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3,691 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I balance my reviews by commenting both on what worked and suggestions for improvement. I evaluate material as honestly and objectively as possible, while still being positive and supportive. I can adapt my review style to fit the kind of feedback an author is looking for (e.g., tough love, encouragement, alternative suggestions, etc.).
I'm good at...
Structure, pacing, characterization, plotting, dialogue, and considerations for the professional marketplace. I'm okay at technical editing but much better with broader creative considerations.
Favorite Genres
Action/Adventure, Mystery/Crime/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Least Favorite Genres
Nonsense/Experimental Prose
Favorite Item Types
Short stories, novels, essays and other nonfiction writing on a variety of topics.
Least Favorite Item Types
Poetry. (I'm not as familiar with poetic forms as I am with prose.)
I will not review...
Insincere writing. I typically put a lot of thought and effort into my reviews, so I try to focus my efforts on authors who are serious about improving their work. Beyond that, no genre is too weird, no content rating is too high, no form or length is too daunting. I'm open to anything.
Public Reviews
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101
101
Review of The Apple Cart  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
shared Power Group image


Hi Tim Chiu -

I had a chance to read your item today as part of the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group's "Dare to Review" Raid, and am enclosing the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.



POSITIVE ELEMENTS

The structure of this poem was easy to follow and it was paced well. I thought you did a good job with the descriptive language, and I'm impressed with your ability to craft a poem that has such deeper meaning in just a few short stanzas. *Smile*


SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

I had a little difficulty connecting the poem to it's deeper meaning; without the information in the intro about the poem being about a hands-off U.S. foreign policy, I'm not sure I would have made the connection based solely on the item itself. I'm not sure if there's a way to work that in, but I always personally prefer writing that can stand on its own without the need for any context.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Overall, I thought you did a good job with this poem. You fit a lot of information and emotion and argument into a very short poem, which is not easy to do. Well done! *Thumbsup*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
102
102
Review of What's in a Name?  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Walking in the rain SAJ signature


Hi Osirantinous -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "Showering Acts of Joy Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.


WHAT WORKED

I've been a fan of your articles (and the Art of Criticism Newsletter in general) for quite some time now. The articles are always well-researched, presented in-depth, and confidently present a variety of concepts to consider. This article is certainly no exception. Naming our characters is one of the most important things we can do. I agonize over mine for an exceedingly long period of time, and can only imagine what it will be like when I actually have to name a real child! *Rolleyes*

Authors who can just churn out character names are ones I've always envied, although I've always disliked those that choose fairly generic names. Maybe it's because I come from a family of standard Anglo-centric names like Jeff, Matt, Steven, Dave, Carol, Karen, etc., but I've always wondered, "Why name your character 'John Carter' when you can call him something like dynamic like 'Nehemiah Slade' instead?" Wait, don't steal that one... I might want to use it later! *Pthb*


WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

I have no suggestions for improvement. I found this article to be meticulously researched, well-written, and incredibly informative and helpful to anyone looking for context or background on character names.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

I wish I had some suggestions for improvement, but this was an excellent article. I wish my newsletters were half this good! *Smile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
103
103
Review of Mathew 5:13  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Raining Umbrellas SAJ signature


Hi Masterclass student -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "Showering Acts of Joy Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.


WHAT WORKED

I really liked the comparison of spirituality and the need to be involved with the seasoning (particularly saltiness) of a meal. I think it's an important lesson that a lot of people need to learn (or in many cases re-learn); it's easy to get caught up in routine or sequester ourselves in our own little corner of the world, but we have value and we add flavor to the world. We're meant to be out there in it, contributing what we can to the greater meal God has designed for us. This was an inspiring and engaging piece. Nice work! *Smile*


WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

TYPO: "[It's] bland, so we add a little more salt to make it palatable to our taste buds."

TYPO: "When [it's] all said and done[,] we speak to those who we see every service in the same capacity and go out the way we came in."

I do think there was one part of your article - the paragraph about different parts of the world liking different levels of saltiness - that went against the grain of the argument you're making. While I've certainly found that to be true (Brazilian food is incredibly bland, by the way. They don't like spices much at all.), it undercuts the rest of your argument a little, I think. For me, the theme of this piece is to "season" the world with your own participation and to add your own particular "flavor" to the people you meet and the things you do. This paragraph seems to be saying the opposite, or at least giving people a reason not to do what you're suggesting, by giving them an "out." Oh, hey, the place I live doesn't really like a lot of "seasoning." That's nice and all, but the church I go to is more "bland" and doesn't want people to add "salt" to the mix. I think it would be a more effective argument if you rewrote or removed this paragraph which seems to imply that it's okay for some people to not have a seasoned, spiced spiritual life because they might feel they live in a more bland area.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Overall, I enjoyed this article. I thought it was thought-provoking and brought up some great points that we should all consider, both about our food and our faith. I think it could use a little rewriting, but you're off to a great start. Well done!


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
104
104
Review of In Mourning  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
SAJ Group Sig by A.E. Wilcox


Hi A.M.Issy -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "Showering Acts of Joy Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.


WHAT WORKED

You did an excellent job with the imagery and detailed description in this poem. Each line was eloquent and flowed nicely. It was written very visually, and although I'm not exactly the world's best judge of poetry, I enjoyed reading this piece.


WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

The only real suggestion for improvement for your consideration is the repeated refrain of "come back" in the second stanza. Whenever I read a poem and the structure of the poem isn't specifically mentioned, I look to the structure of the first stanza or two in order to give myself an idea of how the rest of the poem will play out. Therefore, I was expecting to see the same structure (a brief refrain) in each of the other stanzas and felt a little thrown when it didn't appear in anything other than the first stanza. I'd recommend perhaps adding the same refrain structure to the other stanzas or removing it from the first one, so that each of the stanzas is consistent in structure.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Overall, I enjoyed this poem. I thought it was creative, interesting and visual. I do think the structure could be refined a little, but you're off to a great start. Nice work!


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
105
105
Review of The Diamond  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with Showering Acts of Joy Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Raining Umbrellas SAJ signature


Hi CJReddick support BCOF 2192096 -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "Showering Acts of Joy Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.


WHAT WORKED

I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to try and write a 55-word flash fiction story. I thought you did a good job of structuring the story so that there was a clear setup and payoff at the end. It's difficult to work a lot of character development into such brief stories, but I think your line, "Jenna had to have it" was a fantastic and economical way to establish who she is and what she wants.


WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

I thought the last line of the police officer could use a little bit of work. It worked, but in such a short story, I feel like there needs to be a little more punch to the very last line. For example, maybe he could brandish a pair of handcuffs and say, "Can I interest you in a pair of matching bracelets as well?" I feel like the ending of these brief stories are a chance to really get an "aha" moment from the reader.


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and thought you did a great job telling a complete story with a setup and ending all in just 55 words. Well done!


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
106
106
Review by Jeff
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi ~ Aqua ~ -

Thank you for sending me a review request! It's my pleasure to be able to enclose the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

PREMISE/CONCEPT

I enjoyed the premise of this story. The use of the picture prompt felt natural and was well incorporated into the narrative.


STORYLINE

The story was touching, heartfelt, and I think teaches us something about how to live our lives... and maybe even a little bit about how to end them well. I liked the fact that you started in the hospital as Peter is waking up; it really pulls the reader into the story right away and focuses on the most important moments of his life... not when he first gets sick or discovers he has cancer, but rather what he does with his life once he realizes the truth. *Thumbsup*


CHARACTERIZATION

The interaction between the doctor and Peter at the hospital felt a little awkward. Peter goes almost immediately from "Am I going to die, how long to I have to live" to "You can't keep me here, let me go home." It felt like a rather sudden shift in demeanor; I think there needs to be more pressure from Dr. McCalem to get him to stay, so that he can be pushed into that reaction rather than just suddenly switching personalities from passive to aggressive in a heartbeat.

I also thought that Carla could use a little more development. We get a great sense of Peter's relationship with Lily, but Carla is almost an afterthought character who doesn't have a meaningful impact on the story until the very end. Especially since Carla delivers one of the most powerful lines of dialogue in the story at the very end, the audience needs to better understand Carla and where she's coming from before we reach that line at the very end.


DIALOGUE

The dialogue worked for the most part, except for the doctor's dialogue. I think you were trying to show the doctor searching for a way to tactfully tell her patient that he's dying, but her stammering and stuttering sentences reached a point where they made her feel a little incompetent. That might be part of the reason why Peter feels so suddenly aggressive when he wants to leave; if you were to make the doctor a more confident, assertive physician who is pressuring Peter to stay in the hospital, it would make a little more sense than Peter pushing around a meek and timid-sounding doctor.


STRUCTURE

There was a two-paragraph passage that felt like it might have been a little out of place:


"Lily, I brought you here today because a princess has to be aware of her people's problems. They are underprivileged people but they have every right to celebrate, look at those jars."

It was a marvelous sight, jars were hung at distance from each other with golden dust glitter. Under the lights, they shone bright like a blue sky filled with stars, all in a jar."


Up until the point of the first paragraph, the audience hasn't been introduced to the jars in the story. So when Peter refers to them as "those jars," it creates a moment where the audience goes, "Huh? What jars?" Only to learn in the following paragraph that jars are hung around where they are. I think if you swapped the two paragraphs, it would make more sense for the audience to "see" the jars and then have Peter reference them when he's talking to Lily. That way, nobody's out of the loop. *Smile*


TECHNICAL

I think "surroundings" is plural, so it should be, "Peter looked around to take in the surroundings, which [were] all but familiar."

The line, "Lily's eyes sparkled with sheer excitement as she wondered which adventures her father had embarked on" felt a little too heavy-handed. I would recommend cutting it off after "sparkled with sheer excitement," as the next line about defeating the monsters conveys the same information about Lily's thoughts in a much more dynamic and natural way.

TYPO: "Lymph notes, liver and your spleen... I don't know how you are even breathing[;] it's a miracle."

Here's another example where I think less is more. You don't need to explain the thoughts behind the action, because the action implies it: "Peter raised an eyebrow and the doctor blushed for expressing her thoughts out loud." I think you could leave it at "the doctor blushed" and your reader will fill in the meaning on their own.

TYPO: "Peter stopped at Lily's favourite place to [pick] up [a] McDonald's Happy Meal."

I'm a little confused by this sentence; not sure what you're going for: "Lily noticed that the different, there were beggars that she recognised from cartoons because of their get up."


OVERALL

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I thought it was a great take on the prompt, and you did an excellent job executing the story. There is some room for improvement as noted above, but I don't think any of the suggestions will require a massive rewrite as much as a little tweaking and tinkering here and there. Sorry for the delay in getting this to you; I hope you're reading it with enough time to put the finishing touches on the story before the contest deadline! *Bigsmile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
107
107
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Elle -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

WHAT I LIKED

I love the simplicity of this how-to article, and the emphasis on the fact that the content is what matters, not the presentation. Even though some of us {e:averts_eyes} may obsess over the choice of pen, paper, neatness of our handwriting, etc., ultimately none of that stuff matters a tenth as much as the words committed to paper. (I reserved a tenth for the material items because the letter, of course, has to be readable by the recipient. So doctor's scrawl on a napkin with a sharpie that bleeds through maybe isn't the best idea if it's illegible *Laugh*.)


SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The only small suggestion I have is to maybe clarify "answer any questions" with "answer any specific (or personal or conversational) questions" ... something along those lines to avoid giving letter-writers the impression that they need to respond to each and every question asked in a letter, even the ones that are irrelevant. This may be just my personal experience, but my family is exceptionally good at asking rhetorical or banal questions as a way to kickstart their correspondence... it would take me five pages to get to the good stuff if I actually did answer every question they had about the weather, if my old car has needed any repairs lately, how my cat is doing, if I'm still working long hours at work, etc.!


OVERALL IMPRESSION

Overall, I really enjoyed this article. It was brief, to the point, and is a great motivator for people who are considering drafting handwritten letters. At the end of the day, it's about what you say in your own words, and handwritten letters can be so much more personal in these days of email, text messages, and Instagram. *Smile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
108
108
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Writing.Com Support -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

WHAT I LIKED

The sections of this how-to guide are easily organized into what to do, what to avoid, and shows illustrative examples of each, in addition to sample letters (both good and bad) at the bottom. This is a very concise, helpful guide for writers looking to put together query letters. Even without any prior experience, writers can use this guide to avoid many of the common pitfalls that get a query letter rejected. Nice job! *Thumbsup*


SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The only two small suggestions for improvement are to double-check the formatting on the first three "don'ts" (the text of the entire paragraph is red instead of just the header, which I'm assuming was not a stylistic choice), and to consider adding under the "Never use family or friends as proof of your abilities" section that it's generally not a good idea to include proof of your abilities from any one individual or organization unless you know that entity is particularly well-respected or personally known to the recipient of the letter... the reason being that most editors (at least the ones I know) don't really care what someone else thinks and prefer to make up their own mind... unless it's like Stephen King or the president of their publishing house or an nationally-recognized award committee.


OVERALL IMPRESSION

Overall, this was an excellent guide to help writers craft professional, well-presented cover letters. This is a great resource for anyone looking to submit their work for consideration. *Smile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society
109
109
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Incurable Romantic -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

WHAT I LIKED

You included a lot of really great advice and suggestions for making love letters more personal and more meaningful to the recipient. I particularly liked the fact that you encourage the reader to not be embarrassed about using nicknames or sharing personal experiences. I think a lot of people (myself included) tend to forget that the whole point of a love letter is to be intimate and personal rather than just reciting some stock phrases. Thanks for the reminder and the helpful suggestions! *Thumbsup*


SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

In the first suggestion (under the heading that starts "the obvious one" it felt a little awkward to have the analysis presented before the example. You write, "And, notice too that this example illustrates..." and, "You will see not only how much we shared with each other..." before we're even provided the example that we're supposed to be drawing these observations from. I would suggest providing the example first, so that the reader is familiar with the example and can follow along with what you want them to notice, rather than telling them what they're going to need to notice, then expecting them to keep those points of reference in their head while also processing the information in the example. I think revising the structure would help keep the reader focused and engaged in what you're saying if they had the example to refer to before being asked to note particular things about it.


OVERALL IMPRESSION

Overall, I thought this was an excellent item with a lot of great suggestions. I do think tweaking the organization a little (as outlined above) would help the readability and structure of the item, but that takes nothing away from the excellent suggestions and compelling subject matter that you've written. Nice work! *Smile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
110
110
Review of Bathtub Santa  
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi TJ Marie -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I thought this was a fun, entertaining story about what Santa and Mrs. Claus might possibly do during their vacation. I can definitely see them wanting to go somewhere warm after so many months spent at the North Pole! *Bigsmile* There were just a couple of details that I thought could use a little improvement:

First, I think the bathtub needs a little foreshadowing. It felt a little strange to have Santa on a beach, then suddenly run off into the trees and return with a bathtub-motorboat. Where did that come from? Did he have it hidden there for later? If not, how did he know the things he would need to create the contraption would be there? Without a little setup explaining how he managed to find the parts necessary to create his latest invention, it's a little confusing how he managed to get it to the beach.

Additionally, the dialogue needs a little work. If Mrs. Claus is really concerned enough about her husband's well-being, why does she take the time to ask Jingles how things are going in the North Pole before calling in a rescue. That undercuts the immediacy of the request... there needs to be a little bit of tension and sense of urgency in order for the audience to feel like there's a need to call in a rescue.

Other than those two issues, I thought this was an entertaining read. You're off to a good start! *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
111
111
Review of Death of Fear  
Review by Jeff
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Noyoki -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I thought you did a good job with this poem. I think the fact that it's a concise sixteen lines and just a handful of words really helps accentuate the perceived need for control. Your descriptive language was excellent and it created wonderful imagery as I read through the poem. I wish I had some suggestions for improvement, but I really liked the piece as-is. The only small suggestion would be to note what kind of poem it is (i.e. if there's a specific structure to it, or if it's free verse) so that if there is a particular structure to it, the reader can discern how well you adhered to it. Other than that minor note, I thought this was an excellent piece. Well done!

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
112
112
Review of The Wardrobe  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with The Dark Society  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
A new banner for The Dark Society.


*Skull* Official Judges' Review *Skull*


Hi Rusty -

I had a chance to read your item today as a judge for the "Sinister Stories Contest, and have enclosed the following review on behalf of "The Dark Society for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.



CONCEPT/PREMISE

I'm not really sure how one or more of the three contest prompts fit into this story; there's really no connection to cursed buried treasure, taking revenge for a past wrong, or a death row inmate. For that reason, it's not really a fit for the contest, but as a standalone story, I think you did a good job creating a "creepy new home" story where it seems that the haunting or supernatural events are tied to one specific piece of furniture in the house.


STORYLINE

I thought you did a good job with the story, and managed to create a compelling narrative for both your protagonist who moves into the house, as well as the family from the photograph. You clearly established both storylines in an effective and concise way. Nice job! *Thumbsup*


CHARACTERIZATION

I was particularly impressed with your ability to tie things together and make them pay off, like the iPod. It was such a small detail to have your character listen to an iPod while cleaning, but it was a character detail that also played into the story when he wondered if listening to his music was why he hadn't heard someone taking his clothes out of the wardrobe. Details like that are an excellent way to develop character and further the plot, and you did an excellent job with them.


DIALOGUE

There wasn't a lot of dialogue in this story, but I think you did well with the few lines the story had.


STRUCTURE

You did a good job with the structure of this story. It was paced well and built to a satisfying conclusion, all within a few hundred short words. Nice! *Thumbsup*


TECHNICAL

There were a few odd typos here and there (e.g. "I take a few deep [breaths]"), and the story needs to be proofread for grammatical errors (commas after clauses in a sentence, things like that), but as a whole I found it a very compelling and well-written story. On a note specifically for the contest, please make sure you observe all contest rules when submitting your entry... including addressing the prompt and including a word count with your story. *Wink*


OVERALL

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story. You mentioned in the item description that this is your first horror story; I think it shows a lot of promise, and I'd definitely encourage you to keep writing in this genre and seeing how your talents develop. You're off to a solid start. *Bigsmile*


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these items:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
113
113
Review of Death  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with The Dark Society  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
A new banner for The Dark Society.


*Skull* Official Judges' Review *Skull*


Hi Goldammer -

I had a chance to read your item today as a judge for the "Sinister Stories Contest, and have enclosed the following review on behalf of "The Dark Society for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.



CONCEPT/PREMISE

I thought you did a good job with the premise of this story. It follows the prompt well and was an interesting way to go with your entry.


STORYLINE

I was hoping for a little more story. While there's no minimum story length requirements, the contest had a maximum length of 5,000 words and I would have loved to have seen some more of those remaining 4,756 words used to develop the characters and expand the story a bit.


CHARACTERIZATION

As a flash fiction piece, I think you did a good job developing and presenting the story, but the one area that really has the potential to suffer in flash fiction is character, since you don't have a lot of words or space to develop a character and present a complex personality to the reader. This is the area of the story where I would have loved to have seen a little more work done, so we can better understand your protagonist's brother and, more importantly, why the protagonist is also on death row for murder when his brother was the one that pulled the trigger.


DIALOGUE

There was only one line of dialogue in the piece, which was effective.


STRUCTURE

The pacing and structure of the story was good; I liked the fact that you started with the present day and then flashed back to what happened to get them there. It was an effective way to tell a story in such a short span of time. *Thumbsup*


TECHNICAL

I didn't find any specific technical errors in the piece. I know you mentioned in the intro description that you're not a native English speaker, but I thought you did a good job with the technical aspects of this piece. Well done! *Smile*


OVERALL

Overall, I think this was a good story and it has a lot of potential. It would be at home in any drama or horror flash fiction contest and I would be very interested to read it if you considered expanding it into a longer piece.


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these items:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
114
114
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with The Dark Society  
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
A new banner for The Dark Society.


*Skull* Official Judges' Review *Skull*


Hi Summer Wind is Healing -

I had a chance to read your item today as a judge for the "Sinister Stories Contest, and have enclosed the following review on behalf of "The Dark Society for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.



CONCEPT/PREMISE

You did a good job with the concept. I like your take on the prompt and you came up with a very clever way for your main character to get revenge on his mother.


STORYLINE

The story was good, but I felt that the middle part where Johnnie is dreaming up ways to kill his mother is perhaps not quite as effective as if you were to have him dream up ways of hurting her and then the decision to kill her (with the spaghetti sauce) is more of an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decision. Or better, it happens accidentally and then we get a chance to see how Johnnie reacts to the fact that he actually killed someone. By just fantasizing about killing her - and then killing her - there's not as much opportunity for rising action than there would be if it wasn't his intent but still became the final result.


CHARACTERIZATION

I would have loved to know more about why Johnnie hates spaghetti and meatballs so much, or why his mother insists on making it several times per week. I think you hinted at a really great character dynamic in the story (father died, mother becomes overprotective of her son), and I really wanted to read more about how that tragic event plays out and makes the characters do what they do. For example, maybe spaghetti and meatballs was the father's favorite meal, so she keeps making it week after week as a way to remember him... but the meal makes Johnnie nauseous because it reminds him of his father when he just wants to get over his death. Little character details like that would make this story even stronger than it already is.


DIALOGUE

The dialogue was effectively written; no problems here. *Thumbsup*


STRUCTURE

Other than the comment above about more rising action in the second act by not fantasizing about the mother's death, I thought this story was short, clearly written, and engaging. It was well-paced and moved along well. *Smile*


TECHNICAL

Just one quick typo I noticed:

"Maybe this will get into [your] thick skull, mother."


OVERALL

Overall, I think this was an engaging story with a good twist. I think there's room for more character development and slightly better plotting of events, but you're off to a good start and well on your way to an excellent short horror story. Nice work!


I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these items:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
115
115
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Angels in my Ear -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I can definitely see why this poem won first place in Muse Masters and was published in Shadow Express; it's excellent! I thought you did a really great job with the imagery and the detail in the poem, and your word choice and the structure of the piece is very good.

The only tiny issues I noticed were in the fourth line of the first stanza, where I think "compliment" (a flattering remark) should be "complement" (something that goes well with something else), and "palette" (a thin slab or board on which an artist mixes his colors, or the range of colors, instruments, etc. an artist uses) should be "palate" (a person's appreciation of taste and flavor). I actually debated the "palate vs. palette" issue for a while, but I think since your earlier lines reference tongue, flavor, etc., that the palate relating to flavor is perhaps more appropriate than the palette related to an artist's repertoire of color and tone.

Other than those two homonyms, I thought this was an excellent poem that was evocative, detailed, and very well-written. Nice work! *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
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Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
116
116
Review of Lest We Judge!  
Review by Jeff
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Fran πŸ…πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ… -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I thought you did a good job with this poem. The rhyme scheme is good and your imagery and word choices are great. More importantly, I think it's a great piece for its intended audience. I like the fact that you include why and for whom you were writing this piece, as it helps create context for the reader. *Thumbsup*

I did have one issue, which is really more of a question since I'm new to writing and critiquing poetry. I noticed at the bottom that it's cited as "freestyle poetry" but that each quatrain follows an "AABB" rhyme scheme. I think it should be "aabb" because capital letters ("AABB") - I think - refer to lines which don't just have rhyming words, but have identical rhyming words, e.g., "difference/difference" rather than "difference/significance." Also, if it has a rhyme scheme, doesn't that make it automatically not freestyle, which is a lack of any formal structure or meter? Again, I'm new to the poetry game, so I could be wrong, but I think it might more clearly be cited as "Each stanza is a quatrain and I follow an aabb rhyme scheme."

Other than that issue of format and classification, though, I think you did a wonderful job with this poem. I'm particularly impressed with the words you chose to rhyme... many of which are complex and not the easy go-to rhymes that I see in so many poems. Well done! *Thumbsup*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff
Logo for Senior Moderators - small

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
117
117
Review of To Be or Not  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
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Hi Max Griffin πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I enjoyed this essay about breaking the writing "rules" and where published authors stand compared to aspiring authors. I know it's a bit of a double-standard, but it's totally true; what an aspiring author may get dinged for in terms of personal voice, stylistic choices, etc., a published author can get away with simply for the fact that they are already established and have a fan base. I thought you did a great job with this article in terms of presenting your argument, providing supporting examples, and arranging it into a cohesive, compelling piece. I wish I had some suggestions for improvement, but I think you did a great job with it, as is. *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
118
118
Review of My Need to Know  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Sweethonesty -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I've always found curiosity to be a tricky quality... not enough and people label you ignorant, stuck in your ways, or oblivious... too much and you're nosy, annoying, or pesky. It's true what you said, though, that without intense curiosity, we wouldn't have had many of the amazing advancements we've seen by innovators who indulged in their curiosity. Overall, I thought this was a well-written and well-presented essay that was short, to the point, and effective. Nice work! *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
119
119
Review of Hidden Qualities  
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
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Hi Troy Jarmes -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

What really struck me about this piece was the well-developed characters you depicted. Both the narrator and Irishka are interesting and engaging, and their relationship is fascinating to watch. The item was a little rough and could use a proofread for technical errors (it's "Champs Elysees" and "Eiffel Tower" is capitalized), but other than that, you're off to a great start and I think you've done a good job of hooking your reader so that he or she wants to follow along with the continuation of the story. *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
120
120
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Noyoki -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I thought you did a good job with rewriting this story. I appreciate the fact that you provided a link to the original so that reviewers can see just what you changed from the last version. This was a great take on the daily prompt, and your revisions definitely improve the piece. The one thing I noticed was that this version is technically labeled as an "essay," and I think it might be better suited if you label it a short story like the original. Other than that, this was an entertaining, well-written story. Nice work! *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
121
121
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Noctis -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

Even though this was a very short essay, I think it brings up a lot of really interesting points that challenge the reader to consider. In particular, the fact that the pursuit of intelligence and the desire for our children to be exceptional has become an obsession for many people, as well as the fact that intelligence can be used to both good and bad effect depending on the other circumstances of a person's upbringing and education. Hopefully people will stop mindlessly pursuing exceptional intelligence as a goal in and of itself, start looking at the bigger picture, and start considering that we also need to be teaching our exceptional children what to do with their gifts rather than just chasing the gift itself.

Thanks for the thought-provoking essay! *Bigsmile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
122
122
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Unapologetic Poetess -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I enjoyed reading this essay about the realities of farm life. I didn't grow up on a farm myself, but I do have several people in my extended family who have owned or worked on farms and I remember visiting them as a kid and being shocked at how different their lives were from what I imagined farm life to be. Farm life is definitely tougher than most people imagine, and days can be filled with difficult situations that are completely foreign to outsiders who have never set foot on a farm or handled interactions with animals that closely. Overall, I think this was an engaging, interesting essay. Nice work!

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
123
123
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Archie -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

I thought this was a good essay about Robin Williams and really appreciated the fact that it was about more than just Williams' life but also the importance of recognizing and helping people with depression. Depression is a scary affliction that can affect anyone regardless of how successful or outwardly happy they may seem, and if there's one silver lining that's come from losing a beloved icon of the screen it's that hopefully more light will be shed on the struggles he went through so that hopefully others can avoid a similar fate. Nice job on this short and poignant essay! *Thumbsup*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
124
124
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi Musician Kristin -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

Overall, I think you did a good job with this essay and the thesis of emphasizing spiritual learning in a world where material things and book learning is so prioritized. I do think, however, that the essay generalized a bit too much and made assumptions that "book learning people" are one specific way and that "spiritual learning people" are another specific way, and I think the reality is that there are a lot of gray areas... book smart people can also be spiritually confident, and spiritually smart people can be ignorant and narrow-minded. You did a great job of making your overall point, but I think the essay would be even stronger if it contemplated the gray areas in between either the blindly book smart or the blindly spiritual. Other than that, I enjoyed this essay. Nice work! *Smile*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
125
125
Review by Jeff
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
shared anniversary image


Hi BIG BAD WOLF -

I had a chance to read your item today, and have enclosed the following "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group review for your consideration. Please keep in mind that these comments are only my own opinions.

This was an interesting article on the topic of honest reviewing. While I certainly agree that honesty is important and that, as reviewers, we must evaluate a particular item on the merits rather than purely on our own personal opinions of whether it's our particular cup of tea, but I think the end of your essay was a bit of a missed opportunity to explain that it's okay to give a low star rating, too. You did a great job of explaining how a reviewer should examine the actual writing elements (technical, story, character, etc.) and weigh the story based on those in addition to merely whether they enjoyed it or not... but that's just one potential situation, i.e., one in which the bizarre and unlikable item is still well-written.

What about items that are not just something unlikable for the reviewer, but also severely lacking in one or more of those areas? You mentioned that someone's "reviewing reputation" could be damaged by sending a low rating. But I think that's only true if the low rating also comes with no explanation or merely a personal, visceral reaction to the piece. I think it's equally important to point out that a low star rating is okay, as long as you give honest feedback about why you chose the star rating you did. Evaluating writing based on the merits of individual elements rather than just gut reaction is important; but I think it's also important not to give people the impression that their reviewing reputation is in jeopardy if they don't rate an item highly. *Smile*

Other than that, I thought this was a compelling piece that brings up a very important aspect of reviewing; sometimes, we all come across items we don't particularly enjoy reading, and it's important to formulate a respectful, honest, helpful review for that author even when the item isn't our particular cup of tea. *Thumbsup*

I hope that you've found my comments useful. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review your material; keep up the good work and keep writing!


Jeff

Please check out these groups:
"The Screenwriting Group
"Unofficial Erotica Newsletter Group
"The Dark Society


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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