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233 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Nashville  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
A PDG ROCKING GIFT STATION REVIEW
Hello, Joseph, I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Review Package. This is a review for "Nashville. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:

I normally rather not review poetry but the title of this one drug me in. No, I’m not a native of Nash, but my good wife was raised just south of Nashville in Columbia and I’ve been there more’n a dozen times visiting relatives. So, even so they claim I’m a “damnyankee” (I’m from California) I feel some affinity with your town, so I’m breaking my own “no reviewing poetry” rule.

I really liked the way you didn’t only talk about “country music” and the Grand Ole Opry in the poem, but included the pro sports teams and even the hot weather in Summer. (Although I thought you really should have mentioned the humidity that almost did me in on my second visit to Tennessee!)

What I didn’t understand was the reference to the “smell” of Nashville. The only smell I can remember was the old Opry theatre, Ryman Auditorium. I remember the popcorn and the sound of a thousand or so fans fluttering in the overheated Auditorium (and we were not even in the balcony.)

COMMENTS & SUGGESTIONS:
Still, the poem flowed well and the meter read just fine, even with the last line changing from “That’s” to “I’m” Nashville.

However in Stanza 3 you wrote “dream’s” and it should be “dreams” (it’s plural, not a single dream)

In Stanza 4 you had the conjunction “it’s” and it should have been “its”. Also in Stanza 4 is something I saw that should have been different, you may have used the short, grammatically incorrect form of “we amazing” when it should have been “we’re amazing” and the same for “we’re a story" to make the meter count, but doing so threw me for a loop when I was reading it.

The same error appeared in Stanza 5. You wrote “Yes, were country and proud!” and it should have read: “Yes, we’re country and proud!”

I know that some laxity is allowed in poetry to meet meter and sometimes rhyme, but I believe basic grammar rules must be followed or the reader will find fault with the sentence.

Still, I think it was an excellent poem and with the corrections in place I’d raise the rating another half star, giving it a full four instead of the 3.5 I assigned to it this read. Let me know if you make the corrections and I’ll be happy to come back and change the star rating.

FAVORITE LINES:

This stanza is outstanding:

They all call us country
Yes, we’re country and proud!
We love playing music
We sell out the crowd
That’s Nashville

It sums up what Nashville is always thought to be. Music City!

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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2
2
Review of Red Destiny  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
A review from a member of
The Paper Doll Newbie Project
By Sticktalker


Hi Farooq, I'm reviewing your story as a member of the Paper Doll gang. Remember, my review is only my personal opinion and given in an effort to suggest improvements to your writing.
Take what you agree with and leave that which you disagree with.
If you are new to WDC, ask me about the Paper Doll Gang. It is a wonderful group that helps you learn to negotiate the vast world that is WDC while making friends along the way. The next class begins July 5...


*Star*General impression: This was an interesting take on a scene which usually turns out much different than your treatment. The emotional effect certainly was carried out from the beginning.

*Star* Character Development: Your protag was developed very well as the story moved along, but, this is a very short story and not a great deal of character development is expected since the time frame of the story is but a few minutes from start to finish.

*Star* Technical Suggestions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.): I hope you learned English in the British Tradition for American English style has the commas that end a quote INSIDE the quotes rather than outside. Still I did not see any of the British spellings used anywhere (such as "favour" and "colour") in the story so I'm thinking you were not aware of this difference.
Technically this next part is NOT grammar or punctuation, but the story is printed in a red font and in italics... I had to copy the entire story into Word and change it to a plain black Times font before I could successfully read it.

Color is seldom used in fiction...and for good reason...it makes it difficult for the reader...something you don't want to do. Ditto for the italics. (Also, although you didn't use "thought quotes" the use of italics in today's stories is USUALLY reserved for what a character is thinking.)


*Star* Areas of Improvement:
The story moved right along until you got to the part where she was laying on the floor, bleeding to death and thinking. I know you were trying to show how she had tried to live a "good life" before the intruder showed up but I think you carried this part out with too much narration after making your point...causing me to want to simply skip over most this part and get to the ending.

*Star* In Conclusion:

One part I had trouble accepting. Here was a woman who had been stabbed in the side and was bleeding badly, had laid on the floor for some time then, instead of being weak from loss of blood, managed to get up, pick up the knife, steal up behind the young boy without being seen and driven the knife deeply into his back, apparently killing him..THEN managed to get to a phone, call her husband, calmly explain what happened before fainting and apparently dying.

As I used to say all the time...it just doesn't compute well.

Still, that all said, you laid the twisted ending on very well to surprise me. I especially liked the way you left me hanging a bit...wondering if she actually died herself or not. Well done and for that reason I'm giving you an extra star over what I would have given with a normal ending.

3
3
Review of the rain  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.0)
A review from a member of
The Paper Doll Newbie Project
By Sticktalker


Remember, my review is only my personal opinion and given in an effort to suggest improvements to your writing.
Take what you agree with and leave that which you disagree with.
If you are new to WDC, ask me about the Paper Doll Gang. It is a wonderful group that helps you learn to negotiate the vast world that is WDC while making friends along the way. New Class begins soon.


*Star*General impression: I have to be honest here, Aleaf, I first found this piece (along with the other short you have posted in your port, rather confusing to read.) Upon reading it a second time it became obvious that the character was the confused person, but some of the sentences still confused me.
You really don't want to confuse the reader...for if he is confused he'll put your story down and go to the next one.
Example: You use the wording Here all her clothes and Here her hair that she struggled . I am not sure what you meant by the "here" in both cases.

I think you need to break the single paragraph story up into a number of graphs. When a story is all ONE graph the eye can easily lose it's place and the reader has to start all over...which is confusing to the reader. Too many "restarts" and he'll move on to another story.

*Star* Technical Suggestions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.):
I think you need to brush up on your punctuation (and I'm not the greatest on using commas). Wrong comma/punctuation usage will also confuse the reader. You want to stay away from confusing me.

*Star* In Conclusion:

All that being said, when I finally put it all together I liked the basic concept of the story, I just think that it needs to be re-written and made more coherent for the reader (but keep the character confused!)

4
4
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with The Rockin' Reviewers  
Rated: E | (3.5)
A review from a member of
The Paper Doll Newbie Project
By Sticktalker


Remember, my review is only my personal opinion and given in an effort to suggest improvements to your writing.
Take what you agree with and leave that which you disagree with.
If you are new to WDC, ask me about the Paper Doll Gang. It is a wonderful group that helps you learn to negotiate the vast world that is WDC while making friends along the way. New Class begins soon.


*Star*General impression: This is a very rough draft of a proposed novel you are working on. Since it's a first draft, I'm taking that into consideration. I like the general idea that you are proposing here. You have a command of the language and a good grasp of general grammar.

*Star* Character Development:
I had a bit of trouble with your character. You state she is six years old, yet, her thinking processes appear to be that of a much older girl, perhaps a sixteen year old. Example: Again, I heard walking outside, and automatically I froze, my breath stopped halfway into my throat. I didn't breath or move, and finally the footsteps stopped. I'm not sure that a six year old would phrase it that way. Perhaps I heard the steps outside and stopped breathing would be more consistent with a six-year old.

I do realize that your character needs to be very young to make the story work, so you do need to develop her as being really six. Go play with a six year old girl, listen to how she talks, the words, the sentences...getting inside her thoughts is going to be more difficult however.

These inconsistencies continued throughout and I found it very difficult to identify myself with her.

*Star* Technical Suggestions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.):
You have part of the style for dialogue (each characters' talk is in a separate paragraph, but you need some work on the punctuation of dialogue.)
Example:
"Get dressed," the woman said.
"OK," I answered as I put on a dress; "Can I use the bathroom first?"
The woman replied, "Sure, I'll wait here."


Commas, not periods to identify who says it. Notice the second graph...a semi-colon, not a period since "OK" and "Can I use..." are two separate sentences.

Thoughts are punctuated the same way, except "thinking" is usually set in italics, not asterisks, (you'll need to learn how to create italics in WDC's markup code to do that.)

*Star* Areas of Improvement:
I think that it takes a while for the story conflict to develop. Although you did very well in the description and narration of the beginning, I wanted to jump ahead and get to the "exciting part"...something a reader may not do. Instead, they might put the novel back into the rack and pick another one to read.

Do watch out for using the same word in descriptive sentences...Look at the first graph. Both the car door AND the footsteps "slammed". Maybe "clumped" or "hammered" or "thudded" up the walk way would be better?

*Star* Line by Line:
(does not apply in this review)

*Star* In Conclusion:

Don't be dishearten by this review however. I think you have a good basic idea hear that could be improved and developed. I did enjoy reading through this. Keep up the good work and remember, practice, practice, practice!

5
5
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Native First Peoples Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
NAME OF ITEM: Cramp of Discovery

AUTHOR: Rebfann

DATE:Dec. 14, 2009

REMINDER: Remember, my comments are only my personal view of your piece. Take what you agree with or find useful and leave anything that you disagree with or do not find useful. I only do a review on pieces that I basically like, any comments I've made are intended to improve what you have created.

OVERALL COMMENT: Your story about "the freedom of being alone" was interesting, and a fresh way to attack the prompt for the "Cramp Contest". You have a good talent here I think and I'm urging you to continue writing. There are a couple of things that you need to do however, so let me talk about those.

Your paragraphs are quite long...so long in fact that they become difficult to read. Despite being interested in your story, I had to force myself to struggle through the graphs. Try keeping them much shorter.

What happens is this: A long graph is what we call a "gray block of type" and the eye has a difficult time following the lines in a long graph and can easily lose their place -- That means the reader has to start over at the beginning of the graph. That's not good. Too many "start overs" and the reader will move on to a new story.

Secondly, I know you are new to WDC but you need to know that WDC offers you the choice of adding an extra carriage return after each return you make. That's usually used by writers on WDC since the default coding doesn't keep paragraph indents, so the extra line separates the paragraphs.

LEAD GRAPH: A lead graph needs to reach out and grab the reader's attention. Too much unnecessary information dilutes that "grab". In your lead, the second sentence that starts "She had stored..." could easily be deleted without affecting the story at all. That would improve that first needed "grab".

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: I thought you did a good job developing Rachel's character. While I am closer to the age of Rachel's mom, I can sympathize with how Rachel feels about being browbeaten every day over he same subjects... the non-jew boyfriend, lack of job, etc. That was very realistic and added to the character development.

LOGIC ERRORS: Saw none.

SPELLING/GRAMMAR: There were a few typos and mis-spellings, but in writing a "cramp" story, those are allowed so I won't comment on them.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: When you are doing dialogue, you want each character to have their words in a separate sentence. It allows the reader to keep straight who is saying what. All jammed into one paragraph makes it very hard to follow the convo.

When you are doing "thoughts" rather than words out loud, the accepted way is to put the thoughts in italics. Like this:
So this is how we become what we become, she thought.
(If you don't know how to do this, check out how to use WritingML coding on WDC.

BOTTOM LINE: The story was fine, but you need to learn some basic writing skills. I'd suggest you enroll in the "Paper Dolls Newbie" class, or the "New Horizons Academy" for that. You'll find the links at the bottom of my signature. Good luck and welcome to WDC!

6
6
Review of No Ordinary Mouse  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rockin' Reviewers - Award ...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A review from a member of
The Paper Doll Newbie Project
By Sticktalker


Remember, my review is only my personal opinion and given in an effort to suggest improvements to your writing.
Take what you agree with and leave that which you disagree with.
If you are new to WDC, ask me about the Paper Doll Gang. It is a wonderful group that helps you learn to negotiate the vast world that is WDC while making friends along the way.


*Star*General impression: I loved this introduction to what appears to be the first chapter of a proposed novel.

*Star* Areas of Improvement: Although you have labeled this "chapter one" I think it is really the prologue as you refer to the "reader" several times, something I don't think you'd do in the novel itself. I'd change this to "Prologue".

The first paragraph is quite long, you want to write shorter paragraphs to stay away from long, boring "gray blocks" of type that are difficult for the readers' eye to follow and he will quickly lose interest, the exact opposite of what you want to do in the beginning.

*Star* Technical Suggestions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.): When you are setting up your static item, it's a good idea to show the guide number. I think this novel is geared to young children, you should use the "13+" rating to help the readers know what audience you are shooting for.

*Star* In Conclusion:
All that aside, I'm anxious to read "Chapter Two"!

7
7
Review of Elpest  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: E | (4.0)
A Peer-to-Peer Review For a Rising Star
Hello, my name is Lyle and I'm a new Rising Star, here to review your "Elpest and hopefully learn from the experience myself.
These are my thoughts and observations; accept what you will, decline what you disagree with.


WHAT I LIKED:
This was a rather unique tale. I've never read anything quite like this. After three readings I get the idea that it's wasn't so much a tale/story as it was a piece you wrote to send a specific emotion via the typed word (be it digital, it's still typed).

In that you did a masterful job...your word paintbrush painted a bright picture of a sorrowful dragon who has been mourning his lost brother for eons, singing every night for him, but to no avail.

OVERALL FEELING: The feeling is definetly there, but I had a difficult time with the story itself. To be honest, I felt the story line was thin and almost secondary to the "feeling" you struck with the piece.

INTRODUCTION I found the introduction a bit confusing, which set the stage for the most of the rest of the story as I struggled to figure out what was going on. This sentence: The dark waves glistened in the moonlight as they washed the shore times uncountable  only made half sense. I can see waves in the moonlight but how do waves "wash the shore times uncountable"? Did you perhaps mean something like this: "...The dark waves glistened in the moonlight, washing against the shore uncountable times"?

In the second graph I'd suggest deleting the comma between "submit" and "to"

SCENE SETTING: The setting of the scene was suburb, as was the narration. You used a great many adjectives, but not so many as to make the writing too flowery.

NARRATION: (See above comment)

GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION: You have some trouble with commas and semicolons, which is normal, I have the same problems in deciding when to use which one. I'd suggest that you take a class specifically on the use of commas and semi-colons,or study their use in a good grammar book.

OTHER SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: In the third graph you have the dragon mourning. This is fine, you are starting to tell us what is going on ... then you jump back to some straight narration, talking about the color of the dragons skin, then back to "mourning".. the shift in topics was too much for me and I had to back up and reread this graph several times (probably also because I'm not sure what color "periwinkle gray" is.)

IN CONCLUSION: Rich descriptive skills, some weak areas in punctuation that need attention (the piece could use a look over by a good grammarian. Bottom line, I did enjoy the piece after I was able to figure out what was happening (or not happening) but I'm still a bit confused on specific parts that weren't all that clear. (example: I am not clear what the five year old is doing in the story nor why the dragons' "scale?" caused him the stress you wrote about.

Thank you for letting me review you,
Sticktalker

P.S.: If you have suggestions for me to improve my reviews, please let me know *Smile*

** Image ID #1533820 Unavailable **
A Review for the Paper Dolls Newbie Group "Rockin' Reviewers - Award Page
8
8
Review of When Jack Tries  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: E | (3.0)
A Peer-to-Peer Review For a Rising Star
Hello, my name is Lyle and I'm a new Rising Star, here to review your "When Jack Tries and hopefully learn from the experience myself.
These are my thoughts and observations; accept what you will, decline what you disagree with.


WHAT I LIKED:
Before I begin, this piece is billed as "prose", but I'm afraid that it is more "poetry" than prose. Or perhaps it should be an essay, but it just doesn't qualify as "prose". There is no conflict, no real story no resolution of a problem or situation...or even a twist for a humorous ending.

I'm going to look at it as a form of of "free form poetry" for this review.

OVERALL FEELING: Apparently this is an ode to a lost lover the writer has had. The first sentence says that and the next part of the poem continues with exploring how he feels. Then, something happens to the piece, instead of the author talking about his loss, he begins talking about where he lives, comparing it to a church. Why? I'm not sure.

Then he "plays the piano" and the "notes added to the walls". Perhaps I'm missing something plain to see here, but I just do not grasp what this has to do with the loss of the love.

The bottom line, I have to say, is that the entire poem, to me, misses the mark, it's never clear what the author is trying to say.

GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION: Fine as far as I can see.

IN CONCLUSION: I'd really like to see this entire piece re-written to improve the clarity of what the author is trying to say.

Thank you for letting me review you,
Sticktalker

P.S.: If you have suggestions for me to improve my reviews, please let me know *Smile*

** Image ID #1533820 Unavailable **
A Review for the Paper Dolls Newbie Group "Rockin' Reviewers - Award Page
9
9
Review by Sticktalker
Rated: E | (5.0)
ROFL Connie, well done!
I was stuck to reading every line and the ending was a delightful twist to the tale that you told quite masterfully. Excellent poem.
The meter flowed perfectly as did the visual appeal to the eye.
I could just see the grandson busy putting the frosty on, eyes closed and frosting on his nose (not to mention his fingers). You captured the moment perfectly.
I can also see the results in the kitchen.
Keep up the good work and congratulations on placing in the contest. We are all proud of you.
Lyle
10
10
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Chaos at the Chorus. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:
Dear Dr. T, now we move to a much newer story, and a new form, 99 words. I personally think writing these extremely short stories (55 worders I have done, but not 99) are MUCH harder to write than traditional "short stories" of 2000 or less words. I am not familiar with the rules but I am assuming you needed to have EXACTLY 99 words in this story. "Chaos at the Chorus" meets that criteria perfectly.

LEAD:
In these ultra shorts there is no real "lead" as such, the entire story has to be taken as the lead since it's so compact.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION:
Interestingly, I notice that in this story you have switched from the British punctuation rules to American, at least in the dialogue. Since that seems to be the case, I think you need to change some of the punctuation throughout the story. For example, your first sentence: When Alice raised her left leg out of sync with the rest of the chorus girls, her right leg hit Maria, the girl in front of her. I believe it should be punctuated this way: When Alice raised her left leg out of sync with the rest of the chorus girls her right leg hit Maria, the girl in front of her". In American punctuation, you do not use the comma if the phrase so set aside MUST be part of the sentence to make sense.

The same rule applies in the second paragraph for the phrase as the girls fell.

WHAT I LIKED:
The ending...it was a shocker and made the story. Who would have expected a CHORUS GIRL to walk to a microphone and apologize?

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS:
Somehow the rest of the chorus line stopping with their legs in MID-AIR is a bit to incredulous to me, I think they would have brought them to the floor before stopping the dance.

BOTTOM LINE:
Cute little story though, it was enjoyable.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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11
11
Review of Nigochiaaa ... !  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Nigochiaaa ... !. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:
Dear Dr. T. This was a most interesting read. I had never heard of "Nigochiaaa", in fact, I have little idea of traditional children's games in any country outside of my own. I can think of no other game that I am familiar with that even closely approximates it. The dialogue punctuation follows the "English" form rather than the "American" one so I must assume that you are writing from a British educational standpoint so I have adjusted my review to those rules.

LEAD:
I thought the lead was a bit weak. You recorded the facts quite clearly, but I had no strong sense of "anticipation" about what was going to happen.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION:
As noted, the author used the British punctuation and, following the rules as I know them the grammar and punctuation was perfect. Good Job.

WHAT I LIKED:
Learning about a game played in India that I never knew existed until 25 minutes ago.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS:
I noticed one major error. You wrote that in starting the game Husain "took out the ball from his pocket and aimed it carefully at the pile." Then you followed with "as he chucked the stone with..." Which is it, a STONE or a BALL?


BOTTOM LINE:
This story was not so much a story as an essay or report on a group of boys and girls as they played a children's game. If it had been a story I believe there would have been a problem the characters would have to have resolved and the young girls showing up to interfere with the game just didn't do that for me.

However, while I read this as an essary, you identified this as a story and I will have to rate it as such. It would have been higher as an essay though.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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12
12
Review of The Cut  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "The Cut. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:
Wyn, I must admit this is not only the first poem I've read about "cutting", I have never read any prose about the same topic.

Your poem, first of all, was a revelation about how "cutters" feel about this activity...it's all about "having control" over something!

I think I can now understand why, at least in an intellectual mode, why so many teenagers are drawn to "cutting." I'm not condoning for I still feel that it's self-defeating,but I understand

LEAD:
You've jumped right in with the first stanza, not wasting a single word to set what is going on...and explaining how the cutter is fixated at watching (herself?) commit the act. That, as any good short story does, drew the reader right into the poem.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION:
I have to make the same observation I did about semi-colons and periods in the previous review I did. Other than that, it looks perfect to me.

WHAT I LIKED:
I liked how the meter is the same for all three stanzas, each builds on the previous to bring the reader to the last line which was a real surprise to me at first, but then, upon reflection, I decided it was quite the "normal" thing to do.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS:
None outside of my semi-colon/period comments.

BOTTOM LINE:
I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of poetry, thank you for writing and posting it.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

** Image ID #1559321 Unavailable **
13
13
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: E | (3.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "PINATUBO Ch.1--ENIGMA. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Maria, I'm going to deviate from the "standard" review usually used on WDC since I'm going to be reviewing chapter 1 of Pinatubo here. I myself have a novel (unpublished) and understand the lack of reviewing that novels tend to get on WDC. That said, let me get to the reviewing.

Your "prologue", although you don't title it as such on the "cover of the novel folder, outlines a sweeping novel covering a wide field of sub-stories... Mary and her love and relationships with old flames and new ones, plus her goal of finding out why her mother made the sudden announcements of her deceased husband after many years and the reference to her real story about herself.

However, your Chapter One talks at length about a "mysterious" Filipina, that runs on and on and one, in several very long paragraphs. This woman may play an important part in the novel later on it's true, but placed at the beginning of the novel I'm afraid only serves to drive away your potential readers and buyers.

It's absolutely vital to "suck the reader into your novel" right from the start. I think Chapter One needs major revision to do that.

Now, it's also true that I haven't read Chapter Two, on purpose, before writing this review, harsh as it is. I'm not trying to "dis" your novel, only to point out that, in my opinion, it has major faults.

Nearly at the end of the chapter you reveal that your father was murdered, or at least your mother said he was, we really don't know that for a fact.

Perhaps this murder is what you should base Chapter One on. Our lead character is on the plane to Manila. You show her thinking about her mother's revelation about the murder and the revealed infidelities of your father and your decision to return to Mt. Pinatuba and find not only the murderer but what caused your mother to reveal your fathers affairs and your mothers decision to forgive him after all these years.

On the plane there's nothing wrong with bringing the stunning Filipina into the story, but not on and on and on as you did, that really bogged the story down.

BOTTOM LINE: Now that I've said all of this I need to add that I think the plot of the story has merit, but the weak introduction needs improving before you can move into the meat of the novel.

Remember too, I'm a retired newspaper editor and I'm writing here more as an editor than a reviewer and it's just MY opinion. Take it if you agree, leave it if you disagree...it IS your novel, you are the author.

If you were to re-write Chapter One, I'd be happy to again review it and then move on to the rest of the chapters.


Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

** Image ID #1559321 Unavailable **
14
14
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "A Tarragon of Virtue. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Well, Hunter Moon, I've read "Tarragon" three times now and I'm laughing so much I'm going to have to take a break before returning to begin the review.

LEAD: Good imagery in the lead as is your wont. It certainly sucks the reader in as he tries to figure out where Steven is before the author tells him. However, I'm not sure that a wave is "rasping"...the sand in the water might be rasping, but not the water/wave itself.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: Perfect as far as I can tell.

WHAT I LIKED: The outrageous names of the characters...all but the "Minnow", but, of course, "The Minnow" was a ship, not a character...I keep thinking perhaps "The Herring" would be better? The rest of the joke names were, well, hilarious.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: The tub in the story. My first vision was of a wood tub, but then, you couldn't boil water in a wood tub with a fire. Perhaps you should have said, "a large battered tin tub became our shopping cart."

BOTTOM LINE: And the bottom line really IS the final line, the twist, gruel and unusual punishment. Yes. a groan is in order here. Great Write. Great Fun. A thousand laughs for the reader. A couple of minor revisions and the story would easily be a "five"

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review of Illusions  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Illusions. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Ken, you've done it again. The widely over-done "Earth Invasion by Aliens Who Fail" tale...but with the "Hunter's Moon twist" at the end. And this from a man who proclaims to be "just a poet who can't write".

LEAD: As is your trademark, the lead is your carefully crafted word images to set the stage for the story. All of the images are well done, but I sense that you went on with the imagry one sentence too long.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: Flawless, just as we expect of you.

WHAT I LIKED: The way you set us readers up, giving us hints to the eventual twist without telling us they were hints: "chittering sound", "They Who Survive", "young off-spring of the vermin that infest this planet", and "The Exterminators". Just beautifully done.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: Actually, while my comment here is very true, you can't do it without destroying the story. An animal the size of a cockroach simply doesn't have room for the amount of brains needed by a thinking being. Although, perhaps that's not true in the case of an alien race. Ahhh, yes, I'll just "suspend dis-belief" for a bit on this part.

BOTTOM LINE: Great little story, told in an economy of words yet the images of the "soldier" creeping along un-noticed by all except for a young girl who takes immediate, if unknown, action against one of the invaders. Well Done! And certainly worth the 5 rateing I'm giving you.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rockin' Reviewers - Award ...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
A review from a member of
“The Paper Doll Newbie Project”
By Sticktalker


Remember, my review is only my personal opinion and given in an effort to suggest improvements to your writing.
Take what you agree with and leave that which you disagree with.
If you are new to WDC, ask me about the Paper Doll Gang. It is a wonderful group that helps you learn to negotiate the vast world that is WDC while making friends along the way. New Class begins Oct. 1.


*Star*General impression: Hi there Connie. I have to tell you, this certainly was an interesting story. I gather it was for a contest where you had to use specific word prompts which you boldfaced. You did a good job with the introduction paragraph, pulling the reader right into the story and setting the scene. It made me want to get into the rest of the story.

*Star* Character Development: You only had one real character, 80-year-old Hattie and the story is told from her POV. I'm not 80, but I'm moving in on that age and I certainly could empathize with Hattie's predicament in this story. I was impressed with the clarity of her thinking. Most people see older folks as "losing it" and their thinking process becomes less clear than anyone 20 years younger than them. That's not true and your story showed that.

*Star* Technical Suggestions (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.): I think you need to work a bit on how to handle dialogue. If only two people are talking and thinking, then you don't need to identify who is saying what, the reader can follow it easily.

“Wow, this old lady has some hot wheels.” Nellie heard the man say, loud ..." made me think at first that Nellie was saying it. Revising the order would be easier to follow: Nellie heard the man say, "Wow, this old lady..."

“Crap, look at the gas gauge. We’re on empty.” Nellie never could remember to fill up until the light came on. It's not clear if the man or the woman said this. Something like this: "Crap, look at the gas gauge. We're on empty," the man said. Nellie thought I never can remember to fill the tank until the little "empty" light flashed on..

“There’s a station, pull in.” The woman’s voice was high-pitched and tinny sounding. Again, apparently the woman said this, but again it was only by inference. I think it would be stronger to say something like this: “There’s a station, pull in” the woman said, her voice high-pitched and tinny sounding.

*Star* Areas of Improvement: There were two areas that I believe could be improved with a minor rewrite.

When the man opened the trunk to let her out after she passed out, I was confused as to just whom the man was. All you said was "the man silhouetted against the bright.." Was it the gas station attendant? Was it a cop? Was it some stranger? It put a blip in the flow of the story. Three graphs later you explain that it apparently was the man who took the car...although you still only inferred who it was this way "... Nellie knew she had been fortunate. They probably thought she was too old ..." I think you needed to come out and SAY who opened the trunk as it was opening.

The second area that bothered me was the question: "Why did the man and woman abandon the car after taking her out of the trunk...and leaving the keys in the ignition? It was just enough of a question for me to wonder how the police found and arrested them so quickly. I'm guessing the teen clobbered the gas station attendant with something and they turned the pump on to fill the tank and the attendant gave the police a good description of the two, but the story didn't make what happened to the attendant clear. Again, a few words would have cleared that up.

*Star* In Conclusion:
Despite all of the above comments, I liked the story and thought the flow of the story was very good...building up to the final line which brought a smile to my face. Good Job, Connie.

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Review of Dear Me  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Dear Me. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Hi Tink. LOL, I remember writing a "Dear Me" letter to myself last December or January, but your was much better written and you gave yours a lot more thought than I did.

Since this was not technically a story, I'm deleting the regular "review tool" I use for these packages and wing it.

I loved the positive way you opened the letter to yourself "we are going to have an amazing adventure this year" and then recapped your previous two years successes, proving that you CAN accomplish your goals if they are reasonable ones.

The writing is clear and succinct, although I think your graphs all tended to be a bit long. Surprisingly, graphs can be broken at almost, I repeat "ALMOST", the end of any sentence. Breaking graphs into smaller pieces makes it much easier for the readers' eye to keep it's place and not get lost in the middle of a solid block of type.

I thought your plan for "weight control" was well thought out, but I'm thinking that a 15 minute walk is under the minimum that my doctor told me that I needed to do...at least an hour. Of course, our Winters in California at 500 feet elevation are a LOT milder than yours with three fee of snow on the ground and howling winds. OK, it's a good start. (BTW, how is it going so far this year...are you on track?)

All in all I enjoyed reading your "Dear Me" letter.

Besides the long graphs, I did think that the total letter was a bit long for other readers enjoyment, but, after all it wasn't written for others, but for yourself.

Bottom Line is this: Well done and definitely worth the 4.5 rating I gave you.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review by Sticktalker
Rated: E | (5.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Our Journey’s End.... Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:
Robin, this is a very moving piece of poetry. I'm not a poet, meaning I can't write poetry at all and seldom even TRY, but I can appreciate some forms of poetry and this is one of them.

I found the piece to be incisive and agree with you at how most religions believe that THEIRS is the only one that has a GRIP on the TRUTH...which is ridiculous.

LEAD:
I don't know if this style has a name or not, but I like the way A and B rhyme and then E and F. The meter is perfect too. But all that is secondary to the message that you have presented that "religions don't matter, it all comes out the same in the end."

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION:
Poetry usually has it's own "grammar rules" but this one of yours follows prose grammar, which makes it much easier to read.

WHAT I LIKED: Basically, I liked the simplicity and clarity of the writing. You didn't try to gussy things up with unnecessary descriptive words...you used plain, normal words and those gave you exactly the effect you wanted.

BOTTOM LINE:
I think that it was fitting that, while when you wrote it you didn't know what would happen a month later, but it was good that you had this poem ready. I'm sure it was appreciated by all who heard it.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review of A New Way of Life  
Review by Sticktalker
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "A New Way of Life. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Hello again Dragon. I see that you can also write more traditional stories, this one is the classic "aliens crashland on Earth and meet humans", but it does have a little twist in the ending. Let's explore the story.

LEAD: The lead (actually the first two graphs) does set the scene, it's either land on this watery planet or die. It does use a seldom seen method of apparent "thinking" rather that spoken dialogue between the aliens.


GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: At first I thought the verb agreement used by the aliens was a mistake, "Three of them was very old" ("was" should have been "were") but you kept up the "misuse" so I decided you did it purposely since you may have been writing in the language of the aliens and using their grammar. If that was the case, I think it only confused the reader and caused them to wonder if the author really didn't know the rules of Grammar. I'd like to see the story corrected grammatically.

WHAT I FOUND HARD TO BELIEVE: Well, there were a number of illogical science failures in the story..."radar" that could tell water from land and that could tell there was oxygen in the atmosphere. (Not that there aren't machines that CAN do that, "radar" can't.) They "made" the dial to shrink the ship. Wouldn't they have "turned" or "used" the dial to shrink the ship? I think there should be more careful attention to science matters here...unless they characters are magicians. If they are, you should have made that clear in the story.

OK, now you have Seketa "transforming" herself from a dragon form to a beautiful female human; I guess that's pretty magical.

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS:
How did Seketa know the man was "in his 20's"? She just arrived on Earth, how could she judge ages already? Magic, maybe?

The ending caught me unawares once more. I'm guessing that "sex" was going to be involved in the next paragraph. That did kinda ruin the otherwise cute story for me. I think a different twisted ending is called for. The "sex" connotation seemed completely out of the scope of the story...almost something you tossed in at the last minute.

BOTTOM LINE: This story reads like an outline of a story that you wanted to write...or, at best, a rough draft of the story. I think it needs a complete rewrite and if you were to do that and solve some of the problems I've mentioned, I'd be happy to re-review it. Do keep writing though, I think that you have potential to tell excellent tales in your short stories.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review of Cozy Spot  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with PSYW  
Rated: E | (4.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "Cozy Spot. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Dragon, you have developed a very interesting story format...dialogue (or in this case, a Mono-silento-logue) between a puppy and his owner. It was a fun read as the two, with their different viewpoints, prepared for the park visit.

LEAD: Of course, since this is a brand-new story format, my prepared SOARing review tool is completely inadequate...I mean how do you review what a puppy is THINKING? Never having been a puppy, I'm at a huge loss...but what you have written sounds accurate to my "puppy-experience". Puppy's owner asks if puppy wants to go to the park. Puppy is instantly ready...but owner isn't. Yep, that's a puppy.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: I'm not sure what grammar rules and punctuation a puppy uses, but the human side of the conversation looks good to me. (As long as the human isn't a Brit, for British punctuation is slightly different. Must be an American/Canadian human...I guess it's the same for the puppy.)

WHAT I LIKED: Cute little story. I liked the puppy's POV more than the humans though. It brought a refreshing viewpoint to an otherwise dull session of reading so-so pieces on WDC

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: I think this sentence is flawed though: "Let me think, I should bring this lovely green softball for you to play catch in." I believe the puppy would play catch WITH a softball, not IN it...unless the puppy was a mini, miniature Chihuahua sized dog.

This sentence: Wonderful, wonderful, I'm so excited about this, let's go now, now, now please. just didn't quite hit the mark though...I think a puppy would say this more like this: "Wonderful,wonderful. I'm excited; really excited. Let's go now, now NOW...plueeeeze."


THE ENDING: Ut oh. The ending seemed to come from nowhere. The story was building up to something, something that I thought would be much more spectacular. Did you have a word constraint on this story? It reads like all of a sudden you were approaching the ending and you had to cut the story off suddenly (I know I've done that in a limited word story contest myself).

I wish there had been more, ending with some kind of a special "explosion" of dialogue... Of course, I'm not the author, you are, and nothing comes to my mind to even suggest to you. I'd have to think about this.

Still, it was a fun read. Well Done!..just do MORE next time!

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker

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Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
A Peer-to-Peer Review For a Rising Star
Hello, my name is Lyle and I'm a new Rising Star, here to review your "You Can Get Passed It and hopefully learn from the experience myself.
These are my thoughts and observations; accept what you will, decline what you disagree with.


WHAT I LIKED:
Matt, this is an unique type of story you have posted. I felt as if perhaps this was really a prologue to a novel, or at least a much longer story, although you identified it as a short story. I have a gut feeling that it could easily be expanded since I suspect it's the kind of stories that you like to write.

INTRODUCTION The short intro paragraph quickly set the tone of the story. Forty words, five short sentences and all in two lines of type! Great economy of words to set the tone.

SCENE SETTING: A minimum of scene setting was used here, but it was enough to let the reader know where and what was happening.

GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION: There were several misspellings in the story that your spell checker should have caught...Embaressed, alright, and appearence are all incorrectly spelled.

You used a great number of sentence fragments, but I think you did so intentionally to set the pace of the story, so, although technically a grammatical error, for the story they were correct to use. (For the heck of it, I mentally re-worked some of the fragments into "proper English" and it was clear the story suffered for it. Well Done!)

OTHER SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: "I know a place you can go." This popped out of nowhere and confused me.. who was speaking? I think the man should have been identified in this line of dialogue, we have no idea who is speaking.

face had an old factor to it. I'm not sure what "old factor" means. Are you Brit and it's a British phrase? I'm American so it was lost on me. Perhaps writing "His face appeared to be much older than the rest of his appearance suggested" would be better for the reader.

Staying out of range for any stray fists I think the correct usage would be "Staying out of range of any stray fists"

A young boy. Fourteen or fifteen was lead into the room. This is the ONE sentence fragment that I thought needed correcting,it just didn't flow right for me as a reader. I think, "A young boy of fourteen or fifteen was lead into the room" would work better.

IN CONCLUSION: The one whose pain mingled with his own. This bothered me. I assume you meant Cari's pain mingled with Martin's. That being the case I just don't see where Cari has any pain...unless those glasses were pinching her nose. I think you need to develop what pain Cari feels. Without it, I just don't see Cari "identifying" with any pain.

Thank you for letting me review you,
Sticktalker

P.S.: If you have suggestions for me to improve my reviews, please let me know *Smile*

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A Review for the Paper Dolls Newbie Group "Rockin' Reviewers - Award Page
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Review of FATHER'S DAY  
Review by Sticktalker
In affiliation with Rising Stars of WdC  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A Peer-to-Peer Review For a Rising Star
Hello, my name is Lyle and I'm a new Rising Star, here to review your "FATHER'S DAY and hopefully learn from the experience myself.
These are my thoughts and observations; accept what you will, decline what you disagree with.


WHAT I LIKED:
Hello once more Oldwarrior, it's been a while, so I thought it might be nice to see what you have been doing lately. I clicked on "Fathers Day" and was so glad that I did decide to visit your port, for what you have written far exceeds anything that I saw in the "public" papers and magazines published!
This piece is NOT a story, but an article that SHOULD have been in print.

OVERALL FEELING: You wrote this from the heart, I could feel your pain with your succession of "fathers" and their shortcomings in your childhood and your luck in finding the substitute dads in your two uncles and then Robert.

INTRODUCTION Your first two graphs set the tone of the article, as any good journalist knows, and you did it well.

GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION: As best I can tell, absolutely faultless.

OTHER SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: I would like to offer one suggestion. In the first graph, I think you should have deleted the second sentence and replaced it with the second paragraph (which was only one sentence). The reason is I think the sentence wasn't necessary to set the tone of the article and I felt that the article flowed much better with the change way. The deleted sentence could easily be worked back into the article further down.

IN CONCLUSION: Outside of the lead, I can find nothing that needs to be done to improve the article.

Thank you for letting me review you,
Sticktalker

P.S.: If you have suggestions for me to improve my reviews, please let me know *Smile*

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A Review for the Paper Dolls Newbie Group "Rockin' Reviewers - Award Page
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Review of The Rose  
Review by Sticktalker
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for "The Rose. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW:
Ken, now here is a poem I liked. You know how hard it is for me to understand most poetry, but this one breaks that mold,and only in the way that you can do it. It's dark, of course, but it's straight and tells the story, there's no room for misunderstanding in this piece. Well done.

LEAD:
I think the artwork, which is well-selected as you usually do, is the lead... the story is there, and hauntingly so. Interestingly enough, I never had heard the "house of comfort" tag for the type of business she ran.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION:
Perfect! Nothing wrong that I could see.

WHAT I LIKED: The story ran straight through, no sidetrips at all. It told us about The Rose and, fleetingly, about the four "customers"

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS:
I did see one minor error though, but I'm not sure that I can even suggest a correction. In Stanza Four you had "heart" rhyming with "parts"... close, but technically it was a mismatch.

BOTTOM LINE:
Well done, but that's what we expect from you Ken. I'm glad I read this one... and that's a high compliment.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker
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Review of Trail Blazer  
Review by Sticktalker
Rated: E | (4.5)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for {item: 1520093}. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: This was a funny little story, and written for a Flash Fiction contest makes it hard to write due to the amount of words allowed...300 in this particular contest I believe. However, you only used 296 by your own count, you should have used the other four!. *Bigsmile*

LEAD:
Good lead, and again you used two graphs to create the lead. I'm getting used to this style of yours. I was concerned, however, when you wrote that you had "lived in the south" for a long time before moving to Germany and so the snow trip seemed like a good idea. My question immediately was "What 'South'?" Southern Italy, Southern Nigeria, "The South" of the USA? The pause and wondering WHERE you had lived really slowed the story down.

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: Excellent, I see you have the "dialogue commas" usage down pat now. As usual, the rest of your punctuation reads like it was directly out of the English textbook. I do think "the tell tale butterfly" should be hyphenated, "tell-tale"

WHAT I LIKED: The humor and your phraseology was delightful. Let me quote just a couple:
"the mountain visibly steepened"
“Where’s your spirit of adventure?” “Down by the fire,”
and,
"the tell tale butterfly indentation of her cheeks"

BOTTOM LINE:
Excellent short story, well within the bounds of the severe short word count...and that's hard to do, my hat's off to you.

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker
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Review of Santa's Visit  
Review by Sticktalker
Rated: E | (4.0)
A SOARING PACKAGE REVIEW
I'm Lyle and I will be giving you some of the reviews for your Soaring Package. This is a review for {item: 1508227}. Please remember, a review is only how I, as an individual, see your piece. Accept what you agree with, ignore that which you disagree with.

OVERVIEW: Ken, this was a delightly little Christmas Story, definitely one with a real twist in it. I love "twisted" stories that surprise me. It's obvious that you are a parent many times over and have an intimate feeling for the story.

LEAD: Interestingly enough, while most leads are one graph, this one of yours is really the first two graphs. I understand the reason, of course, but the two-graph intro is fresh.

I do think, however, that you would have said, "it's midnight", what sounds more natural to me would be a simple "Midnight!"

GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION: I think the phrase in the second graph should be "sleep-deprived eyes", in the third graphs "cicadas" are plural and plurals have no apostrophe.

In dialogue, unless you have a question mark or exclamation point, the proper usage is to use a comma in these cases: ... "It's midnight," I said. ... and I murmured, “This is the real..."

WHAT I LIKED: The entire story is a good one. I did especially like the line: Did you know six-year olds have a built in “parent’s radar?”

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS: Dang, I already went over those for you.

BOTTOM LINE: Great story, Ken. And you are the guy who says he "can't write prose." Nonsense, you are doing great!

Thanks for allowing me to review you.

Sticktalker
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