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Review of Pearl, Maybe  
Review by SueVN
In affiliation with Let's Publish!  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Title: Clever – I like it. Pearl, like as in a clam, a hidden treasure to be discovered. The “Maybe,” leads the reader to think, “Maybe what?

Plot: Jeremy has a problem in that he has no job and is apparently inept at keeping the ones he does get. His mother rides him constantly about this, although she continues to provide him with an allowance. Because of the latter, I find Jeremy’s actions to propose to Angela a bit heavy in response. Now, if she actually cut him off, or said “One more month and that’s it!” I could find his response more realistic. Also, I’m not sure getting married is necessarily a responsible move, but perhaps it is in her eyes.

Style and Voice: Generally good, but you might want to look at the repetition of “Jeremy” when the reader knows who is being addressed. “He” or “his” could occasionally be substituted. I mention this because the continual repetition pulls me toward a child’s story, as if I couldn’t figure it out on my own.

Referencing: It’s not entirely clear what year this is or the time era. Without obvious pointers, it seems a piece of modern drama and I have no problem with that. The Honda Civic is the only clue and my gosh, they’ve been making Honda Civics since about 1971, but I don’t feel the story has lost anything by not having a specific timeframe.

Scene/Setting: I would love to know what town or city or country, for that matter. I was working on London, with the grates, but could be Wash, DC, although I don’t think DC has anything called “uptown.” We all have a tendency to think the whole planet knows where we live, but if we are in London, I would love it. I can see the rain better, the traffic, know how the people are because I’ve been there. Along these lines, the city can contribute to Jeremy’s sympathy factor. If this is a dead mining town, no wonder he has a problem. If this is London or New York, well, I don’t feel so bad for him.

Characters: I find myself annoyed with Jeremy, at his excuses. As if having a car was a necessity, (I realize it sometimes is, but I don’t get this from Jeremy) I feel he is taking advantage of his mother and is about to take advantage of Angela. And so, I am quite pleased when Angela has left the scene, although not terribly surprised, especially at the long timeframe since their last encounter. (I can’t find it now, but seems like it was “weeks.”) That’s enough time for most people to come to their senses and realize they just avoided a disaster. And so, I am not surprised she is gone. But, what if they just saw each other last weekend? THAT would make me wonder – will she still fall for him? How will she avoid that mistake because I KNOW it will be a mistake. This will create more tension for you. And what makes him think he will have a car of his own? I don’t get that Angela’s situation is all that well off. A Honda Civic, while an excellent car (I owned one) is hardly a sign of wealth.

Mom is a character out of sight. Other than saying what many mothers would say, I don’t see her as an antagonist. I don’t see her pulling the rug out from under him, other than threatening the allowance. I’m not sure her actions, or even the threat of them, are enough to propel Jeremy to move without some other explanation. Like the allowance runs out at the end of this month and he can move back in with her. Now, THAT would be motivating!

The roommate is the only other “live character.” I see why you have her speak and act the way she does – promotes the question in your title. There’s not much to her, though. Think about having him remember the roommate earlier in the piece, what a piece of trash she is, then your ending will be more powerful because he is so easily “bought.”

Grammar: Good grammar – nothing I noticed!

Just My Personal Opinion: I think you need a more powerful motivation for Jeremy and the whole piece will be stronger.
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Review of Mr. Tibbs  
Review by SueVN
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Happy Thanksgiving, almost!

Here are my thoughts on your piece, reviewing for Let's Publish!

Title: Mr. Tibbs, Sidney Poitoir, is a police detective, right? If that is the connection (and it may not be), I have trouble seeing him as a childhood friend of Larry. Perhaps it is another Mr. Tibbs, but the name will evoke the movie for many.

Plot: I get that Jenna is concerned for the old man, the temperature is falling and things are going south for him. I also get that he misjudges people, possibly to his own detriment, but I do not see the reason for this. Something in his past, no doubt, but you might want to clarify his distrust.

Style and Voice: I like it when you are in Larry's head, but I find the hopping from first person to third a bit jarring. For this piece, I'd recommend close 3rd for both people. It will keep you in Larry's head and still tell about Jenna.

Scene/Setting. Philadelphia, winter, downtown, presumably. I would like to know more about this shelter and Larry's aversion to it. Doesn't he get hungry? Also, the grate. I don't know about Philly, but in DC, the grates are the Metro exhausts. They are not particularly smelly, which caused me to pause. I like the smell idea - I'm just not sure it is from the grates. Any number of other possibilities - clothes, garbage, etc.

Characters: The more I think about this piece, the more I wonder if you even need Jenna's perspective. It would be a much smoother read to have Larry overhear her name and make up his own opinion about her. He is much more rounded; I feel I know his perspective better, although I would like more on how he arrived in the position of homelessness, why he behaves and sees the world as he does - in short - his perspective. Jenna strikes me as rather typical. Her tears strike me as fake. I'm actually rather annoyed with her as a character and to be so stupid and naive. OK - she's persistent - but it seems beyond that to me. Pushy, yet overly sensitive. There must be something deeper there, but I don't find it in the story.

Grammar: Take a look at your comma use: Jenna followed him with her eyes, and hoped he was wrong. "hoped he was wrong" is not a stand-alone phrase. There are a couple more, but I can't find them now - sorry!

General: In looking at the beginning of the story, I missed that Jenna is INSIDE looking out. I thought the opposite when i first read it. The piece is good on using the senses - love the line about the bench. Why did Mrs Reed have a sense of urgency to wake Jenna AFTER Larry left. Why didn't she wake Jenna when Larry was there? And why would she be sweating in the middle of the night? If it is the middle of the night. Just some thoughts on logic there.

Again, I'd suggest 3rd person close from Larry. Some reference to Mr. Tibbs early on might be good, that this is an old friend he remembers, a childhood imaginary friend, not a police detective. Which reminds me, was Mr. Tibbs the character that lived in the little boy's mouth in The Shining? I can't remember. Anyway - point is - we need some reference before the very end.

This is a nice pice with good potential. Just needs a little smoothing out. Good job!
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Review of Dandelions  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
Wimsey,

I too have read Elkhart Tolle; very hard to keep those principles in mind in today's world, huh? This is a lovely essay. You write well and have excellent command of the language. I only have two comments:

1) Put this in present tense. Let the situation reveal itself as it happens. Makes it much more personal, which, I believe is the point.
2) The whistling - OK - you can't whistle. (I can't either) But when you go into explanation, I think it takes the reader out of the mind into what the narrator looks like. It's cute, it's funny, but it doesn't fit here.

Hope this helps! Sue
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Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)

It's clear you feel very strongly on the subject, which is the point. It's also clear you've done your homework through research. You might consider shortening the paragraphs, even using bullets to make your points. It would read easier and probably be more effective. Also, when you transfer in work from Word to WDC, it smushes the paragraphs together. You have to go through and put in spaces.

As to the discussion itself, it has statements which strike an emotional chord and you are inviting opposition, (as you already know). For example, touting Christianity as the religion of our country, as relayed by Mr. M. will certainly set people off. But, it's an opinion and i think you've done well in expressing yours!

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Review of Blame  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (5.0)
Well done. If you go through a divorce or the breakup of a strong relationship, these are the nagging questions. And, I'm afraid, many of them are never answered.

PS - Change "thru" to "through" in the second line. Then capitalize the "or...s" Distracting.

Great piece!
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Review of Pass The Torch  
Review by SueVN
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
"Pass the torch" brought to my thoughts the Statue of Liberty or the Olympic Torch. I'm not sure that's where you are going.

I see you are a veteran (so am I) and your perspective is intesting. Yes, innocents die in war, but not all are innocent. And there is often a good reason for the war. (Yes, I realize this is debatable at times, but WWII?)

This reads TO ME as though the veteran is a mindless being intent on killing no matter what. Simply carrying on the baton in a relay race of war. If that was the intent, you did a good job. Perhaps I have misread. If so, deepest apologies.
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Review of Cold  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (3.5)
Ah yes, the wall of protection. How painfully familiar. One knows love is out there and one should be able to feel it, but just can't quite get there.

The "Enigma" threw me just a tad. It is sort of said in other ways and throws the light of "poor me," which may or may not be what you are trying to do. The rest of the poem represents confusion, which is understandable. I don't know. I just don't think you need it, but that is ONLY an opinion.

Good job!
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Review of The Rain  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (3.5)
Nicely done and the beginning was great - the guilt that never quite goes away, that one can never make enough excuses for.

I realize this is something of an essay, but I'd suggest more of the five senses. The sun, the water from the last swim on your body, the smell of...the waterfall spray. The giddy lightheadness.

You might also break up the longer paragraph - separate: "We later learned." Good how you describe talking to the parents. What did they say?

Great stuff here!
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Review of Home for a Season  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
Neat! May you feel that way about all your houses! I've always wondered about the people who bought mine or the people who owned it previously. So of "if the walls could talk." Maybe you could do something with that concept? Houses become living things and I think you've portrayed that well.

Suggestion - Address this to the house, as though you are talking to it. Will make it much more personal.

Just a thought - please take as such!
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Review of Watching  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is a good poem and i remember thinking something of the same thing at times. Teeenagers often think like some elderly, although they would no doubt be apalled to know that. Sort of "why bother?"

It seems the ones in between are interested in living, because this could be a one-shot deal. Or realizing we are going to die and we better take advantage of life it while we can. But we all see it differently, through different filters, and you have portrayed this well.
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Review of The Edge  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
The poem itself is well written, but the premise is a bit mystifying.

This was written after a friend died? And that was your fault? It is hard to tell from the poem. If such is the case, you might want to get it in there somehow.

Life full of pain. Coming from?

Nit: Pleas....might want to make ...please.

Just thoughts - please take as such - good job!
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Review of Tears Unseen  
Review by SueVN
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Particularly like your use of "darkness". It does creep in at such times and totally mucks up everything. Also like the cold creeping through.

Pain in the wrist sounds like suicide which is a seemingly poor way out for someone so insightful to the pain another has inflicted. I sort of see this person as, "you did this awful thing, but I'm going to come out of it." So, for me, the suicide thing doesn't fit. Just a thought - please take as such!
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Review of Weeping Willow  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very nice. Amazing how trees are able to soothe and calm us. I didn't know you could grow a willow from a root, either. That's very cool!

The poem elicits the need to have life continue, our children enjoying what we enjoyed and you've done a fine job of that.

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Review of Raining Love  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
That's very cool! I like the sounds, the smells and sounds you've incorporated.

Generally, you are in the present tense, so might want to change: "We finally crawled" to "crawl".

And "Friday night's came (come?) and gone.

Good job!
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Review of lost kid  
Review by SueVN
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
I think you have a great adventure going here! I would like more detail. Was he scared? Was anything after him? Should I be concerned for his welfare? Is Flemingvie his town? Or one he has never heard of?

He is in the woods, then happens on a fountain and a pay phone? Maybe a park?

Spelling and grammar are important. I realize not everyone agrees with me, but it is distracting to read misspelled words, lack of capitalization and tense changes. Suggest you take a run through Spell and Grammar check.

As I said, this could be a great adventure with some tension build up, then relief. Good start!

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Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Nicely done and a great title - which drew me in to start with. You've used a lot of the sense which draws the reader into the situation nicely. Wouldn't hurt to add the scent of her hair, I suppose - just a thought.

I think the ending well done - that vanishing thing dreams do. It does raise the question - this is someone lost, someone died, someone who didn't love this person? Might want to incorporate that somehow.

Good piece!
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Review of Amusement Parks  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Nice article Delaney! I like how you interspersed the quotations with the text. Water parks have "normal" rides? Ok. I believe you!

I've always wondered about getting wet in a water park. Do teens just not care? I would have, but that was in the Dark Ages. Nice job - write somemore OK? I hear you have Neo to help you! *Smile*

Sue
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Review of Stand Strong  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
I like this! What an incredibily practical approach which I confess utilizing. Sometimes, it just isn't worth beating your head against the wall anymore. Time to move on. It does save on agony.

Only one comment. When things are that bad, it is generally a notice from Whoever that one should change, move, make a decision, etc and it works out for the best. Not that you need a reference, but I think a recognition of the relief the change brings, sort of "why did I wait so long?" type of thing would make the ending stronger.

Just a thought - please take as such! Great piece.
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Review of Combat Zone  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Ah - very poignant. And the feelings very true. I know.

Just a couple of thoughts -

- This is a bit awkward: But "a soldier's got a job to do" to protect the world from harm. I'm not sure the quotes are needed. I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn't missing something.

- Also, I find it hard to believe a soldier would be lying down while bullets are flying over his/her head. At first I thought he was in bed, but that didn't make sense. Then I pictured him face down on the ground, under attack. You might want to clarify the position - lying in a foxhole - whatever - to convey he is under attack.

Good job!
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Review of Mi Hermano  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Well done - through the eyes of an innocent, assuming she'd done something wrong. Very interesting presentation too - with the Mi Hermanos. Not something I would have thought of, but it makes the piece more powerful. Sort of an appeal.

A thought. If she is aware enough to wonder what she did wrong, she should be aware enough to be scared. Perhaps curl up. Perhaps appeal to her mother at night. Kick at the doctor? Just a thought - please take as such.

Good job!
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Review of My Hero  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is very nice. Any dad would be thrilled to have this written for him! *Smile*

Actually, I have only one comment. Because of the early use of past tense, I surmised your dad was deceased. Of course, I figured out he wasn't when you went to present tense. So - my only suggestion - put the whole thing in present.

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Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is very peceptive and true. Sometimes inspiration can be very freeing.

You might want to run through spellcheck. Inspitation? Coz? Temptaion? I know it seems nitpicky, but it is very distracting. Especially inspitation. Made me think constapation and I'm pretty sure you didnt want that! *Bigsmile*

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Review of Who Am I?  
Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (3.5)
Very clever - made me smile *Smile*. Probably because you will never know who you are. You will change throughout your life. I'm afraid the answer will continually allude you, but I like how you tackle who you are not.

Thoughts - Do others know who they are? And is that what people say "Who are you?" I've never been asked that. But then I'm ancient and times have changed. *Smile* Good work!
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Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Oh - this was great! I can't imagine working at a daycare. I laughed outloud at having to restrain your instincts! And your own child will be different, but I do think the practice is good.

Just a few comments - who is DHS? Some gov't agency I suppose, but perhaps should spell out. I understand the pooping, but the throwing up? Your expose' makes me think this is extremely common.

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DHS
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Review by SueVN
Rated: E | (4.0)
Oh - what a cool thought! Did you come up with this gazing at the moon (which was awesome last night)?

I really want to know more about these "audacious" people - you have a great setup here! Oh - and where did Night come from. His motivation?

Cool piece *Smile*
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