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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/sugarglider58/sort_by/r.review_creation_time DESC/page/10
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Review of Fred  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Good story! There's nothing wrong, in my view, with humor in horror fiction, and here it worked well. Great dialogue, and you built the tension nicely right to the end, which provided a sweet yet still nasty little twist. Thanks for entering the Slice!
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Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hello, Sparky,

Very clever and chilling story! As a longtime lover of libraries, I'd never considered their potential for inspiring fright, but I'll certainly be careful around the lowest shelves from now on!

You do a fine job of explaining the dark and supernatural danger through the device of the overheard conversation, which sounded quite natural and believable (in the context of the story). I also liked the use of italics to differentiate between the narrator's thoughts and the conversation; it made things very clear.

Thanks for a very enjoyable read!
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Review of Raw Fear  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, G. B. Williams,

Feeling grateful for the review you gave me the other day, I wanted to read something from your portfolio. This piece stood out for me. You do a fine job of re-experiencing and communicating all the feelings that arise during a scary episode involving a loved one. There's a universal quality about it that instantly attracts and holds the reader. The buildup of tension is well handled, and it all seems very true. The poem works well on the basic level of grammar and spelling, too. Thanks for sharing it, and write on!--S.
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Review of "R"  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hello, drifter,

I very much enjoyed this poem. Riffing on 'r' words gives it a nice focus. There's a very full, kaleidoscopic, and quintessentially human quality to the poem that makes for compelling reading. Most of the feelings it conveys are not especially comfortable or pleasant, yet there are nevertheless traces of hopeful elements within it ("R U still listening relishing refreshment yearning?") Even the negative ones seem to be within the control of the speaker (a "Ridiculous rage" can't be too dangerous, after all). Thanks for sharing this.
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Review of Flashback  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
A really disturbing story, Angus! I kept reading and rereading, hoping to piece together the meaning of the story, but as Randy said in the eulogy, that's a question that couldn't be answered. The various fragments, each with its own vivid reality, were very compelling. It felt just like what I think you intended to convey (of course, correct me if I'm wrong!): the mystery underlying what happens in life, from the almost-impossibly wonderful to the tragic and all the mundane weirdness in between, never quite reveals itself.

As usual, your dialogue is terrific, you don't waste time on inessential description, and your story is compulsively readable. And thank you for being cliche-free!

Write on! --Kaye
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Review of God's soldier  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi, drifter,

Here are some thoughts (just my opinion, of course). This is an interesting piece that could certainly be developed further. I like the idea of using dream material, and the story nicely conveys the sense of both meaning and inscrutability that one sometimes gets from dreams.

This story would benefit from more details (for example, what does the Head Guard look like? What sort of place is Gus driving through? Who is Roger? What exactly about the characters, setting, etc., brings up the fears of violence?) Things register quickly in a dream, but in a story you can stretch time and unpack the sensory and emotional impressions to allow the reader to understand through images and feelings, rather than didactic explanations.

I don't really understand the first paragraph, which does not seem to be part of the dream. To really pull the reader into the story, the meaning of this part needs to be made more accessible. The references to chasing rabbits and having already arrived are particularly obscure to me.

Finally, your mastering the mechanics of punctuation, especially the use of quotation marks, will further assist the reader in comprehending the dialog.

Thanks for sharing this story.
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Review of The Deal  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi, Angus--Hope all is well with you. This is a very clever little piece. Who'd have thought that typos could be so horrifying? You have nicely captured the brutally relentless hold that the imperatives of horror fiction have upon us all. In fact, this story is quite inspiring, in its own perverse way. Thanks for entering! --Kaye
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Review of The Beast Within  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi, Alila--I thought you did a great job showing the struggle within the character, and the twist at the end was great. You made very good use of the length limit. Now that you're free to go beyond it, you may want to show a little more about the character, and perhaps add some subtle foreshadowing (for example, letting the reader know she's engaged to be married). It would also be good to take care with the mechanics of grammar and punctuation, and to avoid run-on sentences and sentence fragments in order to give your work a more professional polish. Overall, good job and write on!
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Review of Rory's Riddles  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: E | (4.5)
Very nice, creepy story. Well done! The pace is perfect and the characters are believable, which amplifies the scare factor. The riddle is great, and the repetition of it at the end works well to leave the reader with the unsolved mystery. You convey the quality of madness really well. If you tidy up the little grammar and punctuation issues, I suspect you could publish this story. Write on!
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello, JoshJ: This was a very intense and enjoyable read. You did a great job delineating the characters in very few words, and the realistic law enforcement details gave the story a credible feel. The plot moved along relentlessly. The story felt like a mystery of sorts, in that I wondered what kind of a sharpshooting chick this Jessica McClaren could possibly be; it would be great to read more of the backstory. Thanks for writing and posting!
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Wow, Jubecube -- sometimes when I read stories posted here (and I include my own), I think the author has shied away from the most horrific possibilities of the chosen premise. Not this time. The horror here is so relentless that the reader can scarcely get past the images of torture to speculate regarding what particular type of evil being could inflict such misery on these teenagers. There is also an inevitability about the premise that defeated my efforts to imagine a different ending for the story. Writing this in the first person was a particularly brave choice. Technically, it's very competent: no typos or other infelicities. I hope I'm not haunted by the images in your story...but I'm afraid I might be.

Thanks for entering the Daily Slice. Hope to see more of your work there.
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Review of In the Shadows  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hello, Milo,

This story is wonderfully intense. You took a standard trope -- the fear of that unknown something in the closet -- and gave it a fresh spin. The images are vivid and the atmosphere intense and unrelentingly scary. Dialog is well done, realistic, and blessedly lacking the awkward speech tags that give away an amateur. I'm guessing -- hoping -- this piece is a prelude to longer stories about the gifted ones like Mark and Rachel putting their unusual talents to work against the powers of darkness.

Only a couple of little nits to pick: (1) I was starting to feel that you were using an awful lot of similes, but the feeling subsided toward the end. (2) "Alright" is not a word.

In sum, well done, and I'd love to read more.
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hello Sndr--

Since you were so kind as to review my story, I thought I'd check out your portfolio. I very much enjoyed reading this essay. There is something infectious indeed about it. Preliminarily, I was attracted by the title, and didn't know what to expect. The essay starts out rather commanding in the use of "Look!" and then quickly becomes self-deprecating, asserting it lacks a topic and will bore the reader, and insinuating the reader will need alcoholic refreshments to enjoy the essay. But so far, so good! It has not bored, but only managed to intrigue, this reader. Then, in stark contrast to the playful beginning, the essay raises some timeless, universal questions about one's fundamental approach to life. There is some parenthetical speculation about a possible ghostly afterlife, and the essay doesn't say much about that because, after all, who really knows how ghosts live, but this is done in a droll and charming way. Then the essay proposes a general rule for living: "Live a life by which both you and others benefit . . . And always make others SMILE :)" etc. -- and finally concludes in a humorous manner. The essay packs a lot of substance into its few lines. Well done, and thank you! I'm sending your points back to encourage you to share more of your work on WDC. -- Sugarglider.

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Review of Just $29.95  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi, Angus -- I agree with those who've given this story five stars -- it's brilliant! That a sleep-deprived guy could become so psychotic as to mutilate himself at the command of a late-night infomercial host is a perfectly nightmarish premise. The story has impeccable structure, a nicely ironic tone and good dialog. There is not a thing I'd suggest changing about this story. Thanks for the chill! -- Write on! -- S.
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Review of The Dying Game  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hey, Angus -- This is a well-crafted and chilling story, and I very much enjoyed reading it. You very nicely sketched out Jenny's sociopathic character at the outset, made a neat change of verb tense to begin unfolding the plot, and told it very smoothly. The dialogue is realistic, the short paragraphs ratchet up the suspense, and you knew just where to end it. Oh, and it's responsive to the prompt. Kudos! Thanks for a fun read. -- S.
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Review of The Neighbour  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello, Jayne -- I enjoyed reading your story. It's got what I'd call good bones: the structure is sound and well serves the increasing tension of the plot as the scares mount for Jessie. The characters (including Shannon!) are believable.

I'd have liked to learn more about Jessie, and I think you could get away with adding a few more details about what it's like having just moved into a new house (perhaps there's a fresh-paint smell, or there are only a few glasses and dishes unpacked, so she has to do a lot of washing-up as she goes, or something like that).

What I wasn't clear on was Justin's motivation. If he simply wanted a companion for his dead dog (nice creepy touch!), he could have just stolen and not returned Shannon, rather than returning her and later coming back to Jayne's house. You do nicely suggest early on that he's interested in Jayne with his overly direct inquiry regarding whether she lives alone, and of course his being more interested in Jessie than Shannon is congruent with his going so far as to invade her house, but then when he does intrude, his talk is mostly about the dog. (I liked how Jessie improvised, trying to defuse the situation!) But still later the police allude to his stalking the former owner of Jessie's house, so it seemed like he was in fact desperate for a woman. Anyway, I guess I didn't quite get how this psychopath could be after both the woman and the dog.

Finally, regarding technical matters: I did notice some punctuation flaws -- missing apostrophes and commas, principally -- which you'll want to fix at some point. As for the adverbs you mentioned in your introduction to the story, I'd say you were admirably sparing with them (though I thought "resolutely" was not quite the right word there, and probably unnecessary in any case). One thing to watch out for is having characters address each other by name -- people rarely do that, actually.

These are just my reactions for whatever they're worth. Thank you for sharing a nicely nightmarish story. Best wishes in all your writing endeavors. -- S.



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Review of Telling Time  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hello, Joy --

A wonderful feature of WDC is the Random Review: your poem popped up for me just now. What a delight! You stayed within the villanelle form, while conveying a sort of madcap, paradoxical, Alice in Wonderland feeling about time and how to relate to it. I gather you were also constrained to follow certain prompts. You obviously have both considerable technical skill and a fine sense of humor to be able to carry all this off! I could read this poem many times and not mine all its meaning. I have no suggestions for improvement. You've reminded me what sheer fun poetry can be, and I may be inspired to try my hand at it myself one of these days. Thank you, and all best wishes. --S.
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Review of The Silent Night  
Review by sugarglider58
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi, Pony Tale,

What a gripping story! The image of the boys' tragic, bloody deaths only 100 yards from the family celebration on the beach is terrific. I always like moral tension in a story, and this one certainly has it: the dawning knowledge that the boys have done something really stupid, and that it will have consequences, is a great engine to drive the story. It's very nicely written, too, blessedly free from spelling and grammatical errors.

If you want to do more with the story (and it's an idea that certainly would warrant further development), you might consider further description and differentiation of the characters, more lurid, gruesome description of the shark attack, and/or more expression by the protagonist of his feelings and actions in the midst of the horror. I did find myself puzzling over his references to losing his mind, when he actually seemed very lucid and perhaps not quite as hysterical as I'd expect while his buddies were becoming shark food. Of course, he's recollecting it much later on, so maybe that's why you chose to present him that way.

All in all, an excellent story. Thanks for the fine read.
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Elizabeth! Wonderful dark fairy tale. The tone and dialogue are nicely consistent throughout, and the ending has terrific oomph. The contrast between the Faerie and her daughter is powerful. My favorite line: "Her skin was the bark of an old tree, with insects scurrying through it." Great image!

Write on, as they say! -- S.
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, Jen -- Thanks for this marvelous story. Your voice is very appealing: smooth, down-to-earth, thoughtful. The details you included made the story fascinating, and you very deftly interwove the evolution of your attitude toward the Chinese with the events you described. I really felt I was there with you! I can't actually think of anything negative to say about this story. Please write more about your travels! Best wishes -- S.
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Review by sugarglider58
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Thanks for this fascinating, compelling and, to me, unique story! I loved your use of nursing expertise and the seemingly unpromising genre of nursing notes to convey a mystery, complete with dialogue. It all seemed plausible to me, although I did wonder why, if this is a locked facility, the repeated entry of two strange visitors (and the rather shocking disclosure to them of the security code by the day charge nurse) didn't get some greater emphasis in the story. I guess the Medicare investigation wouldn't get into that topic? Anyway, well done!
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Review of Unseen  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
I found the emotional tone of this poem very pleasing, for all the sadness of the theme, and the overall style well serves the atmosphere that I think you're trying to convey. The spare elegance and modesty, and the unobtrusiveness of the narrative voice, which never indulges in overt emotionality, work very well. It feels somehow Buddhist -- perhaps influenced by haiku? The image of the tree and the grave as companions, long forgotten by those who placed them here in the graveyard, is quite memorable.

I was about to write my standard comment that the use of forms of the verb 'to be' should be minimized, but then it occurred to me that, here, 'be' in all its forms does aptly hint at the static, unchanging nature of this place. Still, in the interest of economy, perhaps 'and' could be eliminated in several places: beginning of the fourth, eighth and maybe the last lines, and middle of the tenth? Likewise, delete 'there' at the beginning of the thirteenth? And the repetition of 'almost' in the ninth line sounded inadvertent to me. 'Expensive headstones': is there a more visual way to say this? And I'm sorry to say I didn't really understand what is meant by 'the path begins to cover itself to bury its destination.'

These are minor criticisms, though -- thank you for a lovely reading experience.

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Review of Countess  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
The story, which derives from the life of Elizabeth, Countess Bathory, in medieval Hungary, is so familiar to most readers of this genre that the mere evocation of it, which you keenly establish within the first few lines of this piece, naturally makes the reader crave more. But the 'more' has to be uniquely and concretely realized. This piece is a sketch that might be taken in all sorts of compelling directions. One would be interested in the point of view of the Countess, her retainers, her victims, her victims' families, etc. Vivid visual and other sensory details are absolutely essential to a finished story. Please revisit this story, drill down and make us see, hear, smell and taste the story!
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Review of Oblivion  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Gripping, intense. Very well written. I'll look for more of your work on writing.com.
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Review of Yule Be Sorry  
Review by sugarglider58
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hey there Acme -- Nice! I wanted to read more; I think you could go on developing this cool story. My only negative: some of the images didn't quite work for me, e.g., "Oil and mucus roiled in her belly." I don't know what this means or would feel like. That said, if I were a magazine editor, my rejection would ask you to try me with more stuff. Thanks!
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