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Review of Undiscovered  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi. I read your story.

The overall-impression-that-sets-the-tone-for-the-review: I like the story and think the arc is in good shape. This isn't a deep, cerebral story that twists the mind into knots; it's the straightforward vicarious and kind of gleeful experience of the ordeal these two women undergo.

A few things jump out at me:

Did you know that there are five million species left undiscovered on the planet?

OK, I know what you mean here and it's a good opening. That said, the smart-alecky know-it-all voice in my head responded to this line with "how do you know it's five million if it's undiscovered? Like, how can you quantify an unknown quantity with any accuracy?"

A simple solution that will put that voice to rest: consider adding "estimated", ie "Did you know that there are an estimated five million...etc"

“Terij, what are you doing?’ A blonde woman said as her ponytail flapped in the wind. “Get back in the car or we might get pulled over.”

The relationship between Terij and Samantha (to be referred from this point on as "Sam") strikes me as disingenuous. Like, it's what I call a food-critic situation, wherein I know that something is wrong but not what.

The explanation with which I can come up, and bearing in mind that it may or may not be accurate, is that the relationship between the women seems simultaneously close and not. Like, they strike me as being best friends, but this line gives me the impression that Terji's wild behavior is something to which Sam has never been exposed.

And -- OK, yeah. Terji has just made a bunch of money and is feeling excited. I get it. That said, Terji also strikes me as the kind of woman who would, say, be dancing on a table in a bar while taking shots. Sam, meanwhile, would be standing calmly off to the side, the "rock" in the relationship, ready (and able) to step in and intervene if the situation turned against Terji.

That dynamic seems realistic and I think it's the relationship these two women have, it just seems stilted. Sam comes across as being, I don't know, sheepish? Like, almost afraid to assert herself.

And I think that's the hangup: with the relationship these two women seem to have, I don't think that Sam would be afraid to assert herself. I think Sam would be smiling coolly and this line would go something like "You're going to get us pulled over if you're not careful!" In a sort of half-joking, half-serious tone.

And Terji would say -- well, probably the same thing she says here, but I think she'd still pull her head in in a nonverbal acknowledgment.

Does that make sense? I think they have a symbotic kind of checks-and-balances relationship where they keep each other out of (too much) trouble, but the way it's presented here, it strikes me as Sam cowering/sheepish while Terji overrules her.

“Still,” the woman said with her hands clamped to the steering wheel, “We should be a little careful. We don’t want to ruin our contract by involving the police.”

Terij dropped back on the beige leather seat and cast a funny, somewhat outraged look towards the driver.

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing.” The woman crassly said, “Samantha…are you saying that we need to be careful?”

“I know it seems a little-

“You were the one who convinced me to put my savings up for an investment in our fashion line. What was it?” She continues playfully mocking her voice. “Gurl, you’ll never discover anything new sitting at this desk job”


[SIDEBAR: This is as good a place as any to insert the disclaimer/reminder that you and I are literal strangers and I have no idea what you know/don't know. Seriously, you might know more about writing than I do, or you might be a total beginner. In all likelihood your knowledge exists somewhere in between. For the sake of clarity, I'm going to assume no knowledge whatsoever. Worst case scenario: you spend thirty seconds reading something you already know. /END S.B.]

This back-and-forth between Terji and Sam is classified as something called Obvious Exposition. In a nutshell, Obvious Exposition is exposition that obviously only exists for the benefit of the reader.

Here's an extreme example: let's say you have a character walk into a room and sees another character, someone he hasn't seen in 20 years. He then says "John! It's you! I haven't seen you in 20 years, since you ran over my mailbox and then refused to pay to replace it!"

So, literally nobody would ever walk into a room and announce a greeting, and then outline the circumstances of their prior meeting. It exists solely to communicate to the reader that these two characters haven't seen each other in 2 decades, and that John ran over the mailbox, etc.

In this context, this is Obvious Exposition because you have Terji explaining to Sam how they got to be where they are. And the thing is, Terji wouldn't be saying this, because Sam and Terji both already know all that. The reason Terji is explaining this is so you can communicate to the reader their backstory.

So, potential-solutions-of-which-I-can-think (but there may exist more): the first may be to divorce the backstory from the dialogue and just deliver it as prose. Like, for example, after Terji says "we did it baby", put in something like "they had: they'd invested their money in a fashion line and it had paid off", or something.

Better yet: is it really important HOW the women got their money? (answer: no) The important detail is that they HAVE money (thus providing motivation for their trip to their destination, wherever it may be). Like, HOW they got their money is irrelevant.

Think of it this way: let's say they got their money by buying a lottery ticket. Would it change the plot whatsoever? Not in the least.

So, verdict: I'd rework the whole interaction, because it contains Obvious Exposition, and the details it's expositing aren't that important anyway.

“You think so?” She asked and glances at her partner as she steers the vehicle along a curve.

You switch from past tense ("asked") to present tense ("glances") here. The rest of the story is in present tense; grammatically "asked" should be "asks".

“Well, damn,” The driver said as she slammed the steering wheel with her palm,

You do it again here -- the line I linked above ("glances at her partner" etc) is in the present tense, but here you're switching ot the past tense ("slammed the steering wheel with her palm").

Ideally you want to maintain a consistent voice and throughout the story you kind of jump back and forth between past and present. I'm not going to go through and point out all the instances where you do it (I've done that before and it's ultimately a deeply unsatisfying experience) but I will say that you tend to prefer the past tense, so I'd switch all the present-tense stuff to past-tense rather than vice versa.

At Fifty to sixty mph

"Fifty" shouldn't be capitalized.

It was a drug she couldn’t get enough of

There are three Points of Interest (POIs) in this line.

POI #1: "It" shouldn't be capitalized, because it comes after a semicolon.

POI #2: Ideally you want to avoid ending a sentence on a preposition (e.g. "with", "of") so you'd rearrange it thusly: "it was a drug of which she could not get enough".

POI #3: ...is that the line "a drug she couldn't get enough of" is kind of a cliche at this point, I think. Yeah, there are probably people who would argue, but when I read this I identified the line as being one of those lines where I've heard it a thousand times before but can't quite pinpoint where; it's one of those ubiquitous lines you see in conjunction with a character really liking something. I'd get rid of it.

"A wave of worry hit her as her friend always kept her purse with her no matter where she went, being that all of her credit cards and identity were inside"

Whether this is a nitpick or a valid point is a matter for debate, but I'd say this line is unnecessary. Your readers know that a woman's purse accompanies her wherever she goes and what is likely to exist within.

and onto a mushroom that shoot white spores into her face

"shoot" should be "shot".

"She placed her hand on her forehead and leaned her back against a tree."

This is one of those situations like "her eyes looked at" or "her hands picked up" where there's an implied disconnect between Samantha and a body part, like said body part is separate from her. In this case: if her back is leaning against the tree, where is the rest of her body?

Simple fix: "she placed her hand on her forehead and leaned back against a tree".

Her voice trailed off as the hallucinogen she inhaled took its toll.

OK. Hmm. How do I want to approach this?

So, the word over which I'm hemming and hawing in this sentence is "hallucinogen". And the reason I'm hemming and hawing over it is because I think it's, like, too overt. In a way it's like you're spelling out for the reader: THE MUSHROOM WAS A HALLUCINOGEN.

And I don't think that's necessary -- there's a quote I got from another author here on WDC, who did a miserable job A) relaying the quote, and B) giving proper credit, but the quote is something like "Give the reader credit", attributed to Jerry Jenkins.

The meaning I extrapolated from the quote is that it's sometimes easy to forget that the reader can figure things out for his- or herself. So in this case, if the reader sees that Sam is passing out and doesn't know why, s/he can look back and see the bit with the mushroom and reach the conclusion: "oh, the mushroom was a hallucinogen". Like, the reader can reach that conclusion without needing to be told explicitly. Does that make sense? The reader can fill-in-the-blanks on a lot of stuff; you don't need to connect the dots, just provide them.

So the short suggestion is to get rid of the word "hallucinogen", but the long suggestion is to "give the reader credit", i.e. say things without saying them, and let the reader put the pieces together independently.

In closure to this already-lengthy review: I liked the story overall. There's a certain self-consciousness that accompanies lengthy reviews like this one, because it's so long and because tone translates so poorly via the written word, so I'll openly clarify that the intention behind this review is to provide genuine help and insight. Whether or not any of its content is genuinely helpful/insightful is another matter. Take it, leave it, do with it as you will.

-T
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Review of I'll Do Better  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi. I read your story.

Your request-review is my favorite type of request-review because the whole concept of reviewing is kind of vague and nebulous, so when you provide "prompts" it makes the process a lot easier.

"So, however much you read, tell me how far you got"

I got to the end, and didn't understand it, so I reread it, and now I'm pretty sure I understand it, but I keep bouncing back to it while writing this review.

"how you felt where you stopped"

Generally, I felt happy that I had figured out the gist of the story. Like, think of a time when you've completed a jigsaw puzzle. You don't really feel anything (happiness, elation, etc), just a sense of satisfaction at having taken X number of pieces and fitted them together, and now you're looking at the fruits of your work. It's that kind of satisfaction. But is that what you're asking? I'd be interested to know what other people might feel. This wasn't really a sad story, I don't think, nor was it a happy one. I'm glad (ie satisfied) that I read it.

I think the best I can do along the lines of "helpful" is to report my understanding of the story and you can see how it aligns with your original intentions.

The in-a-nutshell overview of the story is that there's a girl named Fiona who lost her boyfriend to a suicide-by-sleeping-pill-overdose. The experience upsets her, which in turn upsets her father, who crashes his car in what appears to be a suicide. The whole sequence of events has a sort of catastrophic personality-splitting effect on Fiona, who runs away to become Helen and marries a hapless fellow named Harvey. Fiona/Helen is a tragically ironic character, because her efforts to prevent harm from coming to Harvey end up harming him.

Breaking it down into bits: the story opens with my first inquiry about the story, which is in the aftermath of a situation that ended with a broken mirror and Harvey's blood. Originally I thought the broken mirror was a figment of Fiona's imagination but that it wasn't clear that it was Fiona's imagination. What happened, exactly? Were the broken/bloody shards of glass figments of Fiona's imagination foreshadowing the bloody knife from the story's climax? Or did Fiona and Harvey have a tiff? If so, what did Fiona do to A) break the mirror, and B) splatter it with Harvey's blood? Slam his head into it?

Next Fiona is sitting in her cruiser and she's harassing Dr. Feingold, because he prescribed Harvey sleeping pills, which she fears will kill him like they did Franklin, so in her first of many ironically-detrimental-to-her-relationship-with-Harvey acts, she abuses her power as a cop and pulls him over to tell him to stop seeing him.

Another inquiry: who is John Frank? The context in which the name appears is that Helen is Harvey's wife and (ostensibly) knows what's better for him than Feingold. She name-drops Frank and Feingold seems to recognize the name, but who is he? At first I thought you'd meant Helen's first husband and written "Frank" instead of "Franklin", but Franklin was Fiona's husband, not Helen's, and the two personalities are separate. Feingold mentions that J.F. is a member of Helen's family, but if Helen is a constructed persona, who would be her relative? Is he a relative of Harvey's? That makes the most sense, but if he's, say, Harvey's brother, why is Helen name-dropping him in this context? Why would it make her qualified to know what's best for Harvey? And confusing the issue: Franklin's name appears literally in the next sentence, so regardless of J.F.'s true identity, I'd recommend changing the "Frank" bit, because it's confusing regardless of whether or not he and Franklin are the same person.

Feingold disappears. Enter Sharon and Carl.

Another inquiry/statement of confusion: The interaction between Carl and Sharon and Helen throws me off.

SIDEBAR-SPURRED-BY-FEELINGS-OF-SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS: I'm going to digress for a moment here to point out that there's a good chance that some of these points I bring up have nothing to do with the story and may instead just be a failure of interpretation on my part as a reader. Look, this story has -- at the time of this writing -- what look to be 25 reviews, and if I'm the only one who doesn't understand what's obvious to 25 other readers, then the problem is that I probably should have paid closer attention to the text, IE is my own shortcoming rather than yours. /END SIDEBAR

The way I'm reading the sequence: Fiona asks a question and realizes that the Helen "mask" she's wearing has slipped, because "Helen" would have known that Carl had gotten married. It seems strange that Fiona would have forgotten a detail as significant as Carl getting married, though, especially if he'd been at the range seven times that week.

Sharon tells Fiona that Harvey was robbed. Fiona is upset. Tail-end exposition reveals that O'Leary Sr. was a police officer.

The first interaction between Fiona and Harvey: is well done in my opinion. The whole interaction seems stilted and tense and uneasy in a way that's hard to pinpoint, and I mean that in the sense that it seems organic. One line that sticks out is the bit where Fiona goes to hug Harvey but instead seems to hold him at bay, which I think underscores the irony of her character -- Fiona/Helen's (sanity? stability? happiness?) is contingent on Harvey's continued well-being, which means that if Harvey gets hurt, Fiona gets hurt. In that way, Fiona has given Harvey a lot of power over her, which puts him in the paradoxical position of being both her the most important and most dangerous person in her life. Hence the moment toward the end of the conversation where Harvey takes a swing at her, and -- jumping ahead -- the moment where she inadvertantly stabs him with the knife. Fiona is in this vicious self-perpetuating cycle wherein she creates a bigger and bigger threat out of Harvey and then has to defend herself from the consequences of her own creation.

Harvey finds the pills, comes home, tries to throw away the knives. Rhetorical question: does Harvey throw away the knives because Fiona/Helen might hurt him with them, or does Fiona/Helen hurt him with them BECAUSE he throws them away?

Possible formatting flub: there's a paragraph break between Harvey saying "I don't want you getting hurt" and Fiona thinking "my own husband" in italics that doesn't look like it's supposed to exist.

Next: Fiona/Helen locks something up. Inquiry: what is she locking up? Is she locking up her knives? The word-usage in this story is pretty economical (I mean that as a positive attribute) but in this section it might be a bit too economical, because I'm not sure what it is she's doing. Did she put padlocks on the drawer? My initial suggestion would be to get rid of Fiona/Helen drilling the [whatever] entirely, but I think the dynamic it represents -- of Fiona wanting to protect but also destroy Harvey -- is necessary, so maybe just clarify what it IS that she's drilling. I think literally one line would do the trick. Something like: "I stood back to look at the shiny new latches, which shone in the morning sun", or whatever.

Also, another paragraph break that may or may not need to exist: between "He paused and shrugged" and "what do you say".

Also: between "you think I'm a monster" and "he got up and walked over to me".

SIDEBAR: Reading through the Fiona-angrily-cutting sequence again, it strikes me that the knife could serve as a symbol of castration. Was this intentional? The text doesn't specify WHAT she's cutting; I'd recommend going the Freudian route and clarify that she's cutting something phallic, like carrots. /END SIDEBAR

The big reveal: Harvey knew all along that Helen was Fiona, because he'd seen her on TV.

SIDEBAR: Wait, what did Fiona do that landed her on television? I feel like Franklin's death would have obviously been a suicide, if he OD'd on sleeping pills unless we're talking a force-feeding scenario like in that movie Seven, which seems like a stretch. And she didn't seem to have anything to do with her father's death, because her mother later says that O'Leary Sr. died in his "cruiser", and it seems unlikely that Fiona would have been A) with her father when it happened if he was in a police cruiser, or B) under suspicion for brakes that were installed faulty.

[[SIDEBAR-WITHIN-A-SIDEBAR: Would a police department let an officer change his own brakes? Like, wouldn't they want to avoid a situation wherein a police officer, say, installed his brakes improperly? Yeah, I know I'm being obtuse and nitpicky at this point and wouldn't be offended if you were to tell me as much, but one does wonder. /END S-W-A-S]]

Otherwise the only thing that would land Fiona's face on a television would be if she was a missing person, which seems unlikely, because her mom later refers to "the O'Leary stupidity", which suggests to me that if Fiona disappeared in the aftermath of Franklin's suicide and her father's death, she'd chalk it up to the O'Leary stupidity rather than reporting it to the police. The point to all this: maybe there's another way Harvey could have figured out that Helen was Fiona O'Leary? I don't think he needs to be a master sleuth to deduce it. At one point Harvey berates Helen for leaving her knives all over the place, so Fiona/Helen doesn't strike me as being a particularly organized creature.

FINAL QUESTION: There seems to be an explanation in the final paragraph that I think I'm missing. The "misspelled your name" line Fiona's mother delivers seems to reference something, but I'm not sure what it is. Is that how the police figured out the connection between Fiona and Helen? Or did she misspell her fictional last name, IE "Helen"'s last name?

OVERALL: It's a good read with a neat concept. There are a couple of hazy spots and if I were to point out one overarching opportunity for improvement I'd say that while the writing is sparse and the economy of words is impressive, the text seems "malnourished" in places and there are lines that seem to be missing context.

It does occur to me that there's a sister piece available, and I made the conscious decision to only read/review this initial piece. Logic: that while a piece of literature can have counterpart-pieces, each piece should stand on its own. Exceptions, obviously, for prequels, sequels, etc -- an exception that doesn't seem to extend to this piece, because impression I get is that Drive it Home tells the same story from Harvey's POV.

Those are the thoughts. Take 'em, leave 'em, integrate 'em, ignore 'em. Hope it helps.

-T
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Review of Nightmares  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Typos:

"What other mischief have you been up to that you thought i was going to bring up?" -- capitalize the "i" here.

"Uh -- thank you, Sir," Natasha mumbled. -- This one compelled me to do some Google sleuthing. The prevailing verdict is that there are only two instances in which you would capitalize the word "sir". The first is when you start a letter ("Dear Sir") and the second is when you're using it as an honorific -- "Sir Elton John", e.g. So in this case you wouldn't capitalize it.

"since it's neither about the film or his new girlfriend" -- as this sentence is negative, the word "neither" is correct but the word "or" is incorrect. It should be "nor". Either/or and neither/nor.

"with youngsters" -- "with" starts a sentence and should be capitalized.

"I haven't proposed to her yet, Sir, I don't know if she'll accept." -- same as above. The current consensus is that "Sir" would not be capitalized.

"What about it, Sir?" -- ditto.

"The committee on curriculum thought those topics were too advanced for this age group, Sir. They made me cut them out." -- ditto.

"Yes, Sir, but I knew you'd called Jayesh and I had to explain." -- ditto.

"About the film, Sir." -- ditto.

"Jayesh gazed at the Principal" -- the line of logic is the same here as it is with "Sir": when you're using it as an honorific("Principal Tom", e.g.) then you would capitalize it, and would not capitalize it when using it as a common noun.

"Was it that the Principal" -- ditto.

"A summons to the Principal's private" -- ditto. You get the idea.

"fifteen and sixteen year olds" -- this is an example of a compound adjective, which boils down to multiple words forming one single adjective. The rule regarding compound adjectives is that you connect them with hyphens. In this instance, you'd write it: "fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds" because "sixteen-year-olds" is a compound adjective. And yeah, the hyphen comes after "fifteen" too, because the "year-olds" is implied.

""If you mean ghosts and skulls, say ghosts and skulls. No need to use euphemisms like figures and things."" -- this is called "quotes within quotes". Basically, Natasha is quoting Vasanthi within her own dialogue so you would use apostraphes to distinguish her words from her quoted words. It would go something like: "If you mean ghosts and skulls, say ghosts and skulls. No need to use euphemisms like 'figures' and 'things'."

"Natasha took another deep drag and exhaled, and then looked exaggeratedly round for something to stub her cigarette off with" -- a couple of things with this one. The word "with" is a preposition and grammar rules suggest that one not end a sentence with a preposition. Also, you stub out a cigarette, not stub it off. Finally, as far as I can tell, the word "round" is technically OK to use here, but I in a possibly-totally-subjective way think that "around" would work better. Disregarding the round/around thing, you'd want to rearrange the sentence:

"Natasha took another deep drag and exhaled, and then looked exaggeratedly (a)round for something with which to stub out her cigarette"

"The rules say smoking is to be in designated smoking zones only. This isn't a designated smoking zone. Kindly stub that cigarette off if you want to stay in here." -- same as above -- "kindly stub out that cigarette" instead of "stub off".
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Review of Saved  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi! I clicked on Read & Review and your piece popped up.

A few things that might help you:

-You might consider expanding on the detail to paint a fuller picture -- i.e. show instead of tell. For example, let's look at the opening paragraph.

"Callie tried to hold down panic, berating herself for waiting so long. Her foot was caught and no amount of effort on her part had loosened it a bit. Calling out again, and again, no one was near enough to hear."

You have opportunities here to show her panic, the feeling of her foot caught in the boards, and that she's called out several times already.

Consider something like:

"Somebody help me!"
Callie's heart pounded. Her throat was starting to feel swollen and raw. Sweat slicked her palms. Why had she waited so long to call for help?
Her ankle was in agony. She tugged it. Broken, rotten wood held her foot in place, jabbing ruthlessly into the skin with razor sharp points. She yanked her leg again. The boards dug deeper into her ankle but held her in place.

"It was dark and she automatically reached for the string to the overhead bulb"

I guess "automatically" works in this instance. I think "instinctively" would work better. I personally despise adverbs (anything that ends in -ly).

Plus, you're jumping back in time here, like a flashback explaining how Callie got to be where she is presently. You'd want to express that by starting the sentence with "it had been dark", so I'd rework it to read like:

"It had been dark. Instinct had compelled Callie to reach for the string to the overhead bulb"

And rather than start off the sentence with "it had", you'd want to put some oomf into it, such as:

"Darkness had greeted Callie as she walked through the door and instinct compelled her to reach for the string to the overhead bulb".

"was still in tack and the light"

You mean "intact" here, rather than "in tack".

"Suddenly an entire community of raccoons flew in different directions"

"Suddenly" -- you already know my feelings on adverbs. Plus, and this will help you in the long run, the word "suddenly" is one of those words that has been done to death. Your best bet is to avoid the word. In this case, you'd want to express the suddenness of the raccoons by using a more powerful adjective later in the sentence:

"An entire community of raccoons exploded in all directions"

...where "exploded" brings thoughts of suddenness and abruptness to mind.

"Looking around at what she could actually reach from where she was, she spied an empty jar. She felt like she was on fire by then, this was her only chance. Taking a deep breath, she quickly went to work"

I think in this paragraph, you're trying to avoid saying that Callie has to go to the bathroom, but I think in this case you could probably get away with it. As it stands, omitting that she has to pee makes the paragraph confusing and the reader feels like something is missing. You can specify that she has to pee and STILL have the final line about Callie almost wetting herself, which would still work as this sort of shared secret between she and the reader that nobody else in the camp knows.

Just some thoughts. Keep up the good work!
5
5
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Your piece made me laugh.

Thanks!
6
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Review of Bound intro  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Maddy,

I have read your chapter and I like the concept. The story has an archetypal feel to it (as in, it seems to be a fresh spin on something that has already been done).

The trouble I am finding is that there is a lot of telling instead of showing. Take for example the following line:

There was something wrong, I realized, as I made my way to the back of the house, something wrong and unsettling. It didn’t help that there was furniture sprawled everywhere and pictures cracked and crooked on the walls.

"Something wrong and unsettling" is telling the reader. The description of the pictures and furniture helps to show that something is amiss; why not remove the telling part and show a few other things? Maybe the cushions of the furniture have scratches on them, scratches too parallel to be accidental. Maybe the rug is bumped up, maybe some of the windows are open that shouldn't be.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I continued further into the house

The trouble with the above line is that little suspense has been built; for that reason the reader has trouble making a connection with the protagonist. The chapter supplied seems rushed--why not slow down? Build an air of unease and suspense. Show the reader plenty of evidence that the house is anything but normal. When the time comes to reveal the man at the fire, you won't even need to bother having the protagonist's hairs stand up on the back of her neck--the reader will already be experiencing that.

It was then that I saw a man, a somewhat attractive man at that. He was kneeling in front of the fireplace, his body a black silhouette against the burning flames of the fire, mumbling imperceptibly

If his back is to the protagonist and he's a silhouette, how does the protagonist know he's attractive?

There was definitely something off about him

Another example of telling instead of showing. Rather than saying this outright, consider describing his tattoos in detail. Maybe his shadow flickers across the floor in an unusual manner. Maybe there's something demonic about his mumbling.

With my red silk nightgown clinging to my chest, I slid out from under the ocean blue bedspread and walked sleepily to the bathroom. I flipped the light switch on as I crossed the threshold and was greeted with a hideous sight when I looked in the mirror.

The above paragraph does a better job of showing, it just needs to be edited a little more. Instead of saying flat-out "red silk nightgown", consider comparing the color to something else that is red. The same with the bedspread (though the color of the sheets does not appear to have any bearing on the plot).

Keep up the writing!

-T
7
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Review by tcprescott
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
         Jen,

         I am basing my rating on the following guidelines:

         1. This item is an element of a larger piece. Although I can comment on how it works on its own, I am unable to comment on how well it fits in with its neighboring articles.

         2. As I get the impression your intentions are to publish this piece, I am looking for formatting/spelling/grammar issues.

         3. Efficiency of word usage.

         Let's get started.

***


         *NoteG* Formatting -- The first thing I'm noticing about the piece is that the formatting could use a bit of touching-up; consider centering the title and including your name at the top.

         -The paragraphs are big and blocky. It's like eating a steak--are you going to cut the meat into big, hard-to-chew chunks? Or are you going to cut the steak into smaller pieces, so they'll be easy to chew? The same principal applies here. Big, blocky paragraphs can intimidate the reader. There are several ways to rectify this:

         -Double-space paragraphs. This will make the article look longer, but it will make it easier for your reader to keep track of where they are, and they'll be able to read it faster.

         -Add more paragraph breaks (indents). There are some instances in this manuscript where the subject changes just enough to warrant a paragraph break. Doing this will spread out the manuscript, especially if you double-space the lines.

         *NoteG* "Omit needless words". I am quoting Strunk and White's The Elements of Style for this one. In my opinion, this manuscript's biggest issue is the abundance of needless words, so I'll provide several examples to illustrate my point.

         Although this falls under the 'formatting' category, it also stands on its own. Writing is about efficiency; it's about saying as much as possible while using as few words as possible. This helps formatting and readability substantially.

         First off: there is a lot of unnecessary 'filler'. Once you start stripping away the filler, you start seeing opportunities to say more about your subject. Consider the following (first paragraph):

         I usually find boarding a bus to be exciting. There's always that thrill of anticipation. While boarding the [description of bus] bus in [location--where are you?], however, [instead of telling the reader you felt intense dread, consider showing--"my palms were sweaty", "my heart was beating a mile a minute", etc]. We were on our way to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh [awkward transition. It seems like you're feeling the intense dread BECAUSE you're going to Phnom Penh. Consider elaborating on what you're dreading]. My husband Gaz and I (two blond Americans) took a seat near the front. [consider lengthening this sentence; maybe point out the contrast between yourself and the other passengers]

         Every paragraph, sentence, and word should say something about the story--it should provide a new detail about your surroundings, your emotional state, etc.

         Sometimes, it's just a matter of stripping away the filler words and getting down to the bare bones of the paragraph:

         As the bus filled, the driver placed blue plastic stools down the aisle for additional passengers, thus blocking us in our seats. This way, we could all just trample each other if the bus needed to be evacuated. [need a transition here; shifting from aisle to naked babies is awkward]. I could handle the naked babies, live chickens, and Cambodian karaoke videos looping endlessly on the TV up front.

         This is a hasty edit-job, but you see what I mean. Although some details are sacrificed, it still conveys the same general message while using fewer words. Plus, that transition in the middle provides you with an opportunity to talk more about the bus and your overall feelings.

         One last example (the paragraph that starts with "Gaz and I walked home":

         Once we got back to Smile Lakeside, I sat down on a bench overlooking the lake. Gaz was clearly not as happy as he could be, so I told him to get another shake. He departed, leaving me to puzzle over the lights across the lake [elaborate on this--what are they? What do they look like?]. My arm felt wiggly, like a scrambled picture on an old TV. As time progressed, however, I found that I wasn't having fun anymore.

         This is a perfect example of "killing your darlings". By this point, we know you're baked. While the anecdote about the bottle does a good job of showing and not telling your mental state, it's showing something that we've already established. The anecdote is like you're repeating yourself. The story is like you're saying the same thing twice. The argument about the private residence is similar--it IS funny, and it IS interesting. The problem is that these detours slow down the article's pace.

         *NoteG* Consider revising the description:

         While traveling in Cambodia, I decided to try a "Happy Pizza."

         Thus we have two points-of-interest: Cambodia and "Happy Pizza". 'Cambodia' indicates that this is something foreign and exciting (and that's just the vibe you're looking for). "Happy Pizza" puts questions in your potential-reader's head--What is a Happy Pizza? Is it different from a regular pizza? I should read this article and find out.

***


         I think this article has the potential to be a very solid addition to your memoirs. Its main attraction is that you are detailing a singularly unique experience. How many people can say they've gone to Cambodia and tried a Happy Pizza?

         -T

         PS - I am noticing that 'paradox' is a recurring term. As this is about eating a Happy Pizza and becoming unhappy, I think this term's repetition is appropriate.

         I do think its strength could be 'hammered into place' so-to-speak. The title of this essay is 'The Pursuit of Happiness', but you're not really pursuing anything in the story. The underlying theme of this story seems to be dread (boarding the bus, worrying about the SWAT team, etc), so if anything, you're running away.

         Have you considered The Paradox of Happiness?


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"Invalid Item Member XV
8
8
Review by tcprescott
In affiliation with Horror, Inc.  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Jen,

I am seeing this item on the Request Reviews page. I will be basing my rating on the following guidelines:

1. You are a travel writer; I will be reading this as a traveler looking for somewhere to visit. Is the article interesting? Does it make me want to go to Cambodia?

2. Focus. What is the article's focus? Is it about Cambodia, or does it drift to irrelevant subjects? Does it make me want to travel to Cambodia?

3. Thrill level. If I am planning a trip to Cambodia, does this article imply that I'll have a good time? Will I leave the article feeling like my trip will be an exciting adventure?

Let's get started.

***

*NoteG*The opening [There’s always a level of excitement ] seems a little weak. Most people know what it's like to be on a bus, and the ticket-taker seems very much like the guy that checks tickets on trains. The 'move to the back' detail is unique, but the trouble here is, it casts Cambodian travel authorities as culturally biased. Are the first two paragraphs saying that a trip to Cambodia isn't going to be fun because the transportation is atrocious? If that's not what it's saying, then what IS it saying?

*NoteG*Paragraph three [Despite my fears] tells us that after our crappy bus ride, we're going to be mobbed by annoying strangers. The description of the parisian cafes and Buddhist temples is nice, but this feeling is quenched by the vague reference to Cambodia's politics. What does 'arduous present' mean? Is the country in civil war? A military coup? If we go to Cambodia, are we going to be killed in a riot or kidnapped by extremists.

*NoteG*Paragraph four [We had been duped] tells us that hotels in Cambodia are crappy dumps and that there are days when nothing exciting happens.

*NoteG*Paragraph five [After wandering that night down] starts nicely--it references a nice-looking restaurant with a nice name. The paragraph then starts talking about how trying something new is a terrible idea and how eating in Cambodia will makes people unhappy. We start to wonder--why travel to Cambodia and be miserable, when we could just stay in America and eat Big Macs with a smile?

*NoteG*Paragraph six [We decided to split one more] takes a strange detour to the medical effects of marijuana.

*NoteG*Paragraph seven and eight [By the time the second shake] shifts the article's focus to the author.

*NoteG*Paragraph nine [Gaz and I walked home down] is what we want to be reading about! We want to be reading about how nice Cambodia is! The lake sounds nice and the lights sound beautiful; if only the article went into more detail about these characteristics. Tragically, as this is the only paragraph in the article that depicts Cambodia in a pleasant light, it implies that the only time Cambodia is bearable is when its tourists stoned (and as we learned above, tourists will be avoiding drugs in Cambodia, so they'll never be stoned).

***

If I am a traveler reading a travel magazine, I am doing so because I want to find new and exciting places to visit. Based on this article, I have learned that Cambodia is awful--the transportation is a mess, the country is in turmoil, and that enjoyable moments will be sparse. If I start finding that all of your articles are like this, I am going to start avoiding them (or worse yet, switch to a different traveling magazine).

Consider focusing on the good aspects of your trips, and why traveling is a positive, fruitful hobby. I think you will be much more successful that way.

-T
9
9
Review by tcprescott
Rated: XGC | (1.0)
Two and a half months have passed since the end of the contest (so far) and still no judgings, no updates from the judge, nothing.

If you're going to run a contest, get your shit together.

-rp
10
10
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello, I found your story on the request reviews page!

*CheckG* I liked the way it began. The first line is vague, and the second line is presumably the response -- but it's not. You realize that this fellow is talking to someone who is giving him the silent treatment.

*CheckG* The story itself is unusual. It seems to be about...some creature getting inside a little girl. At the end we suspect the hunter was not actually the bad guy, but instead another fellow that was possessed by the creature.

*Check* A lot of story is told with very few words and it's entirely in dialogue. This makes for a catch-22 though.

*CheckR* I suspect the little girl is shivering, hence the obnoxious 'accent' for lack of a better word: wwwhy aare yyyou hholding yyyour ssstomach llike tthat <---that's very annoying. Sure, maybe here and there wouldn't be so bad, but making her talk like that constantly is like poison throughout the manuscript.

*CheckR* Because this story is told entirely through dialogue, getting the background circumstances is tough. Sometimes it's handled well:

*Right* And getting lost is no fun, I should know, I got lost hunting out there, lucky we found this cabin, eh?

In this, the location is hinted at, and the sentence flows naturally. In other places though:

*Right* Well, honey, look at it this way, if you put down that gun you have pointed at me right now...

This slows down the action considerably. Is it really necessary for the hunter to specify that the gun is pointed at him? The girl knows it, the hunter knows it. Why would he make a point of saying it? It doesn't need to be stated that she has the gun trained on him. The first few lines insinuate that the hunter is nervous. By the time we get to the line mentioning the gun, we can assume that Abena probably isn't pointing the gun at the fireplace while singling Mary-Had-A-Little-Lamb.

Another instance:

*Right* Hey, hey there, no need to tighten your hands around that thing, my name rings a bell does it...

"No need to tighten your hands around the gun", while descriptive, is better saved for non-dialogue stories. Instead of that, why not "Hey there, no need to get nervous" or something vague like that? Then, you're saying any number of things about Abena's reaction: she could be tightening her hands around the gun, or she might be cocking it, or she might be aiming it at his head instead of his chest...by staying vague, we let the reader decide what she's done, giving Abena an additional layer of depth.

The story presented here is a good start, but could use some editions. Try going through it again and listen to what the characters are saying: does it sound natural? If you were in this position, would you be saying the same thing? With a little more editing, I think this story can be very good.

-rp

My review has been submitted for consideration in "Invalid Item.
11
11
Review of Nightmare Night  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello Manda43079

*CheckB* This is the kind of story that truly sneaks up on you. I'll admit that I actually got goosebumps when I read the ending, not because it's scary or frightening, but because it's so eerily ironic. Props for the story itself, it's unique. It relates well to the quote because once we discover that the body in the morgue isn't Rosie, we can't help but wonder: whose daughter IS it? How will her mother and father feel?

*CheckR*I noticed a few issues:

*Right* My husband Brad was in bed, as were our 14 year old twin sons, Theodore and Franklin.

*CheckG* What do these two characters have to do with the rest of the story? This is the only time they're referenced. What do they do when the parents go to the morgue, just leave them at home? Wouldn't they be in the car with them, cranky about being awakened in the middle of the night, asking where they were going? The appearance of the twins raises many questions, but because they only appear once, none of them are answered. The best thing to do would be to omit the characters entirely.

*Right* “Hey mom, this story is great!” I ran to her and hugged her. “What is going on?”

*CheckB* The double-use of "her" in this case is unnecessary. Consider changing it to "I ran to Rosie and hugged her". It's still a little awkward, but it gets rid of that pesky double-word.

*Right* Unfortunately, we had seen in the morgue the one who had done it.

*Check* Lose the "unfortunately". It detracts from the punch considerably. This final revelation punctuates the entire story, like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence. Whether or not it is unfortunate should be up to the reader but you, as the author, are charged with simply telling the reader what happened. At this point, the character's opinion of what's gone on should be up to the reader, not the character. That way, the reader's opinion isn't influenced externally--the statement becomes blunt and packs a powerful punch:

We had seen the one who had done it.

My review has been submitted for consideration in "Invalid Item.
12
12
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (4.0)
While I've been on the internet for quite a while, and didn't really learn anything from the article, this is a good tool for people that are more naive in regards to the web.

I think maybe your advice on contacting ANYONE you don't know is a little iffy, though. For example:

Reply with Caution. If you decide to respond
to junk e-mail, be very careful to whom and how
you respond.

For one, you can't really choose who you respond to. Secondly, it doesn't really matter HOW you respond...sending any response at all just validates your email. It tells them, "this email address is definitely active, we should keep sending ads to it". And while a phone call doesn't give away the address, it still validates their overall intent: getting people to react.

Though I've never heard of snopes.com, I have heard of Keepass. Keepass is a program that centralizes all of your passwords into one database. The program allows you to create very complex passwords (twenty or more characters, entirely unguessable) and rather than using the traditional copy/paste function on the computer (which still allows potential keyloggers to access it), it uses an alternate copy/paste function that only leaves it on the clipboard for a predesignated period of time. I play internet poker, so keeping my passwords safe and sound is a priority :)

While Keepass might be a little advanced for the most basic Internet-user, it might be worth mentioning.

-rp

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13
13
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (4.5)
The first part of this story had me a little confused. I was afraid that you weren't going to specify exactly who was holding the conversation (for example, if this story had been inspired by a prompt, and the reader needed to know the prompt in order to understand the story. Some authors omit such necessary information). But, it all came together at the end, and I even went back to look at what I missed :)

Great little story.

-rp

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14
14
Review of Meddlesome Minds  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (1.5)
I'll only focus on the first three paragraphs on this work because there are grammatical, narrative, and spelling issues abound in this piece. Several more trips to the editing room are in order.

"We sat around the old coffee table mugs in our hands sharing confidences"==>this is a very weak opening sentence. If the story is told from a single standpoint, why isn't the narrator (I) introduced here, instead of three paragraphs later? The reader has trouble relating to the other women because at this point, the reader seems to be a non-existent entity floating by the table, watching women talk. And if the sentence has to remain, consider punctuation: "We sat around the old coffee table, mugs in our hands, sharing confidences"

"He wants to meet up this Sunday, what do you guys think, do you’ll know of any place that will make a good tenth date?”==>This line makes the character look like a control freak on cocaine. Consider putting pauses in the line to give her a better sense of realism: "He wants to meet up this Sunday. What do you guys think? Do you know of any place that will make a good date?" Notice the changes: "you" instead of "you'll". Also, remarking that this is her tenth date makes the woman appear obsessive--by the tenth date, don't most women stop counting?

"Derrick her boyfriend for all of two months figured quite regularly in our conversations these days."==>Same as above. "Derrick, her boyfriend for all of two months, figured quite regularly in our conversations these days".

"I mean I know she’s truly smitten but please spare me the details of how cool he looks while whisking the phone out of his pocket or how he makes taking a leak look like a work of art. I mean really! Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that Fanny as revolting as she looks to me has received very little male attention in the last 24 years. No wonder she thinks of Derrick as the answer to all her prayers."==>This is where I really started to lose interest. The narrator seems to be trying to gossip with the reader, but really comes across as kind of bitchy. All she's doing here is complaining, and it's about someone we know so little about that the reader doesn't really care. If it's so important to illustrate Fanny's infatuation with Derrick, consider showing this in Fanny's dialogue--have her reference Derrick constantly, have her digress from the topic-at-hand to reference him. That way, the reader will grow to become irritated with Fanny of his or her own accord.

"Why don’t you’ll try this cozy new restaurant"==>another instance where "you'll" is used instead of "you".

"Rachel probably the most attractive one among the three of us was in her late twenties and married to Vicky her husband for all of 3 years."==>there are several things wrong with this sentence. The author seems to have been trying to cram too many thoughts into one sentence and it gives the piece a sense of being rushed. Consider: "Rachel, probably the most attractive among us, was in her late twenties and had been married to her husband for three years". Notice how "all of" has been omitted. "All of three years" gives the narrator a "holier than thou" attitude, as though she's better than Rachel for whatever reason.

"She shops at all the plush up-market boutiques, dines at swanky restaurants and can’t remember the last time she used public transport. Life is so unfair!"==>Another instance of the narrator complaining. Saying "life is so unfair" makes the narrator sound like a whiny fourteen-year-old rather than an intelligent woman sitting in a coffee shop.

The errors go on like that throughout the work. For the sake of brevity, they don't need to be pointed out (not for free, anyway). There is one last line I wanted to point out, toward the end:

"I do have a wild imagination, that’s something I forgot to mention early on."

1. Rather than saying "I forgot to mention it early on", maybe it should be mentioned early on.
2. Instead of telling the reader that the author has a wild imagination, why not show it?
3. As it stands, this piece doesn't appear to have been edited even once. There is nothing about it that makes it particularly noteworthy--it's just three women talking and comes across more like an episode of "The Hills" than anything else. And whoever created "The Hills" doesn't have an imagination to speak of; try to avoid giving the reader something with which s/he can argue without much effort.

-rp
15
15
Review of Whisper  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (5.0)
Wow. A potent and powerful work. It's true that good things come in small packages, even if the content is tragic.

The introduction-- "I will always remember the child I lost"--is somehow necessary. It is an entirely self-contained statement that makes the reader ask him/herself, "What is left to say"?

The first stanza is good; it introduces the child (or absence thereof) as though a ghost has just walked into the room.

The second stanza isn't as strong as the first or third stanzas, but it's still necessary as a transitory statement. The only change you might consider is removing the commas from the first line, giving the poem a balanced flow from the first stanza. Doing so would maintain the momentum and, though I can't really elaborate on the sentiment, give the reader a sense of the author sighing between the stanzas. As though what needs to be said has been said, but there's still more--and a reluctancy to do so.

The third stanza really ties the whole thing together. The contradiction at the end is very emotional; we know that the child never existed, and yet it always has a mother. The child has become as human as s/he possibly can--everyone can relate to having a mother, to some extent--but the prospect of not being here to witness this is sharp twist of perception.

This poem is classified as "women's", but that doesn't really seem appropriate. As was said before, everyone has a motherly bond and can relate to this in one way or another. Men and women alike can glean something from this piece.

-rp
16
16
Review of Ghostwriter  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (4.0)
For the most part, I enjoyed this story. Details about the characters are introduced casually through dialogue early in the story, and the tale flows smoothly from subject to subject. I do feel that the ending said a little too much though. After seeing that Ed has been experiencing writer's block, and that his block is gone once acquiring the pen, we suspect that there's something special about the pen even before we find out about Leo's death. And when we do find out about the death, we can safely conjecture that Leo's spirit IS in the pen; having the shopkeeper suggest it seems redundant by that point.

-rp
17
17
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (5.0)
Haha...this one made me laugh. Just because it's so true!

It makes perfect sense, too:

"The bronze went to Ralph, who really would have preferred to be left alone to watch the proceedings." ==> In other words, this one cat didn't bother racing. So he got the lowest medal. That just made me laugh.

"I could chart their progress by following the noise they made since the sun hadn't fully come up, keeping the yard still filled with shadows."==>That's just OFFICIAL Olympic-style judging right there. "I couldn't see them. But I could definitely hear them and gauge their general positions, which is pretty much exactly the same thing." Another good laugh right there.

Not to mention, we see the kitty-Olympics is a grueling two-day ordeal. Obviously the contestants have been training for this for all nine of their lives. Usually cats despise water and avoid it like the plague.

BUT NOT THESE ATHLETES.

Anyway. I got a great deal of enjoyment out of this story. As you can probably tell. Keep up the great work!

-rp
18
18
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (5.0)
Why, thank you for the Valentine's day gift!

Now I won't say that this story defies the limits of imagination, that the character is as three-dimensional as the computer in front of me, or that the descriptions were so detailed, I could actually taste the chocolates in my mouth. But this story is much like a chocolate in and of itself: simple and enjoyable. It covers something that everyone can relate to: a box of chocolates on Valentine's day. Some of these chocolates, we wish we had more of. Some of them, we don't really like at all (my personal dislike is coconut, but I digress). Some of them bring back long-lost memories while others are just place or purpose in our lifetimes. And above all else, it's from a secret admirer, which always has a certain Romanticism attached. I'm reading this at 6:30 AM--I work night shift, and I'll be heading to bed soon--and this is just the sort of simple, light-hearted story that is perfect for winding down.

Thanks for the metaphorical 'box of chocolates'! :)

-rp
19
19
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
I'm impressed with the premise of this story. It's something I've never seen before. Usually the four horsemen are presented as villains, symbols, and metaphors. But here the author has turned one of the horsemen into a character, with the added twist of being an ex-mortal. There is definitely potential here.

I found only a few problems with the flow:

"Sand drifted carelessly past his feet and the rock he sat on. "==> in this instance, it sounds like you're about to make a comment about the rock. I know what you're saying--the sand is drifting past his feet, as well as the rock--but the way the sentence is presented, it seems like you're saying "Sand drifted past his feet, and the rock he sat on was cold". ('was cold' is just an example, but it illustrates what I'm saying--it seems like you're going to remark upon the rock separately of the sand). I would recommend removing everything past the comma, or elaborating on the rock subject.

Otherwise, there are a few issues, but nothing earth-shattering. Besides that, I liked the way the piece ends: it seems like everything was building up to the journal, and by the end, the reader has been brought the to verge of the greater story.

-rp
20
20
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (4.0)
This poem is good for a few reasons. For one, rather than saying "the president sucks!" like so many people do, he's turned his opinion into something creative and constructive. Secondly, I don't know much about politics but the messages in this poem are delivered in terms even I can understand (which is saying something). Rather than speculating a two-year budget deficit of sassafrass to a financial tax hike, we have nice, easy-to-digest lines like

Of those public works projects, while paychecks are lost!

I can relate to "paychecks lost". Budget deficits? Not a clue.

Keep up the good work. Who knows, someday you might become a cross between Walt Whitman and Steven Colbert.

-rp
21
21
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (3.5)
I like the content of this story, but I didn't care much for the presentation. Each and every sentence seems choppy--he did this. I thought that. He was like these.--and there doesn't really seem to be any fluidity to the story. It's like a set of dominoes--while the setup is good, each sentence is inevitably independent of another. And while this is a pretty standard method of presentation, success is usually determined by the flow of one subject to another, and the flow here is like rapids.

-rp
22
22
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (4.0)
Being a big fan of "The Butterfly Effect" with Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart (only the Director's cut version, the theatrical sucks), I liked this poem simply because you have to read it a few times just to see how the Butterfly Effect influences everything. Not only that, the quotation marks around "arms" are perfectly positioned--right at the beginning of the poem--which indicates to the reader, right off the bat, that the poem is a metaphor. By the end, it makes sense, and is very applicable to the state of the world. I have a feeling I know which country the narrator represents.

-rp
23
23
Review of Scream  
Review by tcprescott
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
While this isn't a bad piece, it is very disjointed and desperately in need of paragraph breaks. Everything that happens seems random and the character 'Laila' comes across as someone that the author knows in real life.

(...Laila WAS born and brought up in a slum. She had realized at a very early age that her body IS going to buy...)

The above sentence illustrates my point. At first, we see the past tense (was) and, as though prompted by mentioning her name, the author speaks of Laila NOW, in the present tense (is). Whether or not it's true is irrelevant; the reader already suspects that Laila is a real person, and based on the fact that she is murdered shortly after being introduced, we get the impression that Laila isn't liked much by the author. So the story takes on an unintentional "revenge fantasy" aspect.

The afterWORD seems like an afterTHOUGHT, just because there's no period at the end of the sentence.

(oh by the way the screams never came back THE END).

Like I said earlier, it's not a bad story. But it definitely has a great many trips to the editing room ahead of it.

-rp
24
24
Review by tcprescott
Rated: E | (3.0)
First off, I'm not really sure what this story is about. First there's something about an Italian guy getting his butt touched, and then about five paragraphs about the main character washing dishes. At the very end, just when things see to be looking up for the main character, he gets fired. So with no real story and a pretty disappointing ending, why is the Reader reading this? I mean, I get what you were trying to illustrate--that sometimes, the way YOU want to do things isn't the best way they should be done. I just think, rather than demonstrating how mouthing off to your boss will get you fired, the author should have demonstrated how, even after all that stuff happened against him (luigi's butt, the soap), there are still ways to save yourself from the fire.

Your request specifically asked for a grammatical review. There are a few more problems than grammar.

"For example: When one thinks fast food, thoughtless employees and big headed managers often come to mind"==>first paragraph. Now, I used to work in a fast food restaurant. When I think fast food, I think of bitchy women complaining that they didn't get a diet soda, and fat cows with their own gravitational field ordering three biggie-sized meals in a sitting. Trying to pre-empt what the reader thinks about something is a no-no. I don't think of thoughtless employees and big-headed managers when I think of fast food, so my first impression of this story is that I'm going to be disagreeing with the author.

"Bumping into Luigi turned out to be more then a simple apology"==>The act of bumping into luigi isn't the simple apology. The apology comes afterward. Something like "When I bumped into Luigi, getting him to settle down again required more than a simple apology". That's a terribly example but you get the idea.

"She was one of the managers that morning who just happened to be next to Luigi when he said this"==>she's obviously next to luigi, otherwise the main character wouldn't be able to glance at her. If she was in the other room, he would have to go to the other room and recant what happened. I think "She was one of the managers that morning" would work fine,.

"So, you haven’t been changing them of a morning?”"==>this sentence makes no sense. "Changing them of a morning"?

"He’s everywhere, but where I need him to be"==>the comma in this case breaks up the sentence's flow. Either remove it, or add more to the sentence. For example: "...need him to be is right here, helping me". Yet another terrible example. In any case, the flow can't be broken in a sentence this short.

-rp
25
25
Review by tcprescott
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
I found that this poem was nice up to the final stanza. I mean, it's necessary--it gives a time (summer)--but it seems like that's the ONLY thing it does. The third stanza compares the girl to a perfect sandwich, the second stanza describes the girl. But the fourth stanza only tells us one thing about the poem, and that's the time. The rest seems forced, in a way (his lady, the hummer? Like, the army vehicle?) and I think that 'summer' could have been worked into a different part of the stanza, so that everything else didn't have to rhyme with it.

Obviously, the author can't forego the final stanza; to leave the poem finished at the third stanza would leave the reader feeling dissatisfied. Maybe the 'expansion' (i.e., summer is a perfect time for this sort of romance) could be depicted in the stanza, without feeling so awkward.

-rp
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