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12 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
Review of Roswell Avenue  
for entry "Griffin's Blade
Review by T.J.Gunn
In affiliation with Dreamweaver Bar & Grill  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Blimprider,

This is a great story, I'm really enjoying it so far. Well done!

I can empathize with Borden's skepticism regarding the supernatural, and that fits an experienced city ex-cop down to a tee. Great characterization all around. McFarlane is an interesting character. I see you've fixed the Kovacs name issue.

So, without blowing too much wind, I really want to know what happens next.

I only noticed a couple of below listed typos for your consideration: polish. I hope I got them all, but as you would know, once I'm immersed as a reader, it's hard to spot typos.

Best regards,

You wrote: "Yes, Mr. Borden just arrived, and Mrs. Mundy wants a full report. She doesn't think we're doing enough... Yes, Ma'am, I will... You can on it."<<You can count on it.>

You wrote: ...White walls, white display cases with ancient weapons, clothing, religious artifacts, and various other items from cultures all over the world. All was arranged on a white deep-pile carpet with a large bloodstain just to the left of the door."<<were>

Review of Soap Opera  
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Sue,

What a cracker of a story!

I really enjoyed this one!

Spooky ending.

Your spelling, punctuation, and grammar was good as well.

You wrote: Pouring more wine from the cask she’d placed on the floor next to her, she watched and listened as Ridge accused his wife of having extra-marital affairs.

Needs a comma after 'cask'.

Would anyone notice? I doubt it.

Well done!


Review of Santa’s Letter  
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Sumojo,

I trust this review finds you and yours well.

Firstly, if you were looking for an emotional response from your reader, you nailed it! Well done. The story deserves five stars just for that.

I can offer editorial critique, but it's rather advanced-writing, and that always comes across as persnickety because it's really applied polish. Bear in mind that these are just my opinions, so use what you need and discard the rest.

You wrote: “Daddy, you write one too,” Abbey passed a coloured pencil to her father. <Replace comma with period after 'too'.>

“I’m too old, sweetheart. Santa doesn’t want to hear from me,” Martin stood up from his crouched position on the carpet. He gave a grunt of pain. <Same again. Period.>

You wrote: “Come on, Daddy. Write Santa a letter, then we can post them together when we go to the shops,” his daughter coaxed.<<Coaxed is not a dialogue tag. It's an action. 'Said' is always better. The only purpose a dialogue tag serves is to inform the reader who is speaking. Understanding this will make you a better writer. Example: "I love that book," she laughed. (Not good.) "I love that book," she said with a laugh. (Better.) Try it yourself. See if you can laugh and talk at the same time?>

You wrote: “No, Darling. Letters to Santa are secret. They are just for him to read. Fold it up and put in the envelope. <...put it in the envelope.>

You wrote: “Go home and enjoy the time you have left, Martin. I’m so sorry,” <This sentence needs a dialogue tag. Consider: the doctor had said.>

You wrote: Dear Santa, ...<Consider a new paragraph.>

You wrote: “Put Santa’s address on Daddy. Mr. Santa Claus, The North Pole.” <on it Daddy.>

You wrote: “You do it Abbey,” Martin wiped his eyes as he stuffed the letter into an envelope and sealed it before handing it to his daughter.<"You do it, Abbey.">

You wrote: Mrs Brown’s kind eyes looked at Martin, “She looks just like you when you were her age. I remember you posting your letters to Santa,” her grey curls bounced as she laughed. “Here you are Abbey, don’t forget to put the stamps on the right way up.” <Period after 'Martin.' Period after 'Santa.' Capital 'H' for Her.>

You wrote: “My name is Azazel and I’m here to cut a deal on behalf of my boss. He apologises he couldn’t come in person, <...apologises because he couldn't...>

You wrote: The snow was falling heavily now, a thin coating already covering the lawn outside.<Comma splice. Replace comma with a semicolon.>

You wrote: We’ll have Abbey awake in a few hours, she’ll be wanting to check to see if Santa arrived.<Comma splice. Replace with semicolon. Although, you could get away with it, because it's dialogue.>

You wrote: “What happened, did the man leave?” <"What happened? Did the man leave?">

All of that is pretty easy to fix. Just a few clicks.

Well done.
Best regards,
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Sumojo,

This is good writing! Well done.

Spelling/punctuation/grammar: 100%

Addressing the prompts: 100%

Dialogue: 100%

Plot: 100%

Characters: 100%

You deserve the five shiny stars.

My favourite part:
"Some long nights, when sleep was especially elusive, memories would flood his mind as if the scenes were lit by a photographer’s flashbulb.

Flash! The door of the cattle truck crashing open. A sudden stream of light blinding him after five days in complete darkness.

Flash! An old man, pleading, kneeling on the frozen ground. A Germanic voice, “Rous! Juden swine!”

Flash! Harsh arc lights illuminating the dark, moonless night. Snow flakes fluttering, twirling, falling through the air on to the mass of humanity."

That's vivid writing. I can see the scene in my head like playing a movie. Well done!

I struggled to find fault in your writing. Someone told me that there is no such thing as a perfect story, and that every story can be improved. I'm not so sure about that. :)

On a side-note. I've written a story for the same prompts, and you won't believe it but some of the characters have tattoos on their wrists and it also involves cannibalism. Lol.

Best regards,

Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Simon,

Welcome to the forum. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tim, and I've only been a member here for a short time.

Reviewing your first two chapters is problematic for me as I'm not an experienced writer, and all I have is praise for your work: which is not really all that helpful from an improvement point of view.

Presentation: 99.99%
I believe this aspect is often overlooked by many writers. How a reader sees your words on the page is enormously important. I noticed your suppression of the first indent after a centered line immediately, and I thought to myself: Now, there's something you don't see often enough. Well done!
(I must admit, that it made me scurry to my own portfolio and edit my featured stories right away.)

So, where did the 0.01% go? Well, on line twenty you wrote: 'But you’re here, anyway?’ It appears there is an extra space before that sentence, and the quotation marks are not the same. Having said that, I believe it would go unnoticed and is hardly worth a mention. (Persnickety at best.)

Immersion: 100%



Dialogue: 100%

You writing drew me into this story so well, that perhaps, I've missed errors. As a reader—if the writer does his job well—my eyes tend to miss errors.

Your writing is exceptional good and extremely rare. Thank you for sharing.

Best regards,
Review of The Indian  
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Blimpreaper,

I hope you and yours are well.

This is one hell of a story. It could easily be fleshed out more and made into a movie. IMHO.

The Good:

The story has a beginning, a heart, and an ending. The starting hook is hooky but subtle, and that's not an easy thing to do well. Good foreshadowing in the first paragraph also. Well done.

The characters are all different with different voices. Very visual. I could see them playing their parts in my head, like a movie.

And the movie never stopped, all the way to the end on the first read. Yep...great immersion. Well done.

The setting was also great. I've never been to San Diego, but now I have a picture of it in my mind. Well done.

<Okay. This is my favorite part. Brilliant, natural dialogue conveying emotion.>

"I get fed up with things, you know? You ever get fed up with stuff, Al? Loud commercials while you're trying to enjoy a movie? Doing dishes? Now, there's a conveyor belt to insanity. How about stopping for gas? That irritation right there ruins your whole commute."
"Yeah, I get fed up sometimes. So what? Nothing you can do about it."
"Nothing you can do about dishes, anyway," Bodaway replied. "I get fed up with these ass-wipes who think it's their right to kill people and take the things they've worked for, and I'm in the best place possible to do something about it."

The Bad:

I struggled to find anything wrong with your story. But, we both know it wouldn't help you improve your writing if I left it like that. So, I looked harder and dug deeper. Read it over and over.

This is nit-picking at it's finest:

You wrote: "Shit!" Bodaway swore. "We gotta get this guy." <I used to do this with questions. I'd write: "Right now?" she asked. And technically there is nothing wrong with that. Then it was pointed out to me that the reader is already aware that it's a question due to the question mark. I guess you could call it advanced writing. So, in your case, the reader sees the exclamation mark and, "Shit!" Bodaway said. "We gotta get this guy." is better(IMHO). The dialogue tags he said and she said are invisible to the reader, unless you fill the page with them. I always smile when I see an exclamation or question mark followed by 'she/he said'. It's a sign of an skillaged writer. I learnt this from Beth Hill. She's a clever cookie but you'll have to decide for yourself if she's on the money.
http://theeditorsblog.net/2013/12/04/another-take-... >

You wrote: "Third one in less than two weeks," the Indian says, breaking the silence. "What does this guy want, Al? He's leaving a trail of bodies behind for peanuts." <Technically, you skipped to present tense with 'says' instead of 'said'. The interesting thing is, it's hard to notice. So, I wondered if you did it on purpose.>

You wrote: "Excuse me, sir," a woman with long brown hair, wearing a green bib apron over her jeans and polo asked tentatively from across the railing of the next door sidewalk cafe," are you the man leading the investigation?"<The underlined is a bit 'info-dumpy'. I believe it would read better broken up into two sentences. There should be a question mark after "Excuse me, sir' and there is an extra space before 'are'and no space after the comma.>

That's it. Well done. thank you for sharing.
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Sumojo,

Great story with a dark-funny twist. My mum is at that point in her life, so I can definitely relate to this. She sprayed her lemon tree with Roundup the other day, thought it was white-oil, killed it stone dead. Lol.


You wrote: “I know, love, we’re going to get in her into care soon, before she gets much worse.” <Extra word. 'in'.>

You wrote: “Don’t talk like that. You’ve got years left in you.” Frank paused, “We’ve been wondering Ma, if you might be happier in a care home,” he ventured.
<'he ventured' is not a dialogue tag (technically speaking) so you could remove it altogether without losing meaning. '...if you might be happier in a care home,' is a question. Consider a question mark after 'home'>

You wrote: Several weeks went by and the newspapers and news bulletins were full of reports of more road rage events and murder rates doubling. <I wonder if 'doubled' would end that sentence better?>

You wrote: “You look different Mum, what have you been doing to yourself?” <Missing comma before Mum.>

You wrote: “Oh my God, she’s been drinking Grandad! < Missing quotation mark.

All of that can be easily fixed with a few clicks and keystrokes.

A very enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing.

Review of The Coder's Muse  
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Jack,

I trust this review finds you and yours well. Please note that these are only my opinions, and at the end of the day, my opinions may not matter all that much.


You speak about immersion in your reviews stating how it's so important. Well, I was completely immersed in your story, even though I'm not a gamer. I read it from start to finish without pausing. In other words, nothing kicked me out of the story. Very good!

The initial story hook made certain of it and was brilliant. You wrote:

'He stood, slouched over, reeling from the kick in the face he had just received, and the girl in the lime bikini took a running step toward him, built up her momentum with a cartwheel, bounced high into the air, evading his defensive roundhouse swing, and landed on his shoulders. Locking her ankles, she threw herself backward, pulling him down with her, and began to squeeze his neck between her powerful legs.'

Okay, I dare any reader to stop reading right at this point.

Here is the same paragraph with certain words underlined. You wrote:

'He stood, slouched over, reeling from the kick in the face he had just received, and the girl in the lime bikini took a running step toward him, built up her momentum with a cartwheel, bounced high into the air, evading his defensive roundhouse swing, and landed on his shoulders. Locking her ankles, she threw herself backward, pulling him down with her, and began to squeeze his neck between her powerful legs.'

That's a very high action word count. Hard to do. Reminds me of Ian Fleming's works. Very good.

Then in the second paragraph, a twist. We realise they are playing a game. Well done.

Vern, Lindsay, Samantha, Orlando and Raul all had different voices, in my opinion. Not an easy thing to do in such a relatively short piece.

The ending was more of a cliffhanger than a conclusion. It was satisfying, but this story could easily be continued.

Is it a story? Yes, it is. I see many writers write what I call 'non-stories', without decent hooks, no depth.

There are many other positives that all point to your competence as an experienced author, Jack, so I'll stop with the warm wind.


In order to help you improve your story, I would have to find something wrong with it first. So, on the third read, I set out to do just that: find a mistake.

You wrote: "I know!" she exclaimed, sitting up suddenly, face animated. "If you do a heel move...
Exclaimed is not a dialogue tag. The lower case 's' in 'she' means you've used it as such after an exclamation mark. Sort of like saying Koala Bear. Or, ATM machine. (Automatic Teller Machine Machine.)
"I know!" she said, sitting up suddenly, face animated. "If you do a heel move...
Would be persnickety-ing-ly better.

Is it an error though? No, it's not.

You wrote: "I'm so sorry—" he began, spinning around...
Began is not a dialogue tag either, and you shouldn't have characters begin to do anything. Just get them to do it. (There are exceptions though. Like starting a race, for one. You have to start it.)
"I'm so sorry—" he said, spinning around...

Is this an error though? No, it's not.

You wrote: Dismay, because he knew what girls like this thought of computer nerds, and weren't generally shy about expressing.
I read this sentence several times wondering if it needed 'themselves' at the end.

That's it.

So, well done. A most enjoyable story written by a skilled author. Thank you for sharing.

Review of The cheque  
Review by T.J.Gunn
In affiliation with Dreamweaver Bar & Grill  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hello Sumojo,

I hope you and yours are doing well. I'm a little reluctant to do reviews because most of the writers here have been at it a lot longer than I have. However, it's not fair to receive reviews without reciprocating.

Please understand that the following views are my opinions, and my opinion may not matter all that much at the end of the day, but I will offer critique based on points that may improve this story, and perhaps even improve your writing in general.

The Technical: presentation, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

<You are missing a quotation mark at the very start of your story. (At least that is how it looks at my end.)>

“Jack Spencer,” the man shook the car dealer’s hand.<the man shook the car dealer's hand is not a dialogue tag. So, you could do this two ways. 1: “Jack Spencer.” The man shook the car dealer’s hand. Or 2: “Jack Spencer,” the man said, shaking the car dealer’s hand.>

Dan wasn’t sure what he was getting at, and asked, “You can drive. Can’t you?”<Commas are one of my weaknesses, so I'm not certain about the following: the conjunction 'and' is only preceded by a comma when it joins two complete sentences, therefore you could omit the comma between 'at' and 'and'.>

“Well, the day just got better for hearing your lovely voice, Delores.” What can I do for you?”<Extra dialogue tag after Delores.>

Wagga Wagga, being 320 miles from Sydney, was a small country town where nothing much happens, but the Country Race meeting brought people from miles around the district.<This sentence seems to have a persnickety tense issue. So : ...is a small country town where nothing much happens (present.) Or: ...was a small country town where nothing much happened (past.)>

“I spotted the car in the car park. I was hoping I’d catch you.” Dan said, catching his breath.<Replace period with a comma after "...I'd catch you," Dan said, catching...>

“It’s the cheque you gave me.” Dan explained, “Wrong date. The cheque bounced.”<You're using 'Dan explained' as a dialogue tag. So: “It’s the cheque you gave me,” Dan explained, “wrong date. The cheque bounced.” Or:
“It’s the cheque you gave me,” Dan explained. “Wrong date. The cheque bounced.”>

Jack’s face looked crestfallen, “Oh, Mr. Trader...<Replace comma with period after 'crestfallen.'>

“I’ll do better than that, I’ll give you cash right now.” Jack smiled, “Come with me... <...right now," Jack smiled. "Come with me... Or: ...right now." Jack smiled. "Come with me...>

“$450, mate. Thanks.” Dan took the cash, shoving it in his pocket and said, “What on earth made you pick, Nancy Boy, he’d got no form.”<...he's got no form.">

<The good news is: a few clicks of the mouse and keyboard will fix those pesky issues, and then your story will shine. Some readers are not very forgiving when it comes to punctuation and grammar. Others are more forgiving.>

One more stylistic issue though. I noticed the following dialogue tags in your story: Jack replied, Delores laughed, she trilled, he coaxed, he murmured. In some genres it is quite acceptable not to use 'he said' or 'she said'.

My studies suggest 'said' is almost invisible to a reader, so much so that you can write:

"How did your day go?" he said. (Instead of 'he asked'.) Many very experienced writers use the technique, and the reader is none the wiser.

If you'll allow me to refer you to Beth Hill; she has a much better explanation than what I could ever come up with. Clever Lady:

The great news is your story is a story. It has plot, action, suspense, and drama and is interwoven with dialogue.


Well done!
Review by T.J.Gunn
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Presentation: 5/5
Mechanics: 5/5
Story: 5/5
Dialogue: 6/5

Wow! I can see the work you've put into this story. I would like to point out that it's not my genre, but having said that, I enjoyed the read (several times.)

How is it that you can score a 6/5 for dialogue? Well, my explanation is simple: I was blown away by the naturalness of your dialogue.

I was immersed in the story all the way through. I did wonder what a 'BART' is, and I stopped reading to google it. (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

This sentence made my eyes stumble: "Seto Kaiba stepped out of a limo onto a quaint street lined with intricately detailed three-story buildings. His long, white trench coat billowed in the wind as he stared up at it with cold, iolite eyes." I wondered what he stared up at. The buildings perhaps? That would make it: ...he stared up at them...

This sentence made me do a quick calculation in my head: "Joan stood, walked five paces away, spun five hundred forty degrees..." Okay. So 360+180. Well done!

This is impressive writing. Thanks for sharing.

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