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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/stevengepp
Review Requests: ON
416 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
Minimalist. Focus on technical.
Favorite Genres
Most, really.
I will not review...
I will not review porn, fan-fiction or pro-religious/OTT-pro-USA essays
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Failed Experiment  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.0)
Interesting story, that made me smile. I do like the last line as well - I can see that.

Technically, there are a couple of missing commas, and the two scenes need a separator (it took me a second read to get that we had changed), but otherwise it was very clean.

I do know that flash fiction limits the word count, and I was going to suggest this could be the basis for a longer story, but the more I read it, I think you could actually reduce Buddy's speech a little, and turn the open scene with George into just a part of the conversation, leaving the dog revelation even later, and so make it even punchier. Of course, that's just my opinion.

It was still a good story. Enjoyed it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of Terrible Business  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
I liked the ending. Nice twist and well-written without being telegraphed.

As far as story ideas go, there is little to complain about.

But your opening has a number of issues.

"Covered in the drizzle of London's weather (I know what you mean, but the execution is clumsy; maybe "Coming in from the drizzle..."?), a pair of footsteps caught the rapped rapt attention of every patron as they entered the local (local makes it seems like the person goes there often; that does not fit the story - "out of the way" works better, IMO) cafe. Situated beneath a railway bridge, this made the stranger's entrance more ominous as the foundations of the establishment were rattled by a passing locomotive.

Anybody the stranger looked upon felt compelled to return a submissive nod, for their blood ran cold in his prescience presence. Dressed in a large tan trench coat and scarf to conceal their (why "their"? you've already said him and his before) face, onlookers could see the paleness of their (and again) eyes."

It just needs a good edit and clean-up, really. Punctuation is generally fine.

Now, I will say I only review things I like here at WdC, so I like the piece, but it could be so much tighter.

Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
I am not sure if you meant it like this, but this feels like a song. the repetition of lines, phrases and concepts and the rhythmic feel of much of it gives it the feel of something that should be joined by a musical accompaniment. And, as such, it feels like it works well.

For the most part.

This section:
"What I do is inspired by you, well, all the positive"
"The negative is in consequence of your negligence"
She bellows" but it's just so hard for me to forget you with all the emptiness that surrounds my life"

Feels out of place. Even if it was a poem, it feels like it does not quite fit, in rhythm or scansion.

Apart from that, the emotions portrayed here are quite good and well put forth. Nicely done.

Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Okay, I did not see the ending coming. You got me. Nicely done.

This is going to be brief, because the story's structure was spot on, spelling was on point and it flowed well from incident to incident, with no real info dumps out of context.

So... yeah, you knew there'd be a so...

Three things:
1) There are a heap of punctuation errors, especially missing quotation marks, misused commas, etc. Needs a thorough edit.
2) There were quite a few incidents of the words people saying not sounding like words real people would say. Yeah, the conversation did not feel natural.
3) And, this last one is picky - I'd put separation markers between sections, not just an extra line. Three asterisks centred is the norm.

But, these are small and do not take away from what is an intriguing tale.

Really good story. Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of Not This Time  
Review by Steven
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
A can see why you had this marked as 'tragedy' - it is definitely nihilistic in tone and subject matter.

I really liked this. Saying it out loud (I tend to do that with poetry), it has a very downbeat tone and way of wanting you to read it.

I think my only criticism would be some of the metaphors are a little muddy - "felled trees", "just keep it down" in particular - but that's probably also me. I think it also felt a little short. I actually wanted more about what is going on in the narrator's head, the real turmoil that churns away within.

As some-one who is now 13 years sober, I can unfortunately relate to this.

Nicely done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review of The Visitor  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (3.5)
Interesting story. The idea behind it is sound, and technically, there might have been a few mistakes, but it was generally very clean. That is all too rare here on WdC!

Now, I only review things I like, and WdC is about helping writers, so with that in mind, I have one major suggestion:

I know this is constrained by the limits of the flash fiction setting, but there were quite a few times when you told us what was happening rather than showed us. What this did was have the effect of decreasing the tension of what could have been a taut story. The rock's first appearance as not a rock it was just there. A gradual realisation could have upped the horror inherent in just such a scenario. And the near-attacks on the baby could also have been amped up. It is just a story at the moment; it could become a nice horror tale with some tweaks to how it is written. It lacks atmosphere.

One other thing which is just personal - you call the child a drool monster when there is a real monster in the story; it feels very mean-spirited. Drool-machine might have been better.

Anyway, that's just my opinion.

Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review of Richard  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.0)
Okay. This is a standard romance story, and I could see how it was going to end early on. However, what kept me reading was the way you dropped in the bits if the past, the way you didn't just do one great big exposition or info dump, but drip-fed the information and showed a lot of what she was feeling. You took what could have been mundane and made it into something quite interesting and something that actually brought a smile to my face.

Now, having said that, WdC is about helping writers and I only review works I like, so with that in mind:
* Technically, there are quite a few misused commas and direct speech really needs to be looked at. And there were quite a few verb tense issues.
* While you did do a good job of showing, there were still a few places where you "told" instead. Not many, and often little phrases ("I thought of my mother then.") but they stand out when compared to the rest of the story.
* Your dialogue sounds stilted. A lot of the time it was not how real people talk.
* Some bits felt just added (e.g. the description of the dress). They don't add anything to the story and feel like word count additions. In the case of the dress, I would have maybe said something along the lines of it being like what she used to wear when she had been with Richard before, add importance to it.

On a personal level, I think I would have drawn her response to him out a little more, throw in internal doubts, thinking about her kids, his son, but keep adding the old times in as a counter-point. Her acceptance felt too abrupt. I think I would have added something about being a touch disappointed at the text message of asking about marriage, but being able to understand why.

Now, I think this story has some very real possibilities to become something quite wonderful and uplifting. It is too rare to read romance tales centred around those in the middle ages of life, so I have to say that is a huge positive as well.

Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
An intriguing start to the story. It certainly grabs the attention and does, in fact, make the reader want to read more. I think the main thing I liked was that Jack’s only two bits of offence were simple and made sense – he pushed the lead officer and then used the emergency hammer to break the rear window. No histrionics, no wild karate kicks, just logical, simple things that grounds it in realism.

Now, WdC is about helping writers and I only review things I like, so with that in mind:

* “4 day's time” This does not make sense. 4 days’ (note where the apostrophe goes) time? From what? Now? Is this the future? Without context – and even if that context is given later – it stands out as an unhelpful way to start.

* “Jack had managed to look unsocial enough that no one had asked to occupy the chair next to him almost at the rear of the bus, meaning he was able to stretch his tall frame out a little to make himself a bit more comfortable.” Awkward sentence structure. How about: “Jack had managed to look unsocial enough that no one had asked to occupy the chair next to him. That and taking a seat almost at the rear of the bus meant he was able to stretch his tall frame out a little to make himself a bit more comfortable.” (Nice way of saying he is tall without just coming out and saying it.)

* “The fact that there was no scheduled stop, and the time of departure, was the reason…” sorry, pedantic, but “were the reasons” – you list two things.

* “funnelled between two German police cars. Uniformed, and heavily armed, German police officers stood next to the cars.” Try to avoid using the same dominant noun (or verb) twice so close to each other. How about: “funnelled between two German police cars. Beside each, uniformed, and heavily armed, stood the officers, ready for anything.”

* “Their illuminated by the roof lights…” Their what?

*You’ve given the officers the nicknames “Muscles” and “Moustache” – which I quite like, by the way – but as you have used this as a naming convention, you need to capitalise each.

* “Suddenly, as they approached a blonde female passenger in her early twenties, the women turned and pointed directly at him.” I don’t think you need “suddenly” and why “women” when only 1 was mentioned?

* “By this time a Jack had closed…” Don’t think “a” before Jack is necessary.

* “They fell to the floor, Moustache pinning Muscles to the floor of the bus...” replace “to the floor of the bus” (you’ve already mentioned floor and where else are they going to be pinned) with, if you want an adverb, “awkwardly”, otherwise just get rid of it as you have the overcoats explanation after.

* “…his cap that had become dislodged as he landed…” Already used dislodged. Try “knocked free”.

* You use the word “bus” a lot. We get it – he’s on a bus.

* Quite a few extraneous commas, and some commas used where semi-colons would have been a better choice.

Now this reads very negative, and I apologise, but the fact is this is a good opening, and with a few tweaks could be even tighter and draw the reader in even more.

Good luck going forward!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Review by Steven
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Very little to say, really.

This is so nicely set up, without overusing descriptions, and then the denouement actually makes sense. Even though I am guessing by the word count it was constricted by a Flash Fiction length, it did not need to be much longer.

Technically I saw nothing wrong and the story was really well done. When I was an editor, I would have accepted this "as is".

Excellent work. Loved it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review of Not got one yet  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This is an intriguing start. There is definitely something here that is worth building on.

Now, WdC is about helping other writers, and I only review things I like, so with that in mind:

Technically:
* You need to watch punctuation of direct speech. A long speech over several paragraphs has quotation marks at the start of each paragraph, but only at the end of the final. That makes it clear it is all part of the one speaker. And the capitalisation when the child screams also needs looking at.
* Watch repeating the same nouns and verbs that are important in the same paragraph. It reads awkwardly.

Story-wise:
*Why use “the man” when you name him “Harry” the next paragraph? Start with Harry.
* The Prologue is a nice way to start the story, but I feel it could easily be expanded to really up the tension. It’s a novel – go for broke.
* The Educator’s speech is a huge info-dump, a chunk of exposition. This sort of info could be better drip-fed into the opening chapters, as being hit with a chunk of world-building at the start is a put-off for many readers.
* I was confused about the race of these people. “us humans” is used, but then later came “…Human. None of them are innocent.”

You wanted to know if this is a good start for a novel. At the moment, I would say not really. Info-dumps are generally not good, especially so early in the piece. But, at the moment, keep the info dump and finish the first draft. Then you can go back in your second draft and move info, change things up, etc. However, I would still extend the prologue. Make it more threatening, darker, etc.

There are definite possibilities in the world you are building.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of The Favor  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.5)
I liked this little story. Very different. Something that a number of flash fiction publishers would be interested in.

Now, WdC is about helping writers and I only review things I like, so...

The section from I laughed as I... through to ...see if it's in." was a little confused. (I did like It was the maid's year off. though. Very cool.) The one sequel coming up comment and then going out... who was supposed to be saying that? It felt like Siobhan should have been talking but it was in the fae's paragraph...

Technically, this was so very clean (spelling, grammar, punctuation), and story-wise it was well done. Just that one bit in the middle.

So, excellent work.

Good luck going forth.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review of homelessness  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (3.5)
It is good to read some-one attempting to engage such a huge issue as homelessness in a constructive essay. Your technicalities of essay construction are strong, with very good paragraphing, a strong conclusion and a defined introduction.

Now, WdC is about helping authors and I only review things I like, so in that vein:

*Why the word 'introduction' at the top?
*There were many issues with capital letters, verb-noun matches, and some other actual writing technicalities (sentence fragments, etc.).
*The way it is written, you have pandemic as a mental issue (para 3). An Oxford comma would solve this issue.
*Beware of generalisations; e.g. somewhere like Australia, the reasons beyond affordable housing are slightly different. And watch your facts. You state that half a million people were homeless one night, then say millions of people.
*As an essay, you need to define homelessness. It is not just people living on the streets or in shelters; homelessness has many forms. Essays need these definitions to ensure the reader knows what you are addressing. This is also very USA-centric. You should actually put USA in the title.

Now, this seems very negative, and I apologise. My intention is not to make you feel that you have not done a good job, because you have. The thing is, I can see the potential for this being quite a stunning essay.

So, good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review of Still young  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (5.0)
Look, to be honest, there is very little I could say to help improve this poem, a really sweet look at a life-long commitment that lasted/is lasting.

Even the repetition of the "you're still young to me" refrain, which could have been annoying, worked well in the context.

This is a wonderful piece. And, if it is based on your reality, I hope the person you wrote it for appreciates it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Interesting.

What it feels like here is the sketch or outline for an essay. You have a good structure, ready to go, but are lacking some details.

Now, before I start, I only review things I like here at WdC, so...

*Opening paragraph is fine, but the bit about reincarnation feels tacked on. It should be more focused in the body pf the para.
*Including your own viewpoint is well-done.
*"Most of us..." indicates a majority are believers; this is not necessarily the case. But the idea that doing good deeds because of reward after death is a good one. You could expand a little here.
*"I've heard from..." - get rid of the word "from". But from here, the three paragraphs that follow would all make one good one combined.
*"I despise..." is a good reference to yourself, but the closing sentiment of burning in hell/ant reincarnation makes the essay feel trite.
*"...so don't waste your time on this essay." is again unnecessary. In fact, this whole thing about changing people's minds does not fit in with the rest of the essay.
*Conclusion - summarise your points (people only do good to get rewards, that it is not based on evidence), and add why it is not necessary (man is a social animal and does not need rewards to do good).
*None of the quotes add anything to the essay.
*What about the atheist viewpoint of doing good and immortality? Like I mentioned, man is a social animal, so doing good makes living with people much easier and is mutually beneficial. The explanation of atheist immortality is complex, but worth it. (Yes, I am an atheist.)

Now, this seems to be incredibly negative, and I apologise, but I think this has the basis of being something very good indeed.

Good luck going forth!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review of Revenge by Night  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Nice story with a near-perfect denouement. The revenge motif coming back to bite the person in the neck (or sting them in the back) worked very well. And I liked that you did not explain the reason why this should happen - the lack of explanation makes things like this work so much better.

Now, normally I'd list the things here that need improvement, but only 2 come to mind. One is minor - use of the term "quaked her world" felt odd. "Rocked" is normal, but even if you wanted something different, this did not quite work.

The second is that there were a few cases of "tell" instead of "show". Leading up to her saying her stuff to the programme stood out, but also reading the web-page. We got very little of "her" in these exchanges; I think the story could have benefitted knowing some of her doubts, her building resentments, etc.

But that, of course, is my opinion. Still, a very good little psychological horror.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review of Transformation  
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.5)
Interesting story! A transformation into a fish - very much like Metamorphosis by Kafka - done just because. And then an ending I like. I also like the fact you did not explain why it happened. Too many writers feel like everything needs a reason - this didn't need it.

Now, WdC is about helping writers and I only review things I like, so in that vein:
* While I am not sure of your word count restrictions, I think personally I would have added lots more little subtle hints as to what was happening - especially feeling thirsty? - physically and mentally.
* The biggest issue I had was your verb tenses were inconsistent. It kept drifting into present tense when it was dominantly past. Now, personally, considering the MC dies at the end, I would have made the whole thing present tense (which I normally would not recommend) and present it as a stream of consciousness, thoughts as they occur tale.

But, still, really strong story. Nicely done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.0)
Interesting story. I enjoy takes with a twist in the end, and this one had one I did not see coming, so well done. The constraints of the Alphabetised paragraphing is tough and you did a good job maintaining it all the way through.

Now, WdC is about helping authors, and I only review things I like, so, in that vein:
* The Christen/Belinda relationship was muddied at times. I was not sure where they stood.
* There are quite a few punctuation issues; needs a good functional edit.
* "...which she would part with first, the painting or the gift" Sorry, I was not sure about this. Is the gift the one she had bought for the missing Jason? Why would she have to choose?
* Xaviera felt forced. Sorry. I do know X is a pain to fit in, but...

Okay, it seems I'm being negative, but I can see this being tweaked to be something quite outstanding.

Nicely done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
18
18
Review by Steven
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
After the last two chapters, this felt very out of place. Yes, it explains the hole in the chest in the ghost, but there was something about this that felt tacked on.

I think it could do with a better introduction. Maybe have Angie remember it, not just use it as an extended flashback. Sorry. It almost drew me out. And then ending was just repeating what we already knew -even after death. There was also a bit of tell instead of show. I think there could have been a much greater build-up to the heart reveal.

I did like the way they explained to friends it was a pig's heart, and yet the implication is it was a form of reality between them. That was a strong positive; not sure if I am reading it right, but after chapter 2, that is how it comes across to me.

Again, a few punctuation errors.

Sorry...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
19
19
Review by Steven
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Well... that got interesting.

The thoughts of Angie were very life-like, as were her responses to the death. Again, that natural feel. And then the end of the chapter, which I was not expecting at all. I was waiting for a slow build-up, but - bang! - there it was. I am not complaining; it is quite good that this plays with expectations.

Not as many punctuation errors this time. but there was a bit of tell instead of show. The transition from funeral to house could have been a place where slow build could have occurred - it was just there, and then Thomas.

However, I am still going.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review by Steven
Rated: E | (4.0)
Interesting tale. Did see the end coming, but that's okay because you delivered it well. Being Australian, it piqued my interest in that regard as well.

Now, I only review things I like and as WdC is about helping writers:
* Some pluperfect tenses were missing.
* "I nice..." should be "A nice..."
* You don't see many tarantulas. They stay hidden.
* An Outback tour to Uluru (never Ayers Rock) from Sydney? It'd take 3 days to get there. You'd either fly to Alice Springs and then drive from there or to Adelaide, and then a small plane to the resort.
* You aren't allowed to leave a touring party. The rock is freakin' huge!
* Huntsmen aren't that poisonous and they really are fine to have crawl over you. The Australian Tarantula, now that's nasty!
* The section from "He turned in a circle..." felt like it went by too quickly. Build up more tension, more terror in Ethan. We want to know what's going on in his head. All we get are physical reactions. Build it up, make us as scared as he is.

Okay, a lot of this was nit-picking over facts. But if I said it took me a day to drive from New York to the Grand Canyon, that would be wrong.
However, as a tale of terror, use your language better. You clearly have a great grasp of the technicalities - it is one of the cleanest edited works I have seen here in a while - and you have a strong vocabulary for this sort of writing. Extend the end. Make us feel what he feels. This could be truly horrifying.

Good luck going forward.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review of That's a Wrap  
Review by Steven
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
This is an intriguing little tale. Nice use of the Egyptian Book of the Dead mythology, and the concepts of the era.

Now, WdC is about helping authors, and I only review things I like, so with that in mind:
* check your punctuation. There's not much out of place, but it does affect meaning in at least one case.
* "glistering" - should that be "glistening"? And I'm not sure if you've been in a sandy wind - it doesn't glisten, no matter where the sun is.
* I don't know if you had a word count limit, but finding Luke bound, the priests being described as "undead", and "I fought against" is all tell instead of show. To increase the tension in a tale of horror/terror, the show is important so the reader gets a feel for the fear, especially in a 1st person POV story. As it is, the last line could be very effective if the sense of dread had been built more slowly beforehand.
* the use of the word "something" twice in a row sticks out. Change the second. Again, draw it out.

Now, this sounds negative, and I apologise, but there is definitely a good story here, most of the editing is clean and you know your mythology. It could well become a great puece.

Good luck going forth.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of Tales to Tell  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Great concept and well delivered.
Technically this was great.
Story-wise, I have read similar but not in dialogue-only.

Now, I would suggest this - the two voices sound very similar. The Grey Ghost comes from a different era; there should be a distinct difference between their voices - language, idioms, frames of knowledge, slang terms, terms of address, etc. Yes, this will make the dialogue even more obvious as to who is speaking, but it will also differentiate the characters more.

Apart from that, nicely done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
Review of Alphabet Soup  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
An entertaining alphabet poem, and quite timely. But I suppose that's the point...

Two little things, though:
1) I read poetry out loud. A rhyming poem needs a good rhythm in order to give it that sound, especially one like this that relies on the rhymes so heavily. The syllable count is inconsistent. It makes it awkward to read at times.
2) A couple of forced rhymes - W/X and Y/Z really stuck out.

Apart from that, I enjoyed this piece. Nicely done.

Good luck going forth.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review by Steven
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
This was quite a good piece. While you have labelled it satire, I think it is something a number of writers genuinely go through. However, you did make me smile a few times, so the satire part of it worked for me at least.

And, look, speaking from a technical point of view, it was fine. Maybe one or two small things, but that was all. Certainly cleaner than a lot here at WdC.

A few things did get in the way of a complete enjoyment. First was the sheer volume of ellipses. I don't mind them - I have been accused of using too many as well - but sometimes the did drag me out of the narrative.

Next, I personally would have rephrased "I couldn't wait to read me... only better." as "only improved." But that's probably personal.

Finally, I think your conclusion that "she was right to change my text" rankled. I have fought damn hard to keep my "voice" when I sell my stories. If they don't like it, why accept it in the first place?

But as a piece about the pitfalls of editing - this was nicely done.

Good luck going forward!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review of Muppet Madness  
Review by Steven
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Yes, one of life's great imponderable mysteries - would would happen if...?

Done quite well with a 8-6-8-6 syllable count and abcb rhyming scheme.

Just a few things (because critics gotta critic). The opening stanza does not quite fit the syllable count, and it does feel odd reading it out loud. There are also a couple of forced rhymes (cute-mute, looks-books) which does make for some awkward sounding lines to fit the rhyming words.

But this was, in general, a great poem that brought a smile to this old curmudgeon's face. Nicely done.

Good luck going forward!


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