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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/sparkyvacdr
Review Requests: ON
161 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I like to encourage writers, while giving accurate, insightful, truthful feedback. Reviews for novel length items will be an overview and general comment. I don't review line by line or focus on grammar, spelling or punctuation -except perhaps if I see something affecting the storyline, or if I have suggestions relating to improving relevant areas of the work.
I'm good at...
I find it easy to give positive comments, and encouragement, but I struggle to be critical.
Favorite Genres
Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Least Favorite Genres
Gothic. Historical. Satanism. Overly violent. Nope, get someone else for that stuff.
Favorite Item Types
Mainstream fiction
Least Favorite Item Types
Stories that lack conflict, drama, purpose.
I will not review...
Stuff written while obviously high on drugs :) OK yes I will review that too..
Public Reviews
Previous ... -1- 2 3 ... Next
1
1
Review of Fevered In Divine  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
G'day Danial Lucas

I'm reviewing "Fevered In Divine as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:

Title & Blurb:
Only first hand could someone understand the full meaning of this title. Burn. Perhaps it is the only fitting expressive single word.

Narrative Hook:
The limits, the condition stamped in the first word "only" of the first verse glues my awareness until the closing agony of the last verse, unending, unfading.

Mood:

Sweet cruel torturous pain, yet I would read nothing else.

Rhythm:

A cycle of six that kills with the simplicity.

Appeal:

Cupids arrow is always sharp, and sometimes the bleeding is never stemmed, not even with roses or the crispest whitest bandages of healed memories.

Rhyme:

Intelligent, smart pairing, not detracting from any ambience held in these quiet passage.

Flow / linking / tone:

Only. Only. Only. Verses push the reader down the slippery slope of bittersweet heat. Any more flow or linking and it would become a song or hymn.

Favourite:

"death's cold caress - chill of emptiness"

Suggestions:

I suggest you keep doing what your doing. Yep. That's probably what is recommended with deemed perfection. Cook up another batch of this stuff!

Rating:

That. 5/5

Thanks for sharing your work, and giving opportunity to review. You efforts reward the reader second only to yourself. As a writer, you are like a pianist, or other performer. Nobody enjoys the piece more than the player / singer.
My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
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If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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The Rockin' Review Academy   (13+)
Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


and contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ .
THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group
2
2
Review by Sparky
Rated: E | (5.0)
Well worth a few gps
3
3
Review of Where We End  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
G'day elizjohn

I'm reviewing "Where We End as a member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:

Title & Blurb:
I ran flat out into this. Sprinted way past the title without pause. So now I've ambled back to have another look at what you've put on the sign post. How important is it? Well, I think you've really nailed this piece. So much so, by the time I read to the end I wasn't sure if I slurped up the dregs of bitterness, or sat alone, sipping that last vestige, the sugary syrup of relief.

It's that kind of item. Luckily there is the description; the blurb rescues me and I know. I know what you've done pushing yourself beyond limits with this moment.

Narrative Hook:

Pieces like this draw you in with every word, not just a single hook. The fishing line, or webs of a hatched cross section, a net pulled across the current of tragedy, trapping the reader, who knows right now there is no wriggling out of this one. All the exits are blocked with uncertainty, insecurity, grief mingled with a dog's breakfast of past life's experience.

Plot
I knew I should have used the poem template, but I'll struggle onward. Something whispers that this ain't no poem, man. This is the full whiff of a bong, where there is an infusion of emotion, timelessness and privacy that excludes all but the scripted inmates.

Story message:

The reader, me, is like an unnoticed patron nearby, who sees nothing but pleasantries and exchanges. We don't want to push through the stranger barrier to really know what is under the ice. The fish in these waters have teeth. When I read this piece I'd rather not know. The feeling is big, heavy and has energy sapping mass.

Scenery / setting:

Barista's Bar? Or is it really an engineering shop where arc welders and foundry spigots turn, pouring out molten pain, straight into the gaping exposure of dental nerve endings. Perhaps there is...but wait. That is edging into POV territory.

Linking / Flow:

The conundrum, the uniqueness, of this piece is only realised as you read it again, again, again and again.
Imagine the set of stairs that appear to be taking pedestrians forever upwards, or downwards. Is it up, or is it down?

That, Elizabeth(?) is the testy question. After reading this piece, I think I need more than coffee in my cup! *Pthb*

Point Of View:

"We'll" encircles nobody. First person sits well and POV was the last noticeable thing on my mind as I read this. I think that is a good thing. Excellent.

Characterisation:
You have designed perfectly anonymous persona.

Descriptiveness:
This is all about people and deep, deep personal trauma, yet there is zero description of anybody. I would be an idiot to think this was not deliberate. You have excelled. Seriously.

Story Strengths:
Perhaps the strength of this amalgam vibrating little bunch of moments in a coffee shop lies in the reader seeing the brink. There is an edge that I'm not sure has been crossed with it's gigantic crater of loss, or if there was such a lack of adventure that this piece really describes what could have been, but wasn't.

Suggestions:

Write the rest of it. *Cry*.

There has to be a happier ending, surely? Please! Please? Is love really not worth it? Even if it does end past the threshold described in this, your speech to your empty coffee mug.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

What errors? Where?

Rating:

I cannot fathom why I shouldn't give this a 5/5, but perhaps there is a refill yet to be poured out of your writer's soul. You've come this far. Is there more?

The thing is, I understand this pain first hand. There is safety and security in withholding, yet there is a mountain level of passion and richness if everything, all you've told, is all of it without reserve or condition is wagered in one single risk.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ of the The PDG Rockin Reviewers Group


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of Walter Engrid  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
G'day Sonia Gonzalez

I'm reviewing "Walter Engrid as a member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
This character study intrigues me, for the simple reason that you've captured the essence of this persona very well, yet I'm not sure what the correlation is between you and "Walter Engrid". I know I should take the time to read the other couple of items in your port because after Googling the name, I'm still none the wiser. Who is this somewhat miserable, yet stubborn man(?)?


Title & Blurb:
Perhaps your title is explained in the blurb; this is a character you are developing for a story. A short explanation might help, but that of course is your choice.
Perhaps because of this, and the complexity of your characterisation, your item does have a certain charisma.
I enjoy that in a story / piece. Provoking thought is not an easy task, especially stimulating original ideas. This snapshot of the guy on the way to work feels like the tip of the iceberg of a greater work.
Yes, definitely triggers for read rage, if not road rage. *Smile*

Narrative Hook:
I was lane-changed, perhaps without indicating, into driving futher into this narrative, by the magnetic empathy of, not the character, but the targets of his negativity with life in general. Cynical assessment of every circumstance is sometimes my own imperfect mind issue, so I was further drawn into relative point of view.

Plot
Even for an isolated character brief, this still contains a plot journey, from A to B. Nothing foggy or risky about these reading conditions.

Story message:
Don't be such a driving douche, and remember the two sides to every encounter. Everyone has these moments, but it doesn't mean we have to enjoy being stuck behind a deliberately slow drive, the same as not everyone is bestys with speeders. Perhaps age and upbringing have an effect in these instances.

Scenery / setting:
Highway, work and lifestyle. Typical, and totally believable. A character scene many would see every day.

Linking / Flow:
Like flashing white lines, or police and ambulance strobes, the paragraphs, sentences, phrases and words all seem to work step by methodical step through the daily drudgery of a commuter's drive, and miserable, restricted view of life.

Point Of View:
First person increases the intrigue, and I want to get to know this person better. I want to know why and what brought about these scars and wrinkles this bitter and angry person wears like trophies.

Characterisation:
Yes. Boot loads, chinese take outs piled with it. Just add soy with a stirring of hot dipping sauce to complete the picture. This guy must wear a hat, and drive a Volvo, surely.

Descriptiveness:
More than adequate, remembering there is a word limit. Unlike the character, there's not much waffle in this item. Well done Sonia.

Story Strengths:
There is enough wear and tear written into this character to drive along ok, yet not too much to become an illegal defect by someone's (the author?) biased life experience. The character isn't that bad, but their attitude potentially could be.

Suggestions:
There's scope to use this character bite for any number of plot turn offs. No, not the unpleasant type, the intersection type. You could turn the vehicle of this person's cynicism into any number of genres or scene boil overs. Is he a serial killer? Is he someone's jaded Dad? Is he your own father, or grandfather? Is he a husband? Endless possibilities. Perhaps one day he finishes his life as a homeless, friendless tyrant, berating young skateboard riders or children walking home after school.
Perhaps a guileless person with disabilities touches his aching and injured feelings / heart, and he has a massive life change; becomes a softer individual that sees the rewarding side of life, and the more positive treatment of others.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:
All looks ok to me, however, there could be the odd flat tyre, petrol light flickering on, windshield wiper washer bottle empty, or car park dent stuff to be improved or corrected.

Rating:
My rating for this reflects how I feel you've attempted to create a character portrait in limited space, and done it vividly, with depth and colour that only strong traits can inject. You are a strong writer, with defined ideas and firm perimeters marking out your characters limitations. If you decide to clarify who this person is, or offer something, anything, to salve my burning curiosity, then I'll gladly return to re-rate it 4.5/5.

Please keep writing and welcome to writing.com (WDC)

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ of the The PDG Rockin Reviewers Group



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5
5
Review of The Prank  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
G'day MontyB

I'm reviewing "The Prank as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
For a very short piece, you have sure packed a punch in this nightmarish incident. Haven't we all had nightmares on this theme; an accidental death, or one that's helped along by foolishness and ill-timed fun.

Title & Blurb:
Both are perfect, I feel. It is what it is. Normally I'd recommend a different blurb, without the Flash Fiction detail, but I think in this case what is there needs to be said. Don't expect an overly detailed saga with this.

Narrative Hook:
A flavour of menace is there immediately. A childish pout, supposed to be disarming, fails dismally.

Plot
Plausible and, with a couple of tweaks, will be full of dread and drama. Understatement goes a long way to invoke feelings of dread.

Story message:
Sometimes it pays to keep your mouth shut, just now.

Scenery / setting:
Adequate for clear meaning

Linking / Flow:
No stumbling that I could see.

Point Of View:
Fitting, and probably the only way to tell this. I sure wouldn't want to be Jake, at the end...*Bigsmile*. You'd have to change from first person to omniscient view then. It's good the way you've written it.

Characterisation:
Enough to tell the story.

Descriptiveness:
Lots of showing, not telling. This has to be the way to raise awareness of danger first hand, for the captive reader. Muhahahahaaa!

Story Strengths:
Sinister voice and realistic plot, with the nasty ending, makes for an enjoyable quick read. Just the thing for a quick coffee break at work.

Suggestions:
Increase the drama by raising the level of emotion. While the sinister effect is good, I wonder if the lack of reaction isn't pushed a little far, particularly with Allie. Could someone really be that disconnected from the result of their actions?

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

Forth line there is a minor error. The rest looks ok to me.

Allie pulled her lip back in. ¬“You

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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The Rockin' Review Academy   (13+)
Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


and contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ .
THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group


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6
6
Review of My Story  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
G'day LittleJohn

I'm reviewing "My Story as a member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
This story is chock full of action from beginning, through step by step events, to the satisfying conclusion.

Title & Blurb:
Very fitting.

Narrative Hook:
The blurb did it for me, as well as that early tension that every beginning that mentions "stormy" creates.

Plot
This reads like facts, like experience, like a dramatic event that became memorable because of its impact on a young person.

Story message:
The collective cooperation of people, regardless of age or status, can help overcome danger, and grim odds.

Scenery / setting:
Clear and lively. Lots of "doing" words.

Linking / Flow:
Methodical, constant and no time to breathe. Keep writing. You have plenty of time to hone your skills and write that bestseller!

Point Of View:
First person, yet doesn't focus on self. The reader doesn't feel it's about "I", but about "us". This reinforces the unity lesson of this incident.

Characterisation:
Though sparse, is effective. From drunkard to Principal, Bus Driver to kids, all fit in where they should. The minimal, you could say, muted description of the group of passengers saving the bus from worse damage, lends an authentic, true drama to this story.

Descriptiveness:
Adequate and well done for such a tiny word count.

Story Strengths:
As I said, the under stressed heroic deeds of the children help to make this story believable. The reality of life is that children's heroic deeds are probably not quickly believed by older people. I feel this story sets out a forthright narrative of what really happened, not a flowery over worded exaggeration that would have us shaking our heads and saying, "nah, that's...that probably didn't happen really, it's just a tale."
I would state that this story reads like it really did occur.

Suggestions:
The piece would be instantly easier to read if some paragraphs were used.
A few lines of dialogue, perhaps even a third of what is written already, would bring greater interest to the work.
The ending, while an interesting extension, takes away a little from the dramatic accident, and its exciting aftermath. Maybe write more about any injuries, police coming to someone's house to talk to parents, some counseling at school, or some other result of the accident.
Your piece has most of it leading up to the accident, and the ending couple of lines are about other happenings in life. Perhaps increase these incidental things, or take them away completely.
This is your story, and the title states it. So, is it just a story about your (or someone's) life in general, or is it just about the bus accident? There could be a clearer focus here.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:
A good effort at putting across some entertainment; however, a lot of work can be done by you to change / improve your sentence structure, grammar, readability, paragraphs and what-not.
The spelling is good.

See below for links I recommend to improve your grammar etc.

Rating:{b?}
3.5/5 but I'd be happy to review this in the future should you make some changes to it. Just email me if you'd like this to happen.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "My Story, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky
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If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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The Rockin' Review Academy   (13+)
Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


and contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ .
THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
G'day StephBee is Thankful

I'm reviewing "The Lighthouse Keeper as a member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
This short story, of 1376 words, is well rounded, entertaining, and different. I'm not a huge fan of werewolf or vampire stories, but I found this one very enjoyable, particularly because it was cooked just right.
The events felt very believable, and although I guessed what was about to happen, it was ok, because the story continued a steady pace, stable narrative, and balanced scenes and characters.

Title & Blurb:
"The Lighthouse Keeper" title, teamed up with the blurb,
"Audrina finds herself attracted to the unusual lighthouse keeper" were adequate to whet my appetite, and were not statements disappointed by the body of the story.
No - the story lived up to the description of it.

Narrative Hook:
Like a flash of light from a rotating reflector to the passing reader in our ship of captivating attention, the story is launched straight into mystery and action associated with that puzzling incident.

Plot
While predictable towards the end, the plot held my interest and felt unintrusive, felt right, felt rewarding, felt worth the effort and time spent reading.

Story message:
Sometimes, the most unusual and potentially mortal situations are just what we want. There is no denying it.

Scenery / setting:
I felt that I was standing there, on the coast, involved in Audrina's life, if only by looking over her shoulder. The setting suits the theme of werewolves, with oldness,quaintness, and the ageless purpose of lighthouses only adding to the realness. Quite excellent in my humble opinion. You've packed a "real" event into this tiny piece.

Linking / Flow:
The jarring note of a human smelling another, the inconsistent age of her aunt, and Audrina's attraction to Damian among other threads, mesh the whole piece together and help cement any joins into a seamless work. Facts and small detail supported the more vital steps of plot.

Point Of View:
Third person is suitable, and very consistent. Oh, that my work was the same! *Smile*

Characterisation:
Imaginative and clear. Motivation felt balanced.

Descriptiveness:
People say "you had to be there". Well, with this story, as a reader, you are there. The author's job is done.

Story Strengths:
Realness. Not overdone. Reader is convinced and persuaded of the reality by gentle narrative, rather than defensive wordiness. Well done.

Suggestions:
A bit of a tedious point to mention, but I think the lens is spelt incorrectly. Sometimes spelling of certain words is different for different countries, of course, so I may be wrong here.

Frenzel lens should read Fresnel lens.

http://www.google.com.au/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=ExQqVPeGAca...



Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

Fresnel should probably go here, but I think it's to minor a potential fault. Nothing more I can add here.

Rating:
4.5 / 5 but probably could be 5/5. Check on that lens spelling.
I'm happy to re-rate this should you make changes.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ of the The PDG Rockin Reviewers Group



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review of 911 Tribute  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
G'day Freya

I'm reviewing "911 Tribute as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
A short piece that communicates strength and passion, clearly.

Title & Blurb:
Succinct, though brief. A few words express much.

Narrative Hook:
911 - What more needs to be said?

Plot
A respectful exhortation.

Story message:
Don't waste the currency of short term emotions, that repeat, repay, and reap, the original bitter mistake.
Strive for reflection, not revenge.

Scenery / setting:
No time like the present, to reflect and get things right.

Linking / Flow:
Lot's of "todays, whens", and lighting the kindling of the fires of human passion urge the reader to flare up, to consume the words, to roar to the crackling finish, and to bask in the seriousness, yet healthy warmth, of this short consideration of life.

Point Of View:
Conversational style suits this opinion piece.

Characterisation:
The reader, and writer, feature as characters in this, as well as those that kill, those who protect, those who fight and those who mourn. While there is very little in the way of charaterisation here, I feel the message gets across as it should.

Descriptiveness:

Story Strengths:
There is a point to this, be in no doubt.

Suggestions:
While I understand that this was most likely written as the authors express view at the time, not with the purpose of being critically reviewed, I'll put a couple of ideas here as part of the review process, just for the sake of improved readability.

1. Stick a paragraph in when the subject changes, or, as it's an online piece, make a break half way anyway, even if it isn't the rules exactly. It makes it easier to read.

2. I was going to make a second suggestion, but really, I feel there's not much more to say. You've done a good job here. I hear your voice speaking through the words. I feel the pain, grief, concern for humanity, compassion, forgiveness and other passionate expressions.

You've placed this into the categories of Death, Tribute, and Emotional and that is exactly what it's about. No more, no less.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

There are many countries who are in the misdt of civil wars

I'm not sure if you meant in the mist, or in the midst. Either way makes sense, and if you did this deliberately it's a good analogy and clever change to the cliche / phrase.

Rating:

4/5 because this is what you say, delivers the goods, is respectful and your tone suits the serious subject matter, and because you've packed a lot into this short tribute.
Should you make a couple of tweaks, I'd be happy to rerate; just let me know.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ of the The PDG Rockin Reviewers Group


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
G'day Izzy~WeloveyouHenrik</3

I'm reviewing "Before and after Aim High School as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
An interesting and different work that opens a window on a different perspective; the difficulties, the lows, the highs, problems and solutions, the expose of someone who is overcoming the challenges of autism, every day.

While captivating, I feel this piece could be improved with some attention to a few punctuation errors, (which we all struggle to nail down) and some changes that might clarify certain points.

I understand the effort it takes to write from the heart, and don't wish to discourage the writer by any criticism, however honest. Nevertheless, I feel that hints, coupled with brotherly kindness, can go a long way, especially when we are all siblings in this game of learning to write better.

Yes, we are all seeking to improve our writing.

I enjoyed reading this personal experience narrative, and feel I know the writer, or person describing these events, more closely for having read it.

Title & Blurb:
The title fits ok and is backed up by the blurb. I respect the courage it can take, to open hidden aspects of ones life to others, strangers, and tell them the down side, as well as the good things of the writer's past.
The more people explain their differences, the better the understanding that comes, and hopefully an improvement in how people treat others who are different.
These people have enough to deal with, just with their own challenging lives, without having the brakes applied through ignorant malice.
We can all learn from stories like this.

Narrative Hook:
The three questions at the commencement of this narrative pulled me into the piece, with reference to a place we all seek; a sort of nirvana of life moments, or locations, or scene-grabs of pleasant reality.
To find such a place of happiness, or whatever it is we feel best describes this good place, it seems to be a fact that the opposite occurs, so that we understand what a good experience is, by the feeling of the opposite.

Plot
The aim of this story is to pass on a recommendation to other people with such challenges so they might make a better educated choice. The review of the writer's school, and the demonstrated comparison of before and after, encourage the reader to see reasons to attend here.

Story message:
AIM High School is managed by staff who understand the optimum learning environment that people with autism need. Other schools are not so good, and the students there not so fortunate.

Scenery / setting:
Not a lot of scenery described, and little setting structure in place apart from old school / new school / bus, summer camp and a few other brief places where teachers lived. This doesn't take away from the general purpose of the piece, but there is potential to use more scenery / setting to enrich the opposing experiences - good or bad - and to create more interest for the reader.
Too much though, and this could become a distraction of the main reason for this piece - to describe how good the writer's experience at this particular High School. (AIM)

Linking / Flow:
I feel the steps and paths used in this story are well spaced, guide the reader well and help the reader see the main points / situation of each relevant time.

Point Of View:
Consistent first person feels just right. Excellent approach for personal experience. As I read, I became the writer, looking through the writer's eyes, and seeing the writer's motivation, feelings, apprehension and needs. This view puts across clearly the evidence behind the good reference of AIM High School.

Characterisation:
A lot more could be done in this area that would help the reader see for themselves the negative and positive persons involved in the story.
The teachers, thought listed and their lives described somewhat, more could be said about why the writer felt they helped, and why they "made me understand", or "made me want to learn Math" etc.

Descriptiveness:
This area too, while the descriptiveness is adequate for the purpose, could be utilised a lot more to improve realism for the reader.

Story Strengths:

First hand experience, passionate views, no nonsense direction of the piece, with stepping stones of people who lead the writer, and the reader, along a path of success, a path of improvement, a path of understanding, to a destination of a confident future.

Suggestions:

. Please expand on what the letters AIM mean. Are these an acronym, or is this the word "aim"?.

. In this case, my feeling is, I wouldn't use terms in a story such as *sigh* or *pokes out tongue* as such, but describe these feelings as is the rest of the story. Such a style feels more like a Facebook post, or a text / SMS conversation, and to change this style, I think, would add some maturity to the authors work.


Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

This is an area where everyone can improve, and it seems to be an unlimited area of continual learning, myself included. I'm far too slack when it comes to paying attention to correct use of punctuation, a good spell check, and not least of all, nutting out that important clear grammar that lifts our work from average to exceptional.

I don't want to take away from your entertaining style, or discourage you from what you already have acheived. However, you have related your experiences here so that others might read, might take in, might accept your recommendations and so experience a similar "place they really love".

So I'd like to relate an experience to you that helped me, like a short cut up a ladder in the game, Snakes & Ladders. The New Horizons Academy run courses that are an immense help with punctuation etc and can be found by doing a search of WDC and the instructor's name is Winnie Kay .
I did the Comma Sense course and the grammar component of it also, and it was such a boost to MY confidence in writing. I must warn you though, that it's not a course of the faint of heart, and is one of the hardest courses I've ever done, in and out of school.

Rating: 4/5

Should you make some changes to this piece, and wish a rerate, I'll consider revisiting this piece at some future time. Just let me know. Thanks!



*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Before and after Aim High School,Izzy~WeloveyouHenrik</3 , I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky
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If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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The Rockin' Review Academy   (13+)
Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


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10
10
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
G'day Winnie Kay

I'm reviewing "Are You Listening To Me ? as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Brace yourself, oh former (and current, in imagined strict presence *Pthb* ) teacher. I'll review this with both barrels, no holds barred, honest, succinct (whatever that means - can't remember) pleasure. I think it is rather myself, who needs to brace. *Smile*

Overview:
I feel this story fits squarely into the intended subject, with a balanced, thought encouraging lightness undeterred by a potentially depressing situation.
After completing the rest of this review, I've come back here to add something. I feel a sense of horror, menace even, with the undertone of this story. The steep setting. Ravine. Note on the fridge. Grief. Lack of blame. Police investigation. Nothing concrete is said (written), yet I feel that feeling.
Well done Winnie Kay .

Title & Blurb:
The baited title question has been skillfuly threaded onto the graceful hook of the blurb. No guesswork what is in store, in this short story. It would be a mistake to mystify grief, and so I feel the explanatory title, while still hooking the reader, does away with any pretence.
The greiving need a sense of trust, and this is delivered as necessary, before we even begin reading the body of the piece.

Narrative Hook:
As a reader, or as a member of the human race, regardless of any differences, grief is surely experienced by all, at one time in our lives. Your first few sentences are gentle description of opening scenery, following the forthright title and blurb.

Plot
There is a strong sense of showing, not telling, in this piece. I had to re-read some of it a few times, searching for details of the tragic circumstance. I realised that these points of reference come mostly with inferrence, which brings a stronger sense of sorrow, through the character Ted.

Story message:

Grief can be like a form of deafness. "Maybe I can get him to hear me today".

Recovery or "moving on" from grief cannot be forced, and a time limit shouldn't be expected, or set.
Gentle persistence, and sustained demonstration of care / love, on the other hand, are the best support.
Grievers can only be healed from within, while being carried from without.
Smothering, or the other extreme, forcefulness, won't help. However, sowing seeds of interest in the sufferers usual activities may reap reward given time, and patience.

Scenery / setting:
Scenery and setting feel right, adequate to project an authentic picture of the situation. Interest is provided, colour and beauty, where the view of not only the carer and friend, but of the sufferer / griever can be seen by the reader. Plenty of sensory input here!

Linking / Flow:
Each scene and bubble of dialogue guides and prompts the reader along, with the right rhythm to make this story feel real.

For example, where Rebecca recalls the events leading up to the tragedy, and then this is interupted by Jim replying to a previous question.
“Nah, I’d better get to headquarters.” Jim stood by the kitchen window...etc"

The scenery = gentleness, but perhaps Ted's coccoon of defence for anxiety.

Rebecca's conversation = more fog of Ted's aversion to reacting as his normal self. ("until the cold silence invaded his world:)

Jim's conversation = stimulation and a rejuvenated perspective on life.

The last paragraph = the beginning of lifting of the fog of
Ted's grief, with sunlight equalling smiles, spring showers equalling tears, tears of a receding winter. ("ice-capped mountains")

Numerous references to the sun, and opposite, "cold water faucet" etc reinforce this dawning of Ted's feelings, from unhealthy (albeit understandable) grief to a healthier cathartic, healing grief.

Point Of View:
Like a lot of writers, I find it difficult to maintain a consistent POV and don't feel I'm qualified to advise on this, except to say that it feels consistent right the way through this story. I cannot see any problem even with the implied view of Rebeccas concealed grief. She whispered something to Jim yet he didn't seem to hear, prompting me to feel that she had created a fog of denial in her own mind, possibly worse to "get over" than Ted. The lack of any reference to her grief seems to support this theory. She blames herself for what happened.


Characterisation:

I find no hiccup or glaring fault with the characters. For such a short piece, I feel you've done well to show the depth that you have. Jim is probably the least colourful, and that's very

Descriptiveness:

Excellent examples of woe in this passage.

"Ted plodded down the hall. Rebecca followed in a cloud of smoke, and they entered the sun-lit kitchen. He dumped yesterday's coffee grounds into the overflowing trash bin and started a fresh pot. Hands resting on the edge of the sink, he kept his head down as if forcing himself not to look at the mountain ridge across the road. He pulled the coffee pot from its hot-plate while it was still brewing, and poured the thick liquid into a dirty cup. The ashes from his cigarette, pinched between his first two fingers, drifted to the floor. Ted lowered himself into his chair, and the tears began to flow."


Story Strengths:
Gentleness is the strength in this story. The important issues that people / families / should talk about that are ignored, smoothed over, have been well crafted into this piece.
The impact comes from what isn't said.
People cover up their pain, and this comes across well in this piece.

Suggestions:

Not many. Perhaps the first line or two could be divided into shorter sentences. I found those a little long to sustain interest. Grief isn't perhaps something we my want to read about in the first place, so your narrative hook, I think, is so much more vital to get right.

Also, I suggest something to keep the same; the lack of clear details of the accident, deliberate car interference, attempted murder, or whatever else it may be. What you said is enough, and keeps the reader's imagination fertile. This story is about the clouds of grief, with the sun coming out to play. Rejuvenation. Ressurection even.

"...but we got some leads on that bumper we found next to your car at the bottom of the ravine..." is just enough.


Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

Winnie, I couldn't begin to "correct" this area and won't even try. All of it seems perfect to me.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Are You Listening To Me ?, Winnie Kay , I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

Sparky
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of HER PATH  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
G'day Yellow Rose

I'm reviewing "HER PATH as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
I thoroughly enjoyed the simpleness, yet complexity of this poem. Free verse it is, yet I felt a rhythm and rhyme with every verse.
I wondered at a strong feeling of symbolism with the characters and setting, even though it should have been obvious. The cloudiness of this poem lends an air of wistfulness and longing to the read.
A well thought out romantic piece.

Title & Blurb:
Her Path and free verse poem summed it up, and the body didn't disapoint the face.

Mood:
I felt unrequited love from start to finish

Rhythm:
The strolling walk, incoming and outgoing tidal atmosphere, along with waves of feeling brought about a beach ambience, perhaps reflecting inner storms of passion rising and subsiding in a cycle of the colour of roses; some clinging, some falling.

Appeal:
I felt immediate voice in this poem that did not suffer any reduction or distortion from the scenery or setting of a potentially loud ocean, or distraction of the competing attractions. Romantic beauty was maintained between characters, whether human or representational, and the obviously pleasant surroundings. There is a soothing balance in this poem.

Rhyme:
No rhyming can bring about a wordless rhyme in your mind as a poem such as this. Well done.

Flow / linking / tone:
You have brought a sense of liquid tactility combined with gritty, yet gently flowing beach sand in the verses of this piece.
Every verse compliments she and he, seamlessly marrying the two yearnings into a never ending circular motion; similar wavelengths and promptings of intertwined lives; wedding ring influence throughout the poem. Even though sad, the experience portrayed was a self rewarding one that should not be missed. Better to love and lose than.. etc.

Favourite:
"On a bench she found herself

His wedding ring in her hand"

Suggestions:
None except to keep writing. Perhaps capitalise the blurb, but that's just a picky idea. *Pthb*

Rating:
I would think this poem is publishable and can see no reason why it can't be rated perfect.

Thanks for sharing your work, and giving opportunity to review. You efforts reward the reader second only to yourself. As a writer, you are like a pianist, or other performer. Nobody enjoys the piece more than the player / singer.
My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
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#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


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12
12
Review of Homeless?  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Please keep writing. Sorry this is such a short review of your story, but I feel I can't wait for tomorrow and the use of a computer, so phone it has to be.

The simple but effective style you use in your writing is excellent, and brought a tear of understanding to my eye, a squeeze of empathy to my heart.

And a shiver of foreboding to my mind. What will happen now, I wonder?

And that feeling of hunger for more of the story cannot be over valued as a writing skill.

You have done a good job on this piece, and once again I urge you to continue.

Sparky


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review of Wear and Tear  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
G'day Jeffrey B

I'm reviewing "Wear and Tear as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
A writer who enjoys mucking about with words like a scrabble player fiddling with the letter blocks, this way and that.
You've won the game with this Constanza.

Title & Blurb:
Your title demonstrates the poem, with a short three word display that fits.

Mood:
Perhaps introverted, sad.

Rhythm:
Strolling rhythm with standing pauses beneath weeping willows of regret spiced with the hot colour of accusations.

Appeal:
Simple, yet depth that prods me to reread often.

Rhyme:
It works without intrusion, the second two lines in each stanza teaming up, without stumbling by the reader.

Flow / linking / tone:
First line of each verse rhyming pins together the hinges of two flags, to points of view, two countries occupied and perhaps at war, post war, post apocalypse; I and You.

Favourite:
You'll never know how much I wished
you'd change me, make me more than this


Suggestions:
Maybe an alternative to the third line, first verse.

and scars don't love. They just leave marks halves

Rating:
4/5 but I'll gladly return and rerate should you make changes to this piece.
I feel it's well written and thoughtful, but there is always continuous improvement available. That move is up to you.

Thanks for sharing your work, and giving opportunity to review. You efforts reward the reader second only to yourself. As a writer, you are like a pianist, or other performer. Nobody enjoys the piece more than the player / singer.
My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
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If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


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14
14
Review of The Detached  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
G'day 🌓 HuntersMoon

I'm reviewing "The Detached as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
A spooky poem that provokes feelings of guilt, thoughts of warning - of the fate awaiting those who are accosted by these spectres of death.

Title & Blurb:
The title drew me in, and the blurb more so; a compulsion to see what these crimes are, that would have such terrible eternal consequences.

Mood:
Dread is created and slithers along throughout the verses to the end, allowing no possible chink of hope to exist for such as these.

Rhythm:
You couldn't say there was a constant rhythm through the poem, with some lines shorter and of different syllables, but I feel this lends a flitting, reptilian movement to the piece, bringing that goosebump notion of an edge of vision adversary.

Appeal:
There is an entertaining feel to this, even though such a morbid, cheerless future for the "innocent" involved, both ghoul, and corrupted live person.

Rhyme:
Smooth and seamless. Comfortable. Enjambment, combined with rhyme, feathers up the readers' neck hairs with filaments of double meaning.

They're guided by an arcane oath
that never changes or repeats


and vomit forth their madness
in joyful hymns of death


Flow / linking / tone:
Nasty tone, malicious. The writer has made very good use of the prompt words to the end where, unless they were highlighted, and the contest restrictions pointed out, the reader wouldn't know there was a prompt.

Favourite:

They choose only the innocent,
much like they did in life.
They whisper of their discontent
spreading their evil strife


This verse ties the whole piece together, and tethers it all to the blurb and title. This feels like a summary of the idea, the pylon; the rest is supporting structure.

Suggestions:

How can anyone suggest anything with poems like this? There's always room for improvement, but only the author of it knows their intentions, direction for any changes. I find no glaring problems or difficult reading glitches.

I did look up possessive apostrophes for the following term, to confirm that it was correct, and couldn't find any information to state otherwise.

and spread darkness's blight.

http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/apostrophes...

As it says above this review tool dialogue box:
Review Tip #3: Everyone, at every level, should be encouraged to continue writing

Continue writing.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 rating does not detract from any lack on the writer's part. Continuous improvement is the key.

Thanks for sharing your work, and giving opportunity to review. You efforts reward the reader second only to yourself. As a writer, you are like a pianist, or other performer. Nobody enjoys the piece more than the player / singer.
My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Sparky
Quills sig
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

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#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


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15
15
Review of Squircle  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
G'day Liam

I'm reviewing "Squircle as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
I marked this item a while ago, to review it when time permitted. Time doesn't seem to permit anything, so I bent it to fit. Elbowed it out of the way for a while.

Your Canzonetta is very enjoyable, gently drawing in, and has a definite tone of quietness, of converse, of interaction.

Yes, a campfire muse was sitting on your shoulder, behind your forehead, looking out through your eyeballs, prompting you, guiding your hand as you wrote this excellent piece of wisdom.

Title & Blurb:
Squircle is original and brings immediate intrigue, but also answer to the enquiring mind, to the foraging reader.

Mention of value directs the reader to consider the value of pushing ahead, committing their time to this, to give away those minutes forever. The value is not disappointing.

Narrative Hook:
The value of difference, and the idea of a square and circle combined; people fitting together though dissimilar.

Plot
Two become one, and stronger because of the join.

Story message:
Relationships can flourish because of difference, not in spite of it.
Two jigsaw pieces whose shape contradicts, yet meshes perfectly, as it was intended.

Scenery / setting:
Psychological, shapes, mind, imagination, heart.

Linking / Flow:
Your linking is such that the rhyming is complimentary, almost becoming unnoticed in smoothness.
Each note sits well, as you play the piano of psyche.

Point Of View:
4th dimension perhaps? *Smile*

Characterisation:
Fitting. A pair that don't appear to be suited, yet each individual brings out the best in the other.

Descriptiveness:
Eloquent in delivery. Smooth and bumpy, as you'd expect marrying sharp corners to arc's curve.

Story Strengths:
I like how you've thought laterally and made that effort, when you could have settled for boring normal.
For example; thick with regions where they don't agree. Thick another word for stubborn. But stubborn is something to conjure up in the readers mind, and you, the writer, have brought that interaction to fruition.

Suggestions:
The last couple of lines in each stanza could perhaps be tickled a little, but then, I muse, could you have intended it to be this way. There is a feeling that these lines are like the application of a brake mechanism in the rhythm of the verse.
They are the crank motion of a counter rotating wobble. It's not threatening or destabilising, yet is there. It is noticeable I feel, not unpleasant. Maybe I'm coming up with gobbledy gook too because I can't seem to scratch out a fault *Laugh*


Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:
Nope.

Rating:
I've not given it 5/5 only because poetry can always be improved on.
Ah! What the heck, it's a great poem! 5/5 it is...

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Squircle, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
G'day Elle

I'm reviewing "Not One More Acre! as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
I thoroughly enjoyed this

Title & Blurb:
"Not One More Acre" is perfect.
The blurb (A fictional portrayal of 80yo Whina Cooper's historic 1975 land march) is good, but maybe you could take out fictional. Just leave it "Portrayal". Says the same thing, I feel.

Narrative Hook:
Blurb did the trick; not so much the Maori words in italics, but the first sentence I understood drew me into the piece like a multi-engine tractor pull.

I didn’t understand her words but the power in her voice reached deep inside me and a shiver slid up my spine.

Plot
Paragraphs trudging along, yet powerful. When I came to the end, I wanted more; a lot more. This seems to pack a powerful message into 1372 words. Well done Elle .

Story message:
Though few in number, determined people are like determined words; if they are written in the right composure, and if the purpose in the heart of the words, or in the hearts of the people is carried through the right way, in a respectful yet unstoppable manner, who knows what might be accomplished in this world?

Scenery / setting:
Your excellent deliverance gave me the odd shiver as well. Seriously, the bit where you wrote;
They were right. It was as if the tui had ceased their warbling, the fantails had paused to pay their respects and even the wind had hushed to listen. As Whina spoke to us, I even tuned out the ever-present rumble of distant waves. I had to remind myself to breathe.
gives me goose bumps.

Linking / Flow:
Your narrative in this piece is like a journey - carefully paced, economical, measured yet focussed. Of course there are the mile posts every so often to hammer home the purpose of this portrayal; this historical event.

"Not One More Acre!"

Point Of View:
I like your "ghost" view. You seem to flit in and out of the storytelling like a spectre, like you are there, but you aren't. A couple of examples

"I didn't understand her words"

"I even tuned out the..."

"As if to remind me that..."

"The details confused me..."

"I fell in behind them and added my own voice to the cries"

"...but I had trouble filtering the facts out from the..."

There are many more instances of your phantom-like presence, and this adds greatly to the "glimpse of history in the making" atmosphere that comes across to the reader. I'd like to know if you deliberately tried to make it this way, or if it just came across through your author's voice. Whatever it was, the effect is subconscious, intricately balanced and downright spooky.

Characterisation:

Photographically real, in a tightly confined space of words. If you'd had less words to work with you'd need a Confined Space Permit to read it. I feel you've excelled with this piece, and I want to reach out to grasp the old ladies hand too, and feel the security of her conviction. Who needs to understand the details, when you share such an exciting and unusual outing; yes, anything could happen when you are Whina’s mokopuna.

Descriptiveness:

A couple of flashes of light that open up the bigger picture in the reader's mind:

...gnarled fingers clasping the...

...would carve a trail from the top of the fish’s tail to its head.

...as I sat shoulder-to-shoulder with them on that hard wooden floor.

Story Strengths:
Your author's voice that engages a pincer strategy on the reader; on one hand you speak with authority, facts, details and so forth that could only happen to someone there. And yet, attacking from the other side of my imagination is this withdrawal from the piece of you, the author. You don't understand, you don't know, you feel confused, you aren't sure, you wonder about their motives, you don't like to "question the facts".

This brings such an ambience of clouded history, of a foggy interruption to the step back in time. While hardly noticeable with such smooth flow, this is a very strong technique, I believe.

Suggestions:

A fictional portrayal of 80yo Whina Cooper's historic 1975 land march. Try it without the word fictional. A portrayal is already fictional; at least that's how I understand it.

I didn’t understand her words but the power in her voice reached deep inside me and a shiver slid up my spine. Perhaps change to simply "..and I shivered. More subtle and you leave the impact to the reader thereby increasing interaction / involvement. Maybe.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

As a nit picking issue, I'd draw your attention to only one spot that may need a nudge, but that's if you subscribe to the purists of punctuation; namely the use of commas, and the rule of the conjoining of dependant phrases.

"...glancing up at her, then turning forward. Forward to the future." could be changed to;

"...glancing up at her, then turning forward - forward to the future."

Look Elle , *Smile* I had to pick on something.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Not One More Acre! Elle , I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.

Rating:
4.5 / 5 but I'll gladly re-rate if you decide to make changes. Please don't hesitate to ask. I feel this hardly needs improvement except a couple of minor things.

Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky
Quills sig
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

If you would like to join a friendly, helpful, supportive writing group, who strive for quality over quantity, and feature a positive reviewing style - especially for newbies; please click on the link below.

FORUM
The Rockin' Review Academy   (13+)
Next Class: Dec. 2019 - Jan., 2020
#1830004 by Hannah ♫♥♫


and contact Hannah, Hannah ♫♥♫ .
THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review of The Face of Life  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
G'day Dwiggmd

I'm reviewing "The Face of Life as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:

You've made a fan of me with this piece. I have rated it 5/5 immediately, because it has such a, such a...I'm not sure how to explain it, but this story in so few words, does so much.
This is like something rude done to my mind, but in a pleasant way that any writer would recognise. Will a "normal" person, an ordinary reader feel the same way? Yes, I definitely think so.
You've had me thinking one thing, and then moving in a direction that touched at the back of my subconscious, and as I scrabbled for a hand hold, fingernails digging in, there was no support, no, not a bit.
I slid off the end of your story into the containment, exactly as planned, with no control of my destiny.

Well done.

Title & Blurb:
Title (The Face of Life) gives nothing away. Nada. Blurb (How a mother can see her child's life in his face) set's up the croupier's hand, dealt in such a way that the reader immediately trusts, and yes, you can trust grief. Oh yes; the ironic confidence, and certainty, of the finished grimness that is your ending.

Narrative Hook:
"My poor baby" is nothing short of a pitchfork barbed with Australian Aborigine spear barbs, the non return type. No escape for anyone in those words.

Plot
Clever and deserving. Manipulative. Beware oh reader, you who dare read this tome. You'll feel every shudder of loss.

Story message:
Your message is one I have personally learned while witnessing a similar experience, that of being pallbearer at my Grandfather's funeral. It was a sobering time; more so when after contemplating my own fate, I realised it may not be my children carrying me, but I them.

There is nothing so against all that's holy, and against all nature, than a parent burying their child.

Scenery / setting:
Fitting

Linking / Flow:
Continuous flow with the mood of no escape, of inexorableness.
You are a writer after mine own heart. I like stories to DO something to the reader.

This piece, along with it's large chunk of sentences, links the baby comment firmly with the closing of the casket, in no uncertain terms; your terms.

Point Of View:
I've faced something similar recently (last year) witnessing my own wife's family viewing of a dear one passed on, and as I looked on at the immediate family all gathered around him, I felt a great astonishment at the size of their grief. That's the only word I can think of; astonishment. Perhaps what I felt also, was dismay. Sincere dismay at being helpless. Sometimes there is no comfort at that time. Later maybe, but none then.

Characterisation:
I saw every birthmark (mole), every wrinkle, and each honest blotch (rail road work and cancer) as you brought out the late man's life, struggles, weaknesses and strengths.

Descriptiveness:
Pale blue lip. You have seen this yourself. The descriptiveness is uncomfortably real.

Story Strengths:
Real. Empathetic. Strong meaning to the work. The story is written for the reader, as well as author enjoyment (if you could call it enjoyment with this subject matter).

Suggestions:

Apart from the one punctuation error I found, the only other thing would be to perhaps space out the long paragraph a little. But you know what? It may be perfect just the way it is, and with the final sentence below.

Quite the impact there, yes. Very quite. *weep*

Yes, after reading it again, I think you have it exactly how it should be, the reader pushing deeper and deeper into the historical steps, getting to know the person's past bit by bit, knowing what is coming in one big block of text. Then comes the gavel of finality and the knowledge of what should not be, but it is. That the mother is so elderly takes nothing away from the emotions, and engagement of the reader you have created.


Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

She kissed the mole on his right cheek, the one she had first kissed when he was born.

Rating:
5/5 rating because this is the sort of story I have to applaud. You have given something of yourself to the reader. This story has cost you, and I'm not talking of personal grief, but this has cost you deep thought, sharing of your pondering, of the wisdom connected to them, sharing of your skills as a writer, and sharing of your innermost perceptions, teaching the reader lessons about life. This sort of writing has true value.
Yes, there may be a tiny punctuation fault, but that's one second of fixing.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "The Face of Life , Dwiggmd , I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
18
18
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
G'day Bounti

I'm reviewing "Contest entry-FF-22114 as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
A short conversation, about an incident, that could only have taken a few seconds.

Title & Blurb:
A contest entry it is, (Title:Contest Entry-FF-22114) and a good idea to stick the prompt into the blurb. We know what's going on straight away here.

Narrative Hook:
The blurb does it for me. Sounds like an interesting read coming up!

Plot
For such a tall story, you've done well to make the reader empathise with the man whose honesty is in question, and you've even managed to bring a feeling to me, that he IS telling the truth.

Story message:
Not sure there is one, except that this is a short flash of something that happened in someone's life, and as a reader I get it. It's quick, grabbing, and good. Perhaps the message is similar to one of my true stories.
"If no-one believes you then you have to write it as fiction."

Scenery / setting:
Interrogation room; this isn't stated but is obvious.

Linking / Flow:
Moves along quite nicely, and the sweat just greases the tracks of this man's inevitable fate; the crashing of cell doors.

Point Of View:
Consistently third person, with clear boundaries and a tight view. No hints of author's shadow.

Characterisation:
Excellent, real and thirst / water bribery was a good touch.

Descriptiveness:
Sounded and appeared in my mind to be very real. Confident writer.

Story Strengths:
No nonsense writer, with good original sentences, bringing an early sense of confinement and desperation to the piece. The man's plight and dismay was convincing.
The questioner was equally believable, dismissing such a story, as you would.


Suggestions:
Not much I can think of, perhaps after the contest change out your title to something catchy.
I'm thinking maybe something like "Prisoner# 173243" or some other random jail number.
Maybe "Green and Gold Lies"
Or "Lost sleep Lie"

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

There are a couple of commas needed, but overall your structure and the reading interest was very well done. I found nothing glaringly obvious that took away any pleasure or focus from your story. An excellent and fast bit of entertainment!

I can recommend New Horizon's Academy if you are looking to do punctuation courses. That group has an excellent teacher and their Comma Sense course is very helpful.

Rating:
4/5 but with some punctuation fiddling, and perhaps the title and prompt tidied up later, I'll be happy to return and re-rate this.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Contest entry-FF-22114, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
19
19
Review of Everything  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.0)
G'day Ellie Williams

I'm reviewing "Everything as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
Wow, this is a suspense filled piece. Short but leaves me punched in the stomach, an impact that doesn't excuse, soften or reduce the feelings coming from the heart; the cry of a broken one.

Title & Blurb:
Short, simple and poignant, just like grief.

Narrative Hook:
Transfixed in word, and the same in effect. I had to read on.

Plot
You have effectively written your heart (or someones at least) on your sleeve with this story. Well done. The loss of someone close washes the colour out of everything else. Yes, these few moments of losing someone loved do indeed become Everything.

Story message:
Pain, staring, thinking, others, setting, scenery, regrets, equipment, technology, effort; none of these things will stop the inevitable. People die, and hearts are broken. Perhaps we don't like to read about it so graphically, but that's just what it is, and when it happens to us, any insulation of our upbringing or sheltered lifestyle won't take away the bright and sharp colours, the arrows of hurt, the deep, scarring trauma we feel.

Nothing comes close.

We may believe in the most high God, or whatever else. But at times like this, nothing comforts us when we miss that person, knowing we'll never see them again.
You've put this across 110%.

Scenery / setting:
Very good. Glass separation already sows the seeds of mortal loss. The staring eyes of the child matching the mother's.

Linking / Flow:
The staring eyes of the child matching the mother's.
Whether intentional or not, you have a voice coming through. A subtle movement through your writing that pokes the back of the readers mind with shadowy hints, setting up the narrative for your intended purpose. You have a complete piece here. For such a short written expression it has no need of anything else.
It has...Everything.

Point Of View:
Excellent technique.

The omniscient point of view has been used in a very clever way here, as if it's written first person, like the reader is experiencing an out of body experience.

I think it's an excellent way to amplify pain, and pull the reader into involvement of that pain. If you wrote this first person, where you were the young girl yourself, it wouldn't have the same immersion for the reader.

The reader has their head gripped by the writer's hands, and turned against their will if necessary, to see what "the young girl" sees. It's that simple, and intriguing, what you've accomplished here.

Characterisation:
No lack here. Some might argue that there is not enough deeper POV, not enough dialogue from the young girl, no conversation with anyone. We are not even told the girls name.
But, I feel that adds to the disconnectedness, the disassociate feeling we all know when a major life event happens. Your muting of all the details just tells me this girl and mother could be...it could be me.
It could be anyone.

Descriptiveness:
Adequate, especially for such a low word count.

Story Strengths:

Realism. Playing on all of our worst fears, and our nightmares of grief.
The young girl's struggle, in not laying blame on the doctors etc for her mother's demise, is another good technique that sets the tone subconsciously.

We do blame others when someone close passes away. It's normal grief and anger. Your story has this underlying atmosphere.

Suggestions:

If this were my story, remembering that it's not, it's yours. *Laugh*

"Hazel eyes, ones that" I'd remove ones and replace it with a second "eyes" or remove "ones" altogether. It just sounds odd. Eyes (x2) and ones? I know it's how you can say it but...*Smile*

"Her mind was numb. Her body was numb. Everything... so numb." I may change out one of the "numbs" to "unresponsive". Too many numbs.

"It was there that the words burned, that her body felt. It was the only place that hadn't gone numb."
The word felt sounds confusing. I would re-write this sentence as follows;
"It was only there that the words burned, that her body felt anything.

This sentence was confusing to me. I couldn't fathom the meaning, if this applied to the mother, or the girl.
"How unfair life could be returned to her mind, staying with her."

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

"A litany of how unfair life could be (,) repeated like a broken record, scouring the deepest recess of her body until they reached her heart."

Someone, somewhere

Rating:

4/5 This piece has a strong voice, and you've done very well. Fix up the few bits and pieces throughout and I'll gladly revisit and re-rate to what it deserves.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

Ellie Williams , as I look back over "Everything, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise?

Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
G'day Sophie Jean

I'm reviewing "Sasha's Careless Mom as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
You've put across personal feelings clearly, related events that are important to you, created conflict and resolution, bringing the short story to a close.
While there are some improvements that could be made, overall I enjoyed your story, and your honesty in writing it here for everyone to see.

Title & Blurb:
Both title and blurb match the content.

Narrative Hook:
The blurb is of interest, and I wonder how much you as an author aimed your main character's (Sasha) words focussing the reader's attention on the mother's faults, and yet learned something from this event about herself.
I wonder if this happened to you, and is Sasha the author?

Plot
Reads like a true story.

Story message:
Sometimes being assertive pays off, and clears the air, so that everyone is happier for it. Fighting for the sake of it, however, will only make everyone more miserable.

Scenery / setting:
Enought to spur the reader on to imagine the rest.

Linking / Flow:
I found no major tripping hazards in this story. These events come across as only too real, with basic conversation being a common difficulty with families or between individuals, I beleive.

Point Of View:
First person is continued throughout, this being a strong sign of writing skill. Keep up this excellent work. This is an angle of story writing that even seasoned authors battle to keep clear and correct.

Characterisation:
All your characters show an accurate balance between true humans, vulnerabilities, faults, but also warm human attributes.

Descriptiveness:
Logical and vivid.

Story Strengths:
A story that has clear boundaries, views and perspective. You have put across in the story how Sasha (you?) felt about these experiences. Well done. I had no problem understanding how Sasha felt, and as a parent, I know only too well how She may not realise the effect of her words on her mother. And vice versa, the parent can be unaware of unhappiness in the child / teen. Sometimes it just needs a bit of straight talking to get these things off our chest.

Suggestions:

Two things that may improve your piece.

Have more dialogue, speaking, conversations between people. So instead of saying how uncaring the mother seemed to be, have her talking about her looks to Sasha, perhaps also talking all about her friends, and not letting Sasha get a word in.

Some of the conversation between Sasha and Maddie could be a little bit confusing, or take away the impact of your story.
If you could replace "said" as in Maddie said, and Sasha said, with Maddie spoke, Sasha replied. Maddie went on. Sasha laughed. Maddie teased. Use these sort of words more than just the word "said". This creates more interest, otherwise the story can bog down a little, the reader's concentration lessen.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

I'll not worry too much about this part of the story, your work, because apart from running a spell checker over it, I would concentrate on pushing for improvement with your overall story.

Your story could be separated into three parts.
1. Mother not caring.
2. Fight with Sasha
3. Mother changes / Life improves for both.

Section 3 could be improved, as I said, with adjustments to the conversations.

Please write more, and think about filling in your Bio so the community can get to know you. Most people here are friendly, and hardly any bite *Smile*

Also, there are excellent courses you can do, some hosted by the Paper Doll Gang that I'm a member of, that are very helpful in improving writing technique.

Rating:
4 stars out of 5 means I thought this story was very good, and that you've started out well with presenting this piece on WdC (Writing.com)
Should you make changes to this, please contact me and I'll gladly have another look at it and possibly re rate.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Sasha's Careless Mom, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review of Who's Out There?  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
G'day brin

I'm reviewing "Who's Out There? as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:

For some reason I feel more creeped out by this "story" you've "got off your chest" here, than if you'd thrust it in my face and aggresively claimed IT'S TRUE!. I've written a similar "tale" or fiction story, see

 
STATIC
I'm so scared!  (13+)
If no one believes you, then the only outlet for your experience is to write it as fiction
#1920245 by Sparky


that I felt I couldn't just bluntly declare it to be true. I mean, plenty of true stories are put across as fiction surely, as well as the other way around. There are the famous fishermen's stories of how big their fish was, and of course the one that got away.

If you try to search for something really "juicy" on YouTube about Ghosts, some decent footage, I mean, there must be SOMETHING surely? YouTube is world wide and if there was even ONE video with real true unedited video capture of a spirit or ghost, then that's where it would be right? Well, there's not one, that I've ever found.

So, I have to say, that your story here, short as it is, and you haven't been a member for long on this site (not that that has much to do with being a skillful writer I suppose) your story put the wind up me.

Every word.

And that takes some doing. I never did believe in Ghosts as such, although there were a couple of times as a kid growing up that I had my moments, waking from dreams with what sounded like the chant of a bunch of monks. That dream was so real I sat up in my bed from a dead sleep, still hearing their loud noises disappear up into the ceiling above my bed. The voices weren't just in my dream. They were in our house.

If that's halucination then so be it. Sounded prrrretty real to me. Enough to remember it forty odd years later and still feel spooky. Still feel that...maybe ghosts are real, even if they are invisible.

I confess, I do believe what it says in the Bible, that there are spirits. But I feel that really, it's common sense. No one has seen one, because that would be ridiculous and false. They are spirits. Not visible, just the part of people, a soul if you like, that exists when there's no body anymore.

In summary of this overview, I think your little "yarn" (Aussie word for story told between just a few people, probably around a campfire or at smoko time) is extremely good. You have a way of telling it that is, in my opinion, just right.
Nevermind the getting it off your chest bit.

Please, write more and let us read it! Otherwise your future, and lack of more of your stories, is going to haunt me for the rest of my life...

Title & Blurb:
The title is perfect and brings to my skin that anxious cold sweat of the unknown, the barrier of something that is hopefully thick and unpenatratable between me and whatever the heck it is, and perhaps a second exit soemwhere, an able pair of legs whereby I might hopefully put to good, yes illogical, use and run the blue blazes away.

But then, that's how it is isn't it? It's what you don't say. Oh I'm onto your tricks Mr Author Man, and right now just read what you have on the front of your portfolio, ie no bio set up at this time. I might have known you are a seasoned writer and know how to pull the psychological strings. It definitely shows.

Please, keep your writing away from me, before bedtime!

Your blurb reflects just enough of the story to intrigue with elements of insecurity (a lone), mystery (baffled) , a promise of conflict, and those neck hair raisers (strange sounds).

Ambiguity at its finest, and fair smack in the middle of the valley of brain confusion. What can we trust, is it safe or is it not? Well, let's be safe in our cerebral decision and say it's far from safe.

Yes, the best advice here is to RUN!

Narrative Hook:
You start off in a reflective mood and set the tone, as you've already done in the blurb with the word night. You add a little bit of subtlety to this uncertain blindness by then stating that you've been on the road seven years, and that your wife died.

This makes you sound like a seasoned veteran, but struggling to control whatever it is, an inner compulsion, and then you casually mention death. Gotta read on! It's what you aren't saying, and that's skilful from what I've seen of this type of fiction.

Plot
Your plot, while it may be a cliched typical ghost story, you've made it photographically real. Each paragraph just brings us closer to something brimming with dread. Even the ending doesn't let us off that narrative hook. You aren't forcing anyone to beleive anything. You've put it across with a clever angle; us, the readers, doing you a favour reading it. This makes it sound much more plausible. You aren't begging us to read it for the spookiness factor but to help you unburden yourself.

Story message:
Don't, whatever you do, be frightened. Just help this man to feel better, to feel relief from his terrible experience.
The story wasn't written to scare you. See? This won't hurt a bit. Trust me...

Scenery / setting:

The scenery is cunningly crafted, because while it sounds all normal and, you know, safe your wording brings to mind tactility and shapes I'd rather not think about, particularly while with you on a lonely road, hearing your writer's voice in my ear, telling me that someone is crying, or is it someone or something?

Perhaps in the back of all our minds is that deep down feeling of travelling, searching for that deeper meaning, escaping the walls that are "closing in", especially when there's that disconnected feeling when someone close passes away.

Linking / Flow:
Your story flows as a stream of water affected by gravity, no question. It takes its natural course, and me? I'm just a hapless leaf that's falled off a long dead, spindly tree in the dead zone, in the no mans land where nightmares are real, and where I'm probably the last dry leaf to fall into the strong currents of your narrative, swept along on the top, only held up and kept alive by that very thin layer of surface tension.

Tension is what links your story from the ending of reverse psychological release of tension - which is anything but this - back in my mind; its rewound to the start again, even back through the blurb of that night to the Title once more.

Who's out there? Well might we ask.

Point Of View:

First person point of view is so vivid that I feel like I'm in your head watching a movie.

And the first build up of the story, with all the background, examples: "I lost my wife" & "Been on the road 7 years", have a documentary interview / voice dub over feel to it that blends excellently with the whole; this happened to me theme.


Characterisation:

Well thought out and living, breathing, emotional, life goal oriented and beleivable.

A character that I empathised with immediately, and more importantly with this sort of story, trusted. He just told me his wife had passed away, that he was restless, and that her name (what sounded like an intimate family version) was Gracie.

The story therefore = True and I want to help this guy by letting him tell me.

Descriptiveness:

I felt your use of the storm brought the ending to a well timed crashing climax, and the illusion of a warm and sunny dawn was a nice touch to end, a trailing off of the searching still going on, looking for that voice, that cry that he / you heard.

Story Strengths:

Shoulder shrugging frankness that is used to good effect, drawing the reader in and making your story feel completely true:
"The real reason I’m writing this is because I had something happen awhile back that just seems to need telling"

Accurate, but understated detail gives an authentic feel to this, a casualness that says "look, I don't care if you beleive this or not, ok?". This does far more to raise the hackles than if you had a signed petition from the town saying YES, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED and was published in Wrigley's Believe it or Not.

Suggestions:

The only real suggestion I felt needed to be said, as in improvement, not criticism, is mentioning the lights in your camper, or Winebago. While a reader would surely have to assume that you had the light on to read, I feel it really does need saying.

You mention the angryness of the storm, evening closing in, closing down of "everything" in your vehicle, and then have dinner, newspaper, read a book, then watch the lightning flashes outside. No mention of lights at all. This may be a useful contrast to create a false sense of security here.

Then there is the raincoat and grabbing a torch scene, and you've just been lying reading yourself to sleep, but like, where's the lights? Yes, you are in a camper, yes it's normal to have 12v or whatever lighting, solar panels and all that, but just a couple of words would "enlighten" the reader to this small detail.

Nothing much really, I mean hey, I'm really scratching here *Laugh* to find anything wrong.

Could I strongly ask too, that you please write more, or put it on WDC (Writing Dot Com) for us to read and enjoy.
Your stuff is brilliant.
And another thing, perhaps this could become a chapter of a novel where it doesn't just finish at the cross, but goes on to a fulfilling future of either pleasantness, or far worse horror.


Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

I had no more luck finding errors of this nature than your character had of finding the voice / crying source, that was put to such terrifying and skin crawling effect.

Here I have one suggestion that is minor but I should say it.

You've seperated out one climactic moment here.

And that was when I heard it.

But there is a second one that you could alter so it was separated into it's own nasty little paraphrase.

I found one of those highway crosses.

Rating: I rated this less than perfect, only because of the light issue. It's really not worth half a point taken off. Seriously this is perfect far as I'm concerned. I'm being a bit harsh here, veteran journalist writer and all. *Bigsmile*

I'll hapilly re rate and re visit this piece should you want to make any changes. I'd be honoured to read it again.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Who's Out There?, brin I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

Quills Sig

Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of growing closer  
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
G'day Anny ,
I'm reviewing "growing closer as a member of the " The Rockin' Review Academy .

The title and blurb you've chosen are intriguing, although I'd stick capitals on the first words. You won't impress anyone without basic stuff like that. Yes, this is an "idea" sketch out, but still, I'd be a dill of a reviewer if I didn't point out the obvious, which may not seem obvious until you step back in someone elses shoes. That's me, looking at your work with the microscope of the "devil's advocate" trying to pick holes, point out failings, critisize objectively and basically make you feel bad...NO, that's not right! Where did that thought come from? What the..? *Laugh*

For a second there, I thought I'd become the next living section of your interactive creation, grabbed by my collar and pulled screaming and scratching with skeletal fingers, trying to resist, trying to get a fingernail hold on...on something, anything, but being drawn by sheer pressure, by the inexorableness of Universe's fate.

And stuff like that. So you see, my mind is already receiving signals, promptings of this body swap idea, perhaps horror, perhaps zombies, perhaps romantic, perhaps sexy, perhaps robotic, perhaps alienated, perhaps dietary, perhaps educational, perhaps argumentative, perhaps grief stricken, perhaps screaming in tortured agony, perhaps crying out in perplexity.

Why me? What did I do to deserve having my body stolen, and being replaced with an ugly...whoever. What if the body you now inhabit is one that you find...*shifty sideways glance*...well...attractive?

I feel that, while you've rated this 13+ perhaps 18+ might even draw more interest in certain themes. But depending on your own age, this may not be a good idea at all! Just sayin. (That Global term that excuses everything it seems)

"You take a shower, while I pack your things!" She told him...(while she quietly sharpened the butchers knife, and his Father put a plastic disposable body bag in the car...they were ready to leave now...)

This line is perhaps my favourite, an imagination provoking mechanism that leaves a broad scope where anything could happen. You've requested comment specifically about "body swaps" as a possible direction for the story.

While I'm not clear on how you can direct an interactive story when it's in other people's hands (or taken hostage to other writer's keyboards) I suppose what you need is to modify the seeding item that you have put there, with a small post script, or directions with an asterisk, (I almost said asterix *Laugh* must have read too many of those comics) stating the general idea that you'd like included

I've never been involved with an interactive item on WDC before, so it was with intrigue that I opened this and am attempting to review it.

I note here that on this computer, my review tool would not open, and also my character count isn't coming up. Perhaps this review won't be as simple as it appears. *Bigsmile*

If I was to seek out and enter one of these interactive pieces, I'd be happy to involve myself in this start up piece. There is plenty of scope in the characters listed, enough detail to sketch an outline, but not too much where you feel nothing more could be added or tweaked to suit your addition to the piece.

The various characterisation summaries fit well together, lend realism already and would encourage others to be part of this.

Regarding the rating I've given this piece, only part of what could become something of intense interest, I rated this more on how I felt the writing looked, your grammar and punctuation, which I found does need a little bit of tweaking, but apart from that, it all feels good. Should you make some changes, and perhaps flesh out a little more your caveat, that this series of interactive "chapters" follow loosely perhaps, your desired direction of "body swapping". This needs to be made clear to further writers in the beginning so then you can start off on the right foot, so as I said, should you make some changes in these points, I'll gladly return and re rate this.

Thanks so much for this opportunity to review your work, and when time permits, (and if my memory retains anything which isn't likely so perhaps you might remind me in the future) I'll return and check out the progress of this, your invention! Well done Anny *Bigsmile*

Sparky
23
23
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (5.0)
I always enjoy dawdling through Elle 's kitchen letter. For me, it's something different, on WDC, and yet, close to my heart! (Stomach)
They say the way to a man's heart IS his stomach and my wife is such a good cook, that if it wasn't for her gorgeous looks and loving personality, you'd be forgiven for thinking I was seduced by the meals she prepared when we first met.

Perhaps it was a combination of all these things.

Back to this kitchen letter. Do yourself a flavour (as they always seem to say in foody reviews) and cook up some interest in Elle's recipes and such like in this newsletter. You can't resist a nibble at her entertaining and informative articles for women and men(us).

The savour will remain in your mind long after any other story, particularly if you submit a racy recipe or two of your own, for her inclusion, and have a stir of the latest cook up recipes, just for roasting fun.

Thanks Elle for your professional looking efforts at
 
STATIC
Elle's Kitchen Newsletter #12  (E)
How has food changed, and why do we care?
#1957884 by Elle


I'm rating this an obvious PERFECT. It's the best issue of
 
STATIC
Elle's Kitchen Newsletter #12  (E)
How has food changed, and why do we care?
#1957884 by Elle
I've seen on WDC!

Sparky



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (4.5)
G'day Princess Zelda

I'm reviewing "To run away or not? as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
A second attempt at story writing, you've done exceptionally well. I read with interest, seeing immediately that this was a contest entry, and very short, I wondered what conclusive message you could possibly pack into this "Boroca" style, early morning, pep talk, flash fiction entertainer.

I'm not disappointed, and although I don't know the first thing about you, as a person, I feel I have plenty in common as a fellow writer.

Title & Blurb:
I always find myself having to look again at titles, no matter whose writing session I read. This was no exception, and it's no reflection on what you've written at all. When I did overcome my laziness and really look, I had already read your short story, and could see the pulling power of the title puzzle right there.

Yes, the title is essentially good and right. There is an enigma for the reader straight away.

The blurb explains well, but does seem to apologise in advance, for some imagined fault, when you state it's your 2nd attempt at story writing.

I have done the same thing plenty of times, but I feel you should give yourself a break Princess Zelda . You can write as well as most I have seen on WDC and better than a lot. So what if it's your second crack at it. You have written a professional piece, perhaps needing a little grinding and bits polishing, but not much!

Often, I find it takes someone standing back from our work to really see the overall flavour, see the atmosphere, and see the direction on our literary map of thoughts, see that path of sucesses and failures that we cannot see, because we are too familiar with the work.

We become a bit dazzled in the headlights, and I don't just mean punctuation and that mechanical stuff. I'm talking more about the guts and gravity of your meaning.

It says at the top of this reviewing tool; Review Tip #14: Give thoughts about the inside of the writing, not just the outside and that's putting it way better than I ever could.

Narrative Hook:
"Wake up. Wake up. Blared the alarm on Carly's phone", isn't easy to ignore. I've noticed how many movies begin with this scene, and for good reason. Everyone knows this represents the beginning of a new day, a new message, and a story packed with promise, chock-a-block full of potential; a delicious feast awaits the reader.
You know the feeling when you begin reading a story, and you've used it to good effect here.

Plot
A quick moving plot that zaps along, no fooling about here. I notice you seem to have had a prompt, and I should know what's involved in WDC flash fiction contests, but I'm ashamed to say I haven't entered one as yet. Still too busy pecking away at my novel!
So you've had that potential creativity extinguisher to have to work around, plus probably a restriction on word numbers, then a bit of pressure to write it in a "flash". But that's ok, that's why you entered the thing in the first place. It's the thrill of literary danger and the teeth gritting, brow furrowing, elbowing-out-of-the-way challenge of it.

Story message:
Stop and smell the roses. For every step back there are 10 steps in fast forward, directly proportional to our attitude. If our mindset and purpose remain positive, we'll face life's difficulties with verve! (I picture the old "Bad Boy" face here, brow furrowed and a grimace, the NO FEAR ! motto of the person overcoming their anxiety.)

Scenery / setting:
From the beginning of civilisation and LONG before that; the first stumbling caveman, Adam & Eve, the struggling first amphibious creature fighting natures darwinian process of elimination, WHATEVER YOUR BELIEF, all of us, our forefathers back to the year DOT, when the fires of the BIG BANG were only just being stoked, we were there.

Humankind had that struggle first thing in the morning, to arise in a frosty dawn, club to death a dinosoaur who was taking their only clean loincloth, drag their wife or husband (a skinny runt) out of the cave and forcing them to make coffee, or hot water with dirt in it maybe. The pre-caffeinous period that predates the decaffeinous paleonterrific warming era, when they didn't even chew Betel nuts, just ate raw rocks with a good punch up the face for a drink.

Those were the days. (I'm nodding with nostalgic certainty).
Bedroom, cold hard floor or reality, outside running. That's about it, and all that's necessary for this quick read. We get it! That's all you need.

Linking / Flow:
Your story flows perfectly, except for a couple of minor bits I've addressed in the suggestions.

Point Of View:
"She" is the perfect view. We are panning along on a camera viewing third person at every important twist and turn. It's well done. In the cave of protective blankets, then dragged out into the cold to stick feet into sports shoes. Then it's banging along out on the pavement, fighting, doing the self discipline jog along. We are with your character and the feelin's GREAT!

Characterisation:
There must be millions of people that could fit the image of your character "Carly". That is meant a complement. I found no glitch in this picture, and each detail.

Descriptiveness:
Ditto here. It's all clearly and solidly written, enough in a short span.

Story Strengths:
To bring the words, phone, bottle and icecream truck into such a short contest story, and yet not have it sound ridiculous, is very skilful. You'll do well in the future with stories, there's no doubt in my mind. If your character is built on your own experience, which I note, was one of your choices for genre subject, then relax.

Anxiety may not go away as much as we'd all like, and you've been here on this site a lot longer (productively) than myself, so you must be doing something right.

If this young woman battling with her fears is not you, then you can be sure of being a big help to the readers of this piece who do have those challenges in life.
I directly relate to it myself. Sometimes it's far worse than what people realise,

Suggestions:

Written for the Daily flash fiction. This is my 2nd attempt at story writing
Relocate your current blurb to a footnote with an asterisk at the beginning of your story. (In the body of the item)

Then create a more appealing blurb sentence. You don't have any reason to apologise for this story, and the contest was back in July. (I know a lot of my short stories will probably never be edited because I wrote them and intend to forget them. That's ok, it's your piece.)
For example; Carly is being attacked. Will she survive?

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:

Wake up. Wake up. Blared the alarm on Carly's phone The phrase "Blared the alarm on Carly's phone" is a fragment. Perhaps it's ok, but I feel the Wake up parts could do with exclamation marks, although like other's I'm reluctant to use many, perhaps one a story unless pushed into it! *Smile*

Then the sentence fragement, with the word "blared", followed by "beeping" later on; these three differing ways of describing the alarm do have the effect of emphasising the alarm, and perhaps do vibrate with dischord, much like an alarm at that time of day, but perhaps this area could be improved. Your call. Maybe leaving the Wake up words without the exclamation mark is best. You could try using italics for these, and then change the fragment into something like,
"The alarm on Carly's phone threatened to burst her eardrums, without mercy."

These suggestions are a matter of opinion, not error.
I would probably re-word this part so that it read like this:

She felt safer under the blanket, as though it was a bullet proof cover or an invisibility cloak. She knew from experience, hiding was never the solution to a problem. She slowly and reluctantly pushed herself out of bed.

She felt safer under the blanket, as though it was a bullet proof cover or an invisibility cloak, but she knew from (bitter?) experience that hiding was never the solution to a problem, so instead, she reluctantly pushed herself out of bed.

And this also is minor fiddling.
Carly drank a quick sip from the bottle of water.

Changed to something like this,

Carly stole a quick sip from the bottle of water, then, in preparation for the morning run, drank thirstily, hydrating her athletic body.

Rating:
I've forced myself not to rate this 5/5; mostly just because I felt the blurb and a couple of sentences could be improved.
I'll happily rerate if you do more work on this piece in the future some time. Thanks for your efforts and the entertainment of your writing.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "To run away or not?, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky

THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

Signature image design by Hannah

BOOK
Shouts From Down Under   (13+)
Some of the strangest things forgotten by that Australian Blog Bloke. 2014
#1944136 by Sparky


Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review by Sparky
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
G'day ☮ The Grum Of Grums
I'm reviewing "Immutable Past, Unknowable Future as a Graduate member of " The Rockin' Review Academy

Overview:
I found this essay uncomfortably close to the truth in my own personal situation, so I read with intense interest what was said here, concentrating on what I could "get" out of this advice.
You could go a long way to find such good advice as this, written in plain language.
I can validate the information contained here, as accurate, from my own self analysis during my reading, and absorbtion, of it.

Only today were we discussing how issues of the mind can be treated, and expect to be treated with "a tablet" instead of nailing the underlying thinking, the reason people have that mind set, or that "problem" with their handling of their lives.
For some, it is a chemical imbalance and does require something to stabilise their moods. But no amount of midication can help if someone has the handbrake of wrong ideas jammed firmly on. Living in the past, or worrying about a future that may not happen, are two such mistakes of people's mind.
It may not be their (my) fault. But it could still be there, an issue that won't go away until it can be dealt with somehow.

For some, sadly, the way they deal with it is to put an end to their life.
Whether the afterlife is to justify our choices made during our life to a higher power on judgement day, or whether it is a blank nothingness of white noise, and our "self" doesn't exist any more, whatever you belief and whatever comes after death, to end our lives by our own hand when some simple thinking and help could make all the difference.
Either way, ending the pain by ending our own life will just take our pain and put it on other's shoulders, for ever.

Time is said to heal, and it may numb things eventually, but, the loved ones you leave behind won't find one iota of comfort from losing you, I guarantee it.

Title & Blurb:
The title does intrique, and seems to summarise the article. The blurb is much the same, accurate and to the point. I feel the blurb prompted me to read more than the title. The title felt a little dry, not wrong or bad in any sense, but just perhaps unexciting. It's probably fitting though taking into account that this is an essay, reflections, advice from a mentor with 28 colourful years experience. It's not a murder mystery or a horror story, or a crime novel.
Or is it? Everyday realities brings to mind just these very things. Counselling is no picnic or walk in the park. It's nitty gritty coal face social engineering of the most skilful and rewarding kind. These people should be paid more!

Narrative Hook:
Yes, 28 years of councelling, the reflections of this time and all the stuff that happens "on the street" encouraged me to read on, thinking, "well, this will be good! Lots of yarns about all the ups and downs, the oddities, the great the bad the ugly"

Story message:
I think the message is put across well, and a strong point made, not to dwell in the past, not to worry overly about the future, and to know what we can manage to do in the present.
Thinking about these things and analysing how we fit in to this knowlege may require patience but is time well spent. It could change our life, and if there are serious underlying problems, may save our future from disasters that could have been avoided.

Linking / Flow:
Reading this essay wasn't a chore. It has been divided into "bite sized" chunks that are easily read and re read a few times. I find that is necessary to find the deeper meaning.
In a lot of literature, particularly modern novels, we feel an urgent pressure to read flat out and "get to the good bit". That's ok, but it's so good to stop, reconsider, and relax. This work is one that you can read slowly, think about what's said, advised and put forward, and form opinions, think how you are, yourself, and then read on.

There's no rush.

These "laws" of the lives of humankind aren't going anywhere in a hurry. They'll be the same in 500 years as they were 6000 years ago. Human nature always remains the same.
Boys will be boys. Etc.
That's how this felt to me anyway.

Point Of View:
Perhaps the view from which this was written could be called "mentorial", as it comes across as sober, serious advice. There are times in life when some extremely needy people could have their life saved by such advice. There is nothing immature or frivolous about this article.
It's the real deal, authentic and accurate.

Here's a *Sparky quote to go with it. (*A Sparky quote is some thing I've nutted out for myself through life)

Wisdom sees the profit in correction.

Characterisation:
The writer of this essay speaks with a lecturer's voice. Not preaching, or condescending; giving a lecture to an audience effectively, yet creating empathy early in the essay by referring to "We". This automatically draws everyone into the discussion as equals.
"our lives", "We become depressed", "we tend to fear", "whatever we do, we are doing NOW".

Descriptiveness:
While no standard "story" descriptiveness exists in an essay like this, nevertheless this informative and wise advice is set in the land of the mind, scenery and landmarks of consciousness where the battles of self awareness rage, where lessons are hashed around, the pits of despair, mountains of success, cobwebby memories of the past, itchy rashes of regrets, the dawning of raised awareness, the seas of change, and so on.

Strengths:
Valid information that will help, because it's right, it touches on chords of personal involvement.
While this could be potentially uncomfortable for some, the essay isn't written with any accusation, blame or threat implied anywhere.
The wisdom worked into this piece is just what it says. Reality.
It has cost someone plenty to understand what is unalterable, and the courage that is needed to point out what is changeable. What to do with this information is left up to the reader.

Suggestions:
I'm not sure how, but I do find the essay a little dry, a little technical, too bland. It's accurate, good quality, true to life and as real as it gets.
But, I feel it would work better, be more enjoyable for the reader, if there was some little anecdote or short personal experience that reinforces the lesson material written here.
The piece needs a little something, a pinch of spice, a fragrant herb, a dash of garnish. The taste is good! The work is plated up well, nothing the matter there. And people can always add the salt and pepper of their own situations to this, and gain a while lot more from it. They can partake of it as they see fit.
But as I said, a funny happening, a tasteful joke, perhaps a couple more quotes a bit earlier would give this essay a splash of colour that, I percieve, would grab people's attention a little more strongly.
The quote that you paraphrase, or put in your own words, "We need to find the courage to change those things we can change, the serenity to accept those things we cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference", could do with an acknowledgment or indication that it's a quote of the Serenity prayer by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuh. If this was a blog entry, it wouldn't matter so much, I feel. But being your own essay, it's probably a good idea.

Punctuation, Spelling & Grammar:
This piece is very clean and as far as I could see, free from errors of any type.
A multitude of reads of this article, searching for non-existent mistakes, could only benefit the reader anyway.

*Star* Many thanks for sharing your work and your valuable efforts writing this piece. My comments and suggestions are only intended to help you grow as a writer so please use them as you wish.

As I look back over "Immutable Past, Unknowable Future, I wonder if I come across as too critical, in my efforts to advise? Please accept my apologies if you feel that way about this review.
Please note that my spelling is Australian (if it's not misspelt that is, in case you wonder why I write "colour" instead of "color" for example.

I'm still learning to do this stuff, just the same as all of us. With that in mind, let's go forward into the future together as a team.

Sparky
THE PDG Rockin Reviewers Group

 
STATIC
Chernobyl Lonely Heart's Club by Sparky  (13+)
The progeny of a brooding parent in meltdown; what hope remains for these children?
#1939910 by Sparky

Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.

"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao


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