc.) and maybe give them a bit of... application? I mean, anyone can say that fear and loathing is a constant state of mind, but those are just empty words without something more concrete. Show, don't tell, right? *Wink*

Characterization:
Admittedly this isn't a very long story or anything, but I don't feel like I got a good feel for your character, even though we spent a lot of time inside his head. From what I can tell, he had a poor home life, was rejected from the local university, and works at a job which he probably despises. Unfortunately, this doesn't tell me much about his personality. Good characterization, I think, is when a character's personality is so well illustrated that I can picture exactly what he or she would do if placed in a situation completely outside of the story itself. I'm having a bit of difficulty doing that with your character. I don't really know how he might react to any given stimuli (besides maybe pulling out an illegal piece of artillary *Wink*). Again, I think part of the problem, as stated above, is his tendency to use these really, really general statements about... well, everything. While they might sound good in theory, they lose meaning when used in excess and without apparent reason. Consider giving some actual examples that might illustrate his points rather than just having him say them.

Dialogue:
Not a whole lot of dialogue in this piece, which is unsurprising considering that it's mostly internal monologue. *Wink* I think you used what you had pretty effectively, and like I've already said, the phone conversations broke up the rest of the story into more manageable chunks. The only thing I found a little odd here was the frequency of swearing. Not in the character's own thoughts (he can swear as much as he likes in his head), but in the every day conversations around him. People don't usually swear like that where anyone can hear them, and it threw me a bit. Besides which the extra vulgarity didn't add a whole lot to the story and I think you can safely remove them without affecting anything.

Description and Setting:
There was a fair amount of description, especially towards the beginning, and I think you did a good job on them. The waking up scene, for example, was well done and I could easily picture the dimness and the slow perception of basic shapes. The descriptions were also woven nicely into the story, so that there was no breakage in the character's thoughts. Good job! *Smile*

Closing Remarks:
Certainly an interesting look into someone's head right before the moment of truth. *Wink* I giv this story an overall rating of 4. Good luck in the contest!

Thanks again for entering! Write on!
Silverfeathers

 Evil is Elegance  (18+)
Can you write a villain that chills -and- thrills?
#1549485 by silverfeathers

My first try at a sig
6
6
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi there! I was browsing around today when I found your work and decided to toss in my two cents! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
What a place to stop it! That's so unfair! And yet... just right too. An oddly satisfying unfinished ending, if such a thing is possible.

My Favorite Part(s):
The repeat of "I know something you don't know" is very effective; I kept hearing it as a laughing sing-song in my head. For a one-liner, it manages to capture the personality (if that's the word for an inanimate object!) really well. *Smile*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
The first sentence threw me a little. I'd suggest breaking it in two maybe. I'm not sure you even need the "There is a house" phrase. Maybe start it with "The house itself is quite unremarkable--old fashioned fireplaces..." and so on and so forth. It just didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the narrative voice, which is fairly grammatical throughout the rest of the piece.

Not sure if there's a reason you chose to end so many paragraphs with semicolons. I would've thought colons or even full periods would've worked just as well, but maybe you have your own stylistic reasons for doing it the way you did. *Smile*

The swinging of it'sits pendulum

not knowing there was a witness, or an object, that held his secret
I don't think the specification is needed, and it interrupts the flow of the narrative.

With all of my speculatingspeculations
Maybe "For all my speculations?"

Plot and Background:
A very enjoyable trip through the possible background of the clock. The air of mystery was engaging and held my attention well. I really liked all the senarios travelling back in time, all the way to the time when the clock was first crafted. At first I was like, "What, you aren't going to tell me the secret?" but then I think the ending you chose has its own, special impact as well. Now I can imagine what it might have seen or heard myself!

Pacing and Voice:
Nice job on the pacing and the narrative! The flow was smooth and the voice a little dreamy, interspersed with those delightful bouts of speculation. It reads like a story a grandfather might tell his grandchild about the old family clock -- half-teasing, half-challenging -- not so much passing on the secret itself as passing on the secret of its existence, as if to encourage the child to find it on his own. Well done. *Smile*

Characterization:
Mmm... for something that's inanimate, you sure gave that clock a personality! I loved the silent laughter and how it held its delicious secret throughout the ages. The narrator was also well done. I got a clear sense of the challenge, the promise, and the fulfillment of the pledge. I wonder what that clock says to the narrator now? "We know something they don't know?" *Wink*

Dialogue:
As I said above, the one-liner you gave the clock was really well-chosen. Who hasn't heard that phrase song out on a playground? I can just imagine that clock smirking in superiority as it says it too! The narrator's words also had the appropriate impact; it was like a threat, a promise, and a challenge accepted all rolled into one. Good job!

Description and Setting:
The clock itself received most of the description, which is as it should be. I must say I've never before seen a blue grandfather clock, but there you have it. *Wink* Not a whole lot of other descriptions, but I don't think the piece suffers for its lack. The imagery was still there, and I prefer to use my imagination in these situations anyway. *Smile*

Closing Remarks:
Overall I really enjoyed this story! It makes me want to hop over to wikipedia and look up grandfather clocks and their history! Good job and thank you for sharing!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

My first try at a sig

Image #1370268 over display limit. -?-
7
7
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi there! Welcome to WDC! I was browsing around today when I found your work and decided to toss in my two cents. *Smile* Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
I have to admit that at first, I didn't think I would finish the story, but as I read further, it drew me in and really grew on me... and I can't even pinpoint the moment when my impressions changed. *Wink*

My Favorite Part(s):
It's a bit hard to say what my favorite part was, because it's really more the feeling the story conjured. When I finished, there was this odd combination of peace and tension; one phase of your character's life had ended and another had begun. I was relieved that the decision had been made, and I was also eager to find what would happen as a result of that decision. I'm kinda hoping you have more planned for these characters. *Smile*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
This is the main reason I had trouble in the beginning -- a grammar mistake in the first paragraph can be a bit off-putting. Not that you had too many in the rest of your story, but it's not a great first impression. Some of the stuff I highlighted aren't wrong, but I thought they'd sound better a different way; be warned though, I'm picky. *Wink*

On a more general note, you might want to think about putting line breaks between paragraphs. Solid blocks of text can be a little intimidating, and some breathing room makes the story easier to read. Also, there was some inconsistency with capitalizing the word "storm;" remember that when you use it as a proper noun, it should be capitalized, but otherwise it shouldn't.

Everyone felt it, heard it. The winds that shakeshook the bells rarely growgrew into anything but a tempest of sand and dirt. It was only sentiment to call out its name.
The rest of the story is set in past tense, and that shouldn't change. I'm not sure what you meant with the word "sentiment." As in, everyone already knew the Storm was coming, so it wasn't necessary to name it? Perhaps sentimentality would be a better word choice. It just seemed odd to me.

she would stare down at the desert floor from her perch at the desert floor
I first read that to mean her perch was on the desert floor, and go a little confused later on.

an echo of the dream
Nothing really wrong with this, just this dream is never mentioned again, and I noticed it on my second reading.

Making sure, no one was watching... He forced his back against the wall, as he slid along the ledge
Those two commas aren't needed.

He pulled myselfhimself around the corner

it was more than enough for him to fellfeel at ease

She went silent. She stared into the desert
It's not wrong, and you use short sentences very effectively in other parts of your writing. In this instance though, I think it'd be better to combine these two sentences.

You sound like the school masterschoolmaster

Great boiling clouds started to culminate upon the horizon
You don't really need the "started to," and I stumbled over the word "culminate." Perhaps something like "Great boiling clouds accumulated upon the horizon"?

The wall of sand had reached the horizon. It’sIts shadow cast across the desert... the Tower looked like a dwarf and the people, nothing more than fleas
You've already described a wavering line on the horizon, then clouds gathering and whatnot. I think this part would read better if you describe it another way. Like maybe "The wall of sand grew larger/taller by the second"?

“Then go.” New paragraph Anger started to rise within him, yet it was nothing put the beside the cold fear that was grabbinggrabbed hold of him

quickly sealing the canvas behind usthem

dug out from the sandstorm, New paragraphin which timeIn the meantime, Sarah’s grandfather, Owdun had decided to accompany them down.

will wonderwander off into the desert

It is it’sits own city

You must listen for the bells,; if you don’t hear them you might

small holes in which poured down sand and sunlight

It’s not his real name, is it.?

More thenthan this

It’sIts parapets and walkways

Plot and Background:
This piece sounds like it would make a good prologue for a bigger story, and yet it stands well on its own too. It's really a coming-of-age story, where a character makes a decision that changes the course of his life, where he ventures out from his comfort zone to strike out into the unknown. The real "plot" here is the change within the character, and I'm impressed by how well you managed to convey that change, especially in a way that only highlights the character's own murky state-of-mind. Well done. *Smile*

I really only have one question, which you can probably address without too much trouble. They can find shelter and water... but what about food? I was thinking desert animals like lizards or mice that might burrow under the sand during the Storm that they can catch, or some really hardy plant maybe? Whichever way, you can have her mention it briefly at the end when they're talking.

Pacing and Voice:
Good job on this. The story flowed well and drew me along. You didn't have a lot of background, so there really wasn't any exposition to get through, and almost all the other vital information was set in the dialogue, which is an excellent way to present it. I also liked the voice you used; it felt kind of... dreamy? Like I was standing outside of him watching and yet knew everything he thought and felt. I think it had to do with not knowing the characters' names for a while. In any case, nicely done. *Smile*

Characterization:
You did really well with this as well. I could easily relate to both characters and feel the internal conflict. Although you never got inside the head of the girl, I see her as a brave young woman willing to push the boundaries of her world, perhaps feeling a little stiffled by safety and impatient with her people's willingness to wait forever for a better future she thinks they can achieve through action. She's strong enough to believe in her vision and smart enough to carry it out, yet not so hardened that she wouldn't welcome the comfort of a friend to share the journey. I like her. *Smile*

The boy I see as more... not timid exactly, but perhaps a bit less impulsive. More likely to go with the flow and to think things through before committing to something. And yet, although it's never explicitly stated, his feelings for the girl are obvious, and when she asks, he follows her despite his own misgivings. I think what I liked most about him was the fact that he didn't try to stop her (i.e. drag her back kicking and screaming *Wink*); even though he knows that it's dangerous and wants to protect her, he doesn't try to stiffle her drive or force her to comply with tradition.

All in all, a couple of very compelling characters. *Smile*

Dialogue:
Plenty of dialogue in this piece, and it all sounded pretty in-character. As I mentioned before, you conveyed a lot of information via dialogue, and I really like that. I also think you used silence very effectively, especially that part where they're in the shelter and he asked what she did during a Storm and she just looked at him. That got a chuckle. *Wink*

Description and Setting:
This was definitely one of my favorite aspects of your story, which is a little odd, because there really wasn't a lot of description at all. I can't tell you what your characters look like, except that the girl has wispy hair, and I can't decribe the tower other than to say that it's really, really tall. But the world you built, and in a relatively short piece, is both impressive and immersive (weird to say that about a story set in the desert, but so it goes). I really enjoyed the little details that give such tantalizing glimpses into the culture and history, like the River, and the mention of when the Tower is finished; tidbits like that whet my appetite to know more.

The only thing I would suggest is to devote a couple of sentences at the beginning to describe the Storm. Like when he's dropping off tarps, he can reflect on the fury he's witnessed in the past. Winds howling and tarps whipping and stone/bone scraped clean by the sands or some such thing. It doesn't have to be a lot; in fact, it would probably be best to be a short addition, to avoid break up the pace of the story. Besides that, you did really well with very little. When I finished, I had this vision of endless dunes and wide-open horizons, of sand stretching out in every direction and heat shimmers dancing in the distance. In the end, the lack of concrete description isn't too bit of a drawback; it allowed me to use my own imagination to fill in the blanks while still enjoying the show. *Smile*

Closing Remarks:
I very much enjoyed this story and the world it's set in. If you should happen to have more planned for these characters or this setting, I would love to find out more. There's this expansive feeling of possibility at the end... like your characters' futures are as wide and unlimited as the sands that surround them. Sure, they could die, but then they could find other people too, or discover the River, or... well, anything really. Beautiful place to end it. *Smile*

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

My first try at a sig
8
8
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
Nice fight scene against the ek-taks! Very exciting; I kept trying to guess who'd live to see the end. *Wink*

My Favorite Part(s):
Consciousness was leaving him fast, but he could still feel the biting cold of the snow as he packed it around his wounds. As he lay on the frozen ice, he realized that he had come all this way to die here, not even fulfilling his taking. The mighty Battle God must have some reason for letting him die. He laughed at the thought, and then laughed at the god. Damn Stratura. I’m not going to die here.
A great bit of characterization. Really shows us Theminor's attitude toward his gods, and the defiant spirit that pushes him to survive. Nicely done!

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
I actually didn't notice any typos or anything in this piece; not sure if that's 'cause it's perfectly editted or I just missed 'em. *Wink* There were a few places where this strange character ended up in the middle of a word though. Not sure what caused that. Here's one: at¬tacker. Don't know where the rest are, but you can do a search for that character and delete them. Also, your paragraphs were a little long and there were a couple of places where they could stand to be broken in two. And think about inserting a blank line between them as well, to make the piece easier to read.

Plot and Background:
Ooo, exciting! Very nice action scene, really drew me in. You didn't really reveal any more plot points here, since most of this part is devoted to the fight, but that's okay. I was a little startled at the rapidity with which you get rid of your secondary characters though... I mean, this is a continuation of chapter 1, and already Theminor is completely alone, having left/buried five companions behind him (including the leader from part 1a). There's nothing technically wrong with it... but I just wish I'd had a chance to know the rest better before they died. It also raises some red flags about how strong you've made your main character, but I'll touch on that later. For now, I'll assume you have a good reason for isolating your character so completely from the very beginning.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but this seems like as good a place as any. Good job on creating your world! I love the little details that you reveal one by one that builds up the complete picture. Things like the halor, tarmoc, Stratura, Ectoos Tamero, and the Everlasting Feast all serve to bring your world to life. Well done!

Pacing and Voice:
Good flow throughout. The only confusion I had was with how many ek-taks there were, because at first I thought there was only one or two, so I was continually expecting the fight to end, only it didn't. *Wink* There's an easy way to correct my initial impression; when Theminor is waiting for the second attack to come, have him remember that ek-taks hunt in packs or something. That should alert the reader that there may be more than just a few more out there. Otherwise, the piece reads really well and draws the reader in. Good job!

Characterization:
You haven't added a lot of characterization to this section, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and what you do have fit in with what passed before. We now know that Theminor honors the dead and would go to great lengths to help a wounded companion, as well as being one terrific fighter. Speaking of which, I want to just caution you about making your main character too strong. It's an incredibly easy thing to do, especially in the fantasy genre, but be careful that Theminor doesn't become invincible. I think you've come dangerously close to doing just that. I'm glad you made it obvious that he wouldn't have survived without the others' help, but let's face it; he was the one who did the vast majority of the fighting, and while he sustained a pretty bad wound, the others all ended up dying. He killed, what, four ek-taks while his companions only managed to wound one?* It sounded, when I was reading it, like you were in a hurry to have Theminor on his own, and so thought up this method of getting rid of his companions. In any case, be careful not to make Theminor unbeatable or anything, and think about how you've planned the rest of the book; if you can't remember a single place where he fails at something or someone has to come to his rescue, then you might want to see if you can't work something like that in. After all, it's hard to be sympathetic to a demi-god. *Wink*

One other thing I was curious about, is exactly how close Theminor was to his companions. He's just seen three of them slaughtered before his eyes, and dragged another across the ice until he died as well. But he doesn't seem too broken up about any of it. Yeah, he's had a rough day, but the total lack of comment on his emmotional state made me think that maybe these companions were just a few young men he'd recently fallen in with on the way to the taking, and not lifelong friends or anything. If they were lifelong friends, then you should really give the reader some kind of hint along those lines. An easy way to do this would be during that trek south while he's carrying Grendar. I bet he's beyond exhausted by this point, so having him remember fragments of his childhood playing with the others shouldn't be too far of a stretch. What else does he have to think about, right? *Wink*

*I've just gone back and re-read that scene. I think there's a discrepancy here... Grendar dealt a mortal blow to one of the beasts, but it seems to have risen up again and attacked Theminor at the end. Not sure if that's what you meant.

Dialogue:
Again, not a lot of talking here, but that's hardly surprising. The exchange between Grendar and Theminor at the end sounded very natural and appropriate, so good job there. There was one place where you had Theminor say "Just worry about tomorrow", and this seemed a little odd because he didn't seem like the kind of guy who'd start talking to himself. Still, this is only a minor point. *Smile*

Description and Setting:
Very good description of the action scene. Only thing I'd suggest here is to give the reader more of a picture of what an ek-tak is. I'd thought at first they were like giant cats ('cause their eyes glow yellow in the dark?), but now I'm not so sure. Two good places to describe them would be either at the beginning of the fight (which would be kinda tricky since it's still dark), or before Theminor leaves their decimated camp. For example:
Slinging Grendar over his shoulder, Theminor paused one last time to glance over the decimated camp. The sword atop the collapse snow shelter caught and reflected the first rays of the morning sun. Some distance away, the corpses of the slain ek-taks lay in a tangled heap, [insert description of choice here].

Closing Remarks:
A good continuation of your previous work. Easy to follow and fast-paced. I look forward to reading more!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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#1295934 by silverfeathers


My first try at a sig
9
9
Review of One: Brother  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
Wow, great job! A fast paced action story with an unexpected twist in the middle. I enjoyed it very much!

My Favorite Part(s):
'Yes, it seems I am the mastermind of this beautiful plan which you have so consummately soiled with your incompetence...'
Hahah, what a great line! So illustrative of Mernith's character too.

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
A pretty good job on proof reading. I did notice a few places where you might improve the word choice or tighten up a sentence.

Ragnas's mind, which, as of late, had been greatly disturbed

There was no doubt in Ragnas's mind... He knew.comma There was no doubt as to just as he knew what must be done

All this ran through Ragnas' head
Nothing wrong with this, but for the rest of the story, you add an extra "s" on the end of any possessive by Ragnas (as in "Ragnas's"). Both methods are correct, but you should edit this for consistency.

the mist was beginning to settled upon the hills

had left his bequeathed arms somewhat in a state of disrepair

if he had shownshowed up the next morning

But Brother had to admit to seeing the wisdom in that

could not afford to let themselves the luxury of letting their arms go to seed

Shadows of blades and wooden spires were thrown upon the walls
You used passive voice a lot (phrases containing some form of the verb "be"), which lessens the power of your sentence. Instead, choose more active verbs. I'll just use this one as an example. Try something like "danced upon the walls". There were several other places where you could also eliminate the passive voice.

turning up the wick slightly to letallow himself a little more light

and he began to unstrapped his breastplate. This was done, he was just walking over toapproached the grinding wheel with sword in hand
In general, try to avoid using "began to" or "was just doing so-and-so". Instead, simply state what he did.

neither of them had yet to suspected the presence of an interloper.

he now had a great sensesurge of irritation at the fact that he now was now being forced

Ragnas Rolandt had seemed to know

The strands clung to every part of him and stuck him in his place to the floor

Yes, it seems I am the mastermind

You are nothing but a useless curr

at what he had been hearingheard

But for all his satisfaction at this, he was seething with rage and pain

the paladin, who, it seemed, had wisely taken advantage of the distraction

One final point. I know some people like using single quotes, but I'm personally a stickler for double quotes denoting dialogue, and single quotes only if there's a quote within the dialogue. Consider changing this. *Smile*

Plot and Background:
You've created an intricately woven plot and a very complete world. I'm glad I took a look through your port as well, and read most of "Of Aeliad", or I would've been very confused. *Smile* I haven't read all of your works about your world, so of course there are still points that I'm not sure about, but overall you have a great grasp of the details and history of Aeliad. The fight between Ragnas and Brother, representing in microcosm the wider conflict in the world, served to provoke interest in what may be happening in other parts of Aeliad, not to mention what the divine forces may be planning.

One thing that felt odd was Ragnas' approach. For a well-trained paladin, he certainly makes a lot of noise! Then again, I suppose if I were half-mad, I might decide to knock a few things over too. I also wondered at the sudden appearance of Arden Mernith half-way through the story, as there was not the slightest hint of his presence before, though I suppose this might be explained in another story. The biggest drawback for me was the feeling of incompleteness at the end. I scanned over "The Touch", which I assume to be the next part, but didn't see anything about what happened to Ragnas. To be honest, I felt kind of cheated. *Pthb* I wanna know what happened to him!

Pacing and Voice:
Flawlessly executed. Even the long paragraphs of exposition, which most of the time would be a no-no in my book, did not lack for interest, but provided the background in a seamless fashion. The action scene as well drew me in and made me hold my breath. Beautifully done. *Smile*

Characterization:
Great job on your characters as well. I'm so glad (and impressed!) that you avoided stereotyping and allowed the reader to see both sides of the conflict. The glimpses into their different trains of thought really brought them to life and added sympathy. I found myself cheering for both warriors and hoping they both survive (too bad about that, but oh well...). Mernith was also well done, with a sense of malicious sneakiness that made me want to go wash my hands. *Wink*

One note though... did you have to go and name one of your characters "Brother"? *Pthb* All the other names sound appropriate to the fantasy setting, but I swear I stumbled every time I came across Brother's name. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, in case there was some overriding reason why this name should be what it is, but if there really is no such reason, consider changing it, as it jolts the reader's attention from the story.

Dialogue:
I love how you used dialogue not only to move the story along and reveal some background, but also to show the reader your characters' different personalities. That's exactly what good dialogue should do, and kudos for doing it so well. *Smile*

Description and Setting:
There was enough description to set the scene and get a sense of what the characters look like without going into meticulous detail. The only thing I think you could work on here would be Mernith's description. What you have is good, but I recommend devoting just a couple more sentences to him, to give the reader a really good sketch of his appearance (clothing; age; does he have long, thin limbs befitting the spidery image; etc.).

Closing Remarks:
A great piece of storytelling. I look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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#1295934 by silverfeathers


My first try at a sig
10
10
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
Not a bad piece of writing, but could use some work. Also think about developing the plot in a new direction, as this kind of robbery story is rather overdone in the fantasy world.

My Favorite Part(s):
I like how you forced the characters to flee Yuj at the end, especially after you made it clear earlier on that the city is such an integral part of their world. By making them leave, you're setting up them up to discover things far outside their comfort zone, and that always adds interest. *Smile*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
I noticed plenty of misspellings or grammar mistakes (especially run-ons!), so you'll definitely want to go back and take a look. Try using Microsoft Word, as this will help you to catch most of them (the obvious ones anyway). Do a close reading on your own to find the ones it misses. I won't bore you by picking out each little detail here. *Smile*

One particular note, though, is to watch your tense. You skipped from past to present a lot. This was most common when you had to do a paragraph of exposition, such as: "They havehad worked with one another long enough to know their place in any situation that could arise". Remember, besides the present-tense dialogue, anything else is probably supposed to be in past tense.

Plot and Background:
The plot is alright, but a bit cliche, as the "thieves robbing lord's manor" deal has been done many times before. I found myself more interested in the namesake of the story, that is, in the twisted dagger that Jerek got ahold of. It's mentioned just twice near the end, and very fleetingly at that, and I would have preferred that you devote more attention to it. For example, Jerek knew that there was something odd about it when he picked it up, so you could certainly build on that when he has a moment to think about it. What does it look like? Any jewels set into the hilt? Is the blade black or the color of dried blood? Does it feel deathly cold to the touch? Or maybe it whispers in his mind, just soft enough that he can't make out the words, only the gleeful, bloody intent behind them?

Try shifting more attention from the robbery to the dagger itself, since this is the most fascinating aspect of the story, and not one you want to just gloss over.

Pacing and Voice:
The pacing was well done and wove the action, dialogue, and background together without allowing the reader to get bored in between, and the exposition passed quickly. *Smile*

Characterization:
I like your characters well enough, but at the end of the story, I can't really say I've gotten a sense of who they are or what makes them unique. They're thieves, and both are short (Hey, I'm 5'3"! You callin' me short? *Wink*), and they're hoping to make enough to leave their life of crime behind. Oh, and Jerek is quite handy with a dagger, though he doesn't like to kill. Personality wise though, I'm a bit clueless.

One good way to bring them to life would be to hint about what they intend to do with their loot. Will it really maintain them for the rest of their lives, or will they splurge it on drink and women and be back on the street in a month's time? I also think that a mention of why they're thieves would help, like are they orphans or just down on their luck? And try to show the reader what Jerek is feeling. You tell us the details of the robbery, but it's a pretty dry account. Were Jerek's palms sweating when they snuck past the guards or did he smirk to himself at the ease with which they penetrated the manor's defenses? Does he get irritated at Dorn's lack of initiative? Something along these lines will give the reader a good sense of who he is.

Dialogue:
Your dialogue moved the story along and what the characters said were appropriate to the occasion. One thing I think you should look at is how they said what they said though. As it stands, the conversations sound about the same. A good way to change this would be to keep Jerek's words the same, and make the other two (Dorn and the man at the beginning) sound like typical commoners off the street. This would serve not only to spice up the conversations, but would stir the reader's interest in Jerek's past, because his dialogue would be more educated and a tad more formal than the others'.

Description and Setting:
Not a lot of description here, which hurt the mood a little. You have a couple of sentences describing Yuj in general, but I recommend taking more time on the other settings as well. The Black Eagle, for example. Was the tavern crowded? Did Jerek's brawl create a commotion or did the other patrons simply ignore the whole incident?

Also, there was no description of the treasure room at all, which left me totally in the dark. It would only take a few sentences to set the general scene. Something like this:
Jerek's eyes adjusted quickly to the light, and he took in the room with a sweeping glance. Display cases lined the walls, and the trophied heads of exotic beasts glared down from their mounted plaques, teeth bared in silent challenge. No sound penetrated the thick stone walls, and the dim light filtering in through the drawn curtains provided the only illumination. Jerek could make out the infared glow of Dorn's eyes as the halfling dropped into the room beside him. Dorn gave a low crow of delight and his grin flashed white as he pointed. There, in the center of the room on a stone pedestal, stood the dragon stone, its many facets giving off a soft, inviting gleam. Almost, it seemed to wait for their touch.

Closing Remarks:
This story had some flaws, but it's also got good potential for an interesting read. Work on taking the plot beyond its rather prosaic state, giving the reader a better idea of your characters' personalities, and adding to the mood via setting a good scene. I'll be happy to take another look for you if you edit this. *Smile*

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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#1295934 by silverfeathers


My first try at a sig
11
11
Review of Gathering Dark...  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
A fairly short, smooth introduction to a bigger story. Gotta love that whole message in the dead of night thing. *Smile*

My Favorite Part(s):
"I’m sure there will be, but you’ll never see any [cannons], way out here on the outskirts. But at my house, now I’m sure we’ll see all the action from there." He’d known her his whole life...he knew how to persuade her to do something despite her stubbornness.
A great way to show the close friendship between the two kids.

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
His hands clung to the reins,semicolon weariness flooded him but he mustn’t sleep.

The door was thrust open by a man
Alright, mock me for my pickiness, but most front doors open inward, and "thrust" implies this one opens outward (thereby probably knocking into Steven, who was banging on it). It just caught my attention. *Smile* You could try "jerked", or "yanked" in its place.

in light of the news,period "When? How long have we got?" he asked

they’ll be traveling quickly.comma" Rreplied Steven
This isn't the only place you put a period in place of a comma (or vice versa) like this. Actually, they occurred quite often. I'll not point out all of them, just read through again and you should notice them. *Smile*

fetch the Bradys over here

Evan’ll will never find his way

Al’right then
I think you were trying to convey an accent or something like that with the apostrophe, but it just looked odd to me. A'right? Aight? I'm not sure how it's supposed to be myself... can only point out the weirdness, sorry. *Wink*

You really think they’llthere'll be cannons?

Grabbing her rucksackcomma she stuffed her little book, her small amount of change, a handful of her secret stash of sweets, and her slingshot

Plot and Background:
A good beginning to entice your readers to read further. You've built up the interest well, with an urgent message delivered in the night of an impending attack on a small town. There are lots of unanswered questions, of course, such as who the attackers are and what their goals are, which I expect you plan on developing in later chapters. While I'm interested to find out more, though, I can't help but feel rather left in the dark; I think you could do with adding a bit more background to this opening chapter, which is designed to capture your readers' attention. It's a bit short as it is, and doesn't feel like a complete chapter, so feel free to tell us some more details or hint about what's going to happen. That said, be careful not to reveal too many plot points too fast; balance is the essential word. *Smile*

Pacing and Voice:
A good job on the flow of your piece. There's only one place where I had any trouble. The shift in attention from Steven to Ricky happened very abruptly and left me at a loss at first. I wanted to stay with Steven and find out more! One way to make the transition smoother would be to work up some interest in the boy before you send him out the door. Try mentioning him when his father first opens the door, so we're at least alerted to his existence. Something along these lines will do:

"Did you ride all the way here from Donswood?" asked the man as he sent his eldest son off with a nod to gather his cloak and clean the guns. The rest of his family exchanged grim and apprehensive glances. Only one boy, younger than the rest, looked breathless with excitement, his eyes wide and shining in the dim light.

Other than that, everything else sounds good.

Characterization:
I got a good sense of who most of the characters were. The scene was too short for anything more. I was impressed by how you showed the readers the close friendship between Ricky and Fae and how he is able to talk her into doing things she normally wouldn't. That brought a smile to my face. *Smile*

Dialogue:
Good dialogue that moved the story along and gave me a general idea of how each character behaved (serious, kindly, excited, etc.). I think it'll also add some extra interest if you made the speech less grammatically correct, especially between the kids, since I get the idea that this is a small, rural community. Just don't go overboard and make it impossible to read. *Wink*

Description and Setting:
Just enough description to set the scene and give the reader a good idea of what's going on. I found myself curious about the context that this is all set in, as in what country during what period. The characters' names all sound fairly American (except Fae), and there're references to guns and cannons, which makes me think maybe an alternative timeline to our own. The possibilities are pretty endless. *Smile*

Closing Remarks:
Overall, I enjoyed this piece. See if you can lengthen it a bit and add some more background. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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#1295934 by silverfeathers


My first try at a sig
12
12
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
A good read, reasonably fast, and held my attention well. Ooo, I can almost feel the cold and the snow...

My Favorite Part(s):
Before giving way to the impending sleep, Theminor gave thanks to Elohim for keeping him alive. Although not a god that he usually prayed to, he thought it appropriate to speak to the Giver of Life. Perhaps his prayer may even keep them out of Now’chi’s fires.
Having read your prologue, this part had me chuckling and thinking "If only you knew what those two were up to right now!" Poor Theminor. *Wink*

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
Well done on the proofreading, there were only a few errors that I could spot.

White Ssilence.comma Hhe thought to himself

Theminor grasped the hilt of his mooredtrapped weapon. His huge arm yanked upon the sword in rapid succession, freeing it from its frozen mooring
Don't know if you meant to use "rapid succession", which implies him jerking on the sword more than once. At least, that's not the impression I got.

“Just a bit farther Talius. It is not safe here,” Theminor said.

“Margor, Grendar, Igloth,” he addressed each man in turn, “Come, let us go.”
Make this one paragraph

You tend to use a lot of -ly adverbs. (See the paragraph beginning "Theminor sat up violently") I suggest cutting down on their number and replacing them with stronger verbs. (i.e. "Theminor jolted upright as sleep fled")

Plot and Background:
A good job with stirring interest in your characters. You've established their motivations and given the readers a glimpse into their culture, as well as their current goals. One thing that was lacking was a sense of Theminor's personal history. His thoughts barely touched on his family at the very beginning, and at this point I think it'd be quite natural for him to think a lil more about them before he jerks his mind back to the present. Still, this is a minor point and one that you can develop later. On a sidenote, I recommend revealing his name earlier in the story; it might decrease the drama a bit, but it'll give the readers a handle to identify him with.

I was a little startled at the description of how the dunkai are chosen. I would guess that there is more to the matter than letting anyone who wants to have a hack at the previous leader, or every young hothead who's had a bit too much to drink would be quequing up. Perhaps a challenger needs to have a certain status, or be of a certain age, or complete a previous task? As it stands, I can only assume that the clan's culture is a bit unstable due to the constant changes in leadership.

One other question I have is why Theminor and the others halted outside the ice canyon. I didn't get the impression that they sensed danger, and they certainly didn't stop their leader from going ahead, so what held them back until disaster struck? A couple of sentences would suffice here, something like:
Theminor halted at the mouth of the ice canyon, his eyes travelling up its sheer walls. A sense of awe crept over him; even after spending his entire life amid the snow and wind, he had witnessed nothing to compare to the translucent beauty of the blue ice before him, drawing his eyes into its depths as though holding all the secrets of life. Some ways ahead, the leading man trudged into the pass, oblivious to the spellbinding effect it had upon his companions. Theminor shook himself, coming out of his trance, and made to hurry after his friend just as he reached the middle of the canyon. With a soft scraping sound...

Pacing and Voice:
You've achieved a nice balance between action and description here. The reflective paragraphs at the beginning weren't overwhelming in their exposition and I got through them with no problem. One thing I'm concerned with is the lack of dialogue, but I'll touch more on that later.

Characterization:
Theminor came across as a serious young man, courageous and ready to take the lead. As I said before, I'm not too sure about his personal background, but again, this is something you can reveal later.

The other characters are just placeholders for now, there to provide minimal interaction and lacking any initiative of their own. I did wonder a little at the presence of Talius, an older man, among this younger group who haven't yet performed their first taking. Is this his first trip as well, and if so, why? Was he the guide perhaps, but then, why wasn't he leading?

Also, and I might have missed this, but I never noticed a name for the man who died. He must have had some high status, to be in the lead and plotting the course. Was he a close friend of Theminor's or just another companion thrown together by chance and the need for the taking? You killed him off rather quickly, so I'm not sure how much backstory you have for this nameless character, but I hope to see a little more. *Smile*

Dialogue:
Very little dialogue in this piece, though that's understandable given the setting and the ongoing blizzard. You can hardly have your characters shouting banter over the wind after all. *Wink* Still, there is a strategy for working around this, by revising the reflective part at the beginning and setting some of the dialogue in the past. For example, take the third paragraph (I've gone ahead and invented a name):
Thinking of the impending bloodlust, Theminor could almost hear the voice of Morrath on the howling wind. "The taking is more than glory and adventure," the old man had intoned that final night before their departure. His voice, still sonorous despite his great age, blended with the crackling of the fire to create the spellbinding effect of the most venerated storytellers. "It is more than the hotheadedness of young men. It is a part of our blood, a part of our history. It comes to every man, and..."

Something like this will provide a good glimpse into the barbarians' culture, as well as a human voice to lend some interest to the reader.

Description and Setting:
A great job with the descriptions here. Like I said, I can almost feel the snow and wind. *Smile* I did spot something that caught my attention. You mention Konan-Schlar as an island, but then says that it has mountains and plains of caribou. How about turning it into an island continent or something like that?

Closing Remarks:
Overall, I liked it. My one final note is that the gods are mentioned only in passing; make sure you don't let your readers forget about them! *Wink* Otheriwse, good job!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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#1295934 by silverfeathers


My first try at a sig
13
13
Review of Adrift  
Review by silverfeathers
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi there, and thanks for posting your work at "Silverfeathers' Review Forum - CLOSED! Please keep in mind that all comments are my personal suggestions and opinions; you're certainly free to use 'em or toss 'em as you like.

First Impressions:
Aww, a sad and sweet little story about a man's memories of a loved one. A fast read that held my attention.

My Favorite Part(s):
"Stay here with me, lost in remembrance."
The moment has come. His arm swings back. The bottle flies through the sunset sky to be consumed by the sea.
These two parts were so rich in imagery! I can see Jennifer on the sand and picture the arc the bottle describes before it hits the water. Well done!

Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation:
Suggested changes are in red.

Your first paragraph, while providing a lot of good imagery, changed tense in the middle. The description of the scene should also be in the present with the rest of the story, as in
The white sand of the beach stretches for miles in either direction
This is true as well for the next few sentences.

Peace infused the brilliant relaxed blue sky;, while in protest, the sun beat down angrily with it'sits oppressive heat.

Midst the sand, pPeople scurry back and forth along the beach;, as if dancing madly in the sand and water. T, the music of the waves guiding their frantic motions.

They slide slowly down his cheek, forcing him to look up from his writing temporarily
The word "temporarily" breaks up the tempo of the piece. Try "forcing him to look up from his writing to blink/wipe them away"

she leans upon her left hand with her legs tucked back behind her. B, beckoning with her right hand

cradled in the sand with it's neck

Dave gathers the papers he had spent the day filling and placedplaces them on top of the vellum

angry for their time of captivity
Not sure if the word "angry" is what you're looking for; I mean, a wound may be angry and red after irritation, but muscles? I think you might try "cramped" or "stiff and sore"

He rubs his hand through his dark brown hair, the fiery red highlights can easily be seen glinting in the evening light

captivatingcapturing the moment for eternity in his memories

the water has reached to the bottom of his chest

One final note. I'm not sure that vellum is a color. I think it's just a type of paper... you might want to check me on that though. *Smile*

Plot and Background:
Alrighty, this is where I have a few questions. The scene itself is well set up and shows what's going on well. However, I found myself wondering at the exact nature of Dave's relationship to Jennifer. Lover, wife, sister, daughter? And did she die, or did she leave? Maybe I missed it somewhere, but it would help to clarify this bit. In the same vein, what kind of memories did he put down on paper? You're such a tease, to tell us he wrote all day but not to give us even a glimpse of his memories! I'd suggest including snippets of his writing. Something along the lines of...

The breeze had strengthened during the day, and now it pushes at him insistently. Dave chuckles as he remembers how Jennifer's hair had blown in the wind that first night he had brought her here, and the unconscious grace of her arm as it rose to brush it impatiently out of her face.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I wonder why he chose this particular medium to honor his memories? Was she particularly fond of the ocean? Although this story is fine as it stands, I think some hint of their relationship to each other and the beach would be nice.

Pacing and Voice:
The pacing was well done on this piece, with no real improvements that I could see. Good job!

Characterization:
Your main character is well developed and believable. I could relate to his bittersweet task and feel his love for Jennifer as he wrote.

Dialogue:
Being more reflective in nature, I can understand why this story didn't have a lot of dialogue. Still, that one line from Jennifer's image and what Dave wrote on his vellum were well worded and sounded very natural.

Description and Setting:
Very nice job on your descriptions. I could totally picture the beach and feel the heat of the sun. Hahah, I even squinted a little when you mentioned the glare on the water! *Wink* You managed to convey the entire scene without getting bogged down in the details or overwhelming the emotional factor.

Oh yeah, and I loved your description of him writing; the initial hesitancy, then the more rapid scratching of his pen... which of us hasn't felt that?

Closing Remarks:
Overall, I enjoyed this story. The points I noted didn't detract from the whole and I hope to see more of your work in the future!

Hope this review was helpful! Write on!
Silverfeathers

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