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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/stefanmiles
Review Requests: OFF
141 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
My reviews are honest but supportive and contain some story and copy editing. They are not shallow but serious; sometimes lengthy if the item reviewed requires it.
I'm good at...
Fiction & biographical works.
Favorite Genres
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Least Favorite Genres
Bloody, chainsaw horror.
Favorite Item Types
Short Stories, Novels and Novellas.
Least Favorite Item Types
I like poetry but I'm not very good at reviewing it. I'm best at prose.
I will not review...
Will look at just about anything.
Public Reviews
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Review of Them Buttons  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is a review of "Them Buttons written by: Genipher }

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I had to look through your stuff for another laugh.

First Impressions
Excellent writing and style. You captured the vernacular perfectly. At least to a person who has never seen the likes but on them there tele.

What I Like Best
Use of the repeated phrase of the kind, "Not the insect, mind you, but the letter."

Final Thoughts
I could not see anywhere than needs a second look. It was a great laugh all the way through. Your reveal was great. Usually I review stories taking hours, but this was a perfect flash after all.

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Review of Paying the Piper  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with The Newbies Academy Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Sehr intersant. Verstehen sie Deutch?
Ich hatte ein bisschen Deutsch in der Universität.
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3
Review of Kelly's Book  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a review of "Kelly's Book written by: Abby Gayle

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the Power Reviewer's Raid List. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I make. I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
Your tag line drew me to the story—good job. The story appears YA using third person limited POV. I'm very impressed with the quality of the writing and story knowing you are thirteen.

Comments and Suggestions
Kelly wandered around the items for sale at her neighbors' big yard sale. She glanced into a box marked 'FREE'. Kelly saw mostly what she thought there would be – some worn toys, scraps of this and that, and even a couple drawn on pieces of paper that she guessed their three year old girl put in there. However, she wasn't expecting a fancy-looking book to be in the free box.

Curious, Kelly picked up the purple book. It was about as thick as a deck of cards and had a silver-colored swirly pattern across both the front and back of the cover. In gold letters at the top were the words 'How To', and on the bottom, it even had her name, Kelly Carr, written in the same gold letters and a fancy font.

Might as well, Kelly thought, It's free, after all.
Internal dialog should be in italics or between quotation marks.

Kelly walked off with book and to her family's house. She walked all the way into entered her bedroom and shut the door, locking it behind her. The change was to avoid using walked in consecutive sentences, and to reduce wordiness. It was only then that she opened the book. The , and even the first page shocked her. It wasn't the difficulty of the projects, or the first thing it showed how to make, but the table of contents, which had listed machines that hadn't even yet been invented yet.

Kelly flipped the page to find the book that it actually had the instructions for making a teleportation device. Actually is an over used word that can almost always be omitted without detracting from the meaning. First, she read , she would the need to attach the super-micro-supercomputer to the jrrllp. Having no idea what either was, she referred to the pictures given. The super-micro-supercomputer looked only about as big as her pinky fingernail, and what she guessed was the jrrllp was about twice as large and looked like a nail with no head, except it had faint blue lines running down it. Just as she was wondering where she would get the things to make for the super-micro-supercomputer and the jrrllp, and how to even make them, something poked her finger. She looked all around the book, and on the page, where her finger had been resting, but found nothing. Then she noticed that a piece of the paper was coming up, but it was thicker than the actual page. She pulled it up more, and found that the jrrllp had come right out of the page.

Kelly jumped back in surprise. She wondered how she could have gotten this odd book, who made it, and why she had never heard of these things already being invented before.

“Kelly, dinnertime!” her mother called.

Kelly hurriedly tried putting the jrrllp back in the book, but it wouldn't go. Finally, she gave up and hid it in her desk drawer as she ran out of the room.

“So, what were you doing?” Kelly's mom asked, feeding the little baby at the same time.

“Just looking through a book I found. It was free,” Kelly said, digging into her food.

“Ah, I see.”

“What was is it about?” her dad asked.

“It's a really interesting sci-fi book,” Kelly answered, choosing her words carefully, “The pictures are so realistic, they almost jump off the page by themselves!.
You will notice that I cross out words without explanation before this point and more further on. These are words that are redundant or unnecessary to your meaning. Wordiness, can adversely affect the pace of the story, cause confusion, or bog the reader down in words.

“Sounds interesting,” her younger sister said, “Could I read it after you?”

“Well, it's a pretty thick book, Amelia,” Kelly swallowed her food, “I don't think I'll be done with it anytime soon.”

“Oh. Let me know when you are, then!.
Exclamation points should be used sparingly. The unofficial rule is no more often that three hundred words.

“I will,” Kelly said, jumping up from the table. She set her empty plate in the dishwasher before skipping back to her bedroom.

Kelly peeled all the parts up out of the book, then put them together as it instructed her to. Pretty soon, she had her very own teleportation device. It didn't look how she had expected it to. It was like a necklace, with the jrrllp appearing to be the pendant. The included 'realistic spray' made the invention actually look like a necklace, which made for fewer questions from her family.

“Where did you get all these new things?” Amelia asked a few days later, when Kelly had made about a sixteenth of the things in the book.

“Well, I just find them and put them back together,” Kelly explained.

“Oh.” Amelia cocked her head. “Why is your necklace glowing?”

“My necklace?” Kelly asked, glancing down. She distinctly remembered that the machine she wore around her neck only glowed when it was about to teleport, taking whatever it was touching with it. Sure enough, it was glowing. Sure enough is cliche and the entire sentence can be omitted as the reader already knows this. Omitting the redundant sentence will allow the tension to rise. Kelly only had time to sigh before she blinked out of the room.

At first, Kelly wasn't sure where she was, but she was close enough to where she was before that she could hear her little sister screaming. {c:/blue}This is a good example of all the extra words telling the reader something they already know and slowing the pace.

“Kelly's gone! Kelly disappeared!” Amelia shrieked.
When I read, I like to leave this world and step into the story. A question hit me that threw me out of Kelly's world, and might throw out other readers. How did Kelly know the glow emanated from the necklace moments before a transport? Had she already experimented or read it in the book?

“No I haven't,” Kelly said, pushing her way out of the closet she had been transported to.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. I just... played just . . . played a trick, that's all.” Ellipsis do not have spaces between the dots and only one after the last dot.

“I don't think so,” Amelia said, “I don't think you meant You didn't mean to do that.” Avoid using the same word or phrase (I don't think) in subsequent sentences.

“Okay, if I tell you, will you promise not to tell anyone?” Kelly asked.

“Yes, I promise!” Amelia said.

Kelly told her sister the whole story. After a couple days, Amelia couldn't help but tell someone about it. Of course, that someone was everyone she knew. That's funny!

That was how Kelly got became famous for all the inventing many amazing inventions that even the best scientists of the world hadn't known of even a week before. However, you should know that she was not the real inventor here. In fact, it was her great granddaughter, Mandy, who created the book without any help. This is another plot question that threw me out. If Amelia told about the book to everyone she knew, Kelly and her family would be in terrible danger. People would kill to obtain the book. Perhaps you could consider Amelia saying to everyone she knew that her sister had invented the first device and what it did.

Seventy-five years in her past, fifteen-year-old genius Mandy pulled the hood over her head and, Fifteen-year-old genius Mandy, now seventy-five years in her past, pulled the hood over her head, and checking to make sure no one saw her, placed the purple book with a silver swirly pattern in the free box at the yard sale, setting in motion the events of the past that wouldn't have happened without her.
{c:/blue}The way the first sentence was written in this paragraph, I was confused wondering who's past. Kelly's? The above rewrite makes it clear it's Mandy's past.

Final Thoughts
This is a terrific story that I enjoyed reading. The grammar and punctuation is good for one so young. I rate this short story three and one half stars. A five star rating indicates a manuscript ready to hand to the printer. Four stars means just a few small items to fix, usually grammar. The still good three or three and one half stars indicate some story questions remain. Please understand that this review is picky and detailed because it was a review like this with real suggestions and explanations that influenced me to work hard at improving my craft. Your writing is so good, I hope this review helps you. With a little work, this can be a five. Your talent and knowledge impresses me. I wish I could have written like this in my teens. Believe me, I tried.
I'd be happy to look at your story again after your edit if you wish. Keep writing!

Sig for Power Raid created by Captain Tabitha


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Illegal Alien  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a review of "Illegal Alien written by: Genipher

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the list for this month Power Reviewer's RAID. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points make.

First Impressions
The dialog struck me first as excellent. Very amusing flash fiction, and well written. It's barely over three-hundred-fifty words so the review will be comparatively short.

What I Like Most
I liked the banter and building number of idiocies heaped on our hapless traveler.

Thoughts and Suggestions
Some of the story doesn't make sense, but that isn't vital because of the intent. Like, why would the Earthling be told how bad it will be in front of the judge when the wolves are going to tear him or her apart before appearing? Another, the officer did not in fact mention they had zero tolerance with illegal aliens like he claimed.

Final Thoughts
This was a crack up, and had me rolling. It's so like my snide style it's spooky. There were not any technical issues, and you accomplished what I feel was your intent: a flash fiction and a good laugh. Your delivery is nearly perfect. It could be considered ready for publication. Only 1/2 a star was deducted due to the contradictions mentioned. I like the story, even if humorous, to fit together. I'm an engineer; what can I say? Oh, and thanks for making me laugh.

Sig for Power Raid created by Captain Tabitha
5
5
Review of Just like Her  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is a review of "Just like Her written by: Slime-J~Has given up

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine

Original Chapter Length: 987 words
Review Length: 1,198 words
Time to review: Five hours twenty minutes


Introduction
Your kind words and wiliness to look at my first two chapters prompt me to exchange reviews with you. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave the rest of that same correction to you.

First Impressions
The story is written in epistolary style with a YA target audience. The voice is first person limited.

Suggestions
Below, you will find I've crossed out words for two reasons. First, as part of a correction or suggestion. Second, the word was redundant or unnecessary.

Greetings, I am Lucy Smith and this story is about something that happened to my twin brother, Edward Smith's, and I, childhood that we want to get off of our chests I'll tell my part of the story first. there are multiple independent sentences connected by a comma splice (run-on) or missing punctuation. Consider the following rewrite and look for the separated clauses. Greetings, I'm Lucy Smith. Something happened to my twin brother Edward, and I, when we were children that we feel someone must know about. I'll tell my part of the story first.

It was 1997, and we were 7 seven years old[.] at the time we We were moving moved across the country to a small town called,well for the sake of privacy let's just call it we will call Ashville, though that's not its real name. into a It was a pretty big house that was built in the early 19th century and was cheap as most many people assumed it was haunted.
Spell out numbers except dates and time in time format (10:05).

Ed and I had just finished helping mom move all of our boxes into our room when Ed suggested that we check out the area neighborhood.

"Ok, but stay in sight of the house and don't talk to strangers. Dinner is at nine you two," Mom said. Or more accurately, yelled at us as we were already down the stairs at that point.

"where Where are we going first Lucy?"Ed asked while anxiously fidgeting with the collar of his shirt.
You need to insert a space after a quotation mark before the dialog attribution. In this case, before Ed. You need this correction throughout your chapter. Watch capitalization also.

"Hmm...let's check out that park we saw while we were moving the boxes,"I said[,] excitedly remembering that somewhat run down park that was only a few minutes away from the house. Avoid using LY adverbs, like excitedly. Often they can simply be removed and the sentence is fine. Other times, you can replace the weaker verb with a stronger verb. For example: He said loudly. Use instead: He shouted. Sometimes you can show instead of tell. Stefan said ashamedly. Use instead, Stefan said, his head down.

We ran to the old park. Many saw it as run down and falling apart but through our young eyes it was perfect.

We spent all day playing on the slides and swings and we even managed to find a small muddy grotto that was tucked away between some trees and bushes, we claimed it as our new secret base. As the sun began to set we heard our mom calling for us to come home.

"Race you there,"I said sprinting ahead of Ed. It was only when I was halfway to the house that I realized that Ed wasn't following me.

So I went back to find Ed talking to a strange looking woman[.] she She was tall but slightly pudgy looking[,] and she was wearing an old looking maternity dress.

"Umm...Ed we have to go[.] mommy Mommy is calling us for dinner,space"I said to Ed[,] grabbing his arm and pulling him in the direction of the exit. For some reason that That woman scared me.

"Mommy told us not to talk to strangers. Remember Ed? Who was that woman anyway Ed?"I asked[,] my voice thick with curiosity curiously.

"Her name was is Mrs[.] Bella[,] and she said she used to live in our new house. She's really nice, Lucy,"Ed said[,] before breaking out into a sprint.

"Last one there's a rotten egg,"spaceEd yelled back at me while giggling to himself.

"Hey! No fair[!] your You're cheating!"I whined[,] at him as I sprinted after him.
Watch the proper use of your verses you're.

Ed reached the house first. I was only a minute behind. We walked in panting and covered in mud.

"Look at you two! You're all covered in mud! So did you two have fun?"mom asked.

"Yeah. We did we even found a secret base to hang out in by the park,"spaceI said proudly.
Instead of proudly try, I said, with pride, or I said, my nose in the air.

"And I meet met a really nice lady named Mrs Bella[,] who said she use to live here in this house,"Ed said[,] smiling happily.

"Ed, I thought I told you not to talk to strangers,"mom Mom scolded.
I've missed a few of these. Mom should be capitalized when replacing a proper name and when addressing the person directly.

"Um, sorry, mommy Mommy,"spaceEd said[,] quickly apologizing quick to apologize.

"It's ok. Now you two go take a shower and then you can have dinner. I made beef stew, your favorite,"mom said cheerfully. How can you fix this cheerfully used here?

I headed up to my room and went into the bathroom. I got undressed and got into the shower[,] but while showering I heard strange noises[.] Since, but since mom had already told us before we moved that the house was pretty old and would make weird noises so I ignored them, and got out of the shower. Consider describing (show, don't tell) the noises. While showering, I heard a thump behind the wall, and a squeak on the glass door.

After getting out of the shower[,] I looked in the mirror to make sure I was fully clean. What looked back at me was a young girl with light brown hair, let down so I could wash it, and big teal colored eyes. She was small being only five feet 5ft. In prose (stories) numbers below one thousand are spelled out. Units (feet) are also spelled out, and not abbreviated.

After examining myself in the mirror and being satisfied, I put my hair up into two pigtails, I then got dressed in a light pink dress with a big red heart in the center that said, "flower power." Then I slide ankle socks on before heading downstairs to get dinner.
Avoid wordiness and redundancy. That is, remove words that do not add to the story or say something already known or stated. The fewer words you use to express your thought, the more powerful the writing, and it avoids burying your reader in words. Consider: I smiled at my reflection, put my hair in pigtails, and slipped on my light pink dress with the red heart in the center that read, Flower Power. Ankle socks were last and I headed down for dinner.
Eleven fewer words and stronger sentences. The Chicago Manual of Style-2010 states that in the current vernacular, quotation marks, not part of dialog, not mean the same thing as air quotes. That is, quotation marks around a word indicate that it does NOT mean what the words say. In this case, I italicized Flower Power instead.


We all sat down at the table and began to eat our beloved beef stew.

"So sweeties how do you like it here?"mom asked.

"I love it!" we both said in unison.

"Well that's good then,"mom Mom said cheerfully smiling, taking all our empty bowls to the sink.

"Can we watch TV until bedtime mommy?"Ed asked[,] mom with puppy dog eyes. Redundant, we know he addressed mom by what he said.

"Sure[,] go ahead[.] just Just remember to go to bed by ten for 10,"mom said[,] kissing us both on the forehead and heading up to her room[,] presumably to read one of her books.

We spent the rest of the night watching shows like Rugrats, Arthur[,] and Dexter's Laboratory[.] at 10 At ten, we both headed up to our rooms, and got changed into our pj's PJ's and got nestled ourselves into bed our beds. Avoid using the words got or then when describing a sequence of events.

"Goodnight, Ed,"I said[,] already half asleep.

"Goodnight, Lucy,"Ed said[,] falling straight to sleep afterwards[.] and I followed him 5 five minutes later.

I woke up about four hours later, according to the alarm clock on my bedside table. I groggily got up, rubbed my eyes and headed to the bathroom as I needed to pee. As pee, but as I wandered the halls[,] I began to hear heard a faint sound coming from somewhere in the house it that sounded like crying.
Do not mix the tenses. Hear is present tense and sounded is past tense. My change matched them.

I ran back into my room as fast as I could and woke Ed up.

"What's wrong Lucy[,] you have a nightmare?"spaceEd asked concerned.

"No[.] I heard crying coming from somewhere in the house[.],"I said.
When only two speakers are in a conversation, you may (but don't have to) omit the dialog attribution if it's obvious who is speaking.

"Hmm...I'll go check it out[.] you You stay here,"Ed said[,] before heading off to investigate the noise.
There were multiple sentences run together without punctuation.

Ed turned the corner and saw....End of chapter one.
your entire chapter was written in first person limited. That is, all from the point of view of Lucy. On this last line, you jump to Ed's point of view. remain consistent in your voice. Change the last line to Lucy's point of view (POV). Consider:
Ed turned the cornerand froze. I used the EM Dash (it's not a hyphen) instead of a comma for effect.

End of chapter one

Final Thoughts
Your tale is well told. You still need some English grammar training and lots of practice writing. Writers need to read a lot and write a lot to learn the trade. If I didn't tell you, try to see why I made the change. Not everything is marked. Only enough to make the concept clear. Write every day, or as often as possible. I see great things ahead of you. When you have a chapter that incorporates these principles, or you redraft this one, I'd love to review it.
I give the chapter *Star**Star**Star*Let me explain a little about the star rating system.
*Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*Five stars mean, it's perfect and ready to hand to the printer.
*Star**Star**Star**Star*Four stars mean, with just a bit of polishing, it ready to publish.
*Star**Star**Star*Three stars mean, the story is good and makes sense, but it will require multiple grammar and style changes.

Keep on writing!

Power Reviewer Signature


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
for entry "Dead Soldiers
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a review of "Dead Soldiers written by: Escape Artist

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
Thank you for purchasing my five chapter reviews. Getting novels looked at is difficult. That is why I placed these in the auction package.
Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work, will of course, decide the relevance of any points I make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
The prologue and chapter one are not on the list of five. The back of the book blurb for the overall novel does not sound military in nature. The character introduced here, is a Black Ops Colonel giving this chapter military attributes.
This chapter is well written with few grammar errors, and appears to be a third or above draft by the clean nature of the narration. The voice is third person limited.

Line By Line
Groom Dry Lake, Nevada

Colonel Samuel Remy reclined in his handmade Italian chair, eying a half-empty Budweiser longneck teetering on the edge of his desk. He reached for the bottle, drained it, then tossed it into a dark corner, receiving a hollow clank as it landed in a trash can already sprouting an amber forest of empties.

"Another dead soldier," he murmured.
Your description is excellent, the perfect balance of imagery and words. I love your metaphor.

Bored beyond his usual Friday night self-imposed delirium, Sam lifted a half-filled tumbler to the light, admiring the way the ice cubes sparkled through the ocher tint of Johnnie Walker Red.
If I understand what you are trying to convey, beyond might not be the best word choice: consider despite instead.
Then he dropped the precision-weighted crystal and watched it fall twelve inches before landing flat on the desk with a solid thump. A few drops of liquid splashed over the rim, landing on his new shirt. He dabbed at the stain then gave up with a long sigh, lacking the energy for even a small tantrum. The evening was not going well.

The chair's smooth leather fit Sam's form like a baseball in a well-used glove. His left foot rested on the edge of a solid Egyptian ebony desk carved with intricate cartouches depicting the dynasties of the Pharaohs. The desk had been a gift from President Anwar Sadat only a month before his assassination...a job Sam had declined.

Sam took a long puff on the well-chewed stogie protruding like a cancerous appendage from the corner of his mouth. He eyed a wooden box on his desk, then flipped it open, revealing cigars of impressive girth cased in clear plastic tubes. The inside lid bore a hand-written inscription: Sam. These are my brother's finest from the upper island plantation. Enjoy. Fidel.

Sam's eyes closed, fluttered open, and then closed again. Half drunk, and past midnight, he knew the memories would come, his last mission replayed like a dormant virus waiting for a weakness. Like so many times before, he let them take over with a long, submissive sigh.
I think your metaphor, like a dormant virus waiting for a weakness, doesn't quite fit. You metaphor implies a big one time surprise attack. Like so many times before, shows it a recurring PTSD reaction.

*****

Faces coalesced as his team moved through smoke and flame, the village of Srebrenica, Bosnia their backdrop. The structures that were not reduced to smoldering ruins stood frozen in time...a patchwork of rough-hewn stone and wood hovels fronted by mud streets. Sam shrugged off a chill as he and his team approached the medieval fortress lording over the carnage. Images of bloody feudal lords and dark-age misery oozed from its ancient stone walls, now pocked and peppered with the scars of modern war. Once inside, he went about his work with practiced intensity, but troubled by a curious sense of dread he hadn’t been able to shake all day. His dread soon became problematic.
His dread soon became problematic, does not agree with what happens. The statement implies that the dread itself results in the coming problem. Here are some possible rewrites that I think match your intention:
His dread was soon verified.
The reason for his dread would soon become apparent.
His dread would soon be realized.


"Stop staring at me or I'll kill you again, you murdering bastard," Sam wheezed through clenched teeth, his face only inches from the man he had just killed. He took a silent breath and exhaled in an effort to stem the errant rush of adrenaline. His sudden outburst had broken a personal imperative to never show emotion. And there There it was again, the chill. Okay, shake it off. Move on.
Even though the Chicago Manual of Style (2010 edition) now allows sentences to begin with a conjunction such as and or but, that practice should still be avoided.

Whether they were natural-born killers, mass murderers, or just plain psychopaths, their reactions were always the same—a wide-eyed, dumbfounded gaze of surprise at the moment of death. The shocking death masks had creeped him out at first, but as years passed and Sam became more proficient at eliminating targets, their dying expressions became a telltale sign of his surgical perfection. Yet, for some reason, he had just lost his cool, his Zen. His active sonar was pinging and he didn't know why. Something wasn't right.
The above paragraph contains a comma splice (run-on sentence).

A child cried in the distance. Not a normal sob of disappointment, but a mournful wail full of fear dissolving into a haunting echo. He cocked his head, straining to identify the sound’s origin, then shook it off, knowing that any distraction from the plan at this point would mean failure for his team.

He moved through the ancient halls like a silent Nosferatu, disturbed motes of dust the only evidence of his passage. According to the intel, his last task waited behind the next door.
You and I know what intel means. Will you readers? Even at the price of compromising on reality, consider something like: According to the intelligence briefing, his last task waited behind the next door.

Moonlight beamed into the room through an iron-barred window, the vertical rods casting elongated shadows of dark and light across the floor and up the wall, bathing a sleeping man's torso in monotone striations. Sam's grease-painted visage emerged from the shadow and leaned over, poised, studying every nuance in the man's face, making sure.
To me, the above paragraph is a great use of the English language, but I'm a highly educated individual. Who is your target audience? Consider simplifying this a bit. Monotone striations? Also, the style isn't consistent throughout. Why only occasional bursts of sophistication?

3.01 | Use everyday words. Clarity is everything in writing, and concise writing depends upon your choice of words. When you describe an elevator as “a vertical transportation unit” or you refer to a leaky pipe as a “plumbing rupture,” clarity goes out the window, and so does your reader’s attention span and interest. For fiction, you can write colorful prose but still use everyday language to tell a story your readers can easily understand and enjoy. For nonfiction, communicate relevant facts in the clearest and most direct way possible without sacrificing interest. An emphasis on clarity doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to three-letter words; but use familiar, everyday words as much as possible. Avoid using obscure words most readers won’t recognize. If you have to look up a word in the dictionary, it’s safe to assume many of your readers will need to look it up too. Most won’t bother, so you may lose a large segment of your audience before they turn the page. You can add clarity to your prose by avoiding stilted and unnecessary phrasing, known in some writing circles as “gobbledygook.” Instead, use concrete words familiar to most readers and that have clear meanings.

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (p. 25). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition.


The man’s eyes moved under pallid lids, dodging back and forth like trapped insects trying to escape. Age creased his face. A lifetime of harsh environments had tanned his skin to tarnished leather. His lips trembled, then curled in a sardonic grin. It seemed even in sleep he was up to no good.

Once again a child's cry reverberated through the stone corridors. Sam paused for an instant, then focused all his attention on the sleeping man, watching his chest rise with every breath, the veins on his neck pulse with every heartbeat.

A rush of air disturbed the serenity. The man opened his eyes wide in shock as he sucked in a deep gulp of air. His tongue quivered, and then relaxed, his expression of horror becoming frozen in time as the last trace of breath left his lungs with a reluctant wheeze.

Not wasting a moment, Sam pulled the ice pick from the dead general's temple. As always, just a trickle of blood oozed from the wound. He sheathed his weapon of choice and pressed the backlight on his chronometer. Four minutes and twelve seconds had passed since entering the building. Time to go.
(Time to go) is a fragment. Consider: ...entering the building—time to go.

Before he disappeared into the darkness, Sam laid his calling card on the dead general's forehead—an image of the grim reaper. Scrawled across the bottom were the words: I love my job.


*****

The memory faded. It always did. Ten long years had passed, but the excitement of the hunt, the adrenaline rush of the kill, and the frightened wail of an innocent child continued to haunt him.

Sam caressed the stump of his right leg, now just a phantom sensation at the end of his knee. His prosthesis lay on an adjacent end table, an amazing, one-off prototype of experimental Nano-hydraulic technology. Its ballistic skin, texture, and coloration was unrecognizable from the real thing; a vivid reminder to a man scarred both mentally and physically by the ill-fated mission.
Unrecognizable, needs a better word choice. Consider: indistinguishable.

Sam Remy stood six-foot-two. A sinuous rope of a man, his exercise regime never allowed his two-hundred-pound frame to harbor a noticeable amount of body fat. He glared at the starched uniform bearing a rainbow of service awards hanging outside his closet door, untouched for over a year. Is this the end, he thought. Has time finally worn me down to just memories?
Omit the hyphen between hundred and pound. It is not a compound word.

Two antique telephones sat on Sam's desk. A red phone, reportedly given to Eisenhower by Winston Churchill, connected Sam with the Special Operations Commander, General Kohl, a near mythical man who had recruited Sam twenty years before. The precious sentence contains a comma splice (run-on sentence). The phone had rung twice in the last eight years which made it an interesting paperweight in Sam’s eyes. The second phone, a white push button model, origin unknown, connected directly to the base commander, General Powell. Its ring always brought problems. Another cordless phone sat on his right along with a combination printer, scanner, and fax machine. It was used by his engineering team and rang incessantly until two weeks ago when his aircraft assembly plant shut down. At the center of the desk sat a soap stone soapstone paperweight bearing a favorite inscription: "There are always possibilities."

Waiting for a reason, for orders, had caused the adrenaline-pumping memories to resurface. Reliving a dangerous and vibrant time in his life had tweaked his self-control and he was slowly losing himself in an alcoholic haze. Years had passed since Sam had last ended the life of another human and now he was thinking about killing again. With his mind resurrecting lurid glimpses of long dormant skills, his mood had plunged into a dark place.

A phone rang, bringing Sam partly back to the moment. Its distinctive ring and a built-in blinking light gave Sam’s addled brain the surprising indication that the red paperweight had just come alive. When it rang again, he jumped, followed by an irrational urge to stand at attention. Sam gathered his composure. This was unexpected, and untimely. The general had earned his nickname in the netherworld of black ops through his supernatural ability to pull the strings of powerful men. After years of silence, the great Oz wanted to talk to Sam?
I love that last phrase!

The phone kept ringing until Sam realized the general wasn't going away despite his unbecoming condition. He took a deep breath and picked up the handset.

The background noise coming through the old receiver echoed the steady thump, thump, thump of a helicopter in flight, not the standard two-seater's that flitted around the base like angry bumblebees, but a large, heavy-lift unit with twin turbofan engines powering massive rotors.
The above paragraph contains a comma splice (run-on sentence).

Sam waited for a few more seconds then spoke loudly into the handset to compensate for the background noise. For a moment, his memory flickered, sending him back to Vietnam, flying low on an Air-Cav Air-Cavalry strike deep in country.
The same logic as for, intel, above was considered.

"Colonel Remy," he said.

The return voice was both commanding and unmistakable—a boozy, Macanudo-hushed voice that had etched itself like acid into Sam's subconscious at its first hearing. Even though he had not talked to the man for many years, the power of his persona came through the tiny speakerphone like the snap of a bullwhip.
{c:reda boozy, Macanudo-hushed Huh? Even lost me on that one.


"Get yourself together, Sam. I'm coming over to see you. Be there in five. We need to talk face-to-face. Don't you just love this spur-of-the-moment crap?"

"Not a problem sir. I'll be waiting." Sam's brain flashed to their first meeting. "You still drink bourbon, General? Schenleys, if I remember right."
I'm as impressed as the General, nice little detail there.

A curious pause gave Sam the distinct impression that he had surprised the general. Finally, the voice replied, "That's my boy," after which the line went dead. "That's my boy." After which the line went dead.
After which the line went dead, is NOT dialogue attribution, but an action tag. The comma after boy should be a period, and After should be capitalized.

Sam grabbed his prosthesis and attached it to his stub with a slight hiss of vacuum. He stood, his eyes moving from the half-empty bottle of Johnnie Walker on the desk to the trashcan full of tall boys in the corner. Sighing, he scratched his two-day stubble, bit hard on the Cuban, and summed up the situation with a single uttered one word.

"Shit."
It's your writing. I just thought the above change made the sentence concise, and powerful.

Additional Unmarked Corrections
There are a plethora of missing commas. You copy editor will fix those. When I add or remove commas, it's almost impossible for the writer to see the changes.

Final Thoughts
This chapter is very well edited, and tells and excellent story. Usually, I do not review samples this well written—congratulations. This is some of the best and cleanest writing I've seen here on WDC. Even I post first raw drafts here, which I realized only a couple of months ago, is't the best idea. Second draft minimum should be considered for posting. As you know from reading my novel, it's first draft missing the last four chapters.

If I had this chapter to read, I'd be satisfied with the quality. I would have enjoyed it. The inconsistent voice sophistication would have raided my eyebrows, but not thrown me out of the story. A couple of the, not quite right, word choices would have. You do need to wordsmith your last revision.

I give this chapter four stars. *Star**Star**Star**Star* I'm using the WDC guidelines on my rating. Five stars is ready to send to the printer for publication. Four star is a high rating. It means, great writing, some grammar and punctuation errors, with some additional considerations like the need for some corrected word choices. In other words, GOOD JOB! Thanks for sharing this with me.

Original Chapter Count: 1728 words
Time For Review: 5 hours 15 minutes

Fantasy and Science Fiction Signature by Amanda Wilcox


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)


Introduction
Thank you fro asking my review of your story, it's been a while since I reviewed your work. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work, will of course, decide the relevance of any points I make. On longer stories, like this one, I will point out some grammar, technical, or word choices a few times, then leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions


Line By Line
The Spinster Of Claiborne Parish, LA.

Derek B. Thorpe

"Let me repeat the two choices available, Mr. Benwa... Benwa, right?"

I nod.

Sgt. Sergeant Cren Dennard wipes his fingers with the dirty rag from his back pocket and steps away from the open hood. "You can wait the hour for them to deliver the new fan belt, or you can order the tow truck to take you and your Jaguar back to New Orleans. I done told you the tow won't be here for another two hours or so."
In prose, do not abbreviate ranks, spell them out.

"Why the hell does it take so long for the belt to get here?" I shrug my jacket off and throw it into the backseat. "You sure you can fix this job friend? It's foreign you know."

"Mister, I been fixin' whatever type of engine the military could throw at me while I was in the service. I can do this job with the three toes left on my right foot, but not while it's hot and smokin' like this. It's just as well the belt takes an hour to get here," he says.
A reader thought, not a reviewer's thought, why is the man who's retired from the service still referred to by his old rank? The first line tells me they do not know each other.

One strap on his camouflage Farmer Brown outfit slides from his shoulder exposing more of the dense hair covering his back and chest. At least there aren't any flecks of food and dirt entangled there like there are in his beard. A commonly used trope, but even the bearded homeless do not leave debris in their beards.

He looks around for one of those clipboards with the pen dangling from the chain. I guess he senses that I am resigned to stay and get the damned thing fixed at his garage so he shoves the board at my belly. The one printed sheet of paper trapped by the spring clamp flaps in the dry Louisiana breeze.First person, your voice, does not allow the narrator into the head of any character except your POV character, Mr. Benoit, so he couldn't KNOW what the man was looking for. Consider the following rewrite.
He looks around, and picks up one of those clipboards with the pen dangling from the chain.

"Here, sign this sheet and print your name. It says you'll pay for the labor and the cost of the belt."

I do not like his attitude. Don't like it at all. I didn't go through four years of law school at LSU to have some hairy mechanic shove stuff at me. A man needs to be well groomed and manage his hair at all times. The only reason I don't pick him apart is because he is a veteran. His rank and full name are on ample display in and out of the garage. Lots of framed photos of him and his buddies in some God awful war zone, are leaning up against anything that's standing still. The one he seems most proud of hangs on a door just off the garage bay with him receiving the purple heart medal under a tent in the desert. He was still on crutches with his foot bandaged, but he stands at erect salute. The capital letters 'B' and 'OOM' are the only ones visible outside the photo frame on the door. Still though, Vet or no Vet, he needs to watch his sass around me. I have been known to stiff a vendor or two if they piss me off enough.
Avoid wordiness by omitting redundant and other words that do not add to the meaning.

3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition


The Louisiana summer sun is relentless. It's half past the noon hour and it feels like it's hovering directly over my head. It's so hot, it seems my shadow has taken refuge under my shoes. I stand in the middle of Dennard's lube and oil forecourt, not knowing what to do for the next precious million seconds of my eternity. The smell of aged petroleum evaporating from the cracked concrete irritates my sinuses and I can see how the heat shreds at the air just above the ground. I peek inside the tiny office to see if he has a cooler of drinks for customers.

Fat chance.

I toss my tie away, unclip both cufflinks and roll up my sleeves. I hate to crease my custom tailored white shirt, but I have nothing else on my legal calendar. My cufflinks make a noise as they bounce off the box of smokes I have in my pocket and I fight off the urge to light one of those smooth cigs up right here.

"Hey, I thought you said your name was 'Benwa', what is this B-E-N-O-I-T crap you wrote here?" says Dennard looking at the clipboard.

"It is, that's how it's pronounced. It's European." I cringe at the yokel's lack of sophistication.

"I'll order the belt," he says, passing behind me, and wipes his hands with the dirty rag that seems to add more oil and grease to his fingers each time he uses it.

I give in to my urge and stick a cigarillo between my lips and light it.

"What year is that Jaguar?"

When I turn to tell him that it's a 1998 XJ 90, he cuts me off midsentence.

"Hey hey... there is no smoking in the garage yard. Can't you see the sign? I got a diesel tank back there!"

I honestly did not see the sign, but I decide his attitude stinks and I am going to stiff this uppity, low-class laborer when he gets done fixing my foreign car.

"Go on down to the road edge if you need to smoke. Yonder by the bus canopy."

He sees my scowl and I can tell he has just as much contempt for me as I do for him by the way he scratches at his groin through his camouflage onesie.

No matter. I'll gladly bide my time over by the bus shelter and smoke my imported cigarillos. This greasy oil residue isn't good for my Italian leather soles anyway.

I regret coming out to this northern parish. I am almost into Arkansas for crying out loud. Being stuck out here in the sticks is one thing but with nothing to show for my venture makes it sting that much more. I can't believe that ungrateful DeShawn Washington. LSU bound, star running back, refused my offer to be his agent when he turns pro. I can't believe his mother handed back the stack of twenties I offered to the family. Who would have known the kid was smart enough to have done his own research on me before I even show up. Freaking Internet. I depend on these strapping dumb athletes to stay dumb and just sign on the damn dotted line.
Though it's difficult with first person, avoid starting your sentences with the pronoun, I. Consider the following rewrite, which also reduces wordiness:
Regret rises for coming to this northern parish, almost to Arkansas for crying out loud. Being stuck in the sticks with nothing to show, makes it worse. That ungrateful DeShawn Washington, LSU bound, star running back, refused my offer to be his agent. His mother even returned the stack of twenties I offered. Who would have known the kid would do his own research before I even show up. Freaking Internet. Can't these athletes to stay dumb and just sign on the damn dotted line.
The above rewrite is NOT to say it's the correct way to write it, only an example of reduced wordiness (25%) and not starting sentences with, I. Editors often return manuscripts and ask the author to reduce word count by fifteen to twenty-five percent. The writer panics thinking they need to cut part of the story. Not so, only remove redundant and unnecessary words. The fine balance between description and wordiness is a learned art.

I hear a low rumble as I step under the bus stop canopy. Sure enough, there is a storm brewing in the distance, over there in the direction of Homer city.

"Great, now a thunderstorm to cap everything off."

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to see for the remainder of this narrative. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of your work. Complete editing of these concerns I leave to you.

Again, the rumble. Louder now, but more like a 'vroom' vroom!. Spelled out sounds are italicised and end with an exclamation point, they are not placed in quotation marks. That's not thunder, I conclude. This noise belongs to an engine, I am sure of that and it's coming fast. It's a motorcycle engine, and the closer it gets the more I feel that spitting growl rattling between the ribs in my chest. I love motorcycles, well at least I used to love them. I step out from under the canopy and watch it approach from the north on that sun-drenched county road. The rays bounce off that fat, chrome gas tank and burn a hole straight through my eyes. Memories of riding through the countryside with my brother as a teen, play in the old theater of my mind. Good memories… well, mostly good memories.

The cycle pulls up on the other side of the road just in front of the opposite bus canopy. It is the most unusual motorcycle ever; tall handlebars but not quite a chopper, thick tires and long tail-pipes. The rider is dressed in typical all black leather with a matching black visored helmet. A little skinny but otherwise unremarkable for a biker, but it is the pillion passenger that catches my eye.

An old woman, easily in her 70s, dismounts the cycle by pushing herself backwards off the end of the seat. She has a newspaper in one hand and a grocery bag in the other. It must be light as she uses that arm to wave goodbye to the motorcycle operator. I watch him rev twice and peel off without looking back or acknowledging the old lady. I try to guess their relationship and the make of the motorcycle but in the end, I have to concede it must be pure custom-made for both guesses. He fades from view and so does the rumble and I turn my attention back to the old lady across the street.
How can a guess on their relationship be, custom-made?

She is nowhere to be seen.

Where could she have gone in those few seconds? And just before I start to freak Why freak? I detect some movement behind the bus canopy. It's made of some see-through transparent plastic and she's crouching in the tall grass and brambles. What is she doing? hiding? Hiding is a fragment. What is she doing, hiding? She's looking around stooping but it isn't making any sense because all the world saw her get off that noisy motorcycle. Then she tears a page from the newspaper and reaches back and under... Oh my God, she's taking a crap right there! What the hell? She must know I can see her. She has way too much clothing on in this broiling heat and she clearly is pulling up and fixing her under-things. Now, this I really don't need to see and just when she starts to come out of the bushes, she pauses and goes back to the spot and begins to stoop and crap fresh again. Another sound of newspaper ripping and I summon enough energy to turn my back this time. I cannot explain why it's so hard to turn away, but it is.

I can see Dennard putzing around on the phone in his office and spooning something from a can into his mouth. I figure enough time has passed and I turn back around to see her sitting on the bench under the canopy. She's bent over rummaging through the crinkly supermarket bag looking for something, but from here it just looks like more crinkly bags jammed inside the outer bag. She sits back and looks directly at me for awhile before she raises a hand to wave. She must have at least four jackets on with a scarf around her neck and another over the top of her head and tied in a knot under her chin. I jerk my neck in her general direction. Not wanting to be rude but not wanting to give her too much encouragement either. But this is just enough invitation she needs and she gathers her newspaper and bags and heads across the street. She probably will ask me for money and although I have this load of cash in my pocket that Mrs. Washington refused, I will not give this disgusting, recently crapped, vagrant-woman a penny.

From the first step she makes, it's clear something is off. She walks with a tremendous exaggerated limp from the bow in her left leg. Although she's wearing a few skirts, the misalignment at her knee is significant and her foot on that leg is turned inward. There is a partial smile on her thin lips but I suspect it is not genuine as that level of deformity is surely painful.

She's still about fifteen feet away and already I can detect the putrid sphere that envelops and moves with her. She shuffles to a stop in front of me but I take a step back within the canopy before she speaks.

"Are you married, Mister? You're a good-looking man. Wish I could have known ya when I was younger."

She extends her hand to shake but I use mine to cover my mouth and squeeze my nose as a reflux of bile shoots up my gullet. I am not sure what revulses repulses me more; her odor or the fact that she uses a pick-up line on me. I swallow my breakfast for the second time and it leaves a slimy taste of rancid cactus juice at the back of my throat.
Too much description can detract from the moment. Our main character has a lot of experience with rancid cactus juice?

She's only about five foot two at most and she's still looking up at me with her hand extended as if she really thinks I'm going to shake it. If you could somehow trap smoke within an ice cube, that would be the closest color I can use to describe her eyes. They shock me and I am distracted enough not to answer her immediately. The lower lid of her right one eye doesn't or can't close fully and the pink membrane is exposed and weeping down her cheek. The fluid follows the lines and folds of her face, crisscrossing like a cracked clay vessel.

"I'm not wanting to be mean, lady, but I just saw you crap over there in the bushes, so you'll excuse me if I don't want to shake your hand."

She enters the bus canopy and sits on the bench at the far end. She puts her newspaper on the seat and her bags between her feet.

"No bother, good-looking. I'm Gert, by the way, It's okay. I'll just take the weight off my knee for a spell and chat with ya. It hurts like there's a storm coming. Sorry you had to see me over there. I've got this intestinal thing you know. It'd be nice if Sarge over there would let me use his bathroom. He's banned me. Says I mess up the place. Ha Ha."

I say nothing. I have no interest in conversing with her. Never have I appreciated the smoke from my cigarillo masking her presence as I do now.

"That Sarge though. He's okay in my books. Did he tell you he got a purple heart in the first Iraq war? He put that picture right on the bathroom door so everyone could see. He nearly got his whole foot blown off going back to save his wounded Captain. What a soldier eh? He actually went back."
Reader thought: If a whole foot is nearly blown off, he will not be returning for another tour of duty. How about, "He actually went back for his Captain," to clarify.

I still say nothing, although I'm glad she tells me the story about Sgt. Dennard. Maybe I pegged him wrong. You can't always shed your bad memories like you'd want to.

Then out of the freaking blue she says, "Hey, Mister. How's that brother Phil of yours, when did you last see him?"
This statement makes no sense. in the following paragraphs, we find the tattoo says, "Phil... miss you." That is more likely something for a dead brother rathen than one he hasn't seen in awhile. Which turned out to be correct. I don't think she would make that mistake.

I quit my drag halfway through and choke on my saliva, coughing like it's my first time I ever smoked. How in the world does she know about my brother and that is exactly what I ask her when I stop coughing.

"Don't get your panties in a bunch, good-looking. Ha Ha." She smirks and wipes the fluid coming out of her eye with the scarf from around her neck. "You got your sleeve rolled up and I can see the tattoo on the inside of your arm. 'Phil... miss you', and then there's that hand finger shape."

"Yeah, but how do you know it's my brother?"

"I used to gamble. I played the odds, Ha Ha. It could be your lover but I don't think you're sissy like that. That leaves your father, your son or your brother. Probably not your father because you'd put his full name as Philip or Dad. It could be your son, but that's kind of a cheesy tattoo for a son, plus the tattoo looks pretty faded. So that leaves your dear old brother that you miss. How am I doing, good-looking?"


I am floored by her deduction. I know more than a dozen high priced attorneys that couldn't do what she did on the fly like that. I catch myself folding my right sleeve down to re-cover my tattoo even though she's already seen it. Okay...she might be ugly and smelly but she ain't no idiot, so I decide to throw her a bone.

"He's not my 'old brother'. Phil is the same age as I am. We are twins. He died when we were in our teens."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. How did he die and what's that hand symbol?"

"He had an accident, okay. That's all you need to know." She sits, nods and rocks quietly for a few moments.

"I get you, good-looking. I didn't mean to pry. I don't get to talk to too many strangers. I know your pain. I lost someone a long time ago too."

Some thoughts are leaking into my memory that I had vaulted away years ago and I spend some time resealing that leaky crack to stop any impending breach. I steal a glance over in her direction and she's still rocking in silence. Then she says," You know I never married so I don't have any children. I bet you do though. A daughter maybe? I best be on my way but before I go I want to give you something for her."

I start to ask her how she knows I have a daughter but I figure she's playing the odds again so I just watch her. She rummages through her many crinkly supermarket bags. Some have complex knots and others are open-mouthed and then with an, 'Ahhhh' she stops the searching and hobbles towards me in her multicolored layers of clothing.

"In case she meets a fella who doesn't care too much about her... this will protect her."

She has a small metal pendant in her wrinkly hand but she can see I'm very hesitant to take anything from her. She makes one step forward, places a hand on my shoulder and winks with her weepy right eye. I hold out my palm and she drops a bronze brooch in the center, no bigger than a fly.

She turns and leaves the shelter with her bags and heads up the county road in the direction of the approaching storm. The air quality is much improved but I wonder why she doesn't just go across the street back to the opposite canopy. I take a closer look at the pendant and it's a bird of some kind. Blackbird or crow. Cheap and blemished. I drop it into the breast pocket of my Ladd Brother's shirt not knowing what else to do with it then. It had better not stain through.

By the time I look up to see her again she's much farther on than I would have thought with that limp from her bow leg. She has left her newspaper on the bench and I grab it. I fill my lungs with air to call out but she's way too far away to hear me or even come back for it. Why I even bother upsets me. She's a homeless old hag and I leave her be.

A silver panel van pulls up into Sgt. Dennard's garage and delivers something. It looks like it could be my fan belt. Already? That is kind of fast I'm thinking, but my watch says it's 1:45.

I walk back up to the garage with the newspaper and I can't explain why it still feels so hot. My shoulder is burning from the sun but it shouldn't be. Clouds are rolling in and I can barely see the sun. By the time I reach Dennard's tiny office I'm feeling dizzy and lightheaded and it feels like I have a sunburn on my shoulder.

"Belt is here and the engine should be cool enough now, so I'll get started," he says.

There's a cube of a vegetable lodged in his beard that wasn't there before but I'm happy the belt is here and I decide I'll give the old bastard a second chance and pay him what he charges me. After all I have a pocket full of cash that I wasn't supposed to still have. But I am really not feeling well at all. I think I may be dehydrated because there is a wave of nausea sweeping over me. Perhaps the odor of Gert is affecting me finally.

"Hey, you got any water in this place?"

"No," he says. "All outta water."

"Well loan me the key to the bathroom. I might have to use the washroom."

He tosses me this huge key ring and we both head to the work area and my stomach starts to roll like I'm on a cruise ship or something. Crap, I'm sweating like my mother's gumbo pot cover and I loosen more buttons on my shirt.

When I get to the bathroom door, the framed photo of Dennard getting his purple heart greets me and I remember the story Gert tells me under the canopy. I wonder if he's smart enough to have deliberately hung the frame just so only the letters 'B-O-O-M' are seen.

"Hey, Sarge Sorry your foot nearly got blown off in the war but I'm proud that you went back to save your Captain's life. You should get another medal for bravery."

I expected to hear him chirp some 'aww shucks' line but instead, he whirls around and bellows at me.

"What did you say? What...Who told you that?" and he bum rushes me at the bathroom door.

"Hey calm down. It's no secret. Your friend Gert told me. What is your problem?"

"Gert? Who in the hell is Gert?"

"Gert...the old homeless lady with all the clothes. You know... the one you banned from using this bathroom."

"Mister you better tell me who told you that story because no one on this green earth knows about that."

"Gert! Geeze the old lady with the s***s and the messed up bow legs. You must have seen her pull up on that noisy motorcycle. We were chatting under the bus canopy!"

"I have never seen or heard of such a woman and I've been here for more than twenty years. Now, are you going to tell me how you come to know about my Captain?"

There is a precocious gust of wind that always seems to show before a heavy downfall. This one zephyrs and swirls bits of debris and paper around the vehicles and building corners. On any other day, I might have decked Sgt. Cren Dennard right there but I am not sure my bowels would last a short tussle and I need to relieve this malaise that has me in its grasp.

I push him away from me and enter the bathroom. I splash some water on my face and try to drink some but in seconds I vomit into the sink and I take off my pants to sit on the dirty garage toilet. All of this is crazy. How could he not know who Gert was? She knew him.

What in the hell is going on where she touched me? My shoulder is burning, itching like it's the fire ants Olympics and my bowels are flowing Niagara style into the toilet. It's going to be messy and I start to gather the toilet tissue from the roll, except there is only one square left that's stuck to the cylinder.

s***.

I pat my pockets to see if I have a handkerchief or tissue but the only thing I have is the crow pendant, fifty twenty-dollar bills, my cigarillo box, my wallet and...Gert's newspaper. I can't decide if this is good luck.

I continue to sweat in the tiny cubicle. The newspaper gives some relief from fanning some air but the air is already foul and the effort becomes counter-productive. But there is something odd about this news journal. The title of this publication is very familiar.

'The Louisiana Sentinel'.

I used to deliver this paper when I was growing up. Phil and I had a paper route together. We'd deliver on our mopeds before we got bigger motorcycles. But this paper went out of business decades ago. How does Gert get to have this in her possession?

Then right there on the bottom of the front page, I begin reading about my twin brother's death. The headline reads; District Attorney's son dies in a motorcycle accident. I look at the date at the top of the journal and it reads August 3rd, 1962.

The crack in the memory vault that I shored up in the bus canopy reopens and everything floods out much like what is happening at my lower end. I don't need to read on in the article any further because it's all total lies.

I murdered my brother Phil.

I murdered him because he was soft. He was mama's favorite, the spineless tattletale and I had to get rid of him. We were so close. We even had our own secret twin brother sign that he came up with. Index twisting behind the middle finger and all the other fingers folded into the palm. I draw up my sleeve again and run my finger over the tattoo of his name and our sign.

But he was an idiot. Dammit, Phil. You could have kept our secret. That's what brothers do. Instead, you threatened to tell Dad about my girlfriend Trudy falling off the back of my motorcycle while I was doing wheelies on Tressel's old farm. I told you then that she'd be fine even though her leg was broken pretty bad. She'd have been fine, Phil. Damn you! I had to silence you. People would have just thought she ran away from home or something. I tried to reason with you but you wouldn't listen. So I ran you off the road. I had to. Your fault you big dummy. You said I should have gone back to get her. Gone back to rescue her from the birds on Tressel's farm.

I do not realize I am sobbing out loud while sitting on this commode until I hear a squawk through the tiny window in the bathroom. A large black bird is perched on a fence looking right through the transom at me. It cocks its neck like a puppy would when a shrill whistle is blown. It's a crow and it's trying to keep its balance on its one good leg while the rain and wind get stronger. Then it hits me that I gave Trudy that same exact pendant and pinned it to her lapel. My God how...?

It's time to get out of here. I have no more excrement for this bowl of porcelain. I fish the brooch out of my shirt pocket, drop it between my legs and it hits the side of the bowl and disappears into the murk. I rip the middle page out from the August 3rd 1962 copy of the Louisiana Sentinel and I fold it into a sizeable rectangle. It frames an obituary announcement for one Gertrude S. Claibourne, sixteen years of age.

There is no time to be sanitary. I flush, pull up my pants and open the door. The rain hits me hard. But Sgt. Cren Dennard's baseball bat hits me harder right across the chest. It hurts like there is still something small and hard in my pocket and Geeze...I know I flushed that thing down. How...? Before he pins me up against the wall with the bat choking me across my neck, I feel the bulge of the freaking brooch still in my pocket and my blood stains through the corner edge.

"Who are you? Military Intelligence? CIA? FBI? Who sent you here? I'm not buying this old lady crap. Only one other person knew that I shot my own self in the foot deliberately and that was the Captain. Tell me how you knew about him. I thought I finished him off in Iraq."

The rain is coming down pretty hard now. It's actually doing a pretty good job at getting some of the s*** that's trapped in Dennard's beard as it percolates through.

There is a roar. An engine revolution that I associate now with a particular motorcycle. I look over Dennard's shoulder and see the cycle from before just cruising by slowly on the road. Its thick tires splashing water in its wake. The skinny rider turns his helmet in my direction and raises his index and middle fingers entwined around each other and rides off.

I have difficulty processing what I've just seen. Who knows that sign apart from... It's just hard to think things through with Dennard trying to knee me in the crotch and choke me with the thin end of his baseball bat. The rain is slashing at my delicate skin like razor shards and I feel like I can't comprehend another byte of real life when Dennard eases up the pressure on my neck.

A silver panel van creeps into the forecourt and stops. The wipers pendulum across the windscreen with vigor, flailing the rainwater away. It's the delivery vehicle that brought my fan belt but I'm not sure why it's back and neither does Dennard. The front door opens but no one gets out and no one is sitting in the driver's seat.

I hear Dennard's breathing pattern change to short choppy chuffs of air and his eyes widen to a point where I fear they may leave their sockets. He's looking over his shoulder and he whines a question.

"Captain?... Captain?"

I don't know what he sees or what he's looking at apart from the van but he is afraid so therefore I'm afraid. Things are happening that I have no explanation for and I feel like I want to cower in the back seat of my Jaguar.

"Captain?" he mewls again, drops the bat and backs away from the raised sidewalk outside the bathroom. He falls to his knees with his palms out and I scan the forecourt to see what is scaring this burly army veteran, and all there is-- is the blinding rain and the van with the engine running.

"Please no, Captain. I'm Sorry!"

Dennard is talking to someone and it's freaking me out. There is no one in front of him but his eyes are focused to a point just above him. There is terror in his voice, there is terror in his eyes and I can't see what's terrifying him. He topples backward with force like he's shoved or kicked in the chest and he is laying face up on the tarmac. Then as plain as is possible in a driving rainstorm, two chunks of his full beard rip away from his chin at the roots. He shrieks and the tufts drop to the ground and float away on a rivulet of water towards the gutter.

"I'm a coward I know! I've always been a coward. Forgive me I'm sorry...I'm sorry Captain Claibourne!" he sobs.

The scene is too much for me. I have to leave. I am devoid of enough courage to help this man and whatever demon is persecuting him. That name has come up twice in the last ten minutes and I'm not equipped with enough brain power to figure this crap out.

The keys to the jag are still in the ignition and I start her up not caring that the fan belt is broken still. The rain has started to decline but it's still very dark for two-thirty in the afternoon. I peel out of the station and head towards Homer where I can get back on the highway to New Orleans.

A solitary female figure hobbles at the side of the road ahead of me. There's only one person that can be and I pass her with enough velocity to splash a flood of water over her. Good riddance.

I crack my neck bones and try to relax enough to think logically about what I'm going through.

It's working, but then my gut cavorts and I need to use the bathroom again.

I take a deep breath into my lungs to calm my bowels but lose the battle right at the same time the crow in the back seat spreads her wings and squawks.

Final Thoughts
It is an excellent ghost story. I'll leave my on the fly reader comments as many will think the same thing. The story is wordy and contains redundancy. A more concise narration will strengthen the impact of your prose. You'll notice that I maked up examples through a portion of the work, but not all the way through.
Too bad justice comes much later in reality than your story. Good job, keep it up.

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8
8
Review of SANGREVILLE  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This is a review of "SANGREVILLE written by: Yesmrbill

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
This is the chapter you asked me to look at. These comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories (which this one is) I will point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
This chapter, and probably the novella, is YA written in first person. The prose is not raw first drave, but appears to have been cleaned up somewhat.

Line by Line
Chapter 1

I was in Greenfields, Long Island, New York, during the first week in January, when my entire life began to change. A few hours after classes were dismissed, I, 16 year old Elaine Harris had been at home, seated at the desk in my room, using my lap top computer.

Use active verbs instead of linking or passive (verb forms of, "to be") as publishers do not like them. Avoid beginning sentences with the pronoun, I. That will take work and thought when writing in first person, which is the popular voice for YA.

Consider:
The first week of January, in Greenfield, Long Island, my life began to change. Class ended, and a few hours later, I, sixteen year old Elaine Harris, rested at home. In my room, at my desk, I tapped away on my laptop.

Notice how the active voice is used? Also, wordiness is reduced. Publishers, and readers, prefers concise writing which is usually stronger, and does not bury your reader in word count or redundancy.

I'd decided to check out what was on the local High School’s school's students’ website. I logged on to a page titled "No Longer a Virgin." I scanned down the page, seeing the names and photos of a very large majority of my classmates.

This paragraph is wordy and contains redundant words. Omit words that do not add to the meaning of the sentence. Your character is not going to think of the website as, "the local High School's students" website. She will think of it as the school website. Put yourself in the place of your character. How would she think and act? The two adjectives very, and large add nothing to, the majority therefore should be omitted as redundant.

When you place you precious manuscript in the hands of a publishers, they will tell you to reduce word count by some figure, often fifteen to twenty percent. They are not asking you to cut the story, just unnecessary words.

3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition


Virgins, I thought, are becoming a quickly diminishing minority in the Junior Class of Greenfields High. Should I add my name to this list? I am finally qualified. Larry and I have done it, and we've both enjoyed it.

Internal thoughts should be in italics or between quotation marks. Avoid using LY adverbs. They can usually be removed without loss of meaning. You may need to select a stronger word that the LY adverb is modifying. This paragraph also contains many redundant modifiers. Write concise, publishers prefer it. Also, Elaine is unlikely to think of her class as, the junior class of Greenfields High. Consider the following rewrite: Virgins, I thought, are a diminishing minority at school. After the blast Larry and I had, should we place our names on the list?

"Well it's about time Harris." My friend Grace had told me earlier that day. "Why not add your name to the list, and make it official?"

"I don't know." I spoke with uneasiness. "Some of the kids on that web page are describing all the dirty details. I'd feel very uncomfortable if I did that, and so would Larry."
"I spoke with uneasiness," is clunky. Also, show don't tell, is the writers mantra. Show us how Elaine feels instead of telling us. Consider the following rewrite: "My stomach sickened and I looked away. "I don't know. Have you seen the dirty details on there? I could never do that, and neither could Larry."

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to see for the remainder of this narrative. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of your work. Complete editing of these concerns I leave to you.

"I don't know about that." Grace told me, "He's already added his name. He wrote, 'Elaine Harris gives great you-know-what and it’s all mine'."

"Oh?" I forced a smile, "I suppose that is a compliment, even if it's the dirty kind, and I'm glad to know he feels that way; but I'd still feel uncomfortable if I wrote anything like that about his you-know-what."

"No descriptions are necessary. All you've got to write is 'I’ve done it'. That's what I did."

Okay. I thought, as I sat by my home computer. I'll identify myself as another one, among the rapidly increasing number of Greenfields High's Junior Class girls who’ve you-know-whated, but without any dirty details. I'll keep Larry's private parts all to myself. Reader thought: She's going to stay with Larry after he outed her without asking?

"Elaine!" My mother's voice came through the door. Mom yelled. "It's time to eat!"

"Be right there Mom!"

Unless this is Elaine looking back as an adult, speak and think like a high school girl. Maybe use Stream of Consciousness, voice.

I returned my attention to the web page, and added "Elaine Harris" to the list.

Then I wrote the words, "Responsibly practicing safe sex”. I did not include any descriptions; but I did add a photo of my fully clothed self with a satisfied smile on my lips.

I'm finding it difficult to leave the edits to you.

That's all that's necessary. I thought, and uploaded my entry onto the students' web page.

At the dining room table, my mother and I sat down to a dinner of macaroni with meatballs, sausages and tomato sauce, along with onions and garlic.

Two weeks earlier, my father[,] David Harris[,] had been killed died in a traffic accident. I don't want to say any more about that. Repeating any of the details is just too difficult for me.
Had been, is a weak passive verb. So far, you chapter has been simple first person. Now you are addressing the reader directly. Is your book epistolary? Pick one voice and stay with it.

My mother[,] Beth Harris[,] worked as an office secretary at Greenfields High School my school, but without my father's income, things were going to be very difficult for the two of us alone. My mother was looking around for a better paying job. I thought I should be getting one myself for after school, but she didn't want me doing anything that might interfere with my studies.

This evening, when the meal was finished, she made an announcement.

"Elaine. Today I received a phone call from your Aunt Josephine. She's a member of the Sangreville California School Board. She told me that in about a month, there will be a job opening at the local High School. She says it comes with a much better salary. She's arranged to have the position kept open for me, if I want it."

I asked, "There's a job for you in Sangreville, California? ‘Vampire Town’?"
Vampire Town is a fragment. Also, Elaine wouldn't mention, California. Consider using the EM Dash. Also, capitalize proper nouns only."There's a job for you in Sangreville—vampire town?" I squeaked.

"I asked your Aunt Josephine about all those stories you hear. She says they are greatly exaggerated. I told her that I'll accept the position."

"You'll accept the position?" I thought of Larry. "We're gonna be moving? To Vampire Town?"

"That's right." She told me, "People in the Town Government are trying to work out an agreement, between the live people and the vampires, which they hope will assure that everyone there, both the living and undead, will be reasonably safe. That will include you and I."
Reader thought: If it were me, I'd want the agreement solidified before I moved there.

That night I prayed to the Lord.

"What's going on?" I asked, "You've got my Mom and me going to Sangreville, California of all places? 'Vampire Town'? It's supposed to be another Sodom and Gomorrah. Are you punishing me for doing it with Larry? But we’re being responsible, and practicing safe sex. Every other girl in my school does it with her boyfriend, but you're not sending any of them off to Hell Town!"

While we remained in Greenfields, I didn't pray to Him again.

About a month later, the time was about 2:30 PM on a Saturday afternoon. The cross-country bus from Los Angeles had been on the road for two and a half hours. We passengers had spent the last 30 minutes riding past patches of wild cactus, along a two-lane asphalt road, through the arid Southern California countryside. Now our trip was almost over. We were approaching Sangreville. It's possible, but unlikely unlikely that Elaine's mother does not have a car. Shipping it would be expensive.

Everything's just too strange, I thought, as I sat beside a window on the right side of the vehicle. My mother Beth was seated beside me.

There were heat-wave mirage puddles on the road ahead. You never see that in early February on the roads back on Long Island. I was wearing shorts and a halter-top. The air-conditioning had broken down, so I was hot and sweating, in early February. I hoped I wasn't stinking.

We continued along the road, which made a long, round, downward right turn, giving us passengers a panoramic view of the valley, with the community to where my mother and I were headed, more than a thousand feet below us to the left.

We drove past a large sign with an arrow, beside a gravel road going upward on our right. The sign stated “Demons’ Demon's Gateway”.

I looked up the gravel road to the side of a cliff, about a hundred feet above us. There I saw a gigantic cave entrance in the side of a white, limestone cliff. The walls of the cave entrance were shaped like an upside down, outward curving triangle, rising from a very narrow base, to a wide, upward curved ceiling.

Back beside the road, next to the first sign, another sign displayed the photo of an idol, in the form of a woman with a pair of outspread bat-like wings, standing with her arms folded in front of her.

Above her were the words, “Vampirania: To be Worshiped with Fear and Trembling”.

I actually felt myself tremble, and my stomach felt queasy for a moment. I quickly looked away from the sign.

My mother said, "Get away from us Satan, and stay away from all of us! The Lord rebuke you! In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

My trembling and queasiness stopped.

The bus continued its descent, and quickly reached the outskirts of the town, driving past a "Welcome to Sangreville" sign. The local Burger King franchise stood on the opposite side of the road.

That sign, I thought, should say "Welcome to Vampire Town". That is this town's claim to fame.

The bus continued on its way, and we were soon moving along Sangreville's Main Street, passing the local Movie Theater, and a nightclub called “The Bouncing Casket”, among many small shops. A short distance further, along the next block, we passed a large shop with a sign above the door identifying the establishment as the “‘Dark Arts R Us” shop.

This town, I thought, looks just the same as the other small Southern southern California towns we'd just driven through. Without the tropical foliage it would look like any small town, anywhere. The people moving along the sidewalks outside the shops look and dress no different than people you'd see in any other town, or city.

I wondered, how do the "Not entirely human" residents I've heard of; the ones who “…go bump in night" look, and if they really are as bad as all the stories you hear? What's even more important is how do we deal with them?
The Chicago Manual of Style, the grammar bible in the US, tell us that quotation marks placed around phrases or words imply the words are not true or less true. Consider: I wonder how the non-human residents—the ones that go bump in the night—look, and are they as bad as the stories?

I don't want to have to deal with them! I raged silently. I don't want to have to deal with any of this! But what I do or don't want doesn't matter. I'd prayed about it. I'd asked God to keep us in Greenfields, so I could stay with my boyfriend Larry, but now we were here and I’ll probably never see him again.

God's ignoring me, I thought. I haven't one good reason to expect Him to do other-wise.

When the bus finally arrived at the Sangreville Bus Station that Saturday afternoon, both my Aunt Josephine and my Cousin Diana Sheridan were waiting to greet us. As we loaded our bags into their car's trunk, I noticed that my Cousin Diana, who was my age, had a pair of anti-biotic bandages on her neck.

They drove us away from the Bus Station, going through downtown Sangreville, to their home in a residential neighborhood, on a street named Kennedy Drive. It was a two-story house with a neatly trimmed lawn and front porch.

As soon as we arrived, we took our bags up to the rooms where we'd be staying as guests, until we found a place of our own to live.

After my mother and I unpacked, we went back downstairs and sat outside on the porch swing with my Cousin Diana and Aunt Josephine. As we were talking and pleasantly reminiscing, my mother spoke to my cousin.

"Tell me Diana. What happened to your neck?"

She shrugged. “It’s just a hickey. I got it from a boy I was making out with last night.”

Aunt Josephine spoke with a smirking tone. "My daughter Diana here’s been making out and getting hickeys regularly for the past few months." She chuckled, "And she actually expects people to believe that she's still a virgin."

Diana scowled with annoyance. "No I don't Mom! I am a normal, healthy 16-year-old girl who fks screws; like most 16 year old girls who aren’t losers! And I’d rather be known as a skanky slut, than as a loser. I’m sure Cousin Elaine here was fking with boys regularly back on Long Island. You were, weren’t you Elaine?"

I nodded and said, “I wasn’t a loser or a skanky slut. I only did it with my boyfriend, and we always practiced safe sex. What every girl should be doing, while engaging in...”

Diana went on, "That’s what I do. That’s what every girl at school does; and that’s something that the School Board and the parents of all us skanky sluts approve."

My Aunt Josephine then told me, "Be careful with the boys you'll be doing it with here Elaine. It's obvious that they can be kind of rough."
Wow, neither my parents, myself, or parents I new were this casual about this. The school board approves? They couldn't officially.

Now my mother said, with an equally smirking tone, "Well, like my daughter Elaine just admitted, she was doing it with her boyfriend, regularly and safely for the past two months, right up until the night before we left; but he was always considerate enough to never give her a hickey."
Run-on sentence and smirking tone is clunky.

I said, "Considerate?"

"Well I liked knowing that my daughter was doing it with a gentleman. I hope the boys who you'll be doing it with here, will be just as considerate."
This casual attitude about sex by the adults is a little unbelievable, but it's your story.

"Mom." I told her, "He wrote on a student's website 'Elaine Harris has a great you-know-what, and it's all mine'. Just how considerate is that?"

Aunt Josephine said, "I’ve read similar comments about both my daughters, on more than one local students’ student's website. In this town, those kind of comments are regarded as compliments."

Diana shrugged, "The boys you'll be dating here are no different than they were back where you were living Elaine, whether your dates are alive or undead."

"Undead?" I asked, "You date vampires?"

She nodded, "That's how I got this hicky. Me and Paula'll talk to you about it later Elaine."
Reader thought: Hickeys are NOT puncture wounds: only a little blood under the skin.

Final Thoughts
The story in interesting and the hook is set to read more chapters.
Only the first portion was significantly edited. To edit the entire chapter to that level would take many hours. Even this review took four hours.
I've given examples of what a novel editor would say about your writing. Now you can see that significant work is required to prepare your novella for publication. The reason publishers feel this way is these style weaknesses cause readers to not buy or put down the book.
All of your chapter after my deep edit requires the same amount of work. I only made a comment here and there. Even in the edited portion I let some stuff go that was similar to other points. For example: I only mention internal thought once when it occurs all through the chapter.
Your story is good. It is said among authors that it takes a million words before a writer can approach publishing quality. How close are you? The great online free classes available can reduce that number, somewhat. When you have revised this chapter, I'd be glad to look at it again.
Read a lot, write a lot, and keep learning is the secret of good writing.

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a review of "Thanksgivings Past and Present written by: Yesmrbill

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
Thank you for your review request. This is definitely different than the speculative fiction I normally examine. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
There are two versions of Thanksgiving celebration expressed in first person voice. The number of typos and spelling errors indicates a first draft.

Line By Line
1


When I was a child in the 1950's, my most favorite thing was Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. At that time we lived in the New York City Borough of Queens, in the Sunnyside area. On Thanksgiving morning, we'd take the IRT # 7 Train train into Manhattan, to the Times Square Station. Then we'd take another train uptown, and watch the Parade parade from the Central Park side of Central Park West and 72nd Street, directly across the street from the Dakota Apartment Building.

At that time, the Parade parade was not the extremely overproduced TV extravaganza that it has become. The original movie "Miracle on 34th Street" begins with views of the Parade as it was then; a comparatively modest celebration, with a few balloons, floats and bands. Capitalize ONLY proper nouns.

There were celebrities on the floats at that time. I remember one Thanksgiving, when the comedian Jackie Gleason was Grand Marshal. As the float carried him along Central Park West, he looked up at the people watching from their windows, many still wearing their bathrobes.

He called up to them, "Hey you people up there! Put some clothes on!"

Another thingAt that time, except for the celebrities and technicians, everyone who participates participated in the Parade is parade was a Macy's Employee employee. I remember a few years ago, there as wasa report about people being outraged that Macy's was not going to be opened, right after the Parade. Select a voice and tense and stay consistent. Some of my corrections above are to standardize the tense.

Come on now! Their employees had all been up since before midnight!

What do people expect Macy's Management to tell their employees?

"Okay! You've got 15 minutes to hand in those baloons balloons, get out of those costumes, and get the Store open! Okay! Make that 20 minutes!"
Some people are selfish jerks, but I didn't know the participants were all Macy's employees.

As I said, we watched the Parade parade at the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. A few years ago, as they went past that spot, the handlers lost control of the Cat in the Hat Baloon balloon, in a heavy wind[;] it struck a lamppost, knocking it down and injuring someone.

After that happened, there was a cartoon showing the Cat in the Hat being taken away by police in handcuffs, and put in a paddy wagon.

The caption read: "Another one of thoae those arrogant celebrities who think they can get away with anything!"
I don't understand the relevance of this statement. If this is the caption of the cartoon, let the reader know.

The Grinch was shown standing to the side, thinking[:] "And people think I'm bad! Hah!"

When I was 13[,] we moved out of the City, to the Township of Huntington, Long Island, New York; and started watching the Parade parade on television.

Now, the most favorite thing for me my favorite thing is Thanksgiving Dinner. I'll be spending the Holiday with my sister, who lives in the Village of Orient, just west of Orient Point, at the end of Long Island's North Fork. If anyone's familiar with the area, her house is within walking distance of Latham's Farmstand Farmstead.

This year, my sister said that there might not be enough room for me to stay with them. My sister and brother-in-law's guests will include my niece, her husband and their two daughters; my nephew and his daughter from his first marriage. He has married again, so his second wife will also be there, along with her two teenage daughters. Obviously there is just not enough room for Uncle Bill.

However, my sister and brother-in-law have reserved a room for me in a local motel called the Blue Dolphin. It stands in the community of East Marion, just west of Orient, beside the main road, route 25 Route twenty-five.
Route is a proper name. Except for time representations, always spell out numbers up to, and including one thousand.

Until now[,] I've only glanced at the place as we've driven past, but I've never given it any thought. It looks like a good, modest place to sleep ahd and hang my clothes, while I spend most of the Holiday at my sister's home.

There's one other benefit to staying at the Blue Dolphin, that I wouldn't have if I stayed with my sister. I will have the bathroom all to myself!

That is a very fine reason to give thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

2


Holiday Accommodations

This past week I celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister's home. She lives in the village of Orient, New York, just west of Orient Point, which is the eastern tip of Long Island's North Fork. I live in Huntington Station, Long Island, New York, which is 70 seventy miles west of Orient.

I do not drive, so for me to get to Orient, I have to take the Long Island Rail Road Railroad. Anyone who's familiar with Long Island knows that if you want to go east to Orient by railroad, you can't get there from here. You first have to go west, before you can go east.

My trip began very early last Wednesday morning. I left my house at 6:20 AM, carrying my suitcase for a 15 minute walk to the front of the nearby Walt Whitman Shopping Center, where I got on the bus that left at 6:45 and took me north for a five minute ride to the Huntington Railroad Station.
The sentence above is a comma splice (run-on).

I then took the 7:19 train west to Hicksville, where I had a 50 minute wait, during which I was able to get myself coffee at a local Duncan Donuts. I then took the 8:26 going east to Ronkonkoma, where I transferred to the 9:02 which I rode to the end of the line, arriving at 10:27 in Greenport, where my brother-in-law picked me up, and took me to his and my sister's home, which is about a 10 minute ride. This is another run-on sentence.

The problem was, as I said in my earlier entry, that there were just too many people staying with them. Along with my sister and brother-in-law, my niece came with her husband and their daughters, who are 7 and 4 years old. My nephew arrived with his 9 year old daughter from his first marriage; along with his second wife and her teenage daughter.

My nephew also brought his psychopathically psychopathic, bloodthirsty dog, who has to wear a muzzle and be kept locked up in the basement. The dog's breed is a retriever. My nephew brought him, so they could take part in the annual pheasant hunt that takes place in the rural community of Orient, every Thanksgiving morning. The problem is that my nephew’s dog not only goes after the birds; he also goes after the other hunters, and the birds they’ve bagged.

When my nephew and niece we were growing up, they had a little white doggie; very much like Snoopy. He even had the same attitude as Snoopy. He’d walk into the living room full of people; lie down on the rug and go to sleep.

That’s the way doggies should be. That’s the way that people should be. There’s no reason for all any of us to be intimidated by any "Dogosaurus Wrecks".

To get back to all those people staying at my sister's house. There house, there was just not enough room for Uncle Bill. However, my sister and my brother-in-law were able to reserve a room for me at the Blue Dolphin Resort in East Marion, just east of Greenport and a short distance from the causeway that leads to Orient.

I spent two nights at the Blue Dolphin. Until then, it was a place that I'd only glanced at as we'd driven past, but I'd never given it any thought. From the road, it looked just like another motel, but there's a lot more to it than two floors of identical rooms. The place actually is a small resort, having a restaurant/bar, with a patio and tables. It has a swimming pool and a volleyball court, along with picnic grounds with picnic tables and barbecue grills.

While that sounds like a great place to stay, the problem was that the Blue Dolphin was about to shut down for the winter, and I was the only guest staying there. All those facilities were shut down, and the entire staff was gone, except for the desk clerk. Since the place was shutting down, the local Cable Company had switched off the signal, so there was no TV in the room.

In spite of all that, there were some definite advantages. I got a very good room, just behind the office; and my sister and brother-in-law got a terrific deal on the price. Then when I got up in the morning, while my sister's house was full of people, I had the bathroom entirely to myself. That was truly a blessing for which I was able to be most thankful.

On the other hand, I was in a similar situation, to the one in the movie "Psycho". However, I didn't hear the desk clerk's mother yelling at him, so I figured I'd be okay. If I had heard her yelling, believe me, the door would have remained locked and bolted.Norman Bates had a way to enter the rooms through the walls. The locked door would not have saved you. *Bigsmile*

Anyway, the The room was just a place for me to sleep. I spent most of my time in Orient, at my sister's home. They had 16 people for dinner; and all of us helped prepare the meal, set up the tables and chairs, put out all the plates, glasses and utensils, and clean up afterwards. Avoid beginning sentences with, anyway.
Find a way to write you sentences to avoid starting with, I.

I also found out something about my nephew’s second wife. She actually teaches a college writing course. She said that she'd look over my stories and let me know what she thinks. Imagine that. Someone who actually knows how to do so properly is going to be giving feedback to about my stories. That is something that neither I, nor most contributors to writers' websites, are really sure how to do.
Avoid LY adverbs. Often, they can be omitted without affecting the prose.You will noticed I marked out all of your, actually adverbs.

This is another blessing, for which I am truly thankful.

After Thanksgiving dinner, I stayed at my sister's place, until I was ready to go to sleep. My nephew's wife drove me back to the Blue Dolphin. While we were on the way, I told her more about my stories. She is not only going to be looking at my about to be published original novel, she'll also be reading some of my stories on fanfiction.net. Most of them are based on the TV Series "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer." She said it was one of her favorite shows.

I told her, "Keep this in mind. Anyone who wants to spend time with fun loving vampire gals, remember, you've been warned."

When I got up in the morning[,] I wanted some coffee. There's a General Store, just a two minute walk down the road from the Blue Dolphin. It normally opens at 6 AM. On Thanksgiving morning I walked over, but the place was closed for the day. However, the next morning they were open for business as usual. I was able to get myself a cup of strongly flavored coffee that wasn't too hot, and a blueberry muffin.

What more of a blessing does a man need to be truly thankful?

Final Thoughts
I'm not sure if you are asking which version is better. The modern day versions are about equal. I did like the parade story at the beginning of the first. I suggest you place some detail about what was on the Thanksgiving table. You did say that was your favorite part.
You are fortunate to have a professional review your story. Perhaps she'll edit your upcoming novel. You tell a good story, but it needs detail to make us feel we are there and not just an account of events.

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10
10
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is a review of "The destruction of the kingdom written by: Naru

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the review request section on the home page. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
This appear to be a YA story about a hostile takeover of an adjacent kingdom. The mention of modern technology places the story in modern times.

Suggestions
The betrayal
In a secret room in the castle, there was a guard, a loyal high ranking guard, to be exact Avoid cliche phrases. on the phone with someone. He was tall and had shaggy brown hair and orange eyes. He proved himself pretended to be trustworthy but it was all a sham as he sat spoke on the phone with the king of another castle.
Kings rule over countries or lands, not castles. Perhaps you could say, ...on the phone with the king of a nearby country.

"Yes, they are currently unaware of our plan your majesty. Soon I will start the plan. Avoid using words (plan) too often or in subsequent sentences. Consider: I'm about to give the signal for the insurrection to begin. We must first get the queen out of the way as soon as possible." These last words should be omitted as wordy and redundant as your reader know this.

The guard then hung up once they said their goodbyes. Soon, it would be time to begin and Adrisal will fall. He hurried to the kitchen where there he spoke to a maid who was working with him on this secret plan Redundant.. He instructed her to put the drug into her majesty's water and then deliver it to her in the guise of obeying her orders for a drink. Their plan worked. Mina took two sips from the water and promptly passed out before being taken to the dungeon. There she was stripped of her crown and quality clothing. Being forced to wear tattered rags as her hands were chained to the brick wall with metal steel.

"What's the meaning of this!? Let me go this instead instant!" the dethroned queen cried out. Only to be ignored as her cell door was slammed shut. The guard was pleased, step one was complete. He immediately called the king and told him the joyful news. Meanwhile, the loyal guards and maids of the queen were murdered in cold blood and the kids were taken. They screamed, kicked and cried but sadly were no match against the big, tougher knights. Their youngest sister though, Sophia, was left behind and locked in the towers. There she was to be educated on her new role as the king's bride.

The king had finally arrived to Adrisal and watched gleefully as they dragged the queen out. Her body was covered in cuts and bruises, her hair was a mess and her eyes were red. He sneered at her before turning to address the crowd. He jeered as he spoke about the heinous crimes she committed and how she was going to be punished.

The traitorous guard smirked, keeping his grip on the former queen tight as she was forced to kneel down in front of the king who grabbed her tightly by her hair and repeatedly slapped her. She didn't say a word as she glared up at him before they brought in a strange, small object. It was inserted into her chest causing her to scream as it shone brightly almost blinding everyone before it finally stopped. There on the ground lay her former majesty the former queen. Hair dull, messy and unkempt thanks to her imprisonment and body weak from her element extraction. She stayed silent as the crowd taunted her, as the guard hit her repeatedly and as the king inserted her element into himself.

He pulled her up and told her she had two options. Accept her defeat and humiliation and pledge to be his royal servant or be sent to the dungeons and repeatedly punished for refusing. The former queen now just a normal girl bowed her head before going down onto her knees and pledging to be his servant. He smirked and made her kiss his shoes before sending her away. Then, the guard dragged Sophia over who shuddered at his presence. He spoke of their engagement and how she was now his before grabbing her tightly. She didn't say anything and just looked down in horror as she heard her castle being bombed. The citizens that wanted to go with this king had already left while the rest were captured or killed in the bombing. Sophia took one last glance at her ruined kingdom and cried as she was led off to the king's kingdom dragged off to her enemy's kingdom.

Final Thoughts
This short piece sounds like the summary of a short story with the full version yet to come. The ideas are good, though I wonder why the story setting is modern instead of medieval. Reading a lot along with writing a lot helps a writer to learn what works and gain experience. Read books in a similar genre to see how things work. Keep writing often, I see good stories in your future.

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11
11
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
This is a review of "Blood good, magic bad written by: Eogin

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the review request section on the home page. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
The story is YA with a first person voice. The genre is supernatural urban fantasy (vampires). The story appears to be a first draft. The first line sets the hook. I want to know how is a dead guy telling us this?
What is the protagonist's name? It did not appear in the paragraphs I read for first impressions.

Suggestions
I had this sweet easy-going life, until Saul, my by-then a year-long flatmate, returned from his weekly Friday night's celebration of bars and clubs, and found me on the floor, a bullet sized hole in my forehead and a whole bunch of blood all around me. I was on a carpet, and the amount of blood was large enough that we had to later throw the old thing away. Of course, I wasn't in at that moment, so I can only describe what Saul described to me, with a grin, mind you, about the situation I was in. Dead, oh so dead.
Avoid wordiness by selecting fewer, more powerful words. Your reader can become bogged down getting through all the words and lose their direction in the story. Avoid starting sentences with, I. This will be a challenge when writing in first person. Your first sentence is long and choppy and includes a comma splice (run-on). Also, avoid using the same words (described) too often and close together. Following is a sample of how the first paragraph can be written. I am NOT telling you this is the right way. This is my paragraph, not yours. You will need to rewrite it and make it your own.
My life was sweet and easy going until my flatmate found me dead on the floor in a pool of blood, that had leaked out of the bullet hole in my forehead. The old carpet was ruined and had to be thrown away. Since I was dead, oh so dead, these details came to my later from Saul, my flatmate, who grinned as he told me.
Notice how the sentences were constructed to not start with, I. The same information was given with one half the words, about fifty instead of one hundred. This is an example of concise writing, which is expected by publishers.

But as it was, that didn't sit well with Saul, so he fed me his blood, and what do you know, I popped right back to living, and I only had this feeling that something went off, and a pain at the spot of the bullet hole. Having completed the rebirth, but guessing I had had too much of the old drink, I pushed myself up on my hands, which felt wet from the blood.
Same problem as the paragraph above, there is wordiness and redundancy. More words is not better.
My death did not sit well with Saul. He fed me his blood and I popped back to living. Something felt off and there was a pain in my forehead. I had completed the rebirth but thought I'd just had too much of the old drink. I got up discovering my hands wet.
Fifty instead of seventy-five words, this is a 30% reduction in word count without losing the meaning.

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to see for the remainder of this narrative. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of your work. Complete editing of these concerns I leave to you.

First I thought I might have thrown up, or, god forbid, sprayed some other liquids ( which I promise has never happened to me, no matter how overloaded the night ), but you know, it's that smell we've all whiffed at one point, and being a new vampire it was even more present, the smell of blood, and the stickiness as well, let's say I didn't need to lift my hands to my eyes to know what it was I was in.

I could have gone the way of a into shock, for it, but how could I when Saul was sitting on the sofa just three feet from me, having that smile of his that said he knew something I did not[?] And, as was not usual for to our tomfoolery, he didn't keep me waiting in suspense, but launched right into it, starting with him finding me on the floor and then rushing into you're a vampire now thingy. Of course, I didn't buy it at first, no one would, but he was all adamant and it makes made perfect sense about it, so all I needed to give more weight to his words was him handing me a mirror, on which I could see the bullet wound that was just in the middle of healing in a supernatural speed, and those fangs, I had those too. And again, I could have freaked out about it, but Saul just laughed it off, telling me that it's not that big of a deal. He had me wash my face, and as the wound was almost healed, we headed back out, now being very early on Saturday, and we ended at our favorite watering hole, which was usually packed with all sorts of fun and beauty, but was then just us, the vampires, and the few men and woman yet to get lucky. He ordered us both a whiskey, joking it to be the drink for vampires, and sat us down away from the speakers that did somewhat hurt my sore ears. We put the drink into us without a clink, and then let the waterfall of questions begin. I started with the vanilla nondescript "So, I'm a vampire?"
I replace makes, with made to not mix verb tenses. Select you voice and stay with it.

"Yes, obviously," Saul responded, rolling his eyes at me, and then moving them to wink at a dead drunk girl sitting at the bar. That's Saul for you.

"And what does that mean?"

I got his attention back, but he looked like he was already tired of the questions as if I should have already gotten it all together. Rather annoying it was, but he was like that before I knew us to be vampires.

"What does anything mean? It's just stuff that happens, were a human, now a vamp. That's life."

"Okay. I think I need a bit more."
He then got a bit closer, forgetting about the drunk lady and giving me his attention.
"Well, most of the stuff you already know from movies and books and thing. You died, were reborn, and need blood to sustain you. Pretty much immortal."

"But not all the way?"
Saul shrugged his shoulder uncomfortably like he wasn't sure or didn't want to say.
"Not really yes..."
"You mean like a stake to the heart and I'm out?"
Now he shook his head firmly.
"No, none of that crap... Well, I mean, a stake could kill you, or a sword or a bullet, but only when you haven't fed for a while. And I guess, some vamps could probably rip your head off or something... But that hardly ever happens." He smiled, maybe joking.

"How many are there then?"
"Not sure, not too many, the numbers are kept under control."
"By who?"
"The government, or whatever, not human. Vampire."
"Vampire government?"
"Yeah, not a fun bunch mind you. That reminds me, you're gonna have to come with me tomorrow, I have to register that I turned you."
"What?"
"Yeah, those are the rules, and it's probably good if you get your documents, so to speak, in order, I mean you don't have to, but otherwise the law won't affect you."
"What law?"
"That other vamps can't kill you. Like the human law for humans, this one's only for vamps."
"Okay." I was feeling rather overwhelmed at that moment. The idea of vampire life is very similar to human one was perhaps the biggest shock of the day.
"So, you can't kill me then?"
"Hey!" usual parted his hands, pretending to be offended. "I just brought you back and start throwing claims like that. How about thankyou?"
"Thank you. Why did you, by the way, bring me back?"
"Well, you're my bud, I needed someone to drink with."
"What about your vampire friends?"

He turned more uncomfortable again.

The following thoughts are, reader thoughts, not reviewer thoughts. Your readers will probably ask this same question.
I thought from the way the first few paragraphs were written that our hero was well aware of vampires and probably knew his roommate (American for flatmate) was one. What is happening in the bar is confusing. He recognized that the drunk girl is dead.

"They can be pretty hard to get along with... This you should know, vampires aren't like people, I mean, I could get along with you, but most aren't really interested in that, they think of themselves more like predators, which we are, should not sugar code coat that. You will sense it soon, that humans are kind of okay, but vamps are better, you're going to feel a much stronger connection to your kind."

"Okay... But the feeding thing?"

"Yeah, yea... It is true that you will need blood, and, though I can imagine you wouldn't want to do that at the moment, you are going to start killing humans, but it gets easier with time, every day you're a bit more vamp and a bit further away from humans. It'll happen naturally. Though, a fair warning, best to stay away from those who enjoy killing a bit too much, that is always trouble."

"Okay, if you say so."

"Other things. Mind control, it's real, I can teach you. They are going to go over it at the embassy, but you might as well know that you can't go overboard with him, government has it all set up, so you can't go screwing around, like, I don't know, make a president start a nuclear war, or stuff like that, that will end very badly for you. And, as I said, vamps won't be allowed to kill you, so you can't kill them either." Saul sighed, looking both ways. "And currently, we have a no aggression pact with the witched, so they are off limits too."

"Witches?"

"Yes." He got closer, his nose just two inches from mine." You do not want to mess with the witches," He shook his head dramatically. "Never mess with the witches." He let his body fall back. "Vamp life is great, way more positive than how they show it in the movies, but witches, they are the other way, very dark, very dangerous."

I think I got a stream of cold running through my spine at that point, and my voice got shakier.

"But how do I know, who's a witch, who's a vampire.."

"Well, vamps you'll sense, the closer the stronger. As I brought you back, you'll be soon able to sense if I'm in the city or not, as well you can sense the vamp who turned me better. But let's just say, if you're close enough to fight, you're close enough to sense any vamp. Witches, can't sense them, but they sense you, and, and the alliance calls for, it's up to them to make sure you won't eat them. If they want to, they will get away."

I sighed again.

"Okay. Vampires, witches, how about werewolves, they real too?"

"Kind of, they used to be around, like a century ago, back when we were in at war with the witches. I wasn't around myself of course, but I've heard about it. Basically, at one point, witches didn't want to go fight their battles themselves, you know, risk their lives, so they started to poison humans, make it so that when vamp fed he died. But as that wasn't enough, at one point the went all out and turned those humans into animals who would hunt us. But they aren't around anymore. Per the treaty, all were destroyed. Just vamps and witches now. With any luck, you won't see any witches."

We then finished our whiskeys, and some more, and made our way back to our apartment. Only when seeing that blood red carpet did it dawn on Saul to ask the question stupidly forgotten.

“Who killed you by the way?”

I could only shrug my shoulders.

“Don 't know, the last thing I remember is opening the door, all blank after that. Is that a vamp thing?”

Saul chuckled.

“No, that's a booze thing, it'll come to you. Either way, I'm going to bed, you should sleep too, much bureaucracy waiting for us tomorrow.”

I just smiled, drank a cup of water and went to bed as well. In there, I couldn't help but wonder who would have wanted me dead. The answer did not come but mind you, my death would turn out to be far more important than either of us could have imagined in our wildest hypothesis. Word choice, pick a better word.

I woke feeling well, it must have been around noon, for I could see the light press through my bedrooms blinds. I could hear Saul messing around in the kitchen, making a racket with the pots and pans, all the while blasting the midday news on the telly in the living room. I groaned and stretched myself to break the mummy-like structure stiffness in my bones, then got dressed to new clothes I got out of my closet, and marched to Saul, somewhat uncertain if all that had happened last night was just a dream.
Avoid using, then, in a narration describing a series of events. The paragraph has run-on sentences.

“Morning sleepy head.” Saul joked, moving his breakfast eggs from the pan to a plate. “I know you have more time now, but still best not to waste it all on sleeping.”
Reader thought: Why does he have more time now? Will he mind control money from people?

So, it was true, that's what he was saying.

“So, I'm a vampire?”

“Yeah. I thought we went over this already.”

He put some spices of on his eggs and walked himself to the sofa, which was next to the rug that still had blood on it, mine, to be more precise.The reader knows this,
redundant.


3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition


There was no denying that things had changed, and you know what, for some reason, I didn't want to. The thing is, though you don't know what I was like before, I could at that moment sense how different I was. I was not worried, I was excited. The problems didn't seem nearly as great as to opportunity.

“So, what now?”

“Now we eat, or at least I eat, and then we'll go to the embassy, best to get that out of the way, and then you can dive into the vamp life.”

He had a hint of a joke in his voice, as he always did. There wasn't much serious in his life, and for the first time, I started to relate to that.

“Anything I should know about that embassy?”

“Bureaucracy, it's the same everywhere. Just say yes and promise what they want you to, then you might not have to deal with them ever again.”

“Ever is a long time when you're immortal.”

He winked, seeing my point.

“Yes, I take it back, you will see them again. What you gonna do.”

I sat next to Saul, who seemed to really be paying attention to the news. I could not have cared less about them it.

So, I was wondering. If like you said, werewolves were made by witches, what about vampires, are they, we, made by them as well.”

Saul shrugged his shoulders.

“Don't know, no one does. Not that people aren't curious, but vamps have excised for thousands of years, history doesn't really remember.” He put the egg down on the coffee table.

“You remember I told you I have a sister?” Saul asked me.
When confusion on who is speaking occurs, add dialog attribution.

“Yes.”

“Well, she's a vamp too, I turned her, that's a whole story, but like I said, she's in Europe, doing historical stuff. She's actually trying to figure out where the vamps came from. I doubt she will though, but hey, to each their own.”

He returned to eating his eggs, but as the last one got eaten, he turned back to me.

“Still don't remember who killed you?”

I shook my head. I don't know if I couldn't remember or just didn't want to, but I was clueless.

“No, It's troubling.”

“Nah, it's fine, people kill people, usually no greater meaning to it. You will remember at some point, then you can take her number out of your phone.”

I chuckled.

“You're the one who likes the crazies.”
Place the above line with the action tag, I chuckled, since the dialog line was sopen by the same person.

I chuckled. “You're the one who likes the crazies.”

“Soon, you will too.” He looked to the rug. “We need to get rid of this, damn, it was a good rug.”

“How would you know?”

“Well, it was warm, wasn't it?”

He pulled out his phone and lifted it enough to see the clock on it.

“Alright, let's get this done.”

“Should I like, shower before?”

“You'll shower later, I don't have much time, there's someplace I got to be later.”

I didn't drill to find out what he was hiding from me but found my overcoat and we headed to the autumn streets.

Nothing really wakes you up to the boring supernatural life as seeing the vampire embassy to be on the third floor of a commercial building which also housed an electric store and a pet shop. We took the elevator to an almost empty browning waiting room, and Saul ahead, we walked to the receptionist. And that was something new for me. She was this my age looking girl, dark hair in a ponytail, large green eyes and a lot of make-up, but not in a Gothic way as you'd assume. Generally, when seeing a girl like her I would have gone the appropriate amount of caveman, like a pretty girl, me like, but I found myself stunned. I can only assume that it was the sensing the vamps thing Saul had told me about, but I was not prepared. I was pretty smitten right away, and she hadn't even looked at me yet, she was on her phone, doing the human stuff I now know vamps do a lot of.
How does he know vamps do a lot of human stiff? Run-on sentences and avoid starting sentences with, and. Also, the paragraph is wordy also.

“Yes?” She asked like we were bothering him her and then looked up to Saul.

“Saul?” She then smiled. “It's been a while.” She even put the phone way, away which seemed like a big deal, and gave him her attention. I got to say, I felt a bit jealous of Saul at that moment.

“It's not been that long Rebekah.”

She turned her gaze to me as if seeing something unpleasant. I was just doing my best to not drool and act like her coldness didn't affect me at all.

“Yes, I agree.” She said, still looking at me. “This better not be one you turned.”

I was starting to get pretty upset, why did she have to be so hurtful with her words?

Saul grinned ear to ear.

“Hey, what can I do, I'm a caring guy.”

“So, f*** the rules?”

I wasn't really sure what they were talking about, but it didn't feel right to ask either, I was just about ready to just get the whole thing done. Avoid repeating words close together.

“Come on, it's not that bad.”

“One in ten years, that's the deal, they'll punish you for it.”

“Well, you know I like to be punished.”

Rebekah pushed an intercom button, shaking her head.

“Two-fifteen.” She spoke.

“Send them in.” The voice responded, and then a door glided open to our left.

It was a small office with an oldish looking man sitting behind a desk covered with papers. He waited till we were closer before looking.

“Saul Michelson.” He greeted in a way that didn't sound at all like a greeting.
“Yes.”
“Third one in ten years. You forgot about the rules?”
“I'm sorry, sir.” Saul sounded more polite now, the man was definitely more important than the receptionist, no joke came out of him. “I saw no other way, I found long my time friend dead, I had to act.”

“Rules are rules...” He started picking through the papers, finding one that seemed blank.
“Name?”
“Thomas, Stoighfield.”

The man froze, pen in the air and eyes locked on the blank piece of paper. Without looking up to me, he turned in his chair and pulled open a metal drawer which had many files in it. He riffed through them, and then pulled out one of them. He opened it and read for a half minute.

“Salvatore Stroighfield?” he asked firmly. “Do you know of him?”
I felt very confused, why was that name in their files?
“Yes, I mean, he's my uncle...”
The man jumped up, and with the file in his fingers rushed out of the room. “Stay here.” Was what he said.
Was what he said, is wordy. Try, he ordered, which is stronger and concise.

I looked to Saul, but he seemed even more surprised by the happenings.
“Who's he?” He asked me, he was a bit paler, perhaps even scared.
“Just my uncle, a bit crazy, lives by himself, I hardly ever see him.”
Saul was breathing faster, starching scratching his chin.

Then the door opened again, and multiple men entered.
“If you'd come with us, Thomas?” One of the old men said, he seemed friendly but I wasn't about to go with anyone. I looked to Saul, but he was frozen.
“Saul can wait here.” The same man said with a small smile. But he was far from trustworthy.
“Go,” Saul whispered, and I did not know what else to do, but let them lead me past the receptionist, who now seemed much more interested in me, and into a long hallway that turned dark as soon as the door shut behind us.

I was put into a more vampire-ish room, cold stone and wood and a lot of humidity. The other men remained outside it, and just the smiling old man sat next to me on one of the benches.
“It's nice to meet you, Thomas.” He started when we were alone. I didn't respond because it wasn't nice to meet him in return.

“So, Saul's a friend of yours?”

“Yeah, sure. For a while now.”

“That's good, that's good. He has his troubles with the law, but a good vampire in general.”

“Okay?”

“This... turning of yours. Was it voluntary?”

“What do you mean?”

“He didn't force you to turn, did he?”

“What, no. I mean, I was dead, so I wouldn't say I had a say in it. But I'm glad he did it, it's not his fault.”

He nodded agreeing.

“Yes, it's good. You said you were dead, how did that come to be?”

“I don't know, I can't remember.”

He kept nodding and started to get pretty annoying. At that point, I was pretty sure he was nervous too. What the hell was going on?”

“You can't remember. Was it a natural death? I mean, hit by a car? Fell out of the window?”

“I'm pretty sure I was shut shot in the head. Just after returning home. But I don't remember.”

“It would be very good for us if you did remember...”

“But I don't”

“... So I could help you with that, nothing much, a quick fix.”

“I guess that would be good...”

Right away he put his finger into the same place the bullet had entered, and I could see myself returning home. I struggle to get the key in the hole, being drunk as I was, but I did get it done. I entered the flat, tossed the keys to a bowl, and slumped toward my bedroom. But then I heard a noise behind me and I turned, but there was no one there, and when I turned back forward, there was this tall and big pale face in front of me. He had a gun to my head and he spoke, not well but cracklingly. No such word.
He had a gun to my head and spoke, his voice crackling. “Shots fired.” He pulled the trigger, and everything went dark again.

I was back in that muggy room, and the old man was looking at me petrified.

“Who was that?” I asked for it looked like he knew. He jumped up and started toward the room.

“Am I like arrested or something?” I asked making him stop.

“Of course not.”

“Can I go then?”

He bit his lip, trying to think fast.

“We would very much appreciate it if you could stay for a little while longer.”

“Why, who was that guy?”

That politeness of his made me feel bolder, and I even got up, starting to demand things.

“Just an hour, I will send someone with drinks.” and he all but ran out of the room.

I could only sit back down when the door opened and Rebekah, to whom I wasn't irrelevant now entered with a selection of drinks, and a smile that made my knees weak.

Final Thoughts
The story is riveting. The first paragraph hooks and you close the chapter with me itching to turn the page and find out who killed Thomas. It would have been better to let your reader know his name near the beginning: it helps the reader to care about the character.
This chapter is a first draft. I recommend reading a submission at lease once quietly and have someone else (or software) read it once out loud to catch many of the careless mistakes. Microsoft Word can read your work to you.
Only the first few paragraphs are edited in detail. The remainder of the chapter has similar wordiness, diction (word choice), and redundancy throughout. Fix this up, and I'd love to see it again.
I did a review for you back in March on a story about Elliot Jones that seem to not be on WdC anymore. Keep on writing!

Power Reviewer Signature


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)


Introduction
Thank you for the review request. I enjoyed discussing it with you and look forward to writing this review. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories like this one, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
The story appears YA with a First Person Reflexive voice. The protagonist appears to be the bad boy rebel type with problems at home.

Plot
The plot develops in a logical order based on a common theme. Boy meets girl who has a mean, violent, superstar boyfriend. The protagonist doesn't believe the girl will give him the time of day. Boyfriend drives her away. And so on. He gets power and abilities somehow and...
The twist and hook that makes me wish to continue reading the book is the "deal with the devil" does not follow the typical road. I've got to see what happens in the atypical course.

Suggestions
"That will show them," Replace the comma after them with a period. The sentence that follows is an action tag, NOT dialog attribution (he said) so should not have a comma. I hammered the last nail into place. I stared at the door numbly. I knew I should feel more than just the cold air, but I didn't. Blood dripped down from my hands. I wiped them on my pants and glanced around. It was night, so the darkness hid the stains of blood. I shuddered. I still was in shock that I had survived. I needed to keep running; that was the only thing keeping me alive.
Six out of the above ten sentences start with the pronoun, I. You may recall from English classes in school that we are to avoid using I to begin a sentence. First person voice make using I often easy, so it takes work to avoid it. There is a more important reason. You may have heard the writer's mantra, "Show, don't tell." When you use I to begin a sentence, inevitably the sentence tells something instead of showing something. Avoiding the I makes showing easier. Let me rewrite the opening paragraph avoiding the I.
"That will show them." Hammering the last nail in place, I stare at the door expecting to feel numbing
cold air—but didn't. Glancing around I shuddered, shocked to still be alive. Wiping the blood that dripped down my hands on my pants. The darkness of the starless night hid the stains of blood. I needed to keep running; staying alive depended on it.
Nine I's are reduced to three and only a single sentence starts with I versus the original five.

I stopped walking, and against my better judgment, crossed the field and entered the woods. The wind was like a girl turning somersaults. The trees like old men just sitting there waiting to die. The rain fell steadily, drenching the plants and trees. The rain was warm, yet I found myself shivering. I turned up my face to watch the individual drops fall to earth, threads of silver gleaming in the sky.
Avoid using cliche or trite phrases like, against my better judgement. If it was so dark that the blood was hidden, why was it light enough to see the rain as threads of silver?

I couldn't help but start thinking about how this life all started, only a few days ago...

My old silver car Mazda skidded around the corner and into the parking lot. Thanks to the aging tires, my wheels didn't leave a single tell-tale mark. I came to a stop inches from what appeared to be a 1989 Jaguar., then backed Backing up into a parking space across the way and kicking the car door to get it open, I felt the books dig into my back, heaving as I heaved my battered blue bag out with me.
Avoid using, then, when narrating a sequence of events.

I pushed through the school doors and went to my first period; health. My teacher sighed when I came in but didn't say anything. As usual. Slipping one headphone into my ear when no one was looking, I turned on my iPhones playlist. Nothing like some good old rock and roll to start your morning.
As usual, is a fragment. My teacher sighed when I came in but didn't say anything, as usual.

"For all of you who weren't here the first ten minutes of class[.]" She shot me a glance. "We're going to continue learning about the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on our bodies."
See the comment on the first line.

I drew a football surrounded by hellfire. Now I was getting somewhere.
It's not clear to me what he means.

Forty minutes later[,] and the teacher started handing back our last assignments. I put away my note sheet, which is now covered with everything but notes, and picked up the paper.

"That was one, two, three, four sentences[.]" I looked her dead in the eye[.] "I believe that's a paragraph."

"What?!" I jumped up from my seat. "You can't give me detention for a bad grade."
NEVER use more than one (!!, ??, !?) punctuation mark. Select the one most expressive of the feeling.

"No," She said, clearing up the desk beside me. "But but I can give you detention for repeated tardiness."

"I don't have it 'out for you' Kyle." She sighed. "I have it in for you if that's even an expression.
Be consistent on the way you emphasize the words. Choose either italics or quotes.

"The drama club? Seriously? That's beyond lame." I said, exasperated.

###
I was leaning against the walls behind the stage while the "actors" practiced their production of some Shakespeare play. I banged the back of my head against the wall repeatedly. If I hit it hard enough, could I get a concussion?
It is a good idea to place a marker at scene changes to avoid confusion, like the ### above.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the actors wearing a black trench coat staring me down.
Staring me down, is a contest of will where neither want to break eye contact and often takes some time. Staring at me, would be better.

I could see that Jennifer was still standing there waiting for a response and looking at me with an 'are you okay?' look.
I could see that Jennifer was still standing there waiting for a response and looking at me with an are you okay? look.
Use italics instead of double or single quotation marks to highlight something.

"Every once in awhile a while, we need to change things on the set." She explained, waving her arms and pointing rather animatedly.
Avoid adverbs (words ending in ly) and replace the weak verb with a stronger one. The writer's mantra (show, don't tell) applies here. Show your readers she is animated.

The same "Josh Walker," that had terrorized me all throughout middle school.
Remove the quotation marks from around, Josh Walker. If you wish to emphasize his name, use italics.

But I had to admit; I understood why she liked him, and not me; I mean he was an athlete, attractive, and very well liked. And I was, well I wasn't precisely a model, I mean I had dark brown shaggy hair and matching eyes. I wore boring round glasses that resemble Harry Potter's and, thanks to puberty, had pimples scattered across my face.
These sentences are comma splices (run-on) and have incorrect use of semicolons.

I found myself casting glances at Jennifer once in awhile a while. The way she'd spoken earlier, I thought she was one of the directors or something, but she was one of the lead parts, not bad either. parts. Not bad either.
Not bad either. is a fragment. Join the last fragment to the previous sentence with a comma.

Suddenly I had the feeling that someone was watching me again. I looked around, expecting to see that creepy man in black...
Consider: A feeling of being watched grew until I looked around expecting to see that creepy man in black...
Do not use, suddenly, to introduce a incident. By using, suddenly, you warn the reader and lose the very effect you are trying to achieve.

Suddenly Jennifer was popped up beside me, a bunch of scripts in her hand. "You did well." She smiled approvingly. "What'd you think of the play our production of A Mid Summer's Night Dream?"
Your character is portrayed as not caring about plays, the name of plays, or what they are about. That is fine and consistent with his behavior. Jennifer, on the other hand would know the play's name. I picked one above, as you see. I feel it enhances her image of sophistication.

She made an angry noise. "You're just jealous because you can't participate in any of our plays. You obviously have no imagination."
Snarling, she said, "You're just jealous..."
What is an angry noise? I can think of a few. Show, don't tell.

"I should take you to the doctor's." She said.
The use of, doctor's, as written means singular possessive. What is it possessive of? Here are your choices.
...to the doctor's office. The office belongs to the doctor.
...to the doctor. A certain individual doctor.
...to the doctors. A group of doctors.


Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to see for the remainder of this narrative. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of your work. Complete editing of these concerns I leave to you.

"Please just let me drive you to the Doctors." She said, pleadingly. "I can take you back here after so you can get your car."
"Please just let me drive you to the Doctor," she begged."I can bring you back here after so you can get your car."
Avoid adverbs (pleadingly) and don't overuse italics.

Jennifer drove me back to the school and stopped by my car, virtually the only one left in the parking lot.
Jennifer drove me back to my car, the only one left in the lot.
Avoid wordiness. Wordiness is the use of redundant words and words that do not add to the sentence. Editors often ask authors to reduce the word count by ten to fifteen percent. This does not mean removing parts of the story, but to remove unnecessary words. Wordiness can bog down the reader. Concise writing makes the sentence more powerful without losing information. Observe my rewrite above. If Jennifer returns Kyle to his car, the reader knows that it is in the school parking lot. Many of your sentences could be improved by removing wordiness.

3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition


Just then the bell rang, thus snapping me out of my thoughts and making me realize I've been just staring at Jennifer, zoned out for probably a few minutes now.
The bell rang snapping me out of my thoughts. How long had I stared at Jennifer?
This is another example of wordiness. The two new sentences contain sixteen words instead of thirty, a forty-six percent reduction. Just then, is to be avoided like, suddenly.

"Okay, well let's get a move on this project!" she said enthusiastically. Let's try this without the adverb with some show in place of tell.
"Okay, let's get a move on this project!" she said bouncing on her feet, and turning to me with sparkle in her eyes.

I lived about 2 and a half miles away from school. I hated walking. It took forever. I wished my dad hadn't needed to take my car today, but he was in the army and had to leave at 4 in the morning and usually didn't get back till late at night, or not at all.
Always spell out numbers less than one hundred except time. In this case replace ...at 4 in the... with at 4:00 in the...

Josh let go of my neck and looked back at the tree to see who I was calling to, then looked back at me after reassuring himself that no one else was around and came back with a hard right hook that threw me to the ground.
The story is written in first person. Kyle cannot know what Josh is thinking. Consider this rewrite also with wordiness reduced. Compare the two versions to assure yourself that in context, none of the information is lost with the concise version.
Josh let go of my neck and looked back at the tree. He must not have seen anyone as he came back with a right hook that threw me to the ground.

I could faintly tell I was still being pummeled in the head by the way my skull kept jerking from one side to the other. to one to one side repeatedly. Wordy.

Whatever was behind that door was a different place. A world that I didn't know. Whatever was behind that door, had different laws, different rules of reality. It was so compelling and different that is was terrifying. The world behind that door was scary, life was scary too, but at least it was the world I could understand and fathom.
Avoid using the same adjective, adverb or phrase in subsequent or the same sentence. In this case, behind the door was used in three sentences in a row.

"Can't you just send me back?!" I blurted out, stumbling back a few steps.
Never use more than on sentence ending punctuation mark. Select the most indicative for the meaning of the sentence.

The man looked as though he was considering. I gazed at him, looking hopeful and waited.
The voice of the story is First Person. Looking hopeful is what an outsider (Third Person Narrator) would say.
The man looked as though he was considering. I gazed at him, looking feeling hopeful and waited.

As noted above, I did not mark additional incidences of items I had already discussed. You will need to apply the principles through the entire story. Even in the areas of heavier suggestions, I only pointed out a few leaving most to you.

Things I Like Best
I like the different unique near death experience and the unusual deal made with the man in black. This deal is not like the cliche deal we see so often.

Final Thoughts
This is a familiar story with good twists. The readers think they know where it's going but end up surprised. You have a good imagination and can tell a story. Your grammar and writer's style are what needs to improve to achieve publication. Good writers write a lot and read a lot. The reading lets an author see what works and what does not. The daily (if possible) writing is the exercising of all our abilities to make each strong enough to create and sculpt a novel or short story. Regardless of the natural talent, writing well takes hard work.
When you have revised this chapter, I'd be happy to review it again if you desire.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Signature by Amanda Wilcox


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
This is a review of "Society Killed the Teenager written by: Black Widow

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
Thank you for requesting this review. My normal forte is speculative fiction: either short stories or novels. Poetry is difficult so take what seems to make sense and discard the rest.

First Impressions
Skimming through the poetry the first time shows a sadness in life which was caused by or resulted in illness that has been mostly dealt with alone. Even as a guy who is supposed to be resistant to strong emotion—I weep in grief.

Line by Line
Because this is poetry and difficult for me to review, I have decided to a running commentary on what I feel and understand.
Don’t romanticize illness;
Don’t romanticize self-harm.
Sadly, some of those around us do just this. "Ooo! ah!" they say. Such attitudes can tempt those of us ill with these problems to also play the tragic sick person. You see the extra misery and waste of time in both of these situations and warn against it.
If you lost all of your control,
would you then be alarmed?
You point out that playing that role or accepting being thrust into it is terrible. Wouldn't anyone who felt so out of control be terrified?
It’s the coffee every morning
that keeps you here, you find.
I still do this though I have beat the problems after years of misery. Not coffee but a caffeinated hot beverage. When I wake up, I feel so much better, at least for a while.
The rest of the time you’re crying
but it’s tears that make you blind.
I used to sob in misery that blinded me to any good around me.
You have a stack of blades
hiding underneath your bed.
Today could create world peace
but you just might end up dead.
Nothing good around you would be noticed, you're poised for your own death.
Down the hatch go twenty pills,
so I’m unaffected by their drama.
So to stop the suffering if only for a short time, you use, and feel nothing from anywhere for a time.
Then you start to see flowery hills
but it’s likely to cause you trauma.
As usual, it could make it worse.
You stare endlessly at your blank wall
trying to find some glimmer of hope,
and nobody’s there to watch you fall
as you tie off the day with some dope.
Typical result of the pill attempt.
"Snap out of it," everyone says,
but it just doesn't work that way.
I wish they would just recognize
the hurtful things they say.
Except for those who have been through it themselves, almost everyone feels you simply need to decide to change and do it. As if we are just stubborn and if they could just get us to change our minds, we would be fine.
This implies we enjoy all of this and are spinless. Of course this hurts but they do not see it. They repeat the same instructions or comments time after time as if massive repetition will make us finally believe and act.

Parents don’t communicate
as their child grows,
As we grow and can hide our illness better, many parents will deceive themselves into believing there is improvement and watch less closely. They might even hide from the truth.
and people tend to inch away
from a man in dirty clothes.
A woman talking to herself,
a young child points out.
A child who knows no evil,
just wonders what it’s about.
People move away from those they feel are different. Not always in fear; sometimes just because they do not know what to do.
Even a child can see something is different and will innocently ask to understand.

The mother makes something up
and the child thinks it’s true.
Especially is still around the different person, the parent will make something up that is also meant to make is sound like nothing to the observed differrent person.
How shocking to the mother
when the child grows up to be you.
The last two lines imply that this all happened to the poems composer and the mother found herself with a child that had the same illness and it was NOT nothing but a very big something.

Final Thoughts
The title is effective but implied the teenager dies. Metaphorically, they do because life like this is a living death. I almost always believed that where there is life, there is hope. There were also five children that I knew would be devastated as well as parents. I thank God it never happened. Most material things are lost from my life forever. My financial future is doubtful, but I am glad everyday that I finally got clean and "better." At least by the world's standards.
You poetry hit all of the points in the journey I'm very familiar with. No personal self-harm but I'm very familiar with that problem with some I've known well and cared for. No one who has not experienced this half-life will understand completely, yet you explain it quite clearly. Many will get some. Some will get all.
Thank you for asking for the review. I hope my comments are helpful.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Signature by Amanda Wilcox


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
Review of Creatures  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
This is a review of "Creatures written by: Black Widow

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
Thank you for the request to review your poem. Poetry is usually written in times of great emotion and is meant to express feelings to others. I'm honored you would share this moment with me. Out of hundreds of reviews, I've only looked at poetry two other times—not my expertise. I will do my best. You have explained some things about this poem in a previous email. I will "forget" what was said for now and go only from the words here. Future readers will not have the author available for explanation and clarification.

First Impressions
Very well written with all the requisite rhymes. Hard to do—good job! Perhaps this is more than poetry. There appears to be a chorus and well timed verses so I feel this is also lyrics. The overall mood is dark and painful. With each verse, I'll describe the feelings they evoke. Hopefully that will be of use.

Line by Line
Even when I’m being honest I always have something to hide,
so I keep my fences up and keep my eyes open wide.
I'm reminded here that we all have secrets we hide. Especially addicts and those with emotional problems. I'm clean now but still hide much.

I cannot stand reality so I hide where it can’t get in,
but if reality results in pain, does that make comfort a sin?
Exactly! Reality was too painful so I hid in books and chemicals.
I never answered that question. I fluctuated between justification to guilt leading to self destruction. The unanswered question is a good one.

I can only find comfort in using things like drugs and alcohol.
With porcelain skin and glassy eyes I feel just like a baby doll.
If no matter what I try I still can’t get my thoughts to clear,
each time I take the poison it’s like my feelings disappear.
Having no prior exposure to addiction and emotional insanity, prior to my own, I didn't know this. Now I do. I recall the burying of my pain and all feelings. I was happy to just feel nothing. Nothing isn't pain. Altered or clean, I never thought clearly. Not until months of being clean did my mind begin to return. Even this past I suppressed until now. Your poem is bringing all the pain I though gone—out.

People tell me I will die if I keep taking so many pills.
Some even say peace can be found in one’s free will.
I need the poison not for pleasure or some fetish I must fulfill,
but because there are things inside of me that I need to kill.
Exactly again! I almost died a few times. Sometimes I felt that was better than having to chemical all feelings away.}

Where do you think we end up; Heaven, Hell, or neither?
And what’s your opinion on God? Personally, I’d love to meet her.
God does not want our misery but happiness. The rules of free agency require that God not interfere with our choices. We live with the consequences be they good or bad.
There is hell here on Earth. I've been there. Where we end up is yet to be determined.


These pills may cause side-effects
like sleepwalking hallucinations.
Maybe that’s the other drugs talking,
or as you call it, “self-medication.”
I get and understand the lines before this.
Of course all humans look the same
because we have all the same features;
I understand the words but do not see the deeper meaning of looking the same with similar features.
though we walk the world recklessly,
on all fours like creatures, creatures.
{c:/green}Also, very much understand and remember fulfilling the creature metaphor.

I always dreamt of being prom queen and someday, someone’s bride,
but I’m just the star of the drama best known as my suicide.
I’m far too familiar with what it feels like to be lonely,
and though I’m devoted to God, self-destruction feels so unholy.
Could not be better said. Tears fall from these memories.

My bony chest and back leave people puzzled and alarmed,
but society taught me it was normal, so I didn’t see any harm.
You are slim to the point of boniness because society teaches that is beauty.
With scars covering my body, I am a master of my own destruction.
If life really is like a highway, then this road needs construction.
You mar society's image: not sure why still looking for your reasons.

I always knew I’d be different because of the voices in my head.
They think I would look dazzling all dressed up in scarlet red,
if I put it on as a dress before I lay myself down to bed,
hands crossed over my chest like I’m lying in a casket, dead.
The above verse terrified me. I've never heard voices other than what I knew were my own thought telling me to die. I grieve and fear your description of the voices saying you are better off dead.

Where do you think we end up; Heaven, Hell, or neither?
Tell me your thoughts about God; Personally, I’d love to meet her.
See above.

You have withdrawn from society,
eyes burning from the sun’s harsh light.
With each sunrise you cast away,
then like the stars, you come out at night.
Of course all humans look the same
because we have all the same features;
though we walk the world recklessly,
on all fours like creatures, creatures.
See above.

Final Thoughts
So much of these emotions are familiar to me. Though I thought they were safely buried, your song brought them out in all their intensity and detail. Wasn't this the purpose? I am a parent but had placed my hell into a box and buried it. I need to look to my kids. Are they suffering? Thank you for sharing this with me.

Signature with fantasy


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Often I delete the past emails of a chain for the same reason. Your inclusion of the link and brief history of Unraveled Tapestry spiked my curiosity. It took sometime to complete it through the sobbing. Beautifully written and worthy of being published—congratulations. The story has, of course, received many reviews by now so I just added my 5 stars to the others and left you this note.

Thank you for the insight into your life.
16
16
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a review of "Invalid Item written by: Donkey Hoetay

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
This review is the promised exchange of services. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story and copy editing points and to make suggestions. On longer stories like this one, I point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
"Peter Out?" Very amusing.*Smile* The prose is well written: almost literary in style. I'm immediately hooked by the dead girl, Godfather style, with characteristic death wounds. The prose is of sufficient quality that I will need to be very picky to offer helpful suggestions.

Suggestions
Your story and the writing of it, are very good. Don't let all the suggestions bury my true feelings. When after a dozen, "Greatest thing since crunchy peanut butter" reviews, someone performed a detailed review like this, for me. It changed my writing and my gratitude is boundless.

On waking that morning, the messenger saw fit to deliver a stunning raven-haired lass to my bed as I slept.
The sentence is confusing; it implied that after he awoke, the messenger delivered.
Wordiness is a temptation to all writers. Omit redundant words or those that do not add to the meaning of the sentence. Readers can get bogged down in words and lose the pace.
I omitted the messenger. The body being placed there while he slept made the reference redundant.
Consider: On waking, I discovered a stunning raven-haired lass in my bed; placed there while I slept.

3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition

Restaurant was beyond reproach, and my palate rejoiced without consent.

Before I could answer, the presence of the gentle lady with the beige leather pants, filled the empty chair at my table. She parted her lips to speak.

I did not engage her vision. What for? It had all become far too easy.
I hesitate to point this out as your entire story is filled with literary writing and advanced word choices. James Joyce, an Irish novelist, often used wording which required me to read something, more than once, to see the point. I asked you the direction you intended for you work, because few readers of popular literature find this style entertaining. Since publishers want to sell many copies, to as varied an audience as possible, writing like this is frowned upon. I'm educated; I enjoy beautiful and challenging prose, but I'm not a publisher. This is not the time of Charles Dickens when writing in this style was common.

3.01 | Use everyday words. Clarity is everything in writing, and concise writing depends upon your choice of words. When you describe an elevator as “a vertical transportation unit” or you refer to a leaky pipe as a “plumbing rupture,” clarity goes out the window, and so does your reader’s attention span and interest. For fiction, you can write colorful prose but still use everyday language to tell a story your readers can easily understand and enjoy. For nonfiction, communicate relevant facts in the clearest and most direct way possible without sacrificing interest. An emphasis on clarity doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to three-letter words; but use familiar, everyday words as much as possible. Avoid using obscure words most readers won’t recognize. If you have to look up a word in the dictionary, it’s safe to assume many of your readers will need to look it up too. Most won’t bother, so you may lose a large segment of your audience before they turn the page. You can add clarity to your prose by avoiding stilted and unnecessary phrasing, known in some writing circles as “gobbledygook.” Instead, use concrete words familiar to most readers and that have clear meanings.

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (p. 25). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition.

I knew what she wanted. I knew what they both wanted and I was loath to let them look into my eyes tonight. I'd seen this opera multiple times before. I reached inside my jacket for my shades just as the Maitre d' rested her palm on my shoulder.
I've read the story through three times. The paragraph give a clear impression that is contradicted later when we find both women are part of his plot to bring down his completion. The whole story is like that until the reveal. Are you being honest with your reader? In mystery and thriller, the writer will lead the reader astray—in an honest way.

I rose and tossed my napkin into onto my unfinished two-thousand-dollar two thousand dollar meal. "Excuse me, ladies. It's not our time now, in the near future perhaps."
Hyphens are used in numbers less than one hundred.
Eighty-four dollars
Four thousand dollars
Two thousand thirty-five dollars
If emphasis is desired, use alternative punctuation: the EM Dash or italics.

There was lush vegetation all around. Actual trees bore fruit next to ornate furnishings and fine tapestries. I tried to stay focused and remember protocol. Even though it was not technically required, as we were of different clans, it was probably advisable that I show some degree of deference in his sanctuary. I looked for a pedestal of sorts close-by, it should not have been too far away. I was sure that this entire meeting would be choreographed and he was watching me from some vantage point. Just to my right, a heavy metal mace balanced on a short column. I removed my shades and walked past a dark hole with a locked heavy grate on the surface. The smell of urine and feces assaulted me as I went by. I placed my right hand on the mace and bowed my forehead to meet it.
Avoid starting sentences with the pronoun, I. The above paragraph does so many (five, I think) times, as does all of the story.

With intent, he swiveled his neck and some of the red fluid from his ponytail splattered on my face and suit.
Intent, needs a better word choice.

Wiping the faux blood from my cheek and suit, I dampened my true opinion. His script was going well so far.
The interchange is reminiscent of James Bond villains when 007 arrives at their lair. Dampened, needs a better word choice.

I bristled with contempt at his referencing my family's legacy and his unauthorized use of a portion of my last name.
Bristle with contempt does not make sense. Bristle with fury, anger or offence perhaps.

We walked along narrow tiled corridors of priceless artifacts on both sides. Some of the treasures were in small glass cases and some were trapped in spectacular displays of etched crystal. He truly lived in a museum of life not just of this planet, but of other worlds beyond perhaps. He had lost his desire to show off his playthings and we came to another circular platform with a pleated red velvet curtain suspended around it. He Looked his age as he took me by the arm. He wrapped his arachnid-like fingers around my bicep and we went up the steps together. He stepped on a floor lever and the red curtain parted.
There are wordiness issues in this and other paragraphs.

The two women from Blago's restaurant. I knew then, someone was going to lose their life. This was not going to end well...
The honesty question again, your narrative is first person. He knows the plan. The above statement makes no sense with what is happening. Sure, it works to give a surprise ending, but readers will pick up on this. If you are writing only a short story—fine. If you intend a novel, your reader won't trust you.

Note: I'll stop here as all my suggestions would be similar to those stated above; I did read the entire story three times. Of course, you are free to reject or accept them.

Final Thoughts
Telling you I read it three times should at least hint at how much I like the overall prolog. The remainder of the novel calls to me, though I was hooked after the first few paragraphs. My points may seem picky, but these details and style issues are noticed by publishers and editors. Thus, my question of your intent on the final place for your work. Over the decades, I have read more that two thousand books. From all that reading, including self published, I have seen what works; what doesn't, and the annoying things writers can do.
If you decide to take a portion of what I have said to heart, and rewrite some, let me know. I would be happy to take a second look.


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17
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Review of The Nightmare  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
This is a review of "The Nightmare written by: JMcCulloch

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I am pleased to fulfill your review request. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will decide the relevance of any points I make.

Important Note: Jade, you are a very imaginative and descriptive author. You will find here, a whole bunch of suggestions. I do this because after a dozen fluffy reviews, someone did one like this for me, and I finally had improvements I could sink my teeth into. You will be great; I know it. That is why I took the time on this, a smaller piece.

First Impressions
You stated the genre, but the first few lines tell me it's a horror.
The way the story is presented is not likely the way it looked on your writing software or word processor. When you load your next installment, select the double spacing of paragraphs in the advanced options.
The first line has the character attacked and fighting for her life. That's a good hook.

Character Development
Not enough time passes for character development.

Suggestions
The following suggestions are not, the way, to write it. I'm only expressing the mechanics of writing. You will deal with this as you see fit.
I stood out like a sore thumb against the seemingly endless darkness that had overtaken what used to be my bedroom.
Avoid cliche phrases such as, I stood out like a sore thumb. If you think how sore thumbs stick out, you'll see that this is not like that. This sentence is also wordy. Omit redundant and words that do not add to the meaning. Consider this version of your sentence.
I stood out, bright, against the darkness that permeated my room.
With only half the word count, we have a concise thought that does not distract the reader from the action. Isn't the thought the same?

I looked down to see that I was wearing a red hoodie and black jeans, Taylor’s clothes. Why was I dressed like her?
Wordy. Consider this version.
I wore a red hoodie and black jeans, Taylor’s clothes—why?

My hair whipped around my face, almost violently, just before the hand around my throat loosened.
Be clear. What does, "almost violently," mean?

Panic filled me as I realized that I didn’t know how to swim.
Wordy. This is an action, life and death scene. Consider, one-half the words.
Panic filled me. I can't swim!

My lungs burned as they filled with icy water. I’m dying, I thought just before my eyes popped open.
I like the imagery and the sequence of events. Let's try to reduce wordiness. Consider this version that uses your words, just fewer.
My lungs burned with icy water—I’m dying. My eyes popped open.

My hands shook and my body was damp with an uncomfortable layer of cold sweat.
Damp uncomfortable layer on your body IS a cold sweat: therefore there is redundancy here. Consider your own words, without the redundant ones.
My hands shook; my body covered in a cold sweat. (There's 33% fewer words.)

It took me a few minutes before my eyes adjusted enough for me to realize that the furniture and decorations in the small room belonged to me.
In a few minutes, my eyes adjusted to my familiar furniture and decorations.

Suddenly, a A figure appeared near the foot of my bed, causing me to jump.

She was crying, something I had never seen a ghost do.
Does your protagonist have a lot of experience with ghosts? Does this happen often?

“Taylor, are you okay?" I asked.
Taylor is dead! Of course she's not okay. If this happened to you, would that be the first question you would ask?

Final Thoughts
Good story, I'm hooked and waiting for the rest. Avoiding redundancy and write concise, clear and stronger sentences to keep the pace of your prose fast. This is an action scene.
Have someone read your work out loud. You will see much of what I pointed out yourself.
Work on this scene and I'll happily review it again. I get swamped sometimes, so if my review request is turned off, email me and I'll take it.
To become a good author, you need to read a lot, and write a lot (every day). Read a lot to see what works and what does not. Write a lot to get the practice you need. Writing is hard work.
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18
18
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)


Introduction
Thank you for requesting a review of you next chapter. Don't forget, you, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. On longer reviews like this one, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices once or twice and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
As with all the previous chapters, this is a detailed and entertaining tale with many interesting events. The story premise and plot are excellent. There is still wordiness that needs to be addressed.

Suggestions
“The weather[']s great!”

The soldiers spoke among themselves, adding to the dissonance of the company. Between the wet thumps of the horses’ hooves on melting snow and the wind blowing through the bare branches, the road was loud today.
Dissonance of the company, means friction and fights between members of the company. Roads aren't loud (unless there is a bad earthquake.)
Consider: The soldiers spoke among themselves, adding to the travel noise. Between the wet thumps of the horses’ hooves on melting snow and the wind blowing through the bare branches, the cacophony was overpowering.
I don't think my suggestion is perfect, but it shows what I mean.

“Sir!” A soldier charged along the side of the company and steered his horse toward Tyollis. When they were riding side-by-side the soldier continued. “Some of the others are sick, sir.”
Remember my wordiness warning in the last review? This is wordy. Omit redundant and words that do not add to the meaning of the sentences. Writing concise gives your narration more power and prevents drowning readers in wordiness.
Consider: “Sir!” a soldier yelled, hurrying to ride beside Tyollis. “Some of the others are sick.” (Fifteen words, twenty fewer than the original thirty-five.)

Tyollis cupped hands to mouth and bellowed, “Halt!” The order was carried echoed farther back and the company obeyed.
Word choice (word-smithing) can strengthen your work.

“Stay where you are, and remember what I told you about escaping.” Tyollis turned away from the head on the force and spurred his horse alongside the still company. He ignored the soldiers who watched them pass, even if one asked a question.
You can cut half of these words out and make concise more powerful sentences. Try it.

“Here they are, commander.” He gestured with a sweep of the hand, as if Tyollis couldn’t see them right there.
Wordy again. Consider these two options. Also, Commander needs to be capitalized as he is being addressed directly by his rank.
“Here they are, Commander.” He gestured as if Tyollis couldn’t see them.
OR
“Here they are, Commander.” He gestured.
The reader knows who is talking to who. Therefore, there is much redundancy in the two sentences. The reader also knows that the two men are right next to the group of sick men. Description is good for things the reader may not imagine. In this case, the reader will know all of this.

Tyollis’ mouth tightened, he had eaten some of that deer. He looked back to his company, who sat patiently but didn’t hide the fact that they were watching. Tyollis’ eyes fell on one of the newcomers. The old man sat with shoulders even and head high, surveying the soldiers.
Tyollis had eaten some of the deer? I doubt it and know what you meant. The paragraph is unclear and too wordy.
Writing is an art where you craft each sentence carefully. Sometimes you may consider four or five word possibilities before you find the best one. A sentence may be crafted over and over until it's perfect.
Consider: Tyollis' mouth tightened knowing the deer had been eaten. The company sat watching as the Captain's eyes fell on the newcomers. The old man sat erect surveying the soldiers. (Thirty instead of fifty words)

“Bring him over then.” Tyollis looked to the old man sitting in the midst of soldiers. The old man was looking right back. Tyollis lifted an arm and summoned the man with a flick of the hand. The old man looked to the soldiers who were bound to him by rope. All three soldiers attached to the man’s belt looked to Tyollis, who nodded and put down his arm.

After much maneuvering, the soldiers led the man out to the side of the road, and they sat in their saddles before Tyollis.

“What do you want?” Tyollis asked.

The old man jerked his head, long locks of gray hair flopping out of his eyes. “I am Faldashir, and I work for King Dendlo. I was sent here to retrieve the Dragon Guard that you’ve captured. Right now you are hindering my mission. I ask you let us leave and get to Veresses.”

Wordy. Cut at least half of the words omitting unnecessary details.

“I got one, commander.” He drew rein and opened the lid, sliding out map that was half his height. He unrolled it as best he could with his short arms, and the soldier at Tyollis’ side took one end of the map, unrolling it the rest of the way. The soldiers were on either side of Tyollis, the map right in front of him.
Wordy. Cut at least half of the words omitting unnecessary details.

Note: You get what I'm saying. Review the chapter and apply these examples and considerations, universally. I only commented on random sentences, not all of them up to this point.

“Sir,” he said, “I’m scared, I don’t want to end up like those men.”
The best soldiers the country offered; those sent to protect a King, would never say—"I'm scared."
Unless he is one of the higher ranking junior officers, he would not approach the company commander directly.
The senior officer would never say, “Then there’s nothing you can do, is there?”
Consider this exchange which follows military protocol.

As Tyollis rode, his second in command drew up next to him. "Sir, some of the men are concerned about the spreading illness."

"Does anyone know where the sickness is coming from?" Tyollis asked.

"Not that I know of, Captain."

"Tell the men to check around. See if you can find out."

"Yes, Sir." The man saluted, banging his fist against his chest as he rode off.

I don't know that the military in your world use the Roman salute, I'm just making a point.

“Good.” He met the man’s weary eyes. “Do you know what it is your you're looking for?” Branston’s horse nipped at his own, and his horse snapped back. Tyollis jerked the reins, and his horse obeyed, continuing its trot.
Description and details can be an essential part of an entertaining story. The interaction between the horses distracts the reader from the story. They would be good if the tale was about horse rearing on a ranch.

The scout gulped and said, “Yes, sir. A wraith, sir.”

“Good, get to it.” Tyollis huffed irritation.

Someone is seriously not doing their job if the Scout did not know what he was looking for. Was the Captain trying to insult the man? These are elite troops.

Branston kept his head low, but pride marked his voice. “It was given to him by King Krassos.” Sadness, as well. Tyollis frowned.
Clunky. Rewrite with a smooth, clear, flow.

Tyollis stroked his chin in thought. Bad news, yes, but was it connected? How?
There are a number of ways to express the inner thoughts of a character. Here are two of them. Notice the italics in the first.
Tyollis stroked his chin. Bad news? Yes, but how and is it connected?
Tyollis stroked his chin. "Bad news? Yes, but how and is it connected?" he thought.


“I won’t kill you,” Tyollis said. “If you don’t give me trouble.” He looked to the guard and said, “Untie him.” He met Branston’s gaze and firmly said, “Be good.”
Tyollis wouldn't say, "Be good." Which is redundant by the way. He would more likely glare in warning.

"To arms," is a command that warns of current; imminent, or surprise attack by enemies.

Final Thoughts
You have a great story and plot. The wordiness is still a problem. Because of the wordiness and unnecessary details or incidents, the pace is a bit slow. Description is needed to draw the reader into the story by painting a picture in their mind. If there are too many details or unnecessary events explained, the reader is overwhelmed: slowing the pace of the narration and possibly causing the reader to lose interest.
Fantasy is my favorite genre so I enjoyed the read. Try to apply the lessons in this review to your next chapter, or even to revising this one. Either way, I'd love to review them.
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19
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Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This is a review of "An Unthinkable Act written by: Robert Edward Baker

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the review request section on the home page. Past reading and reviews of your prose (as it is excellent) attracted me to your story. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
You might recall I have reviewed a number of your works. "An Unthinkable Actfollows your pattern of excellent grammar and technical story telling aspects. I suspect law enforcement in your, or a family member's background. Either that, or you did some excellent research.

Suggestions
As memories of that day flooded into his mind, he reflected on how[,] over the past year[,] he'd been unfair to his adult daughter.

Instead, he'd been distant, and she'd found solace elsewhere in some Christian movement he'd never heard of before.

Over the next few minutes, Jim interrogated questioned Khan about the building layout.
Interrogate, has a specific meaning. Consider, questioned, instead.

Final Thoughts
For thirty minutes after finishing, I was unable to continue the review. With five beautiful children (most grown) the impact of your ending was profound. Like your protagonist, the lives of my children flashed through my mind—well done! The five star is not only for the emotional impact of your prose, but the level of technical proficiency. You are never wordy which is a temptation to all new writers. Obviously, you are not a new writer. Honestly, I can't see any improvements in the story, just the couple of comments above. Even they could be left alone and the story would still be superb.

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20
20
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with The Newbies Academy Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a review of "From The Breach: Ch.8: In Their Midst written by: Breach

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
Thank you for requesting this review. I'm happy to offer what ideas I have. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. Since this is a longer story, I will point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
I read a number (but not all) of the previous chapters in The Breach. Reviewing without any idea of what has come before is difficult. The story is interesting and the first chapter is an effective hook. You show enough of the character's personality and backstory to interest me in finding out more. Your imagination is impressive and you writing well done. Your English grammar and punctuation is unusually good for a beginner: Are you a beginner? To be honest, my mind usually skips over that when reading a story this enthralling. Good job!

Suggestions
Before I start giving suggestions, remember my warning before I began. This is good writing. I'm going to be very picky because it wasn't until someone was picky with me that I started receiving much needed advice. Pats on the back are fine for our egos. Consider you back patted on. This truly is good work.

“What’s going on here?” The words rang out amidst the dozens of other men shouting for answers. The question silenced them.
Wordiness is a temptation all writers face. Omit words that are redundant or do not add to the meaning. Your finished work will be concise, clear and better paced.
Consider: “What’s going on here?” The words rang out amidst the shouting men—silencing them.
Were they ALL shouting for answers? Some might be shouting in surprise and others in preparation for defending themselves. Let the reader create the scene in their mind. You use beautiful description and action tags but don't over do it. Let the reader's imagination assist you. The edit I show is extreme for illustration purposes.

Branston met the eyes of one of the soldiers, who glared back fiercely. It was the soldier who answered the question.
If your verb needs an adverb to go with it, you need to select a stronger verb. Avoid, if possible, using adverbs. These usually end in ly such as fiercely. Your reader knows someone in authority just demanded an explanation. Are the words, the question, necessary?
Consider: Branston locked eyes with of one of the soldiers. It was that soldier who answered.

“These men showed up appeared out of nowhere, sir.”
Better word choice? You will need to decide. Word-smith your story on the next draft. Some words are better than others.

Off in the gloom a man rode slowly through the throng of horses and soldiers while other heads further back turned to see the commotion.
It seems to me that every soldier would be watching the new arrivals by now. How can you fix this sentence? Pretend you are a picky first time reader. Do the events proceed logically? Isn't the sentence too wordy?

...with many points of steel digging into Branston’s back and chest.
I know what you are saying here, but I got it from further reading and thought. I wondered if the Captain getting close somehow caused this. Was it others? A word or two will prevent the reader from wondering, thus maintaining the pace of the story.
Consider: ...with weapons from surrounding soldiers digging into Branston’s back and chest.

“So you’re a spirit? Are you the wraith that’s prowling this land?” He was calm, and confidence marked his voice, not fear.
I like this line!

“I used magic and –“
I'm not sure where you live. American and British rules governing the EM Dash differ.
“I used magic and—“ American
“I used magic and —“ British

“What’s that?” the The captain raised a gloved finger to the saldacrosse that hung in Branston’s hand.
"The Captain..." is NOT dialog attribution in this case but an action tag. The [T] needs to be capitalized.

Branston pulled his arm away, but wasn’t as quick as the captain. He was in the man’s tight grip, his exposed palm thrust skyward. The moon illuminated the dragon mark.
If he pulled his arm away, how could the Captain still grip his hand? If his palm is thrust skyward, no one would see the mark.
Consider-1: Branston tried to pull his arm away but wasn’t quick enough. The captain held him in a tight grip, the moon illuminating the dragon mark on his exposed palm.
Consider-2: Branston tried to pull his arm away but wasn’t quick enough. The captain held him in a tight grip, palm skyward, the moon clearly illuminating the dragon mark.
These are two examples of path of logic changes. Please understand; I'm not telling you the "correct" way to write it, only showing a logical path and wordiness reduction. You will write as you like. You are the boss!

The man cursed behind inside his helmet. His cold blue eyes met Branston’s. “What are you doing out here?”

“You know me?” Branston’s voice shook, and he couldn’t help it.

Wordy, be concise. Isn't this sentence stronger?

“No, not you. But I know what you are.” He looked down at the dragon again. Other soldiers leaned forward in their saddles to look as well.
This may be my last example of wordiness. I think you get the point.
Consider: “No, not you. But I know what you are.” He looked down at the dragon while other soldiers bent to look as well. (Fifteen percent fewer words.)

3.10 | Avoid redundancy. Redundancy refers to the use of unnecessary words that repeat the same thought within a sentence. In most cases, redundant words and phrases are unnecessary and merely add word clutter. This is a common problem among writers, and it can give their prose an unpolished or amateurish quality. Some redundant expressions are funny; others are downright silly. But the bottom line is, they add no value to your sentences and bog down readers in tedious repetition. You’ve probably heard the advice from a writing instructor or fellow wordsmith, “Avoid redundancy!”

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (pp. 34). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition.


He met Branston’s eyes, his analytical gaze unrestrained.

3.01 | Use everyday words. Clarity is everything in writing, and concise writing depends upon your choice of words. When you describe an elevator as “a vertical transportation unit” or you refer to a leaky pipe as a “plumbing rupture,” clarity goes out the window, and so does your reader’s attention span and interest. For fiction, you can write colorful prose but still use everyday language to tell a story your readers can easily understand and enjoy. For nonfiction, communicate relevant facts in the clearest and most direct way possible without sacrificing interest. An emphasis on clarity doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to three-letter words; but use familiar, everyday words as much as possible. Avoid using obscure words most readers won’t recognize. If you have to look up a word in the dictionary, it’s safe to assume many of your readers will need to look it up too. Most won’t bother, so you may lose a large segment of your audience before they turn the page. You can add clarity to your prose by avoiding stilted and unnecessary phrasing, known in some writing circles as “gobbledygook.” Instead, use concrete words familiar to most readers and that have clear meanings.

De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (p. 25). Spectrum Ink. Kindle Edition.


Final Thoughts
When this book hits the market, I'm going to be in line. Check out the "The NAG Learning Center for Novel writing information. Maybe if you join the "The Cross Timbers Novel Workshop I'll review your book as you develop it. A detailed and complete copy and story edit like the small part I performed above is beyond the scope of this review. These examples are typical of what I observed throughout the work.
Hopefully I've made myself clear; this is good prose. I have read many novels that aren't as well written that I found myself engrossed in. If I wasn't reviewing an incomplete work, I'd have finished the entire novel.
My goal was to show what I feel are ways to polish your prose. My last words of advice are—read a lot and write a lot. You should do so every day.
Now go write.

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21
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Review of Immortal Tear  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with The Newbies Academy Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a review of "Immortal Tear written by: Temujin

For the "Random Randomness
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the review request section on the home page. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions.

Your time on WdC and the review request indicate you are new to writing science fiction, possibly writing in general. I may seem a bit picky in my efforts to give useful feedback to who appears new to the writing community. This picky approach is my humble efforts to be helpful.

First Impressions
The first line promises a scifi story and hooks you to continue reading to find out how the main character is death. Good job! The short story is written in first person.

Suggestions
You see, the retrovirus I had developed worked. Now immortal I soon discovered the virus had escaped. It then spread killing humanity.
Avoid changing the narrative style. If you select first person as your prose model, do not address the reader (you see) thus shifting to second person. Be consistent.
Consider: The retrovirus I had developed worked. Now immortal, I soon discovered the virus had escaped. It then spread killing humanity.

So for a thousand years I aimlessly searched for my relevance in this universe. I could not consider my own extinction; it was unfortunate that I was all that remained.
The most successful stories bring the reader inside as either a character or an observer. If the reader is thrown out by a confusing phrase they have to think about to understand, the pace is interrupted and the reader enjoys the narrative less.
I was thrown out of the story by this line. I had these questions: How did he aimlessly search? Was it in his mind or physically traveling? Perhaps it was both.
Word choice can change the the effectiveness of any sentence. In my humble opinion, the death of all humanity is more than "unfortunate." If this was the level of concern your character feels, that would be fine. The rest of the story expresses a much deeper regret. I suggest you rewrite that sentence to express your character's deep regret and sorrow.

And for For another thousand years, I set my mind on the task to learn all that could be known. I built cities from what once was. In my image, I constructed companions to silence the loneliness and in time my companions became my children and they called me Father.
The grammar rule of not beginning a sentence with a conjunction like, "and" has relaxed in recent years. In this case, the sentence is more powerful when written as suggested above.

Our journey led to many worlds, none with intelligent life. Sadness consumed me as another a thousand more years passed.
OR
Our journey led to many worlds, none with intelligent life. Sadness consumed me as another thousand years an additional millennia passed.
Unless intended for effect, avoid repetitious phrases (another thousand) in adjacent sentences.

My children's empire spread as did their knowledge. Before long In time, they would colonize the entire Milky Way.
Word choice is critical. Make sure you express the intended meaning as powerfully as possible. "Before long," indicates a short time by definition. To colonize the entire Milky Way would likely take some time, so far thousands of years have passes.

“Father, may I have a word?” asked my first son.
Just a question, it appears his son is immortal or nearly so. Was that your intent?

My son started to explain the why, as our ship started its slow descent.
Clunky, I suggest the sentence be clarified.

He explained that his brothers and sisters here on Earth had been working day and night for millennia on a secret project.
"Day and night" seems inconsistent with the context of the story.
Consider: ...had been working unceasingly for millennia...

“Come, Father, walk with me.”
Please forgive this excessively picky point. In the current English vernacular, "Walk with me" is spoken by a superior to and inferior.

My son then went on to explained that they had lifted the veil off of time.
Avoid using the word, "then," when narrating sequential events.
Avoid wordiness by omitting redundant words and words that do not add to the meaning of the thought. Make your writing concise with fewer words to bog down the reader. In the above example, there are 30% fewer words.

Then my My children[,] parting like the red sea[,] revealed a shining silver door at the end of the hall.
Is the reference, "parting like the red sea" consistent with the story? I'm very religious and feel no offence. On the contrary, I like it, but for the story it this best? The parting of the red sea was an event that had passed countless millennia ago. Would your character reference it? It's up to you.

“Father, behind this door is everything you ever wanted. This is our gift to you.”
"Everything you ever wanted," covers his entire existence. Perhaps words that describe accurately what is behind the door.
Consider: “Father, behind this door, is the end to your sorrow. This is our gift to you.”

I stepped through the door and like a mirage slowly coming into focus, a crowd of thousands did appear.
"Like a mirage slowly coming into focus," is not the best metaphor. Select a better way to express this critical sentence.

Now I understood what my children had done,[;] they had found a way to bring back the ones I loved and lost.
Run-on. Replace the comma with a period or semicolon; since these are two independent clauses that are complete sentences.

I felt a single tear run down my face.
This is another, "you are the author" moment. If this being can cry, and the sorrow is so deep and painful, spreading across millennia, and this is the end of that grief, why is there only a single tear? This is your moment and your climax; think about it. Would he sob?

Final Thoughts
You have a good story that needs some technical and grammar corrections. No matter how good the idea, writing is hard work and takes lots of practice. Best Seller authors often mention the ten manuscripts in the back of their cupboard that they wrote while learning. The MOST important thing for an aspiring writer to do is: READ A LOT and WRITE A LOT. We learn skills and the methods that work from BOTH of these tasks.
Another suggestion is to read this out loud to another, or at least yourself. Follow what you wrote exactly and you will find many of the common errors, both story and grammar. I encourage you to keep at it. Work hard, you have the necessary talent so you will do just fine. Consider obtaining a copy of, The Elements of Style 2017, by Richard De A'Morelli. The book contains easy to understand grammar rules and writing tips.
The star rating is based on the grammar and technical work still to be done. A five star is perfect in every way, ready for print. The three and one half star rating means, great story, but needs further drafts, technical repairs, and polishing. When your next draft is ready, send it to me. I'll be happy to look at it again.

Now, go write!

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22
22
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
This is a review of "The Story of Hope Chapter 4 written by: brokenshards22

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


*ButtonPlay* Introduction
It is a privilege to review your story. Thank you for asking. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will, of course, decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

*ButtonPlay* First Impressions
This piece strikes me as a YA epistolary work with first person narrative. Right away the story promises consequences from too much drinking.

*ButtonPlay* Suggestions
Chapter 4: In Which Parade Day is Celebrated A Little Too Much Hard

The next day- Parade Day- started very early: 8 am.8 a.m.
Always use periods on time abbreviation when written in lower case. You may capitalize AM or PM but then omit the periods.

Alex and I both woke up to Snapchats of our friends drinking at 8 am (most of them were having breakfast parties, then heading off to the Parade once they were drunk).
The information contained in parentheses should be embellishment and not critical information.
Consider: Alex and I both woke up to Snapchats of our friends drinking at eight a.m. Most of them were having breakfast parties, then heading off to the Parade, once they were drunk.

Parade which seemed to involve 20 twenty college kids.
Spell out numbers that are only one or two words.

“Not with you[,]” I thought[,] but kept walking.

It was Alex, some of his roommates and his rommates friends. We had Chinese food (my stomach was bothering me so all I had was rice) watched movies (including Charlie’s Angles Full Throttle which for some reason I remembered as being good) and yes there was drinking.Avoid overusing parenthesis. Parenthesis should contain only embellishment, not a necessary part of the thought.
Consider: The kids there were Alex, some of his roommates and his roommate's friends. We had Chinese food, but I only had rice since my stomach was bothering me. We drank, watched movies, including Charlie’s Angles Full Throttle, which I enjoyed.

Unlike most of the campus, I only drank for several a few hours, not all day like most of the partiers at Scranton. Alicia was there but very very hammered[.] and I actually helped her puke in the bathroom.
Avoid wordiness by omitting redundant words and words that do not add to the meaning of the thought. Make your writing concise with fewer words to bog down the reader.

She thanked me in between heaves, then said (more to the toilet than to me) “Alex is a good friend. One time some guy slipped something in my drink. Alex was the first person I went to because I knew I would be safe. I was sick and shaking all night. Alex took care of me. And even if you and Alex stop hooking up he’ll still be nice to you and want to be friends. I mean look at him and Victoria”
Watch punctuation, you are missing commas and periods.
Consider: She thanked me between heaves. She then said,
more to the toilet than to me, “Alex is a good friend. One time some guy slipped something in my drink. Alex was the first person I went to because I knew I would be safe. I was sick and shaking all night. Alex took care of me. And even if you and Alex stop hooking up, he’ll still be nice to you and want to be friends. I mean, look at him and Victoria.”


Victoria had told me she might come over, but when I texted her sent her a text, she sounded kind of angry saying how it would be weird.
Watch wordiness, keep the word count down and the thoughts concise.
Replace, "texted" with "sent a text."

The next morning the fairy tale ended. I woke up at 6 a.m. am and felt really nauseas nauseous, which honestly wasn’t unusual so I didn’t think anything of it unusual until I vomited in the bathroom, over and over.

Then I vomited in the bathroom.

And then again.
"And then again" is a fragment, not a complete sentence missing both subject and verb.

Watch wordiness, keep the word count down and the thoughts concise.
Avoid using "and then" or "then" when narrating a story.

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to provide for the remainder of this review. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of the work.

“We are going to have to put this tube inside you to drain the blood[,]” the doctor informed me.


“It is going to go through your nose[,]” said the doctor, rubbing some petroleum jelly on the end of a large tube. “No it’s not[.]
The punctuation of your quotes are often missing. See the two above examples. Place a comma inside the quote prior to a dialog attribution like, "said the Doctor."

But Alex was amazing. He kept me calm despite the awful tube, rubbing my back and calling me sweetie. If he wasn’t there[,] I don’t know what I would have done. It was so nice to see a kind face. Many of the nurses and doctors were so callous. There was an especially rude hospital insurance agent administrator who came in as I was gagging and retching on the tube[.] and She asked me, (despite my obvious distress,) to sign some forms


One cup of coffee, minimum maximum.

*ButtonPlay* Final Thoughts
I'm reminded of my college days as I read the story. I understand that these are actual events and for that reason, sound very real. I experienced the unfortunate hospital visit with Hope as the description evoked an image of the situation and suffering. You have a good story here that still needs technical and grammar corrections. Just as I stepped into the story, I would be thrown back out by the too often used parenthetical side statements and the distracting wordiness.
This is a great story. I can try to guess where it is going to go, but I'm sure you are full of surprises. No matter how good the idea, writing is hard work and takes lots of practice. Best Seller authors often mention the ten manuscripts in the back of their cupboard they wrote while learning. The MOST important thing for an aspiring writer to do is: READ A LOT and WRITE A LOT. We learn skills and the methods that work from BOTH of these tasks.
Another suggestion is to read this out loud to another, or at least yourself. Follow what you wrote exactly and you will find many of the common errors, both story and grammar. I encourage you to keep at it. Work hard, you have the necessary talent so you will do just fine. Consider obtaining a copy of, The Elements of Style 2017, by Richard De A'Morelli. The book contains easy to understand grammar rules and writing tips.
The star rating is based on the grammar and technical work still to be done. A five star is perfect in every way, ready for print. The three rating means, great story, but needs further drafts, technical repairs, and polishing. When your next draft is ready, send it to me. I'll be happy to look at it again.

Now, go write!
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23
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Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a review of "Kelly Davis' Ghost written by: J. Robert Kane

For the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
By: CanImagine


Introduction
I selected your story from the review request section on the home page. Twice in the past I have reviewed your work. One was a five and the other a four and one half star so I expect Kelly Davis' Ghost will be of equal quality. Disclaimer: Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
Excellent with constantly growing tension. The hook is placed within the first few paragraphs. The story promises horror even though the genre is already known.

Suggestions
He’d seen Kelly Davis’ ghost once before, but that didn’t lessen the impact of seeing it again for a second time.
Less wordy and more concise.

The apparition wasn’t translucent[;] at least not in the way ghosts are purported to be.

If he concentrated on the space behind the ghost, though--say on the aluminum ladder leaning against the far wall...

As Jeb stood marveling over this disparity of optics,
Consider word choice. "Disparity of optics,"
De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (p. 25). Spectrum Ink. 3.01 | Use everyday words. Clarity is everything in writing, and concise writing depends upon your choice of words. When you describe an elevator as “a vertical transportation unit” or you refer to a leaky pipe as a “plumbing rupture,” clarity goes out the window, and so does your reader’s attention span and interest. For fiction, you can write colorful prose but still use everyday language to tell a story your readers can easily understand and enjoy. For nonfiction, communicate relevant facts in the clearest and most direct way possible without sacrificing interest.

The bottle[,] he returned to the cabinet[;] the spirits[,] he downed in one swallow.
The subject is unclear here. It should read: He returned the bottle to the cabinet...
I'm positive you are going for effect her and composed it this way on purpose. In that case, you need the commas.

The Anderson Farm made nearly as much money during the last two weeks of every October as it did the entire rest of the year.
The redundant word make the sentence seem clunky.

Jeb walked to the kitchen table. He sat. “Like what, for instance, Margaret? Call the Ghost-busters? Send for a priest?”
Avoid wordiness. Omit words that are redundant or do not add to the meaning of the sentence.

She was shaking her head.
Avoid passive voice. She shook her head.
The sentence is strengthened and concise in meaning.

It’s been two years and we still haven’t made up the difference…”
Omit ellipse at the end. The next action is in a new paragraph. The pause is inherent. Also, no part of the thought was omitted so the ellipse isn't needed.

He’d not been able, on either of the two previous occasions on which he’d seen the ghost, to speak.
Consider: He’d been unable to speak on either of the two previous occasions on which he’d seen the ghost.
De A'Morelli, Richard. Elements of Style 2017 (p. 32). Spectrum Ink. 3.07 | Place long conditions after the main clause. For the sake of clarity, long or wordy conditions (such as if you own more than fifty acres and cultivate grapes in the example below) should be placed after the main clause. In this way, you focus the reader’s attention on the major idea you are conveying in the sentence, and then you explain the condition.
If you own more than fifty acres and cultivate grapes, you are subject to water rationing.
You are subject to water rationing if you own more than 50 acres and cultivate grapes.


Jeb felt the air rush from his lungs. He felt as though he’d been sucker-punched. “What did you say?”
Wordiness and pace interruption.
Consider: Jeb felt the air rush from his lungs, as if he’d been sucker-punched. “What did you say?”

Jeb came awake with a start. His pajamas were damp and a sheen of perspiration clung to his body like a second-skin.
Wordiness.

These last two years, though, she preferred to contribute by keeping the assembly team well fed and hydrated.
Concise.

He wanted to turn and see the ghost--something about the apparition's presence seemed to demand his attention--and yet he resisted.
Run-on.

Knowing nothing, to Jeb’s knowledge, of the ghost that haunted their barn, Jacob’s initial reaction was to turn, quite as a matter of course, and see who it was that cried for help required assistance. When his son’s eyes fell upon the pathetic looking specter, though, fear and guilt warred for dominion over the young man's face.facial expression.
Wordy and distracting.

Jeb’s heart fell, plummeted into the apparently bottomless depths of his sorrow.
Wordy & distracting.

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to provide for the remainder of this review. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of the work.

It was another t-shirt. A a Guns-n-Roses t-shirt.
Fixed incomplete sentence.

He knew it the same way Jeb had earlier.--an An electric current of information was traveling across the mass-organism of the crowd and he could hear it plain as day.
I know the em dash was meant to be a pause. When the run-on is fixed, the dash pause is not necessary since it is implied by the sentence break.

“Alright, alright...show’s over guys.” A wave of groans and protestations protests washed over him like a physical force.

Whichever the case, it wasn’t important right now. What what was important right now was that both Jacob and his father were dead. What was important right now was They had to keep it together long enough to get the hell out of here and call the police.
Avoid repeating adjectives or phrases in the same or consecutive sentences. "What was important right now" was used three times in three consecutive sentences.

It seemed to pierce his very person soul, and it shook him from his terror-induced paralysis.

Final Thoughts
The story is excellent and well written. I just finished an English Grammar course so I sifted through much of the writing with a fine toothed comb. During my initial read, I enjoyed it so much I hardly noticed any technical issues. On the second read for copy and story editing, I noticed the small details. Yes, authors allow some grammar violations for effect, but the wordiness and word choices needs to be addressed. The story is five star. With all things considered, the final score is 4 stars.

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24
24
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a review of "Invalid Item written by: Donkey Hoetay

For the "Migdalia and The Life of Julian
bY: CanImagine


Introduction
You once requested a review of this story from me. I have a policy of reviewing whenever I receive a request. The time expired before I could accept and I promised you I would get to it. This review is a fulfillment of that commitment. Sorry I took so long.
Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any points I should make. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. On longer stories, I may point out some grammar, technical, or word choices and leave repeat similar considerations to you.

First Impressions
This is NOT a first draft, yet still needs technical and only a little grammar work. The hook is set, as you intended, with the statement about the father's death. The story is, unique, imaginative and entertaining.

Suggestions & At-A-Boys
A masked gunman burst through the doors firing his pistol about.
Avoid prepositions at the end of a sentence. Also, concise writing is better.

I actually felt the roar ripping at my chest and the closest thing I can relate to was when I was six years old just after Christmas.
Avoid wordiness by omitting redundant words and words that do not add to the meaning of the sentence. Please note further changes below when I revisit the sentence.

I still see his greasy strands of his greasy hair protruding below the mask as the muzzle spat fire in our direction. I didn't quite know what was happening, as I'd never seen a pistol up close before, let alone heard real bullets exploding gunshots.
Move the adjective and possession appellation. It isn't, his greasy, but his hair.
The bullets do not explode and cause the sound, it is the gun powder.
I struck out redundant words to make the sentence concise.

It's easy to compare the bang with the bellow of a taut balloon giving way to a needle prick. But it went beyond that for me. I felt the roar ripping at my chest and the closest thing I can relate to was when I was six years old just after Christmas.

Julian gave my mother a set of fancy cooking pots which she tried to suspend on a flimsy wire in the kitchen. He told her the wire wasn't strong enough, but she hung them anyway. An hour hadn't passed before all of the pots crashed onto the floor while I played close-by. That commotion shook me to my core. Julian came to calm me while mother held her stomach, crunched in two, laughing at my fright. Those bullets were even louder than the stainless steel pots crash-banging onto the kitchen floor, but what they did to my father was even worse than I could've imagined.

The intent of the scene is being damaged by the long recount of the childhood incident. The information is interesting but detracts from and dilutes the emotion. It is also wordy. It is WDC's policy, as well as mine, to not write, "How I would do it." The following is an OVER compensated example of a possible rewrite that will keep the tension building. It is NOT intended as a rewrite, but an example. Apologies, I won't do this again.
Consider:
The report was louder than a balloon exploding; it went beyond that. The roar ripped at my chest. Even more than our cooking pots crashing to the floor when I was six and Julian had to hold me. What the bullets did to my father was much worse.
I purposefully made an extreme wordiness change for example purposes only. Consider how the info dump does not distract, yet the details are essentially there using more than 100 fewer words.

If you ask me how I did it, I truthfully can't won't be able to tell you truthfully,; I just knew I could. Even with a large vocabularythough I know lots of big words, it's still hard for me to express what I can do. Julian was about to die and I stopped it...for the moment. I could see his soul trying to leave his body but I, I don't know, I supposesomehow I made it go back in. I had done it once before and I think it had something to do with being enclosed with him in the ambulance. He looked dreadful laying there with his long legs hanging way past the end of the gurney. His eyes seemed to sink deeper into his skull. His cheeks turned sallow as blood pooled like the color of currant jelly on his best shirt. There was blood on me too, but it was most likely his and I did not fancy quailed at the thought of losing Julian on Father's Day and being an orphan at thirteen years old. I wailed for Julian inside much like as the ambulance wailed for him on the outside.

Note: The above comments are indicative of the kind of suggestions I would expect to provide for the remainder of this review. Full detailed copy editing is beyond the scope of this review and would take considerable time. The remaining suggestions or comments shall mostly be story editing or macro observations. Consider the detailed edit examples above typical of what to look for in the remainder of the work.

"Something rather silly is what I recall. You must excuse my recollection; having been Someone shot me recently and all."
Avoid using the passive voice; publishers hate that. I see quite a few instances of the passive voice.

I saw that look not two summer's ago--- we were on the lower level of a double-decker bus in the big city.
Correct to: ...summer's ago. We were... The em-dash is used when the conversation is stuttered or interrupted. Here, there are two independent clauses.

I wanted to tell him that you can't always please us one hundred percent of the time, so just do what makes you happy sometimes, and ignore us the rest of the time.
I don't think this is what you wanted to say. ... so just do what makes you happy sometimes, and ignore us the rest of the time.

At-A-Boy
More often than not, she introduced me as 'my gifted one'. But although her words were wrapped like a present as they left her mouth, I'd see them fall like pellets of manure, fertilizing her garden of resentment. A tangle of barbed thistle seemingly ever-present between us.
I love your description and working metaphors throughout the story! You do this well.

At-A-Boy
I wasn't too upset that my tiara and brooch were not made that evening because we danced the most awkward, uncoordinated waltz in history. I had to stand on his shoe tips to keep him from treading on me. I did not know then the cause for his celebration but I was happy for my father's happiness.
I love this.

...a smile renting his lips.
Huh? Rent as in to tear? Few know this word.

He had no reason to stare at me for such an extended period, butand I could not read precisely the meaning of his expression. His eyebrows were elevated which furrowed his forehead, his lips threatened a smirk, but his eyes never flinched the entire gaze.

"Do you like this one, Precious?" He asked, moments past later.

I suspect Julian did recognize him after all. The thrashing had come nearly three years in the lag.
"...in the lag," is so British, few other English speakers will understand it. Consider, "later."

...and the longer one we try to live each day.
Philosophical, but with Julian dying that day, best to remove it.

Final Thoughts
WOW! What a surprised ending. I really like it. Typically in "long" fiction, a writer foreshadows the ending sometimes placing "red hearings" in the story. No need with yours; it works perfectly. The story is 5,500 words, a longer short story. Though not necessary for the story; I'm curious if besides holding her spirit in her body, was Migdalia holding her father's also. I was also pleased how her father came through in the end by the interaction with the tailor, his crushing of his lying murderous colleagues and especially the last line of the story.
The content and blocking of the story is a perfect five star; it well deserves the awardicon. I give the overall rating, four stars because of the technical and grammar work still to be done. A five star rating means it's ready to publish as is. Good job.

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25
25
Review of Man Overboard  
Review by CanImagine
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This is a review of "Man Overboard , written by: Rmkv

Found on the public review page.

Reviewed by: CanImagine


Introduction
I'm happy to review your new posting I found on the Request Review page. Not being an expert in reviewing or writing, I offer these comments and suggestions based on my limited knowledge and experience. You, as master of this work will of course decide the relevance of any point. My reviewing procedure consist of two readings. The first is to gather overall and first impressions, look for the hook, and examine overall story consistency. The second is to look for story editing and copy editing points and make suggestions. I often skip occurrences of the same suggestion or consideration after mentioning it a time or two.

First Impressions
Well written with excellent grammar, and not a first draft. I found just a few technical or grammar problems. Reviewing requires tolerance for many things outside of our comfort zone. I appreciate the lack of crude language, (darn) to what could have been. I was hooked by the title and story blurb before even bringing it up. Problems with similar situations in my past tweaked my interest.

Suggestions
'It's time I acknowledge this sinking ship and take the lifeboat[.]'
The period is missing.

He could see now that she had only ever wanted him for his good looks - eye candy to flaunt.
The sentence with the dash as a pause needs to be a proper sentence. Congratulations on selecting the correct punctuation mark, the dash. Many writers incorrectly use the ellipse (...) for a pause. The ellipse indicate a portion of the words are missing.
Consider: He could see now that she had only ever wanted him for his good looks, to flaunt him as eye candy.

She became distant when she realized Malcolm's money was no where not near enough to support her extravagance.
Word choice suggestion.

His perseverance was thinning waning with time.
Word choice suggestion.

He had made sure of it; she didn't know how he had done it, but she did know that he was a man of his words.
Use word, instead of, words.

With every ounce of compassion he had in him, he asked, "Will you marry me?"
I'm confused by your choice of, "compassion" in this ending sentence. Compassion usually means empathy for someone's pain. Would "gentleness" be better?
You have just shown that he may not be as good as we were led to believe as shown by his sudden proposal when her money returned. It just seem peculiar.

Final Thoughts
The star rating I assigned reflects the quality of the short story, both story wise and technically. Most of my suggestions are word choice ideas. There were only one or two small grammatical considerations. Good story with a great surprise ending. I didn't see that coming.


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